Revolution in the middle east Page 77

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  • bitch_tits_zero_nine 2 Sep 2013 17:47:58 6,654 posts
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    Cool, another nutcase
  • Lamb 2 Sep 2013 17:55:03 472 posts
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    Tell Russia and China to police Syria. Certainly daily suicide bombings in Iraq begs the question of whats going on there, what did we do there besides getting rid of Sadaam, and destroying the chain of command that kept suicide bombers on a leash.

    While Afghanistan was is a potluck of fail with or without intervention.

    Libya could also have been handled differently, a thousand militias are in charge there now. Could have made principalty of Benghazi or sumthin.

    Also Bahrain, oh the pain and doublespeak on that.

    Certainly gassing or shooting people, killing people in any form is quite atrocious why dont we have both sides lay down their arms and amnesty. Is it cause everyone is cuckoo, yes it is.
  • Lamb 2 Sep 2013 18:24:17 472 posts
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    The image John Kerry WON'T want you to see: U.S. Secretary of State pictured dining with Assad and his wife at Damascus restaurant before war broke out in Syria

    http://www.dailymail.co.uk/news/article-2408805/The-image-John-Kerry-WONT-want-U-S-Secretary-State-pictured-dining-Assad-wife-Damascus-restaurant-war-broke-Syria.html

    Just a tad of a throwback to Rumsfeld shaking Saddam's hand
  • Khanivor 2 Sep 2013 18:50:04 40,399 posts
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    As we all know, the best way to succeed in diplomacy is to never meet with the people you are trying to influence.
  • Khanivor 2 Sep 2013 18:50:53 40,399 posts
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    Then again...



    Edited by Khanivor at 18:51:08 02-09-2013
  • FWB 2 Sep 2013 18:52:44 43,844 posts
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    Aye. Don't think going for dinner with him is necessarily a bad thing. People are complaining about a lack of dialogue and then are scathing when politicians attempt it.

    Iraq was a bit different, given that the west were constantly supplying weapons and propping him up before they decided they needed to spend some ammo.
  • Deleted user 2 September 2013 19:04:16
    They did sign on to the Geneva Protocol banning their use over 40 years ago, so there is that.
    But they haven't ratified it

    Can you explain how that word salad backs up your assertion?
    That 'word salad' argues that the USSR had a salutary effect on the Western world, by compelling the capitalist Úlite (the 1% as we might call them nowadays) to concede higher wages, better working conditions, social welfare, etc... to the workforce, because it sought to curtail the growth of leftist parties, counter Soviet influence - and reduce the risk of a radical revolution.

    Peter Gowan, in his 'The Global Gamble', makes a similar point:

    We had thought that interwar capitalist society was a thing of the past, a deviation overcome by postwar social progress. But it turns out that the postwar social gains were the deviation and the interwar state and society is again the norm. Postwar social progress was, it seems, a tactical, aberrant form of European capitalism made necessary by the challenge of Communism. We know now the second half of that sentence whose first half was so strongly believed in 1989, stated 'Western-style welfare-capitalism is better than Eastern Communism...' The second half went unnoticed ten years ago. It reads: '...but Western-style welfare capitalism only existed because of communism.'
    (Peter Gowan, The Global Gamble, page 319; emphasis mine).

    Edited by EndlessSolitude at 19:05:58 02-09-2013

    Edited by EndlessSolitude at 19:26:20 02-09-2013
  • FWB 2 Sep 2013 19:05:52 43,844 posts
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    Explains why as soon as Communism collapsed all social welfare across the western world was removed.


    Oh wait...

    And so what if capitalism conceded some elements partially due to the threat of Communism. It does not mean for one tiny minute that the Soviet Union was a source of good or a better alternative.

    Edited by FWB at 19:11:42 02-09-2013
  • Deleted user 2 September 2013 19:11:54
    Explains why as soon as Communism collapsed all social welfare across the western world was removed.
    Would you argue that it is not being reduced at all - or that the general trend is not towards reduction ('austerity')?
  • FWB 2 Sep 2013 19:14:52 43,844 posts
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    How do you explain the massive spending sprees in the 90s and 00s then? Whether it is cut today* is NOT the result of a lack of a Soviet Union.


    *Actually dependent on where you are talking about.
  • bitch_tits_zero_nine 2 Sep 2013 19:21:00 6,654 posts
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    No, the specifics of a counter ideology are arbitrary to have that effect.
    Certainly not indicative of quality of life for the lowest of society.
  • Lamb 2 Sep 2013 19:25:04 472 posts
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    Khanivor wrote:
    As we all know, the best way to succeed in diplomacy is to never meet with the people you are trying to influence.
    Good point.
  • Deleted user 2 September 2013 19:34:03
    How do you explain the massive spending sprees in the 90s and 00s then?
    If you're referring to the build-up of consumer debt in the Western world over that period, the explanation I'd offer is that the provision of cheap credit was a means of maintaining consumption without redistributive policies. The net effect was a build-up of debt, which is one of the causes of the crisis we have today.

    Ha-Joon Chang made a similar argument regarding Quantitative Easing recently.

    QE has become the weapon of choice by these governments because it is the only way in which recovery – however slow and anaemic – could be generated without changing the economic model that has served the rich and powerful so well in the past three decades.
  • FWB 2 Sep 2013 19:35:08 43,844 posts
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    I'm referring to the massive welfare spending. Keep to the subject you yourself started.
  • Khanivor 2 Sep 2013 20:08:32 40,399 posts
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    EndlessSolitude wrote:
    They did sign on to the Geneva Protocol banning their use over 40 years ago, so there is that.
    But they haven't ratified it
    "Accession" is the act whereby a state accepts the offer or the opportunity to become a party to a treaty already negotiated and signed by other states. It has the same legal effect as ratification. Accession usually occurs after the treaty has entered into force.
  • Khanivor 2 Sep 2013 20:11:05 40,399 posts
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    EndlessSolitude wrote:

    That 'word salad' argues that the USSR had a salutary effect on the Western world, by compelling the capitalist Úlite (the 1% as we might call them nowadays) to concede higher wages, better working conditions, social welfare, etc...
    Which is akin to saying that rape is a force for good if you happen to be in the rape-kit business.

    Or - fuck it - the Nazis were a force for good because of all the human rights treaties that followed WW2.
  • RedSparrows 2 Sep 2013 20:45:48 22,061 posts
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    EndlessSolitude wrote:
    Did you actually experience the wonderful Soviet State?
    My country had better relations with the USSR than the USA for the duration of the Cold War: I only regret that the Soviets didn't win it.

    However, I wasn't sufficiently fortunate to 'experience' a state that had full employment as well as a full-fledged social welfare system (with both health care and education provided on the basis of need rather than purchasing power). Those of us who come from the Third World looked up to the USSR, and could only hope to attain what it had achieved.
    Progressive social policy, but only if you act like a robot, and don't get in the way of history's bayonet.

    A man, far cleverer than any of us, called the USSR a 'shithouse'. I'm inclined to agree with Isaiah Berlin, to be honest. And I have a great interest in the history of the USSR, and am on the left.

    Edited by RedSparrows at 20:48:23 02-09-2013
  • RedSparrows 2 Sep 2013 20:47:02 22,061 posts
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    EndlessSolitude wrote:
    They did sign on to the Geneva Protocol banning their use over 40 years ago, so there is that.
    But they haven't ratified it

    Can you explain how that word salad backs up your assertion?
    That 'word salad' argues that the USSR had a salutary effect on the Western world, by compelling the capitalist Úlite (the 1% as we might call them nowadays) to concede higher wages, better working conditions, social welfare, etc... to the workforce, because it sought to curtail the growth of leftist parties, counter Soviet influence - and reduce the risk of a radical revolution.

    Peter Gowan, in his 'The Global Gamble', makes a similar point:

    We had thought that interwar capitalist society was a thing of the past, a deviation overcome by postwar social progress. But it turns out that the postwar social gains were the deviation and the interwar state and society is again the norm. Postwar social progress was, it seems, a tactical, aberrant form of European capitalism made necessary by the challenge of Communism. We know now the second half of that sentence whose first half was so strongly believed in 1989, stated 'Western-style welfare-capitalism is better than Eastern Communism...' The second half went unnoticed ten years ago. It reads: '...but Western-style welfare capitalism only existed because of communism.'
    (Peter Gowan, The Global Gamble, page 319; emphasis mine).



    Edited by EndlessSolitude at 19:05:58 02-09-2013
    You really need to read a history of the Left, 1920s-1930s. Seriously.
  • Deleted user 2 September 2013 21:37:53
    No one wants Communism, and Capitalism appears to be unsustainable. It's all boom, bust, re_grow and repeat - with each bust being even bigger than the previous bust.

    Communism appears to offer a form of equality. Capitalism appears to want to make everyone a winner, but in reality the maths can never add up to this.
  • RedSparrows 2 Sep 2013 22:17:19 22,061 posts
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    Communism has had an immense draw for many people over the past 150 years. It does offer some good things, and historically has done so. However, historically speaking, it has also offered horror and pain: see China, USSR. So has capitalism, but in a different sense: I'm not sure anyone has really fully catalogued and analysed the way capitalism deals with/out the negatives (for there must be negatives). We have a lot of stuff published about US iniquity and the history of particular capitalist societies, but perhaps no systemic one - not that I know of. The efforts I am most sympathetic with are from those who wanted socialism, of a sort, but utterly rejected the polity that was the USSR, and turned their backs on Wall St.

    /romantic

    Edited by RedSparrows at 22:18:05 02-09-2013
  • Deleted user 3 September 2013 09:10:16
    I'm inclined to agree with Isaiah Berlin, to be honest.
    I would not treat the opinion of a refugee of the Russian Revolution as remotely objective on the USSR, not matter how intelligent he may seem.

    I'm referring to the massive welfare spending.


    The chart might be a little difficult to read due to the small print, but the first line indicates that expenditure on social protection as a percentage of GDP was relatively unchanged in the EU between 2001 and 2008 (26.6% and 26.4% respectively), and in the eurozone it rose slightly, (from 26.8% to 27.5%) - arguably the result of an ageing population. I would not call that a 'massive spending spree' - at least not on welfare.

    Indeed, it is doubtful whether this spending has actually kept pace with the EU's growing elderly population...

    It has the same legal effect as ratification.
    'The advantages of waiting until a state ratifies a treaty before it becomes a binding document are basically twofold, internal and external. In the latter case, the delay between signature and ratification may often be advantageous in allowing extra time for consideration, once the negotiating process has been completed. But it is the internal aspects that are the most important, for they reflect the change in political atmosphere... By providing for ratification, the feelings of public opinion have an opportunity to be expressed with the possibility that a strong negative reaction may result in the state deciding not to ratify the treaty under consideration.' (Malcolm N. Shaw, International Law, page 640).
  • Whizzo 3 Sep 2013 09:18:43 43,036 posts
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    Meanwhile, in the Middle East...

    This space left intentionally blank.

  • Deleted user 3 September 2013 09:19:10
    The chart above comes from Eurostat.
  • RedSparrows 3 Sep 2013 10:01:58 22,061 posts
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    EndlessSolitude wrote:
    I'm inclined to agree with Isaiah Berlin, to be honest.
    I would not treat the opinion of a refugee of the Russian Revolution as remotely objective on the USSR, not matter how intelligent he may seem.

    I'm referring to the massive welfare spending.


    The chart might be a little difficult to read due to the small print, but the first line indicates that expenditure on social protection as a percentage of GDP was relatively unchanged in the EU between 2001 and 2008 (26.6% and 26.4% respectively), and in the eurozone it rose slightly, (from 26.8% to 27.5%) - arguably the result of an ageing population. I would not call that a 'massive spending spree' - at least not on welfare.

    Indeed, it is doubtful whether this spending has actually kept pace with the EU's growing elderly population...

    It has the same legal effect as ratification.
    'The advantages of waiting until a state ratifies a treaty before it becomes a binding document are basically twofold, internal and external. In the latter case, the delay between signature and ratification may often be advantageous in allowing extra time for consideration, once the negotiating process has been completed. But it is the internal aspects that are the most important, for they reflect the change in political atmosphere... By providing for ratification, the feelings of public opinion have an opportunity to be expressed with the possibility that a strong negative reaction may result in the state deciding not to ratify the treaty under consideration.' (Malcolm N. Shaw, International Law, page 640).
    I never said he was objective (who is, in regards to the USSR), but he knew his shit.

    You are correct that the USSR had extensive, and for the time, radically progressive social policies. This did lead to an enormous rise in literacy, in the reduction of communicable diseases, in social mobility (of a sort). From 1920-1939, the country was industrialised, to an extent, primarily from 1928 onwards: this meant it could resist the fascist assault. The value placed on the arts was immense - writers, artists and other creators were helped, nurtured and rewarded for their work. In science and design, Soviet scientists pushed the boundaries back: Gagarin being perhaps the tip of that spear. It is true, at the same time, that the 'West' (let's say Europe and the USA) have been guilty of underinvestment/moral bankruptcy (although comparisons between Europe and the USA surely show an enormous cultural difference within the apparently monolithic 'West') in certain areas of social spending, and each country of that bloc is guilty of many crimes, against their own people, and others.

    But to suggest that any of this made up for the crimes of the USSR is to be blind, in my view. A man from a northern Siberian tribe could go to university, for the first time ever, but what he would study would be a jaundiced, politically controlled, version of the subject. Worse, artists and writers might have found constructivism and the avant-garde of the 1920s exciting, but then came socialist realism, Zhdanovisation, the stupor of the 1970s. They weren't free, the writer's villages were gilded cages.

    The process of industrialisation, during the 1930s, resulted in the deaths of millions in the countryside. Violence reigned on collective farms, as the secret police and militia went in and stole food from dying people. Others were sent to the camps, that existed throughout the whole project, to freeze, to toil, to die. Day to day life was marked by a fear, at different levels, of a sudden vanishing. Silence ruled, discretion was the key to a successful life, worship of the idea, of the party and its embodiment of the abstract glory that was history's imperative, was the default. Who cares if thousands died, starting with the nobles and ending with the peasant and worker, here and there, to assist its arrival? Surely that was worth it? Really?

    Then we have the bug bear, imperialism. The appropriation of whole countries. The deportation of whole peoples. The absurd and obscene destruction of nature in anti-scientific madnesses. The bloody and awful wars in the border countries. The abandonment (in effect) of multi-national identity and the dominance of Russia.

    My list is short and hasty, but you get the idea.

    The most telling thing is, most of the successes of the USSR, especially pre-1953, but also after, could have, at different paces, but at very different costs, been achieved by ANY semi-competent regime that ruled after the Tsars. Pre-1917 Russia was a bureaucratic and archaic mess. Just because the Soviets changed the... well, improved many aspects does not mean theirs was the only way, even within the groups and then nations that called themselves communist, let alone socialist, let alone leftist, let alone human.

    We do not have it perfect. No way. But to suggest that improved social care is the just goal of a movement that cares not a jot for the means is barbaric in its own right. We have the NHS, which isn't perfect, and we didn't have to kill off a social class to get it.

    Edited by RedSparrows at 10:03:14 03-09-2013

    Edited by RedSparrows at 10:03:31 03-09-2013
  • Deleted user 3 September 2013 10:21:56
    Just because the Soviets changed the... well, improved many aspects does not mean theirs was the only way, even within the groups and then nations that called themselves communist, let alone socialist, let alone leftist, let alone human.
    I'm sorry if I gave you the impression that the Soviet way is the only way: that wasn't my intention, and I certainly don't think that we need to repeat everything (or even most) of what they did. On the contrary, like all historical experiences, it is wiser to study what they did, why they did it, to note their successes and mistakes, and to employ all this, in building a better future.

    However, many critics of the USSR treat it like a normal Western country in normal times, and then judge it harshly. In my view this is unfair.

    First off, the USSR - as the first socialist state, and one whose early history was shaped by three, quite brutal, wars, (World War 1, the Russian Civil War and World War 2), was an exceptional state in exceptional circumstances. It faced tremendous international hostility, (after all, the UK, USA and Japan all intervened against the Bolshevik regime in the Russian Civil War), not to mention the trauma it underwent in the 1940s at the hands of the German war machine - and after 1945, it was enemy number one of Washington. All this should be borne in mind when judging it.

    (To put things in perspective: how would the UK have turned out if, during the English Civil War, Holland, Spain and France intervened on the side of Charles I?)

    Secondly, many aspects of Soviet socialism, (for example, its autocratic nature and its centralization) are reflections/outgrowths of Russian society and culture, which is arguably very different from the West, (as the Slavophiles argued). It is doubtful whether such aspects would be necessary or inevitable in a socialist/communist Europe, or UK or USA. Certainly, communist China is quite different in many respects from the USSR.

    Last, but not least: some of the criticism may be without foundation.

    Anyway, this is a forum on the Middle East, not the USSR, so I'll refrain from posting any more on it. Sorry if it offended anyone.

    Edited by EndlessSolitude at 10:31:40 03-09-2013
  • RedSparrows 3 Sep 2013 10:31:48 22,061 posts
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    EndlessSolitude wrote:
    Just because the Soviets changed the... well, improved many aspects does not mean theirs was the only way, even within the groups and then nations that called themselves communist, let alone socialist, let alone leftist, let alone human.
    I'm sorry if I gave you the impression that the Soviet way is the only way: that wasn't my intention, and I certainly don't think that we need to repeat everything (or even most) of what they did. On the contrary, like all historical experiences, it is wiser to study what they did, why they did it, to note their successes and mistakes, and to employ all this, in building a better future.
    I quite agree. The problem you have, however, is a moral one: if you say 'I'd rather the USSR had won the cold war', as in effect you did, you are very clearly hitching your wagon to that horse. In the binary choice, fair enough - but really, you think differently, as you have now explained. But why not do that at the start? I realise we are way OT ;)



    However, many critics of the USSR treat it like a normal Western country in normal times, and then judge it harshly. In my view this is unfair.

    First off, the USSR - as the first socialist state, and one whose early history was shaped by three, quite brutal, wars, (World War 1, the Russian Civil War and World War 2), was an exceptional state in exceptional circumstances. It faced tremendous international hostility, (after all, the UK, USA and Japan all intervened against the Bolshevik regime in the First World War), and the trauma it underwent in the 1940s at the hands of the German war machine - all this should be borne in mind when judging it.

    (To put things in perspective: how would the UK have turned out if, during the English Civil War, Holland, Spain and France intervened on the side of Charles I?)

    Again, I quite agree. It really was an exceptional state in exceptional times. Judging it by 'our standards' might seem a bit unfair. But then again, it's not. The USSR suffered immensely at foreign hands. But it also suffered immensely from internal forces also. Collectivisation, for example, wasn't in response to foreign threats, really. It was part of the project, the project that didn't give a shit for individual life - 'bourgeois morality'.



    Secondly, many aspects of Soviet socialism, (for example, its autocratic nature and its centralization) are reflections/outgrowths of Russian society and culture, which is arguably very different from the West, (as the Slavophiles argued). It is doubtful whether such aspects would be necessary or inevitable in a socialist/communist Europe, or UK or USA. Certainly, communist China is quite different in many respects from the USSR.

    Again, whilst I agree with you in part (I'm not sure how far I buy the Russian exceptionalist thing as something innate and immutable, but historically speaking, yes, it's very different from the West), we're talking about the USSR as being one of the two sides of the Cold War, the 'choice' you made. Communism in Britain would no doubt have been different: I am not so anti-communist that I think it innately wrong, but I do think the historical application of it, or rather, the attempt to reach it, has been not worth the cost. China is indeed different - they killed even more people, and are now smug state capitalists with probably even less concern for human dignity.



    Last, but not least: some of the criticism may be without foundation.
    I'll say one thing about that link: myopic bollocks. I have a diary, literally before me, of a man who met and talked to dying Ukrainians - here's a quote:
    Talked to group of ^women peasants.
    'We're starving. Two months we've hardly had bread. We're from /Ukraine & we're trying to go North. They're dying quickly in the villages. Kolkhozes are terrible. They won't give us tickets, & we don't know what to do.' Can't buy bread for many [months].


    Anyway, this is a forum on the Middle East, not the USSR, so I'll refrain from posting any more on it. Sorry if it offended anyone.
    I'm not offended, and I don't think anyone else is. I'm just very wary of statements like yours. But yes, back to Syria :(

    Edited by RedSparrows at 10:32:20 03-09-2013
  • Fab4 3 Sep 2013 12:48:44 5,980 posts
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    Some bigwig from Assad's chemical warfare unit has defected, and apparently he knows the truth about the gas attack.
  • DaM 3 Sep 2013 13:21:53 12,901 posts
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    Fab4 wrote:
    Some bigwig from Assad's chemical warfare unit has defected, and apparently he knows the truth about the gas attack.
    I bet he does! As soon as the CIA sign his massive cheque he'll reveal all!
  • DigitalDelay 3 Sep 2013 14:23:49 216 posts
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    I think his info relates to an incident back in March. Press conference around 3.00pm. I'm sure between now and next week when Obama seeks backing from congress that we'll see stuff like this.
  • bitch_tits_zero_nine 3 Sep 2013 14:43:26 6,654 posts
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    I saw a documentary which showed the cells where they held political prisoners in the Ukraine.

    They filled the bottom foot of the cell with cold water so that the prisoners couldn't lie down.
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