BlaiseP's blog

Counsels of War: the outside world's response to ISIL

The Jeddah Communiqué of Sept. 11, 2014 is a masterpiece of do-nothing-ism.  The Sept 15 Paris conference's communiqué is another.


Asharq al-Awsat reports Iran's Ali Khameini is roused from his hospital bed to express his annoyance about Iran not being invited to the party in Paris.


And Iraq's new prime minister is toeing the line for his Iranian masters.


The fight against ISIL is not going well.  Though its brutality has alienated almost everyone, ISIL's position seems stronger than ever: its enemies are disunited.  Yet ISIL suffers from its own internal divisions.  What can possibly be done to counter the threat posed by ISIL?


The Baghdad government is useless.  Quit supporting it.  The various Shiite militias, both out of Iran and within Iraq are the only entities putting up a meaningful fight against ISIL.  The Kurds are hard-pressed and nobody's supporting them.  Given Turkey's treachery, America ought to respond by only backing the Kurds.  Leave the rest to save themselves.


Obama's a fairly clever, cautious war president.  I like the way he rolls.  But his biggest mistake to date was misjudging the outcome in Libya.  The people we backed in Libya weren't exactly grateful for our support in their war against Qaddafi: they murdered our ambassador.  Clinton had enough sense to stay out of the Balkans for a year after his bombing campaign, lifting the siege of Sarajevo.  My prognosis for the remainder of Obama's term is fairly optimistic, he's proven his mettle over time.  But he's going to have to keep John Kerry on a pretty short leash:  there are no political solutions worth considering at this point.  Further conferences of the sort we've seen in Jeddah and Paris are pointless and comical.


My Fellow Americans: What Obama should have said.

My Fellow Americans:  What Obama should have said.



A peremptory fisking of President Obama's speech last night.


Back Yard, by Carl Sandburg


Photograph courtesy of Marcio Watanabe

Back Yard
Carl Sandburg, 1878 - 1967



Shine on, O moon of summer.

Shine to the leaves of grass, catalpa and oak, All silver under your rain to-night.

Summer, Western Wisconsin

Saying Goodbye to Very Young Children

Nadine Gordimer, RIP

"When I began to write as a very young person

in a rigidly racist and inhibited colonial society, I felt, as many others did,

July 4, 1776. Vaguely realizing westward

The Gift Outright

June 6, 1944

We are met on a great battlefield of that war. We have come to dedicate a portion of that field,

as a final resting place for those who here gave their lives that that nation might live.

It is altogether fitting and proper that we should do this.

Bharat Bhakti: Narendra Modi Analysis from an American.

While Congress is immersed in Bhakti of one family after 1947, BJP is immersed in Bharat Bhakti, the Bhakti of 125 crore * Indians!

For BJP, India's youth are not just voters but they are the Nation's power & strength. I appeal all youngsters to register to vote and

understand their strength in the form of vote.


-Narendra Modi, stump speech, probably earlier than 1 Oct 2013.


* 125 * 10,000,000 = 1,250,000,000


SummaryBJP's astonishing dominance of the last elections will allow Narendra Modi to do exactly as he wishes for the next five years,

by my reckoning.  An era has come to an end:  the Congress Party and its devotion to the Nehru/Gandhi dynasty have been sent packing. 

Congress Party were so soundly defeated they don't even lead the opposition.  Half of India is under the age of 25: they're in open revolt

against the establishment figures.  Yet India is more than the sum of its parts. Emerging from a still-relevant ancient history, its political figures

emerge from mythic roots, not wedge issues, as do American politics.


Modi-ji has little foreign policy experience.  That doesn't much matter: India's critical issues are internal, chiefly corruption.  I think he'll do just fine,

even with the USA.  Modi will find allies in odd corners of the landscape: I believe India's bureaucracies are sick of being mismanaged.  The Indian

expatriate community will reappear, to invest in a modern India.




An rina fari ya zama baki: Nigeria analysis


Nigeria is headed for another civil war.  The USA must not take sides in Nigeria's de-facto civil war.  There's no saving Nigeria from the outside.  Consider: Boko Haram is largely based in Borno State, in the northeast.  Borno is the poorest part of Nigeria: corruption keeps the oil wealth in the Christian/animist south and away from the Muslim north.  As the largely Islamic southern Sahel empties out, Borno State has filled up with destitute migrants.  Though the West cannot and must not attempt to intervene, from the outside, much can be done from within. 


The War of Madmen: Ukraine analysis

The idiots in Kiev have begun an assault on Slavyansk.  Two MI-24 helos have been shot down with surface to air missiles, another badly damaged and several prisoners were captured.  Where once Ukraine had a tactical advantage, besieging Slavyansk, held the highway on both sides, holding their fire, playing for time, the one commodity both sides need, Ukraine have now only further enraged the ethnic Russians. 


For their part, the Russians and their Little Green Men stupidly continue to seize government buildings. rioting in Donetsk. Putin bluffs, demanding Ukraine pull its troops from the southeast. 


Clearly Ukraine's military has no concept of how to manage a combined arms assault.  Russia has successfully infiltrated superior troops and weapons systems into Ukraine's eastern corridor but such troops are spread thin across many towns and cities.  To win, the Russian elements must hold out long enough for the Kiev government, such as it is, to flinch.


Quondam Paupere: the life and death of Father Francis Van Der Lugt SJ

On Monday, 7 April 2014, a man of God, a Dutch priest, Father Francis Van Der Lugt SJ, was dragged from his house, beaten and murdered. 


Citing Mitchell Prothero of McClatchy:  to Father Francis Van Der Lugt, 75, a Dutch Jesuit priest, came to Syria in 1966 and eventually founded a home for children and adults with mental disabilities outside Homs, where he lived before the three-year-old civil war started. After fighting began, he relocated to the rebel-held neighborhood of Bustan al Diwan in Homs Old City, where he worked with refugees and civilians during the more than two-year-old siege by regime forces.


In a statement, a spokesman for the Jesuit order spoke of Van Der Lugt’s dedication to sharing the suffering of the ordinary citizens he’d lived alongside for more than 40 years.

He “died as a man of peace, who with great courage in an extremely dangerous and difficult situation wanted to remain faithful to the Syrian people to whom he had dedicated so many years of his life and spiritual service,” the Rev. Federico Lombardi said. “Where people die, their faithful shepherds also die with them. In this time of great sorrow, we express our participation in prayer, but also great pride and gratitude for having had a brother so close to the most suffering in the testimony of the love of Jesus to the end.”



Courageous Endeavors: Live at Eau Claire Jazz Fest 4 April 2014

City Jazz Fests are many pigs in a capacious poke. Eau Claire is one of the longest running jazz festivals in the nation, 47 years now.  Newport's been running a festival for 60 years but they stalled for a few years - anyway, this year's Eau Claire's jazz fest had eight venues and the odds of hearing good groups are rather better here. I'd never heard of Courageous Endeavors


Pizza Plus was packed, a long narrow venue. The stage backed up to the windows, people milling about.  I'd already heard three groups, somewhat better than average.  Troppo Big Band, twenty-two local musicians of all ages were packing out, with a forest of music stands and a mountain of kit in tow, having just slayed the audience with their rendition of Queen's Bohemian Rhapsody.  But I was betting on the Courageous Endeavors, the next band up.  I just liked the name. 



Uncool: Greg Gutfeld versus the Hipster Elites

Gregory John Gutfeld would tell us Social Consciousness is a dumping ground for reflexive, attention-seeking acts of meaningless symbolism.   His own bizarre, reprehensible and unintentionally hilarious diatribe is proof the man needs a lesson in cool.  Hat tip to HankP for bringing it to our attention on the Open Thread.


The Political Marble: BlaiseP reads the Ukraine entrails

HankP says US foreign policy and security policy is still engaged in self-defeating Cold War tactics. As a veteran of an intricate proxy war waged under the larger rubric of the Cold War, I don't share his opinion. But there's lots to agree with in his diary: there are no Good Guys in this squabble, as there were none in mine.

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