11 May 2007

Benny Morris Talk On Iran

Benny Morris is the author of the penetrating book Righteous Victims: A History of the Zionist-Arab Conflict, 1881-2001.

In his talk Morris discusses why deterrance may not be an option with Iran. To me it seems that whether one accepts his recommendations depend on just how seriously the Iranian leaders take their ideology. Morris makes important points about that ideology and its i,portance to Iran's leaders but I am not entirely convinced that they would act on it. Morris' "solution" is "serious sanctions" a term which seems to mean a total embargo.

10 May 2007

Putin's VE-Day Remarks Prompts A Thought

You can find some commentary about said remarks here.

Compare the outcomes of the post-war era for both Germany and Russia. Russia, while bloodied and then some, is one of the victors of the war and Germany both crushed and dissected. Yet today Germany is a prosperous, modern nation whose economy, after something like a decade of slow growth, is doing quite well. It is also the end of an immigrant trail for not only folks from the middle east but also ethnic Germans as well as Jews from Russia. Russia, while more prosperous than it has been in recent years, is in large part dependent on the development of its oil resources. It remains a developing nation. Clearly Russia's victory did not bring it prosperity, at least not the type experienced in the West. It also did not bring the Soviet regime long-term stability.

09 May 2007

Globalism At War

The Italian front of WWII is in my opinion one of the least well "documented" major arenas of the war from the standpoint of popular historical memory. I'm not quite sure why, but perhaps it has to do with its perceived lack of centrality. Or perhaps it is the gritty, nasty and bloody nature of the fighting there that doesn't recommend it for glorification.

Possibly its most intriguing feature for me is how "international" it was in scope. Not only were there Americans and British involved, but sizeable elements of the Free French army, that of the Polish government in exile and many other nations. Indeed it could be argued that the two most competently lead elements of the allied forces there were that of the French and the Poles. They in my mind had something to prove and their bravery (bordering on madness at times) pulled the allied ass out of the fire on more than a few occassions.


Yeats once wrote the following:
Out of Ireland have we come,
Great hatred, little room,
Maimed us at the start.

With Ireland's economic boom and encouraging news out of Northern Ireland (see below) it seems that Ireland is overcoming its maimed nature.
BELFAST, Northern Ireland, May 8 — Paying tribute to the thousands of victims in one of Europe’s bloodiest sectarian conflicts, the leaders of Northern Ireland on Tuesday drew a formal line under decades of hostility and strife, re-establishing a power-sharing local authority of once implacable foes.

08 May 2007

Today's Bonus Word


Word of The Day

Aristotle's definition of topos.

Note that use topos was a crucial element in classical literary works. As a short hand I define it as sort of a literary meme.

The word is of course used in other contexts, such as in mathematics.

Seinfeld On...


06 May 2007

And The Winner Is?


Edit: Blair had this to say about Sarkozy via YouTube.