Friday 31 March 2023

Caitlin Johnstone, though a left-winger, is right

"NATO exists to manage the risks created by its existence,” Professor Richard Sakwa once wrote in an attempt to articulate the absurdity of the military alliance's provocative nature on the world stage. At some point Australians must wake up to the fact that this is equally true of AUKUS: we're told the military alliance exists for our protection, but its very existence makes us less safe.

"As former prime minister Paul Keating recently observed in the Australian Financial Review, this government's As former prime minister Paul Keating recently observed in the Australian Financial Review, this government's justification for the AUKUS alliance and the obscenely expensive nuclear submarine deal that goes with it has been all over the map, first claiming that it's to protect our own shores from a Chinese attack, then pivoting to claiming it's to protect sea lanes from being blocked off by China after Keating dismantled the first claim at the National Press Club two weeks ago.

"One thing Canberra has struggled to do is to explain exactly why China would launch an unprovoked attack on Australia or its shipping routes; the former couldn't yield any benefit that would outweigh the immense cost even if it succeeded, and the latter is absurd because open trade routes are what makes China an economic superpower in the first place."



It’s notable that the Anti-Disinformation machine, a clear sequel to the Military-Industrial Complex, doesn’t trumpet the virtues of the “free world” but rather the “rules-based international order,” within which (as Siegel points out) people like former Labor Secretary Robert Reich talk about digital deletion as “necessary to protect American democracy.” Matt Taibbi today in Racket News.

And "AI" in this case means the entire complex of human culture, the free market, the internet, and social media algorithms

Communist China trying to bring peace to the world

'Xi appears to have personally played a part in re-establishing diplomatic relations between Tehran and Riyadh.'

How interesting that the Sunni Shia conflict might be brought to an end by Red China, if the world is very lucky! 

Iran is not the West's enemy, nor is China, nor Russia. 

As Pogo said in that cartoon long ago, we have seen the enemy and it is us.

Wednesday 29 March 2023

Admiral John Kirby says the USA rejects a ceasefire in Ukraine

He is Senior Coordinator of Communications at the National Security Council in the White House.

This is Glenn Greenwald talking to Tucker Carlson on 21st March.

"From the very beginning, it's been clear that the United States wants this war to continue and wants it to go on for as long as possible because they have no interest in protecting Ukraine. They instead want to sacrifice Ukraine, have Ukraine destroyed in order to advance what they think is the United States' political interest, geopolitical interest of weakening Russia."

"The lie just got revealed. If you listen to what John Kirby said, they asked him are the Ukrainians willing to have a ceasefire and he said not only won't they, we won't allow it either. Essentially admitting finally what's long been obvious that the country funding the war, providing the arms for the war, which is the United States determines if and when the war ends, and we obviously don't want that war to end."

Here are Admiral Kirby's words.

Tuesday 28 March 2023

US trained soldiers were responsible for 8 coups in West Africa since 2008

News from the USA.  On Thursday during a House of Representatives Armed Services Committee hearing Republican Matt Gaetz quoted an article in The Intercept (Glenn Greenwald's magazine) that revealed that US-trained officers had staged at least eight successful coups against civilian governments in West Africa alone since 2008. 

Mr Gaetz asked General Langley whether the Pentagon's "core values" instilled in training were compatible with Colonel Mamady Doumboya overthrowing the Guinean government while his unit was being trained by the US Green Berets in September 2021. 

The answer was of course that America instils in the soldiers it trains the importance of civilian rule. 

The lessons don't seem to be learnt, though. 

Monday 27 March 2023

Pride goeth before a fall

If anyone had suggested America help bring about regime change in Moscow in the 1950s, 1960s, 1970s or 1980s they would have been mad. Nor when Russia invaded Hungary or Czechoslovakia did the Americans think of doing anything. 

When the Russians invaded Afghanistan the Anglo-Americans used the mujahedin to fight the Communists, something which was absolutely the right thing to do but which did convince Osama bin Laden that he had defeated the Russian infidels and could therefore defeat the Anglo-American ones. 

If Putin does go with American help, the Americans may regret it as they regret sponsoring Osama bin Laden. But that is how history goes. 

There have been many definitions of history but the best is one damn thing after another. 

Most wars achieve things the opposite of what those who start them want. That is true for Chamberlain and Daladier declaring war on Germany and Germany invading Poland, for example. 

Both Putin and much more so the USA are being very hubristic. "Pride goes before destruction, a haughty spirit before a fall" (Proverbs 16:18).

Remember that many in Washington want regime change in Russia and the break up of the Russian Federation. I do too, but only if it happens without foreign involvement.

Paul Massaro's tweets annoy me more than I can say. His grin makes it worse. 

He is a senior policy adviser for the U.S. Helsinki Commission, also known as the Commission on Security and Cooperation in Europe, which is a Congressional body. I used to see his tweets all the time because people I follow like him but I have unfollowed those people.

Quite a few people in Washington see this war as a providential way of undermining and removing Vladimir Putin.

Sunday 26 March 2023

Another taxi driver's view on the war

The taxi driver just now had no doubts. The war is entirely America's fault and peaceful countries like Romania are dragged into it. Romania has no interests at stake but President Ioannis has pushed Romania into it. Zelensky or rather the shadowy rich men behind him are much to blame. 

It all makes money for the American armaments companies.

The (Romanian) lady I dined with thinks the same.

I better say more in order not to be misunderstood. 

I don't agree with the drivers who blame America and not Putin for Russia’s invasion, although I agreed with this one completely about Zelensky and the oligarch whose creature he is. 

Putin is wholly to blame, but in another way America is also much to blame, if that makes sense. 

Causation is complex. 

As my friend from last night told me a year ago, America had placed Putin in a lose-lose position. 

American mistakes provoked a very dangerous man and America should have known better. 

President Obama did know better but President Biden, the foreign policy expert who has been wrong about every foreign policy issue, got it badly wrong. 

Is he as bad a president as George W Bush? 

He might turn out to be, which is a terrible thought. 

Vox populi, vox dei: Bucharest taxi drivers talk about the Ukrainian war

My taxi driver last night (he was 28) had no doubt when I asked him who was to blame for the war in Ukraine. 'America.'

The one this morning started telling me how much he disliked Ukrainians because Zelensky stopped teaching in the Romanian language in schools where the Romanian minority live. He also notes that the Ukrainians who came here were rich, had expensive cars and stayed in the best hotels. I have heard all these points before. 

He pointed out that Ukraine is an artificial state comprising parts of Poland, Romania and Russia. His family were driven out when the Soviet Union took the Northern Bucovina from Romania. His cousins who remained were badly treated.

Who is to blame for the war? 'Russia.' 

He was the first taxi driver I asked (out of about 8 or 9) who pinned the bame entirely on Russia.

Taxi drivers know everything. I heard Michael Clarke, Director General of the Royal United Services Institute from 2007 to 2015, speaking in Cluj and saying Trump being POTUS was like having a New York cab driver as president. 

I see that as Mr Trump's superpower.

Romanians understand human nature and history much better than the English. They have not lost 'the tragic sense  of life' (Unamuno) and they know about original sin. Anglo-Saxons, though (mostly) Protestants, are naïve and idealise people and peoples.

Quotations for today


Saturday 25 March 2023

BBC disinformation officer, heal thyself

Professor Kathleen Stock is a left-wing lesbian feminist. She left her post at the University of Sussex after being ostracised because she thought men who had become women in fact were still men. 

It's the sort of thing Michael Wharton (Peter Simple) might have invented in the 1970s but now it is real life.

She has written a rather wordy and dull article about the BBC’s Disinformation and Social Media Correspondent, Marianna Spring, for Unherd. Only two sentences in it seemed interesting.

<When it comes to examples of disinformation, meanwhile, Spring has a tendency to roll relatively reasonable cases of political wrongthink together with madly conspiratorial ravings, suggesting that she doesn’t really differentiate between them. If you start off as an anti-vaxxer or lockdown sceptic, she seems to imply, you might easily end up a climate-change denier, or even a believer in a New World order. When talking about QAnon supporters, she clearly feels it’s important to throw in that they are “pro-Trump” as well — as if being a member of QAnon wasn’t quite bad enough.>

Where to begin? The unconscious bias of the BBC is such a huge subject. 

The BBC, like all media, especially social media, is full of disinformation and misinformation but only certain views attract the attention of the disinformation police. 

QAnon is a good example of a bonkers conspiracy theory spread on social media. So is Black Lives Matter.

Talking about Lugansk and Donetsk, Swiss Colonel Jacques Baud has a different view.

I wrote yesterday that I blamed Russians for all the people killed in fighting in the 'republics' of Lugansk and Donetsk. On the other hand, I should have remembered to add that Jacques Baud, a Swiss peacekeeper who was there in 2014, has a different view. I dismissed him when I understood from reading Toby Young that he had said that the 102,000 members of Ukraine's volunteer army were far-Right extremists, but this might be a misrepresentation.

Colonel Baud has antagonised the powers that be (call them what name you choose) by a long list of heterodox views.

I stick to my view that the Russians were responsible for the fighting in the two enclaves but wanted to add this for the sake of completeness.

Friday 24 March 2023


Friedrich Wilhelm von Schelling:

It is no mere hypothesis that beyond the world of light there shines with a radiance unknown to us a world which no longer falls within the sphere of our intuition.

Lockdown was the biggest policy mistake in modern British history. Vast, incalculable damage to economy, education, mental health. Sweden, which didn’t terrorise or shut away its people, now has the LOWEST excess deaths in Europe. Game over.

Philip Weiss this week:

One of my saddest memories of the Iraq war was when I said to my friend the late John Homans, a very shrewd political editor, that I could not vote for Hillary Clinton because she had voted to authorize force, and he said, “You don’t understand, she had to vote for the war.” John was stating the political forces at work in the American establishment in 2002-2003. He was saying it was like being against Mom and apple pie, you just couldn’t be. NY congressman Jerry Nadler said the same thing when he related in 2015 how much “poison” and “demagoguery” had come down on him for voting against the war: “Suffice it to say I took a lot of criticism for my vote, and both my American patriotism and my commitment to Israel were questioned.”

Retired US Colonel Douglas Macgregor:

NATO is no longer truly a defensive alliance. It's become an offensive instrument in the hands of Washington.

Edward Luttwak in Unherd last month

The full article is here.

'Looking ahead, there are only two possible major military moves for Russia. Following the mobilisation of 300,000 reservists last autumn, Putin’s army is now larger than when it invaded last February. Then, the aim was not to start a war but to end it, with a quick victory forecast by Russian and US Intelligence, both equally intoxicated by the false promise of “post-kinetic” warfare; this would combine electronic propaganda with cyber-attacks on everything from military headquarters to civilian infrastructures. Generals who had never fought against patriotic Europeans but only against Middle Eastern sectarians, if they had fought at all, who considered tanks old-fashioned and had limitless respect for “information warfare”, heavily influenced the totally wrong estimates that misled both Biden and Putin.'

That's interesting. Putin and the US expected a quick victory for him, just as Hitler and the British expected Germany to defeat Communist Russia quickly in 1941. (Forgive the Hitler analogy but it is necessary this time.)

I blame the Kremlin for all the lives lost in the fighting in Donetsk since 2014

David Patrikarakos in UnHerd:

'I first arrived in the eastern Ukrainian city of Donetsk in April 2014, after local “separatists”, backed and coordinated by Russia, had seized the municipal building. Thugs in masks and baseball bats were hanging pro-Russia banners over the balcony and skulking in the central square. There were roughly 1,000 of them in this city of one million: strange for a place that I was repeatedly told was so pro-Russian.

'From there I moved onto Luhansk. I was inside its municipal building when a different gallery of thugs — this time armed with automatic weapons — announced the establishment of the separatist “People’s Republic of Luhansk”. Later, in the city of Sloviansk, where “protestors” seized the police station, I saw for the first time what I was certain were Russian troops: masked and without insignia. This was, I realised, now a front line. Ukraine no longer simply faced protests in the East; it was at war with Russia.'

The full, simplistic and rather annoying article is here

Paul Kenyon, who was there at the time, told me that 90 percent of the inhabitants of what became the Donbass 'republics' were indifferent to the revolution in Kiev but pro-Russians appeared with guns and scared them.

A senior British diplomat who knows the situation well told me the local people 'just want to be left alone'.

Russian monarchist and nationalist Igor Girkin claimed that he managed to create the 'republics' despite indifference from the inhabitants and the Kremlin. “I was to a large extent an independent figure,” he said.

Who is the pawn? America, Ukraine or both?

The Ukrainian war a terrible mess, a big problem for Putin and the Americans, but both would lose face if they don't seem to win.

When I said I want Ukraine to win, what does win mean? 

Realistically I imagine the best result she can get is a ceasefire that hardens into a permanent de facto settlement, the territory she holds at present and all importantly Odessa and access to the Black Sea.

Perhaps she could liberate more territory but at what cost in blood and (American) treasure? If things go the way senior British officials expect according to Tom McTugh in Unherd she could lose Odessa and her coast.

If America operating via Ukraine did force the Russians back to the borders of January last year I wonder whether this would be a Pyrrhic victory. I very much doubt it will happen - Russia has a vastly bigger army than Ukraine - and would if it did would it take years?

In 2014 I hoped America would not get dragged into fighting a proxy war on Ukraine's behalf. Obama wisely did not do so. He was also careful not to give Ukraine lethal weapons. 

Trump did, in order he said to provide jobs for American workers but also because the American media was full of the baseless theory that he was being blackmailed by the Kremlin. 

Putin's bungled special military operation made a proxy war inevitable. 

We now know that North Korea and North Vietnam were not Soviet pawns. Soviet Russia was manipulated by Kim and Ho into supporting their wars, wars which were as much nationalistic as Marxist. The Marxist-Leninists' biggest mistake, it is clear now, was to think the nation was false consciousness.

But is America a pawn of Zelensky or Ukraine a pawn of the war party in Washington DC or are America and Ukraine pawns of the neo-cons?

Obama said when Russia came to her ally the Syrian government's aid that this would be Russia's Vietnam. It wasn't but will Ukraine be another Vietnam for the Americans? 

No, because American soldiers are not (as far as we are told) involved on the ground. 

Like South Vietnam's, Ukraine's cause is just. That's a similarity. 

A big difference is that Russia is not a Communist country theoretically intent on making the world Communist. 

Why then is America involved? Because she now sees her role as protecting the world order everywhere. That hubris will lead to a fall.

The transformation of Europe is a far bigger story than the war in Ukraine, but little discussed

 "The fact is that the people of Europe are losing their homelands, and therefore losing their place in the world. I don’t envisage the Tiber one day foaming with much blood, nor do I see it blushing as the voice of the muezzin sounds from the former cathedral of St. Peter. But the city through which the Tiber flows will one day cease to be Italian, and all the expectations of its former residents, whether political, social, cultural, or personal, will suffer a violent upheaval, with results every bit as interesting as those that Powell prophesied. " Sir Roger Scruton

“Bizarrely, as immigration began to change Europe at its economic and cultural core, the political vocabulary remained the same as when immigration had been a fringe phenomenon. People kept talking about restaurants.” Christopher Caldwell, Reflections on the Revolution in Europe: Immigration, Islam, and the West

Tuesday 21 March 2023

The real story is not Russia but the ascent of China

“The logic of events dictates we become a Chinese resource colony. Our servers will be from Huawei. We will be China’s major suppliers of everything. They will get gas from Power of Siberia. By the end of 2023 the yuan will be our main trade currency.”
Anonymous Russian quoted by Max Seddon in the FT today.

Trump: 'The greatest threat to Western civilisation today is not Russia. It's probably more than anything else ourselves'

Donald Trump, in a three and a half minute video he posted on Thursday. 

"Our foreign policy establishment keeps trying to pull the world into conflict with a nuclear-armed Russia based on the lie that Russia represents our greatest threat. But the greatest threat to Western civilization today is not Russia. It's probably more than anything else ourselves and some of the horrible, USA-hating people that represent us."

Saturday 18 March 2023

How Wars Begin

I re-watched most of AJP Taylor's lectures on How Wars Begin recently and strongly recommend them. I am afraid I saw them when he first gave them in 1978, live without a timer or autocues, something that was absolutely antediluvian then. (I was very young.)

In brief, all the wars happened by mistake, pretty much on all sides except when Cavour or Bismarck were involved. Hitler was not nearly so brilliant as them. As Norman Stone said of the fall of France in 1940, "A Bismarck or a Churchill could control success of this order, a Hitler not".

The Franco-Prussian war in particular was completely unnecessary: an elephant trap, set by Bismarck against the wishes of  his master William I, into which Napoleon III walked. 

Some think Putin walked into a comparable American trap when he invaded Ukraine, but I do not. The State Department did not expect it till December 2021 nor expect Ukraine to withstand the invasion when it happened.

The lecture on the Second World War makes clear the extent to which America provoked Pearl Harbor. 

That is a partial analogy with US policy towards Ukraine from 2008 onwards. 

It does not justify Pearl Harbor or Putin's attempt to topple the Ukrainian government, of course, but may (help) explain both.

(By the way, US Ambassador Joseph Kennedy, retired bootlegger, antisemite and father of John and Robert, said during a game of golf in 1945 with James Forrestal  that Neville Chamberlain told him that 'America and world Jews forced England into the war'If Chamberlain were right that would mean Roosevelt's administration helped bring about the war on both sides of the globe, a remarkable thing for an isolationist government. Did the Americans push England into the war? How? )

The prediction with which Taylor ends the last lecture, that nuclear war will happen, seemed to have been disproved by events till the Ukrainian war began. 

I do not believe Russia will use nuclear weapons, though the fact that the left does not worry about this is shocking, but nihilistic terrorists probably one day will.

Caragea, who placed Bucharest under quarantine 1813-14, during a plague that killed tens of thousands of people

I intended to write about the pandemic in Bucharest in 1813 and 1914, when the Phanariot voivode Ioan Vodă Caragea reigned, but did not. The story is here.

Closing tabs

I am closing tabs on my laptop. Here are some aides mémoire for me and links that may interest you.

Yet another article I want to read about the decline and fall of Western civilisation, this time by African-American Professor Glenn Loury.

An article about the Columbian philosopher Nicolas Gómez Dávila which I really must read. He is a terribly good aphorist, up there with Malcolm Muggeridge. 

James M. Patterson on Wokeness and the New Religious Establishment. It looked good. I realised that anti-discrimination can only be understood as a religion more than two years before I read it anywhere, just so you know.

A BBC documentary about Neo-Nazis in the Ukraine. I don't buy the attempt to use the Banderists as a justification for Russia's invasion, but I recommend watching it. I saw a lot of it.

A not madly interesting article by Justine Picardie about covert coats, which men in the City loved in 1985, as did the Marquess of Queensbury who wrote the rules of boxing and whose son slept with Oscar Wilde. Nigel Farage wears one always. I have come to love them too. They are formal and informal, good in town and country (as if I ever venture out of the centre of cities), Victorian but contemporary.

I think the author was at Cambridge in my time. She confuses velvet collared covert coats with the velvet collared camel overcoats that the spiv Arthur Daley (played by George Cole) in the 1980s TV series Minder wore. 

The article slightly has the faults of my Cambridge generation (moi?): glib, knowing and de haut en bas. But what a beautiful name she has.


“It is only shallow people who do not judge by appearances. The true mystery of the world is the visible, not the invisible.” Oscar Wilde

“Before Pope Francis, it was by no means clear that the Church was really prepared to take climate science seriously. It is now clear that you cannot be a Christian and at the same time deny that climate change is an issue.” Ottmar Edenhofer, director of the Potsdam Institute for Climate Impact Research, talking to Time magazine this week.

Friday 17 March 2023

Ill fares the land to hast'ning ills a prey

The news from England.

·        The UK will avoid a recession this year, according to the OBR. It expects the economy to shrink by 0.2 per cent, not the 1.4 per cent it expected last November.

·        A major part of the upgrade is due to higher net migration, expected to settle at 245,000 a year, up from 205,000 the OBR predicted in November.

·        Migration will add 160,000 workers to the economy and 0.5 per cent to GDP growth by 2027.

·        A package of welfare reforms, including a childcare subsidy (for the under-twos) will add an estimated 110,000 people to the workforce (Box 2.2).

From a mail the Spectator sent me. 

In other words a Conservative government is trying to get young mothers back to work as quickly as possible rather than giving them incentives to stay at home and possibly have more children. 

Etymology of 'Having Kittens!'

I recently started to use the expression 'have kittens' quite often, as in 'his nieces would have kittens if they heard that'. 

I wondered about the origin of the phrase and what I discovered surprised me. 

Wednesday 15 March 2023


".....and if you ask what wrong he has done in his life, you could say that he has done practically none, except that he has not done anything! He has sinned by not sinning. He has not lived. If you live you are forced to sin: if you eat, then others cannot have that food. We shut our eyes to the fact that thousands of animals are butchered so that we may live. To live is to commit murder, and the more intensely I live the more I do wrong. 

"Life is connected with guilt, and he, by not living, has not accumulated much active guilt, but he has accumulated a tremendous amount of passive guilt. Think of all the girls he has just walked out on. True, he

Tuesday 14 March 2023

I can imagine Trump's views on Ukraine taking him back to the White House

Where do the leading contenders for the next US Republican Party presidential nomination stand on the Ukrainian war? 

Tucker Carlson has asked them and received interesting answers.

Trump and DeSantis agree on calling for an immediate ceasefire in Ukraine and in not wanting regime change in Russia. I completely agree. 

This could win Trump the next election.

Or DeSantis, I suppose. 

This was the first time the latter has commented on Ukraine.

DeSantis, one can't help but suspect, chose his position knowing that if he didn't Trump might sweep the board, in the primaries and in the general election. 

What happened to former Finnish Interior Minister Dr Päivi Räsänen

I posted in 2020 about the former Finnish Minister of the Interior who was questioned by the police in 2020 about a booklet she wrote in 2004 summarising Lutheran teaching on sexual morality, including homosexual acts. 

She has since been put on trail for hate speech and acquitted. The authorities have appealed the acquittal. She expects proceedings to continue for at least a year, perhaps a lot longer. 

Other writers will, no doubt, take note of what happened to her.

Monday 13 March 2023

Damian Thompson: 'Ten terrible years of Pope Francis. The church has lost all its moral authority.'

The mainstream media, in the cant phrase, tell narratives. All is filtered through the prejudices of progressive, enlightened journalists.

You know that but it is most true when it comes to the reporting of the Catholic Church. 

Most journalists who are not Catholic (and many who are) hate the Church's teachings on sex and divorce. The non-Catholics often hate her opposition to abortion too. The media think the Pope is moving the Church their way, so his  shortcomings go completely unreported.

Whereas had the sainted Pope Benedict XVI been Pope and done the things his successor has done or failed to do, they would be front page news, very big scandals.

Sunday 12 March 2023

The wisdom of cab drivers in Bucharest

I asked my taxi driver a few moments ago who was to blame for the Ukrainian war, Russia or America. America he said, without hesitation, because of their expansionism. 'Ukraine should be a tampon protecting Russia from Nato.' 

I don't take a lot of taxis these days. The cabbie on Christmas Eve strongly blamed America and said (in this he was certainly right) that had Trump still been President the war would not have happened. When I got to where I was going I knew the woman I was going to meet would agree. She smiled serenely but said nothing. Her two friends were furious with the taxi driver and started talking about Hitler. 

They spoke about Hitler not in the matter-of-fact way Romanians used to speak of the second world war but in the way Manichean terms Westerners do.

The drivers of the 6 or 7 taxis I took this year this year divided the blame between the Russia and America. One, a few nights ago, thought Russia was much more to blame. 

'Putin’s Suez moment: he’s watching his Central Asian empire drift away'

Another false quotation. Machiavelli did not advise that it is better to be feared than loved. He advised in Chapter XVII of The Prince that it is best to be both loved and feared but that when gratitude is dissolved by threats to survival fear is a more reliable way to inspire discipline than love. 

Vladimir Putin seems neither feared nor loved in the former Soviet Union, according to Mark Galeotti
The war is an accelerator. No epiphany for Putin, but defeat in Ukraine and decline elsewhere may help Russians begin reassessing their place in the world.
His article behind the Times paywall is here.

So far this war has been a humiliation and a disaster for Russia. We shall all pay a price for this even though Putin has blundered badly. 

RELIVING THE NIGHTMARE OF 1914: I think David Goldman's essay from a year ago has held up well

At the start of March 2022 a famous conservative-leaning American newspaper asked David Goldman (Spengler in Asia Times) for an opinion piece on Ukraine.

"I wrote the short essay below—and it was refused, because it doesn't fit the homogenized view that saturates the US media. We're in a world crisis, and our political leaders and major news outlets are pointing us towards the cliff."



World War I had no good guys and no winners. France rightly sought the return of the provinces Germany had annexed in 1870. Russia rightly feared that German influence would sever its industrial centers and tax base in the Western parts of it its empire; England feared that Germany would encroach on its overseas empire; Germany feared that Russia’s railroad system would overcome its advantage in mobility and firepower. None of them wanted a war, but each of them decided that it was better to fight in 1914 than fight later at a disadvantage.

An Irish friend wrote this about a visit to Wexford

Instead, walking down the Main Street, I was in the sort of artificial environment that a globalist gamer might have created on a computer. Hyper-stylised shopfronts offering pricier versions of the consumer zeitgeist were on every side, with the 'international' vibe being blatantly projected. While in every shop, it seemed the retailers were employing more skinny-suited gay guys than Ryanair.

However, contrasted with the Brightonesque, 'liberal Mecca' feel of the shops and hotels, every third doorway seemed to contain a Romanian beggar - comfortably seated with rug over their knees and cardboard sign placed in front of them, with 'I'm hungry' painted on it. But they certainly weren't lonely: groups of other Roma were standing casually conversing with them along the street, as if they were all engaged in some well-respected and venerable Wexford business that had been going on for generations. And indeed, I got the impression they were being made very welcome by the sort of people who now run the town.


"We had become, with the approach of night, once more aware of loneliness and time — those two companions without whom no journey can yield us anything." Lawrence Durrell

“It is not enough to be busy; so are the ants.” Thoreau

Saturday 11 March 2023

Death wish

Here is a short clip of an American TV programme (broadcast yesterday, I think) in which Jane Fonda says that politicians who want to restrict or ban abortion need to be "murdered". Clearly she means it.

I wonder how many people said someone should kill Donald Trump? The BBC's beloved Sir David Attenborough did, but so did many other famous people and so did over 12,000 tweets in the 12 days after his inauguration

Novelist William Trevor's obituary said he never commented on politics except once, in a private conversation, when he remarked that somebody needed to kill Ian Paisley.

Innumerable people have called for the murder of Vladimir Putin.

Friday 10 March 2023

The USSR was the first country to recognise the State of Israel, but the US acknowledged the Jewish government de facto three days earlier

It looks like the Arabs may be about to mutiny in the West Bank again.

American Secretary of Defense Lloyd Austin is making an unannounced visit to Tel Aviv. He was reported on the news this morning, boasting that the USA was the first country to recognise Israel. 

This startled me. I always understood that the Soviet Union was. 

Googling, I find I was right but that it was a damn close run thing, as Wellington said of the Battle of Waterloo. 

America is aggressively meddling in the affairs of other nations

'He who has ears to hear, let him hear!' (Matthew 11:15)

Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky, in his nightly broadcast to the nation the night before last, thanked the Georgian protesters who rallied with Ukrainian flags late on March 8, expressing "sincere respect for Georgia" and said

"There is no such Ukrainian who would not wish success to our friendly Georgia… We want to be in the European Union - and we will. We want Georgia to be in the European Union, and I am sure: it will be."
It does look, even to the most innocent observer, reminiscent of the colour revolutions, intended to weaken and overthrow governments in the former USSR friendly to Moscow. 

I rejoiced at those revolutions, but now see them as part of a new Great Game, played by America in the place of England against Russia. 

Who cannot by now?

The colour revolutions provoked the Russian invasion of the Ukraine. 

This can't really be denied, can it?

Last month Samantha Power an American diplomat went unofficially to Hungary to talk to opposition leaders and NGOs to 'strengthen democratic institutions and civil society'. Even Hungary which is in Nato is not exempt from US interference. 

Nor have I forgotten Biden's interventions about Northern Ireland in British internal affairs.