Sunday, March 1, 2015

ISRAEL, THE MIDDLE EAST, AND OBAMA AND IRAN

                 In Israel's hour of need by Caroline Glick

                                    Click Here for Source

                                                         

Ron, thank you for the Glick article. 

My Reaction?

To tell the truth, I don't know what to say with much insight about the article.  It clearly has some strong points --- though, on this score,   it could have stressed some  references to Obama's feckless dead-end "red lines" for the Syrian and Iranian governments, one for chemical weapons and the other for nuclear bomb-developments. These on-and-off threats do little except alienate certain allies in the Middle East and harm American efforts to counter and contain potential enemies.  This doesn't mean diplomacy isn't useful, even with potential adversaries; but not when it includes tongue-loose lines-in-the-sand that turn out to be vacuous rhetoric, nothing more. 

One of the better points in Glick's article is her references to Netanyahu's compromise-offers regarding an independent state in the West Bank and prisoner-exchanges (and a handful of other moderate positions).  Another good point is her criticism of Obama's excessive and semi-delusive faith in the Arab spring, even though she focused mainly on Egypt.  That said, she could have strengthened her argument by underscoring how Obama's policy twist-and-turns have impacted the member-states in the sotto-voce alliance between Israel and Egypt, Saudi Arabia, and the small Gulf States.  Briefly put, those sleigh-of-hand changes in policy have turned the leaders of all these countries into skepticism about US reliability toward them and their worries about Iran.

All That Said, What Follows?

Follows? Well .. .  we have to await a few developments to see what's really going to happen soon.  No soothsayers should be trusted until then.  Those developments?

 

  • There's Netanyahu's speech and how the Senate reacts.

 

  • There're Obama's negotiations with Iran and what they might amount to. Right now, despite some leaks to the press recently, nobody knows for sure. To put too much trust in anything Muslim dictators say, whether foes or allies, would be naive, but that doesn't mean negotiations couldn't be useful to a certain degree in our relations with Iran . . . especially if they allowed full freedom for UN inspectors to visit their sites as quickly and often they demand. (Whether the Iranians could still hide weapons developments in large underground facilities beneath, say, Tehran buildings, is always a possibility that the inspectors might never even chance upon.)

 There are good reasons, all in all, to be skeptical about any treaty that permits Iran to maintain certain high-potent centrifuges, but not all of them.  In this respect, some say that for 10 years or so the Iranians could promise in a treaty not to move directly to a breakout-development of  few nuclear warheads on ever longer-distance missiles.  That seems naive.  At a minimum, in the most explosive area of the world, what would keep the Saudis, say --- loaded with oil money --- to not move to nuclear weapons too.

Click to Continue:

[ continue ]

Posted by gordongordomr @ 01:41 PM PST

Thursday, February 19, 2015

PART FOUR ISLAM AND ITS MASSIVE PROBLEMS WITHIN AND BETWEEN EACH MUSLIM COUNTRY AS WELL AS WITH RADICAL JIHADI TERRORIST GROUPS

 

Please Read the First Three Parts in This Series Before Reading This 

Start by Recalling the Findings Set Out at the End of Part Three

Far More Likely Causes of Islamic Downfall and Backwardness For Three Centuries Now:

All over the world, vast numbers of Muslims readily shift the blame onto outsiders for Islam's massive failures and steady descent into humiliating economic and military weakness for three centuries now  --- with the vicious hobgoblin Jewish World Conspiracy the crack-whip commanders in charge of their monstrous anti-Muslim proxy-miscreants (the USA and the bigger EU countries).  Note though.  A few Muslims, a small and relatively quiet group of scholars and journalists, disagree. They've explained Islam's endless decline and backwardness for centuries now as due to more plausible causes.  Namely: massive corruption, incompetent dictatorial regimes, secret-police states, crony-patron groups at the top that suppress or kill off rival crony-patron groups, and promotion of cronies to higher position without qualifications (just nice obedience to the head-honchos). 

Not to overlook a poor work ethos, incompetent business managers, and retard-economies, all of which plague their societies.  Plus, it needs to be stressed, backward science and backward technologies and horrid educational systems.  And not least, just the contrary, the marked suppression of half of all Muslims world-wide who don't have penises

Nor Is That All. 

The religion of peace doesn't look at all peaceful these days --- very much the blood-splattered opposite. Well, when was it ever at peace with either non-Muslim countries or between different Muslim Empires and Kingdoms? 

Nothing surprising, then, that everywhere in Islam these days, there are endless internecine hatreds and bloodthirsty conflicts galore at work in every Muslim country.  These bitter antagonisms pit diverse Muslim ethnic and tribal groups against one another, all of them, it seems, full of rancor and enmity toward others . . . just as the same  antagonisms --- no less crazed and cutthroat ---still cause massive wars a good 1500 years old between Sunnis and Shia, the two major branches of Islam.  Not to forget, within these two branches, the use of extensive terrorism by breakaway jihadi and other hate-filled minority Muslim groups only too eager to kill off alleged heretics and apostates or one another in grudge-laden struggles for power. 

Then, too, a  new target these days of the more vicious terrorists enters the domestic Islamic House-of-Horrors.  In particular, there are all the alleged Muslim softy sellouts, not least the Kings and Presidents-for-Life and their followers in charge of their countries, who have adopted certain western values and behavior recently, with their numbers soaring in recent decades thanks to American and Europe movies, TV, and the Internet.  No surprise again, is it? that 6 of the top 8 countries worldwide that watch the most pornography online are Muslim.  Click here for the list.

Oh, and don't forget on this score of westernized imports a steady inflow of Western (or Russian) arms that require US and European instructors to train the locals in their usage.

What Follows?

For ISIS, al-Qaeda, and other death-cult jihadis, these halfway-modernized Muslim-traitors will either have to repent and kneel without complaint to dogmatic Dark-Age Sharia laws or face you-know-what . . . a bomb here, a few swords slashes there: What the heck, can't rebuild Islam to its glory past without lots of gore, right? And in case there aren't enough apostates or softy-sellouts around to massacre, there are always Christians and pagans to take their place, what say guys?

Who knows in extremist jihadi circles what to do here, these poor confused male killers? Well, maybe Boko Haram has pioneered the way to deal with Christians, males or females, anywhere. Just kidnap some school girls and sell them off to Saudis and others with enough lute. Or, if the children are Muslim, train them in Boko's ranks to "slaughter people like animals." Click here for the evidence.

Recently, in Israel, there has been a noticeable increase of Christian Arabs fleeing from Syria and Iraq and other Muslim countries, with the Israelis welcoming them warmly.  More and more Christian Arabs already settled in Israel have been joining the IDF (Israeli army) . . . including a female Christian put in charge of a front-line unit composed of Jews and Christians.  Click here for the info.

And The Future of the Arch-Bogeymen Who Rule the World?

[ continue ]

Posted by gordongordomr @ 09:08 AM PST

Sunday, February 15, 2015

GLOBAL ISLAM'S NON-STOP DECLINE FROM 1700 ON ...PART 3 IN A SERIES


Before you start here, please be sure to read the first two parts of this long series on Islam's thrusting conquests over wide swaths of the world from the early 7th Century C.E. to 1700.  

PART THREE

Islamic Decline:

Starting in the 18th century, the Ottoman Empire fell more and more behind the rapidly modernizing Europeans (especially in West Europe) --- more specifically,  behind more and more in economic growth and in technology, military might, and all forms of the Industrial Revolution (led by the British by the end of that century).  The Empire continued to stagnate, along with all of the Muslim countries (whether Sunni or Shia), until it was reduced in the early 20th century to its relatively small Turkish homeland.

The Caliphate itself was renounced in 1924 by the modernizing and secular government dominated by President Ataturk.  By then, most of Islam was ruled by conquering European powers: in all of North Africa, and in most of the Arabian  Peninsula  ---the British and French carving out new Arab countries in most of it ---not to overlook  India, Pakistan, Indonesia, and parts of tropical Africa.  To put it bluntly, there was no fully independent Muslim country anywhere in the world that wasn't under European domination for a certain period --- whether lengthy or short. 

Is the Caliphate ever going to return? 

Well, jihadi ISIS and its equally cruel wham-bang Islamist allies are now struggling to rebuild it in the Arabian Peninsula as well as in parts of Asia Minor, even as the existing Sunni and Shia governments try to find allies and fight these mass-murdering fanatics.  In their frenzied minds, the creation of a new Caliphate --- governed by rigidly ancient Shari laws and renunciation of all Western cultural and political influences --- will eventually spread out and dominate dozens of Muslim countries.  After which?  After which a  purified Islam will mysteriously, just like a series of heavenly sent miracles, create rapid economic growth, highly educated Muslim scientists grounded in Koranic and Hadith studies, technological marvels not yet imagined, military prowess without equal, and so on.  Not to overlook how these miracles will once again make Muslims worldwide realize that they alone are Allah's true people, as proud and glorious as they once were from the 7th century until the 17th century (or later). 

As for the conspiratorial Jews who rule the world and their proxies they manipulate in Christianity and pagan countries, they all will either convert to Islam, or accept dhimmi status again, or just be killed off as monstrous beings.

Oh sure.  With one caveat: ISIS and the other death-cult jihadis will desperately seek to find and use Weapons of Mass Destruction --- nuclear, chemical or biological.  So be wary of those in the West who say --- just treat these frenzied cutthroats as normal criminals who can do only limited damage. 

A Sidebar Commentary:Ottoman Rule over Palestine Collapses and the Eventual Emergence of an Israeli State

First: For 400 years or so, no Arab government had ruled anywhere in the Arabian Peninsula, including Palestine.  It was all ruled by the Ottomans.  In the middle of WWI, with strong British backing, the Arab revolt began against Ottoman rule.  The Ottoman defeat in WWI marked the total end of its Empire.  It had lost its Imperial control in Central Europe by the end of the 17th century.  Later on, in the 19th dentury, it lost its rule over the Balkans and North Africa . . . much of the latter colonized by the French and British as well as the Italians in Libya and the Spanish in Spanish Morocco. As for the existing Arab states in the Peninsula these days, their boundaries and initial King-Rulers were all carved out by mainly the British colonialists and, to an extent, their French equivalents in Lebanon and Syria.  To repeat: modern-day Saudi Arabia, Yemen, the small Gulf states, Iraq, Syria, Jordan, and Lebanon are all new creations, mainly created back in the 1920s.  And Israel?  It emerged after the United Nations voted to create the state in 1948

By then, the occupying British government and its large military withdrew from Palestine totally.  By that time, too, starting in late 1947, a civil war was underway between Arabs and Jews, with the Arabs (supported by the Arab League and several thousand Arab fighters from outside Palestine) on the offensive until the Jews --- whose army was now strengthened and well trained --- went on the offensive.  A day after the British withdrew in the summer of 1948, the civil war between Jews and Arab militias --- the latter badly beaten everywhere --- was followed by the invasion of 5 Arab armies, plus dozens of piloted planes sent by the Saudis.  Oh, and Yemen sent 100 fighters to join with the other Arabs.

The result?  Israel defeated those Arab armies, and quickly too.  The Mandatory era of British rule over all of Palestine --- created by the League of Nations in the early 1920s --- was now totally ended.  The Israelis let the defeated Egyptian army to occupy Gaza.  The same was true of Jordan on the West Bank and in East Jerusalem.  In the 1967 war with Syria, Jordan, and Egypt, the Israelis overan both the West Bank and Gaza. 

What will happen in the future to those two Arab areas, one ruled by a hard-to-pindown secular President Mahmoud Abbas and Gaza by hardline jihadi Hamas leaders? 

Neither one has held a new election for 9 years or so.  Even Hamas --- a spillover of the extremist Muslim Brotherhood that originated in Egypt, but has been armed by Shia Iran (strange, no? ) -- is outlfanked in fanaticism by more radical Salafi terrorists.  Meanwhile, since 2010, Hamas has also been busy Islamizing the population in ways very similar to draconian Taliban rule in Afghanistan.  Small wonder that the military government in Egypt has again imposed a total blockade of access by Gaza to arms and other supplies . . . the Egyptians themselves battling extremist jihadi groups in the SInai peninsula, all with links to the Muslim Brotherhood and to dark-age Saudi  Wahabbism that renounced all western influences as evil and inspired al-Qaeda's terrorism.

[ continue ]

Posted by gordongordomr @ 10:54 AM PST

Saturday, February 14, 2015

ISLAM'S THRUSTING RISE IN POWER AND CONQUEST FOR 11 CENTURIES...PART TWO IN A SERIES

Part Two 

ISLAM'S RISE IN POWER AND INFLUENCE

632 C.E. -- 1700 C.E.

Please be sure to read part one first on Islam's conquests and sweeping Muslim Rule for 1100 years over wide swaths of the earth. Part one dealt with rapid Arab conquests of all of the huge Persian Empire in the early 7th century and large parts of the even bigger Byzantine Empire's Empire in the Middle East and North Africa in the 7th into the 8th centuries. What follows are the no less remarkable invasions and conquests by Arabs in Europe,  Seljuk Turks ruling a large Peresian Empire, Ottoman Turks destroying the Byzantine Empire and moving swiftly into in much of Europe and elsewhere, Tatar Mongols rule over much of Russia for 250 years, and Turkish-Mongolian dominant control of most of India for 300 years until 1803.

 2 ) MUSLIM INVASIONS OF EUROPE 1300 YEARS AGO

In the early  8th century, not long after their conquest of the Levant and North Africa, triumphant Arab militaries crossed the Mediterranean Sea and invaded Spain and soon afterwards much of France.  Later, in the 10th century, Arabs conquered Sicily and parts of mainland Italy in the south.  They held onto it for 200 years, after which feared Viking invaders forced them out of all of Italy.  These invasions represented the greatest incursion into Western Europe ever made by Muslims. 

 Not so for Islam in South and parts of Central Europe.  This time, starting with formidable Ottoman Turkish conquests in the 14th century, much of the Balkans and as far north as Hungary came under their rule.   Amazingly, despite the Ottoman Empire's steady, non-stop slide into backwardness from 1700 on --- scientifically, technologically, economically, and militarily --- the Ottoman Empires still ruled over Greece, Bulgaria, and other parts of the Balkans until way into the 19th century.  

 And now back to the initial Muslim conquests in Europe and its failures to dominate most of it.

 

France  Invaded and the Defeat of Arab Conquerors at the Battle of Tours 

More specifically, the rapid Muslim conquests of West European territory in the early 8th century continued until 732. (Europeans called the Muslim Arabs and Berbers who invaded them "Moors."  That year, for the first time, the hitherto undefeated Arab cavalry and infantry encountered a powerful European army of Frankish and Burgundian soldiers that wasn’t overstretched or exhausted by long decades of war (as had been the fate of the conquered Byzantines and Persians a century earlier).  Neither had they been obliged to battle well trained Knights in armor who road on large horses that towered above the agile, but much smaller Arabian ponies.  Plus, quickly note, the Knights led a well prepared infantry, both seasoned and battle-hardened, many of whom also wore armor.  It was largely the Frankish-Burgundian infantry that did most of the fighting.  The Arabs relied mainly on horse attacks.  Only once, at the start of the battle, did the Arab cavalry actually manage to break the ranks of some of the European infantry. 

Clarification: Both the Franks and Burgundians were originally Germanic warrior tribal-nomads ---along with Goths, Vandals, Visigoths, Ostrogoths,  Anglo-Saxons,  and others ---  all of them out of the Russian Steppes that ran all the way to Manchuria, Mongolia, and China who continually moved westward for reasons that scholars still dispute. 

Almost everyone agrees, though, that fleeing the feared Attila the Hun and his fierce warriors, who loved to kill everyone in sight was a major reason for the Germanic tribes to keep moving west in front of them.  The Huns, to clarify quickly, were a mix of different nomadic tribes, out of Central Asia and the Russian Steppes, and with a mix of horse-warrior nomads of Germanic origins as well, possibly, of Chinese or Turkish tribes and possibly other nomadic tribes.  Of these nomadic warrior tribes, the most feared by indigenous peoples and the other invading Germanic tribes was the Huns --- led by Attila-the-Hun.  He and his followers managed in the mid-5th century to invade the Balkans and much of central Europe, parts of France, and eventually much of Italy, all the while fighting both the Eastern and Western Roman Empires with success. For all that, the resulting vast Hun Empire in Europe collapsed a just year after Attila's death in 453 C.E --- largely because the Huns never managed to create an effective tax-system and governmental bureaucracy to keep the Empire together. It simply fell apart into warring parts. The Huns who survived Attila soon dispersed and were absorbed more or less swiftly into other nomadic warrior-tribes in Europe.

Attila himself was called the "Scourge of God".  He bragged that nothing was more fun than slaughtering whole communities, with a special stress on killing women and children . . . the former (along with fathers before they were massacred) often forced to kill their own children.  He also bragged that where he and his men rode, the grass itself would be so trampled that it would never grow again.  In fact, if he didn't understand or like something, he had it destroyed.  

Back to the European-Muslim Battle at Tours in 732

 The fierce fighting lasted one day, no longer, near the city of Tours --- just 80 or so miles south of Paris.  The hitherto successful Arab military was stopped and badly damaged by the  European military it encountered.  Nobody knows the exact size of the Arab forces, but all scholars agree it was much larger than the Frankish-Burgundian military.  No matter.  Until then, the conquering Arabs had never fought against a powerful, ready-for-battle army, and their leaders were astounded by the carnage that occurred in their cavalry and infantry charges.  They were astounded so much that no sooner did nightfall occur than the remaining Arab forces quietly sneaked away southward.  Some of the remaining Arab military immediately crossed the Pyrenees and returned to conquered Spain.  Most of the Arab forces stayed on in the south of France near the Pyrenees until, a few decades later, constant Frankish attacks forced them to retreat back to Spain as well. 

There, in the large Iberian Peninsula, the triumphant Arab conquerors were now fighting advances into their conquered kingdoms by fiercely determined Spanish conquistadors.  The wars with these stubborn Christian forces ---  who themselves splintered into various competing kingdoms exactly as the Arabs were doing --- continued for 7 more centuries until the last Muslim stronghold in Granada fell in 1492.

Something else to remember: Berber Muslims, indigenous peoples out of the desert and coastline areas of North Africa -- no, they weren't Arab-speaking --- had invaded Spain with the initial Arab militaries, but tensions between the two ethnic groups added to the number of divided Muslim kingdoms.  Almost all of the Berbers returned to North Africa in the 9th century, only --- in far greater numbers --- for two large waves of Berber invasions in the in the 11th and 13th centuries to dominate the Arab kingdoms and also to help in the Muslim struggle against the endlessly encroaching Spanish recapture of the country.

Click Continue

[ continue ]

Posted by gordongordomr @ 07:34 PM PST

ISLAM'S THRUSTING RISE IN POWER AND CONQUEST FOR 11 CENTURIES...PART ONE IN A SERIES

      PART ONE ON ISLAM’S DANGERS COMPARATIVELY VIEWED

 

                                  Introductory Comments:

         Islamic Domination And Armed Expansion

          For 1100 Years and Then Endless Decline

The Start of Militarized Imperialism

Islamic conquests of non-Muslim countries started in just a year or two after Muhammad's death in 632, with Arab militaries --- on fast-moving ponies and in slower infantry --- going on a religious rampage in the Levant (held by the formidable Byzantine Empire) and in the vast Persian Empire.  The efforts to conquer "heathen" countries and, where encountered, to destroy their military resistance and set up Muslim rule over  the subject peoples went on for 11 centuries, expanding Islam in immense areas of the world 1100 years.  In those 1100 years, the dominant Muslim colonialists varied in ethnicity.  Sometimes the leaders were Arabs and Berbers. Sometimes it was Ottoman Turks, or Tatar Mongolians in Russia, or new Turkish-Moguls in India, and a combination (as with later European colonizers) of clerics, soldiers, traders, and bureaucrats that expanded Islam throughout Central and Southeast Asia. 

In the process, Muslims ruled over Roman Catholic and Orthodox Christians, Zoroastrians, Buddhists, Jews, Hindus, Sikhs, and pagans galore.  The invasions and conquests started, to repeat, in the early 7th century and went on until the end of the 17th century. 

What Then? 

Well, from 1700 onward, Islam in whichever power-laden guise it still assumed --- the Ottoman Empire, the Persian Empire, the Turkish-Moguls in India (in power as the rulers from 1528 to the mid-18th century, followed by British rule) --- fell farther and farther behind Europe on every important measure of creativity, power, and influence  . . . whether in economic growth, in science and technology (civilian or military), in literacy and education, in medicine, and what have you. Not to forget the entire industrial revolution, created in Britain first from the mid-18th century on. 

The result of this growing backwardness?  In the early 19th century, European colonialism quickly overran Islam almost everywhere --- even as the last Muslim Empire (the Ottomans) lost all of their European possessions in the Balkans, North Africa, and, eventually, in  the Arabian Peninsula by the end of WWI.  Not to forget Zionist immigrants who created the new state of Israel in 1948, followed in May of that year by Arab armies --- far outnumbering the Israelis --- going to war in 1948, 1967, and 1973 and always being vanquished.  What could be more humiliating than that?  Jews regarded as dhimmi cowards in Muslim countries for more than 14 centuries, right down to 1948  and with no powerful foreign countries to try rescuing them the way Christian dhimmis could count on from European Christian militaries.

    Sidebar Clarification of Dhimmitude: Dhimmis were protected minorities captured when Arabs and later other Muslim Empires conquered non-Muslim countries in jihad wars.  On this count, Muslims did better in allowing Jewish and Christian subordinate minorities to remain in their home-countries than Christian countries did in extending control over Jews and Muslims in Europe  . . . at any rate until the 17th and 18th centuries.  Remember though: when Islamic rule was established over the conquered non-Muslim populations, its system of government controlled not just political, legal, and military matters, but all social, ethnic, religious, economic, cultural, and family life as well . . . family life covering the entire treatment of women by men. That was the aim of Sharia-law.  It encompassed all the various ways of life, no exceptions. 

And though there were variations in imposing sharia law across different regions of Islam, its advantage  was the creation of one common civilization --- or, to be more accurate, an advantage but also a similarly rigid brake on the ability of dozens of various Muslim countries to experiment with distinct ways to overcome Islam's steady downfall and backwardness and modernize to catch up with Western civilizations after 1700.

Anything else?  Yes: conquered peoples had three choices when Islam overran it.  1) They could convert to Islam; 2) Stay in the country as second- and often third-class submissive minorities --- as long as they paid the yearly jizya tax --- that could be as high as 80% of the revenue earned by the dhimmis or 3) Emigrate without taking any assets out of the Muslim ruled countries.  Actually there was a fourth alternative: death, but it didn't seem to have much appeal. 

And now on to a deeper look at Islam's 1100 years of conquest and expansion around much of the globe (save in the Americas and the rest of the "New World"), followed by its non-stop decline and multiple setbacks in contending with Western civilization's rapid modernization after 1700.

 

ISLAM'S RISE IN POWER AND INFLUENCE

                                                          632 C.E. -- 1700 C.E.

1)  START WITH LARGE ARAB CONQUESTS IN THE MIDDLE EAST AND NORTH AFRICA IN THE 7th AND 8th CENTURIES

The Initial Targets were the Byzantine and Persian Empires

The first Muslim conquests were carried out by Arabs first starting in the 630's C.E. and lasting for about 6 centuries.  The first areas to be invaded and ruled over were significant parts of the Byzantine Empire in the Holy Land and the rest of the Levant, plus, not long afterwards, parts of southern Russia and all of Egypt and North Africa.  Almost simultaneously as these conquest occurred on Byzantine territory was the total conquest of the massive Persian Empire.  (Note that the Levant refers to these modern day countries: Syria, Lebanon, Iraq, Jordan, and Israel, but not the Arabian desert areas from which the Arabs hailed, nor Turkey.)

 .....Sidebar Clarification: The Byzantine Empire, Greek-speaking --- though with Latin the official language until the 7th century --- was created by the Roman Emperor Diocletian around 300 C.E.  He split the Empire into two parts because the increasing wars with Germanic and other Tribal Warriors along the vast porous frontiers of the gigantic Empire clearly indicated to him that it was too unwieldy for one Emperor and his chief advisers to rule effectively . The Byzantine Empire itself existed a good thousand years after the Western Roman Empire collapsed in the 5thcentury.  In 634, Arab militaries invaded the Byzantine territory, destroyed its rule in the Levant (more on this later), and continued their wars with the Byzantines for three centuries more.  In their initial invasion of the Greco-Roman Empire, the Arabs conquered, fairly swiftly, almost all the Arabian Peninsula and North Africa (it too under Byzantine rule.

As for the Persian Empire, it was ruled from 224 C.E. to 633 C.E. by the Sassanid dynasty.  633 C.E. was the year when the Arab jihadi military first showed on Imperial soil.  Until then, the Persian Empire had been considered the equal in power, span, and influence of both the Western and Easter Roman Empires. The Sassanid dynasty was only the third ruling family regime in the long history of the Persian Empire, during which, among its numerous foes, it fought repeated wars with the Roman and Byzantine Empires.  How big actually was the Persian Empire? 

By 632 C.E. the Sassanids had expanded their rule to the Empire's  greatest immensity ever.  in square miles, to be more specific, the Persian Empire spanned over 2.5 million square miles. Currently, to grasp this mammoth size, consider that the USA 48 Continental states add up to around 3.0 million square miles.  Persian dominance included much of the Arabian Peninsula, parts originally of the Byzantine Empire, and northward on the other side of the Black Sea, much of the Caucasus . . .the source today, needless to say, of  a limited war between Russia and Ukraine.

How did the Arabs overrun two powerful empires so quickly? 

The chief reason: the Romans and later the Byzantines and the Persians had been fighting for centuries, and more to the point, by 633 C.E. they had been slugging away in a new war lasting off and on for several decades.  The predictable result: when the Arab militaries marched into their lands that year, the two empires’ armies were exhausted and noticeably weakened.  Worse yet, both the Persians and Byzantines dismissed the invading Arabs as contemptible backward desert peoples with little fighting spirit and even less knowledge of tactical military doctrine for fighting and winning battles. 

Yikes!  Never a good idea for any military to underestimate an enemy's long-term strategy and, even worse, its tactical preparation for battles.  The Byzantine and Persian dismissal of the Arab forces invading their territories  --- with fast-moving cavalry and infantries --- proved calamitous.

CLICK below to continue 

 

[ continue ]

Posted by gordongordomr @ 09:44 AM PST

Thursday, December 25, 2014

Putin's Russia and New Expansion --- What Is Liable To Happen

Buggy Rregrets . . .

 that he hasn't posted for over a year on his blog-site.  This is now changing.  He will start now with this posted commentary at RealClearWorld that is a reply to a very stimulating and informative article by Dr. James Jay Carafano entitled "Putin's Progress."   Click here for it and Prof Bug's comments about it --- essentially an extension, with some historical analysis of Russia's struggle for several centures, to overcome its almost non-stop backwardness, technologically and economically, compared to the lead-countries in parts of West Europe and in the USA on these two key scores. 

The hard fact is, Russia is not now and never has been a noticeably innovative country --- rather, a later copycat of big scientific and technological breakthroughs made by the West.  Without its high levels of oil and gas exports, its economy will continue to falter and decline relative to the USA.  Worse, rampant corruption and ongoing authoritarianism will further increase the country's failures to create a modern economy near the technological frontier.  Expect Putin's rule to resort ever more frenziedly to the last age-old stratagem of both the Czarist and Communist regimes: endless drumbeats for the Russian masses of fervent nationalism, along with manipulative lies that Russia's massive internal problems derive wholly from the threats and frightening dangers from abroad.   And, of course, along with those enemy countries' treasonble operatives at work inside Russia itself . . . such as these days the helter-skelter leaders of democratic opposition to the former KGB officer now in power.

The likely end resort of all this?  Well, read first Carafano's informative article and then Buggy's comments (reproduced below).

   

 The Buggy Reply

An outstanding post, Dr. Carafano --- the most enlightening I've read in the past few months about the complex alternatives open to Putin in his self-entangling troubles. It's always worth remembering that he has a strong KGB background, compounded by a massive ego and a belief-system that Russia deserves to be fully respected as a giant super-power . . . this, despite the Soviet Union collapse a quarter of a century ago and Russia's flimsy, backward economy dependent on oil and gas exports (and little else) for its GDP growth annually.

Russia has always been backward, economically and in technology, compared to West Europe and eventually the USA.

Again and again, its Czarist and more recent Communist dictatorships struggled to keep abreast of the lead Western countries, only to find themselves --- after large-scale efforts and wasted resources (as well as tightening tyranny and various degrees of government-sponsored terror) --- to still be behind as major breakthroughs in new technologies materialize in the more advanced parts of the Western world. And again and again, the response in Moscow has been heightened, even crackling nationalism as adjuncts of the new tyranny.

Yes, Russia has also been attacked over its long history of about 1000 years --- both from the East (Tatars and other Mongol-Turkish peoples) and the West (Sweden, France, Germany), and come to that Ottoman Turks from the South -- but its people, at great sacrifice, would fight back and stop or defeat its enemies.

Note though. Sooner or later, after the defeat of its enemies, the Czarist and later Communist regimes would expand once more across 1) Central, Southern, and Eastern Asia (followed by the conquest and occupation for a century or two of Alaska, parts of Canada, and parts of the coastal areas of what are now the states of Washington and Oregon). And 2) once more, northward along the Baltic Sea and westward across much of central Europe.

In the end, Russia has never experienced any long period of restrained and accountable government and effective civic society independent of rigid government-control of its people. It's no different today (minus the horrid terror of the Stalinist era).

If anything, Putin's current autocratic control of the Russian media, full of massive nationalist manipulations (with those Russian groups critical of them quickly silenced one way or another), shows that the new communication and information technologies invented in the lead Western countries can lead to new form of tyranny and ultra-nationalism, and not --- as many journalists, economists, and political scientists claim --- just democratic openings . . . witness too what has happened to the laughable Arab Spring.

Michael Gordon, AKA TheBuggyProfessor (name of my blog)

[ continue ]

Posted by gordongordomr @ 11:18 AM PST

Friday, May 10, 2013

Jacques Derrida: Deconstructionist Genius or Self-Bamboozled Fraud? Part V

 This is the final installment in the 5-part series on Derrida, Critical Theory, and Post-Modernism.  Be sure to read the first four parts before you tackle this one.

        What Might Explain All This Pompous, Head-Spinning Turgidity?

All the obscurantist abracadabra, you'll remember --- which the first four buggy posts dealt with ---  originated in  German and French philosophy  or sociology and literary disciplines, only to be emulated later by their bedazzled epigoni in the USA, Britain, Australia, and Canada  . . .but not, note quickly, in English-speaking philosophical circles.  Just the opposite.  Adorno, Heidegger, and Marcuse in Germany --- and, Derrida, Foucault, and the other overblown French-thinkers-of-the-month --- have been widely regarded in those circles as essentially pretentious bullshitting  poseurs.  The epigoni followers, by contrast, are found overwhelmingly in sociology, ethnic studies, feminist studies, literary studies, some historical work, and among certain journalist copy-cats of these studies . . . all of which have been dominated for three or more decades now by postmodernist theoretical work.

That said, what follows by way of explanation is some tossed-out buggy opinions, nothing more, to account for these French and German intellectual origins.  If these opinions have any substance, it's because they're based on prof bug's own studies and teaching abroad in the 1960s and 1970s in France, Germany, and Switzerland . . . with Oxford, where he earned two degrees, a real contrast with these Continental countries. 

And from what bug has learned from others, things haven't changed that much over the last three to four decades. 

Against This Background, Start Here:

Which means --- start, above all, with the traditional structures of European universities, at any rate on the Continent  . . . Britain, please observe again, noticeably different here (more like American universities).  Everywhere in Continental universities, thanks to long-standing aristocratic and other status-hierarchies that had marked European societies for a millennium or more, professors in the humanities and social sciences have been treated, historically, as aloof demigod-mandarins . . . essentially untouchable and unaccountable to others.  And far, far above any explanations of their ideas, verbal or written, to lowly students or young academics.  

If you didn't and don't understand what they've said or written, however obscure, tough luck.  You're too callow and lame-brained to grasp their deep thoughts. And how dare you, a nobody, interrupt Herr Dr. Professor Somebody or Monsieur le professeur très important.

No surprise, Then,

. . .that in these markedly hierarchical universities these days --- over-crowded , under-funded, and distressingly impersonal as well--- students can't raise their hands in classrooms and ask their pontificating professors to clarify or elaborate on what they're claiming. So the professors can say anything and never be challenged. Ditto outside the classrooms. Their treatment of students, both historically and today, is formal and aloof.  Small wonder that there are no office hours or any personal access by students to their professors. 

Click on the continue button below

[ continue ]

Posted by gordongordomr @ 01:25 PM PST

Tuesday, April 30, 2013

Jacques Derrida: Deconstructionist Genius or Self-Bamboozled Fraud: Part IV

Remember: You Should Read the First Three Posts Before Continuing. Remember Too: The previous post dealt less with Derrida than the Famed Critical Theorist Theodore Adorno

SOME QUERIES PROMPT THEMSELVES HERE

What Happens If You Criticize Adorno's and Other Intellectual Inanities Disseminated For Decades Now In ...

. . . in virtually all postmodernist work, full of obscurist writing and psycho-ward attacks on contemporary life in the rich democracies in Europe and the USA ---and full, too, come to that, of overwrought dogmatic declarations, passing for brilliant insights, that have been inspired by French masterminds like Jacques Derrida, Michel Foucault, Jean Baudrillard, Jean-Francois Lyotard and on and on since the late 1960s. An exaggeration? No, not really. With very few exceptions, these postmodern writings unfold in an impenetrably tangled syntax, an orgy of turgid neologisms , wildly imperious claims by the boxcar load, and very little evidence . . . all leading to a reader's head-spinning confusion, assuming he or she tries to hack and hew their way through the thickets of contriver malarkey to the very end. (In Foucault's case, please observe, there is lots of selective cherry-picking of historical examples chosen to illustrate his own sweeping, half-truth claims about power-driven mind-controls across different modern epochs, with the mental dominance and manipulation getting worse and worse from which, he added,there was no escape . . . . all these claims by Foucault delivered with convoluted Delphic complexity and obscure neologisms galore.)

What Then To Do?

Well, suppose you say in a reply --- maybe in a review, maybe in conversation with the devotees ---that their silly and garbled insights into the alleged horrors of modern Western societies lack clarity, logic, and hard evidence . In turn, they reply --- assuming they deign to answer you--- you lack patience; you can't read with focused concentration; or your mental faculties aren't up to it. Or, face it, you're just an idiot. (Maybe you should go see a Donald Duck cartoon, huh?)

Note that the idiot-ploy, to bring all into a relevant focus, was actually used by Derrida with Michel Foucault. Foucault, you see, had publicly dared to criticize Derrida's latest dogmatic featherbrained meanderings. Derrida's public retort? "Vous m'avez mal compris, vous etes idiot!" "You've misunderstand me, you idiot!" (This is like the pot calling the kettle black here, n'est-ce pas?) On Foucault's pretentious and nearly impenetrable writing style, see this talented dissection by a British professor French (a francophile to boot): John Weightman, "Not Underestanding Michel Foucault", American Scholar (1989)

Click the continue-button below

[ continue ]

Posted by gordongordomr @ 01:51 PM PST

Friday, April 26, 2013

Jacques Derrida: Deconstructionist Genius or Self-Bamboozled Fraud? Part III

             Please Be Sure To Read the First Two Posts on Derrida Before This One 

             What Follows Is a Much Fuller Version of the Buggy Comment . . .

. . . sent originally in reply to the NYRB post on the life of Jacques Derrida and how it helps to explain much of philosophical work.  Click here for the post.   Oh, now that prof bug found some time to finish this fuller version, it turns out to be so long that it will have to be divided into two more posts to reach the end.

The Fleshed-Out Buggy Stuff:

Like the rest of the posters here, Ms. Eakin, I [prof bug'] appreciate your illuminating comments on Jacques Derrida's life --- all of which help to make sense of his philosophical writings and public utterances. 

They're doubly illuminating, come to that, thanks to the clear and straightforward writing you've used here . . . no pretense whatsoever.  Too bad the followers of Derrida, Michel Foucault, Jean-François Lyotard, and all the other post-modernist thinkers in France and elsewhere haven't used a similar writing style.  Far from it.  One and all, it seems, they have emulated to near-perfection the convoluted verbiage and utterly obscure hot-air prose-style of their intellectual heroes.  The same is true of those equally avid devotees who regard Theodore Adorno in his German and American phases during the 1920s through the mid-1940s as a giant philosophical wonder, even if --- as the leading member of the neo-Marxist Frankfurt School of Critical (Cultural) Theory --- he wasn't at all a post-modernist and said lots of ludicrously silly things about American life in muddle-headed pompous ways. 

In any case, since Adorno (as you'll see soon) is a big heroic thinker in most postmodernist circles, we'll have a fair amount to say about his recklessly nutbin claims before we get down to Derrida's even more preposterously screw-loose hocus-pocus.

We Can Go Further

All of these postmodern superstars and their epigoni here and abroad have done little more than churn out agitated swirls of lengthy gibberish and snobbish harebrained views . . . yes, even when they claim to be championing populist social movements and saving the Others and the rest of the exploited and downtrodden masses in America and Europe: the masses, you see, not just victimized by rabid capitalism and pseudo-democracy of the standard Marxist lingo, but also, for certain groups, by remorseless white racism and male-enforced misogyny.

Adorno was in this vein, but with a twist.  Along with the rest of the neo-Marxist Frankfurt School specializing in cultural studies, almost all of whom migrated during the Nazi period to Britain or the USA, Adorno himself concentrated in exposing what he called the implacably cunning and nefarious inanities of the new culture-industry . . . and especially in the United States, the vanguard in all aspects of mass popular culture after WWI: above all, thanks to big technological breakthroughs in radio, popular music, records, magazines, and movies.  Not to forget, needless to add, TV's relentless spread after WWII before Adorno returned to Frankfurt, Germany in 1949. 

For Adorno, almost all of it was horrendous: not just stupid and vacuously anti-intellectual, you understand . . . rather, calculatedly exploitative, the modern equivalent of Roman bread-and-circus stuff for the miserable masses. 

Meaning More Concretely?

Meaning that the new popular culture, in all its variety, was at bottom a ruthless form of deliberate brainwashing.   The more the populous "standardized pap" spread from the 1920s on, the more the endlessly ruthless moneybags boss-class running the culture-industry could count on brutalizing the minds of the already dimwitted American masses, making them (in Adorno's view) even more unreflective and anti-intellectual than before while, simultaneously, you understand, seducing them, bit by bit, into submissive acceptance of their miserable and oppressive existence in class-ridden American life.  And to what end of all this fiendishly furtive mind-control?  Nothing more, but also nothing less, than to enshrine monopoly capitalism and the existing status quo as something irrevocable --- totally unchangeable. 

With the real beneficiaries, of course, just a tiny few --- the  ever richer top-dogs in the culture-industry, along with those in the rest of the new giant corporations, the big banks, the proliferating mass-media, and what have you.  Not to overlook, needless to add, the less wealthy but well-off toady politicians at all levels of government in the USA, themselves, in all but name, prisoner-puppets manipulated by their rich donors.

The Political and Economic Fall-Out?

What with the growing impact of the fiendish double-dealing culture-industry, soon joined after WWII by a new prosperity and consumer-industry, socialism ---so Adorno and the other Frankfurt immigrants lamented --- could never be a reality for the American masses.  As for Franklyn D. Roosevelt's New-Deal, it was tepid to begin with.  Worse,  by the time Adorno gathered and published in one book all these mind-controlling insights into the core nature of American society and culture --- in 1944, and in German (a book we'll return to in a few moments) ---the New Deal had lost all its radical reform-aims. 

 So, politically speaking, what lay ahead for America?

Simply said, Fascism.  No, not necessarily in the blatant Hitlerian or Mussolinian militarized jack-booted manner. Rather, so Adorno and lots of other Frankfurt Critical Theorists agreed, in einem im amerikanischen Stil.

Or, as the stalwart Criticial Theorist Herbert Marcuse put it later in a popular 1964 book, One-Dimensional Man, a shallow, banal, mindlessly submissive Fascist-style, with consumerism and ever horrid pop culture that emerged after WWII inisidiously buying off the masses, who --- for all their mindless and dreary existence as exploited underdogs --- came to believe that their meaningless lives weren't so bad after all.  And, to ask once again, the daily hit-the-jackpot con-men winners of all this crafty hocus-pocus ?    Needless to repeat, the rich big-shots in what Adorno had called two decades earlier the ever more manipulative stage of capitalism --- AKA, advanced industry society.  The brainwashing fraud all the more nefarious, from the 1950s on, as the scheming elites in the pop culture-industry were now aided --- so Marcuse argued --- by the moneybags bosses in the fast-growing mass media, the new giant advertising complex, the monopolistic industrial corporations, the behemothic banks, and of course, as before for Adorno, by  their strong-armed political sycophants who managed the new industrial-military complex of the cold war. 

And it gets worse.  What with the masses now inveigled, so Marcuse argued further, into an ever more vapid and submissive  life- styles, thanks to the continual spawning by the dominant elites  of bamboozling and alluring  "false needs" that required ever more consumption, loans, and piled-up debt.  In short it was Fascism in an American style all right . . . from which all critical thought had faded away into oblivion. 

A buggy exaggeration surely --- surely? --- of what any sane and thoughtful scholar might think in 1944, with a year to go in the global war against Fascism and Militarism, never mind twenty years later on in the cold war, and especially for Marcuse by the mid-1960s.

Nope: No Exaggeration ---Just  the Opposite. 

Want harder evidence of Adorno's (and other Frankfurt Critical Theorists') views?  Then bear with prof bug as he examines a little deeper Adorno's extravagantly pompous, screw-loose animus toward popular culture and its relation to the ultimate outcome of mass-brutality, mass-stupidity and mass-submission sooner or later to some form of Fascism a l'Americain 

[ continue ]

Posted by gordongordomr @ 03:32 PM PST

Monday, April 15, 2013

Jacques Derrida: Deconstructionist Genius or Self-Bamboozled Fraud? Part II

                                         Be Sure to Read Part I First 

                                  WHAT IS DECONSTRUCTION SUPPOSEDLY?

1) Start with the Core Destructionist Claim: A Domineering and Violent Linguistic Hierarchy, Full of Self-Entangling Confusion, Resides at the Base of All Western Thought

Yes, begin here: According to Derrida and his followers, all language --- at any rate, in Western civilization (other civilizations are ignored or apparently don't suffer from what Derrida calls logocentrism) --- is invariably shot-through with elusive ambiguities, confusion, and self-refuting contradictions.  Any text's claimed "truths" are really biased fictions . . . only (to use a confusing but typical deconstruction concept) for these fictions to have been forgotten and so figure as written-in-solid-concrete forever.

The result of all this confused, self-contradictory language and fictive true-claims, dubbed as logocentrism in deconstructionism?  To put it bluntly, in standard deconstruction views, a "violent linguistic hierarchy" has allegedly prevailed in Western civilization --- used in a taken-for-granted manner ---for a good 2500 years, in other words way back to the ancient Greeks.  Yes, on the Derrida-inspired view, it has prevailed in Western language-usage from the days of Plato and Aristotle on, dominating Western thought, accordingly, from the start of all European philosophy, sciences, art, and literature. 

2) How Does the Violent Linguistic Hierarchy Operate in Practice?

For Derrida and his followers, all language-usage operates by means of binary word-opposites.  In all Western languages, logocentrism has entailed the last 2500 years the "privileging" of a predictable set of words that the great thinkers, with few exceptions, have automaton-like employed over their opposites.  Such as: logic over intuition;  reason over feelings;  speech over writing;  man over woman;  rulers over the ruled;  majority European peoples over ethnic-racial minorities;  bosses over employees;   religious true-believers over non-believers;  state-enforced religion over dissenters (say, Jews in Christian lands);  intellectual conformists over dissenters;  elites over the masses, and so on.

The upshot? 

Since no thinking can be done without the use of a language, virtually all the great thinkers in Western life have done little more --- whether intentionally or more likely unwittingly --- to rationalize and justify the dominant real-life hierarchies of power everywhere in Western civilization, past or present. 

That has been the case in all prevailing politics, legal systems, economic life, religious life, journalism, and all forms of education and intellectual centers.  With, you understand, only a few exceptions like Socrates --- and you know what happened to him. (Remember: these are Derrida's views, not prof bug's.)  Otherwise, for over two millennia, the inescapable usage of language for all manner of thought by the influential in Western life for the last two millennia-plus has spawned and sustained little more than  mind-spinning, mind-controlling belief-systems and  practices.  The inevitable beneficiaries?  The dominant elites in each every Western society over time.  The inevitable losers?  All the weak and helpless, power-wise . . . dubbed by deconstructionists and other post-modernists the subordinate and excluded "Other(s)"

3) Who, More Specifically, Have These Marginalized and Oppressed Inferiors Been? 

 Click on the continue -button below

 

[ continue ]

Posted by gordongordomr @ 12:40 PM PST

Sunday, April 14, 2013

Jacques Derrida: Deconstructionist Genius or Self-Bamboozled Fraud?

 SOME PREFATORY REMARKS

Today's Buggy Topic Was Inspired by . . .

...By a stimulating blog-article, published recently in the New York Review of Books, that dealt with the life of the French philosopher, Jacques Derrida . . . the famed creator of deconstructism whose voluminous writings have been widely admired in post-modernist circles since the 1970s.  Prof bug left some lengthy commentary in reply that appeared in the comments section.  Alas, they were noticeably truncated, and so the buggy guy has decided to post them all here. 

Well, maybe "here" is misleading.  The full buggy commentary will actually appear in the next bugged-out post. 

Meanwhile, to make sense of Derrida's deconstruction-work, please read the rest of today's comments.  Note that at their end, you'll find the link to the NYRB blog about Derrida's life.  Be sure to read it--- even if you skip the comments section there --- before you read the next buggy post in reply to it.)

What the NYRB Blogger Tried To Do, And With Some Success:

Tersely put, in a review of a new biography of Derrida, the NYRB blogger sought to illuminate the tangled complexities of deconstructionist theory and methods that he spawned from the 1960s on by showing how they reflected his personal life-long struggles as a rebellious intellectual outsider and high-voltage enemy of prejudice and discrimination. . . which he and his numerous post-modernist devotees claimed to be embedded in all dominant Western thought and practices since the time of the ancient Greeks.  In other words, for the last 2500 years. 

How, specifically, did these views of Derrida reflect his own life-long personal struggles?   

The Fuller Answer,  

. . . Needless to add, requires that you read the NYRB blogger's book review.   

Here, just in passing, note that Derrida was born in 1930 as a French citizen to a French family in Algeria.  With the Nazi conquest of France itself in 1940, the German-collaborating Vichy regime extended its fascist-like authority to most of France's colonies.  Algeria was no exception, and it was there that Derrida, still a young boy, rebelled for the first time against the vicious anti-Semitic laws applied by the Vichy-controlled colonial rulers in education.  Specifically, Jews were barred from attending the prestigious French-speaking schools.  Only 12 at the time, Derrida was obliged to attend an inferior makeshift Jewish school.  An intellectually preconscious youth with a ranging mind, he bristled with disgust and hatred of the wider, virulent anti-Semitism that he and the rest of the Algerian Jewish community now encountered everywhere in daily life, whether perpetrated by bureaucrats or among both the Arab or French-speaking communities.  For that matter, Derrida himself was physically assaulted a few times by both Arab and French-speaking hoodlums. 

You can guess the outcome.  For the rest of his life, Derrida hated and sought to combat all forms of bigotry and discrimination--- whether religious, ethnic, racial, sexual, or class-based; and much to his credit. 

 Click the "continue" button below:

[ continue ]

Posted by gordongordomr @ 05:53 PM PST