Since 1983, Sharon Tennison has worked to develop ordinary citizens’ capacities to avert international crises, focusing on relations between the U.S. and Russia. Now, amid a rising crisis in relations between the US and Russia, she has organized a delegation which assembled in Moscow yesterday for a two week visit. I joined the group yesterday, and happened to finish reading Sharon Tennison’s book, The Power of Impossible Ideas, when I landed in Moscow.
An entry in her book, dated November 9, 1989, describes the excitement over the Berlin Wall coming down and notes that “Prior to the Wall’s removal, President George H.W. Bush assured Secretary General Gorbachev that if he would support bringing down the Wall separating East and West Berlin, NATO would not move ‘a finger’s width’ closer to Russia than East Germany’s border. With this assurance Gorbachev gladly signed on.
We may have achieved peak military-industrial complex: the U.S. is in part supplying both sides of the Iraq-Islamic State conflict and through that, creating the need for a new class of weapons to be sold as a counter measure. As arms manufacturers across our great land say, it doesn’t get any better than this.
Islamic State militants have not only acquired a grand majority of the military Humvees gifted to and then abandoned by the Iraqi Army, they are now re-purposing them into car bombs to use against the Iraqi Army (Hint: don’t leave the keys in the car next time.*)
Iraqi Prime Minister Haider al-Abadi confirmed that 2,300 are in ISIS hands, more than two-thirds of all Humvees provided to Iraq by the U.S.
“(At dawn) … I will resist … (Since) upon the wall there is still a white sheet … And my fingers are yet to (completely) dissolve.”
This is a translated verse from Mu’in Bseiso’ “Three Walls of the Torture Chamber”. He was – and remains – one of Gaza’s most influential intellectual and renowned poets.
After Israel occupied the Gaza Strip in 1967, he lived in exile for the rest of his life, hopping from one country to another. Many of Gaza’s great intellectuals were exiled as well; others languished in jail or were assassinated.
Here is further proof that US foreign policy fact is stranger than fiction: one day after the Orlando shooting where some 50 patrons of a homosexual bar were gunned down, US Secretary of State John Kerry sat down to dinner with with Saudi Prince Mohammed bin Salman in Washington, D.C. and, according to the State Department, “discussed this weekend’s shooting in Orlando and expressed their shared commitment to continue their cooperation in combatting the spread of violent extremism, both regionally and internationally.”
Yes, the same country that follows as a matter of official policy the exact treatment of homosexuals as was meted out by the Orlando shooter has expressed concern over extremism!
If I had to choose one phrase to sum up America’s efforts against terrorism since 9/11, it would be that lay definition of mental illness, doing the same thing over and over expecting different results.
Following 9/11 we had to go after the terrorists in their dark lairs. So we did, in Afghanistan, then Iraq, then Libya, then Yemen, then by militarizing Africa, the Iraq again and then Syria. We’ve been bombing and invading places in the Middle East continuously since 9/11, every day expecting different results.
The ongoing competition to express the worst possible views – known to many observers simply as the US Presidential Election – escalated this week in the wake of the Orlando tragedy. Donald Trump predictably took an early lead in this episode by saying the following: