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14 minutes ago, Guard Dog said:

Not. Our. Problem. 

Whelp, since 1992 the U.S. decided to make every problem in the world "our problem" so all entangled roads lead to the U.S.

It will continue unless the U.S. starts taking steps to gradually withdraw from it.

Still not sure as to why the American people didn't protest against imperialism way back when, as I don't think the Founders had that in mind when creating this county...

“If we are to have another contest in the near future of our national existence, I predict that the dividing line will not be Mason and Dixon's but between patriotism and intelligence on the one side, and superstition, ambition and ignorance on the other.” 

-Ulysses S. Grant

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44 minutes ago, ComradeYellow said:

as I don't think the Founders had that in mind when creating this county...

They did not. In fact a few of them specifically warned against “foreign entanglements“ that sap our strength.

"The man of virtuous soul commands not, nor obeys. Power, like a desolating pestilence, pollutes whate'er it touches; and obedience, bane of all genius, virtue, freedom, truth, makes slaves of men, and of the human frame a mechanized automaton."

P.B. Shelley

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23 minutes ago, Gfted1 said:

WWTFFT (what would the founding father think) is such a weird debate to me. Who cares? Theres tons of things they couldnt have possibly anticipated. The Constitution, and more importantly imo the Bill of Rights, should be a constant evolution for the better.

Oh?  like right wing chauvinistic militarism that you have constantly advocated for? :lol:

I agree with the argument but your premise of it is probably not in the Green.

“If we are to have another contest in the near future of our national existence, I predict that the dividing line will not be Mason and Dixon's but between patriotism and intelligence on the one side, and superstition, ambition and ignorance on the other.” 

-Ulysses S. Grant

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7 hours ago, Gorth said:

Hamas has been stockpiling rockets for several years now.

Yes, the vast majority of Hamas rockets are 100% home grown and machined in Gaza, like the Qassam. That's why they're so inaccurate. That's also why there are so many of them and they cost a ludicrously small amount, by some estimates as little as $300, to make. One of the more amusing things about the whole situation is watching people who crap bricks about Iran's rockets simultaneously claim that 30% of rockets launch crash in Gaza (and get blamed for all the politically inexpedient casualties*) and are supplied by Iran. Pick one, either Iran is supplying the rockets, and their rocket program is therefore garbage, or they aren't.

In reality Iran's rocket program is pretty good and a definite threat. They hit Al Asad airbase about as precisely as you can get with ballistic missiles, and temporarily crippled KSA's oil infrastructure while making it very obvious they could do it a lot more permanently if they wanted to. Hamas bottle rockets aren't in the same league precisely because they aren't Iranian.

Iran is not much of an actual supporter of Hamas any more, they mostly sell them arms now paid for by Qatar (hence Israel's hard on for blowing up Al Jazeera offices). They fell out very badly, and in terms of being actual friends, pretty permanently, when Hamas decided to stab Assad in the back in Syria. Obviously it's a lot easier to blame Iran for everything rather than a US ally though, but it is also part of the Ikwhan (Muslim Brotherhood; Turkey and Qatar practically) v Saudi Arabia bloc conflict much like the coup against Morsi in Egypt was, and a way for them to contrast their support for Palestinians with Saudi and friends supine stance.

*Interesting stats, as weapon precision has got better Israel has killed proportionally more civilians rather than less, and kills more civilians as a percentage than WW2 which had genocide, nukes, firebombing, Japan in China, Germany in USSR etc. They've also killed around twice as many civilians, proportionally, as the Syrian Civil War. Yes, really.

6 hours ago, BruceVC said:

But you wrong about one thing, Saudi Arabia and Iran becoming long-term friends is not going to happen  because of this. This is just a brief reprieve from the age old animosity and still needs to be resolved 

Long term friends, nah, but MbS is desperately trying to extricate himself from troubles now and that requires detente with Iran which is the best that can be expected. He at least is pretty resigned to the JCPOA being reinstated prior to the Iranian elections. Hilarious watching early interviews where he and his foreign minister were saying that they didn't need to even talk to Iran because "they aren't even arab". Trust fund baby getting a dose of reality.

Edited by Zoraptor
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7 hours ago, Zoraptor said:

 

 

Iran is not much of an actual supporter of Hamas any more, they mostly sell them arms now paid for by Qatar (hence Israel's hard on for blowing up Al Jazeera offices). They fell out very badly, and in terms of being actual friends, pretty permanently, when Hamas decided to stab Assad in the back in Syria. Obviously it's a lot easier to blame Iran for everything rather than a US ally though, but it is also part of the Ikwhan (Muslim Brotherhood; Turkey and Qatar practically) v Saudi Arabia bloc conflict much like the coup against Morsi in Egypt was, and a way for them to contrast their support for Palestinians with Saudi and friends supine stance.

*Interesting stats, as weapon precision has got better Israel has killed proportionally more civilians rather than less, and kills more civilians as a percentage than WW2 which had genocide, nukes, firebombing, Japan in China, Germany in USSR etc. They've also killed around twice as many civilians, proportionally, as the Syrian Civil War. Yes, really.

 

Its a pity no one on this forum is particularly interested in this type of discussion around the various ideological alliances that exist in the ME that  shape policy and conflicts. I support the Saudi block as you know but its in the interests of  economic stability and sustainable peace in the long-term, its not personal or ideological. I dont always agree with you but I dont question your knowledge and understanding of the complexity of the ME

You have raised some interesting points and I have some questions

  • Why was Qatar thrown out of the Gulf States, its a Sunni country. Is it because of Al-Jazeera's coverage of the human rights abuses in Egypt and Saudi?
  • How did Hamas betray Assad, I can understand how this would have annoyed Iran but what did they do that angered Iran?
  • What is the goal of the Muslim Brotherhood, I know they fell out of the favor in Egypt with the Junta so I understand that but what is their broader objective in the ME  ?

And then separately I honestly dont ever support the killings of civilians but HAMAS continues to fire rockers from civilian houses and uses the loss of Palestinian lives as part of their campaign for global  political sympathy so I find it hard to believe that HAMAS truly cares for the loss of Palestinian lives. They would recognize that Israel has a right to exist if they  did because this would put additional pressure on Netanyahu to find a meaningful solution which I believe is still the 2 state solution. So both Israel and Hamas needs to take responsibility for the loss of civilian lives 

"Abashed the devil stood and felt how awful goodness is and saw Virtue in her shape how lovely: and pined his loss”

John Milton 

"We don't stop playing because we grow old; we grow old because we stop playing.” -  George Bernard Shaw

"What counts in life is not the mere fact that we have lived. It is what difference we have made to the lives of others that will determine the significance of the life we lead" - Nelson Mandela

 

 

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10 hours ago, ComradeYellow said:

Oh?  like right wing chauvinistic militarism that you have constantly advocated for? :lol:

I agree with the argument but your premise of it is probably not in the Green.

What do you think the Founders would have thought about Socialism since this is a concern for you ?

"Abashed the devil stood and felt how awful goodness is and saw Virtue in her shape how lovely: and pined his loss”

John Milton 

"We don't stop playing because we grow old; we grow old because we stop playing.” -  George Bernard Shaw

"What counts in life is not the mere fact that we have lived. It is what difference we have made to the lives of others that will determine the significance of the life we lead" - Nelson Mandela

 

 

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The Nord Stream 2 sanction regime was always going to fail, because it wanted to impose costs on Germany especailly to further an exclusively US foreign policy goal (note, I don't count Baltics and Poland getting a chub at Russia being discomfited as an actual foreign policy goal). Merkel has never been supportive of Ukraine in the same way that the US has, and reiterated during Maidan and since that the politicians saying Ukraine would join the EU as a matter of course were lying. She's also a lot more realistic about exactly what Ukraine's behaviour entailed than the US- like Yulia Timoshenko going from owning a VHS rental store to multi billionaire in a few years when she got her hands on the gas concession. The blatant theft and graft of Ukrainian leaders wasn't just costing itself or Russia, it cost down stream partners as well who ultimately had to pay for the gas filched.

Hilarious though thinking about the US reps who actually thought Europe would opt for massively overpriced imported US gas, despite there being no infrastructure at all for it and it being, well, ludicrously expensive. Biden is just accepting that the US played its cards and lost, world would be a lot better if countries behaved that way more often and didn't dig in just for the principal of it.

53 minutes ago, BruceVC said:

Why was Qatar thrown out of the Gulf States, its a Sunni country. Is it because of Al-Jazeera's coverage of the human rights abuses in Egypt and Saudi?

Qatar got too big for its boots. Its citizen population is minute, but it's very rich. MbS was by most accounts planning on a literal invasion and annexation, not just sanctions and a blockade. Stopped by Turkey mostly, but also because the US would not approve it due to having an absolutely massive base there (which quite apart from the negative appearance of allowing an invasion would have to go as there was no US basing allowed in Saudi)

Pretty much anything about MbS can be explained as him being the ultimate trust fund baby- never had any consequences for his mistakes previous, so had a massively inflated sense of his won competence and no idea of how others would react when they weren't directly beholden to him. See also: Yemen and the break up of the alliance with the UAE, and somehow managing to run Saudi Arabia's economy at a persistent deficit.

Quote

How did Hamas betray Assad, I can understand how this would have annoyed Iran but what did they do that angered Iran?

Hamas is basically Ikhwan (Brotherhood), which is Sunni. Iran is Shia. The main Ikhwan backers are Turkey and Qatar, both of which were vehemently opposed to Assad. So Hamas betrayed Assad and Iran and sided with the Syrian rebels which had a sizeable Ikhwan component (indeed the last major uprising in Syria previous was Ikhwan), while other Palestinian groups didn't, indeed one of the more effective pro government groups was Liwa Al Quds, a palestinian formation. To this day Hamas has zero presence in Syria as a result. So far as I am aware the last time any comment was made about rapprochement it was dismissed extremely undiplomatically by the Syrians.

Doesn't stop Iran selling weapons to Hamas though, and they maintain supplies to some of the smaller non Hamas groups too.

Quote

What is the goal of the Muslim Brotherhood, I know they fell out of the favor in Egypt with the Junta so I understand that but what is their broader objective in the ME  ?

They're Sunni Muslims who believe in Political Islam. By most measures they're more moderate than the typical salafi supported by Saudi or the west, not that that's saying much, but Political Islam is a threat to most of the monarchies and dictatorships of the region, so it's suppressed due to 'terrorism'. Their aim is the same as any other party really, to attain power. They're not particularly concerned about how to do it, but then in that region no one really is. Theoretically they kind of support democracy, but only the sort of democracy that could be relied upon to elect the 'right' person all the time.

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36 minutes ago, Zoraptor said:

The Nord Stream 2 sanction regime was always going to fail, because it wanted to impose costs on Germany especailly to further an exclusively US foreign policy goal (note, I don't count Baltics and Poland getting a chub at Russia being discomfited as an actual foreign policy goal). Merkel has never been supportive of Ukraine in the same way that the US has, and reiterated during Maidan and since that the politicians saying Ukraine would join the EU as a matter of course were lying. She's also a lot more realistic about exactly what Ukraine's behaviour entailed than the US- like Yulia Timoshenko going from owning a VHS rental store to multi billionaire in a few years when she got her hands on the gas concession. The blatant theft and graft of Ukrainian leaders wasn't just costing itself or Russia, it cost down stream partners as well who ultimately had to pay for the gas filched.

I remember when that was the news of the day, way back... eventually Russia got so fed up with the blatant theft of natural gas going through the Ukrainian pipeline, they simply turned off the valves. Much tears and gnashing of teeth followed as people were getting hypothermia in their homes (it was in the middle of the winter iirc.). I don't remember all the details of what was arranged but something about Ukraine stealing less and paying more was agreed, but Russia decided they needed a safer option for shipping it to other parts of Europe as Ukraine would forever being a weak link in the supply.

Edit: At the time, Ukraine was already getting it at a hefty discount for good old times (Soviet times) sake. Iirc, as part of a compromise was made, an "adjustment" a bit closer to market price for the gas they actually paid for and not mysteriously disappeared from the pipeline into the local, national gas network... which Ukraine also promised to look into. I don't remember the follow up discussions (probably wasn't aired on Danish news)

 

Edit2: @BruceVC regarding The Middle East, tl;dr; the place has been a mess since the Turks invaded Anatolia and the collapse of the Byzantine Empire. A collapse that was helped by the traitorous city of thieves (Venice).

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“He who joyfully marches to music in rank and file has already earned my contempt. He has been given a large brain by mistake, since for him the spinal cord would surely suffice.” - Albert Einstein

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10 minutes ago, Zoraptor said:

The Nord Stream 2 sanction regime was always going to fail, because it wanted to impose costs on Germany especailly to further an exclusively US foreign policy goal (note, I don't count Baltics and Poland getting a chub at Russia being discomfited as an actual foreign policy goal). Merkel has never been supportive of Ukraine in the same way that the US has, and reiterated during Maidan and since that the politicians saying Ukraine would join the EU as a matter of course were lying. She's also a lot more realistic about exactly what Ukraine's behaviour entailed than the US- like Yulia Timoshenko going from owning a VHS rental store to multi billionaire in a few years when she got her hands on the gas concession. The blatant theft and graft of Ukrainian leaders wasn't just costing itself or Russia, it cost down stream partners as well who ultimately had to pay for the gas filched.

Hilarious though thinking about the US reps who actually thought Europe would opt for massively overpriced imported US gas, despite there being no infrastructure at all for it and it being, well, ludicrously expensive. Biden is just accepting that the US played its cards and lost, world would be a lot better if countries behaved that way more often and didn't dig in just for the principal of it.

Qatar got too big for its boots. Its citizen population is minute, but it's very rich. MbS was by most accounts planning on a literal invasion and annexation, not just sanctions and a blockade. Stopped by Turkey mostly, but also because the US would not approve it due to having an absolutely massive base there (which quite apart from the negative appearance of allowing an invasion would have to go as there was no US basing allowed in Saudi)

Pretty much anything about MbS can be explained as him being the ultimate trust fund baby- never had any consequences for his mistakes previous, so had a massively inflated sense of his won competence and no idea of how others would react when they weren't directly beholden to him. See also: Yemen and the break up of the alliance with the UAE, and somehow managing to run Saudi Arabia's economy at a persistent deficit.

Hamas is basically Ikhwan (Brotherhood), which is Sunni. Iran is Shia. The main Ikhwan backers are Turkey and Qatar, both of which were vehemently opposed to Assad. So Hamas betrayed Assad and Iran and sided with the Syrian rebels which had a sizeable Ikhwan component (indeed the last major uprising in Syria previous was Ikhwan), while other Palestinian groups didn't, indeed one of the more effective pro government groups was Liwa Al Quds, a palestinian formation. To this day Hamas has zero presence in Syria as a result. So far as I am aware the last time any comment was made about rapprochement it was dismissed extremely undiplomatically by the Syrians.

Doesn't stop Iran selling weapons to Hamas though, and they maintain supplies to some of the smaller non Hamas groups too.

They're Sunni Muslims who believe in Political Islam. By most measures they're more moderate than the typical salafi supported by Saudi or the west, not that that's saying much, but Political Islam is a threat to most of the monarchies and dictatorships of the region, so it's suppressed due to 'terrorism'. Their aim is the same as any other party really, to attain power. They're not particularly concerned about how to do it, but then in that region no one really is. Theoretically they kind of support democracy, but only the sort of democracy that could be relied upon to elect the 'right' person all the time.

Thanks for the details, I appreciate your insight on these topics and several things make sense to me now around  certain ideological developments that have confused me in the ME in the last 6-7 years. 

Its interesting because I have travelled to the ME since 2001 about 15-17 times and I have met and worked with people who work on contracts in the ME that are  either expats or from the region. You not suppose to talk politics when you work for ME customers especially in the financial sector but what I have noticed is its very hard to find people who have a genuine interest in understanding the complexity and nuances of the region. People tend to not care or be aligned only to one group or view 

My family who do work in the ME dont care about politics which I understand because they have fiduciary responsibilities so I cant get their views in an informed way.  So its been a struggle to find people like you who have knowledge and are prepared to share your views openly on these complex topics

And its not about agreeing or disagreeing, its about information on the realities of the ME which I can research or confirm if I choose to 

So good post and thanks for sharing :thumbsup:

 

"Abashed the devil stood and felt how awful goodness is and saw Virtue in her shape how lovely: and pined his loss”

John Milton 

"We don't stop playing because we grow old; we grow old because we stop playing.” -  George Bernard Shaw

"What counts in life is not the mere fact that we have lived. It is what difference we have made to the lives of others that will determine the significance of the life we lead" - Nelson Mandela

 

 

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22 minutes ago, Gorth said:

I

 

Edit2: @BruceVC regarding The Middle East, tl;dr; the place has been a mess since the Turks invaded Anatolia and the collapse of the Byzantine Empire. A collapse that was helped by the traitorous city of thieves (Venice).

But Gorthfuscious we have to be realistic and look at  real solutions that can address problems now that can be resolved  with  political will and compromise primarily from the countries and leadership in the region . We cant keep  saying " the ME is a mess because of something that happened hundreds of years ago or even after WW1 with the  Balfour Declaration " ( as far as the Israeli vs Palestinian conflict is concerned )

I can understand your view is shared by many, for example  GD cynicism and fatigue with the general ME is also not unique

But I believe you can have peace and economic stability in the region but we need to focus on solutions that can be implemented now and not necessarily frame them on historical injustice and events because you get no where like that 

I often use SA as an example in this regard and its not like SA doesnt have major issues with corruption and a failure of governance nowadays. But when you look at how we achieved our first 1994 Democratic election despite the deeply flawed and immoral Apartheid system you will see we only achieved this preciously because people on both sides of the  negotiation were prepared to compromise and their was reconciliation

So we created a framework and foundation in 1994 based on a real Constitution and Democratic values, will SA achieve its economic and transformative goals I cannot say but I know we can if we address corruption and ensure accountability and governance 

But if the ANC and National Party had not created the foundation and compromised in 1994  we would  not have  achieved much  and SA would just be another failed state by 2021 like Zimbabwe, Sudan , DRC and other African countries 

 Thats why I vote and support the ANC , I realized about 10 years ago  how much they did from 1988-1993 to ensure we have a chance to address the Apartheid legacy and I am very glad and supportive they took this path

That is what is needed in the ME, compromise and political will 

"Abashed the devil stood and felt how awful goodness is and saw Virtue in her shape how lovely: and pined his loss”

John Milton 

"We don't stop playing because we grow old; we grow old because we stop playing.” -  George Bernard Shaw

"What counts in life is not the mere fact that we have lived. It is what difference we have made to the lives of others that will determine the significance of the life we lead" - Nelson Mandela

 

 

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28 minutes ago, BruceVC said:

So we created a framework and foundation in 1994 based on a real Constitution and Democratic values, will SA achieve its economic and transformative goals I cannot say but I know we can if we address corruption and ensure accountability and governance 

But if the ANC and National Party had not created the foundation and compromised in 1994  we would  not have  achieved much  and SA would just be another failed state by 2021 like Zimbabwe, Sudan , DRC and other African countries 

 Thats why I vote and support the ANC , I realized about 10 years ago  how much they did from 1988-1993 to ensure we have a chance to address the Apartheid legacy and I am very glad and supportive they took this path

That is what is needed in the ME, compromise and political will 

Which is sort of the problem... the "major power" in the Middle East is an apartheid state and heavily supported by very influential lobby groups in the US, to the point where the rest of the world thinks of the US as Israel's bitch. Eventually, either the apartheid system has to go or a population group has to be genocided out of existence (a traditional European, including the UK, way of solving problems), but this is getting increasingly harder in a world where so many have access to current affairs and news. Which leaves the first option. Either turn it into an all inclusive, equal rights for all state or a two state, with two viable states mind you, solution. Co-existence would of course have been easier, but blame nationalism and religion on that.

 

Edit to add: Part of what keeps the problem constantly current is 1.5 million displaced people that were kicked off their land live in refugee camps in neighboring countries with no future to look forward to. A good as any breeding ground for resentment and extremism.

 

It's of course not the only problem in the Middle East, but it's hard to think up modern solutions to deep rooted, sometimes ancient problems. Just look at the Balkans how quickly populist politicans and nationalists can turn a civilized country into a smoking ruin. And even there, the problems are far from solved, they are just dormant at the moment, waiting for the right spark to flare up again. Same with Northern Ireland. If those two places are struggling, guess how hard it is to think up something useful for The Middle East. Old hatred and grudges just runs deep.

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4 minutes ago, Gorth said:

Which is sort of the problem... the "major power" in the Middle East is an apartheid state and heavily supported by very influential lobby groups in the US, to the point where the rest of the world thinks of the US as Israel's bitch. Eventually, either the apartheid system has to go or a population group has to be genocided out of existence (a traditional European, including the UK, way of solving problems), but this is getting increasingly harder in a world where so many have access to current affairs and news. Which leaves the first option. Either turn it into an all inclusive, equal rights for all state or a two state, with two viable states mind you, solution. Co-existence would of course have been easier, but blame nationalism and religion on that.

It's of course not the only problem in the Middle East, but it's hard to think up modern solutions to deep rooted, sometimes ancient problems. Just look at the Balkans how quickly populist politicans and nationalists can turn a civilized country into a smoking ruin. And even there, the problems are far from solved, they are just dormant at the moment, waiting for the right spark to flare up again. Same with Northern Ireland. If those two places are struggling, guess how hard it is to think up something useful for The Middle East. Old hatred and grudges just runs deep.

Yes I agree that historical problems and injustice often get raised and create degrees of instability but once you have a working Democracy, or at least a relatively  peaceful country like you can see with the Gulf States, then you can discuss these things and address them or find solutions 

If you look at your valid examples in Northern Ireland, Ireland  and the likes of Bosnia, Croatia and Serbia you will see that despite political issues these are all working countries that have sustainable economies and offer a real quality of life for their citizens and they achieved this not with wars but with compromise and negotiation

So like SA you had a foundation created and then the governments onwards maintained their countries without using  the past as a way to sustain their countries  despite some understandable frustration on the ground and real historical injustice being raised as way of creating political policies 

This is what is lacking in the ME generally, the foundation does not exist due to lack of political will and  appetite to compromise and most important you cannot base your transformation goals only on the past and redress  ....it does not work as we can see with the success stories of countries that come from a violent past of injustice and political inequality 

 

 

"Abashed the devil stood and felt how awful goodness is and saw Virtue in her shape how lovely: and pined his loss”

John Milton 

"We don't stop playing because we grow old; we grow old because we stop playing.” -  George Bernard Shaw

"What counts in life is not the mere fact that we have lived. It is what difference we have made to the lives of others that will determine the significance of the life we lead" - Nelson Mandela

 

 

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For the minor side note..

https://www.scotsman.com/news/opinion/columnists/nicola-sturgeon-has-relegated-social-security-from-her-cabinet-in-a-blow-to-anti-poverty-campaigners-gina-davidson-3244518

After the SNP ran a campaign full of "anti-povery" "child security" promises, manifestos and such before the elections...  After winning the election, Sturgeon has downgraded the Social Security Minister to a junior minister's brief...

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22 minutes ago, Raithe said:

For the minor side note..

https://www.scotsman.com/news/opinion/columnists/nicola-sturgeon-has-relegated-social-security-from-her-cabinet-in-a-blow-to-anti-poverty-campaigners-gina-davidson-3244518

After the SNP ran a campaign full of "anti-povery" "child security" promises, manifestos and such before the elections...  After winning the election, Sturgeon has downgraded the Social Security Minister to a junior minister's brief...

Raithe what are your personal views on Scottish independence, I am opposed to it for several reasons that include

  • Scotland is an important part of the UK and contributes and benefits economically from being part of the UK. So leaving the UK will not be in the long term interests of the UK or Scotland and I absolutely support the idea of the  UK being united and no country leaving 
  • I am well aware of how the Scots were treated by the English hundreds of years ago, I have watched Braveheart and Rob Roy but we cant dwell on the past all the time and ignore the modern day changes to how Scotland is now positioned and respected  as part of the UK
  • I understand  the sacrifice that Scottish army regiments like the Black Watch made fighting for the UK in wars like WW1 and WW2. Many people died in those wars from the UK and it seems disrespectful  to ignore that sacrifice that made the world a better place
  • And finally and most importantly the UK had a Scottish independence referendum in 2014 and the majority of Scottish people voted to stay. Now is not the time to have another referendum despite the new support for it after BREXIT. In fact  BREXIT can be seen as a positive if you look how well the UK has addressed the pandemic compared to the EU 

 

"Abashed the devil stood and felt how awful goodness is and saw Virtue in her shape how lovely: and pined his loss”

John Milton 

"We don't stop playing because we grow old; we grow old because we stop playing.” -  George Bernard Shaw

"What counts in life is not the mere fact that we have lived. It is what difference we have made to the lives of others that will determine the significance of the life we lead" - Nelson Mandela

 

 

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Night Witches

Civilization, in fact, grows more and more maudlin and hysterical; especially under democracy it tends to degenerate into a mere combat of crazes; the whole aim of practical politics is to keep the populace alarmed (and hence clamorous to be led to safety) by menacing it with an endless series of hobgoblins, most of them imaginary. - H.L. Mencken

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40 minutes ago, BruceVC said:

Raithe what are your personal views on Scottish independence, I am opposed to it for several reasons that include

  • Scotland is an important part of the UK and contributes and benefits economically from being part of the UK. So leaving the UK will not be in the long term interests of the UK or Scotland and I absolutely support the idea of the  UK being united and no country leaving 
  • I am well aware of how the Scots were treated by the English hundreds of years ago, I have watched Braveheart and Rob Roy but we cant dwell on the past all the time and ignore the modern day changes to how Scotland is now positioned and respected  as part of the UK
  • I understand  the sacrifice that Scottish army regiments like the Black Watch made fighting for the UK in wars like WW1 and WW2. Many people died in those wars from the UK and it seems disrespectful  to ignore that sacrifice that made the world a better place
  • And finally and most importantly the UK had a Scottish independence referendum in 2014 and the majority of Scottish people voted to stay. Now is not the time to have another referendum despite the new support for it after BREXIT. In fact  BREXIT can be seen as a positive if you look how well the UK has addressed the pandemic compared to the EU 

 

Well Sturgeon and the SNP basically have the "Okay, so the referendum didn't go our way this time. We can do it again in a couple of years. And a couple of years after that. We'll keep having them until we get the answer we want." approach to it all.

Also, much as we love the hilariously bad history of Braveheart, and the more respectable Rob Roy, the thing that a lot of people overlook these days is that Scotland was separate for a chunk of time, and they went bankrupt and pretty much sold the country to the English. Look up the Darien scheme, that's what had a large impact on causing the Acts of Union to occur. So you shouldn't take the firm image of "The English were conquering bastards that took our lands" into too much account when talking of the United Kingdom and Scottish independence. ;)

 

 

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Posted (edited)
32 minutes ago, Raithe said:

Well Sturgeon and the SNP basically have the "Okay, so the referendum didn't go our way this time. We can do it again in a couple of years. And a couple of years after that. We'll keep having them until we get the answer we want." approach to it all.

Also, much as we love the hilariously bad history of Braveheart, and the more respectable Rob Roy, the thing that a lot of people overlook these days is that Scotland was separate for a chunk of time, and they went bankrupt and pretty much sold the country to the English. Look up the Darien scheme, that's what had a large impact on causing the Acts of Union to occur. So you shouldn't take the firm image of "The English were conquering bastards that took our lands" into too much account when talking of the United Kingdom and Scottish independence. ;)

 

 

I agree, can I tell you something that will probably shock you. 12 years ago I worked with a Scottish women who was on a 5 year SA work contract. We got on really well and she was very good at her job as a project manager but she was hardcore Scottish nationalist and disliked the idea of the UK for irrational and anachronistic reasons which I didnt question because of the work environment 

She told me where she comes from,which are  these small towns and villagers in northern Scotland,  their are still people their that if they meet  a visitor who is English they will be very aggressive towards them and that English person will " very likely "  get beaten up ....in this modern age. Yes these are small rural northern villagers but still....come on that is completely unacceptable wanting to beat someone up because they English !!! 

Edited by BruceVC

"Abashed the devil stood and felt how awful goodness is and saw Virtue in her shape how lovely: and pined his loss”

John Milton 

"We don't stop playing because we grow old; we grow old because we stop playing.” -  George Bernard Shaw

"What counts in life is not the mere fact that we have lived. It is what difference we have made to the lives of others that will determine the significance of the life we lead" - Nelson Mandela

 

 

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47 minutes ago, BruceVC said:

come on that is completely unacceptable wanting to beat someone up because they English !!! 

Come on, everyone loves beating up English people. Even the English do it 😛

The Day - Vicious Russian hooligans at Euro train and prepare to fight -  News from southeastern Connecticut

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“He who joyfully marches to music in rank and file has already earned my contempt. He has been given a large brain by mistake, since for him the spinal cord would surely suffice.” - Albert Einstein

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Guys here is another story that disputes the claim that the USA is a fundamentally racist country and structural racism is prevalent in all states and countrywide. I am sure our American members already know this, yes their are some people in the USA that are racist, same as every other country, but the majority of US citizens arent

Pittsburgh is about to elect its first black mayor, white people make up 67 % of the total population so in a country or city where all white people are racist or biased you would never see a black person elected to a position of political power. Its the same as the Obama victories....white racists dont vote for black people, trust me I know. I grew up in Apartheid

This is  just a minor good news story that sometimes we forget with the issues that we sometimes focus on in our countries and sometimes we miss the reality which is better than many think about many topics 

https://www.bloomberg.com/news/articles/2021-05-19/meet-pittsburgh-s-likely-first-black-mayor

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Pittsburgh#Demographics

"Abashed the devil stood and felt how awful goodness is and saw Virtue in her shape how lovely: and pined his loss”

John Milton 

"We don't stop playing because we grow old; we grow old because we stop playing.” -  George Bernard Shaw

"What counts in life is not the mere fact that we have lived. It is what difference we have made to the lives of others that will determine the significance of the life we lead" - Nelson Mandela

 

 

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Posted (edited)

"The man of virtuous soul commands not, nor obeys. Power, like a desolating pestilence, pollutes whate'er it touches; and obedience, bane of all genius, virtue, freedom, truth, makes slaves of men, and of the human frame a mechanized automaton."

P.B. Shelley

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Posted (edited)
5 hours ago, Gorth said:

Edit: At the time, Ukraine was already getting it at a hefty discount for good old times (Soviet times) sake. Iirc, as part of a compromise was made, an "adjustment" a bit closer to market price for the gas they actually paid for and not mysteriously disappeared from the pipeline into the local, national gas network... which Ukraine also promised to look into. I don't remember the follow up discussions (probably wasn't aired on Danish news)

Bit closer to market price ended up as the same as Germany was paying which given the income disparity was decidedly pricey for Ukraine. Then again, they'd provably stolen something like 12 billion m^3 (!) of gas and it will have been multiple times that considering how short the period examined was, so hard to have too much sympathy. After that and the cut off there was a bit of a cycle of up/ down prices and up/down transit fees, some more significant problems in 2014 and not much else except for them suing each other. Theoretically Ukraine doesn't buy Russian gas any more, they buy it from their western neighbours instead (who, of course, are mostly supplied by Russia so Polish etc taxpayers end up subsidising Ukraine's gas prices...).

The MSN article originally linked is pretty rubbish. They somehow- not sure how, since it's pretty obviously relevant- neglect to mention that Ukraine has guaranteed transit amounts for at least the next 3 years, and with an option to extend for another decade. Well OK, I am sure how, if you're writing outright propaganda that is exactly the sort of thing you have to leave out or avoid finding out, or you have to end up admitting that the point of the sanctions you're bemoaning not being enforced was really to try and get people to buy US gas rather than any concern for Ukraine.

Edited by Zoraptor
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2 hours ago, Sarex said:

I don't know what made me facepalm more...

Somehow Cruz should be the last person complaining about emasculation.

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Why has elegance found so little following? Elegance has the disadvantage that hard work is needed to achieve it and a good education to appreciate it. - Edsger Wybe Dijkstra

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