From Russia with div

This morning I listened to the Joe Rogan podcast with Edward Snowden, the former NSA technician who blew the whistle on illegal US government mass surveillance programs.

According to Snowden, Barrack Obama really only wanted to do what’s best for the country but the Deep State convinced him to maintain these programs in the interests of national security. Trump, meanwhile, has harnessed the intelligence community to go after groups he doesn’t like, and as such is much more dangerous than anyone.

My guess is his lengthy exile in Russia has made him a little fond of the bathtub vodka. What other explanation is there for issuing dark warnings of the unaccountable power of rogue intelligence agencies but think they’ve been working on behalf of Trump? The man’s an idiot; I expect he was hoping Hillary would win, and then pardon him. She’d be more likely to pull the switch while he’s strapped in the chair.

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Venus Lie Trap

A couple of weeks back I wrote a post about a woman who’d failed to find a suitable partner online despite lying about how old she was. It’s hard to think of something more dumb than starting off your very first interaction with someone with a blatant lie, especially one which is impossible to keep very long. Unless, of course, you’re not really interested in pursuing anything serious with them in which case you can say you’re an off-duty astronaut who regularly saves baby seals from burning buildings.

Some of my readers will recall I was left rather mystified last summer by a Russian woman I’d met in the US who pursued me with gusto for a month, spent a week with me in Miami during which we got on fabulously, only for her to end it via text message the day after we parted and block me on every platform and communication system she could think of.

I can’t say I spend much time thinking about her, mainly because I barely knew her, my life has changed a lot since what with my moving to the UK and meeting someone else, and sand and sunshine is so far from the wet streets of Cambridge it might as well have happened on the moon. But the other day I was discussing it with someone and suddenly it occurred to me that the most obvious explanation is she’d told me a pack of lies about her life, circumstances, and who she was and if things had gone any further I’d have discovered the truth. Hell, there were plenty of red flags as I’d mentioned, and if you took an uncharitable view of any of them it would be enough to send any sane man running for the hills.

So I expect her life decisions had forced her into a trap: tell the truth from the beginning and never get a date, or lie and accept it can only be a short-term thing. I expect the reason she’d been on 60+ dates without success is because she’s tried everything from telling the truth to lying through her teeth, and always with the same result. By now she’s probably got the narrative so polished she believes it herself, but retains enough wit to know to exit before the truth comes out. In hindsight, it’s easy to see where the lies were; some things didn’t make any sense, and there were more than a few inconsistencies.

Why I didn’t see this back in the summer I don’t know. Perhaps I was too close to the subject, so to speak. But I can imagine a lot of men getting into this situation, too. If a married guy wants an affair, when does he drop the bomb that he’s got a wife and kids? From the outset, and only pick up the desperate, the insane, and the French? Or later, in which case she’ll go nuts, tear up his clothes, and phone his wife? Or not at all, in which case the whole thing’s got about a month to run unless he’s very smart or she’s very stupid.

For men or women, it must be an exhausting way to live. It’s probably better to make decisions you don’t have to spend a lifetime lying about. I’m kind of glad that for the most part I have. The only questions which have me skirting the truth are “How were things at your last place of work?” in interviews and “What kind of music do you like?” on first dates.

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Part break bridge

Tim Worstall alerts me to an update on the bridge collapse in Florida, which I wrote about here and here.

A doomed design was the “probable cause” of the horrific collapse of a pedestrian bridge in Miami last year that killed six people and injured 10, the National Transportation Safety Board found Tuesday.

A peer review that failed to detect the calculation errors by designer FIGG Bridge Engineers – and an engineer’s failure to recognize the importance of cracking before the collapse – contributed to the tragedy, the board said.

My initial thoughts when I heard about the collapse were:

A lot of companies have subcontracted out the actual work – designing, building, manufacturing, operating, maintaining – and instead busy themselves with “managing” the whole process. This involves lots of well-educated people in nice clothes sitting in glass-fronted office buildings sharing spreadsheets, reports, and PowerPoint presentations by email and holding lengthy meetings during which they convince one another of how essential they are.

In such an environment, it is inevitable that the quality of work suffers, errors go unnoticed, and – occasionally – catastrophes occur.

So I got the errors going unnoticed part right. I also said:

I’d be willing to bet a hundred quid the calculations and finite element modelling were done outside the US to save money, or subcontracted to another company, and supervision – which involves expensive Americans – was at nowhere near the levels it should have been. Regardless of where they were done, I’d also be willing to bet the company spent more manhours on progress meetings and overly-detailed weekly reports to let the management know what was going on than they did checking the engineering calculations.

Here’s what the article says:

NTSB staffer Dan Walsh said the construction was “high-risk” because of the complex design of the bridge. But he added that the school was overseeing the project, and the state Transportation Department was not required to have an inspector on site.

“Our recommendations address this issue, that FDOT should have more authority on this type of project,” Walsh said.

Uh-huh. The school awarded the job to MCM, perhaps on the basis of a glossy brochure on how committed they were to diversity and inclusion, and MCM handed the bridge design work off to FIGG and didn’t bother to supervise them or make sure their calculations were sound. Nor did they think anything was wrong when FIGG started tensioning the bridge trusses over live traffic, which would have had me blowing whistles and waving red flags without knowing the first thing about bridges. Result: collapsed bridge and dead people.

The board issued several recommendations to ensure that additional guidance will allow designers to better determine loads; that plans will undergo peer review by a qualified independent firm.

This doesn’t happen already?! When I got a crane built for an oil company in Nigeria, I used a specialist crane design company in the Netherlands and then got the entire design, including the calculations, verified by an independent third-party certification body. The same outfit also witnessed the load test and signed off on it. I thought this was standard.

FIU President Mark Rosenberg lauded the project when the section was dropped into place days before the tragedy.

“FIU is about building bridges and student safety,” Rosenberg said. “This project accomplishes our mission beautifully.”

If an accident happens on an oil and gas construction site resulting in fatalities, the oil company is ultimately responsible because they own the job and they are obliged to use competent contractors thus ensuring the safety of all workers. They aren’t permitted to just point at the engineering and construction contractor and say “nothing to do with us”. This is why BP got clobbered for the Deepwater Horizon accident more than Transocean who owned the rig. Perhaps it’s time this ownership principle was extended to civil works in public places?

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Ad of Hitler

A reader in Hong Kong alerts me to an interesting selection of adverts under my latest post.To think, I once got an email from the advertising agency that my commentators might be a little sweary for Google’s sensibilities.

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The crimes they are a-changin’

In the context of yesterday’s post and the prosecution of Bruno Dey, comes this series of tweets:

I suppose being born in the post-war era in western Europe it’s hard to imagine what it’s like living under a murderous, totalitarian regime and therefore it’s easy to kid ourselves that we’d have been the Chinese guy standing in front of the tanks at Tiananmen Square. I suspect those who lived through the Soviet Union, occupied France, or Saddam Hussein’s Iraq don’t hold themselves in such high regard, though.

I’ve written before about the appalling binary choices the Nazis forced on people, and while I’m not going to say Dey is much of a victim (especially considering those on the other side of the wire) it’s unlikely teenage draftees into the Wehrmacht had a whole lot of say about their career paths. There are claims that guards didn’t have to serve at concentration camps and could request a transfer. Even supposing this is true, transfer to where? Stalingrad? Or perhaps it was true in theory, just as the Soviet constitution guaranteed a fair trial. This chap on Twitter presumably thinks Dey should have disobeyed orders and been shot instead, but what if he had others to think about, such as a family who might face repercussions? For all the fear of non-existent Nazis in contemporary society people seem to have forgotten how the real Nazis operated and how much the Gestapo was feared by the population. In my 19 years of corporate life I’ve barely met anyone brave enough to disagree with their boss, yet we’re supposed to believe our generation would face down a Nazi officer in 1944? Please.

Thinking about this last night, what Germany is doing by prosecuting this man is signalling to everyone they take Nazis and the Holocaust seriously in order to deflect attention from the fact that anti-Israeli sentiment runs strong across German politics and, largely thanks to Merkel’s immigration policies, antisemitism is on the rise. The decision to prosecute is therefore political, as is the hounding of British troops who served in Northern Ireland in the 1970s. You’ll note that the politicians who sent them there and the senior officers who commanded them aren’t being hauled into courtrooms 45 years after the events in question, it’s just the squaddies, NCOs, and junior officers who are having their lives ruined at the hands of treacherous lawyers and spineless politicians. Those really responsible are either dead or off-limits, which is why these prosecutions are happening only now.

The irony is this Ian Noble chap is an ex-soldier who served in Kosovo. He says he went there to prevent genocide and maybe he did, but he was there without a UN mandate and many Serbs (and probably a lot of Russians) would have every reason to think he was an accessory to war crimes. Bear in mind he was sent there by Tony Blair, a man who ordered Britain into an unsanctioned attack on Iraq, and if by some strange turn of events Russia ends up wielding clout on the international stage in 40 years time he might find himself yanked from his retirement home and asked to explain why he was murdering innocent Serbs. And he was no draftee. This chap probably doesn’t think it’s possible and nor do I, but I wouldn’t want to bet on some future British government not seeking to burnish its progressive credentials by punishing soldiers who took part in the Iraq War – or maybe even the Kosovo War – once the people responsible are safely dead. Who knows what form the British government will take in another generation? We already have an overt IRA sympathiser as leader of the opposition, and the demographics don’t look good if it’s favourable views of the Iraq War we’re after.

The fact that every German who served in the Wehrmacht wasn’t a genocidal Nazi was well-understood at the time, even by those who fought them. My Austrian friend from my MBA has grandparents who fought in the German army because – surprise surprise! – that’s what Austrian men of that age were forced to do. There’s a good chance they might have done some pretty unpleasant stuff while in the uniform too, because that’s what happens when men go to war across an entire continent. Their contemporaries on the winning side hanged the leadership then moved on, and never sought to punish the rank and file. But the ever-so-clever modern generation who weren’t there and have never seen their country attacked let alone occupied by a foreign army know better. In the same vein they’ve convinced themselves that every American who fought for the South was a racist who hated black people and took up arms only to prolong slavery, while those who fought on the Union side could be assistant editors at The Huffington Post. And somehow they think Abraham Lincoln fought the war to free the slaves. Unfortunately there are no ex-Confederates left for liberals to put in jail so they have to be content with tearing down their statues instead.

It’s hard to know what’s worse, the ignorance, the revisionism, or the opportunism. Whatever it is, it has nothing to do with justice.

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Dey was young

I’ve written before about the absurd practice of hauling nonagenarian German ex-soldiers in front of war crimes tribunals 75 years after the event. Unfortunately this practice is still going on:

A former Nazi concentration camp guard has gone on trial on 5,230 counts of being an accessory to murder.

Bruno Dey, 93, was a guard at the Stutthof camp east of Danzig – Gdansk – in Poland from August 1944 to April 1945.

There is no evidence he directly participated in any killings, but prosecutors argue he effectively helped them to take place in his role as a guard.

“The accused was no ardent worshipper of Nazi ideology,” an indictment said. “But there is also no doubt that he never actively challenged the persecutions of the Nazi regime.”

If not rising up against the Nazi regime warrants being charged as an accessory to murder, there are an awful lot who should have spent the past 70 years in jail. The Republic of Ireland, for example.

Wheelchair-bound Mr Dey has not denied being a camp guard. He has given investigators detailed statements about his service, and how after being ruled unfit for combat at age 17, he was drafted into an SS detachment and sent to Stutthof, which was near his home town.

How much agency do you think a 17 year old draftee had in Nazi Germany in 1944? He was supposed to know what was going on, refuse orders, and start challenging the Nazi leadership was he?

I have no problems about the allies hanging the Nazi leadership, even if the Nuremberg trials had no legal precedent. Nor do I have a problem with Simon Wiesenthal rounding up Nazis and shipping them back to Israel to be tried and executed. But hounding the last remnants of a generation that’s passed on, accusing them of complicity in crimes they didn’t commit when they were barely more than kids is grotesque.

Some three dozen survivors and their relatives have joined the trial as co-plaintiffs, as allowed under German law, including New York filmmaker Ben Cohen, whose grandmother survived Stutthof but whose great-grandmother died in the camp’s gas chamber during the time Dey served as a camp guard.

This is partly why Russians aren’t interested in opening the lid on their Soviet past; they know it will descend into farce. This isn’t about justice, it’s about revenge. And it is very, very ugly.

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LGB v T

This is an interesting Twitter thread from a lesbian on the sinister direction the trans rights movement is taking us in. But I fear she might be reaping what her own movement has sown. Take this for example:

The idea that you can go about modern life in the west without voicing moral agreement with gays is laughable. Every single major corporation has subscribed to the Pride political doctrine to the point all employees are expected to embrace and celebrate the sexual preferences of their homosexual and bisexual colleagues. “Demanding you live as though you share their beliefs” is precisely what gay rights activists do, and they now have the force of law behind them.

Unless you’re a baker who objects to making a cake for a gay wedding, of course.

Which sounds exactly like the gay rights movement.

But if anyone opposes gay marriage or expresses their religious views on homosexuality they’re declared bigots and hounded from their jobs. This hasn’t been about equality and tolerance for a very long time.

In the US they couldn’t get a gay marriage vote passed so they rammed it through the Supreme Court and now use “brute social and political force” to maintain it. What’s the difference?

Well, yes. This is pretty much how it’s been for a while, but the trans lot didn’t start it.

Now it may be that the author is a liberal sort who genuinely wanted only to be left alone, but she must realise the gay rights movement switched from demanding equality to wielding power some time ago. She must also realise that all this was done under the LGBT umbrella, joining homosexuals and trans people together in a way I always thought was stupid. Everything she describes is simply a case of trans activists getting hold of the political power their gay allies have been wielding for years, only with mental illness thrown in.

I’ve said before that gays are going to end up chucked under the bus when progressives move onto other victim groups, and I also said this:

By moving away from the principle that consenting adults ought to do as they please towards one of forcing moral acceptance of their choices onto a reluctant public via the legal system, the gays have lost a lot of natural allies in the process, those people who may or may not have approved of what they do but on the principles of freedom and liberty believed they should have been allowed to get on with it. The question they ought to now be asking is who will they turn to when they are stripped of their victim status and chucked under the bus. They’re not going to find a lot of sympathy among those who didn’t care who shagged who but cared very much that the proprietors of pizza restaurants in Indiana were being crucified by the media, politicians, and gay lobby after being goaded into uttering the wrong opinions. The mainstream, in other words.

And when the gay marriage decision was handed down by the US Supreme Court I said this:

The gay lobby has got what it wanted, but I fear the means in which it has achieved it may come back to haunt them.  A large part of the gay rights campaign was not about gay rights at all, but this was simply an issue on which juvenile, middle-class social justice warriors hooked their bandwagon in order to bash what they perceive to be the Establishment (but more often than not, turned out to be ordinary people trying to get on quietly with their lives).  With this new ruling by the Supreme Court, homosexuals have taken a giant stride towards being part of the establishment and an equally large stride away from being a persecuted minority worthy of the backing of a baying mob of self-appointed professional outrage-mongers.  As the last hold-outs against gay marriage recognition slowly die or get legislated away, new battlefronts will be drawn and the mob will move onto something else: in fact we’re already seeing that transsexuals have become the homosexuals de nos jours, and it remains to be seen whether gay men living otherwise normal, professional lives will enjoy immunity from the increasingly hate-driven and vitriolic modern feminist movement.

All of this is a long-winded way of saying I’m not picking up the cudgels on behalf of the author of that Twitter thread. The LGB lot can deal with the T-monsters they helped create on their own.

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Ridin’ the bruv train

Regular readers will know how I feel about the modern British police, particularly the leadership. Here’s a video which surprises even me:

In a different age this woman would be sent out to the forest to fetch firewood, being of little use for anything else. But in the modern era she gets to speak to us as if we’re retarded children, telling us which words we may or may not use to address people who are probably insane.

Now I’ve speculated before about how it’s only a matter of time before the British public begin to do what happens in a lot of the world, and see the police as nothing more than a nuisance to be avoided at all costs. We’re already seeing incidents of police men and women being beaten and humiliated while citizens just walk on by or, increasingly, stop and guffaw. This morning a couple of Extinction Rebellion morons thought stopping a tube train at Canning Town and preventing city boys and builders getting to work was going to be the same as lying down in the road on Westminster Bridge. They thought wrong:

What is so heartwarming about this – aside from Swampy getting a good shoeing – is the mantra in Britain has for years been “don’t intervene, leave it to the police”. Only the people on the platform knew damned well the police wouldn’t do anything about these idiots, and even if they did the station would be shut for hours. So they shook off a lifetime of indoctrination and dragged them down so everyone could go to work unimpeded. As the tweeter said, problem solved in 60 seconds.

What interested me most was when the police arrived they arrested the two protesters, not the two who climbed up after them. I suspect the police might have got a whiff of a changing wind here. Had they turned up and done anything other than arrest the two crusties, they might well have found themselves on the receiving end of a mob beating. The police leadership might be stupid, but those who have to walk into a fired-up crowd are not.

Today’s incident, coming off the back of the authorities’ decision to ban any more unauthorised Extinction Rebellion protests in London, might be a sign things are starting to turn. On top of that, it looks as though Boris might have reached a deal with the EU which can pass a parliamentary vote and see Britain leaving the EU at the end of the month as planned. While probably not perfect, it is better than May’s appalling Withdrawal Agreement and does actually represent Brexit in more than name only. That will leave an awful lot of Remain activists unemployed, and a fair few MPs staring down the barrel of a P45 cannon at the next election.

All in all, things are looking a little brighter after today, aren’t they?

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Equality of the Grave

I’m a little late to this article in The Guardian about how women ought to be content with dying alone in a flat being eaten by her cats, but here goes anyway:

Not long ago I had a discussion with a friend about why she married, and ultimately divorced, someone she knew wasn’t right for her. She said she bought into society’s deafening message that being with a man – any man – is better than being alone, and certainly better than dying alone, which is allegedly the worst fate anyone, especially any woman, can suffer.

Society’s message is not that women should be with any man, but that making the effort to be in a functioning relationship and putting up with some degree of inconvenience is better than being alone.

When I told her that I’ve never feared dying alone, and in fact have sometimes feared the opposite, she told me I was incredibly lucky.

The author is 40. I wonder what she’ll say when she’s 50?

Because this meant I wouldn’t end up settling for a life that doesn’t actually make me happy, even if society tells me it’s supposed to.

There’s always the option of shacking up with that strawman she’s built.

Apparently I’m not alone. (Pun intended!) Data confirms that more women have begun to realize that there are far worse things than dying alone, which is great news for women but bad news for the patriarchy.

Women accepting they will die alone is great news…for women? Hurrah for modern feminism!

“Broke men are hurting women’s marriage prospects,” the NY Post recently declared, citing a study from the Journal of Family and Marriage. The article claimed that “most American women hope to marry” but there is a shortage of men with stable incomes and lives, making it tough for women to do so.

Why does the modern woman need a man with a stable income? After all:

CNN reports that there “are more single working women than ever,” and by 2030, according to the CDC, “45% of working women ages 25 to 44 in the United States will be single”.

If more women are working, why the insistence on a man having a stable income? Sounds a bit old fashioned to me!

Contrary to decades of prevailing wisdom that those who marry are better off, a 2017 study published in the Journal of Women’s Health found that women who stay single or who divorce are actually healthier than those who stay married. By contrast, married men are healthier than men who are not. Why the discrepancy?

Divorced women have more time to go to gym classes (alone) and they’re able to eat lettuce every night without a man demanding meat and potatoes?

When a man divorces, he may see his physical and emotional health slide. He loses the person concerned with keeping him healthy and much of his social network.

Until he remarries, which is usually the case.

By contrast, women who divorce just see their relationships evolve from investing in a man to investing more heavily in other social or community connections.

A community of bitter divorcees who talked her into it in the first place.

For years, the feminist writer Linda Hirshman courted controversy by advising that marriage, unless to an exceptional man, is often a “bad bargain” for women. With every child a woman has, she sees her pay and long-term professional opportunities decline, particularly if she leaves the workforce for a significant period of time.

Because every woman knows that a promotion to Assistant Head of Marketing in GlobalMegaCorp’s Bristol subsidiary and the accompanying 3% pay rise (pre-tax) is worth more than having a lousy kid.

Furthermore, marriage has historically presented women with two options, neither good: marry a man and sacrifice your autonomy and career goals to become financially dependent on him. Or marry a man and maintain your own career but be prepared to have a “second shift” career taking care of him and the home.

Whereas single motherhood is just peachy.

Even among more open-minded millennial men, the female spouse still ends up doing the majority of caregiving and housekeeping.

That’s because men spend longer at work supporting their wives and families.

More women, however, are foregoing marriage and motherhood. In doing so, they trade in their “second shift” and instead begin taking care of themselves.

The sharp rise in the use of anti-depressants among the same demographic is probably just a coincidence.

To use Hirshman’s language, they are rejecting a “bad bargain”. This new status quo frustrates men who feel entitled to female companionship, such as angry male “incels”.

Women who reject men who don’t have stable incomes to support them complain those same men feel entitled?

Women have more economic power and freedom to set standards regarding the men they will be with, and what they will put up with from those men, than at any time in history.

And having set those standards, they find nobody is willing to meet them – at least with them. Apparently this is progress.

More women are deciding that being in a bad marriage, or trying to co-parent with an irresponsible man, is much worse than dying alone.

This is nothing new. It’s been the case since divorce laws gifted women the house, the kids, and half of everything the man ever owned.

Once dying alone is no longer scary to women, men lose power.

Fighting the patriarchy by dying alone.

So it shouldn’t be surprising that some incels are outraged.

Fighting the patriarchy Annoying some incels by dying alone.

It’s no different than those who mourn the days when they didn’t have to compete for jobs against women and racial minorities.

No different, and just as imaginary.

It must be frustrating to lose power you once had but didn’t necessarily deserve.

As you likely found when men stopped being interested in you.

That’s not to say women shouldn’t marry and have children. It is to say women should feel empowered to do so, only if they truly want to and with partners who are worthy of them, who champion and nurture their success, not hold them back or drag them down.

Or, apparently, can’t pay for their upkeep.

More women are embracing that message, and that could ultimately do more for women’s equality than any government policy ever will.

And the fox didn’t want the grapes anyway: they were too sour.

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Beating Kurds and Away

A couple of days ago Turkey decided to send its army south over the border into Syria and start massacring Kurds. Apparently this was Trump’s fault, as he’d withdrawn the couple of hundred US special forces who’d been helping the Kurds fight ISIS, and many people saw this as giving a green light to Erdogan. I’m going to take the lazy blogger’s option of simply repeating what I said last time this happened back in December:

I have a lot of sympathy for the Kurds. They seem less insane than anyone else fighting in Syria, more organised than anyone trying to manage territory in Iraq, and they are well-disposed towards America and their allies. They’ve been screwed over by the major powers on several occasions, suffered terribly at the hands of Saddam Hussein and ISIS, and been oppressed by the Turks. I would like to see their lot improved, and I will be deeply unhappy if the Turkish army move into Syria and start massacring them. If somehow they find themselves in possession of advanced anti-tank and anti-aircraft weaponry with which they can inflict heavy losses on their enemies, I’d not be too upset.

However, let’s get realistic here. The US was never in Syria on behalf of the Kurds. US forces on the ground may have formed informal alliances with Kurdish groups, but there was never a US policy of protecting Kurds in Syria, at least that I’m aware of. To begin with, what do people mean when they say America should not abandon “the Kurds”? Do they mean the Kurds in Syria fighting Assad and ISIS? The Kurds in Iraq, who run a peaceful, semi-autonomous region subordinate (in theory) to the government in Baghdad? The Kurds in Turkey? And with whom should the alliance be made? The PKK? The Peshmerga commanders?

I asked a few people on Twitter who the Kurdish leaders were, what were their names. Nobody knew. When people talk of Palestinians we know they fall under the leadership, however flawed, of the PA and Hamas. We know the names of the leaders and what their policies are, and these people regularly attend meetings with the large powers and mediators to discuss their aims. But who represents “the Kurds”? What do they want? If Trump is “betraying an ally” this suggests an alliance was formed and promises given. Okay, but when, and by whom, and with what authority? Did any Kurdish leader meet Trump or a member of his administration? Did they meet any of Obama’s? Nobody who is screaming “betrayal” can answer any of these questions: they want war to continue indefinitely in support of an alliance they can’t describe on behalf of people they know nothing about. If this is what passes for political wisdom in the US these days, it’s little wonder they’ve been neck-deep in unwinnable wars since I left university. Fighting a war used to be a serious undertaking, now it’s something advocated on a whim to spite one’s domestic political opponents.

If Americans want to fight a war on behalf of the Kurds, they need to first come up with a clear strategy. What are the objectives, and over what timelines? And on behalf of which Kurds are they fighting? If they attempted to draw up such a plan, they would see why they need to give the matter a wide berth. The Kurds are not some homogeneous bloc, they are fractured along several lines and were they somehow to get their own state it would likely be completely dysfunctional as the various groups squabble among each other. There’s also the small matter that the most capable Kurds are invariably socialist; I get the impression a lot of Americans don’t know that. If America were to support the Kurds in any meaningful sense it would entail severely distabilising the national government in Iraq, as well as taking on Turkey in a big way. I’m not saying these are necessarily bad things – I’d like to see Turkey booted from NATO and Erdogan put in his place – but they need to be part of an overall strategy which the political classes in Washington simply lack the competence to put together, let alone pull off. Hell, they can’t even agree to protect their own borders.

Most of the meltdown we’re seeing from the American political classes is yet another example of Trump doing X and therefore they must oppose it. The rest is from people who think American soldiers should be sent to fight and die in pointless, century-old sectarian feuds in the Middle East because otherwise the country’s reputation will be tarnished – as if it’s currently held in high regard.

The most moronic take is that Turkey’s assault on the Kurds plays into Putin’s hands, as if Russia gives a damn about either of them. If anything Russia would prefer Turkey stays out of Syria, given they’re firm backers of the Assad who, presumably, would like to run things without interference from his neighbours. We’re at the point where if Trump exploded a thermonuclear device over Moscow during rush hour, half of America would say he was acting on Putin’s orders.

To my knowledge, Congress never approved sending US troops into Syria so they have no business being there in the first place. If the Europeans carping from the sidelines feel so strongly about the Kurds, they are free to send their own soldiers to protect them, assuming they have any, their guns work, and they can get there. And all those ISIS prisoners in Kurdish jails? Well, why were they still breathing?

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