The U.N. Charter not only makes war a crime, but it makes the threat of war, including the long-standing White House mantra “All options are on the table” a crime. It does something else, though. It gives the U.N. the power to impose economic sanctions. This often brutal tool has led to massive death and suffering and laid the groundwork for wars. However, the Fourth Geneva Convention — which, for whatever it’s worth, came after the U.N. Charter — bans the use of collective penalties. That law is apparently not hard to ignore, and the Geneva Conventions in general may be the most frequently ignored laws in the world.
Correct me if I’m wrong, but even in the Cold War I can’t remember the Soviet media being barred from events. There have been ‘no truth in Pravda’ and ‘no news in Izvestia’, as the saying went, but even while we mocked them we still allowed them the freedom to report. Now, things seem to have changed. Moral posturing goes hand in hand with selective sanctions (did you ever hear Ms Freeland condemn the multiple violations of press freedom in Ukraine?). The one justifies the other. In the name of defending democracy, we punish those who dare to contradict us; in the name of combating disinformation, we spread it ourselves; and in the name of media freedom, we practice censorship. It’s a funny old world.
It’s been a fascinating day’s reading on the information warfare front. First on my reading list was a new piece by an old friend – Canadian activist Marcus Kolga. Readers may recall that he’s the guy who called this blog a ‘Pro-Kremlin, extremist, conspiracy theory platform’ and compared it to InfoWars. A dedicated keyboard warrior in the existential battle to defend Canadian democracy, he’s been leading the charge to convince all and sundry that our 150-year old parliamentary system faces a deadly threat from Russian meddling. Something must be done, he says. As he puts it in his latest article:
Politicians, policy-makers, academics and former diplomats who speak on behalf of malign foreign regimes must face a cost for allowing themselves to be used as proxies or ‘useful idiots’ in western media and society.
I don’t know about you, but that put a little chill up my spine…
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Climate change is planetary, ongoing, inevitable and affected by many non-human factors such as El Nino, volcanic eruptions, the level of solar radiation, etc.. Canada cannot, literally, have made any commitments about climate change as such. It can only have made commitments about reducing Canada’s carbon dioxide emissions, for the purpose of reducing the rate of anthropogenic (human caused) climate change. The purpose of the commitment should not to be confused with the commitment itself. To avoid confusion in interpretation, the words “climate change” should be replaced by “carbon dioxide emissions reduction”.
The seemingly endless fear mongering did not appear to stem the tide of the reversal of GOP fortunes in the 2018 midterm elections, where the Democrats were able to regain a majority in the House of Representatives.
Trump’s attempts to stem the flow of good paying jobs out of this country has met with mixed results at best. His crackdown on immigration (both legal and illegal) has been seen by many as draconian and inhumane in the extreme.
Despite its claims to be revealing something novel Chaos as a Strategy therefore rapidly disintegrates into a simple repetition of all the normal claims about Russia.
Back in my youth, we talked about the importance of confidence building measures. The idea was that potential enemies, could reduce the chance of conflict, by reassuring each other they did not have hostile intent. This gave one another peace of mind.
Today supposedly sane foreign policy experts think that it’s a good idea to provoke nuclear-armed powers and that peace of mind is dangerous.
via Poking the bear
In a sense, therefore, it’s perfectly fair for the Henry Jackson Society to point this all out. But the Society goes further than that. It exaggerates (75,000 Russian informants in London – give me a break!), and creates the picture that all this activity amounts to a major threat, without providing any evidence that Russian intelligence is getting its hands on really sensitive information that has the capacity to seriously damage British security. There’s a lot of huff, but at the end of it all, not a lot of puff.
He really can’t help himself. Trump seems to be completely incapable of accepting the notion that by labeling the news media as ‘fake’ and the ‘true Enemy of the People’ he’s not only inciting the anger he’s condemning, but also emboldening his followers to act on that anger.
Years ago, before Academia and I decided we weren’t really compatible, I taught a variety of criminology and sociology courses — including courses on criminological theory. You know — what is crime, why do folks commit crime, how do we explain what’s going on? That sort of stuff. One of the theories I taught undergrads was Matza and Sykes’ theory of neutralization.
Matza and Sykes studied juvenile delinquency back in the 1950s. People, they said, are aware of their obligation to follow the law, so in order to skirt that obligation and do stuff they know they’re not supposed to do, they concoct a series of techniques to neutralize that obligation. In other words, they find ways to escape responsibility.
I mention all this because if you paid any attention to the news over the last week, you saw Matza and Sykes’ theory in action. Here are their five techniques of…
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There’s a variation on this in which one claims that the Kellogg-Briand Pact included (in secret invisible ink) the sanctioning of “defensive” war found in the U.N. Charter. But more commonly the claim is that the U.N. Charter opened up the “defensive” and the “U.N.-sanctioned” loopholes for legal wars, and there’s nothing that Kellogg-Briand can do about it. That second loophole (“U.N.-sanctioned”) introduces the supposed correction of the Peace Pact’s supposed central failure, namely its lack of “teeth,” “enforcement,” or — in plane language — the use of war as a tool with which to eliminate war.
It is world in which there is one master, one sovereign. I consider that the unipolar model is not only unacceptable but also impossible in today’s world. This certainly has nothing in common with democracy. As you know, democracy is the power of the majority, in light of the interests and opinions of the minority. Incidentally, Russia is constantly being taught about democracy. But for some reason those who teach us do not want to learn themselves… President Putin, March 10, 2007 Munich Conference on Security Policy
Future historians may well identify Russian President Vladimir Putin’s landmark March 1 speech as the ultimate game-changer in the 21st-century New Great Game in Eurasia. The reason is minutely detailed in Losing Military Supremacy: The Myopia of American Strategic Planning, a new book by Russian military/naval analyst Andrei Martyanov.
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Trump’s instituting punitive tariffs against targeted industries in many countries, to boost those industries in our country, are deemed unfair at best in those countries and insulting in others. Putting in place tariffs while claiming to do so in the interests of national security when the target is Canada or the European Union stretches the imagination, to say the least.
The past several weeks have spotlighted President Trump’s forays into implementing his foreign policy vision. High-level meetings including long-term allies dealing with economics and trade, North Korea’s nuclear weapons program (including his meeting in Singapore with North Korean leader Kim), the NATO military alliance and the Helsinki summit meeting between President Trump and Russian leader Putin all placed great emphasis on Trump’s decidedly unconventional means of communicating with friend and foe alike.
As far as dealings with our long-term economic, political and military allies are concerned, the G7 meeting in Canada was fairly universally seen as a failure when Trump chose to use the same personally insulting rhetorical methods that helped him ascend to the Presidency after the 2016 campaign on the leaders of the United States’ main economic and political allies since at least the Second World War. His instituting punitive tariffs against targeted industries in many countries to…
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