Monday, January 13, 2020

Frederick Forsyth: The "bourgeoisie" appeared to include anyone who did not agree with the college lecturer; those able to disagree more effectively were termed Fascists

Frederick Forsyth in The Fourth Protocol (1984):
Emma Lockwood was nineteen, a student at art college and subscribed with all her youthful enthusiasm to radical politics. She abominated her father's political views and sought to protest against them by her own lifestyle. To her parents' tolerant exasperation she was never missing from anti-nuclear protest. One of her areas of personal protest was to sleep with Simon Devine, a lecturer at a polytechnic college, whom she had met on a demo. …

… Devine was a member of a number of revolutionary study groups and contributed articles to Hard Left publications of great passion and small circulation. …

 … He was no great lover, but impressed her by his firebrand Trotskyism and pathological hatred of the "bourgeoisie" which appeared to include anyone who did not agree with him. Those able to disagree more effectively than the bourgeoisie were termed Fascists.

Friday, January 03, 2020

Iran "Doesn't Seem to Fear Trump" Who "Is Eager to Resume Talks" with Tehran: Top New York Times Story Published During Baghdad Strike Is Unwittingly Hilarious


I just realized something: I have been waiting for the American military's air strike ever since I was a teen-ager during the Carter administration. (Thanks for the birthday gift, Donald Trump…)

But this post is about the New York Times. Of course, the main story on the Friday's front page is U.S. Strike in Iraq Kills Commander of Iranian Forces, which, naturally enough, gets the prized position of top right corner.

The problem for the Times is that their international edition had already gone to the printer hours earlier, by the time the drone attack on Qassim Suleimani had taken place, and there is no mention of that story anywhere (see pictures of the two editions' January 3 front pages below).

That is the risk of printed media and cannot be remedied, but what is amusing — shall we call it hilarious? — is David Sanger's article that the European edition chose to put in its right corner instead: Trump's talk fails to quell threats from adversaries. (Update: shookhran for the Instapundit link, Glenn Reynolds…)

In the American edition, the title is different: Trump Bet He Could Isolate Iran and Charm North Korea. It's Not That Easy. What we learn from the article that I read about six hours after Qassim Suleimani had been blown to smithereens is that "Trump is eager to resume talks" with Tehran and that
Both the Iranians and the North Koreans seem to sense the vulnerability of a president under impeachment and facing re-election … Many foreign policy experts say he fundamentally misjudged the reactions of two major American adversaries. Neither seems to fear him, precisely the critique he leveled at Barack Obama back in the days when Mr. Trump declared America’s toughest national security challenges would be solved as soon as a president the world respected was in office …
Oh yeah: Obama — if the MSM can introduce a defense of the Apologizer-in-Chief, by all means, let it do so.
 … [Donald Trump] dismissed the depth of Iran’s determination to re-establish itself as the most powerful force in the region.… Mr. Trump … simply repeats his mantra that Iran will never be allowed to obtain nuclear weapons … The attack on the outer walls of the American Embassy in Baghdad, even if short-lived, was clearly intended to send a shiver down the spine of Mr. Trump’s political aides, who remember … There are signs Mr. Trump is eager to resume talks, including his effort to lure President Hassan Rouhani to the phone when the Iranian leader was in New York in September for United Nations meetings. … That diplomatic initiative will doubtless continue in secret.
Friday's NYT, which appeared after the air strike
The NYT's international edition appeared hours earlier

That is the gist of this post. For those interested in more details, take a look at a more detailed excerpt of the article by David Sanger (whom I met in Paris years ago, incidentally, when he came to present the French translation of his book on Obama):
President Trump entered the new year facing flare-ups of long-burning crises with two old adversaries — Iran and North Korea — that are directly challenging his claim to have reasserted American power around the world.

While the Iranian-backed attack on the United States Embassy in Baghdad seemed to be under control, it played to Mr. Trump’s longtime worry that American diplomats and troops in the Middle East are easy targets and his longtime position that the United States must pull back from the region.

In North Korea, Kim Jong-un’s declaration on Wednesday that the world would “witness a new strategic weapon” seemed to be the end of an 18-month experiment in which Mr. Trump believed his force of personality — and vague promises of economic development — would wipe away a problem that plagued the last 12 of his predecessors.

The timing of these new challenges is critical: Both the Iranians and the North Koreans seem to sense the vulnerability of a president under impeachment and facing re-election, even if they are often clumsy as they try to play those events to their advantage

… The protests in Iraq calmed on Wednesday … But events of recent days have underscored how much bluster was behind Mr. Trump’s boast a year ago that Iran was “a very different nation” since he had broken its economy by choking off its oil revenues.

 … Today the most generous thing one could say about those statements is that they were wildly premature. Many foreign policy experts say he fundamentally misjudged the reactions of two major American adversaries. Neither seems to fear him, precisely the critique he leveled at Barack Obama back in the days when Mr. Trump declared America’s toughest national security challenges would be solved as soon as a president the world respected was in office.

 … He dismissed the depth of Iran’s determination to re-establish itself as the most powerful force in the region.… Mr. Trump … simply repeats his mantra that Iran will never be allowed to obtain nuclear weapons 
The attack on the outer walls of the American Embassy in Baghdad, even if short-lived, was clearly intended to send a shiver down the spine of Mr. Trump’s political aides, who remember well that a hostage crisis helped lead to President Jimmy Carter’s re-election defeat 40 years ago.

In recent months, Iran has repeatedly mounted a strike and pulled back, including its attacks on oil tankers, an American drone and Saudi oil facilities.

The Iranians have made clear what Mr. Trump needs to do to reopen negotiations: Essentially return to the deal struck with Mr. Obama, largely by lifting sanctions Mr. Trump imposed starting in May 2018. There are signs Mr. Trump is eager to resume talks, including his effort to lure President Hassan Rouhani to the phone when the Iranian leader was in New York in September for United Nations meetings.
That diplomatic initiative will doubtless continue in secret. …
Back to the latest development and update — U.S. Strike in Iraq Kills Qassim Suleimani, Commander of Iranian Forces:
Maj. Gen. Qassim Suleimani … was the architect of nearly every significant operation by Iranian intelligence and military forces over the past two decades, and his death was a staggering blow for Iran at a time of sweeping geopolitical conflict.
Again: I have been waiting for news like this from the best military on the planet ever since I was a teen-ager during the Carter administration.
In Paris, a No Pasarán webmaster and a NYT journalist