Posts

Showing posts from 2018
Image
Who Governs Syria?


The following is an article by a Russian expert on Middle Eastern affairs. It is a serious article and is aimed at informing academics and policy makers in Russia as to the history and nature of the regime of Bashar al-Assad. The picture is complex and involves the family and friends of the Syrian President, their rivalries, and their political and financial assets. One cannot help but be reminded of the internal workings of the great American Mafia families of a half-century ago. But this family is armed with an army and an air force.
Who Governs Syria?
By Kirill Semenov, Head of the Center for Islamic Studies of the Institute for Innovative Development
This article was published in the framework of the partnership between Expert Online and the Russian Council of International Affairs. (Translation by Livingston Merchant)
As a result of the military conflict in Syria, the complex structure of the inner circle of President Bashar al-Assad has undergone changes, but not t…
Image
America is governed by a drunk monkey.


At the moment the US is governed by a president with no knowledge of foreign affairs and without any inclination to learn. He only reacts. He is like the proverbial drunk monkey in a cage with a scorpion. Sometimes he is happy and makes stupid mistakes. Sometimes he gets stung and gets angry and makes stupid mistakes.

The monkey is supported by the wealthy who benefit from his "reforms" - tax reform, deregulation, appointment of billionaires on his board. He is also supported by politicians, mostly Republican, who would sell their grandmothers rather than lose their positions and by some elements in Russia, Israel, Iran, China, the "alt-right" in Europe, etc.

American policy is swerving like a computer-controlled automobile that has a broken chip in its executive protocols.

He governs by "chaos", his friends say. He insults the short, fat dictator of North Korea - then calls him his best friend. He insults allies and clo…
Image
Democracy in America may very well be replaced by something much, much worse.

Flying the flag up-side down is a distress signal used by the American military and others when there is overwhelming danger.  Polite demonstrations will not save it. Condescending news broad casts will not save it. Speeches by one or two clear-sighted men  or women in the US Congress will not cut it. ALMOST EVERY OTHER ADVANCED COUNTRY HAS EXPERIENCED A COLLAPSE OF DEMOCRACY IN  ITS HISTORY.

THIS PICTURE FROM THE WASHINGTON POST SAYS IT ALL. IF AMERICANS DO NOT WAKE UP TO THE FACT THAT THEIR PRECIOUS DEMOCRACY COULD ACTUALLY CRASH AND BURN, THEY ARE IN FOR AT LEAST A GENERATION OF AGONY.




For generations Americans have been under the illusion that they live in the land most free, most immune from invasion, never in danger from internal collapse, at least after that nasty Civil War was over and the racism and bigotry - both Northern and Southern - got swept under the carpet. They were also under the dangerous…
Image
From the Buddha to la Peste: a Dirge in Prose for Hungary
Livingston T. Merchant


High above the city generals of Attila's army of Huns surround him drenched in blood. They are the prequel to Isis, to Daesh. They slaughter, rape, enslave and pillage:this marks the "normal behavior" of humans in some societies in every period of time.
Near by Attila is a center that has displayed Avant Guard "modern art" for decades. Nothing goes out of fashion faster than avant garde.


Across the peaceful Danube on another height on lookout point high above the city overweight Sergeants from various armies climb to view their conquests. Ottoman, Hapsburg, German, NATO: they soon go home exhausted. A quizzical patron St. Stephen shares their view. In between the heights lies the sparkling Magyar capital. A capital with an extreme nationalist government. Underneath the city lie the corpses of Magyars and the invaders over the centuries. Above the corpses a few businesses promote Yoga to housew…
Image
I Love Turkey
In this article written seven  years ago, the year before I moved from Turkey to the Netherlands, I outlined my understanding of the strengths and weaknesses of this great country. It was written before the bloody coup a year-and-a-half ago and the devastating purges of tens and tens of thousands of journalist, intellectuals, and political figures and government servants. It was also written before the President moved through constitutional changes to consolidate all power in his own hands. But none of this would have surprised me seven years ago. And I still love Turkey - from afar.


I Love Turkey: an Article Written Seven Years Ago
By Livingston T. Merchant, Ph.D.

I love Turkey, but not the way I love a cruise along the sparkling Mediterranean coast, not the way I blindly love a lover, not the way I love an evening eating and drinking with friends in a tavern. Rather, I love Turkey in the way I adore a slightly unhinged cousin who suffers from attacks of genius alternati…