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“The United Nations at 75: The Hope and the Reality of Its Role In The Middle East” Tuesday, September 29, 2020 @ 6-7pm MST, KGNU: Hemispheres, Middle East Dialogues, hosted by Jim Nelson.

September 29, 2020

Visiting the United Nations headquarters in 1954. from left to right front row: Rob Prince – age 10; cousins Judy Magazine – age 12, David Magazine – age 11. Back Row left to right: Aunt Pearl – Pearl Magazine, Aunt Mal – Malvina (Magazine) Stone. Our aunts tried to educate us

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“The United Nations at 75: The Hope and the Reality of Its Role In The Middle East” Tuesday, September 29, 2020 @ 6-7pm MST, KGNU: Hemispheres, Middle East Dialogues, hosted by Jim Nelson.

Two historic landmarks – 75th anniversary of the end of World War 2, 75th anniversary of the founding of the United Nations. Its mission, as stated in its charter, to “save succeeding generations from the scourge of war” – right there at the beginning. Still as vital as ever, maybe more than ever, but… hasn’t fulfilled that mission in the Middle East. Why not? What changes needed for it to be more effective?

All that and more – tonight on KGNU – 1390 am, 88.5 fm in Denver, streaming at http://www.kgnu.org

One World – An Ostrich Approach Won’t Cut it, “America First Means America Last”

September 29, 2020

Earth Day, April 2017. Denver, Colorado

Friends… the U.S. – it is not just Trump – have over the past two decades in particular – pushed China and Russia into a stronger strategic alliance that will not just reshape their relationship – but, melodramatic as it might appear – the world as a whole. It results from bipartisan American bullying, the vilification of the leaders of both countries, Vladimir Putin and Xi Jinping, a policy of surrounding both countries will military bases and engaging in all kinds of disruptive activities.

In this period after the collapse of the USSR and E. European Communism, when, had the U.S. used the power that it had judiciously, it could both avoided the precipitous decline we are now facing. It’s decline could have been graceful, manageable and lasted centuries – no world power lasts forever – instead it is graceless, a danger to itself, its citizenry and the rest of the world – on a road to nowhere. Leading the charge for the moment, one Donald Trump who has done untold damage to an already ailing body politic, both domestically and globally. If Trump remains in power, the dangerous circus will continue; if defeated – as hopefully will happen – it, the circus, will continue as well, but at a slower, somewhat more manageable and humane pace.

Keep taking potshots at Russia, Putin; keep attacking China for its human rights shortcomings, magnified beyond reality when it comes to both Hong Kong and the Xighurs. China and Russia will deal with their own human rights shortcomings. We’ve got a circus of shortcomings here in the USA to address. People in glass houses…

Beyond the fact that it either exaggerates or actually fabricates false scenarios concerning both country, these character assassinations have another disturbing consequence: they crminalize detente, making it difficult or impossible for any mainstream politican to pursue serious dialogue, certainly with Russia and more and more with China over issues of climate change, the nuclear arms race, or our more immediate global problem: defeating the global COVID-19 pandemic

“America First” means America last…

Read more…

Audio Tape: “The 2020 Presidential Elections and the Prospects for Middle East Peace” Tuesday, September 22, 2020 @ 6-7pm MST, KGNU: Hemispheres, Middle East Dialogues.

September 23, 2020

Abu Dhabi Crown Prince Mohammed bin Zayed (MbZ) with Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu

The audio tape of last night’s KGNU program. Transcript will follow.

Tonight on Hemispheres the Middle East Dialogues with Ibrahim Kazerooni and Rob Prince. This evening Ibrahim and Rob will discuss the 2020 U.S. election and the prospects for Middle East peace. Currently, with hot spots all over the Middle East from Idlib Province in Syria, to Israel’s open air concentration camp in Gaza, to Yemen where the Saudis and the United Arab Emirate continue to commit war crimes with U.S. weapons; to Libya where a dangerous faceoff between Turkey and Egypt is still possible; to Washington DC where the Trump Administration is placing “snapback” sanctions against Iran despite the Security Council rejecting the idea. Kazerooni and Prince will ask the question, what are the prospects for peace, if any, that either candidate can offer? All that and listener phone calls will be welcome. That’s the Middle East Dialogues tonight on Hemispheres

 

“The 2020 Presidential Elections and the Prospects for Middle East Peace” Tuesday, September 22, 2020 @ 6-7pm MST, KGNU: Hemispheres, Middle East Dialogues. 

September 22, 2020

Abu Dhabi Crown Prince Mohammed bin Zayed (MbZ) with Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu

“The 2020 Presidential Elections and the Prospects for Middle East Peace” Tuesday, September 22, 2020 @ 6-7pm MST, KGNU: Hemispheres, Middle East Dialogues.

With Ibrahim Kazerooni and Rob Prince; hosted by Jim Nelson

We are probing – sometimes with the aid of an electron microscope – searching for Middle East peace doves.

What are the prospects for peace in the Middle East if Biden wins or if Trump is re-elected? The United States has, over the years, through its policies of “humanitarian intervention” based upon “American Exceptionalism” created numerous “hot spots” throughout the Middle East. In fact the entire region is in crisis. Can either of the possible U. S. presidential hopefuls dampen these fires and reverse them, so that the region moves from one of unending war and suffering, to one of peaceful reconstruction?

What are the similaries, differences in Biden and Trump’s Middle East polices?

All that and more! Tonight, Tuesday, September 22, 2020, 6-7 pm Mountain States Time at KGNU, Boulder (Colorado). 1390 am, 88.5 FM, streaming at http://www.kgnu.org “Tune In On-line”.

“Spies of Warsaw by Alan Furst (and some comments on Philip Kerr and Douglas Downing as well)

September 21, 2020

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These kind of books create something of an illusion about WW2, of which Spies of Warsaw is a classic example. What’s missing? The broader picture. Of course there is historic value to place individuals in historically trying circumstances to explore how it is they deal with such situations but at a certain point, this strength can become a weakness. For as moving – and emotionally satisifying – is the ethical framework of a Mercier, or a Norwegian transport ship captain, or a Polish nobleman, no matter how clever, brave or, ultimately, generous of spirit each is (or isn’t), World War II was prepared and fought on an entirely different, broader level, the level of governments, of military, of diplomacy and of battles. The courage, the sacrifice involved is social in nature. It is that social element that is missing. Plus given their portrayal of Soviets as ruthless thugs, they contribute in their own way to the criminalization of detente today.

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Among writers who write spy novels, “spy masters” they are often called, Alan Furst is “up there.” In my book at least, he’s one of the better ones. I haven’t read them all but besides Furst, I’ve read a fair amount of Philip Kerr – who recently died – and David Downing too. Furst’s characters are, frankly, more credible – although credible or not Kerr’s Bernie Gunther and Downing’s John Russell are both sympathetic characters. The characters themselves are engaging vehicles that tell stories which, while fiction, reveal whole worlds. In a way they all deal with a similar theme: how to remain a decent human being in a nasty world in which it is impossible not to deal directly with “evil” – the evil of fascism. either as it is coming into being full blown after 1933, or in some cases, during World War 2 itself.

But then the credibility of the protagonists matters than the settings, the detailed description of place, the different historical moments leading to (or actually in WW2). It’s the background which matters more. For those who find history, especially the history of World War 2 “boring” reading any of these three is an interesting way to learn about the causes and main incidents that led to war. And all three of them know their history and know it with – at least it’s my impression – considerable accuracy.  By placing their characters smack in the middle of the war (in one place or another), readers can relate to the kind of emotional tension involved in so many moments of that war. The moments come alive and in a way that is often otherwise missing in “straight” history. Reading any of them, fiction becomes an effective way of learning history.

In the “real world,” whatever that is, neither Bernie Gunter, David Downing or the parade of upper middle class dignified protagonists that pepper Furst’s novels would have made it out of the first novel – and in most cases – out of the first chapter of the first novel. But they all do, manage to somehow wiggle out of the tightest situations again and again. If not, how could the authors write a series about them! Read more…

The Birds Are Dying…

September 19, 2020

Northern shovelers, “shoveling” – Arbor Lake. Arvada, Colorado . January 17, 2020

Ruth Bader Ginsberg died today; not necessary to elaborate on what that means, the whole country knows. The wild fires on the west coast continue to rage, here in Colorado too there have been mean ones – and the wild fire season has hardly begun. The air along Colorado’s Front Range is bad with the Denver Air Quality Index around 125 today, down from 150 or so yesterday. I’ve stayed indoors most of the time for the past week.  In parts of Portland yesterday it was around 400. News of a rash of involuntary hysterectomies in a Georgia ICE facilities, horrible news, while in Colorado the EPA slaps meat packer JBS hand when they should be indicted for murder for COVID-10 deaths and the news is that Denver cops killed three people this week.

And the birds are dying. Hundreds of thousands of them, perhaps more than a million.

Hard to evaulate the first reports but it appears the birds are dying and in horrific numbers. Was waiting for some kind of confirmation. I’ve posted just below an entire aricle from the North American Birds Field Ornithology which gives a plausible initial explanation. I’m not going to post photos of dead birds although there are enough photos on this article, along with video, to give a sense of it all.

Birds.

I’ve been photographing them and learning about them these past years… a retirement project. In New York City where I grew up I was generally oblivious of birds. Not trying to become – and am not – “an expert.” Nothing wrong with bird experts other than, with a few exceptions, I’d rather not be around them. Like “mushroom experts,” whatever I might gain in identification I lose in other ways: they take the joy out of bird watching for me; I avoid them and bird counts. Again it’s a personal thing, I just want to enjoy birds, connect a little bit, to nature and to their beauty and occasionally, as I seem to this past summer, get insights into their world, their behavior… and escape from mine, at least temporarily, get off this computer – on which I spend so much – too much – time , get a bit of exercise. Read more…

Poles and Jews – Magaziner, Prensky Origins… Part One; Even Prior to Auschwitz, Life was Tough

September 15, 2020

On the left – the Nieman River Basin – a small part of which extends into Poland near Bialystok where from whence hail the Magaziners and Burwicks. (Nieman is also spelled Neman and Nemanus.). The western branch of the Neiman begins in Belaru’s Pripyat Swamps, goes through Grodno in Belarus and Prienai (which the Jews living there called “Pren”) following northwest into Kaliningrad until it dumps into the Baltic Sea. My relatives were fishermen and rabbis living on the banks of the Nieman (at least according to “Aunt Mal”).

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Yet an off-handed remark that came back to me recently suggested a more complex picture. I was asking my mother’s sister, “Aunt Mal” who was in her later years what was left of the family historian about the family history and she remarked something along the lines that, yes, some of the family had perished in the Holocaust – although whether they were executed in the first days of the Nazi Occupation or died in camps like Auschwitz remains unknown but that much of the family had been victimized earlier, during World War One and the turbulent years just after the war had ended.

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Over the next few months I am going to be reading and writing about Polish history – keep getting drawn in deeper and deeper. I suppose the question is why? The answer – It’s a personal matter: although most of us hardly give it a second thought – myself included until recently – my family comes from there. Of course many Poles – and some Jews – would say – your family history is Jewish, not Polish and some Poles would argue that Jews, even if they lived within the ever changing boundaries of what has been called “Poland,” are not truly Poles.

I find that argument – on both sides – silly and in some ways discriminatory.

Jews lived in the changing landscape of what today is Poland for hundreds of years. True enough the communities were largely separated, segregated – and yet for centuries they shared the same history, the same geographic space, the same political formations and as a result of geography, suffered similar fates being located in the middle of one of Europe’s great crossroads – with Russia to the east and Germany (and France and Great Britain) to the west, with Poland caught in the middle.

Some Jews may not like being called “Poles”… but what else were they? In any event, my interest in pursing this subject is personal.

Like many second and third generation assimilated Jews, this history was unimportant to me and generally stopped at the Holocaust. But with age and what I would like to think of as less personal stupidity and an understanding that history – be it family or in the broader sense – is important – and whether one realizes it or not, we are all a part of something “bigger” than the little piece of geography and history within which we currently find ourselves. And while much of my families Jewish history – other than the barest of outlines – died in the ovens of Nazi concentration camps, or earlier in fighting on the Eastern Front in World War I and in the regional wars that followed (like the Polish-Soviet War of 1919-1920) – we can learn a great deal about what our family went through given the chaotic historical narrative of the times.

My family history, and that of siblings, cousins, aunts and uncles and parents, is Jewish and from Eastern Europe, what is today three countries: Poland, Lithuania and Belarus, for a good part of the past 300,400 years a part of the Russian Empire. The relatives who could have shared more of it with me are gone. I did learn some from a maternal aunt, Aunt Mal, (Malvina Stone, b. Molly Magaziner), some of which is fascinating, some of which it turned out by the little research I have been able to do, is more “family lore” than actual history – but interesting all the same. Read more…

Stopping by Grizzly Creek on a snowy afternoon in January

September 12, 2020

Grizzly Creek – the site of one of Colorado’s worst fires – flowing into the Colorado River (above in the photo) on January 20, 2020. Incalcuable damage to birds and wildlife.

The fires in Colorado – bad as they are – are modest compared to those seeming to ignite the entire west coast from S. California to Washington State, although we’ve had some terrible ones with the forest fire season still quite young.

One of these Colorado fires, the Grizzly Creek fire, swept through Glenwood Canyon (just east of Glenwood Springs) closing down I-70 , the inter-state for more than two weeks. The fire began on August 10 closing the interstate during which time no vital supplies could be trucked in from the west on the interstate. I-70 was reopened on the 24 and then closed again for a few days. It reopened.

As of yesterday (Sptember 11, 20200 it was 91% contained – whatever that means – with about 100 personnel remain on the fire, monitoring the open containment lines and continuing suppression repair as roads dry to allow better access. The fire has consumed some 32,410 acres of land both north and south of the Colorado River at Grizzly Creek. Grizzly Creek flows into the Colorado River from the north.

This morning looking at the information on the fires here in Colorado on-line, I remembered that earlier in the year, on our way to Glenwood Springs to spend a few days in the mineral pools there, we stopped at a rest area at Grizzy Creek and I-70. We stopped there for about a half hour, walked around a bit, saw the spot where the creek flows into the Colorado River. There was a path leading up Grizzly Creek that was blocked by snow. We spoke about how sometime it would be nice to check the path out and hike up it a ways. We had passed that way many times over the past half century and never stopped. Decided it was time. Pleasant place, even given the cold temperaturs of that day. Below another photo of the Colorado River just east of Grizzly Creek, taken the same day, now charred beyond belief. Read more…

Taxi Drivers Know Everything (or Mommy Is Stuck)…

September 12, 2020

Proposed route of Nordstream 2 natural gas pipeline from Russia to northern Germany

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Note: This commentary was first posted on Facebook by Dmitry Orlov and June De Luca on September 11, 2020. It concerns a series of incidents in Europe that most in this country (USA) are either dimly aware of – or not at all – the poisoning of Russian opposition personality (he does have a base in Siberia), NordStream 2 (the soon-to-be completed gas pipeline from Russia across the Baltic Sea to northern Germany) and possible EU sanctions against Russia. It is, to my way of thinking, very well done, exposing the machinations of German chancellor, Angela Merkel, this time caught in her own game.

Gave me a good laugh. 

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Taxi Drivers Know Everything (or Mommy is stuck)

It so happened that yesterday I was coming home in a taxi. The taxi driver, who looked like Bill Murray, turned out to be very talkative: during the trip, as often happens, we touched on all subjects, from the weather to blondes behind the wheel.

At some point, as background noise, there was some news read out on the radio. After the segment about the poisoning of Alexei Navalny, NordStream 2 and possible EU sanctions the taxi driver shook his head and said thoughtfully: “Yeah, mommy is stuck…”

“What mommy?” I inquired.

“What mommy?” asked the taxi driver. “That same one, Angela Merkel. You know why Navalny (1) was surrendered to Germany? Let me explain.” And then, for a quarter of an hour, the taxi driver presented a coherent theory of what happened, worthy of study at the Ministry of Foreign Affairs, which answered all the questions that had been bothering me.

This is how it all came down.

At the beginning of August everybody was preparing for the elections in Belarus—Belarus itself, as well as Russia and countries in the EU. It was an exciting game in which everybody placed bets on their own candidate. But I must immediately warn you that what we were observing was just the visible part of the iceberg, while the underwater currents were known only to a few.

Moscow and Minsk were demonstratively smashing dishes, shouting at each other and pulling each other by the hair, creating the illusion of a complete break in relations. This was as intended!

Europe, content and relaxed, was rubbing its hands and already seeing how it will very soon kick out “Europe’s last dictator” and install a Belorussian Juan Guaido clone in Minsk, grabbing this delectable piece for itself.

The elections were held. Everybody froze. Not bothering to wait for the election results to come in, on orders from the Polish provocateur [Telegraph channel] Nexta the Belorussian white-red-white [Nazi occupation flag] opposition marched into battle. Read more…

Fire and Snow – Colorado, early September 2020

September 9, 2020

When there were still mushrooms. Nancy collecting boletes on Rabbit Ears Pass summit. August 2010 – our 35 anniversary celebration, ten years ago

Mushrooming in Colorado and Finland

Every late summer about this time – late August and early September – until recently, I’ve participated in what amounts to a personal annual ritual – mushroom hunting in the Colorado mountains. There are a number of favorite places but by far my “favorite” favorite is on Shrine Pass. From the visitor center near the summit of Vail Pass there is a dirty road that heads west onto Shrine Pass. The road runs west behind Vail Mountain and the ski resort there and empties into Red Cliff just east of Highway 24.

I don’t know how many times I’ve been there, mostly with Nancy, sometimes alone, once with a colleague from University of Denver – Korbel. Almost always we’ve come away with a nice bundle of fresh mushrooms – usually boletes, an occasional steinpilz and on a few occasions, chanterelles. We’d clean them out the spot and as soon as returning home to Denver process them immediately to minimize the danger of worms. Some we’d eat that evening.

A hobby first learned in Finland in the late 1980s for the few blissful hours up there in the mountains, my mind almost always returns to Finland, to fall mushroom forays into the woods of the northern areas of Vantaa and beyond and to the family outings that brought so much pleasure to us all. It’s been a full thirty years since the family returned from living there. I’m not a mushroom “expert” and an not interested in becoming one. Like Nancy, I know a number of common species that I gather, avoiding those I don’t know. Used to collect two bags, the edibles and one I simply called “Ronald Reagan’s bag.” Occasionally we’d take an unknown variety to the Denver Botanical Gardens to i.d. but not that often.

On occasion I’ve gone out with someone who knows far more than I do and have enjoyed learning from them.

And then mushrooming in the Rockies changed. Read more…

Year of the Plague 28 – Musings Twelve hours before a late summer snow fall in Denver.

September 7, 2020

The garden in the backyard, twelve hours before an early snow storm. To the left in the back, moon flowers that have migrated into the edge of the garden from a neighbor across the alley. They come out at night and tend to shrink back into their stalks as the sun gets higher in the sky.

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Hello darkness my old friend…

I’ve come to talk to you again…

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The photo is of our backyard garden a few hours before the temperature is predicted to drop 70 degrees from close to 100 to somewhere in the 20s, tonight in early September.

The light before the darkness.

A full day of snow is in the forecast. And so, with Nancy in E. Nebraska, I picked the remaining ripe tomatoes, squash and one cucumber, will cover the garden later in the afternoon, bring my two thriving cannabis plants that are in pots into the garage to protect them from the wind and cold and cover the rest of the garden.

We’ll see what survives the storm afterwards.

It has been a good summer for the garden, the harvest of which is bountiful. For a month or so I can’t keep up with all the delicious tomatoes and cucumbers. We give away more than half I would think. Of course I’m not surprised, Nancy spent a good deal of time replemishing the soil with horse manure, hay, cardboard (which deterioriates) after it seemed the soil had exhausted itself from forty years of gardening. And now it has come back will all its former glory.

This is my forth year growing cannibis. It’s legal in Colorado. I hardly smoke it at all – on occasion to help me sleep, maybe once a month if that. An old friend helped me get going. Like the tomatoes, most of the weed – it’s good quality – I grow I give away as gifts. This year’s crop looks good but needs another week or two of loving tender care after the frost passes.

I had intended to spend more time outside today – most of the day actually, but when I went outside to tend to the garden I noticed white specks falling from the sky. Not snow flakes yet, but ash from the fires in the mountains, especially from the Cameron Peak fire west of Ft. Collins. A friend in northern California sits terrified with the fires there; she’s been through this before.

Fire and rain starting tonight and sometime early morning, snow.

My mind wanders.

Actually these days my mind is always wandering, wandering back to this, that scene, to Flatbush, Jamaica, Canton, NY, France, Tunisia, Finland and a hundred places in the Colorado Rockies.

I remember another early snow. It was later in September, 1969. Nancy and I had just met at Rulison. We had a friend – long story perhaps I’ll tell it sometime – Margaret Puls from Salida. She had encouraged us to go down to Alamosa to deliver winter clothes to a poor Chicano family. We stayed at the home of Priscilla Falcon (her married name) who would marry Crusade for Justice activist Ricardo Falcon sometime later. We delivered the clothes, spent an evening with the family, stayed overnight and the next morning drove back to Boulder where we were both attending the University of Colorado – she a freshman, myself starting a phd program in Anthropology (which I never finished). It snowed on the morning we left Alamosa but by the time we reached Salida the sun was out and the scenery, the mountains driving past the Presidential Range on into South Park was breathtaking.

That was the first time I remember a September snow in Colorado and it was the start of our 51 year dialogue, friendship, love affair. Brooklyn meets eastern Nebraska.

I am too busy to be depressed – objectively I should be. There is no good reason that I am not.

Between the Coronavirus pandemic and horrors Trump has unleashed upon the nation and the world, only those living in self-contained bubble can be optimistic. While defeating Trump is a worthy enough cause, the alternative is only slightly better. Besides, there is no “going back” to what was. The first time I heard the term “the new normal” was from a recently deceased friend, Joe Grindon. The new normal kept changing from being able to drive, to being able to walk to the corner, to being able to walk to the bathroom. Abnormal, the new normal. He tried to adjust, to stay in control and I must say, to the degree that one can, my sense is he was in charge of his life until the end. My religious friend. He used to say to me “you must be a very religious person” and I’d respond “And I was wondering how you could be such a religious person,” and then we’d both laugh.

We both understood “the darkness” that was approaching and that “the new normal” would continue to be re-defined… and that we needed the strength to address it and give the strength to others to do so. Heard stories of human suffering today – not necessarily the dramatic kind, but rather the kind that kills slowly but surely. An 85 year old woman living alone “waiting to die” was one. All the lonely people, where do they all come from? Another of teachers now working 18, 20 hours a day trying to figure out “on-line” teaching depressed and in a near panic, struggling to maintain sanity. All the healthcare workers… from doctors to aides and all in between. Those young folk fighting for their future on the streets being gas, shot with “non-lethal” projectiles. And of those kids in immigrant holding centers – concentration camps really – torn from their parents..and of every day it seems, another person of color somewhere in the country killed by overzealous overarmed local police…

“Trump’s Last Three Months in Office? Chaos, The Wounded Beast Syndrome and Trump’s M.E. policy” Tuesday, August 25, 2020 @ 6pm MST, KGNU: Hemispheres, Middle East Dialogues. Part Three (edited)

September 7, 2020

The December 31, 2019 storming of the U.S. Embassy in Baghdad. Imagine… they don’t bring us roses any more!

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In the past there was the Soviet Union, Communism more easily made into the boogey man. Even during those times it was necessary to dramatically exaggerate “the threat.” So for example at the end of World War II and the onset of the Cold War when the myth of the Soviet threat was elaborated … the Soviet Union was destroyed to such a degree in World War II it couldn’t threaten anybody. It’s foreign policy through much of the years that followed was more defensive than anything else through most of the Cold War.

But then Communism has the nerve to collapse.

This creates a crisis for the United States! It creates a crisis for the military industries – why make all these weapons if there is the threat is minimal? – and for the military industrial complex.

Whose the enemy now?

The United States had to engineer a whole new approach to “the enemy.” Now – like knights of old – military intervention is based on “humanitarian intervention.” The powers that be have found a way to “prettify” and justify what is essentially imperialist war for arguing that the military is taking such action “for the good of the people.”

Rob Prince

First Pompeo and the United States present this bill against Iran. The United States and the Dominican Republic are the only two countries that supported it (“snapback” sanctions against Iran). China and Russia voted against and the others, including America’s European allies, obstained.

Then Pompeo goes back to the [United Nations] Security Council for another “snapback” stunt and again he – and the United States – are rejected by the entire world. This is called American exceptionalism. This is American exceptionalism that sees itself to be right all the time and the rest of the world to be wrong.

Ibrahim Kazerooni: It’s a circus! Trump thinks he can have his cake and eat it too. He has the audacity to go to the United Nations to ask a world body to agree with the United States when there is no ground to do so.

They (the Trump Administration) are living in a cocoon.

 

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KGNU Hemispheres – August 25, 2020 – Transcript…Part Two. (continued from Part One, Two)

Tonight on Hemispheres the Middle East Dialogues with Ibrahim Kazerooni and Rob Prince.

Ibrahim Kazerooni: It’s a show (the so-called spat between the U.A.E. and Israel over whether the U.S. would see F-35s to the U.A.E).

Let me give my take of this situation

Getting back to Al Maliki (the former Iraqi Prime Minister), he related how when he went to Washington he presented this dilemma – not being able to use the weaponry it bought from the United States – and presented to the president at the time, that Iraq wanted Apache helicopters or F-16s, he was told to go to the Congressional Defense Committee. He said, “when I went there I was told that `No, we will not sell you the full package of these weapons because you might use them against Israel.’”

So this idea that the Israelis are strongly opposed to the U.S. selling F-35s to the United Arab Emirates – it’s a show. So purchasing F-35s and being able to operate them is not the same thing. This charade over the Israeli objection is to present this as if it’s a true deal. That is the reality of the situation.

That’s the first point. Read more…

“Trump’s Last Three Months in Office? Chaos, The Wounded Beast Syndrome and Trump’s M.E. policy” Tuesday, August 25, 2020 @ 6pm MST, KGNU: Hemispheres, Middle East Dialogues. Part Two (edited)

September 2, 2020

Ruins of Al Asad Air Base – U.S. Air Base in Iraq – after the January 7, 2-2- Iranian missile attack in response to the assassination of Iranian Revolutionary Guard General Qassem Soleimani and Iraqi Kata’b Hezbollah militia leader , Abu Mahdi al-Muhandis

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My personal view is that although the Trump Administration operates within that overall schema of American exceptionalism which is based on world domination that the problems, the challenges that exist in the United States visavis the Middle East in general and Iran in particular, is that they are still living in the past, in the 1970s, 1980s. They are trying to use old, dated Cold War strategies, tools by bombarding one place or another – what the British used to do in the past. But then as Imam Khomeini noted, “the period of gunboat diplomacy is over.”

Ibrahim Kazerooni

Essentially the Israelis and the Saudis came up with what amounts to a public relations scheme to give Trump the victory that slipped through his fingers with the collapse of the deal of the century. (By the way, whenever the U.A.E. in mentioned keep in mind that politically it is joined at the hip with Saudi Arabia.)

Basically this so-called historic deal is not historic and hardly a deal.

Rob Prince

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KGNU Hemispheres – August 25, 2020 – Transcript…Part Two. (continued from Part One)

Rob Prince: Ibrahim I want to ask you something.

I see a pattern here that you’re developing. It concerns weak presidents who don’t have a good understanding of foreign policy. Their foreign policy is managed by someone else. Whether it was Wolfowitz, Rumsfeldt, Cheney – or now – Pompeo.

Do you see that same trend?

Ibrahim Kazerooni: Yes

Remember during the run-up to the invasion of Iraq, 2002, 2003. We used to refer to Cheney as “the president” and George Bush as the vice president, because Bush had no clue as to how to structure, orchestrate or manage foreign policy. At the time foreign policy was being organized by a group of neo-cons who either got their inspiration from religious or political extremism.

When we talk about Trump’s foreign policy, we have to admit that the overall schema in which he operates – as well has his administration – is no different from that of Obama, Bush or any other past president. It is this doctrine that imposes some kind of understanding, world view, ontology regarding the rest of the world.

The United States wants to dominate.

Remember after 1990 all the literature that came out from the neo-cons. The opposing force the Soviet Union had literally disintegrated. The United States saw itself as the supreme power and was committed to use its military power to shape and frame the world according to its liking. Unfortunately, it has not happened, no matter how hard that Trump or anyone else within the administration has endeavored to do so.

This policy is clearly visible when it comes to Iran. Today, Iran is not the Iran of 1978, 1979 or even 1980 or 1990. Iran is not simply a country anymore. It is part of what is today called the axis of resistance. It has become a regional power.

But because the United States is not prepared to accept this reality, Washington is dealing with Iran using an old kind of strategy; but those tools have become redundant. It doesn’t produce the desired result. Constantly the United States speaks of economic embargos. Recently twice Washington has gone to the United Nations to elicit international support for tighter sanctions and failed to achieve their goal.

Pompeo is confused.

Where it concerns United States foreign policy towards Iran, they really don’t know what to do. Read more…

Ocean Ave, Lenox Road. A Brooklyn Tale. Who Was Uncle Willie?

September 1, 2020

1. Walking into personal history

The picture is of the entrance to an apartment building just off of Flatbush Ave. in Brooklyn. 50 Lenox Road. It was the summer of 2009. Our mother, whose last name (of several – Beatrice Magaziner, Beatrice Magazine, Beatrice Prensky, Beatrice Prince) was Beatrice Kaye, had just died and was buried at Montefiore Cemetery out on Long Island where she lay at rest with most of her siblings in a Magzine family plot

With my younger sister, Laurie Aronstein, I visited the old neighborhood in Brooklyn where so much of the family’s history on my mother’s side had transpired. First we went to 305-325 Ocean Ave., “the Belvedere” right next to the Parkside Ave. Subway Station. It sits on the corner of Ocean Ave and Parkside Ave. directly across the street to the entrance of Prospect Park where the arc stands. If the address sounds a bit off it is because it is really two apartment buildings connected by a lobby, 305 Ocean Ave and 325 Ocean Ave.

It appeared that the Belvedere had been renovated, the entrance was clean and fresh, as was the lobby which we entered as the front door was open. I had not stepped foot in the building for sixty years and yet memories of it, of visiting the playground and small zoo in Prospect Park across the street, came flooding back. For myself, this is where “it” all started. There were two young boys, nine or ten, kicking a soccer ball just inside the entrance. They were speaking Arabic, a language not particularly common in Flatbush in the 1940s. But the world had changed, hadn’t it. Read more…

“Trump’s Last Three Months in Office? Chaos, The Wounded Beast Syndrome and Trump’s M.E. policy” Tuesday, August 25, 2020 @ 6pm MST, KGNU: Hemispheres, Middle East Dialogues. Part One (edited)

August 27, 2020

(an old map) Iran. After 41 years of not-stop trying, the U.S. has not been able to achieve its goal of regime change.

https://robertjprince.files.wordpress.com/2020/08/hemispheres-2020-08-25-edited-2.mp3”%5D%5B/audio%5D

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This evening Rob and Ibrahim will discuss what could happen in Trump’s last three months in office. Prince and Kazerooni will explore the idea of the “wounded beast syndrome”. Will Trump and Secretary of State Pompeo stoke chaos in the Middle East as the president’s domestic standing and election prospects erode? Will Donald Trump resort to such a plan?. Ibrahim and Rob look at this period prior to the November, 2020 presidential election as entering a period of pronounced turmoil – even more so than what we have experienced these past three and half years. Iran? Libya? Syria? Iraq? Palestine?

These countries could all be possible targets. All that and more this evening on Hemispheres and the Middle East Dialogues.

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What we can say is that the period prior to the November, 2020 presidential election will be a period of pronounced turmoil – even more so than what we have experienced these past three and a half years. There are a number of concerns about Trumps tactics in this period, that he will create different kinds of chaos that he suggests that he alone can manage. Our other concern is that he might resort to a “wounded beast” syndrome type event.

Rob Prince

Why all the turn over, the instability in the office with the ones selected either bolting from the jobs or being fired?

It’s because on the one hand Trump hasn’t the slightest clue about foreign policy. He leaves it in the hands of his secretaries of state. But these diplomats have to operate having to deal with two conspiring forces within the Administration – AIPAC (2) and the overall Zionist forces and the other one is the Christian Zionist (3) and Christian extremist elements that overlap. Given the intense pressured exerted by these elements – the Administration has not been able to come up with a consistent policy, thus the Secretaries of State, working under such contending pressures, decided to leave.

Ibrahim Kazerooni

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1.

Jim Nelson: A president in trouble with less than three months to go. Will this be a case of “wounded beast syndrome” for Donald Trump? A wounded beast can be dangerous and unpredictable. Does this apply to the current administration? As the November, 2020 presidential election approaches, Trump has been acting increasingly erratic and authoritarian.

This could present a global danger.

Who starts?

Rob Prince: I’ll start.

Here we are, less than 2 ½ months prior to the presidential election. As we speak it’s the second night of the Republican Party convention. It’s hard to tell where this election is going right now. according to the Wall Street Journal “Trump Trails Biden, but Polls Show the President Has Some Strengths.” Biden leads Trump in the polls 52% to 43% at the moment.

As most of us are aware – that could change.

The question emerges: What happens when president’s domestic standing erodes? What is he willing to do to regain popular support. Often they often go to war… 

There is a long history of what the media refers to as “an October Surprise.” A president goes to war just prior to an election hoping to unite the country behind them enough to carry the vote on election day. An early example comes from Great Britain in the 1980s Margaret Thatcher was in trouble, her standing in the polls had plummeted. She instigated a poorly conceived war in the Falkland Islands against Argentina. As a result her poll soared and she handily defeated her appointment to remain in power.

There are American examples as well.

What we can say is that the period prior to the November, 2020 presidential election will be a period of pronounced turmoil – even more so than what we have experienced these past three and a half years. There are a number of concerns about Trumps tactics in this period, that he will create different kinds of chaos that he suggests that he alone can manage. Our other concern is that he might resort to a “wounded beast” syndrome type event. Read more…