So, Farewell Then Fidel Castro
While basking on the sunny South Carolina beaches I took time out to write a piece for National Interest on the death of Fidel Castro and how different world leaders drafted their respective statements:
The Castro case is unusually tricky. There’s no denying that he was a person of international significance, whose opinions and policies offered inspiration to global “progressive” tendencies. Likewise there’s no denying that he was among the most incompetent, brutish leaders in world history: his success in impoverishing and oppressing Cubans for all those long decades is quite astonishing. So how to come up with a few words that do justice to this, ahem, rather ambiguous record? What’s the right tone?
It turns out that it is impossible to issue a statement about Castro that does justice to both the successes and failures of his life without sounding ridiculous. How to be gracious about a plucky monster, a defiant disaster, an inspirational murderer? And what about the countless victims of Castro and Castroism? Do they get mentioned?
… Top EU official Jean-Claude Juncker (European Commission) is worse:
The world (sic) has lost a man who was a hero for many. He changed the course of his country and his influence reached far beyond … His legacy will be judged by history.
Note the prominence of “a hero for many.” Not even a teensy hint that most of what Castro did was utterly at odds with EU values?
Canada’s PM Justin Trudeau of course won the coveted Most Stupid Statement By Someone Who (Maybe) Should Have Known Better Award:
Fidel Castro was a larger than life leader who served his people (sic) for almost half a century. A legendary revolutionary and orator, Mr Castro made significant improvements to the education and healthcare of his island nation … A controversial figure … My father was very proud to call him a friend … the loss of this remarkable leader
This bafflingly awful statement has prompted a Twitterstorm of #trudeaueulogies derision:
– We mourn the death of Vlad the Impaler, who spearheaded initiatives which touched the hearts of millions
– A quiet loner with a quick wit, Osama Bin Laden inspired tremendous advances in air transportation security methodologies
– Mr Stalin’s greatest achievement was his eradication of obesity in Ukraine through innovative agricultural reforms
Fidel Castro ended up like the mouldering corpse of Lenin in Red Square: a bizarre shrine to dishonesty, cruelty and subjugation. Fidel Castro became an obscure trinket in a bad video game that dim sly leftists click on to get new life in their endless struggle against … what exactly?..
One might well arsk.
It looks like the Liberal Government cooked up a new operational requirement for RCAF fighters without bothering to consult the Air Force itself. GOOD FLIPPING GRIEF. Did the government even speak with NATO? Further to this post and “Comments”,
and this article,
Liberal policy forcing need for new jets: RCAF head
Canada needs an interim fleet of fighter jets only because the Liberal government created a policy that increased the number of aircraft that must be available for NORAD and NATO missions at the same time, the head of the Royal Canadian Air Force says.
The Liberals invoked a long-standing “capability gap” last week to justify the sole-source purchase of 18 Boeing Super Hornets, but Lieutenant-General Michael Hood on Monday [Nov. 28] said the need for new jets was caused by the recent policy change.
“Previously … we were comfortable as an armed forces in meeting those [NORAD and NATO commitments] with our extant fleet,” Lt.-Gen. Hood told reporters after appearing at a Senate committee.
“That policy has changed with a requirement to be able to meet both of those concurrently, as opposed to managing them together, thus the requirement to increase the number of fighters available,” he said…
Lt.-Gen. Hood said the previous Conservative government’s plan to buy 65 F-35s would not meet Canada’s new policy in terms of international commitments [but that’s not what the then Chief of the Air Staff said in 2011, see below]…
The general refused for “security reasons” (scroll down here) to put numbers to those commitments. But the numbers, certainly for NORAD, have long been public and the commitments were in place before the Conservatives took office from the Liberals in 2006. A post of mine at Milnet.ca (lots of interesting reaction at the thread):
Serving (!) Air Force major in 2006, pp. 3-4 (just after Conservatives took office, clearly previous Liberal policy):
…In NORAD, the Canadian Forces are committed to provide 36 fighters for air sovereignty and homeland security. In addition to this Canada is committed to provide six or more fighters to the United Nations and/or NATO at any given time, should the need arise…
And in 2011:
The ability to defend the skies and operate overseas at the same time would be in peril if the Harper government buys fewer stealth fighters than planned, the head of the Royal Canadian Air Force said Monday [Dec. 12].
Lt.-Gen. Andre Deschamps said the air force would have to review how much “concurrent activity” it could handle if the number of radar-evading F-35s drop below the 65 aircraft the government has promised…
“In the end, it’s all about managing risk in delivering the defence mission. The number 65 gives us the capacity to cover all our missions with confidence.”..
It is the smallest fleet the air force is able to live with given its current commitments to North American air defence, which requires at least 36 fighters to be set aside for NORAD missions [not clear if the general himself gave that number].
The initial joint-strike fighter proposal said Canada was prepared to buy 80 aircraft, replacing the current fleet of CF-18s almost one-for-one.
Deschamps said the decision to move to 65 jets was based on a mixture of “affordability” and what numbers the air force believes “it needs to deliver on our numerous defence missions.”..
Plus 2014 (story Aug. 2016):
No fighter jet requirement for NATO: report
Canada is not required to provide a certain number of fighter jets to NATO, says a Defence Department report that’s raising fresh questions about the Liberal government’s rush to buy a new warplane.
The report, published in June 2014 by the research arm of National Defence, says that while Canada supports NATO and contributes aircraft and other military assets when possible, “there is no hard minimum requirement for the NATO commitment.”
That means the only actual requirement Canada must meet in terms of providing fighter jets is its obligation to defend North America along with the U.S.
The government has repeatedly stated in recent months that the military does not have enough CF-18s to both defend North America and fulfil its obligations to NATO. It says that is why a new plane is needed sooner rather than later.
But neither the government nor the Defence Department have said how many jets Canada actually needs, saying that to reveal the numbers would jeopardize national security…
The Defence Research and Development Canada report suggests that a maximum of 36 aircraft are required to be operational at any time to help defend North America, and that “anything beyond this number is in excess of the current requirement.”
Those planes don’t all have to be on high alert waiting for an attack, the report says. Some can be involved in training or NATO operations, and would be called back if required.
Canada currently has 77 CF-18s, but Defence Minister Harjit Sajjan has said only about half of them are operational at any given time. The report confirms those numbers, but also says the military can make do with 65 [surprise!] fighter jets…
The jiggery-pokery of the government is a wonder to behold. And this major defence policy change was made without even waiting for the results of its much ballyhooed defence review being in. Open and transparent my tushie. And the Conservatives were just as bad. Help.
Further to this post,
I am finishing his journal:
It is an accumulation of events, thoughts and emotions that is one of the most powerful books I have read. I would add that his amateur appreciation of military developments is quite acute (it would appear that Romanians had access to quite a variety of information from non-Axis sources).
Romania, as Germany’s ally, joined the war against the Soviet Union. The country’s declared reason for doing so was to recover the territories of Bucovina and Bessarabia. Individual Jews’ fates in Romania critically depended on the region in which they lived at the beginning of the war. In Antonescu’s plan for “cleaning up the land,” the Jewish population of Bessarabia and Bucovina was considered hostile and was destined for “elimination.” Intense antisemitic propaganda was spread especially within the army, but also at all levels of the state hierarchy. This particular population, and by extension all Jews, was depicted as the embodiment of the “Bolshevik threat.”
Under Antonescu’s rule, Jews were subjected to discriminatory regulations, but there were quite a few fluctuations in their status, depending on the war front situation and on the political interests of the regime. Jewish real estate was nationalized on 28 March 1941, except for a few categories (exemptions included decorated Jewish war veterans; war orphans who had been baptized as Christians 20 years earlier; Jews married to Romanian nationals; Jews baptized as Christians at least 30 years before). Jewish men aged 18 to 50 had to perform forced labor.
One week after the beginning of the war, on 29–30 June 1941, the Jewish community of Iaşi was the victim of a pogrom in which more than 14,000 Jews were killed in massacres supervised by the army and the local police, with the support of Nazi troops. With the German–Romanian invasion, on Antonescu’s order 45,000–60,000 Jews in Bessarabia and Bucovina were massacred. The remaining 157,079 Jews were deported to Transnistria: 91,845 from Bucovina, 55,867 from Bessarabia, and 9,367 from Dorohoi. Between 105,000 and 120,000 of the deported Romanian Jews died. More than 21,000 Jews from southern Bucovina (the counties of Dorohoi, Câmpulung Moldovenesc, Suceava, and Rădăuți), which was still a part of the Old Kingdom, were also deported before 1942.
From the very beginning of the war, in Bucharest, community leaders (namely Filderman, leader of the Federal Union of Jewish Communities [FUCE]; with the assistance of Alexandru Şafran, the chief rabbi), succeeded in organizing an institutional network to provide religious services, education, and social support. In December 1941, FUCE was dissolved and replaced by the Jewish Central, following the model of the Judenrat. Remaining the true leader of the community, Filderman led the fight against resuming deportations and other anti-Jewish measures. In some communities, permission was granted to set up schools for Jewish children who had been excluded from the Romanian education system. Ways were found to send aid, financed substantially by international Jewish organizations, to Jews who had been deported to Transnistria.
In the summer of 1942, Jews in the Old Kingdom [the Regat] confronted the most critical times, as Romania accepted the Nazi plan to deport all Jews living in Romania to the Bełżec extermination camp. However, by November 1942 it became clear that the Romanian authorities were deferring the enforcement of this action and eventually gave it up completely [emphasis added]. They did so as a result of pressure from the Allied forces, but also because of internal opposition mobilized especially by Filderman. Policies concerning Jews began to change in October 1942, and the deportations finally ended in March–April 1943. Approximately 340,000 Romanian Jews survived. Partial repatriation began in the second half of December 1943. On 20 December, the 6,053 inhabitants of Dorohoi who had survived deportation were sent back to their hometown. On 6 March 1944, a total of 1,846 of the more than 5,000 orphans were repatriated.
Approximately 135,000 Jews living under Hungarian rule in northern Transylvania were murdered after deportation to Auschwitz, beginning in the spring of 1944. The territory of Romania, thanks to the change in attitude of authorities toward Jews, became a refuge for those who succeeded in crossing the border from Hungary…
The inimitable George Will weighs in at the Washington Post–and Canadian campuses?
Higher education is awash with hysteria. That might have helped elect Trump.
Many undergraduates, their fawn-like eyes wide with astonishment, are wondering: Why didn’t the dean of students prevent the election from disrupting the serenity to which my school has taught me that I am entitled? Campuses create “safe spaces” where students can shelter from discombobulating thoughts and receive spiritual balm for the trauma of microaggressions. Yet the presidential election came without trigger warnings?..
Even professors’ books from serious publishers are clotted with pretentious jargon. To pick just one from innumerable examples, a recent history of the Spanish Civil War, published by the Oxford University Press, says that Franco’s Spain was as “hierarchizing” as Hitler’s Germany, that Catholicism “problematized” relations between Spain and the Third Reich, and that liberalism and democracy are concepts that must be “interrogated.” Only the highly educated write so badly. Indeed, the point of such ludicrous prose is to signal membership in a closed clerisy that possesses a private language.
An American Council of Trustees and Alumni (ACTA) study — “No U.S. History? How College History Departments Leave the United States out of the Major,” based on requirements and course offerings at 75 leading colleges and universities — found that “the overwhelming majority of America’s most prestigious institutions do not require even the students who major in history to take a single course on United States history or government.” Often “microhistories” are offered to history majors at schools that require these majors to take no U.S. history course: “Modern Addiction: Cigarette Smoking in the 20th Century” (Swarthmore College), “Lawn Boy Meets Valley Girl” (Bowdoin College), “Witchcraft and Possession” (University of Pennsylvania).
At some schools that require history majors to take at least one U.S. history course, the requirement can be fulfilled with courses like “Mad Men and Mad Women” (Middlebury College), “Hip-Hop, Politics and Youth Culture in America” (University of Connecticut) and “Jews in American Entertainment” (University of Texas at Austin). Constitutional history is an afterthought.
Small wonder, then, that a recent CTA-commissioned survey found that less than half of college graduates knew that George Washington was the commanding general at Yorktown; that nearly half did not know that Theodore Roosevelt was important to the construction of the Panama Canal; that more than one-third could not place the Civil War in a correct 20-year span or identify Franklin Roosevelt as the architect of the New Deal; that 58 percent did not know that the Battle of the Bulge occurred in World War II; and that nearly half did not know the lengths of the terms of U.S. senators and representatives.
Institutions of supposedly higher education are awash with hysteria, authoritarianism, obscurantism, philistinism and charlatanry. Which must have something to do with the tone and substance of the presidential election, which took the nation’s temperature.
Meanwhile one Canadian example at the University of British Columbia (quote at bottom of webpage):
The Institute for Gender, Race, Sexuality and Social Justice and the Critical Studies in Sexuality Program are at the forefront of leading research globally. Help us to forward our research and our teaching, and join us in supporting social justice and advocating for change.
Dig in at the site.
…It would be wrong to impute huge numbers of down-market whites voting for Trump simply to racism, as many on the left predictably are doing. Quite a few Trump voters in swing states like Pennsylvania and Ohio turn out to have voted for Obama—twice. They wanted change, Obama didn’t deliver, so they gave Trump a chance to be the change-agent in Washington they have long sought. The roots of their dissatisfaction are social and economic more than racial, and bien-pensant efforts to portray their legitimate grievances as “hate” reflect the worst of post-modern progressive intolerance.
All the same, it cannot be denied that ethno-racial concerns played a role here—and that it was the Democrats who opened that can of worms. Since the beginning of the century, liberals have been crowing about the “emerging Democratic majority” being delivered by changing demographics, heavily fueled by immigration (legal or not). President Obama’s reelection four years ago seemed to conclusively prove that the “new” America—morally superior to the old, white-dominated one—had arrived, and the Republicans were on life support, waiting for GOP voters to go the way of the dinosaur. As one of Obama’s media acolytes hailed the 2012 victory:
President Barack Obama did not just win reelection tonight. His victory signaled the irreversible triumph of a new, 21st-century America: multiracial, multi-ethnic, global in outlook and moving beyond centuries of racial, sexual, marital and religious tradition.
This was more of the Marxistoid “right side of History” blather that Team Obama has indulged in for the last eight years—and it was utterly wrong. To the surprise of no one who understands human nature, many whites didn’t appreciate being told that they had to die off for “progress” to be achieved. They didn’t like being derided by their betters as “bitter clingers” with their guns and Bibles, and they especially didn’t like being termed “deplorables” unworthy of compassion or consideration. In the last days of Hillary’s doomed campaign, its contempt for a huge chunk of the American population had become so blatant that one of her top celebrity surrogates publicly hailed the “extinction” of straight white men as a step in the right direction.
Trump is no political genius. He made an appeal to working-class whites, who correctly felt that the Democrats viewed them with undisguised contempt and didn’t want their vote. The “emerging Democratic majority” thesis included the need to get some of those whites, a legacy Democratic voting bloc, to win national elections; under Obama, his party decided they didn’t need them at all, which was a terrible, almost incomprehensible mistake. It shouldn’t be necessary to point out that running against working-class whites—at almost 40 percent of the electorate, the biggest voting bloc in America—is the definition of political insanity.
Yet progressives somehow managed not to see the nose right on their face. Hence President Trump. What commentators term “identity politics” has now become normative, thanks to the Democrats indulging in it, and Trump is now aping them. It would be more correct to term this what it actually is: nationalism. Ethno-racial nationalism is an enormously potent political force; wise politicians know this and employ it cautiously. Nationalism arouses genuine passion and is a political motivator like no other, which it explains why a majority of white women voted for Trump, to the bitter consternation of outraged feminists.
Moreover, once nationalism becomes the main political factor, there’s no putting that troublesome genie back in the bottle. Politics become tribal, ethnic conflicts waged at the ballot box rather than on the battlefield. Having done most of my scholarly work on multiethnic societies like the Habsburg Empire [a taste here] and Yugoslavia, I can attest that the fires of nationalism, once stoked, are only put out with great difficulty—and that ethnically diverse societies that play games with nationalism are living dangerously.
Nationalism transforms politics from ideology to tribe…
…The problem with pushing identity politics among minorities as a political weapon is that the majority eventually realizes they have an identity too. As I explained back in early 2015, before Donald Trump entered the presidential race, “However verboten discussion of White Nationalism is at present among polite Americans, it is unavoidable that this will become an issue in the future, with potentially explosive consequences.”..
Plus these earlier posts based on Mr Schindler:
Further to this post,
Letter: Brecht dissolves the electorate
Neal Ascherson [a writer I rather like] writes: “After the East Berlin rising in 1953 [more here], Bertolt Brecht is supposed to have made the ironic suggestion that the Communist regime should dismiss the people and appoint a new one.” (“Are we the electorate they deserve?” 23 March [article here]). There’s no supposed about it. These words are to be found in one of Brecht’s most famous poems, “The Solution”:
“After the uprising of June 17th
The Secretary of the Authors’ Union
Had leaflets distributed in the Stalinallee
Which said that the people
Had forfeited the government’s confidence
And could only win it back
By redoubled labour. Wouldn’t it
Be simpler in that case if the government
Dissolved the people and
Elected another [emphasis added]?”
Bertolt Brecht. Earlier on now president-elect Trump and universal suffrage:
As for this, omit the “under-assistant West Coast”–but keep the”just how sharp I am”:
November 8 in print edition–scroll down to the third letter at “War and peace” (links added):
Your editorial recommends that Senegal be the focus for renewed peace operations by the Canadian military (Start In Senegal, For The New Peacekeeping, Nov. 4). But the government has made it clear that the point of such missions is to support UN-led peacekeeping operations; unfortunately, there is no such UN operation in Senegal to support.
It seems much more probable that the government will commit some military personnel to the UN mission in Mali, with Senegal serving as a logistics hub to support both them and the UN mission more broadly.
The editorial also states that “a counterinsurgency in a chaotic, arid country such as Mali … would be outside the experience of most members of the Canadian Armed Forces.” That “arid country” sounds like Kandahar province in Afghanistan where thousands of Canadians fought a counterinsurgency against the Taliban from 2006 to 2011.
How soon we apparently forget.
First a tweet,
plus a post last year:
Then an article at the NY Times Magazine on Poland today more broadly:
The Party That Wants to Make Poland Great Again
In just a year, Law and Justice has shown how a far-right nationalist government in Europe really governs — and how far it can push the limits of democracy.
What liberal “end of history“? And very relevant to the holocaust: