down the slippery slope of the golan

Well, he was supposed to be the savior of Canada. They, the liberal party dragged him out of Harvard and basically said it would be cake-walk to 24 Sussex Drive, a formality, get inside to Ignatieff’s ego and off they ran with this imported politician who hadn’t lived in the country in thirty odd years until he ran himself off the tracks, basically in Quebec and plunged into the St.Lawrence, thought never to be heard again. But its hard to keep an academic with that kind of pedigree down on the farm, they just can’t resist the bigger stage.

Hannah. Raft of the Medusa—Read More:/2012/04/sages-of-the-stoop-and-curb/

Quebec has always been much maligned in their voting patterns in Canada, but displayed a startling and exemplary intuition in turfing out Ignatieff as a sell out and man willing to shill for anyone. That impression seems to be confirmed in his latest piece in what should be his natural habitat, the New York Times, which as one might expect is conventional, and highly calculated and underlined with exactly the kind of rhetoric and banalization of the Enlightenment and humanism until you want to  scream for Sondheim to break into “Send in the Clowns.”

Yes it is a stand-down between great powers in Syria, a kind of warm-up act over Iran. Russia may have helped build Iran’s nuclear program, and China could use  Iranian oil as the basis for bilateral trade;  and both are capable to  support Iran’s  Shias, and  Syria’s Alawites, and America and Saudi are behind the Sunnis bench. This set the table for Ignatieff’s “lesser evil” monologue; everyone knew that Russia and China would allow market reforms but not political reforms. There is no surprise here. And China is China and will act on its own interests. The China bashing has become a bit tiresome; it’s a what have you done for us lately story. They inflated their economy, raised wages and expanded domestic demand, basically saving the world in 2008. Its an easy target for Ignatieff. If Germany had done the same instead of hoarding their surpluses and getting the trucks going from South to North with goods, the Euro may not be imploding and the Southern members cast adrift like Gericault’s raft of the medusa.

—Israel filed a complaint against Syria Monday in the United Nations, alleging that Syrian forces crossed the border between Israel and Syria in the Golan Heights last week.
Israel’s Deputy UN Ambassador, Haim Waxman, sent a letter to the UN Security Council Secretary General, in which he said that during fighting Thursday between the Syrian Army and rebel forces at Jubta al-Hasheb, Syrian forces crossed the 1974 Armistice Line.—Read More:

( see link at end) Ignatieff: …syria is the moment in which the West should see that the world has truly broken into two. A loose alliance of struggling capitalist democracies now finds itself face to face with two authoritarian despotisms—Russia and China—something new in the annals of political science: kleptocracies that mix the market economy and the police state. These regimes will support tyrannies like Syria wherever it is in their interest to do so.

In sixteen months, the situation in Syria has mutated from an uprising in a few outlying cities into a full-scale civil war. Now it has mutated again into a proxy war between the Great Powers. The Russians have been arming the regime—it was a Russian air defense system that shot down the Turkish F-4 Phantom jet—and the West is now arming the rebels. The Saudis and the Gulf states are funneling weapons straight to the Sunnis, especially to anyone with Salafist and Islamic radical credentials. Arms are trickling across the borders with Lebanon, Turkey, Iraq, and Jordan; the CIA has been given the difficult task of ensuring that at least the Turkish weapons are channeled to the right people and away from al-Qaeda affiliates. Who the right people are is anybody’s guess. In a village war, not even the CIA can be sure. …

—President Vladimir Putin lashed out at what he termed “the diplomacy of bombs and missiles”, in a clear reference to the NATO aggression of Libya.
During a meeting in the Foreign Ministry with all Russian ambassadors abroad, Putin considered a must avoiding a repetition of the Libyan aggression in the case of Syria and promoting political dialogue in that Middle East country.
In his opinion, the trend is dangerous, as some Western nations are trying to regain their usual influence through unilateral actions, in open contradiction with international law.
That attitude is shown in “the so-called humanitarian operations and the export of the bomb and missile democracy,” he said.
Read More: image:

…The defections—of regime confidantes and senior generals—are becoming eloquent. The regime is losing its nerve and its capacity to instill terror. Conscripts are not reporting for duty. Sunni officers are staying at home, and the burden of defending the regime is falling on the minority Alawites. Both sides, the regime and its opponents, are now fighting with the special savagery of those who know the fate that awaits them if they lose. The flames of the conflict are now flickering around the edges of Damascus. The war for Syria is likely to end only when the flames engulf Assad’s palace.

While the rebels are gaining momentum inside Syria, the exile leadership of the Syrian opposition is frittering it away outside. When opposition leaders were placed in hotel rooms in Cairo and told, by the Arab League and other foreign diplomats, to get their act together, the meeting degenerated into chaos. The Syrian Kurds, for example, emboldened by the successes of their Iraqi cousins, sought recognition of their national identity in a post-Assad Syria, but other opposition groups weren’t ready to grant it. Divisions of clan, tribe, ethnicity, and religion would make a united front difficult at the best of times. But it’s become clear that the Assads, father and son, were more skillful than Libya’s Qaddafi at keeping their outside opposition weak and divided. …

—The Israeli position regarding the possible downfall of Assad’s regime has been subject to a number of different and, at times, contradictory pressures. To begin with, there are factors that would tend to make the Israelis prefer the ouster of the Syrian leadership, including the long-standing Syrian refusal to accept US-Israeli conditions for a peace deal, insisting instead that the Israelis should withdraw to the June 4, 1967 boundary as per United Nations Security Council resolutions. Then, there is the

ian alliance with Iran, Hezbollah, and several Palestinian factions; this “axis” now forms an important bulwark against Israeli-American regional hegemony. Despite Syrian participation in the Arab-Israeli peace process since the Madrid Conference of 1991, the Israelis continue to view Syria as an enemy.—Read More:

…What makes Syria a hinge-moment is that Russia and China are proving that they have no strategic interest in transitions beyond dictatorship, not just in Syria but anywhere else. Both Russia and China see Syria not through the prism of international peace and security or human rights, but through the logic of their own despotism. For Putin, Syria is Chechnya; for China it is Tibet. They understand Assad perfectly. He is doing what they have done many times and they want the world to understand that they will support any dictator facing similar challenges. …

…A vast swathe of the globe, from the Russian border to the Pacific, including the tributary states of the Russian near-abroad, is now in the hands of venal, ruthless, deeply corrupt, single-party elites. These elites—Russian and Chinese—will draw closer together, as they understand that they have made the same strategic choice. Both are using capitalism to consolidate political despotism. They both see the world as a battle between elites like themselves with unlimited power and Western elites whose power is limited by democratic liberty….

Celeste Holm. Gentleman’s Agreement. 1947—”Why,” Levant writes, “is Ignatieff trying to revise his family’s history to make them sound like poor working class shlubs? Why did he say his dad came here with nothing – when in fact his family were the equivalent of multi-millionaires?
“Ignatieff is desperate to come across as a regular Joe. But did he really think no one would notice the contradiction between the new airbrushed story, and the one he described in his family autobiography?
“Last year Ignatieff went further, telling reporters ‘you’re looking at a guy whose dad was a political refugee.’
“A refugee? Really?”
All of this could reasonably pass for “fair comment.” Then this:…Read More:

…The idea that the “international community” should shoulder together the responsibility to protect people from murderous regimes made sense only on the assumption that we all wanted people to live in tolerably decent ones. Neither Russia nor China takes this view. They are perfectly content with a world of Mugabes and Assads and they suspect, with more than just cynicism, that the West, for all its protestations, is too. For we are tired and worried about our economies back home and responsibility for other people’s freedom has turned out to be a costly and dirty business. …Read More:

In any event, China has been around for over two thousand years, and democracy has never been part of that fabric; even Mao found out that tradition, imperial tradition ran deep and was, under Communism simply transferred to new Authority figures, emperors by another name. In their own Marxist manner, both China and Russia adopt the Veblen view that democracy is easily dispensed with, and ultimately unnecessary….


( see link at end) ….Ignatieff is not the only writer to have drawn analogies between Al-Qaeda and 19th-century anarchism, but in his case there is an ironic personal connection that in fact undermines his own platitudinous history of nihilism. After Czar Alexander II was assassinated, it was Ignatieff’s own great-grandfather, the vicious anti-Semite Nicholas, who as Minister of the Interior imposed a sweeping series of repressive “Extraordinary and Temporary Measures.” In The Russian Album, the great-grandson explains that these laws

gave provincial governors the power to suspend normal legal procedure and individual civil rights wherever a strike, an attack or a riot required it. The decree also empowered the government to hand suspects over to summary court martial, to order house arrests and domestic searches, and to outlaw any meetings, close any institution, or suspend any newspaper as it saw fit. Until 1917, these measures were to remain the key statutes of the autocracy, its chief legal weapon in its losing struggle for survival. It was from their heavy hand that the young Lenin and Stalin were to acquire their contempt for legality and due process….

—Frum:The word “Israel” does not appear in these remarks. Friends of Israel who want to vote Liberal can continue to remind themselves that Ignatieff condemned “Israel Apartheid Week” in a speech at the global anti-Semitism conference a year ago.
But people who follow the issues more closely will hear a very different message encoded in Ignatieff’s remarks.
Kairos and Canada’s Center for Human Rights and Democratic Development did not become notorious by “working in Africa.” They became notorious because of their attacks on Israel and their too-close associations with anti-Israel extremism.
Nor were they “muzzled” or “shut down.” Kairos lost its government funding, but of course retains the right to speak freely and to spend its own funds however it likes. —-Read More: image:

In other words, Ignatieff himself asserts that communism — in its Russian variant, at least — can be understood with reference to the actual history which conditioned its development. His explanation posits an incipient authoritarianism in Russian socialism born not of the Bolsheviks’ amorality but rather of the immorality of the retrograde measures imposed by his own ancestor. Setting aside Ignatieff’s speculative personal psychological explanations, there’s a lesson here that militates against the dichotomy at the dark heart of his “lesser evil” framework. The evils of two contending systems exist in a complex relationship, sometimes causal, sometimes symbiotic — but rarely if ever in easily qualitatively differentiated “greater” and “lesser.”

The fact that Ignatieff’s sketch of the “continuity” of apocalyptic nihilism begins with the regicidal Russian bomb-throwers betrays his solipsistic tendencies. It’s worth noting that Nicholas Ignatieff’s “extraordinary measures” were justified by Jew-hatred and exacerbated its prevalence in the Russian Empire. Though certainly not on the same scale as the mass emigrations, ethnic cleansing, and pogroms of 19th-century Russia, the “extraordinary” measures that Michael Ignatieff would endorse post-9/11 were as intrinsically linked to Islamophobia as his great-grandfather’s were to anti-Semitism. Read More:

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