Tag Archives: Ye Olde Crabb

Indian Summer in Tidewater Virginia

The torrential rains have apparently stopped. The sun is out. And everyone — including those little black mosquitoes — thinks spring is here again.  Still no sign of honeybees that have not been around all summer. But my lone, helpful little Bubblebee was there this morning, whom I have gotten to know very well,  vigorously pollinating everything in sight. I forgive his breed for all those times they painfully stung me when I was going bar’foot as a child growing up in Nawf Calina.

The pepper plants are exploding. The egg plants have been producing at a phenomenal rate. [Are we into hyroponic agriculture? — they are in big plastic pots!] The goldenbrown legacy basil has taken on new life. Not the big tomatoes, but the the seed from the store-bought toma-toes are still producing for the nightly salad.

Even the phlox around the corner of the house believes it is time to go at it again. They haven’t heard the rabbi begin to intone his Torah lesson which says this is the time of the year when G___ makes his choices, who shall live, who shall die, who by drowning, who by fire, in the new year. For the moment, at least, I am sticking with the Indians and enjoying the last gulps of that wonderful summer, continued nightrains,  possible hurricanes and all!

Crises – but which is the one?

Clichés come in at least two varieties: those sayings artfully worded, however empty of logic. Others trotted out because they do represent universal truths, vetted over centuries. One of the latter: “history does not travel in a straight line”. Afterward, reinforced with additional retrieved facts and by fads, we concoct a simple, “logical” timeline.

For those of us who lived through long decades of The Cold War, we look back to mistaken views of a world scene played out on many stages. Then as now, drama tended to overshadow more important currents.

Relevant, perhaps, was the 1956 Hungarian Revolution. A Soviet satellite state, incidentally Bloc leader under benighted central planning, attempted escape from Moscow’s grip. It, too, began with youngsters in a square. In part, alas! they were emboldened then too by Washington’s support for “liberation”. But when the brave stood against Communist tanks, the U.S. blinked, fearing nuclear war.

Almost simultaneously, Egypt’s military dictator Abdul Gamal Nasser used the pretext of the Eisenhower Administration’s refusal to build the Aswan Dam megaproject  to “nationalize” the Suez Canal, for a century an immensely profitable Anglo-French commercial entity. To regain control, London and Paris used another pretext, warding off but actually colluding in an Israeli Sinai occupation to insure its own passage through the essential waterway.

U.S. Sec. of State John Foster Dulles adamantly forced America’s allies to relent. NATO Sec.-Gen. Belgian statesman Jean-Paul Spaak, an unsung hero of the epoch, literally in tears, beseeched Dulles: we have sinned but grab this opportunity to secure Europe’s lifeline to Mideast oil. Dulles, forever the moralist, refused “to reward aggression”. Nasser got the Canal, reinforced pan-Arabism sweeping the region, allied with Moscow to bedevil the West until his death. But his legacy was a mess of pottage, dismally failing to produce that long-awaited Arab renaissance, leaving a further discredited secularism for the benefit of his Moslem Brotherhood enemies.

Contradicting another cliché, history does not repeat itself, no more than the same water runs under the same bridge as the stream flows on. Nevertheless, while our attention is focused on increasingly bloody events in Araby, perhaps again more important happenings may germinate the kernel of world history elsewhere:

·        The German parliament has just laid down the law to a more than willing Chancellor Angela Merkel: it will not accept a “Europeanization” of the Euro’s financial debacle. With Greece near civil war trying to impose austerity, its southern tier debtor neighbors – facing rapidly increasing borrowing costs – move inexorably toward new “bail-outs”. No all-Europe institutions or mechanisms can meet those costs. Now the Bundestag has closed the door at least temporarily on Eurobonds [with Germany as prime guarantor] which might repeat might have been an “out”. The Euro as we knew it is doomed. Can “the European project” – the effort to create a stable continent shorn of its age-old capacity for intra-European violence — survive it?

·        A huge, new wave of Muslim refugees from Tunisia, Egypt, now Libya [accompanied by “transiting” Black Africans] is flooding Italy and Europe. They come as Chancellor Merkel, French Pres. Nicolas Sarkozy, and even U.K. Prime Minister David William Donald Cameron [the youngest British leader in 200 years], publicly declare “multiculturalism” dead. Failed Western assimilation of new workers in otherwise declining populations has led to indigestible, economically deprived enclaves abetting bankruptcy for “welfare states” created in the postwar prosperity.

·        The Europeans, as the U.S., finds itself in the grip of a growing threat to physical security from totalitarian Islam but bemused by intellectual confusion reminiscent of the1930s seduction of intellectuals by the Leninist road to utopia. When the Catholic Church’s scholarly leader, Joseph Aloisius Ratzinger, attempted to renew the dialogue between Christianity [and Judaism] with Islam – a 1500-year-old debate – at Regensburg in Sept. 2006, he was howled down by the politically correct. Yet native Europeans, their government – and their economies –are assaulted daily by immigrants who want to continue non-European lifestyles including some of the world’s most barbarous customs, exploiting modern Europe’s tolerance and freedom.

·        China, which within a generation has turned itself into “the world factory”, is being drawn into shaky collaborative international financial arrangements but at only a snailspace. Beijing uses its export of “capital” – slave labor and increasingly stolen technology – to blackmail its trading partners. It expands exponentially a military machine against fictitious enemies. Using largely American and EU debt, Beijing is spurring threatening worldwide inflation, uneconomically pursuing raw materials– and increasing worldwide food shortages which it has helped to create by neglect of its agriculture. Its unlimited infrastructure expansion and claptrap financial structure including unprecedented payments surpluses – now pressured by Washington’s “quantitative easing” in its effort to reflate the world’s engine, the American economy – promises a bubble bursting at any moment.

Therefore, as dramatic and seemingly all encompassing as current Arab world happenings would appear, when this period is looked back upon, it could be other contemporary world crises were more important. We, of course, will never know – which, should, inspire a little humility [admittedly not seen in this unavoidably brief review].




The COIN of the realm is counterfeit!


Afghanistan, America, and the “Vietnam” Syndrome  

by Sunil Ram


Global Research, April 18, 2010
Frontline Defense – 2010-01-01




Some years ago, I wrote in an article for the Royal Canadian Military Institute that surmised it was “too easy for those who do not follow history to make glib and simple comparisons between Iraq and Vietnam.” I further noted that “at best, most of these and other comparisons are misleading and at worse they are simply wrong.” Thus, I am loath to make such comparisons with Afghanistan, yet, after some eight years of war, the similarities are more and more striking.

It seems America has forgotten both the lessons of Vietnam and the Soviet experience in Afghanistan, and has fallen back on stupid and arrogant ideas that are simply a rehash of failed tactics and strategies of yesteryear.

It is stunning to hear the same mindless rhetoric of 30, 40 and 50 years ago from current day military leaders in London, Ottawa or Washington. It has not helped that the sycophantic academics, media pundits, and so-called military experts, who all have a vested interest in perpetuating these foolish ideas, propagate them to the ignorant public, government leaders and bureaucrats.

Clearly, Afghanistan is not Vietnam (for obvious reasons revolving around time and space). The Vietnam War was an extension of the decolonization process in post World War II Asia. It was also part of the larger global Cold War struggle between the Soviets and the Americans, and was fought along political and ideological lines. That said, there remain many strategic parallels between Afghanistan and Vietnam for the United States.

Ye Olde Crabb sez:

My old mantra still holds: insurgencies in the nature of things are endlessly particularistic. There is little if anything that relates the Tupamaros in urban Montevideo in the 1960s to the Moros in the Philippines in the 1890s to the Vietcong in the Mekong Delta in the 1960s. These were all were generated in intensely local, specialized political, social and economic environments with long and often complicated and virtually  [to those who did not have nor took the time] indecipherable histories.

There are no generalizations about fighting all insurgencies that are not vapid; e.g., the army should not steal the peasants’ chickens.

Therefore, there is no such thing as “a science of counter insurgency”, a product of that great American intellectual heresy, social science. [William James warned us about it almost 150 years ago! http://www.todayinsci.com/J/James_William/JamesWilliam-Quotations.htm Read down.]

COIN is total BS and its purveyors are either not too bright or charlatans.

Fidel’s beauty shop closed!

Cuba‘s beauty salons dropped from government payrolls


By Frances Robles | The Miami Herald

The Cuban government is getting out of the beauty business. The communist country that acknowledges it has an extra million people on the government payroll has come up with a solution to battle fraud and cut costs: Turn salons over to employees to operate.

Experts say the move is a “capitalism light” step toward the kind of economic measures that Cuba hopes will help alleviate its heavy economic burden amid a financial crisis. But the industry affected is so small that experts say it’s too little, far too late.

Although Cuba allows self-employment in some sectors, this measure is the first time employees were offered the chance to operate state-run, retail establishments since they were nationalized in 1968. Experts say this government move could lead to others, such as allowing employees to run the restaurants where they work.

The decision, which was not announced by the Cuban state-run media, was first reported by the British news agency Reuters.

Ye Olde Crabb sez:

Does that mean that Fidel will stop saying things that curl your hair?