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Thread: POTF 16 - Nominations

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    Aexodus's Avatar Persuasion>Coercion
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    Default POTF 16 - Nominations


    POTF is about recognising the very best posts, the best arguments and discourse in the D&D, and appropriately rewarding it. You shall progressively earn these medals once you achieve enough wins, but first you must be nominated in threads such as this one. And it works like this.

    Post of the Fortnight - Rules
    -Each user can nominate up to 2 posts per round, and the only valid form of nomination is by quoting with a link as shown below the chosen post in the PotF thread designated for it.

    Quote Originally Posted by Aexodus View Post
    Looking forward to getting this kicked off for real!
    -Each 15 days there will be a new Nomination thread put up, and all the posts written during this period are considered eligible, if properly nominated. Exception are posts who are somewhat breaking the ToS; upon being acted by Moderation, they are always considered uneligible.

    - Remember: It is possible to nominate up to 2 posts each round of the competition; it is also possible to change a nomination anytime before the actual round of nominations ends.

    - There will be two competitions held every month, with a period for nominations followed by a period of voting. The submitted posts can be discussed in a dedicated space.

    - Only posts that have not participated in a previous poll and that have been published in the current period of given time in any section of the D&D area may be nominated.

    - The authors of the nominated post will be informed so they can withdraw the candidacy if that is their wish.

    - The maximum number of participating posts in the final vote will be ten. If more than ten nominations are submitted, seconded nominations will take priority. After seconded nominations are considered, earliest nominations will take priority. If the number of posts submitted to the contest is less than ten, the organizing committee may nominate posts if it considers it appropriate.

    -The members of the committee will never nominate a post belonging to one of them, but the rest of the users can nominate their posts (organizers posts), and vice versa.

    -In the event of a tie, both posts will be awarded and both posters will receive rep and 1 competition point.


    - Public or private messages asking for a vote for a candidate post are forbidden. Violators (and their posts) may not participate in the running contest.

    - People are expected to consider the quality and structure of the post itself, more than the content of the same. While it's certainly impossible to completely split the two aspects when making our own opinion on a post, it remains intended, as also explained in the Competition Commentary Thread, that commenting and discussing on the content rather than on the form/structure of the post is considered off-topic for the purpose of this competition. You are free to nominate and vote for whatever reason you want, but what happens in public has to strictly follow up with the competition rules.


    A nominated post should:

    1. Be focused and relevant to the topic(s) being discussed.
    2. Demonstrate a well-developed, insightful and nuanced understanding of the topic(s) it is discussing.
    3. Be logically coherent, well organized and communicate its points effectively.
    4. Support its contentions with verifiable evidence, either in the form of links or references.
    5. Not be deliberately vexatious to other users.


    Good luck everyone!
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    Flinn's Avatar oh man.. I did it again!
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    Default Re: POTF 16 - Nominations

    Quote Originally Posted by sumskilz View Post
    Quote Originally Posted by Cyclops View Post
    On a serious note I hadn't realised the caste were so clearly gene-defined. I was taught the caste system was more fluid prior to the British regularisation to the point it was (exaggeratedly) declared almost the invention of John Company.
    Yeah, I think that theory falls into that category of ideas that were emotionally appealing to scholars like the view that Neolithic technology was spread primarily via cultural diffusion rather than extermination and replacement. Post WWII, a lot of scholarship was trending toward a view of prehistory that was more optimistic regarding human nature. It was seen as a corrective to simplistic thinking, and of course there was for obvious reasons a desire to undermine anything that could be used to promote Social Darwinist type ideology. So in some cases, new evidence has shown that the corrective was in fact an extreme over-corrective. The reality was in between in these cases, but factually turned out to be closer to the early Twentieth Century view than the late Twentieth Century view. Which is not to say that the arguments didn't seem plausible based on the knowledge at the time. All this appears to have broken the brains of sociocultural anthropologists who now live in an antipostivist world of make-believe, while physical anthropogists have become biocultural anthropologists fusing the work of old school sociocultural anthropologists with the evolutionary perspectives and hard sciences of their own field.

    The genetic evidence for the caste system is pretty clear. It looks like the caste system was well established by about 2,000 years ago and by 1,500 years ago it became so fixed that India's population structure was basically frozen in time at that point due to endogamy. Castes vary in their degree of Ancestral North Indian and Ancestral South Indian ancestry. The higher the caste, the more ANI, the lower the caste, the more ASI. ANI is basically a 50/50 mix of Yamnaya and Neolithic Iranian Farmers. ASI is basically a 75/25 mix of South Asian Hunter Gatherers and Neolithic Iranian Farmers. Indo-European male haplogroups range from 25% in the northwest to 14% in the south, whereas they range from 50% in the highest castes to near 0% in the lowest castes. Within India, genetic ancestry tends to have a greater correlation with caste than with language group or geography (though all factors correlate to some degree).

    Here are a few important papers:

    A genetic chronology for the Indian Subcontinent points to heavily sex-biased dispersals

    Genetic Evidence for Recent Population Mixture in India

    Reconstructing Indian Population History

    EDIT: Looking at these radiocarbon dates, probably best to consider 800 and 1800 to be ±130 years. The individuals within each time-frame aren't necessarily contemporaneous.
    Quote Originally Posted by Common Soldier View Post
    Quote Originally Posted by sumskilz View Post
    Yeah, I think that theory falls into that category of ideas that were emotionally appealing to scholars like the view that Neolithic technology was spread primarily via cultural diffusion rather than extermination and replacement. Post WWII, a lot of scholarship was trending toward a view of prehistory that was more optimistic regarding human nature. It was seen as a corrective to simplistic thinking, and of course there was for obvious reasons a desire to undermine anything that could be used to promote Social Darwinist type ideology. So in some cases, new evidence has shown that the corrective was in fact an extreme over-corrective. The reality was in between in these cases, but factually turned out to be closer to the early Twentieth Century view than the late Twentieth Century view. Which is not to say that the arguments didn't seem plausible based on the knowledge at the time. All this appears to have broken the brains of sociocultural anthropologists who now live in an antipostivist world of make-believe, while physical anthropogists have become biocultural anthropologists fusing the work of old school sociocultural anthropologists with the evolutionary perspectives and hard sciences of their own field.

    The genetic evidence for the caste system is pretty clear. It looks like the caste system was well established by about 2,000 years ago and by 1,500 years ago it became so fixed that India's population structure was basically frozen in time at that point due to endogamy. Castes vary in their degree of Ancient North Indian and Ancient South Indian ancestry. The higher the caste, the more ANI, the lower the caste, the more ASI. ANI is basically a 50/50 mix of Yamnaya and Neolithic Iranian Farmers. ASI is basically a 75/25 mix of South Asian Hunter Gatherers and Neolithic Iranian Farmers. Indo-European male haplogroups range from 25% in the northwest to 14% in the south, whereas they range from 50% in the highest castes to near 0% in the lowest castes. Within India, genetic ancestry tends to have a greater correlation with caste than with language group or geography (though all factors correlate to some degree).

    Here are a few important papers:

    A genetic chronology for the Indian Subcontinent points to heavily sex-biased dispersals

    Genetic Evidence for Recent Population Mixture in India

    Reconstructing Indian Population History
    Those studies seem to support an Aryian Invasian Theory, although not necessarily the violent one proposed by the 19th century scholars.


    Out of curiosity, has any gentic studies been done on the Indus Valley Civilization tonsee how they compared?

    EDIT: Looking at these radiocarbon dates, probably bes itt to consider 800 and 1800 to be ±130 years. The individuals within each time-frame aren't necessarily contemporaneous.
    Yes, but the 1800 CE Eastern Mediterranean bodies would more sense if they died as a group at the same time, than as individuals at different times. If the bodies represented different times, then where are bodies of South Asian and locals that one would expect to see? Unless this was a cemetery reserved for the very rare eastern Mediterranean group that happened to die in the area, and that seems unlikely.

    The article said the area was a traditional pilgrimage sure for Hindus, that it was not near any major trade route. It thought these eastern Mediterraneans were unlikely to be religious pilgrims, but what if these were people originally from the Eastern Mediterranean who had gone native and adopted local religion while at an extended stay in India? These bodies indicated a mostly land diet, not marine, which could support the idea of an extended stay in India. Merchants might have come to India with h their servants and stayed, eventually adopted the local religion. They might have been killed during a pilgrimage to the area, in what I can think could have been a rock slide or a flash flood. Other articles talked about possibly being killed by hail stones, but a rock slide seems to me that if make more sense. Or drowning while crossing some local River in a storm.

    The 9th century CE South Asian/Indian bodies were more likely to have been separate events, given the diversity of backgrounds of the bodies. But it too could have been a single event as well. If the Eastern Mediterranean were not religious pilgrims, perhaps they were travelling with a group of pilgrims initially and then later join up with majornSilk Road routes later on.
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    Aexodus's Avatar Persuasion>Coercion
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    Default Re: POTF 16 - Nominations

    Quote Originally Posted by conon394 View Post
    @Roma_Victrix

    Sorry a much delayed response to #68 (two years yes I type I character a day...)

    In defense for the delay I am trapped now in SE Idaho where the libraries are a travesty, and my wife moved to the USDA from University and Fed's do not take kindly to spousal free-riding of e-research access so it's been a chore to answer you with diligence. Anyway.

    Okay. I can't really argue for or against that since I don't know much about the subject. Do you at least have a source that provides a counterargument? That's something I could use in the article. Our own private musings about it, however, are not permissible over at Wiki, because that is tantamount to "original research", a cardinal sin in their guidebook. We're only really supposed to report what secondary sources say on the matter, although we have a good amount of license when it comes to constructing an article, using a variety of sources to piece together a narrative. I'm also able to be judicious about what goes in or out of an article, so if you have a source that convinces me otherwise, I'll gladly remove this statement as giving too much weight to one particular historian versus the consensus of others.
    Finding a consensus in numismatics is tricky, claiming one is more likely than not to provoke acrimony. In retrospect what I typed a while ago is I think was sort of too broad and not really focused on what caught my eye. It was this that I notated have only recently been able to put my finger on what I felt was off with the source.

    “The Macedonians were also the first to issue different coins for internal and external circulation.”

    I can see you are following Kremydi in the Brill Companion closely – fair enough. I however really don't think the assertion made by the author can stand. It looks to me to be an attempt to attribute novelty and innovation to Macedonia that does not exist.

    The full chapter is online (*) here is a extended quote:

    The Macedonians had practised a sophisticated manipulation of coinage
    since the fifth century. They struck according to the Attic system of a drachm
    subdivided into six obols, as can be proven by the legends ΔΙΟΒ and
    TPIH—abbreviations of the Greek words diobolon and trihemiobolion
    on fractions of Alexander I and Perdiccas II;lh at the same time however,
    they created denominations that could be exchangeable with local currencies.
    The octadrachms of Alexander I weighed ca. 29 g, the same as the
    octadrachms of Abdera,17 and corresponded to the triple staters of the
    local "oriental" standard which was based on a stater of 9.82 g divided into
    trite, hekte and hemiekta; this was the dominant denominational system
    of the mints around Pangaion.'8 The heavy octadrachms of Alexander, just
    like the large denominations of other northern Greek mints, were exported
    to the East and have been found in hoards from western Asia Minor, Jordan
    and Egypt."' The Macedonian tetradrachm, of just over 13 g, was on a
    local standard which was possibly created to facilitate the exchange
    between silver and electrum.-" The adaptation of Macedonian coinage to
    different standards used by Thracians, Athenians, and northern colonies,
    reflects, on a monetary level, the complex environment in which this ethnos
    was destined to survive and develop.


    Silver coins of a smaller denomination, the tetrobols, were used for payments
    of wages. In the fifth century the Macedonian state issued two
    types of tetrobols: light tetrobols with a horse on the reverse and heavier
    tetrobols with a cavalryman on the same side. These two series circulated
    in different areas: the light ones are found within Macedonia proper,
    whereas heavy ones have been found at Olynthos and on the upper banks
    of the Axios river, in Paeonia. Both areas were beyond the borders of the
    Macedonian state in the period under consideration. The practise is clear:
    lighter coins were accepted for transactions within the borders of the
    kingdom, whereas heavier coins were used for payments abroad."1 The
    application of a double standard—clearly made to provide maximum
    benefit from coining—was a Macedonian innovation, initiated at an early
    date. The distinction between coins intended for internal circulation from
    those intended for export can also be traced in the use of numismatic
    legends. Like most fifth-century coinages, especially in the north, Macedonian
    coins bore no legends. The exceptions were the octadrachms, traded
    in the east, and the rare octobols, issued in order to facilitate exchanges
    with Athens. They show that legends were added when they were necessary
    for the acceptance of the coins in distant regions. The distinction
    between coins for internal and external circulation originated in Macedonia
    and from there spread to the rest of the Greek world during the Hellenistic
    period. This sophisticated approach shows an elaborate monetary
    system at an early date. Recent finds further reveal the widespread use of
    minuscule silver fractions, such as obols, hemiobols or trihemiobols; their
    use points to an economy with a high level of monetization in everyday
    transactions.


    I first though thid was was an attempt to suggest the Ptolemy system of coinage . That is projecting a known system back in history. That would be incorrect, but I this the error is larger. The author is deliberately vague in using light and heavy. They are the conventional terms used in the literature but as used above suggest simply a difference in weight, not the reality that the light coins are also not good silver, but adulterated with copper in a significant but rather randomly in variable ways (Kraay pg 20-22 [1]). The nominal conclusion is real and rather uncontroversial - the King's of Macedonia used adulterated silver for internal use and generally nobody accepted such away from Macedonia (well perhaps money changers at a hefty cost). The problem is that the ideal does not is not innovate just rather shady and an expression Gresham's Law. But even if it was deliberate policy just implemented haphazardly, Macedonia sill would not be an innovator, but a but a follower and a second rate one at that. Particuallry given the high variability in the adulterating and lacking other evidence for such a system a very conscious and formally regulated like the Ptolemaic one (inscriptions, text of laws, comments in histories etc).

    To be pedantic one can point out that Electrum currency was notational by its very nature and with the limited accuracy of non destructive assays of the day. Thus in effect the general innovation would seem to be that of Lydia or Ionia. That is an overvalued coin (by metal weight) circulating only were the law made it valuable (or trade patterns allowed a used based on trust).

    More to the point the Billion currency of Lesbian Koinon predates the Macedonian 'Free Horse' adulterated coins by at minimum 60 years (up to over 100 on consideration not likely that would probably require the early date for electrum that is out of fashion right now).

    https://dialnet.unirioja.es/servlet/...codigo=2449627

    Updated and translated here:

    https://www.academia.edu/6913591/A_contribution_to_the_study_of_the_Archaic_billon_coinage_of_Lesbos

    The coinage meets the criteria asserted by Kremydi it circulated only on Lesbos and possessions elsewhere of it member polis. It is not hoarded externally) or used in any export or trade system. Critically in my view is that the Lesbian coinage is a consistent token composition. Copper of close 60% and a lead of ~3-4% and Silver only around 35%. Nobody could mistake it for hard silver (there is more variation in the early series of issues). That is the issue with the 'Free Horse' Macedonian currency. In some cases it does contain some 25% copper or is just plated (Kraay pg 20) and is thus and obvious overvalued locally. At other times the adulteration is less, 5-15% which suggests to me not me innovation but stiffing hoi polloi as much as you could when you could or had to or wanted to.

    Realistically if any place in the 5th century BC deserves a not for innovation it Lesbos. Simultaneously Mytilene had a production union with Phokaia to produce electrum hektais, the Lesbian Koinon was producing billion currency for internal use and the two leading polis also had standard silver coinage runs as well.

    Lazzarini's work is over 5 years earlier than the Brill companion, and has been reviewed in English [2] in an easily available survey of numismatics . The existence of and general dating of the Lesbsian coinage is over century old. Historian miss things but at the end of the day I can't help but see bias in Kremydi. Consider this and the tone here:

    The introduction of bronze issues that replaced the more expensive
    and impractical silver fractions was another important monetary innovation
    of Archelaus which was apparently very successful.”

    Again innovation? No. Macedonia is only following the Western Greeks, and Sikyon (Warren pg 11-12 [3]) Yes Macedonia replaced its bad silver but again that innovation was 5 decades earlier in the West by Greeks. A fair judge might rather say Archelaus abandoned his adulterated silver and followed the Western Greeks (and realistically nearby Greek cities in the Chalcidice area) in the trend of using bronze. Also sure tiny silver fractions might be hard to use, but you can find hoards of Athenian silver fractions – why because they were practically pure silver and was worth hoarding. I don't think you will find hoards of 5th century Macedonian bronze very often.

    ---


    edit: I think also for Alexander's minting till his death and the activity of the Successors, Price's "The Coinage in Name of Alexander the Great and Philip Arrhidaeus Vol. 1" pg 7ff, is a better link than the n 335. It more complete and concise and it lacks the surrounding bits of Meadows adding odd unsupported notions about Alex's monitary policy. Yep Alex the only guy to think of the ideal of using coins as mass communication (but its a childish ideal anyway so I don't know if he mean's it as a compliment or not).



    (*) Link is here at not sure if it stable but is free and available with a facebook or Google registration.
    https://helios-eie.ekt.gr/EIE/bitstr...mydi_11_01.pdf

    [1]The Composition of Greek Silver Coins: analysis by neutron activation CM Kraay - 1962 - Ashmolean Museum (pg 20-22)

    [2]International Numismatic Commission A SURVEY OF NUMISMATIC RESEARCH
    2002-2007
    General Editors
    MICHEL AMANDRY, DONAL BATESON

    https://www.inc-cin.org/assets/pdf/survey-text.pdf

    [3]WARREN, J.A.W. "Sikyon: A Case-Study in the Adoption of Coinage by a Polis in the Fifth Century BC." The Numismatic Chronicle (1966-) 169 (2009): 1-13. http://www.jstor.org/stable/42678602.
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    Default Re: POTF 16 - Nominations

    Quote Originally Posted by sumskilz View Post
    Quote Originally Posted by Legio_Italica View Post
    Anyone can take issue with research questions in any piece of research. It’s fairly easy to do as it doesn’t require a counter argument, merely broad complaints about methodology. I’m not interested in debating the type of wood in each tree as a means of casting doubt on the existence of the forest.
    The methodology comes out of field that's mostly cargo cult science as far as I can tell, and it's unlikely to get any better for reasons I discussed here. Part of the problem though, is the inapplicability of the scientific method to the subject they want to study. Value judgments are by nature empirically unverifiable, so it is necessary for researchers to begin with an assumption regarding what constitutes racism. If one begins with an assumption that is effectively along the lines of "Republican conservatism is racist" as Ludicus asserted, one can certainly find correlative data to argue racism predicts support for Trump, as it's no secret that Republican conservatives are more likely to support Trump. In any case, this is a tangent that probably doesn't add much interesting to the thread. I'll just say that I'm skeptical that the daily torrent of anecdotes are representative of the bulk of Trump's support, and leave it at that.

    A more interesting question for me, is what percentage of likely Trump voters are really Trump supporters vs those who simply prefer him over a Democrat.

    Quote Originally Posted by Legio_Italica View Post
    Perhaps the reason Trump supporters don’t consider his ostensibly racist sentiments racist is because they fairly unanimously agree with these sentiments.
    Yeah, probably.

    Quote Originally Posted by alhoon View Post
    Trump hates Obama's guts not because of Obama's ancestry, but because Obama more or less started a vendetta with Trump that has escalated to a psychosis that approaches Trump's obsession with Hilary who is white.
    Trump is racist with the Mexicans I think, not with blacks. If one of his sons shows up with a very pretty daughter of a black billionaire, Trump would congratulate him and be proud. If one of his sons shows up with the snow-white daughter of a grocer that is low-middle class, Trump would feel personally insulted.
    He doesn't consider blacks to be inherently inferior people. He considers poor or ugly people to be inferior people despite of color.
    I actually doubt Trump has any strong feelings one way or the other about Obama, Hillary, or Mexicans. I think it's all politics. He just spams stream of consciousness publicly until he finds something that clicks, either because it fires up supporters or enrages opponents or both, then he repeats and doubles down. In his speeches you can see him trying out ideas to see if they catch, if there's not much of a reaction he just moves on to the next topic. If there's an uproar, he elaborates. His rallies are like trying out a marketing pitch in front of a consumer focus group.

    The reason I doubt there's any emotion behind it is you can see how he quickly changes gears. When someone is a problem for him, they're every kind of terrible, as soon as that is no longer useful for him because the person has either given him enough to claim victory or has actually become a subordinate, then he has plenty of nice things to say about them if it suits his purposes. It's the same pattern with everyone from Chris Christie and Ben Carson to Kim Jong-un. Sometimes he seems authentically irritated when he's taken off guard, but during his rallies or during the debates he doesn't come across as emotionally invested in anything other than the game.
    Quote Originally Posted by Legio_Italica View Post
    Immigration is a polarizing topic around the world, arguably no more so than in the US and Europe. That said, I often wonder if there are material questions at the heart of the issue largely overlooked in a typical immigration delate, due perhaps to its inherently political nature. I’d like to pursue that notion in this thread. The idea is for a sort of survey among the forum, particularly of those who have more insight or specific opinions on the subject than I do. I’d make a poll but I’d rather encourage discussion and avoid putting people on the spot.


    The general points of discussion I propose are as follows:


    Are the social and political implications of immigration to a European country different from the US?


    My position: Yes, obviously. The US is a nation of immigrants, a social experiment of sorts. There is no ostensibly racial or cultural component to American identity, despite older immigrants hating newer ones. Anyone can be an American if they want to be, and nominally believe as we do in American civic and philosophical principles.


    This doesn’t seem to be true of any European country, for obvious reasons. There is a “blood and soil” element to German or Italian identity, for example, that is different from the US. I can learn German, move there, work/live/marry there, etc, but I will never be German. Not only is my name and heritage not German, but I was not born there. No matter what I do, I will always be “other.” And I don’t find that to be inherently problematic.


    If 100,000 foreign nationals settle in the US, the US does not become “less American.” If the same event happens in a European country, can the same be said?


    My position: Not necessarily, for the reasons stated above.


    The foreign-born population of several major European countries is between 10-20%, higher than the “peak” levels in the US. Is it problematic to consider this trend...problematic?


    My position: No. So why is the issue considered politically partisan in most if not all European countries? Understand that I am not including racist conspiracies or religious angst in this assessment. Most residents of major European nations appear generally opposed to efforts to settle more economic migrants in said countries, while not necessarily supporting an outright moratorium on immigration from outside the EU.


    For economic growth reasons, perhaps European governments do not wish to discourage immigration levels needed to maintain forward trajectory. However, how much weight does any consideration for cultural concerns and public sentiment warrant under the circumstances? At a time when global growth is slowing and climate change/war promises a steady stream of refugees and economic migrants for the foreseeable future, the prospect of open-ended immigration to Europe as a wealthier and more stable place to live may not be as problematic as some believe, at least in principle. At the same time, the situation is understandably concerning for people living in these countries who are already seeing massive levels of immigration within the last 30-40 years. Which deserves priority - growth, or stability and respect for cultural norms?

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    Legio_Italica's Avatar Lost in Limbo
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    Default Re: POTF 16 - Nominations

    Quote Originally Posted by Abdülmecid I View Post
    While the insurgency in Afghanistan slowly but steadily approaches its 20th anniversary, Kabul, the Taliban and Washington were negotiating a path towards peace in the relatively neutral capital of Qatar, Doha. However, despite the recent progress, Donald Trump announced that diplomacy has failed, allegedly because the other side insisted on continuing to carry out bloody attacks. Moreover, yesterday the American president fired John Bolton, his advisor over national security, supposedly over policy disagreements, despite the fact that Bolton claimed that he was the first to offer his resignation. His dismissal has been interpreted as a conciliatory gesture towards Tehran (Bolton was notorious for his hawkish obsession against the Iranian Republic), but, in my opinion, it's probably the result of White House's frustration over the unproductive talks with the Taliban.


    In spite of the fact that thousands of American soldiers and their allies are present in the impoverished country, the military situation has hardly improved. In fact, contrary to the rosy descriptions of Coalition officers, the Taliban are reported to be in their strongest point, since the invasion of 2001 and the collapse of their Islamic Emirate. They control huge parts of the countryside, especially in the south, while even the communications between provincial capitals, such as Kabul and Kandahar or Herat, are not always guaranteed. Summarily put, the mountainous country is too vast for the resource-lacking and corrupt government to effectively impose its authority. All these domestic issues, as well as the interventionism of global and regional powers, like Pakistan and India, lead to the conclusion that the only way for the US to decisively defeat the opposition is to dramatically multiply their budget and the number of their troops. Obviously, neither of them is a viable option for any politician aiming to win the next elections or to serenely complete his term.


    Of course, America is directly and indirectly responsible for the current chaos, as its direct and indirect support for the reactionary uprising of the Mujaheddin against the Democratic Republic of Afghanistan inevitably led to the present destructive stalemate. It's essentially a vicious circle, with the central authorities lacking the means to smash the Taliban and with the conflict devouring too much effort and money for the government to reassert itself. Therefore, ceasefire followed by reconciliation could potentially solve the problem, although the process will necessarily be very slow, with the gradual withdrawal of foreign soldiers being the first step towards normalisation. However, diplomacy is too vulnerable to provocation, as the recent failure indicates, with hard-liners and foreign powers trying the best to prevent a unified Afghanistan from emerging.


    In my opinion, the negotiations will eventually succeed, as neither side can enjoy the luxury of an alternative option. However, their harmonious coexistence will be exceptionally fragile, with the possibility of open hostilities recommencing being rather strong, in the case of the balance of power being disrupted (e.g. as a result of the departure of the international coalition). Finally, even if the Islamic Republic of Afghanistan and the Taliban surprisingly manage to cooperate with each other, the future prospects of the people are not very bright, given the deterioration of the infrastructure, the enormous cost of the war and the subsequent reconstruction and, last but not least, the fact that ultra-conservatism and obscurantism will be endorsed as official policy, further impeding the chances of the country for recovering part of its past prosperity. So, what are your thoughts? Is negotiated peace the right strategy and, if the answer is yes, is there room for moderate optimism concerning the chances of the Afghani society?



    Quote Originally Posted by Abdülmecid I View Post
    Of course Iran does not want to provoke a war, since the outcome would be obvious. If Tehran indeed played a role in the affair, her intention is pretty clear: To warn its enemies of its capabilities and to therefore discourage them from becoming too aggressive. The article's assumption that Iranian foreign policy is determined by Messianic expectations about the arrival of the Mahdi is pretty awkward and probably influenced by a conflation on part of the author of the Iranian clergy with Evangelical extremists. By the way, Heinsohn is not a NATO strategy, but just a preacher of the power of demographics with a brief presence in the NATO college of Rome, who bizarrely believes that Middle Eastern and Egyptian history began in 1.200 B.C..


    Quote Originally Posted by Legio_Italica View Post
    With this latest attack, Iran has reminded the world they have networks all over the world with the ability to strike any time, anywhere. Iran and the Saudis are the original ISIL. Iran has also been leveraging potential nuclear capabilities, given to them by US/European allies during the Cold War, to extort what they want from other nations (cue the JCPA). Now that Trump canceled the least bad option the west had available to deal with Iran diplomatically, then failed to follow it up with anything other than macho tweets and more sanctions, Iran is free to hold the other cosigners hostage while playing the victim to cover for its continued shadow war tactics.

    Even before the agreement, there had been no credible claimthat Iran aimed to produce nuclear weapons. After all, Ayatollah Khamenei has published a fatwa forbidding the acquisition or manufacture of nuclear weapons, which is not surprising, considering that means of mass destruction are ideologically opposed by the revolutionary regime, as it can be noticed by Iran's refusal to retaliate in kind to Saddam's use of chemical warfare, with the implicitapproval, of course, of the United States. Now, even if all this is wrong, there's still no indication that Iran would use nuclear weapons in a blackmailing manner, and not simply keep them as a desperate deterrent, including the Saudi Kingdom. To be sincere, your description gives me the impression of a caricature evil adversary of the "free world".


    If the problem could be solved with war, the US would have Iraq’d or Libya’d these places by now. Unfortunately, war would only spread the disease of Islamism, now with dirty bombs courtesy of the Ayatollah. Only Republicans on the take from Israel and/or the defense industry are really pushing for conventional war, and the only way it would actually happen is if Iran finally does something that causes an irreversible miscalculation by other stakeholders. That’s what makes attacks like this one so dangerous. It’d be great if the Iranians and Saudis managed to mutually weaken each other to the point of irrelevance, but such is wishful thinking as long as the world runs on fossil fuels. The rest of the world will continue to suffer in the company of Iranian and Saudi terrorist regimes for the foreseeable future, no matter what happens.

    The problem of Iranian opposition to American geopolitical interests can be easily solved with war, but what prevents it from occurring are the inevitable financial sacrifices and the political repercussions in the domestic front. The disintegration of Iran will not necessarily lead to the rise of Islamism and, in any case, Islamism should not be automatically viewed as hostile to American interests in the region. Washington has a history of a very fruitful cooperation with religious extremists dating from the Cold War and Afghanistan. Islamists were largely successful at withholding the rise of socialist and progressive movements in the Arab societies, while even recently, Sunni sectarianism has proven to be an invaluable and reliable ally of the West in the Syrian Civil War. Not to mention the religiously intolerant and extremely authoritarian monarchies of Bahrain, Qatar, the United Arab Emirates and Saudi Arabia, which have contributed crucially to the containment of Iran. Therefore, it's safe to suppose that a sufficiently flexible American administration could productively collaborate with Islamists in, for instance, Iranian Kurdistan or Baluchistan, to prevent an obviously hostile democratically elected government in Iran from emerging from her ashes.


    Finally, in what concerns the moral judgements and the labeling of the Iranian government as a terrorist regime, I personally strongly disagree and consider Iran's sphere of influence significantly more benign than, let's say, the economic strangulationof Syria or the support of Jundallahand Al-Qaeda, but I understand that it essentially depends on our subjective perspectives, so there's probably little point in debating this aspect.

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