• The American Gun Control Debate
    Other countries respond to mass shootings in a way that the USA never does - because of the dogma about the right of gun ownership being equated with freedom.Wayfarer

    Not only that.

    Also because Americans think they have to have a gun to protect their home from criminals. Not for hunting (although there are people still living in the countryside) and for a shooting hobby. Hence there can be a lot of Americans that own a firearm, but never use it and aren't actually so familiar in it's use.
  • Ukraine Crisis
    (Reuters, 24th May 2023) Yevgeny Prigozhin, the founder of the Wagner mercenary group, warned that Russia could face a revolution similar to those of 1917 and lose the conflict in Ukraine unless the elite got serious about fighting the war. - If ordinary Russians continued getting their children back in zinc coffins while the children of the elite "shook their arses" in the sun, he said, Russia would face turmoil along the lines of the 1917 revolutions that ushered in a civil war.

    "This divide can end as in 1917 with a revolution," he said.

    "First the soldiers will stand up, and after that - their loved ones will rise up," he said. "There are already tens of thousands of them - relatives of those killed. And there will probably be hundreds of thousands - we cannot avoid that."

    Quite a populist remark referring to the elites, but it's noticeable that he's talking about a possibility of similar events as in 1917.
  • Ukraine Crisis
    I would add to Mearsheimer's second point that it's somewhat clear why the war turned into a war of attrition during this stage. Russia is not looking to take large chunks of territory while the occupied areas are still being pacified, and thus with more or less stationary frontsTzeentch
    Because of pacification of the held areas, Russia isn't advancing?

    How about the simple fact that neither side has the capability for large-scale maneuver warfare as they simply lack the reserves of fully equipped brigades/divisions, to "take large chunks of territory" and hence the only action seen has been in a very limited areas, like in Bakhmut?

    How did that Russian winter offensive go? Ah, they got Bakhmut! Well, that's actually not much. It will take time for Russia to transform into a wartime economy, yet likely it will do that. But it doesn't happen instantly. The longer this conflict goes on, the better for Russia.

    And what is likely that neither Ukraine will make huge gains as earlier, likely their summer offensive will be quite local operations. The assistance Ukraine has gotten isn't anywhere close what would be needed for create large scale maneuvers and to cut the land bridge to Crimea. If that would happen, then I guess the Ukraine armed forces would have transformed quite a lot. Furthermore, the Dnipro river is quite an obstacle, especially in the time of accurate weapons that can destroy laid bridges.

    There are many similarities with this the Iran-Iraq war. The offensives were far in between in that war and it became bogged down too.

    attrition is the way the Russians can still erode the Ukrainian fighting strength, which they seem to have been successful at.Tzeentch
    What the Russians have eroded is the air defence missiles of Ukraine by attacking with cruise missiles and rockets Ukrainian cities. And as those Ukrainian air defence systems have been mainly from Cold War stocks and the factories for additional missiles lie in Russia, Ukraine is urging for fighters and seems that the US obviously has noticed this problem and will start to give those fighters.
  • Incels. Why is this online group becoming so popular?
    Probably the same reason flat earthers ramped up out of no where.Benj96

    Flat earthers are actually the best example of this click bait culture, which dominates the internet.

    An argument that can be shown to be false simply by going on to the seashore on a clear day and watch large ships sink into the horizon (and not become tiny specs) because of the Earth's curvature makes the topic easy to talk about. And that's the whole point. As internet groups go, those that are talked about rule. The "notoriety" of the Flat earthers are harmless, not so with other issues.

    It's like Ali G interviewing the surgeon general and saying not all people will die... and the doctor believing he really is so clueless. Trolling is fun.

    This phenomenon can be seen even here in PF. Just look at how much discussion threads and how long they have been about antinatalism. Antinatalism hits all the similar points. An absurd, easy to comment issue, which creates debate and hopefully heated opinions. Ten months ago @Baden decided to merge the antinatalism stuff together, but just look at how many threads on the bizarre topic there are.
  • Ukraine Crisis
    An eloquent comment, yet I would think that the generalization of the "non-western countries" goes a bit too far off as these are individual states making there decisions specifically from their own unique situation. Their relationship to the "West" differs a lot. In fact, even "The West" doesn't seem so unified when you look at the countries themselves. You can see obvious differences between Poland, Hungary, the UK or Italy when it comes to war in Ukraine. And these countries are part of NATO.

    The entire middle east (excluding Israel) is in rapprochement with Iran! - These are historic events.yebiga
    Here the important issue is Saudi-Arabia and Iran restoring diplomatic ties, thanks to China. But how harmonious these relations still are is questionable, it's more about reducing the possibility of a regional conflict.
  • Incels. Why is this online group becoming so popular?
    So the interesting thought here, which I think someone else has expressed in this discussion already, is that what is lacking is shame.Jamal
    Shame is something that the society has put on to people by condemnation... which in the modern case is then viewed as oppression and hence the "positive" victimhood. I'll try to explain what I mean by this.

    The emphasis on the "involuntary" aspect of not having sexual relations with women, especially being less attractive than other males physically, is something that underlines this modern positive victimhood. Fighting against the oppression of social norms is seen as being positive, especially when it's something you cannot change (like your appearance). Also what you mentioned as identity politics plays a part here as identity isn't confined to the traditional ones anymore.

    Above all, when that condemnation is seen to come from certain groups, liberals, feminists and perhaps in this case the "picky" women themselves, that is something positive and encouraging. It's like when Hillary Clinton referred to the Trump supporters as deplorables, it was the best thing ever to happen to Trumpsters and for Trump. Besides, Trump's rise itself started in earnest with his remarks on Mexicans being rapists, which spurred general condemnation and hence intense media focus. Condemnations creates focus.

    Similarly in this case, would there even be this thread if this internet group hadn't evoked condemnation and disapproval? Asexuality would not stir up similar debate. This is how internet and the algorithms of the social media work. We could be talk about a larger and more prevalent issue of loneliness, but that likely wouldn't be so interesting.
  • Incels. Why is this online group becoming so popular?
    It’s also a form of identity politics, which is another interesting dimension.Jamal
    Yes it is.

    And as victimhood and being different is so fashionable today, the idea of being an incel isn't so bad, at least in the horrible self-help groups of internet echo chambers.
  • Incels. Why is this online group becoming so popular?
    It is important what the reasons areJamal
    Well, why not then start with the obvious: the internet. The ability there to find your own echo chamber. How public discourse has change because of social media where there is no moderation.

    One should look first at the general reasons and look what is similar to other hate groups which don't have anything to do with sexuality.
  • Ukraine Crisis
    If you write...
    but to suggest that those who disagree with your perspective like Russia or PutinManuel
    ...then I thought you were referring to Russia and Putin.
  • Incels. Why is this online group becoming so popular?
    The OP need not comprehensively describe or define incels.Jamal
    Yet usually we try to answer the questions in the OP, right?

    And as @Vera Mont said, this is an phenomenon brought by the internet. So it's much more about internet culture and the ability, thanks to the net, of otherwise quite separate individuals having the ability to get together... (like, uh, people who are interested in philosophy).

    It doesn’t follow from the fact that “incel” is a word formed from “involuntary celibate” that when we use “incel” we are merely referring to people who are involuntarily celibate tout court.Jamal
    Just like if someone uses the term eco-terrorist, the terrorism doesn't actually have anything to do with ecology or environtalism. The real issue is the "activism" that accepts and uses violence to further it's cause and gain media attention. What the cause is doesn't so make a difference. The violence part is similar and if the cause would be, let's say anti-abortion activists burning down an abortion clinic, it doesn't change things.

    Similarly, if someone is a misogynist and uses violence, it isn't important what the reasons are for him to act in this manner. It is the action, using violence etc, which is the main issue and ought to be condemned.
  • Incels. Why is this online group becoming so popular?
    I think your comments regarding Christianity (which some would say includes Catholicism and Protestantism) are mistaken, remarkably so, in fact.Ciceronianus
    Well, I guess people don't read what the Bible says about the role of women. And about women in general.

    It's still a useful source (the Bible, that is) about Christianity. :smile:
  • The Post Linguistic Turn
    If there would be logic to this, wouldn't the "post-post philosophy" simply be the old philosophy again, in some developed form?

    And we are no longer a planet awash in newsprint, but a world of imagery and image-text hybrids of sorts not covered in the Tractatus. We seem to be more concerned right now about whether we’re living in a virtual reality than whether we’re living in a text. That all sorts of new questions have arisen, however, demands new reflection, but also makes possible new histories. As Hegel observed, you can’t really tell the story of something until it starts winding down.
    This feels a bit shallow. Or the familiar cry of "Our time now is so unique, that old things don't cover it".

    But then again I'm not a professional philosopher.
  • Incels. Why is this online group becoming so popular?
    And isn't that more about the internet?

    Note how the OP was written:

    Involuntary celibate is a self appointed term to describe men that are celibate against their will because they deem themselves not attractive enough to the opposite sex. They believe this is objective, fixed and unchangeable.

    Is this an emerging mental condition? What is fuelling the upsurgence in men that self identify as incels?

    Do you think that perhaps the way dating apps are designed has some influence? Are we becoming too objectifying as a society? Is the incel "movement" dangerous? To whom and why?

    So many questions on this bizarre subject.
    Thus the issue you refer to would be the incel "movement". Not about the other questions above.
  • Ukraine Crisis
    But to suggest that those who disagree with your perspective like Russia or Putin, is misleading at best.Manuel
    Like Russia or Putin?

    Well, that I don't think the collapse of the Soviet Union was the greatest geopolitical tragedy of the 20th Century. But Putin does.

    And obviously through his actions, he is trying to form the empire back. Not perhaps with the Marxist-Leninist ideology, but with traditional imperialism. And I disagree with that.

    So what's misleading about that?
  • Incels. Why is this online group becoming so popular?
    The thread was about this specific internet culture of promoting misogyny.Vera Mont
    Not if you actually look at the OP, actually. :roll:

    Hence the incel movement should, as you take, be more about internet culture.

    There is no comparison to environmentalistsVera Mont
    There ought not to be comparison with environmentalists and terrorists either, as I said.

    Put shortly, no matter what someones reasons are, violence towards other people shouldn't be tolerated.
  • Incels. Why is this online group becoming so popular?
    We're not just picking on some poor lonely boys here.Vera Mont

    Then I guess the definition "a person (usually a man) who regards himself or herself as being involuntarily celibate" isn't so important as there obviously are a lot more those than who are part of an online-community hate group and are willing to use violence.

    Just like people who are environmentalists and those willing to use violence to promote their view of environmentalism, the so-called eco-terrorists, aren't pooled together. Or are only by some fringe right-wing people.
  • Ukraine Crisis
    I'm not rooting for any team.Tzeentch
    Well, I just don't like when countries invade others.

    I didn't like it when Bush invaded Iraq or Afghanistan either. Or when Saudi-Arabia attacked Yemen. And Ukraine even didn't have an dictator that attacked it's neighbors like Iraq (which still wasn't a reason to invade it).

    But I guess for some this kind of choosing sides is unacceptable.
  • Incels. Why is this online group becoming so popular?
    What is different now?Jamal

    What is different is that you can state that you are an incel far more easily. No wonder that "incels" became a thing in the net. All those hours in front of a screen. Besides, being unsuccessful with women wasn't something accepted in the old male culture. Or to be more precise: you simply didn't talk about these things or refer to some group as you can find now, hence it wasn't just "male" culture.

    Now you have discussion groups. Like if you like philosophy. :razz:

    At the time I did not have many friends, let alone female friends.Jamal

    Well, being lonely is the issue. Usually it isn't so that a man with a lot of male friends and the ability to get friends then suddenly would have a problem with women. But now we have this habit of compartmentalization. Which in my view, has become ridiculous.

    If your shy and lonely and simply have accepted your state, suddenly you are deemed to be an incel. And then the woke idiots go after these incles " misogyny, misanthropy" and make paint these guys as part of a hate group and the usual stuff.

    Perhaps it's communicated implicitly through popular culture, which floods the young with artificial imagery of what success looks like.Tzeentch
    More like social media that does it.
  • Ukraine Crisis
    Seems a lot of excitement with Bakhmut falling from the usual commentators. Masterful "soviet" propaganda schemes to appear weak... (Comes to my mind the way Trumpists promoted the idea that Trump was always playing 3D chess, that we simply couldn't follow, when fumbling in office.) :smirk:

    It will be interesting to see who made the "Kremlin drone strike", but at least the idea of a false flag seems to be very doubtful (and illogical) and what Ilya Ponomarev stated that it would be dissident groups wanting to curtail the victory parade (but not wanting put people in harms way) seems rather plausible.

    Now with the attack on a border town in Russia by the "Freedom of Russia Legion", it's obvious that these little groups aren't fake news, even if the actions are limited. But it tells how in a country where protests are forbidden what the next level of opposition will be.

    Ukraine can try to distance from the group as much it can, but the March 10th 2022 formed group has been part of the Ukrainian International Legion. Yet it is obvious that Putin has an opposition in his country.

    In the long run, it is totally possible for Russia to have it's next civil war (or times of trouble). The myriad of armed groups and actors is already there. In fact, before Putin rose to power, some of the intelligence networks came to blows at each other and it's a real possibility that after Putin the power struggle can be fought with arms.
  • The Debt Ceiling Issue
    I don’t know if the above two posts reflect awareness of the specific problem regarding raising the debt limit.Wayfarer
    As I referred to "the political theatre event played in the Congress", I'm quite aware of this.

    The real problem is this: this is a long term structural economic problem, not just a political one. Yet (unfortunately) it's just treated as a part of the political discourse and nothing else. The whole debt ceiling theater simply hides this, as it is just a way to grab attention and milk something out of the current administration. Let's just remember: as punctually as a clock that has stopped shows precisely twice in a day the correct time, so precisely the GOP will raise the debt issue as a problem when there in opposition and not talk about it when it's their administration in power. Just as the GOP's solution is to cut down 'liberal welfare' expenditure, but not to shrink the Superpower military (especially when China hasn't dissolved itself like the Soviet Union did).

    That above could be stated nearly as a fact. It is perhaps totally inescapable that people will fall into their political camps on the subject and look at this only from the political viewpoint. Yet the facts remain obvious:

    a) This is a long term problem, something that yet hasn't been a problem and since the last time the US defaulted (yes, cutting the last remnants to a gold standard was basically a default) was back in the 1970's, hence nobody will care. Since nothing has happened for many decades, people can easily presume that nothing will happen during the next election cycle, at least.

    b) Neither the GOP or the Democrats will do anything about it before a crisis erupts. Cutting expenditure will create a downturn that will instantly create pain and the benefits will be seen only years after, which will help the opposition, that likely has gotten into power then. Hence only a crisis will make the leaders do something about this. Naomi Klein made partly a good point in her "Shock Doctrine: the rise of disaster capitalism".

    c) As this a long term problem and can in the crisis can happen in the 2030's, 2040's or 2050's, it is problematic to raise the alarms about this. People will end up only with a permabear label with a following of preppers that are waiting for Armageddon, which won't happen.

    A friend that works in the local Central Bank (and thus basically in the ECB) said a year ago that the US Federal Reserve has been already between a rock and a hard place and simply cannot move on this.
  • The Debt Ceiling Issue
    US debt problem, the nation spending recklessly well over it's income (and not the political theatre event played in the Congress) is like inflation.

    Remember how inflation was discussed about early when we didn't have it?

    It doesn't matter, it's no problem and won't be a problem. Bringing up the whole issue is a typical nonstarter discussion that the opposition uses as scare tactics...

    Until in the end it is a problem.

    But first, as we remember from inflation, that was going to be transitory. A non-issue. A freak event because of this and that and something that will last only for few months. :wink:

    Things that can be a possible problem, but haven't been for many decades, don't make them being possible and real problems. In the end.

    You are just going to be the lucky person that during whose life the shit reaches the fan. And it's going to happen: only after a crisis hits, will something will be done. It's really, unavoidable.

    (I presume people are rather young here)
  • The Iron Law of Oligarchy
    the critique of step five highlights the pessimism inherent in Michels’ view.Banno
    Let's take just this part of the paper into debate.

    Thomas Diefenbach here uses frequently conditinionals (might) and simply makes quite a weak case here.

    But, again, the question is not whether or not this can happen (surely it can) but whether it is unavoidable. There is quite some empirical evidence supporting the theoretical argument that it can be avoided. For example, Lipset (1952/2010, p. 17), presenting the first findings and analysis of his famous case on ‘The internal politics of the International Typographical Union’ (Lipset, Trow, & Coleman, 1956), showed that ‘the rank and file’ can indeed ‘keep very much on the alert’; they stayed suspicious of their officials and rejected outright some of their proposals to change policies.

    Let's think this out: being suspicious about the higher ups and rejecting some proposals simply cannot be a refutation of the main idea here at stake. Saying "no" is easy. The bigger more difficult issue is then to find just what policy is used.

    Diefenbach continues with another quote:

    Jaumier (2017) found that members of a French co-operative sheet-metal factory regularly criticised members of the executive board, mainly as one of several means to limit the board’s power and to show its members that they should not go beyond their mandate.

    I think that even in other enterprises than co-operatives employees can criticize the executive board, especially if they go beyond their mandate. Again this isn't a refutation at all. Diefenbach sums up the following:

    Thus, there is a good chance in democratic organisations that discipline and strict observance of hierarchical rules might not become the prevailing behaviour of, or even a necessity for, subordinates. Most members can, and probably will, show a non-obedient mindset (free and sovereign personality; critical mind; distrust of leaders but loyalty to institutions; open challenges of policies and disagreement with others;

    There certainly is a "good chance" that organizations work this way. I can notice such behavior even my own military (!) as the organization promotes independent thinking and people taking the initiative. Orders aren't slavishly followed: if you are given an order that goes against the law, it's your job not to follow it. And above all: slavishly just following orders from above and doing nothing else can be extremely deadly if (or when) that command link is broken on the battlefield. Hence simply urging people to a) think with their own head and b) take the initiative when required, will disrupt a hierarchial organization and create the "good chance" what Diefenbach is talking about. Also in organizations that cannot be defined to be 'democratic'.

    Diefenbach does give credit Michels and understands that his conclusions have importance. He also makes quite astute observations. So what is the problem here? The answer is: ideology overriding rationality and logic. This ideology is shown well in Diefenbach's conclusion:

    The danger of oligarchy is always there – but, luckily, it does not always materialise. I therefore think that it is more appropriate to call Michels’ theory not the iron law but the iron threat of oligarchy.

    By talking about the 'danger' and 'threat' of oligarchy that "luckily will not materialize", Diefenbach clearly shows what he thinks about oligarchy. And this is the trap many fall into: they see the structures of organizations as ideological or ideologically constructed and morally good or bad, and spend little if any thought on the logical and rational grounds on just why organizations have evolved to what they are now.

    Perhaps "The Iron Law of oligarchy" is the wrong way to look at this phenomenon. Perhaps it would be better to call it "The fundamental limitations of collective decision making". Collective decision making takes time, people think inherently differently, will disagree and will make different choices. The only answer to this is to try to seek some sort of consensus. Also, specialization of roles in an organization is natural in creating efficiency. Hence the outcome and the effect will be that some people will have pivotal roles in the function of an organization. And hence, you will have "the oligarchy" in some way or another. That "oligarch" might then be the secretary of the council, an employee of the firm like a CEO or an wealthy financier of various enterprises. At this general level, there isn't so much use for this law. That few people will have power over others in any organization should be obvious and insisting that you can eradicate "oligarchy" at this general level is just a thought that hasn't much to do with reality.

    Hence the mistake is think about the "Iron Law of Oligarchy" from an ideological viewpoint. Or to give too much ideological value to what basically is a logical or rational outcome of a complex issue.
  • The Iron Law of Oligarchy
    I didn’t mean they favor oligarchy, but that their organization necessarily tends in that direction, no matter what type of organization they prefer.NOS4A2
    When you have a centralized state, oligarchy in some form will evidently happen. Perhaps we should define oligarchy and oligarchs better as let's say the Russian oligarch of the 1990's is different from a Soviet Politbyro member, who obviously would be an oligarch in the broader sense.

    In other words, oligarchy and the oligarchs are quite different if you have an plutarchy, corporatocracy or a kleptocracy or then an autocracy / dictatorship. One really has to define just what an oligarch is as there are quite different kinds of oligarchs, especially many who don't see them at all as oligarchs.

    Yet I think the Iron Law of Oligarchy comes more from the enlarged powers and abilities of control created by the modern states themselves. Central bureaucracy, the legal system and highly controlled commerce and society simply leads to this "Iron Law", as Michels put it. I think this is quite obvious. Central bureaucracy is always a top down organization, which leads always the few having power, be they elected or promoted to the position.

    Ancient Rome might have had emperors that have all the power, yet that power was limited by simply not having the technology and organization and thus not having the ability to control everything. If the Romans would have invented the optical telegraph (perhaps quite possible before the 18th Century), then one big obstacle would have shrunk in size. Add an industrial revolution and an scientific revolution, then you got those abilities.
  • The Iron Law of Oligarchy
    If Athens stands out as one model for democracy, even with the minority (the few free men) participating in the democractic rule of the city-state with slavery, we shouldn't forget how awful choices that democracy did. Like deciding to go on a warpath to colonize parts of the Italian Peninsula that ended so badly that it took a long time for Athens to get the news that their army had been totally destroyed. Or then we have the fate of one philosopher to remember. Hence nothing is ever perfect. The best functioning state will have a plethora of voices smartly showing how bad and inept the system is.

    Democracy is basically just a safety valve in my view, it shouldn't be glorified too much, even if it is better than other systems when the population of the state reaches millions of people. And if there are even safety valves on the representatives of the voting citizenship, it's even better (as in a Republic).

    Yet what you said above, one thing sounded a bit wrong to me:

    Socialist, fascist, communist, democratic, liberal, conservative—even anarchist!—and whether government, party, corporation, or trade union, the very structure of their organizations forbids democracy in favor of oligarchy.NOS4A2
    I'm not so sure that they all favor oligarchy, they just cannot avoid that somebody actually has to make the day-to-day decisions. The people can firmly believe that their system will work (perhaps in the future with a new breed of people) and won't be an oligarchy. Never underestimate the denial people can live in.

    A system that regards itself as fighting a revolution and has this mentality of a struggle makes those that are against it (or even just viewed as possibly being against it) enemies of it. Thus consensus seeking and voting that one has in an democracy are obstacles and out of the question for totalitarian movements. All that consensus and voting is actually for them the root of all evil. This totalitarianism leads to dictatorship: a system lead in the end by one. And those around the dictator are a small clique, totally dependent on the dictator accepting them as not being potential rivals, but 100% obedient lackeys and yes-men. People who compete in being the most dedicated yes-man don't actually represent an oligarchy as we usually know it.
  • Ukraine Crisis
    Prigozhin isn't acting like a military leader, but basically a warlord playing the role of a politician getting ready for the internal violent for power.
  • Ukraine Crisis
    Yep (@ssu), no particular proof. Some evidence, though.jorndoe
    Yes, unlike some who are extremely confident on the culprit. :smirk:
  • Ukraine Crisis
    More evidence on the possibility of Russia being the culprit for Nordstream pipeline bombings.
    Still the question is open...

    (Financial Times) Several Russian military ships were observed close to the Nord Stream pipelines in the days before the gas links between Russia and Europe were blown up last year.

    A Russian tugboat SB-123 capable of launching and rescuing mini-submarines was seen near the pipelines on September 21 and 22, shortly before the explosions on September 26, according to an investigation by four Nordic state broadcasters based on intercepted radio messages.

    Denmark’s overall military command authority confirmed to the Financial Times that it had taken 26 pictures of the special Russian ship SS-750, which had a rescue mini-submarine on board, on September 22 to the east of the Danish island of Bornholm, close to where the sabotage of the twin pipelines took place.

    Investigators in Denmark, Sweden and Germany as well as western intelligence agencies are still trying to establish who was behind the pipeline attacks.
  • Ukraine Crisis
    In reality, I think Putin enlarging the conflict would be illogical, thus unlikely.
  • Ukraine Crisis
    Well, I think the reaction of the people when Ukrainian forces Russian occupied cities like Kherson tells it all. But noted, there were (and are) those places in Donbas were the Russia and the idea of Novorossiya was (and is?) admired.
  • Ukraine Crisis
    Something that is worthwhile to note is that in any city the Russians held and then left, mostly the pro-Russian population would immigrate to Russia.

    According to this UNHCR data sheet (, some 2 874 806 Ukrainians have refugee status in Russia.
    Evidently the belief in the new Novorossiya isn't at the ground level the same as in the propaganda. This was happening already before February 24th of last year, actually. The People's Republics weren't the most pleasant, organized and secure places to live in.
  • Guest Speaker: Noam Chomsky
    Great job guys getting him here! If still room for a question, here's mine:

    Professor Chomsky, your first political book was The Responsibility of Intellectuals published in 1967 and you have been a long time critic of US foreign policy. After over five decades participating in the public debate, how would you describe how the role of intellectuals, academic or otherwise, in the public debate and decision making? How has the public debate about foreign policy has evolved in your view?
  • Ukraine Crisis
    I think in basic military terms it's certainly possible, as even if lines collapse in Donbas, Ukraine has lot's of fall back positions including a giant river.boethius
    One possible outcome is that the border will be at the Dniepr river. This basically would mean a Russian victory as then they have obtained from this a secure landbridge to Crimea. This also would be quite devastating for Ukraine: there would be the possibility that the war could erupt again, hence nobody would invest in the country afterwards.

    Russia would need another go at Kiev for a chance at all out victory, which certainly doesn't feel likely but who knows.boethius
    At least what is certain that they wouldn't try it as they did last year.

    If it's policy, then my best guess is that it was calculated that Ukraine simply cannot sustain their operation beyond a certain date (in terms of casualties and all sorts of other supplies such as AA missiles) and there was therefore no use in increasing production of shells.boethius
    Lack of equipment or ammo means just one thing: no large operations, but the WW1 trench stalemate continues.

    This has been evident from the fact that the Russian push has basically been centered around Bakhmut. It's actually resembling more the Iran-Iraq war in the case that there also both countries didn't have the ability for large scale maneuver warfare all the time. The last time we saw similar maneuver warfare was in the Gulf War, but then the US (and it's allies) just had all the stuff and the manpower built up for the Cold War still at hand to use.

    This whole running low of ammunition is honestly a confusing part of the situation. It doesn't seem possible as an oversight, and that it's industrially impossible for the entire West to produce more shells seems implausible, and if it's a deliberate decision then it's difficult to make sense of.boethius
    The military-industrial complex has adapted to World where the focus has been fighting terrorists or dirt poor insurgents in the mountains and making very expensive, limited production weapon systems and materiel. These intended for quick limited wars. Nobody has had the idea of building up huge stockpiles of ammo for a long, big conventional war. And once when you have downsized, it's not easy increase production, especially when your country isn't at war. Best example of this is Germany: the Bundeschancellor promised huge increases in military spending, but the German military industrial complex, even if it does make nice high end products, simply cannot change instantly.
  • Ukraine Crisis
    Most importantly, Western policy is to drip feed weapons into Ukraine enough to prop up the Ukrainian military but remotely not enough to threaten Russian defeat in Ukraine, much less on Russian soil.boethius
    This is something I have to degree with. The objective seems to prevent Russia from gaining an all out victory, but Ukraine not having the ability to defeat the Russians. And likely after this year, it will be far harder for Ukraine to succeed as Russia will likely get it's wartime manufacturing running.

    This war is simply a conventional war and the Western military industry isn't geared up or willing to commit to a war. It's been optimized to fight basically "colonial wars" with very costly weapon systems with low production quantities. Not to increase production on a huge scale. The only huge commitments we have seen are investments in the energy sector to replace the Russian exports. There actually for example Germany could act rather quickly.

    For, at the start of the war, no one wanted to escalate into a full scale war we have now where tanks and planes and so on need to be poured into Ukraine, so it was essential to believe that Javelins and other man portable arms (and the "pluckiness" Isaac definitely found the right word for) could somehow defeat Russia in military terms ...boethius
    Actually, nobody in the West believed that Ukraine could defend itself as well it has. Likely outcome that was seen was that Ukraine has to fight with insurgency, hence that it's not capable of stopping Russian attacks towards the capital.

    There are few, if any, examples of the proxy force simply winning in direct military terms, and in the case of the larger force leaving (Soviets in Afghanistan or US in Vietnam ... or US in Afghanistan) usually terrain and logistics favour guerrilla and insurgency tactics and the value of the land to the larger power is relatively low, quickly becoming a pride thing rather than making any military sense to continue fighting, none of which is the case in Ukraine.boethius
    The fact is that Soviet Union lost the Afghan war, just as the US lost Vietnam and Afghanistan. That they withdrew (with Soviet Union in a less humiliating way than the US from Afghanistan) doesn't change the reality. Neither Moscow or Washington DC were in peril.

    If you would consider the Arab-Israeli conflict also a proxy war, there's the example of winning in direct military terms. But then both sides could be argued as being proxies.
  • Ukraine Crisis
    Again the similar ludicrous (and apologist) view that if Ukraine is under Russian control or independent, part of the West (and hence under the oppression of the US), is actually similar.

    Or then let's talk about how some land grabs are relatively harmless. :roll:
  • Ukraine Crisis
    Non-sequitur. It's not about living in the UK/US or Russia.Isaac

    I think for Ukrainians it genuinely is about living in Putin's Russia or not.

    Something a person like you living in the UK can obviously easily dismiss.

    The US is 'helping' in Syria, Yemen, Nigeria, Afghanistan, Iraq... Are those utopias compared to Crimea? would people rather live in those places than in Crimea? Or Belarus?Isaac
    The "help" that Russia gave to Ukraine last year February 24th is something comparable only to the invasions of Iraq and Afghanistan. And even so, Ukraine differs from both that there wasn't an internal insurgency being fought before Russia intervened in 2014. For all it's problems, it had far less than Iraq and Afghanistan.
  • Ukraine Crisis
    Russia made the Crimean territorial acquisition with very little bloodshed. Grabbing territory is not always as massively destructive as the Ukraine campaign is.Isaac
    And women can be more easily raped when they are passed out.

    Now the situation in Ukraine was different, which was rather unnoticed before by the attackers.

    The choice we have to to invoke the US's version of power to fight of Russia's version of power and the US's version is demonstrably the worse.Isaac
    I think people would opt to live in your country than in Belarus, Isaac.

    Note though, some wealth is by inheritance (all kinds of details).
    Both leaders in the Russia → Ukraine war are among the top 15.
    Umm.. I think that is more of selected countries, not the top ranking. Such countries like Saudi-Arabia and the Gulf States are missing from that list, which would change it.
  • Taxes
    Estonia is actually a very interesting example as it had so much experience of inept socialism under the Marxism-Leninism of the Soviet Union, that it might be one of countries that most happily enforced capitalism and free market in Europe. And that has paid off as it didn't fall into the pit of crony capitalism. That means that when a global recession has hit, it has been hit hard, but then has very quickly recovered. It has been the most successful ex-Soviet republic:


    And what is noteworthy is that Estonian population has decreased during this time substantially. No easy task for a country to grow economically while losing a lot of it's population.
  • What is Conservatism?
    He specifies that this 'community' is not necessarily bound by borders. The Hungarian state remains interested in the interests of 'Hungarians' in other countries: Ukraine, for example, enforced the teaching of 'Hungarian' children (and the children of Russian speakers, for instance) in the Ukrainian language in 2017 and provoked inter-state disagreement.mcdoodle
    This is classic nationalism.

    Something that actually Vladimir Putin has been also very concerned about: the Russians now "stranded" in other countries and hence Russia has declared itself as a defender of those Russians everywhere.

    This notion of Orbán's is of course shared by many other countries with different ideologies, from Xi's China, or Modi's India, to the US or Britain and their beliefs in 'American interests' or 'British interests'.

    Orbán's views tap into 'blue-collar conservatism' that many countries are experiencing. There is a sense of loss, a need for community, and a view/feeling that metropolitan liberalism is profoundly hypocritical.
    Nationalism is shared in many countries. And then there's the obvious populism also in Orbán's rhetoric as he's against the international elites that try to hinder Hungary. Typical to his rhetoric is to attack the EU elites in Brussels. No surprise the strained relationship that Hungary has with the EU.

    This isn't actually something totally normal to conservatism. Conservatism doesn't have to be populist or militant, but it can be as can also leftist parties be. It is more about a political party tapping into the discontent of the population with populist rhetoric. And then there's the fact that Fidesz has a 54% majority in the Hungarian Parliament. It doesn't have to work with a coalition.

    Usually conservative parties aren't populist, just like with European Social Democrat parties. The simple fact is that when you are the dominant party in the nations politics, you cannot portray yourself as against the elites and on the side of the ordinary people as populists do.
  • Problems studying the Subjective
    Subjectivity is a problem for us as our scientific method tries always to give an objective answer or model about reality. Hence it simply doesn't care actually of two separate people having different kind of perceptions or headaches. It could look at them on an aggregate, it could just concentrate on the chemical / physical reactions that one can observe. How me or you or somebody experiences something is like a wrong meaningless question. With trying to be objective, it shouldn't be a surprise that the subjective is left out.

    I also believe academic trends have had a destructive effect on society. When they are not criticised and if they become the overarching paradigm and silence critiques.Andrew4Handel
    Or basically when their limitations aren't understood and just taken at face value in the most simple terms. Perfect example is economics (or political economy). Politicians can announce to be following one economic school or ideology, yet actually do usually everything else. But that understandably gives a bad rap to the school of thought as micromanagement of the economy usually (if not allways) fails.
  • What is Conservatism?
    What are "conservative values"? What kind of society do they envisage and how do they believe it can be brought about?Vera Mont
    Obviously "conservative values" depend on the society and history where the conservative party exists. Conservatives in an islamic country or in an non-permissive Western country are quite different. Even Social democracy is more uniform.