What we have seen in Chechnya under Dudayev is a peasants’ revolt; and you as a historian will know that a peasants’ revolt is the ugliest, the most stupid and the most dangerous political phenomenon.Ruslan Khasbulatov, quoted speaking to Anatol Lieven in Lieven’s Chechnya: Tombstone of Russian Power
He lay sprawled, too wicked to move, spewed up like a broken spider-crab on the tarry shingle of morning. The light did him harm, but not as much as looking at things did; he resolved, having done it once, never to move his eyeballs again. A dusty thudding in his head made the scene before him beat like a pulse. His mouth had been used as a latrine by some small creature of the night, and then as its mausoleum. During the night, too, he’d somehow been on a cross-country run and then been expertly beaten up by secret police. He felt bad.Lucky Jim
Pulchritude and Pudenda.
Cristina Fernández, Argentina’s president, in the FT.
…the bail-out repeated “the same recipes they applied to us, which provoked [what happened in] 2001”. Argentina, as an IMF member, voted for the Greek bail-out, but “critically”, Ms Fernández said, adding the enforced austerity will have “terrible consequences” on the economy.
“They are repeating prescriptions whereby what they are trying to do is rescue the financial system. We believe these policies are condemned to failure and that is why we don’t apply them in our country.”
Mr Sarkozy was also delighted with the European Central Bank’s decision to start buying eurozone government debt – a decision that goes against the ECB’s monetarist instincts. Indeed, he had himself asked the bank to do so.Remarkable admission in today’s FT.
There goes old Archibald YatesMark E. Smith, The Fall, “Mexico Wax Solvent”, Your Future Our Clutter
X is the third consonant
They love their government in Mexico
Where are Britain’s lowest prices?
Sire," he said, "you are preparing for war against the sort of men who wear leather trousers and leather for all their other garments as well. They eat not as much as they want, but as much as they have, since their land is rugged. Moreover, they have no wine but drink water instead. They have no figs for dessert, nor anything else good to eat. Now if you should conquer them, what will you take from these people who have nothing at all? And then again, if they were to conquer you, think of how much you will lose: as soon as they taste our good life, they will never give it up and you will never get rid of them.
A Lydian named Sandanis to Croesus, in Herodotus’ Histories 1.71.2-3.
Certainly not fully applicable to our predicament in Afghanistan, though the evoked image of a figless, leather-panted enemy doesn’t fail to delight.
…global warming shows that apocalyptic prophesying is doing well. The latter goes something like this: Man used to live in harmony with some Rousseauian Eden. Man’s activity—the violation of a taboo against nature, the original sin—disrupted that order and cast humanity into a deteriorated habitat, exposed to plagues and cataclysmic floods. Salvation is possible if Man would atone for his sins and change his ways. In this case, that entails con-suming less energy (sinning less) and buying indulgences—the tax on greenhouse gas emissions, the “pay back” for our carbon footprint.
The biblical parallel is too obvious to be accidental. Climate change and loss of biodiversity are integral to the history of the planet. The recent warming episode is unquestionably due to human activity, but given the range of long-term variables that can potentially affect the climate and given the magnitude of risks involved, it seems shortsighted to focus policies on correcting human activity rather than on broader climatic and environmental management. The actualization of risk is about probability, not about design. Yet, humans have to imagine design when there is none and take ownership of causality. Things do not just happen to our species: We sin. Solace comes from the illusion that ritualistic self-flagellation can make up for structural failure at long-term planning—recently exposed once again by war and financial crisis. Like the Middle Ages, an anxious, contrite present spawns its fundamentalisms: not just the jihadists but radical environmentalists and immigration vigilantes alike, all weaned at the teat of Modernity, all fanatically nostalgic of an idealized past.