31 July 2017   Leave a comment

Today marks the centenary of the beginning of the battle of Passchendaele which begin on 31 July 1917 and ended on 10 November 1917.  It was the third battle in what was known as the Ypres Salient.  In those three battles, beginning in 1914, more than 800,000 soldiers on both sides lost their lives.  Those battles are testimony to the absolute futility of the war and the foolish tactics employed by  the generals who were completely oblivious to the realities of the first industrial war.

The Ruins of Passchendaele


Mitchell Blatt has written an op-ed on how to think about “illiberal” regimes.  Some governments, such as Viktor Orban’s Hungary, Poland’s rule under the Law and Justice Party, and perhaps even Donald Trump’s America, have been moving in a direction which does not uphold the idea of individual rights as vigorously as liberal politics demand.  Blatt writes that the key to thinking about liberal governments is the emphasis on constitutional rule that protects individual rights, not necessarily an emphasis on the idea of voting rights.  It is an intriguing essay and provokes one to think more clearly about the nature of liberalism.

Khairuldeen Al Makhzoomi and Adel Albdeewy have written a very interesting essay on the Qatari crisis which I found truly enlightening  They identify three major political axes in the Middle East, led by Saudi Arabia, Iran, and Turkey.  Each of these alliances in the region have different and often cross-cutting objectives and the controversy over Qatar has thrust these differences into the open.  The perspective is a refreshing and more intelligent one than the one that emphasizes the role of US interests in the region.  Indeed, the US turns out to be almost irrelevant, except as a genuinely destabilizing force, to the dynamics of this issue which could potentially explode into open conflict in the region.

Posted July 31, 2017 by vferraro1971 in World Politics

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