Laissez-faire moderating

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Timebandit Timebandit's picture

Sorry. Jet lag hasn't passed so I'm a little slow on the uptake. I agree.

Unionist

Timebandit wrote:
Sorry. Jet lag hasn't passed so I'm a little slow on the uptake. I agree.

It's ok - actually I didn't even follow my own brilliant advice about taking it to another thread! So maybe I should (temporarily) stop preaching till I learn how to practise.

Timebandit Timebandit's picture

:)

Caissa

I have appreciated the laissez-faire moderating of this thread.

Mobo2000

Smith said: 

"And if it is a question of babble's policy (which isn't strictly about moderation, since all that stuff is discretionary)  - whether "anti-Imperialist" should be strictly interpreted as "anti-western" - I have to ask if this is about criticizing America, or shielding others from criticism."

Smith, I read this as you questioning the motives of ikosmos and NDPP -- that they want a more overt anti-imperialist policy to shield Russia/Syria from criticism.   Is this what you meant by the above?

Regarding moderation and the "posters in question" (who I assume people mean to be ikosmos and NDPP):   There are times in the War on Syria threads and assorted Russia threads where there is impolite conversation, sarcasm, accusations of support for barbarism, yes, agreed.   That occurs in lots of other threads where people are very invested in a particular issue or set of progressive politics.   We saw an example of heated language in this thread.   I think babblers who do not agree with ikosmos/NDPP's take should cut some slack on tone here. 

Maggoo said:

"If there's any good "take-away" from this it's that Russian Imperialism versus American Imperialism is a difference of degree, not a difference of kind.

In a materialist discussion, the difference of scale matters, but in a moral discussion it doesn't."

I disagree with this entirely.   Moral discussions ARE pragmatic discussions, or they are pointless.   To judge the morality of an action, you need to understand the context in which it is being taken, and the likely effects of the action you are proposing.   Our opinion about the rightness or wrongness of Syrian/Russian/US actions in Syria right now is not going to affect the outcome one iota.   But our government IS supporting the US side, with our money.   And we Canadians might be able to have an effect on that.   There's a moral discussion to be had there, I think, but "condeming" or "supporting" one side or the other is essentially just stating an individual opinion.  

 

 

 

 

6079_Smith_W

To clarify, I was talking about Left Turn's suggestion at #13:

Quote:

  • Moderation according to rabble's posting policy, as opposed to the volume of complaints about a post and/or poster. Rabble supposedly has an anti-imperialist policy, which many babblers seem to not respect, especially where Russia is concerned. And yet the people who take the anti-imperialist view on issues around Unkraine/Russia are the only ones who get singled out by the moderator.

...implying on the one hand that moderation has been biased, and on the other hand that criticism of Russia is somehow Imperialist, and should be considered against policy.

Left Turn was talking about a reminder from a mod to a specific person. That is what I was talking about. Not NDPP.

You know, part of the reason I brought this up is because this is drifting from matters of keeping things civil and respectful to political differences, which for the most part has no bearing on moderation. Aside from a few dodgy links (I mean 1 or 2 I have seen, not scores) I'm not aware that NDPP has ever done anything contrary to policy. He posts a lot, but I have never seen him be obstructionist, or terribly rude, and the idea that my political differences with him has a bearing on whether I think the mods should get on him is part of the misconception I am talking about.

Yes, Babble has a progressive mandate, but moderation isn't, nor should it be about political differences.

And no one is telling you to not support a certain cause. The question being raised is whether some opinions should considered contrary to policy.

    Mobo2000

    Ok thanks Smith.   I'm not sure what you mean about "telling (me) to not supporting a certain cause", but probably not material to the main discussion.

    RE: some opinions (about anti-imperialism) should be contrary to policy --I do think that comments promoting an equivalency betwen the actions of the Russian state with the actions of the US in Syria are ignoring the power imbalance, context and relevant history so much that they cease to be "anti-imperialist", and in some ways enable US empire (e.g. "We are bad and acting in our own interests, but so are they, and they don't have our (democratic) values!")   But I don't want conversation about this to be restricted by the policy or the moderators.

    I think that policy should apply and moderators step in if we had people here arguing FOR US empire, white man's burden, etc but I haven't seen that here.

     

     

     

     

     

    lagatta4

    We've had a few of those in the past, and assorted other hard rightwingers, but they seemed to either leave or get banned. It would be terrible if people couldn't criticize (capitalist) Russia because it isn't the US. Don't forget other imperialist powers, still very important in certain parts of the world. Moreover, imperialism isn't merely military aggression - it is also economic, with strong social and cultural implications as well.

    Mr. Magoo Mr. Magoo's picture

    Quote:
    I disagree with this entirely.   Moral discussions ARE pragmatic discussions, or they are pointless.   To judge the morality of an action, you need to understand the context in which it is being taken, and the likely effects of the action you are proposing.

    OK, but I don't think that really addresses what I said.  I'll say it another way.

    If someone steals $1000 from you, that's materially worse than someone who only steals $10 from you.  But morally, neither is really standing on high ground.  They're both thieves.

    Mobo2000

    From your example: I would consider both to be thieves, and the one who $1000 to have done something worse /less moral than the one who stole $10.  Both have committed an immoral act.   Of those 2 acts, one is worse /less moral than the other.   Canadian law would agree.  Petty theft vs theft vs grand larceny, etc.   The scale and context always matter. 

     

    bagkitty bagkitty's picture

    On the plus side of the more relaxed moderating style... fewer of the tattle-tale "I'm going to tell the moderator on you!" entries. There were periods where I used to amuse myself by imagining some of the comments being read out loud in a young high-pitched voice (imagine a pre-primary school child on helium).

    lagatta4

    That is true, but the bullies often have free rein.

    Mobo2000

    Lagatta:  RE: your comments about imperialism above in this thread, I 100% agree, all fair points.

    Bagkitty:   My youngest kid is 7 and has a high voice, he is at the age where he talks incessantly.   Mostly about Minecraft.   So I can imagine what you describe very very well.

     

    Caissa
    MegB

    kropotkin1951 wrote:

    MegB wrote:

    Left Turn wrote:

    This doesn't mean that I'm any fan of Vladmir Putin, only that I don't think he's an imperialist warmonger.

    See, here's where we fundamentally disagree. I feel that Putin is every bit as imperialist a warmonger as the US and its allies. I'm all for a Russian perspective, but not one that is completely blind to its flaws.

    I presume that this is your personal opinion and not actual babble policy that one has to adhere to.

    I think that comparing Russian imperialism to US imperialism is like comparing an ass grabbing asshole to a serial rapist. They are both guilty of sexual assault but I have no problem seeing that there is little equivalency in the severity of the behaviour only similarity in being rooted in misogyny. Similarly while they are both rooted in imperialism the scale of the US imperial project sets it apart from all the run of the mill bullies in the international sphere.

    Your sexual assault analogy is offensive to others and has been flagged.

    6079_Smith_W

    I was just thinking, your moderating style isn't actually laissez faire; it is quite strict, but you follow a rule with a high threshold.

    I should also point out that this is not a comment on what happened just above, but something I was reminded of by all the moderating you did this morning.

     

    kropotkin1951 kropotkin1951's picture

    MegB wrote:

    Your sexual assault analogy is offensive to others and has been flagged.

    I think that comparing Russian imperialism to US imperialism is like comparing a bar room brawler with a gangland enforcer. They are both guilty of assault but I have no problem seeing that there is little equivalency in the severity of the behaviour only similarity in being rooted in violence. Similarly while they are both rooted in imperialism the scale of the US imperial project sets it apart from all the run of the mill bullies in the international sphere.

    There is that better?

     

    Timebandit Timebandit's picture

    Certainly containing less misogyny. See? It wasn't that difficult after all.

    Sean in Ottawa

    The drifts in this thread are actually as informative as anything else. They are an indication that the moderating is going well. People on all sides seem satisfied. The resentment of previous moderator battles have gone and what is left appears balanced and when there are interventions they are justified and explained. The moderating appears less confrontational and personal and more constructive. This all has contributed to a better atmosphere. I think the moderation here is less controversial and more effective now than it may ever have been before. Congratulations.

    As for the drift -- I am not sure that we have to choose between acknowledging both where there are equivalencies in principle and where there are significant differences in scale and effect.

    When it comes to morality, I agree that there are differences in morality infomred by scale just as there are equivalencies in behaviour even if the scale is different. People may choose at various moments to focus on one or the other and this should not be cause for huge dispute although it often is. The greatest scale moral crisis, one would think would be the destruction of the planet. It is hard not to take a very hard look at both countries who represent the greatest damage examples like the US and those who represent the greatest per person damage including Canada. It is also unreasonable not to consider relative wealth, capacity and level of development when being overly harsh on developing countries. I give this as an example of just how muddy moral equivalencies and comparisons may be. Encouring listening to different views on this and other moral questions can only be a good thing,

     

    Sean in Ottawa

    Timebandit wrote:
    Certainly containing less misogyny. See? It wasn't that difficult after all.

    Like Cigarette smoking there is no safe or healthy dose. While on many things moderation is the correct action, on this zero tolerence is the only reasonable approach. When unintended, education is usually appreciated and always helpful.

    Timebandit Timebandit's picture

    Actually, it's rarely appreciated but necessary nonetheless.

    kropotkin1951 kropotkin1951's picture

    I changed the post so you can now stop your self righteous moralising. 

    MegB wrote:

    See, here's where we fundamentally disagree. I feel that Putin is every bit as imperialist a warmonger as the US and its allies. 

    I still feel that this viewpoint that I responded to is tripe but that is merely my opinion. I find it to be a type of balance fallacy. Any objective reading of the history of the last 50 years leads one to the conclusion that one country stands out far above all other countries when it comes to intervention in the affairs of other countries. Putin is petty tyrant the POTUS claims the right to regularly meet to decide who to summarily execute anywhere on the planet. The US has around 800 military bases around the world.  Russia is just not in the same imperial league as the dominant destructive regime to the south of us. It like with climate change. Indeed there are non-human reasons for some of the rise in temperatures but to compare them to the human causes is to compare an insignificant problem with the most dangerous problem.

    Unionist

    kropotkin1951 wrote:

    MegB wrote:

    See, here's where we fundamentally disagree. I feel that Putin is every bit as imperialist a warmonger as the US and its allies. 

    I still feel that this viewpoint that I responded to is tripe but that is merely my opinion. I find it to be a type of balance fallacy. Any objective reading of the history of the last 50 years leads one to the conclusion that one country stands out far above all other countries when it comes to intervention in the affairs of other countries. Putin is petty tyrant the POTUS claims the right to regularly meet to decide who to summarily execute anywhere on the planet. The US has around 800 military bases around the world.  Russia is just not in the same imperial league as the dominant destructive regime to the south of us. It like with climate change. Indeed there are non-human reasons for some of the rise in temperatures but to compare them to the human causes is to compare an insignificant problem with the most dangerous problem.

    I strongly agree. And since the thread drift is continuing and we have decided to discuss this issue (i.e. "Russia = U.S.") in this thread, I'm repeating my emotional reply of last week to Meg's above-cited post, which was obviously Meg's opinion rather than a moderatorial ruling:

    Unionist, on December 13 wrote:

    For the record (in case anyone is still producing any), I agree with your second sentence - but equivalency between the relative horrors committed by these two imperialist powers?? Give me a break. In one of the last "debates", Hillary Clinton said at least 4 times (that I counted) how "we" had to stand firm against Putin and Russia. It's hard to imagine more grotesque warmongering than what is coming out of the U.S. And with the CIA now discovering more weapons of mass cyber-destruction attributable to Putin of course, we progressive people are going to have to make some decisions pretty soon. I've made mine. The U.S. can fuck off and die. No way will the people of the world participate in another genocidal World War just because the filthy arrogance of the U.S. billionaires has been temporarily punctured. And the only power likely to trigger such a war is Washington, D.C. They have their fingers everywhere. They should be surgically removed.

     

    6079_Smith_W

    Oh FFS.

    You're really arguing this is a matter of how many people you torture, or bomb, or shoot in the face?

    And if I just do it to one, that is admirable restraint.

    (seeing as we are back to ignoring the question asked at the top of the thread)

    Not to say I enjoy reading all the crap on here, but is the main issue really what you can or cannot talk about, rather than acting like an abusive jerk or shutting down discussion?

    If it is team sports, then clearly I am not speaking up enough.

     

     

    Martin N.

    At great risk of derailing anti-American rants and returning to our regularly scheduled programming, to me, the moderating is fine. I mostly read, especially threads about feminism, racism etc. The more I post, the greater admiration I have for writers who can get their point across in few words. I find that the harder I try not to offend, the more convoluted my words become. I also have a problem differentiating between babble policy and the double standards of posters who use their interpretation of babble policy to stifle. Babblers are not shy to point out what is offensive to them and it is helpful, if not always a violation of babble policy as written.

    Martin N.

    Unionist wrote:

    kropotkin1951 wrote:

    MegB wrote:

    See, here's where we fundamentally disagree. I feel that Putin is every bit as imperialist a warmonger as the US and its allies. 

    Unionist, on December 13 wrote:

    For the record (in case anyone is still producing any), I agree with your second sentence - but equivalency between the relative horrors committed by these two imperialist powers?? Give me a break. In one of the last "debates", Hillary Clinton said at least 4 times (that I counted) how "we" had to stand firm against Putin and Russia. It's hard to imagine more grotesque warmongering than what is coming out of the U.S. And with the CIA now discovering more weapons of mass cyber-destruction attributable to Putin of course, we progressive people are going to have to make some decisions pretty soon. I've made mine. The U.S. can fuck off and die. No way will the people of the world participate in another genocidal World War just because the filthy arrogance of the U.S. billionaires has been temporarily punctured. And the only power likely to trigger such a war is Washington, D.C. They have their fingers everywhere. They should be surgically removed.

     


    "Those who bend their swords into plowshares end up plowing for those who don't ". Do you disagree with the sentiment that to allow any imperialist entity free reign is dangerous? Do you prefer Russia as the only global superpower?

    Martin N.

    kropotkin1951 wrote:

    MegB wrote:

    Your sexual assault analogy is offensive to others and has been flagged.

    I think that comparing Russian imperialism to US imperialism is like comparing a bar room brawler with a gangland enforcer. They are both guilty of assault but I have no problem seeing that there is little equivalency in the severity of the behaviour only similarity in being rooted in violence. Similarly while they are both rooted in imperialism the scale of the US imperial project sets it apart from all the run of the mill bullies in the international sphere.

    There is that better?

     


    Better but not complete. They are both guilty of assault but the brawler wishes to become a gangland enforcer.

    kropotkin1951 kropotkin1951's picture

    Martin N. wrote:

    "Those who bend their swords into plowshares end up plowing for those who don't ". Do you disagree with the sentiment that to allow any imperialist entity free reign is dangerous? Do you prefer Russia as the only global superpower?

    What an dismissive statement that justifies war and says peace activism is naive and thus stupid.  I would prefer a global order that starts with serious disarmament but apparently you think that viewpoint should be ridiculed. But just a thought exercise so I can answer your question, under what circumstances can you envision Russia becoming the only global superpower. Who knows my answer might change depending on the scenario you have in mind with this fantastical idea.

    kropotkin1951 kropotkin1951's picture

    Martin N. wrote:

    Better but not complete. They are both guilty of assault but the brawler wishes to become a gangland enforcer.

    This reminds me of my Catholic upbringing. You are equating a perpetrator with someone who thinks about committing the same crimes as the perpetrator. Thinking about sin is a sin in itself in the Catholic tradition. Of course they also have two categories of sin. The thinking sins are all venal and not mortal. So no I don't think there is a moral equivalency between an actual gangster and bar room brawler. 

    If the US and NATO immediately began disarming to the point of only out gunning the rest of the world by a factor of two the West would be just as safe. If all countries withdrew all their militaries to their homelands the tensions on the globe would be severely reduced.

    Unionist

    6079_Smith_W wrote:

    Oh FFS.

    You're really arguing this is a matter of how many people you torture, or bomb, or shoot in the face?

    No, that's one of your bargain-basement pre-Christmas-sale straw men. No wonder you couldn't sell it at full price.

    This is a matter of how many sovereign countries you invade, occupy, and organize regime change in, as well as economically dominate and blackmail.

    Last time I recall Russia (then the Soviet Union) invading and occupying a sovereign state (even though they had some puppet government covering their ass) was Afghanistan. [No, not Ukraine, that's in your pro-Kiev pro-NATO imagination.] I believe that was in 1979. Care to compare that to the U.S. record in the past 37 years? No? I didn't think so.

    Yes, Russia is an imperialist country. So is Canada. So is the U.K. And France. So was Nazi Germany. They're all dangerous. But no one is more dangerous than those who willfully, or stupidly, profess to be unable to distinguish between the dangers that they pose to humanity at any given time.

     

    Martin N.

    kropotkin1951 wrote:

    Martin N. wrote:

    "Those who bend their swords into plowshares end up plowing for those who don't ". Do you disagree with the sentiment that to allow any imperialist entity free reign is dangerous? Do you prefer Russia as the only global superpower?

    What an dismissive statement that justifies war and says peace activism is naive and thus stupid.  I would prefer a global order that starts with serious disarmament but apparently you think that viewpoint should be ridiculed. But just a thought exercise so I can answer your question, under what circumstances can you envision Russia becoming the only global superpower. Who knows my answer might change depending on the scenario you have in mind with this fantastical idea.


    Bah! Please provide one instance where unilateral disarmament has resulted in peace. Peace activism is incredibly naive but in no way stupid. Peace is a worthy objective that should be actively worked for but expecting competing global ideologies to give up exploiting opportunities for more power and control ranks with believing in the Easter Bunny. ---- Multilateral disarmament is a pipe dream unless a method can be found to remove all sociopaths from positions of authority. ----- Imagine, if you will, the USdisengaging globally and retreating within its borders, gladdening the hearts of activists everywhere. How do you believe Putin and his posse will react? Iran, China or other global actors?

    Martin N.

    kropotkin1951 wrote:

    Martin N. wrote:

    Better but not complete. They are both guilty of assault but the brawler wishes to become a gangland enforcer.

    This reminds me of my Catholic upbringing. You are equating a perpetrator with someone who thinks about committing the same crimes as the perpetrator. Thinking about sin is a sin in itself in the Catholic tradition. Of course they also have two categories of sin. The thinking sins are all venal and not mortal. So no I don't think there is a moral equivalency between an actual gangster and bar room brawler. 

    If the US and NATO immediately began disarming to the point of only out gunning the rest of the world by a factor of two the West would be just as safe. If all countries withdrew all their militaries to their homelands the tensions on the globe would be severely reduced.


    So the brawler's threats of blowing up the bar with his missiles if challenged is simply a "thinking sin" as opposed to an 'actual' gangster who has twice as many missiles that he has not used yet either? ( No, in this discussion, Hiroshima and Nagasaki don't count).

    Martin N.

    Unionist wrote:

    6079_Smith_W wrote:

    Oh FFS.

    You're really arguing this is a matter of how many people you torture, or bomb, or shoot in the face?

    No, that's one of your bargain-basement pre-Christmas-sale straw men. No wonder you couldn't sell it at full price.

    This is a matter of how many sovereign countries you invade, occupy, and organize regime change in, as well as economically dominate and blackmail.

    Last time I recall Russia (then the Soviet Union) invading and occupying a sovereign state (even though they had some puppet government covering their ass) was Afghanistan. [No, not Ukraine, that's in your pro-Kiev pro-NATO imagination.] I believe that was in 1979. Care to compare that to the U.S. record in the past 37 years? No? I didn't think so.

    Yes, Russia is an imperialist country. So is Canada. So is the U.K. And France. So was Nazi Germany. They're all dangerous. But no one is more dangerous than those who willfully, or stupidly, profess to be unable to distinguish between the dangers that they pose to humanity at any given time.

     

    I agree with you but, if one were to apply kropotkin's rule of 'thinking sin' to Russia/USSR, do you not agree that Russia's imperialism lite was more a factor of the collapse of the Soviet Union and lack of military resources than it was any renunciation of imperialism?

    6079_Smith_W

    @ U

    To reel this back to its source, this is a matter about how babble's policy on anti-imperialism should be interpreted when it comes to moderation.

    This little spat is just irrelevant spin, unless anyone here thinks people should be shut down for voicing any of those differing opinions. (and I know that happens on occasion)

    And if not, what is the point of this absurd argument?

    Like I said, I read a lot of the crap on here, and when I have the time and inclination I call it out for what it is.

    I am not in favour of suspending or shutting anyone down simply because I disagree with them. I also try and remind myself that this is an open forum when I get the idea that they and their arguments don't belong here.

    So whatever your opinion is about who is worse, I really don't care except in the context of that main question, and the implication that some things should not be open to criticism here.

     

     

     

     

    bagkitty bagkitty's picture

    kropotkin1951 wrote:

    [..,]

    I still feel that this viewpoint that I responded to is tripe but that is merely my opinion. I find it to be a type of balance fallacy. Any objective reading of the history of the last 50 years leads one to the conclusion that one country stands out far above all other countries when it comes to intervention in the affairs of other countries. Putin is petty tyrant the POTUS claims the right to regularly meet to decide who to summarily execute anywhere on the planet. The US has around 800 military bases around the world.  Russia is just not in the same imperial league as the dominant destructive regime to the south of us. It like with climate change. Indeed there are non-human reasons for some of the rise in temperatures but to compare them to the human causes is to compare an insignificant problem with the most dangerous problem.

    Being always in favour of maximum drift, I am a little surprised how France gets left out of these discussions. I cannot, at the moment, find the quote, but I have read several times that France is the state whose military interventions in other countries have been most frequently found to be illegitimate by international bodies over the past 50 years or so. The question seems to be not if France will have "boots on the ground" on foreign soil, but where next.

    When time allows I will try to track down that quote, until then, enjoy this.

    kropotkin1951 kropotkin1951's picture

    bagkitty wrote:

    Being always in favour of maximum drift, I am a little surprised how France gets left out of these discussions. I cannot, at the moment, find the quote, but I have read several times that France is the state whose military interventions in other countries have been most frequently found to be illegitimate by international bodies over the past 50 years or so. The question seems to be not if France will have "boots on the ground" on foreign soil, but where next.

    When time allows I will try to track down that quote, until then, enjoy this.

    You are absolutely right. I often try to use the terminolgy of the US and NATO because we should not forget other European powers and our own complicity in the imperial project.

    Paladin1

    Mr. Magoo wrote:

     

    Anyone remember a former babbler named after a Cuban statesman?  How many times was he warned, and how many times was he suspended?  At a certain point, it's like reading about some drunk driver who's on his seventh licence suspension but keeps driving drunk anyway.

     

    generally I prefer a more strict heavy handed approach to moderation to curb passive-agressive posts however the moderation at Rabble seems pretty good to me and mostly works.

    regarding your point there IS a lot of that. To paraphrase you'll often see posts like this

    Quote:

    I may get banned for this but YOUR A PIECE OF SHIT and hope you choke on your imerialist bullshit!!! fuck you

    Clearly a policy violation but it gets ignored.  Sure it's often someone just blowing off steam (still a violation) but the adverse side is you get the example you gave. Serial violaters who break policy over and over and over with no seeming recourse.

     

    Rabble used to be exttemely bad for the whole I'M REPORTING YOU!!!!! petulant crying. Just like no Crossfit workout is complete without posting about it on facebook, people here couldn't report a post without makeing sure everyone knew they reported it. Thankfully that practice has seemed to gone by the way side.

     

    Hopefully the practice of some members trying to control and shut down topics they don't like (no one respond to this troll bla bla) or whip up witch hunts against other posters follows suit.

    NDPP

    bagkitty wrote:

    kropotkin1951 wrote:

    [..,]

    I still feel that this viewpoint that I responded to is tripe but that is merely my opinion. I find it to be a type of balance fallacy. Any objective reading of the history of the last 50 years leads one to the conclusion that one country stands out far above all other countries when it comes to intervention in the affairs of other countries. Putin is petty tyrant the POTUS claims the right to regularly meet to decide who to summarily execute anywhere on the planet. The US has around 800 military bases around the world.  Russia is just not in the same imperial league as the dominant destructive regime to the south of us. It like with climate change. Indeed there are non-human reasons for some of the rise in temperatures but to compare them to the human causes is to compare an insignificant problem with the most dangerous problem.

    Being always in favour of maximum drift, I am a little surprised how France gets left out of these discussions. I cannot, at the moment, find the quote, but I have read several times that France is the state whose military interventions in other countries have been most frequently found to be illegitimate by international bodies over the past 50 years or so. The question seems to be not if France will have "boots on the ground" on foreign soil, but where next.

    When time allows I will try to track down that quote, until then, enjoy this.

    Canadian officials have already met, several times in Paris with their French counterparts to design a potential Mali mission. France has a counter-terrorism operation in Mali. Given Canada's 'heavy lifting' contribution to the fallout of murder and mayhem in the region from helping to destroy Libya, it seems a natural eh?

    sherpa-finn

    bagkitty wrote: I cannot, at the moment, find the quote, but I have read several times that France is the state whose military interventions in other countries have been most frequently found to be illegitimate by international bodies over the past 50 years or so. 

    That may be true, but I would be surprised. My impression is that the vast majority of French military interventions are in former French colonies (mainly in Africa), and most usually at the invitation of the national government. Much like their on-going anti-jihadist presence in Mali that NDPP cites.

    Why that would be considered inappropriate by those who enthusiastically support much greater Russian military intervention in Syria provided on much the same grounds (national government of dubious democratic credentials requests military support from foreign super power to deal with domestic insurgency they consider terrorism) seems a tad hypocritical. But it is what it is.

    Mobo2000

    "Why that would be considered inappropriate by those who enthusiastically support much greater Russian military intervention in Syria provided on much the same grounds (national government of dubious democratic credentials requests military support from foreign super power to deal with domestic insurgency they consider terrorism) seems a tad hypocritical."

    The legitimacy of the "ask for help" from a national government to a foreign power can be evaluated, although this is admittedly difficult and reasonable people can disagree.

    My 2 cents:

    If a recently installed government, installed through foreign backed coup, asks for help from the same outside foreign power?  Most people would regard this as what it is, just a request for more money and arms to ensure the coup's success.   The Iraq Provisional Authority, for example.

    If a national government has been in place for years, was relatively stable, and was the target of rebellion sponsored by a hostile foreign power?  To defend themselves they turn another foreign power for help.   And that foreign power does so because it perceives doing so to be in its geo-political interests.   Syria fits here, I think.

    And by repressive governments in general?   "The threat of terrorism" is a useful excuse for all sorts of violence by repressive governments, and it will continue to provide ideological cover to despots and arms merchants the world over.   Many governments saw opportunities to deal with their political enemies when Bush declared the "War on Terror".   Maybe the government of Mali and France see a win-win here.

    Generally I think it is very prudent to be suspicious of an imperial power's claim that it is in a territory at the invitation of the national government.  But in the case of Syria, they surely do want Russia to be in Syria, and they clearly do not want the US.   If you do support national sovereignty of governments (not just governments that are democracies) , then you should acknowledge that Russia does have a legitimate claim to be in Syria and the US doesnt.

    Syria is not dealing with a domestic insurgency now, and I doubt they were back in 2012.  They are dealing with a foreign power (the US) sponsoring, formenting, and accelerating a civil war and attempted coup, backed by foreign fighters. 

    I don't want Russia to "win".   I want the violence there to end, and I see the best chance of that being the US-sponsored forces losing.  

     

     

    kropotkin1951 kropotkin1951's picture

    I agree whole heatedly with your assessment Mobo2000.

    In true babble style the thread on moderating is talking about Syria and the Syria thread is talking about moderating. 

     

     

    Mobo2000

    Martin N says:

    I agree with you but, if one were to apply kropotkin's rule of 'thinking sin' to Russia/USSR, do you not agree that Russia's imperialism lite was more a factor of the collapse of the Soviet Union and lack of military resources than it was any renunciation of imperialism?

    Maybe?  Perhaps if history went a different path, they would have had as "successful" an empire as the US does now.   But this seems to be an attempt to make a moral equivalency between the two.   What matters in the here and now is the actually existing situation, which one can act to support or resist.   There is no way to prove your speculation, and I don't think it's a useful line of thought.

    Personally, I think it is incorrect to grant moral qualities to nations, or discuss them as if they have a moral character, or predisposition to good or bad acts.   Or even people, for the most part.    Actions can be moral or not.   People or nations can't.

    The logic of our current nation state system, wedded with capitalist ideology, leads nations to compete with one another for power, resources, control in the world.   The powerful nations exert their power on weaker ones because they can, and in the current world system, they think they have to (to compete).

    So yes, if Russia enjoyed the same beneficial, easy to defend geography of the US, and managed to avoid the near total destruction of their country twice last century, they perhaps could have developed to become the dominant world power.   And if they did, I am prepared to believe they would have abused it as much as the US has.  

    But the world turned a different way, and we are now where we are.

     

     

     

    MegB

    kropotkin1951 wrote:

    MegB wrote:

    Your sexual assault analogy is offensive to others and has been flagged.

    I think that comparing Russian imperialism to US imperialism is like comparing a bar room brawler with a gangland enforcer. They are both guilty of assault but I have no problem seeing that there is little equivalency in the severity of the behaviour only similarity in being rooted in violence. Similarly while they are both rooted in imperialism the scale of the US imperial project sets it apart from all the run of the mill bullies in the international sphere.

    There is that better?

     

    It is actually. Thank you.

    kropotkin1951 kropotkin1951's picture

    Martin N wrote:

    So yes, if Russia enjoyed the same beneficial, easy to defend geography of the US, and managed to avoid the near total destruction of their country twice last century, they perhaps could have developed to become the dominant world power.   And if they did, I am prepared to believe they would have abused it as much as the US has.  

    I love that logic. All countries with peace and prosperity would be the same as the most brutal empire I have seen on my 65 years on the planet. The US is bad but you know everyone in the same circumstances would be just as bad. Wow I guess there is absolutely no difference between anything. Moral equivalence for everyone and everyone's actions are the same since we can imagine they would be evil. 

    Left Turn Left Turn's picture

    6079_Smith_W wrote:

    To clarify, I was talking about Left Turn's suggestion at #13:

    Quote:

    • Moderation according to rabble's posting policy, as opposed to the volume of complaints about a post and/or poster. Rabble supposedly has an anti-imperialist policy, which many babblers seem to not respect, especially where Russia is concerned. And yet the people who take the anti-imperialist view on issues around Unkraine/Russia are the only ones who get singled out by the moderator.

    ...implying on the one hand that moderation has been biased, and on the other hand that criticism of Russia is somehow Imperialist, and should be considered against policy.

    Left Turn was talking about a reminder from a mod to a specific person. That is what I was talking about. Not NDPP.

      I'm not against criticism of Russia. I actually think that Putin is a capitalist, homophobic, mysogynist, with severe authoritarian tendencies. However, I dn't believe that Russia is engaging in imperialism as is implied by the western media.

      Russia did annex Crimea, but only after Crimea voted over 90% to join Russia (note: Crimea was part of the Russian SSR until it was moved to the Ukranian SSR in 1954). And I believe that the evidence cited by the U.S./NATO/Western mainstream media to justify their claim that Russia invaded eastern Ukraine, was 'fake". And the evidence of whom Russia has been bomibng in Syria is disputed, so I have no problem with people who question the official "western" narrative on this. I don't myself have a firm position as to what Russia has/has not been up to in Syria.

      I also believe that the U.S./Nato have been promoting anti-Russian sentiments in order to further U.S./NATO/European imperial ambitions in eastern Europe. As such, I believe that defending Russia from this imperialism is not against babble's policy; and my point about the moderation is that I think complaints about it ought to be ignored, regardless of how many there are.

      In case anyone questions what I'm talking about, the website [url=https://www.newcoldwar.org/]The New Cold Wat[/url] provides very good news and information about these matters.

      6079_Smith_W

      Left Turn wrote:

      As such, I believe that defending Russia from this imperialism is not against babble's policy; and my point about the moderation is that I think complaints about it ought to be ignored, regardless of how many there are.

      No one has claimed that defending Russia is against Babble policy; it isn't. And since you agree there is no problem with criticizing that country's government I don't see a problem.

      I'd be surprised if anyone had complained about that (I know I never have). I think what some are really concerned about is something a bit different.

      As for request of a carte blanche, I suppose that is up to the mods.

      Mobo2000

      Hey Kropkin, can we dig in on this a bit?   I actually think we agree entirely on this point, but I don't understand how you got the opposite of what i intended in my reply to Martin.

      "The US is bad but you know everyone in the same circumstances would be just as bad. Wow I guess there is absolutely no difference between anything. Moral equivalence for everyone and everyone's actions are the same since we can imagine they would be evil."

      I assume sarcasm here and that you think the opposite of this.   If so I agree --  I think moral equivalence is a propoganda term with no meaning, it just serves to shut down debate.  Same with moral relativism.

      When I say I can imagine a world with Russia as the dominant power, behaving in a manner similar to US empire, I am talking about the truism that power corrupts.   And making a rhetorical concession to Martin of no import.   When discussing american empire with people who are not polically engaged, often one hears charges of "Anti-americanism" (asserting one is biased against American).   What I was trying to make clear to Martin is that it is not a bias against the nature of Americans, or some moral essence of US government.   What is to be immoral, what is to be opposed is their actions, and the opposition is based on support for the moral principles of self-determination and national sovereignty.  

      You could perhaps disagree that the Soviet Union would have progressed the same way as the US did.  Perhaps the socialist revolution, had it succeeded and not been attacked, would have lead to a much different and better world.   And Martin might disagee.   But who cares and why bother to argue it?  It's utterly immaterial to the current situation in Syria, and my reply addresses that.   Moral equivalence / "they would have done it too!" is just a red herring that people who believe in US exceptionalism go to when they want to move the conversation to abstract discussions of values and character, and away from power, economic interests, and the history and context of the actual situation.

      This is exactly why I think it's better to discuss morality strictly in terms of action.   To me there is no value in saying "the US is good" or "Putin is bad".  Nothing and nobody is pure good or pure evil, and weighing the "goodness" of their character may be entertaining for some, or lead to lively discussions, but its not useful or interesting to me.   And almost everyone I talk to who is politically disengaged or on the right, will go down this path if it's not cut off.  

      Discussing the US and Russia's actions and why their actions are moral or not is more likely to lead to a conversation where a useful progressive response becomes possible, or at least someone's mind gets changed.  

      Curious to hear your thoughts (and others!).

      oldgoat

      One more big sleep and i'm moderating.  This Russia business, it's going to be a thing, isn't it.

       

      6079_Smith_W

      Oh just think of it as a little surprise Christmas cracker.

      Okay, maybe not such a surprise.

       

      Timebandit Timebandit's picture

      oldgoat wrote:

      One more big sleep and i'm moderating.  This Russia business, it's going to be a thing, isn't it.

       

      Inescapably, yes.

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