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Questions Of The Day (Politics)
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Wile E. Coyote


In: Arizona
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Should I be bothered? The gas and oil pipes don't run through the disputed territory. It's clearly a case where folks outside the region just let them get on with it.
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Mick Harper
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In: London
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Depends whether you've got a bomb shelter in your garden when World War Three starts. Any of this familiar? [Follow the story from Hatty's map.]

The Russo-Georgian War was a war between Georgia, Russia and the Russian-backed self-proclaimed republics of South Ossetia and Abkhazia. The war took place in August 2008 following a period of worsening relations between Russia and Georgia, both formerly constituent republics of the Soviet Union.

Nothing to worry about or everything to worry about? Well, Georgia started life under a Russian trusty, their old foreign minister, Eduard Shevardnadze, and there was nothing to worry about. But then the usual happened

Mikheil Saakashvili came to power after Georgia's Rose Revolution, which ousted president Shevardnadze. One of President Saakashvili's primary aims for Georgia was to become a member state of NATO.

How did that go down with NATO?

During the NATO summit in Bucharest in April 2008, American president George W. Bush campaigned for offering a Membership Action Plan (MAP) to Georgia and Ukraine.

Yeah well, he lives a long way away

However, Germany and France said that offering MAP to Ukraine and Georgia would be "an unnecessary offence" for Russia.

Lucky for us they didn't get in because that would have meant World War Three twice over. But, Wiley, maybe the dissentients were more worried about one of those oil pipelines you were going on about

Although Georgia has no notable gas or oil reserves, its territory hosts part of the Baku–Tbilisi–Ceyhan pipeline supplying Europe. Russia, Iran and the Persian Gulf countries opposed the construction of the pipeline. The pipeline circumvents both Russia and Iran.

Should I go on or switch back to my original theme?
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Chad


In: Ramsbottom
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Should I go on or switch back to my original theme?

Both.

Just switch between the two, with location and date captions at the top. It works well for TV and movie productions.
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Mick Harper
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In: London
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Don't tell me what to do, punk.
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Mick Harper
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In: London
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Well, all right, but just this one time.
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Mick Harper
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In: London
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Imagine a country that's an ordinary country with an ordinary government but it has these bits that are controlled by people who are trying to overthrow the government and take over the country. The government is massively stronger than any of these rebel enclaves but every time it conquers one of them, the 'international community' comes along and insists that the rebels are bussed out to another rebel enclave. This whack-a-mole procedure continues but gradually as each enclave is eliminated, the rebels are concentrated into fewer and fewer enclaves until finally only one is left -- the Internationally Delimited Liberated enclave or IDLIB for short. Now read on...
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Mick Harper
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In: London
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So long as Syria is unable to rid itself of the Idlib enclave, all other Syrian dissidents (of which there are always numerous because Syria is ruled by a particularly vicious and corrupt regime) will be able to flourish in and out of Idlib itself, and the Syrian people will continue to be in the direst of straits (over and above being ruled by a vicious and corrupt regime). While this situation lasts the Syrian regime will continue to require Russia to hold its hand, which is fine by Russia. Nor will Syria be able to do anything about Turkey's occupation of the Kurdish parts in the north, which is fine by Turkey.

But why does the Idlib enclave continue in being? Overall, it is because the 'international community' shows pictures of ickle kiddies in hospital every time Syria tries to do anything about it, and forces Syria to stop. But just in case the Syrian regime decides to flout the international community, which it has been doing effortlessly ever since the Arab Spring put the Assads on the wrong side of history, Russia and Turkey stage one of their mock battles and a ceasefire is reluctantly declared, leaving the status quo ante.
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Hatty
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In: Berkshire
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The destablisation of Assad's Syria is particularly useful to the somewhat beleaguered Israeli government. It's unlikely that the land the IDF grabbed in the Golan Heights will be returned to Syria any time soon.
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Mick Harper
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In: London
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Israel's Assadian position is complicated. Back in the Golan days, Israel was ferociously anti-Hafez (the dad) because it didn't want an efficient, militarised and militantly anti-Israel country on its border. But over time, the attractions of a family that relied on Christian and deviant-Islamite support to stay in power in a country that was mostly Sunni but with strong Shi-ite minorities, mounted. I'm not privy but I assume they have been pro-Assad for a long time now.
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Mick Harper
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In: London
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Lukashenko Meets Opposition Leaders In Prison

Item One: Can you let us out of prison?
Item Two: Clang!!
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Mick Harper
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In: London
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Apologies for my absence, I'm on a health cure. What's new? Oh, yes, Russia has just banned Turkey from attending the Moscow Peace Talks re Nagorno-Karabakh. On the other hand those well-known arbiters of the region, Germany and France, have been asked along. Azerbaijan is complaining like mad about Turkey's exclusion but it shouldn't. When a Prime Mover is not invited to a peace conference, it means the stitch-up has already been done. [See my monograph on Russia not being invited to the Munich Conference re the Sudetenland in 1938.)

Even I with my magic eye cannot entirely foretell the future but my guess is that Azerbaijan will be told to give up all claims on the Armenian-populated parts of Nagorno-Karabakh in return for getting a southern corridor through Armenia to its annexe, the return of all Azerbaijani-populated parts save Armenia's corridor to its annexe and a bit of compensation elsewhere. There will be lots of talk about how 'this time' the necessary transfers of populations will be done smoothly.

It will be the first great test of the Russia/Turkey Secret Alliance whether they can get it to stick. My prediction is they won't. Big Powers always overestimate their ability to shift Small Powers around the chessboard. France and Germany are not Powers of any kind, merely window-dressing.
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Wile E. Coyote


In: Arizona
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The advantage of national lock-downs is they generate national solidarity. The disadvantage is they are very expensive. So it would be cheaper to finance locally.

The advantage of regional lock-downs is they are cheaper, but the disadvantage of regional lock-downs is they accentuate regional jealousies, so destroying national solidarity.
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Mick Harper
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In: London
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A fair point but I think you are overestimating (now) national solidarity vs regional solidarity. It seems to me that an entire anti-national, anti-regional consensus is building among the youth who perceive that they are having to make most of the sacrifices (and getting most of the blame) for something that does not much concern them. I am sure they will be able to forbear visiting granny if it means they can return to partying.
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Wile E. Coyote


In: Arizona
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Across the EU countries countered the first wave of Covid-19 with national lockdowns (the EU refused to restrict its cherished freedom of movement), this resulted in discussions on which nation was doing best.

The new model is local lockdown, imposed nationally. Some localities like Manchester and Liverpool might disobey, others like London will, it appears, insist on strict observance. This will result in public arguments about what is reasonable and fair and what works.

This will inevitably catch out national parties and government as the only track and trace measures that will ever work, will turn out to be local......the localities actually know what is going on within their patch, so are best placed to interpret results of the second wave, even if that wave is being traced by a national computer Covid 19 app.
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Mick Harper
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In: London
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It surely has not escaped anyone's attention that London is not considered a 'region'. It barely gets mentioned. Nor have I once seen any kind of local breakdown for the London 'region'. Except Slough which has followed the usual 'Asian model' of acting as outlier.
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