Gulf War No III

March 19th, 2011 at 10:13 am by David Farrar

The may just have authorised the third gulf war. I think the  made the right call to stop Gaddafi using his air force against the opposition. If he re-established control over all of , hundreds or even thousands of Libyans may have been executed.

But there is no guarantee this won’t happen anyway. It’s one thing to defend unarmed protesters, but a bit different when it is an effective civil war.

If the no fly zone is not effective, then pressure will go on, for more active intervention – and at that point you have a full war.

Gaddafi would lose that fight very quickly, but the aftermath could turn out to be more akin to Iraq than Egypt.

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100 Responses to “Gulf War No III”

  1. Whaleoil (766 comments) says:

    Slight problem with your headline David….Libya is nowhere near the Persian Gulf, it is actually on the Mediterranean Sea. A distance of about 3700 kilometres.

    [DPF: Heh good point]

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  2. Viking2 (11,283 comments) says:

    Oh well, nothing is ever new.
    Its not the Jews and Arabs that need separating but clans of arabs.
    Bit like tribes of Hori’s ain’t it.
    Obama wants another scrap to oil his commercial wheels so he can get more funds for reelction.

    NZ has just found more light crude so that helps us and more to come.

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  3. adze (2,005 comments) says:

    WO beat me to it.

    Maybe the UN Coalition could be given a friendlier nickname – “Club Mediterranean” ;)

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  4. Thrash Cardiom (298 comments) says:

    Bit like tribes of Hori’s ain’t it.

    Or all those European nations.

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  5. reid (16,111 comments) says:

    I’m really looking forward to this precedent being applied next time some other leader does something appalling to their own citizens: e.g. say in Myanmar. After all, if you’re not for doing this all the time whenever it happens anywhere in the world whether or not the nation’s a shithole like Angola or a proper nation like Libya, then you must hate freedom and no-one hates freedom, do they?

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  6. Caleb (478 comments) says:

    leave them to it and get rid of the UN

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  7. gazzmaniac (2,319 comments) says:

    There’s a big difference between Burma and Libya. It’s black and comes out of the ground.
    BTW the South African Defense Force tried to do something about Angola in the 1970s. The US promised to mop up once the South Africans had done all the hard work, but instead all South Africa got was sanctioned.

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  8. metcalph (1,410 comments) says:

    Wonder if the US Marines will finally march to the shores of Tripoli? They never got that far in the Barbary War and during World War II, they were fighting in the Pacific.

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  9. nasska (10,917 comments) says:

    Why do we (the West) bother. On one side is Gaddafi willing to murder his countrymen to retain power. On the other side are a group of revolutionaries who when they are finished revolting will take Libya down the path of a Muslim theocracy. Only one thing is certain & that is whoever wins will hate the West.

    We’ve got nothing to gain so save the ammo & stay out of it.

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  10. Anthony (785 comments) says:

    The hating the West thing is over done. In Iran they made all the students attend anti US protests in the 80s – the vast majority of them didn’t actually hate the US at all. I know because some of those students now live in Wellington.

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  11. Gooner (995 comments) says:

    Gee, whod’ve thunk, fighting and bombs in the middle east.

    Same shit, different day.

    Nothing to see here, move along.

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  12. Radman (139 comments) says:

    I’m with nasska. Leave them alone to bomb each other into oblivion. Then when they are all dead, steal their oil.

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  13. gazzmaniac (2,319 comments) says:

    Radman – better yet, sell them weapons so we make money off the war too.

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  14. Murray (8,842 comments) says:

    So where is Mugabe on the list of oppressive dictators to get UN attention?

    And if the Muslim brotherhood/”deomocracy protestors” want air cover then they can pay us for it.

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  15. kowtow (7,955 comments) says:

    Libya is not a nation . It’s an amalgamation of three colonial Ottoman Empire provinces that has since been ruled by Italy,Britain and France and then dictators.

    If the American President had been having girl friend problems it would have had the shit bombed out of it already. Kosovo didn’t have any oil .

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  16. Falafulu Fisi (2,177 comments) says:

    Reid said…
    I’m really looking forward to this precedent being applied next time some other leader does something appalling to their own citizens

    Face the facts here Reid. The one who is actually doing the work is the one choosing? In this case, the US and its western allies. Remember, they act on their self interests. Humans act in this way. Only Jesus Christ who supposedly died on the cross for the sins of all humans was acting out of (against) his (own) interests. All humans act in this manner, ie, within their own interests. Why Libya and not Rwanda? Just ask yourself that question. What interests is Rwanda to the US or its allies? Well, not much. The US and its western allies is not Santa Claus which you must know that for sure. Jesus Christ/Santa Claus they do things for all people regardless . If they (Western Allies) select to go to one place but not others, it is their choice? It is their money/resources, their blood, etc,…

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  17. scrubone (3,090 comments) says:

    Why Libya and not Rwanda? Just ask yourself that question

    2 days longer…

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  18. mattyroo (1,012 comments) says:

    nation’s a shithole like Angola

    Been to Angola lately Reid???

    Calling Angola a shithole then calling Libya a proper nation would infer that you have no idea.

    It’s not about freedom at all, there are many places (despotic leaders) that should and could have direct action taken against them well before Libya popped up on the radar screen. But as Falafulu points out, it is the right of the people taking that direct action to choose, is it not?

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  19. scrubone (3,090 comments) says:

    The thought of using a jet fighter against people waving “I don’t like you” signs tends to set people off. Especially when next door those signs just got rid of a long time dictator.

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  20. immigant (950 comments) says:

    I would say the wildly unpopular Sarkozy would love to send in the French Foreign Legion in and serve Kadafi’s ass up like he’s John Mackinroe but cannot do it without the approval of the wider global family. Which is a shame. The French need to be given a chance to flex some muscle and he could spin it to boost his faltering popularity. You may have noticed the French were the first to recognize the rebel government.

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  21. Lance (2,565 comments) says:

    And I see Gaddafi is threatening to shoot down Western airliners in retaliation.
    Considering he has shot down an Italian airliner and bombed an American 747 I would say this needs attention.

    He hasn’t got the Communist block to hide behind now so this should be interesting.

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  22. big bruv (13,571 comments) says:

    I am uneasy about this situation, the rebels are desperately calling for Western help in their battle to oust the tyrant Gaddafi but what guarantees do we (the West) have that these rebels will not be calling for Jihad against the infidels once they do manage to get rid of Gaddafi?

    Remember the scenes of Iranians celebrating at the demise of Saddam Hussein?

    It might have been best just to do nothing.

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  23. Put it away (2,888 comments) says:

    Yawn, the same old predictable “but why not country X” non-argument every time from the same predicable idiots. Be realistic. There are at least 100 countries in the world that could be vastly improved by regime change. The U.S. cannot possibly attack them all. Running two wars at once just about stretches its resources to the limit. Whichever country they are going to attack, you have about 100 choices of other loony dictatorships to whine “why not..” about. And if they *were* thinking of attacking fucked-up-country X instead of Libya, you would be making the same complaint with the names swapped.

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  24. Ed Snack (1,801 comments) says:

    This is an interesting change of stance from the US (presumably the administration was pushing this, they voted for it) and interesting abstentions from China and Russia. This might be the start of serious action against those who commit excessive overt violence against their own citizens.

    I’m one who supports the action, otherwise it’s just open season on “peoples revolutions” whatever the motivation of those “rebelling”. I don’t see it as only oil also, I think if there’s a chance for something better by way of governance in the area, allowing Gaddafi to murder at will is an odd way to promote that. To allow him to go ahead is carte-blanche to every tyrant in the area to do the same. As for the chance of fundamentalism, I’ve seen little evidence to date beyond those ridiculous charges from Gaddafi himself blaming Al Qaeda and drugs.

    Now we have to see if the action is effective. You can’t just talk the talk.

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  25. Bevan (3,965 comments) says:

    And if the Muslim brotherhood/”deomocracy protestors” want air cover then they can pay us for it.

    And what air cover would they be paying us for exactly?

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  26. PaulL (5,983 comments) says:

    immigant: Sarkozy was first to recognise the rebels because of the mess his foreign minister made with Egypt – cosying up to the regime and heel dragging. He’s trying to regain some national pride, but it doesn’t let them off the hook.

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  27. Falafulu Fisi (2,177 comments) says:

    BB said…
    It might have been best just to do nothing.

    Good point. The West is like a good samaritan stopping by to help someone in needy, only to receive beatings from the person that she stopped to lend a help to.

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  28. Grant Michael McKenna (1,157 comments) says:

    Personally, I think odd that some people support the use of force to depose an Arab tyrant who abuses the people of his country, while they previously condemned the use of force against an Arab tyrant who abused the people of his country. I am not now, nor have I ever been, a citizen of the USA, but if I were, I’d think that the party affiliation of the President was determining people’s responses.

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  29. PaulL (5,983 comments) says:

    Grant. Agree. However, in the detail, I think there is some difference between:
    – using force to overthrow a tyrant whose people aren’t currently rebelling, and through massive involvement of foot soldiers, and large loss of life. This leaves the conquering power in the position of needing to try and fill the power vacuum, with all the pain that implies, and as I’ve learned, all the incompetence that implies
    – using force to stop a tyrant from killing people who are currently in the process of rebelling. No foot soldiers on the ground. In this situation, the only obligation is to enforce the no-fly zone, and perhaps use drones to suppress some loyalist troop movements. When it’s over, no obligation to create a government, although you could obviously support those locals who are trying to create a government, if they make a request for that

    I think the outcomes might be quite different. But, like last time, that might turn out to be wishful thinking.

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  30. Paul G. Buchanan (301 comments) says:

    For the international community, the horns of the dilemma consist of the realist precept of enlightened national self-interest and the idealist notion of universal responsibility to protect (R2P). The R2P was codified by the UN in 2005 and refers to the international obligation to protect vulnerable populations from the depredations of their own governments or from others in the face of government inaction or impotence. In this case, invocation of R2P by the Security Council to authorise the no fly zone is designed to protect civilian populations in rebel-held areas that are at risk from Gaddafi’s troops adopting a scorched earth policy against those believed to be the rebel support base (which is of course a violation of jus in bello standards and the Geneva Convention). Reconciling the dilemma is made difficult by the political equation: Western military intervention in Libya will likely be seen on the Muslim street as yet another attack on Islamic societies and thus to be opposed. That makes it a thorny issue for Arab leaders as well as the West.

    For European states like France and the UK (Italy has had to stay quiet because it is to involved with its ex-colony economically to challenge it), there is a strong national self-interest in dealing to Qaddafi. Likewise, the Arab League states have a self-interest in containing the Libyan conflict before it spreads and/or sparks imitators in an already restive region. Few other states have an immediate or strong stake in this “game.”The problem for those involved in enforcing the Un resolution authorising the no fly zone, and it is a very big one, is that the UN resolution and R2P protocols specifically refer to defending unarmed, defenseless populations and NOT to regime change, aiding and arming rebel groups or otherwise getting involved in a participant role in what is essentially an internal struggle for power. Should enforcement of the no-fly zone involve shooting down Libyan aircraft or attacking ground targets not directly engaged in assaults on civilians (although responding to AA and interceptor fire is legitimate under the R2P no fly zone protocols), then the venture starts turning into involvement in a civil war. That is outside the scope of the mission and represents a very slippery slope to foreign military involvement in issues of disputed sovereignty, which is one reason why 5 Security Council states abstained from the SC vote on the matter (needless to say there are other reasons but that is a legitimate concern).

    Egypt is already reported to be logistically assisting and arming the rebels on the Eastern front, apparently with old Soviet-era weapons rather than the newer generation US supplied weapons systems that the Egyptians have been equipped with for the last 20 some odd years. This is a diplomatic move given the sensitivities should these weapons fall into loyalist hands. But that does not address the problem of Gaddafi resorting to indirect unorthodox military counters (to include unconventional attacks outside of the region) or his turning to Iranian support as a counter-weight to the UN alliance against him. If he can up the ante and raise the stakes and costs involved in enforcing the resolution, then his offer of a ceasefire gives him some breathing room for maneuver that could well see him hold on to, at the very least, a partitioned Libyan state with control of major oil facilities. After all, he made be mad but he still is an astute player of the internal tribal game and an international opponent that must be respected if and when engaged in confrontation.

    Bottom line: enforcement of the UN resolution is just the first move of the second act in what could turn into a long-term play.

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  31. Michael (899 comments) says:

    See on the news that Obama is talking tough over Libya. If he doesn’t back that up then he’ll be a laughing stock in the international community. However, if he does take action are we going to see the lefties claiming, “He’s got an election coming up in 18 months?”

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  32. PaulL (5,983 comments) says:

    Interesting Paul B. If Libya was supported by Iran, that would create an interesting dynamic. Some on this site claim that Libya the inevitable result is an Iranian takeover of Libya. But if they support the govt….then surely the rebels wouldn’t be too happy about accepting support from them later. Interesting times indeed.

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  33. OECD rank 22 kiwi (2,820 comments) says:

    Military victory in Gulf War I was election gold for George Bush Snr, not.

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  34. Paul G. Buchanan (301 comments) says:

    PaulL: Libya and Iran have no beef with each other. But they do have common enemies, both within and without the region. The enemies within the ME are showing signs of vulnerability and the enemies without are showing signs of vacillation or disunity. The key to a joint countervailing strategy that raises the costs of armed intervention in either place is to use irregular means in unrelated places, to include the use of proxies, so as to demonstrate that the pain spectrum is wide and the application can be disguised if not discreet. Since the regional balance of power status quo is now in question, there may be unexpected opportunities for both pariah states in this crisis. Their adversaries need to be aware of this and be prepared for unconventional contingencies.

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  35. PaulL (5,983 comments) says:

    True Paul B, but your suggestion seemed to be that Gaddaffi would enlist Iran’s support. But most people think that the rebels have, at their core, an Islamist faction, which logically would be getting Iranian support. Those two things don’t quite go together – Iran can hardly support both sides. Actually, thinking about that, sure they can, but high risk strategy.

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  36. Paul G. Buchanan (301 comments) says:

    PaulL:

    It would be news to me if Iran were aiding the Libyan rebels, especially given Egyptian involvement with the latter. As for the Islamicist core, that is a matter of conjecture and appears to be based upon reports of returned Libyan jihadis turning on Gaddafi (who cast a blind eye on their movements until the mid 2000s). If true, their presence is a worrisome complication because they bring a proven skill set to the fray (such as use of IEDs), but at this point there is no evidence of the employment of that skill set against the Libyan Army. In any event, even if they are present in numbers that does not mean that they would ally with the Persians against Gaddafi given the Sunni/Shiia divide. To my mind the more likely scenario, even if unlikely, is an unspoken tactical marriage of convenience between Iran and Libya.

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  37. Hurf Durf (2,860 comments) says:

    There are wider implications of this, too. It appears the US is more than happy to let Europe take the lead for this maybe because it’s had more than its fill of trying to militarily help ungrateful Arabs, maybe because it’s in the midst of a fierce budget debate whereby a sustained military campaign, even one as (currently) low intensity as this, could damage the long-term arguments of both parties, maybe because Obama’s a weakling who won’t make a decision. Who knows.

    As currently it’s a joint British-French endeavour, with materiel from Belgium, Italy and other countries, it can be argued that this is an EU operation. The future of that entity’s credibility as a future superpower is at stake; if this drags on and they wind up breaking apart over issues of logistics and internal politics, and the EU’s ability to paper over these cracks is compromises, what then for the EU’s desire to be taken more seriously on the world stage? What then for Europe’s defence budgets if it turns out they can’t even do a police action over a neighbouring country without the US’ lead? This will be interesting to watch. I’m sure Russia, China, India and Brazil will be too.

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  38. PaulL (5,983 comments) says:

    Hurf Durf: I think part of the US reluctance is that they’ve learned that their support may result in long-term problems. Their preference is that the rebels could do it on their own, and then they provide some nation building expertise, funding and other support at those people’s request. It’s a much better PR look, and the result is more lasting, as the locals don’t perceive it as being something that was foisted upon them by outsiders.

    I personally think this shows good judgment, and in fact is something that Obama’s team are doing much better than Bush ever did. I’m not sure whether that’s just because Obama has better PR (i.e. the media don’t focus on the downsides of what goes on), or whether they are genuinely treading with a lighter foot. Either way, it’s working, and worked in Egypt.

    Flipside, it may not work in Libya. Sitting back and waiting may result in Gaddaffi massacring the rebels, and the end of the rebellion, opportunity lost. Not to mention those rebels feeling abandoned by the west. It’s a hell of a tight rope.

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  39. Hurf Durf (2,860 comments) says:

    Yeah, Paul. Air support is what the rebels have been crying for since this started, particularly when you consider that a 500lb bomb is a tank’s worst enemy. More pilots will now refuse to fly or defected outright, and it will cause Gaddafi to hold off sending his heavy, hard to replace armour and artillery in. He’ll probably change tactics now, more infantry and light vehicles which will put the rebels in a better advantage.

    I’d question about whether or not Barry knows what he’s doing. The evidence is mounting that he doesn’t and he’s winging it. Which is unsurprising from a community organiser and a one-term Senator. The gulf between the Clinton and Obama camps have been widening recently too because of this.

    In fact, when you consider how Gaddafi IMMEDIATELY folded when the no-fly zone was implemented, the US could have sent an aircraft carrier to do a lap of the Med and diplomatically stare him down. He probably would have backed down quickly, spared the rebels a fortnight of hassle and left the rebels in a stronger position. Still, that’s all missed opportunity and “what-if” now.

    “Arabs” was a bit of a crude terminology on my part, when Libya is a collection of different North African tribes like the Tuareg.

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  40. PaulL (5,983 comments) says:

    Hurf Durf: carrying no flag for Barry, but his team are doing OK so far. I’m generally of the right persuasion, but I reckon Bush was pretty dodgy as a POTUS. Better than the alternative, but clearly a big government conservative who wanted to stamp his mark on the world. If only there had been a small government candidate, who wanted to get out of people’s social behaviour, and play a supporting rather than driving role in the world.

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  41. side show bob (3,660 comments) says:

    It’s all a conspiracy folks. I note every current north African revolution displays the same symbols on walls and placards. The black fist. A Bigger game is being played here then throwing out tyrants. We live in extremely dangerous times. What happens in the next few months has been planed by people who really don’t give a fat rats arse about human life. The ultimate coal is a religious battle between Christians, Muslims. Not that any will win, it’s all about Satan, divide and conquer and play each other against themselves. Yes I’ve been to the tavern, yes I’m over the limit and yes so is the world.

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  42. Johnboy (15,602 comments) says:

    Country folks die on country roads you know bob. You must have been lucky on the way home tonight. :)

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  43. Magnanomis (138 comments) says:

    I say chop the head off the snake: decapitate the regime with some well aimed missiles – works wonders in Pakistan and Afghanistan where US drone attacks have drastically thinned the leadership of al-Qaeda and the Taliban. One assumes that the American’s electronic sniffing hears and sees all in Libya, even when Gadaffi is in the khazi.

    I’m surprised the Americans have been so reluctant – they have unfinished business with Gaddafi over Lockerbie.

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  44. Johnboy (15,602 comments) says:

    So have the Scots Magnanomis. Perhaps they should send Mel Gibson to bore Gadaffi to death?

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  45. Hurf Durf (2,860 comments) says:

    Speaking of which, I’ve just remembered an article about the current state of the Libyan Air Force in an issue of Combat Aircraft I have from December ’09. Considering how much money they have to spend on it, it can’t have changed all that much. I’ll give it a look over later tonight; see what the Rafales and Eurofighters have to contend with. From what I’ve seen so far, the handful of F1 Mirages they’ve upgraded (with Western assistance!) will be the most potent threat, but they probably won’t be much use against an American AWACS plane and a British beyond-visual-range missile.

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  46. reid (16,111 comments) says:

    Paul B this period looks to me similar to the colour revolution period in Eastern Europe and I was just wondering if it was a coincidence that Brzezhinsky was and is present both times?

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  47. side show bob (3,660 comments) says:

    Thanks Johnboy, no coppers this afternoon. Got to try your luck at least once a week. Being picking up rocks with the wife and kids all day, time for a fucking beer. Mate got caught the other night on a road that has about three cars a night going on it. Respect for police is pretty low around her at the moment, if this is protecting the country the arseholes wouldn’t want to call for public support.

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  48. Paul G. Buchanan (301 comments) says:

    reid: I do not think that Zbig had anything to do with either process, and do not believe that this ME crisis is on the order of the post-Soviet “coloured revolutions” (which were not entirely revolutionary, as it turns out). In the ME no superpower has collapsed, leaving satellites adrift. In the ME there is an open rivalry between Persians and Arabs for regional dominance that sees the entire West on the Sunni Arab side. In all fact, the Libyan crisis is a side-event to a larger power struggle, the dynamics of which mitigate against revolutionary change. This is not to say that Libya could not be a game-changer. But neither I or (if I may be so presumptuous as to do so) Zbig have a clue as to how to chart an orderly path to democratic capitalism out of this mess. Which is why realism will prevail as the dominant foreign policy approach by all nations to the crisis. Those who have a strategic stake will get involved and not add “democracy” to any expectations of a post-Gaddafi regime. Those who do not have a strategic stake will speak about sovereignty and non-intervention or otherwise remain quiet.

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  49. Johnboy (15,602 comments) says:

    Pack of pricks bob.

    On the seal I always aimed just to the left of the left hand one of the three white center lines and on the gravel I found that a light hand on the wheel always kept me in the middle of the ruts.

    The only tricky part was trying to recognise your driveway.

    I used to get the missus to wave a big white flag for me.

    Only got lost when it was snowing.

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  50. side show bob (3,660 comments) says:

    Johnboy, not sure where you live but they only put two center lines on the road around here. And please explain, what the fuck is snow ?

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  51. Johnboy (15,602 comments) says:

    If you can only see two center lines you haven’t drunk enough to go home bob.

    Snow is wettish, coldish, fluffyish stuff that makes the wife’s big white flag merge into the background.

    Hope that clears things up a bit for you. :)

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  52. side show bob (3,660 comments) says:

    Not many center lines around here Johnboy, i guess if we drove rickshaws it would be all go. I’m afraid it would take more then a few beers+ whatever you are shouting before I see 3 center lines, years of practise and dedication has temper my tastes, probably wrong word. As for this snow thing, i have to admit I have seen it snowing once in my life.

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  53. Johnboy (15,602 comments) says:

    Once in your life bob!!! Have you never been in the hills?

    I once saw it snowing at sea level 5 metres from the beach on Stewart Island in May.

    The white flag should work OK for you. :)

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  54. side show bob (3,660 comments) says:

    ” the Libyan crisis is a side event to a larger power struggle” , You’re on to it now Paul.. Of course it is. You probably think my comment deserves binning. would like to ask you where all this heading. My bet is you have no more idea then myself.

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  55. jims_whare (399 comments) says:

    Listening to two piss heads sharing tips on evading cops – they show about as many brains as two stoners sharing a toke behind the bike sheds.

    Frekin heck if ya gona get on the piss at the pub catch a taxi home morons – too many dead folk around because of attitudes of people like you

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  56. Paul G. Buchanan (301 comments) says:

    Drunken Bob: I may not know where this particular crisis is heading but I do know that the larger struggle in the ME is about power, not religion.

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  57. side show bob (3,660 comments) says:

    Sorry Johnboy have spent some time in hills, goat killing, hypnotising dear, and praying like fuck the boar doesn’t notice he has a .45 slug in it’s head. A lot of my mates have been to Stewart Island, they recon it’s fantastic but I have always maintain the deer are safe as a church. Actually do a lot of hunting and shooting ( clay bird ) but are tied to the farm. Afraid as far as snow goes, looks good on TV

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  58. Johnboy (15,602 comments) says:

    It’s called humour jim.

    Bob and I were taking the piss a little. You are obviously too stupid to realise that.

    Even if we were pissed I note than we can both spell a little more accurately than stupid you.

    I suspect that Bob and I would both be more reliable stone drunk that even a sober Jims Whare. :)

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  59. Johnboy (15,602 comments) says:

    Where about’s are you Bob?

    “hypnotising dear,”

    I would really like to be trained in that hunting skill. :)

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  60. side show bob (3,660 comments) says:

    Thanks Jim W. Not sure we were sharing tips on evading cops but please fill free to offer your full of shit wisdom. So Jims what fair city do you infest? . No doubt some shit hole that is burdened with taxis and God forbid “townies”.You stick to your your secure world Jims and pray that the peasants never rise up.

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  61. side show bob (3,660 comments) says:

    Hypnotising deer is a rare skill. First one must set camp in deer infested territory ( take note Jims) Oneself and their mates must partake the bush spirits into their lives, vodka gin whiskey etc. One must then shine a decent spotlight into the bush to spot the said deer. Then one must collapse and wake in the morning only to find the deer footprints around ones body. This is deer hypnotising.

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  62. reid (16,111 comments) says:

    Paul, thank you for your 9:48.

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  63. Paul G. Buchanan (301 comments) says:

    reid: As an aside, the NZ government silence on Libya is deafening given its rhetorical commitment to R2P, UN multilateralism, human rights and the upholding of international conventions regarding the treatment of non-combatants in conflict zones. Given that NZ’s biggest allies are on board with the no fly zone, why is it that the current government feels that is best to follow the Russian, Indian, Brazilian and Chinese lead on staying quiet and diplomatically uninvolved?

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  64. MT_Tinman (3,055 comments) says:

    Paul, could it be that the current lot recognise that Russia, India, China and Brasil are the future leaders of the world?

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  65. Paul G. Buchanan (301 comments) says:

    MT_Tinman: I doubt that is the case, not in the least because the so-called “Wellington Declaration” signed and announced during Hillary Clinton’s official visit to NZ in November committed NZ to a “strategic partnership” with the US. That, plus the closer integration of NZDF forces with Australian counterparts indicates otherwise.

    I think that the reason for the silence may be commercial. After all, when you have the Canadians Danes and Spanish enforcing the no-fly zone and the Turks about to join in, there was amply diplomatic cover for a simple MFAT statement supporting SC resolution 1973. But there was none.

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  66. Jim (35 comments) says:

    The then Senator Barack Obama said on Dec. 20, 2007.

    “The President does not have power under the Constitution to unilaterally authorize a military attack in a situation that does not involve stopping an actual or imminent threat to the nation.”

    (Hat Tip: Radley Balko via marginal revolution)

    Obvious a noble peace prize did not prevent the responsibilities of higher office from changing Obama’s mind.

    Obama is supposed to be opposed to dumb wars such as Iraq and in favour of smart one such as Afghanistan. Is intervening in a civil war a smart war?

    The best practical arguments against intervention in Libya were by Mrs Clinton two week’s ago in testimony to Congress:
    “I want to remind people that, you know, we had a no-fly zone over Iraq. It did not prevent Saddam Hussein from slaughtering people on the ground, and it did not get him out of office. We had a no-fly zone, and then we had 78 days of bombing in Serbia. It did not get Milosevic out of office. It did not get him out of Kosovo until we put troops on the ground with our allies.”

    HT: Justin Logan at http://www.cato-at-liberty.org/the-dean-of-liberal-interventionism-on-libya/

    There are plenty of civil wars and gangster governments in Africa and around the globe to spend blood and treasure.

    BTW, what happens when the rebels from eastern Libya start attacking civilians in western Libya? Bomb both sides?

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  67. Bevan (3,965 comments) says:

    Given that NZ’s biggest allies are on board with the no fly zone, why is it that the current government feels that is best to follow the Russian, Indian, Brazilian and Chinese lead on staying quiet and diplomatically uninvolved?

    Maybe they’ve had a few other things on their mind – like a big arse earthquake in NZ’s 2nd biggest city…

    Or possibly they feel that its a little hypocritical to be jumping up and down enthusiastic about the no fly zone, while other countries are risking their citizens enforcing it and we have no air combat capability to add to it.

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  68. Bevan (3,965 comments) says:

    Or suppose you just missed this:

    http://www.nzherald.co.nz/nz/news/article.cfm?c_id=1&objectid=10713816

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  69. Paul G. Buchanan (301 comments) says:

    Bevan:

    Do not be silly. All it took was a one line MFAT statement supporting SC resolution 1973 on the day it was passed. And, since NZ has no primary strategic interest at stake (likewise with Oz), it had no incentive nor did it receive a request to provide military assets for what is a NATO/Arab League -led exercise. Thus there was never a dilemma in that regard.

    As things turn out, it took until 4PM today for McCully to read out a–drum roll please–one line statement in support of military operations against Gaddafi. Better late than never I guess. The issue is, just as in the case of Obama’s purported equivocation on how to handle the situation and the broader ME unrest, diplomatic delay like this gives an impression of unreliability and vacillation to foreign observers that undermines NZ’s international reputation. This is especially true because NZ is rhetorically at the forefront of those supporting multilateral armed intervention under R2P for humanitarian purposes, so its initial silence ran counter to its public position on such matters.

    It may just be a wild speculation on my part (I am happy to be corrected), but I wonder if commercial considerations factored into the equation.

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  70. Paul G. Buchanan (301 comments) says:

    Thanks Bevan:

    Your link proves my point about the delayed response (the story was filed at today at 4:40PM) and supports the suggestion that commercial interests did factor in (in this case student exchanges, but I wonder if milk powder exports were also involved).

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  71. SPC (5,473 comments) says:

    John Key declared our policy in support of “1973″ on Q and A. He also stated that this would not impact on recent arrangements for Libyan students to study here. Either the PM determined this policy in response to questions or it reflects a decision taken earlier and not to be stated to the public until the PM was on Q and A.

    This says something about how the government manages its presence in the media and also the low status given to international diplomacy matters – reflecting the priority to trade and otherwise a low key return (to minimise impact on widening trade relationships) to solidarity with positions taken by western leadership.

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  72. SPC (5,473 comments) says:

    Jim, actual or imminent certainly disqualified the regime change in Iraq. However if US security is a subset of the wider world that is assured through UN collective security then some direction from Resolutions of the UN Seecurity Council is in order.

    Therein lies some irony – the US failed to direct the UN to its position in the 2003 matter (breach of terms of the cease-fire in not allowing arms inspections) and appears to be been reluctant for some time on this occasion.

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  73. Bevan (3,965 comments) says:

    As things turn out, it took until 4PM today for McCully to read out a–drum roll please–one line statement in support of military operations against Gaddafi. Better late than never I guess.

    Are Benghazi citizens not Libyan anymore? Don’t you think they should be allowed to take advantage of existing agreements between Libya and NZ?

    Newsflash My Buchanan, NZ is a small country – in the Med, do you really think either side gave a flying toss what NZ has to say on the matter?

    Also, whose side are we on? What happens if the Rebels undertake the same scorched earth and “no mercy” policies against Pro-Gaddafi forces? Are you OK with UN aircraft continuing to provide them cover while they hang all Gaddafi supporters from lamp posts?

    Your link proves my point about the delayed response (the story was filed at today at 4:40PM) and supports the suggestion that commercial interests did factor in (in this case student exchanges, but I wonder if milk powder exports were also involved).

    Well considering the military action has only just started. What did you want them to do? Replicate the beginning of WW2 and declare war on them before anyone else?

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  74. SPC (5,473 comments) says:

    John Key did not say it was a commercial decision, but an existing policy not covered by the terms of “1973″, and went on to say students being able to further their educatiion here enabled them a better future and inferred that this opportunity to them was positive in the human rights and aspiration sense.

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  75. Luc Hansen (4,573 comments) says:

    Why is JK always late?

    On everything!

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  76. Paul G. Buchanan (301 comments) says:

    I take it, Bevan, that you are not in the diplomatic corps.

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  77. RRM (9,667 comments) says:

    Libya is KINDA near the gulf, innit?

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  78. Bevan (3,965 comments) says:

    I take it, Bevan, that you are not in the diplomatic corps.

    Snappy comeback…..

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  79. magic bullet (776 comments) says:

    Reid – i don’t think Paul G. Buchanan knows anything about the Trilateral Commission, the Council on foreign Relations or the Bilderberg group. Like the rest of us, PB is groping around in the dark because major decisions regarding foreign relations are taken in private.

    Just one of the reasons the US is closer to being a republic than a democracy.

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  80. Bevan (3,965 comments) says:

    Reid – i don’t think Paul G. Buchanan knows anything about the Trilateral Commission, the Council on foreign Relations or the Bilderberg group. Like the rest of us, PB is groping around in the dark because major decisions regarding foreign relations are taken in private.

    Just one of the reasons the US is closer to being a republic than a democracy.

    Something tells me Mr Buchanan knows more a fair bit more about foreign relations and inner diplomatic dealings than an anonymous internet poster renowned for moonbatism and conspiracy theories.

    My only objection with his posts ever is the current insistence that little ol NZ was late to say anything about the Libya situation – and even then my only objection is basically “who cares”.

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  81. Paul G. Buchanan (301 comments) says:

    Magic Bullet:

    Actually, I was a Council on Foreign Relations International Affairs Fellow in 1993-94 so have a fair idea of its work. I also know about the Trilateral Commission, although I cannot say I am familiar with the Bilderburg Group. What I know must of all is that those who think that these agencies control US foreign policy “in private” are more in the dark about how things really work than I ever will be. In fact these tend to be the same type of folk who believe in 9-11 conspiracies and Zionist control of global finance. Given your comment, I must ask: where do you stand on these issues?

    Bevan: Cheers.

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  82. bhudson (4,736 comments) says:

    Paul G B.

    Magic Bullet is schooled at the rense university. You too can enroll at http://www.rense.com

    Warning! – you might feel you have fallen into a 60′s B-grade movie script. But it will be no less entertaining. And, of course, all will become so much more clear once you have gone to sleep.

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  83. Put it away (2,888 comments) says:

    Magic bullet – “closer to being a republic than a democracy.”

    OK, which word don’t you understand, republic or democracy?

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  84. tom hunter (4,568 comments) says:

    Heh, heh, heh.

    In taking out the sad figure of magicbullet, Paul G B also just scored a Quigley, though he may not know it yet.

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  85. magic bullet (776 comments) says:

    PB – of course most of the major decisions regarding foreign policy are taken in private. Ya see – there are levels of classification for such documents. As a Research Fellow you would not have had clearance.

    The documents are sometimes declassified some 40 years later. Just a few examples for you. Bay of pigs, Operation Northwoods and the Gulf of Tonken. Tell me – have you read any of James Bamford’s work? He is recognised as the foremost historian of the National Security Agency. His book is a txt book that most NSA recruits are made to read.

    Look forward to your thoughts.

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  86. Paul G. Buchanan (301 comments) says:

    Actually, MB, I held a “Secret” clearance in 1985-89 and a “Top Secret/SCI” in 1993-1997 (I lost the clearances when I immigrated to NZ). In my roles working with or in the USG before, during and after the CFR fellowship, I handled documents and engaged with US and foreign officials on subjects ranging from confidential to TS/SCI. I liaised with and provided inputs and feedback to the CIA, NSA, DIA, State Dept intelligence bureau and the NSC (the NSA is the techint and sigint shop so its people tend to have specific technical qualifications and provide intel flows to the other partners, whereas most of my work involved humint and qualitative analytic work that was coordinated in the Office of the Secretary of Defense–where I held my fellowship–or by other commands that I was working with/for). The declassification time period is 25, not 40 years, although not all documents are permitted to be declassified. The events you describe–Bay of Pigs, Gulf of Tonkin action etc.–were not done “in private” by the CFR or Trilateral Commission but instead were planned and authorised by the national command authorities, then operationalised in secret based on national security reasons.

    Sometimes secrecy in decision-making does not equal conspiracy. Sometimes it is just good sense given the issues involved.

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  87. magic bullet (776 comments) says:

    Well PB, I must say, it beggars beleif that you are not even aware of the Bilderberg Group’s existance, given the level of influence they have on your area of study. Go see what wikileaks has to say about it all.

    The history of the NSA is instructive in that it reveals the difference between the intel that the NSA sent and the intel that chief of staff or what have you, purported to receive.

    If you haven’t already, i recommend that you read Body of Secrets by Bamford. He was allowed to dig through the NSA’s records. So the book is full of primary reference sourcing of classified documents.

    Operation Northwoods, which had the written approval of the Chairman and every member of the Joint Chiefs of Staff, called for innocent people to be shot on American streets; for boats carrying refugees fleeing Cuba to be sunk on the high seas; for a wave of violent terrorism to be launched in Washington, D.C., Miami, and elsewhere. People would be framed for bombings they did not commit; planes would be hijacked. Using phony evidence, all of it would be blamed on Castro, thus giving Lemnitzer and his cabal the excuse, as well as the public and international backing, they needed to launch their war

    Bamford, James (2002). Body of secrets: anatomy of the ultra-secret National Security Agency. Random House. p. 82.

    Waddaya think? I guess you would have been privy to any such plotting during your time spent as an “insider”? Nah, thought not.

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  88. magic bullet (776 comments) says:

    Well PB, I must say, it beggars belief that you are not even aware of the Bilderberg Group’s existence, given the level of influence they have on your area of study. Go see what wikileaks has to say about it all.

    The history of the NSA is instructive in that it reveals the difference between the intel that the NSA sent and the intel that chief of staff or what have you, purported to receive.

    If you haven’t already, i recommend that you read Body of Secrets by Bamford. He was allowed to dig through the NSA’s records. So the book is full of primary reference sourcing of classified documents.

    Operation Northwoods, which had the written approval of the Chairman and every member of the Joint Chiefs of Staff, called for innocent people to be shot on American streets; for boats carrying refugees fleeing Cuba to be sunk on the high seas; for a wave of violent terrorism to be launched in Washington, D.C., Miami, and elsewhere. People would be framed for bombings they did not commit; planes would be hijacked. Using phony evidence, all of it would be blamed on Castro, thus giving Lemnitzer and his cabal the excuse, as well as the public and international backing, they needed to launch their war

    Bamford, James (2002). Body of secrets: anatomy of the ultra-secret National Security Agency. Random House. p. 82.

    Waddaya think? I guess you would have been privy to any such plotting during your time spent as an “insider”? Nah, thought not.

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  89. Luc Hansen (4,573 comments) says:

    # SPC (792) Says:
    March 20th, 2011 at 11:12 pm

    John Key did not say it was a commercial decision, but an existing policy not covered by the terms of “1973″, and went on to say students being able to further their educatiion here enabled them a better future and inferred that this opportunity to them was positive in the human rights and aspiration sense.

    I see they are now reviewing this. I would say they may have had a nudge from overseas about educating the whanau of a dictator and his cronies that, basically, we are at war with.

    It’s interesting how threads progress and digress. My advice to magic bullet is that it is far better to just stick to the topic than attack the credentials of others, especially those who actually have the balls to put their name in lights.

    And like Paul B, by the way, conspiracy theories just don’t do it for me. Where you see conspiracy, I see a confluence of interests. It’s just the way humans work.

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  90. Paul G. Buchanan (301 comments) says:

    I hate to tell you MB, but even if there were a plan hatched by the JCS of the sort Bamford described (and you are clearly moving into 9-11 conspiracy weirdness with this one), records of it would not be found in the NSA archives because it would not be the lead agency involved and any written evidence of such a plan would have been kept to a very small circle in the JCS/White House and shredded once the plan was abandoned. I am sorry to say, but these claims cannot be taken seriously.

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  91. magic bullet (776 comments) says:

    Are you seriously just going to call the National Security Archive liars? I mean, the organisation was set up to declassify non-strategic security documents. They are the ones who declassified Northwoods, not Bamford. I think you’re being unfair.

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  92. magic bullet (776 comments) says:

    Luc – how about an Adam Smith quote? He’s from back in the day when rightists were a bit more honest.

    “People of the same trade seldom meet together, even for merriment and diversion, but the conversation ends in a conspiracy against the public”

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  93. Luc Hansen (4,573 comments) says:

    mb

    We have laws against cartels.

    It’s just a tad off-topic, don’t you think?

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  94. Paul G. Buchanan (301 comments) says:

    MB: When I referred to “NSA” I was writing about the National Security Agency, not the National Security Archive. The latter is a good whistle-blowing outfit but like wikileaks, sometimes it’s agendas get ahead of its facts. As I said before, there is no way that they NSA (the intel shop) would have had documentary record of the purported Northwoods plot. In fact, the plot reads like something that came out of Curtis Lemay’s feverish imagination rather than the JCS.

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  95. Luc Hansen (4,573 comments) says:

    Paul

    Are you watching Bibi on CNN?

    He’s a funny guy!

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  96. Paul G. Buchanan (301 comments) says:

    Luc: he has been doing the rounds as of late. He has been on Sky (UK) and the BBC in the last three days.

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  97. magic bullet (776 comments) says:

    Shorter pb:

    I’m am choosing to disbelieve the National Security Archive as i am now pulling rank, tata!

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  98. magic bullet (776 comments) says:

    oh and i know you were meaning National Security Agency, not National Security Archive. I’m not the confused one here.

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  99. magic bullet (776 comments) says:

    oh and Luc – information is very valuable in the market place. You only need two ambitious businessmen, then you don’t have a competitive market. Actually you only need t add humans to turn the “perfect market” into a “perfect pyramid”. How different reality is to a two dimensional graph. Who would have thought?

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  100. magic bullet (776 comments) says:

    oh and Luc – information is very valuable in the market place. You only need two ambitious businessmen, then you don’t have a competitive market. You give each other a competitive advantage, and all they need to do is call the other up.

    In a highly competitive environment, secretiveness and conspiracy can offer a huge competitive advantage. The difference between surviving and crashing.

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