Some readings/discussion

February 26, 2022 • 1:30 pm

Here are three readings to occupy you in lieu of my usual posts. Remember, until about April 5 please don’t contact me very much as email on the ship is slow and I’m likely to lose stuff. On the other hand, if you have a particularly juicy item, send it along.

Some readings:

From Andrew Sullivan. The headline may be familiar, but his analysis of the situation in Ukraine is a bit hard to follow.

But as several people are now doing, Sullivan partly indicts the West and Europe for allow NATO to expand ever eastward, to the borders of Russia (the Baltic countries, thus scaring the hell out of Putin, who, they say, envisions a Russian empire the equivalent of the former Soviet Union:

And so when NATO, in the wake of our Cold War victory, decided to expand membership all the way to Russia’s borders, many Russian specialists feared triggering the worst kind of response. “I think the Russians will gradually react quite adversely and it will affect their policies. I think it is a tragic mistake,” George Kennan told Tom Friedman in 1998. “There was no reason for this whatsoever. No one was threatening anybody else … We have signed up to protect a whole series of countries, even though we have neither the resources nor the intention to do so in any serious way.” (We still don’t, as we have just witnessed.)

Kennan went on: “I was particularly bothered by the references to Russia as a country dying to attack Western Europe. Don’t people understand? Our differences in the Cold War were with the Soviet Communist regime. And now we are turning our backs on the very people who mounted the greatest bloodless revolution in history to remove that Soviet regime.” Then he went even further: “Of course there is going to be a bad reaction from Russia, and then [the NATO expanders] will say that we always told you that is how the Russians are — but this is just wrong.” Similar misgivings over NATO expansion came from figures such as Kissinger, Gorbachev, YeltsinBrzezinski, Moynihan, Gaddis, and Burns.

This debate, of course, is unresolvable. We will never know what might have happened if NATO had displayed more magnanimity after our victory in the Cold War, and allowed Russia more dignity and space in the wake of its defeat and collapse. At the same time, it may be that a Putin-style tyrant was always bound to emerge in Russia and bully his neighbors once again — given the long sweep of Russian authoritarianism — and so my friend was also correct. Or it could just be dumb luck or fate that a KGB nationalist who witnessed up close the end of the Soviet Union in East Germany came to dominate the Russian kleptocracy. This debate will go on for a very long time, but it is increasingly academic. Because here we are. Kennan’s and the neocons’ fear have both been borne out. They could both have been right (and wrong) in some measure. And where we are now makes many of these debates moot.

From Heterodox STEM, we have the second part (first part here) of Ilya Reviakine recounting his defense of two papers by Krylov et al:, “Scientists Must Resist Cancel Culture” and Krylov’s article “The Peril of Politicizing Science”. Both of these articles were aimed at keeping STEM from adopting “woke” or ideological viewpoints, and the fact that they were published as op-ed pieces in regular scientific venues is remarkable. Unfortunately, the editors weren’t ready for the social-media opprobrium they received for publishing perfectly defensible viewpoints, and kept going back to the authors, asking them to support views that they already published.

One critical article that appeared just a single day after Krylov’s paper had the temerity to suggest that the German Chemical Society (who published those pieces) simply expel these woke-resisting members. Here’s a quote from Mathias Micheel who objects to Krylov et al.’s paper and maintains that there’s no cancel culture in STEM:

Micheel goes on to propose that the German Chemical Society should be purified from unsuitable members: “… it would be in the best interest of the organization to tell these members: We do not care about you. If we cannot even agree on the very basics of how to do science, then we have no basis for future cooperation” – except it’s not their way of doing science that he is concerned with, but their views and their age: “The Nachrichten tries to not alienate these old members”; “how often do active members have to … make themselves targetable to attacks from the right”. This is an ad hominem attack and a call for cancellation—quite the ironic thing to write in a piece whose thesis is “Cancel Culture in science is just a myth”.

Here’s Micheel’s original quote:

I know that this is probably not gonna happen, but how often do active members have to come out, make themselves targetable to attacks from the right? In particular, this is an inter-generation conflict, with conservative views mostly shared by older, retired members, whereas young scientists at an early career stage share more progressive views. However, their professional future often relies on the goodwill of the old members, e.g., in grant review or appointment committees.

The Nachrichten tries to not alienate these old members, but I’d wish it’d be taking a stronger stance against them. Such insultingly regressive views cannot be arranged with the open community which chemistry so desperately needs.

And yes, this is from an authoritarian who denies that cancel culture exists in science. Well, if he had his way, it certainly would!

A bipartite op-ed in the Chicago Tribune (click below, though it may be paywalled) not only describes the fate of Jason Kilborn, a University of Chicago at Illinois law professor who got into trouble for using the n-word (redacted) in a hypothetical court case on an exam (see post here), but also shows the slimy way the NYT has taken a stab at J. K. Rowling in a video advertisement, presumably dissing Rowling because of her “transphobic” comments. I’ll just quote the bit on Rowling

First, here’s the NYT as which it the Tribune’s Editorial Board op-ed criticizes, discussed in detail by ABC News; I also give the YouTube caption:

We believe that independent journalism has the power to make each reader’s life richer and more fulfilling. It can illuminate, uplift and entertain. Learn more about how our journalism inspires the lives of our subscribers at nytimes.com/life.

From the Tribune:

No less an institution than The New York Times might also do well to remember that, apropos of the rights of J.K. Rowling, the author of the Harry Potter series, to speak her own mind.

The Times invited potential subscribers to ponder how “independent journalism” could be a part of their “independent life.” In one slide, a presumably fictional woman named Lianna is happily “imagining Harry Potter without J.K. Rowling.”

“Lianna” can do whatever she wants in her own head, but The New York Times should be apologizing for this pandering, ad hominem attack, seemingly canceling Rowling as a human being

The Orwellian text dangles the word “without” in the most sinister and threatening fashion. The subway rider is left wondering whether the Times intends to disappear Rowling in the physical sense or merely through the mental doublethink of its subscribers. The paper has always railed against dangerous hate speech: How is this not a subtle example of precisely that?

In fact, how is this different from a Michigan basketball coach throwing a punch at a member of the coaching staff of an opposing team? It’s just a subtler kind of blow.

Moreover, how does a paper so crucial to the literary world justify divorcing one of the most successful female writers in history from her own hugely successful copyrighted works? Does it advocate that for authors with whom it disagrees?

As one Rowling supporter noted on Twitter, the paper surely wouldn’t suggest imagining “Sunday in the Park With George” without Stephen Sondheim. (We’d add: Or one of its own columns without the columnist).

This is all absurd, of course. Works don’t exist without their creator, whatever your powers of imagination. You can use your critical thinking skills and decide that the egregious opinions of the author mean you will no longer consume the work. Fine. Or you can put the author’s freely expressed words in context, decide you disagree with them, respect her right to say what she thinks and still read her fiction.

That is your choice in a country that values free speech, understands the importance of intent and tolerates dissent.

This may be a bit long of a rant against one sentence in a NYT video, but believe me, the NYT knows what it’s doing and to whom it’s pandering.

I’m off for today after a final duck feeding, but feel free to discuss everything in the above, or anything you want.

55 thoughts on “Some readings/discussion

  1. Just saw this analysis….excerpt:

    “Russia exports about 4-5 million barrels of oil a day, and the price of Brent crude has gone up to $100 from about $80 at the beginning of the year. That means an additional $100 million a day of revenue for Russia, purely on the back of geopolitical tensions it created. These are back of the hand calculations, so they aren’t precise, but the reality is that in the last two months, Russia has financed part of its build-up and invasion by selling oil and natural gas at elevated prices, much of it to Western European countries now decrying what Russia is doing.

    In other words, despite the war of words, in the invasion of Ukraine, as former arms negotiator Lucas Kunce noted, Western Europe has provided some of the financing for the Russian attack.”

    https://mattstoller.substack.com/p/from-russian-pipelines-with-love

    1. Your information is relatively meaningless. Oil and gas are yesterday’s energy and will be going away. Russia will find out you cannot eat oil.

      1. Oil and gas may be yesterday’s energy, but they emphatically have not gone away and are playing a pivotal role in this war.

        And they will continue to play a critical role for many, many years.

        1. In my Wall St days many years ago (pre-9/11) I worked as a trader in the oil “pit” of the New York Mercantile Exchange (in the WTC). I….. have a feeling the high prices won’t last long. Don’t run out buying put options on my say-so, hehehehe, I’ve been wrong before.
          D.A.
          NYC

      2. I don’t know how you can call Oil and Gas “yesterday’s energy”. Right now, today, fossil fuels account for something like 83% of world energy production, as well as powering virtually all world transport of goods.
        It certainly powers the tanks, armored vehicles and aircraft the Russians are using now, and the chain of logistics that keep them going.

        On the subject of food, Ukraine has traditionally been a large exporter of grain. Prior to the Russian invasion, Ukraine had been expected to produce over 80 million tons of grain this year. What percentage of that they will export under the present circumstances is unknown.

        Even before this particular disaster, fertilizer costs have gone through the roof. Fertilizers used in large scale agriculture are manufactured from “yesterday’s energy”.
        We have been in an era of unprecedented food availability, with people spending the lowest percentage of their income on food in history. Low cost, efficient transport of agricultural products is tied directly to petroleum costs.

        1. There have been crop failures around the world because of climate change. Losing grain from Ukraine could be felt in some areas.

          1. As usual, grain and potash (to make fertilizer) shortages will be felt more in the 3rd world. From a country I watch closely, Lebanon: they get 50% of ALL their grain from Ukraine. Even their exploding ships in Beirut harbor came from there (sick joke there).

            Lebanon isn’t alone. A butterfly flutters its wings in Ukraine causes a hurricane… in many other places.
            D.A.
            NYC

          2. Ukrainian grain harvests and exports have been increasing steadily until now. Last year, they were responsible for 10-15% of all global grain production, depending on how you do the math.
            The places that rely heavily on Ukrainian products will obviously need to seek them from other sources, raising costs all round.
            This whole situation has the potential to be really, really bad.

            1. Canada produces about 7% of the world’s total supply of wheat and barley but accounts for between 15% and 20% of world exports according to a Canada wheat industry stat. There were lots of losses with forest and floods in Canada. I also know Australia has had challenges with their domestic supply. So that means along with Ukraine’s losses that perhaps it will be felt.

    2. Oil consumers could not predict that Russia would buy weapons and they and Belarus should attack Ukraine.

      Hindsight is always correct, but it doesn’t explain what happened historically.

    3. The Russians don’t sell Brent crude. If the sanctions include oil (not sure if they do or not at the moment), the Russians will find it very hard to sell their oil at anything like the advertised price.

  2. I think Russians will decide the fate of Russia in the end just as Ukrainians have decided theirs and will again. A country such as Russia has become, cannot last on such inequality. NATO did not make Russia what it is today, only Russia could do that. There would likely be little need for NATO if it were not for Russia. Our own country has recently come close to following Russia down the rat hole and who knows, maybe it still will. We have plenty of stupid people here to make it happen.

    1. “There would likely be little need for NATO if it were not for Russia.”

      I have been reading widely, and I have little patience for the “it’s the West’s fault” position. One of the authors I read asked why anyone thought that countries wanted to be part of NATO unless they felt threatened by Russia to begin with.

      L

        1. Relevance to NATO and Russia/Belarus? I had to look it up, it looks like some US internal ideology (and long gone).

          1. The Monroe Doctrine is not America-internal. The point was that the Americas and Afroeuroasia remain separate, allowing both sides to consolidate their relative spheres of influence. The policy is, however, long gone, as you said (even though people in the US give it lip service today!). The United States have been interfering with Afroeurasian politics for the past century. The Monroe Doctrine was a mechanism allowing the US a buffer period to arm up where non-American colonial powers could not interfere with American client states. As soon as it was convenient for the US to engage in military action in the Eastern Hemisphere, the Monroe Doctrine was ignored.

            That said, Americans and Afroeurasians have both crossed the Prime Meridian since the Monroe Doctrine was declared. It’s a fascinating concept, but no one has taken it seriously … more or less since it was declared

      1. Some countries are just made for invading others or maybe I should say dictators. Germany was that way and certainly Russia became that way during WWII. Stalin went on a land grab way beyond his ability to hang on. Putin has been doing the same in his time. It has nothing to do with NATO. Power corrupts and in the end, only the people can stop it.

  3. I go back and forth in my mind about the wisdom of NATO expansion eastward. But here is a counter factual to consider (and h/t David Rothkopf for raising it on Thursday’s Deep State Radio podcast) – suppose Ukraine were a member of NATO – would Putin have risked invading? As it stands at the moment, Biden and his team have masterfully (I think) pulled the coalition together, while Putin can look to an alliance with Belarus, maybe Kazakhstan, and perhaps a conquered but rebellious Ukraine. And bottom line – despots like Putin despise democracies, which for all its shortcomings, was the direction that Ukraine was moving, with or without NATO membership.

    1. FWIW, I believe that Kazakhstan has come out against the Ukraine invasion. At least they have declined the invitation Putin offered for them to help out.

      1. Kazakhstan is seemingly trying to keep some distance from Putin’s latest adventure, as is Cuba.
        See: https://www.miamiherald.com/news/nation-world/world/americas/cuba/article258694343.html
        Putin’s invasion of Ukraine can count on support from Belarus, Syria, Venezuela, and President-for-life Ortega of Nicaragua. Planet Earth has circled the sun quite a few times since young Vladimir Vladimirovich Putin was a KGB officer in the east German outpost of the Soviet empire.

    2. Ukraine was doing better (and better than Russia) which is one of the things that scared Putin.

      I don’t think that killing the current Ukrainian leadership and putting marionettes in their place will make Ukraine a slave state. They will simply refuse such leadership and chose their own.

    3. I think the idea of expansion is somewhat false. It suggests NATO is a state gobbling up other states when it’s an alliance that accepts members. In the 90s, NATO was really winding down from the height of the Cold War. It’s conceivable Russia could have joined it and confronted enemies together. Russia decided to go another route. NATO strengthened its existing partnerships accordingly.

  4. Just saw this as a NYT sub-headline: The lit mag of the moment, founded by two women in their 20s, isn’t afraid to say what’s on its mind.And I thought, “Well, that definitely tells us a great deal about what’s on its mind.”

    1. I’ll point out we can punish the NYT for its silliness by using two extensions in Firefox: uBlock Origin and Bypass Paywalls Clean. Read any number of articles and see no adverts.

  5. I find the idea that the expansion of NATO eastwards scared Putin into invading Ukraine laughable. It seems much more likely that Putin and his cronies didn’t like how the Cold War ended and have always sought to get back to the good old days of the USSR. Ukraine becoming a fully fledged European democracy just doesn’t fit at all with his plans.

    I do think the West should have done more to coax Russia into becoming a part of the European alliance, though I don’t know enough to suggest what exactly it should have done. The USSR’s dissolution did little to get rid of its corrupt political system. Also, the legacy of treating the West as its enemy is hard to shake. It’s going to take much more of a revolution in Russia for any of that to change, regardless of what happens in Ukraine.

      1. That’s not really news. Clearly Putin is upset by any progress made by Ukraine moving toward democracy, better ties with the West, interest in joining NATO, etc. That’s been the case for decades. The idea that if the West hadn’t encouraged Ukraine in this process, Putin would have left it to make its own way in the world is ridiculous. The same situation exists between China and Taiwan. China wants it to drift back towards it and the West wants it to go the other way. If the West doesn’t pull too hard, it might avoid war but it also loses the battle and lets China have its way.

      2. Let’s make this explicit for those who don’t click:

        “The West is leading Ukraine down the primrose path & the end result is Ukraine is going to get wrecked.” – John J. Mearsheimer, R. Wendell Harrison Distinguished Service Professor of Political Science at the U. of Chicago

        This is how Dr. Merasheimer tells it in Sept. 2015, with maps, charts, graphs, and tables.

        1. Of course there’s no way to know if he was right. It is equally the case, more so IMO, that Putin would also invade the Baltic countries and Poland except for the protection of NATO. Assuming that he isn’t insane enough to do that. And if he is, then that, too, is a good argument that NATO membership was the smart move for those former Warsaw Pact countries that chose to join.

        2. Well I think Ukrainians were well on their way to choosing what they wanted for themselves. They had their own parliament where the spoke their own language )not Russian but most are bilingual) and their own ambitions. It seems Ukrainians have their own agency and increasingly wanted to be part of Europe, it’s culture and economy.

        3. I keep asking myself why the US pursued its policies when it knew (i) it would never defend Ukraine until it became a member of Nato, and (ii) Russia announced in 2008 it would never let Ukraine become a member of Nato, meaning it would invade Ukraine before it had the chance to join. Has there been any doubt about any of this since 2008? Even if there had been, Russia removed any question about the matter in 2014. I agree with Jerry’s (and my former!) colleague Mearsheimer on this.

          Any of the three parties (US, Russia, Ukraine) had the power to stop the invasion, meaning they had actions available to them which would have led to the invasion not happening. But none of them took those actions. I see why Russia didn’t, given their way of thinking. They would rather see a wrecked Ukraine and become an international pariah for a few years than to have a Ukraine in Nato. But why didn’t the US stop it? All they had to do is say Ukraine will never be a member of Nato.

          My only conclusion is that the decision makers in Washington felt that it was worth letting Ukraine be wrecked in order to maintain a certain moral stance, to uphold an abstract moral framework, to not be seen backing down. Perhaps maintaining this credibility is ultimately in the US’s interest and it will be worth sacrificing Ukraine for it. But the most straightforward accounting says everyone loses here but China, and the US should at least care about that.

          Or is it that they felt that if Ukraine wants to shoot itself in the foot, it’s their decision?

          So, why didn’t Ukraine do anything? It could have agreed to never join Nato. I suppose the current government preferred to have a wrecked country than a non-aligned one which would inevitably fall under the control of Russia. But can the US then wash its hands of any responsibility? The Ukrainian government came in after the US helped topple the Russia-backed government in 2014. Did the US make clear to them that realistically no cavalry would ever come?

          I suppose they had to have known that. I did say above that everyone knew it. Perhaps it is just that the faction leading Ukraine was willing to risk their country for a shot at power. If they had accommodated Russia’s interests, they would have been out in the cold again.

          It all seems inevitable now, which is what Mearsheimer was saying way back when. Everybody got what they wanted! Anyway, thanks for listening.

          1. There was only one party who could have not invaded Ukraine. It is beyond ridiculous to argue that the victim of a home burglary could have prevented the break-in if only he had not threatened to install a burglar alarm.

            1. Analogies make weak arguments. Sovereign countries have interests that transcend their largely imaginary obligations to obey international laws. This is precisely the opposite to how we think of burglars balancing their own pecuniary interests against what the laws say (which the private-citizen householder in a modern state is both entitled and obligated to depend on.)

              1. No law is imaginary if it can be enforced. Most of the time, against most types of law-breakers, the state (or armed citizens acting lawfully) is willing and able to enforce its laws: it can expect its police, prosecutors, judges, juries, prison guards, and social workers to show up for work most days and do their jobs dispensing justice under the state’s authority. Most people therefore obey them most of the time to avoid the consequences, which gives us civil peace in most neighbourhoods. Furthermore, most people are socialized to seek out a life path explicitly to give them alternatives to a life of crime. So laws within a country’s sovereign borders are quite real…as long as no one is able to defy a law and thwart its enforcement. Then that law does become imaginary in the circumstances and is replaced with some other form of social control, such as by a gang.

                Between nations, enforcement of treaties and conventions is much more difficult and may require unpopular or ruinous military invasion to bring to justice national leaders committing popularly supported genocide or waging aggressive war or (to be absurd) emitting unrestrained CO2. Since this will almost never happen in the nuclear era, nation-states can literally get away with murder, and with burning all the coal they want. Enforcement by other means such as game theory and sanctions can be thwarted by a nation willing to become a pariah state and able to suppress popular internal discontent.

                Pariah states can be viable especially if they have sanctions-busting secret allies; their number seems to grow every decade. International law is therefore almost entirely imaginary at least as regards the countries we would most like to enforce it against.

                On the other hand, the world is a hostile place; states who do fear the motives and goals of foreigners may well be justified by long memories. (Europe has invaded or defeated Russia/USSR four times since the Industrial Revolution began.) The international order is not synonymous with the righteously aggrieved householder who expects the state to punish the burglar, never mind whether he could have installed a burglar alarm but didn’t. Instead it might be painted as the obscenely wealthy estate owner who seeks the death penalty for the poacher caught trapping a rabbit to feed his starving family.

                The armed state considering war against a neighbour over what it perceives (or dissimulates) as an existential threat is carrying out a calculation very different in kind, not just in degree, from a burglar considering robbing a house for the jewelry and a flat-screen TV. Invoking Article 5 (not available to Ukraine in any case) or appealing to the UN Security Council is not the same as calling 911.

                Which is why your burglary analogy fails.

  6. That lecture has been coming up on my youtube feed for over a month now (I watch a lot of geopolitical stuff). Now it is here as well I HAVE to watch it.
    Better be goooooood dd and W,Benson. 😉
    D.A.
    NYC

  7. Sullivan is too vague and/or incoherent to follow here, he seems to mistake Ukraine for a NATO member, and NATO is supposed to protect its member countries.

    NATO can set criteria and bar from membership, but it can’t decide who wishes to join. There were no “allowing” involved in the expansion. Nor can Russia bar from membership, and one of the two main reasons why it and Belarus attacked Ukraine is likely that it could no longer corrupt its leadership – so it invaded Crimea and Donbass – and even under the earlier war Ukraine was growing economically while Russia was diminishing. NATO isn’t all what scares Putin.

    I’m happy to note that Germany has done a complete reversal, is joining the isolation of Russia from Swift and sending defensive weapons to Ukraine. (I’m less happy to note my own country is slower to react.)

    I’m sad to note that bioinformatics has hit the fan, since bioinformatician Mikhail Gelfand – who has penned a Russian scientist war protest which is joined by hundreds – writes in Science that Russia’s government classifies sequencers as “dual use”. They have politicized the science and they may use it for biological weapon development (but let’s hope not).

    1. Sullivan is repeating the Russian narrative. Even if it was true that NATO scared Putin, that is hardly a justification to invade a sovereign nation. He sabre rattles a lot. Repopulates the arctic with his soldiers. I just don’t buy that Putin, who even now tacitly threatens nuclear war, is shaking in his boots because of NATO.

  8. On the China/Taiwan and Russia/Ukraine comparison, I’ve heard experts saying that China is troubled by the invasion of an internationally recognised sovereign nation because of the precedent it sets.

    By contrast, Taiwan/ROC is no longer a member of the UN (it doesn’t even have Observer status), has very little official recognition by other nations, and China has consistently claimed sovereignty over it.

    None of the above is that reassuring about the future of Taiwan but does suggest Putin may not get much support from the PRC.

    1. Tom Friedman has a good article that has a good quote on the China/Taiwan vs Russia/Ukraine comparison:

      “The interests of China and Russia today are not identical,” Nader Mousavizadeh, founder and C.E.O. of the global consulting firm Macro Advisory Partners, told me. “China wants to compete with America in the Super Bowl of economics, innovation and technology — and thinks it can win. Putin is ready to burn down the stadium and kill everyone in it to satisfy his grievances.”

      https://www.nytimes.com/2022/02/25/opinion/putin-russia-ukraine.html

      1. That’s a good analogy. China also plays the long game. Putin seems emotional and nostalgic. China seems calculating.

  9. A strange thing, China in the present situation is not gaining anything from the seizure of Taiwan, it is gaining the most from maintaining the status quo.
    China does not base its economy on winding wars.
    China is developing, modernizing, eradicating poverty, trading with the world, investing in Africa.
    All in all, the worst-case scenario for the US is that China’s importance will continue to rise in a steadily peaceful manner.
    Should China continue to grow peacefully in the world, the US will need an excuse to curb China’s power.
    Maybe it is already happening ?
    So who needs a hypothetical conflict in Taiwan?

    Besides, who has the sense to know what the world will be like in 10 years and who will need whose help? Maybe external circumstances will naturally bring many people and countries closer on the basis of mutual aid?

    1. China is growing peacefully? Tell that to the Uyghurs. China’s desire to annex Taiwan is not about economics but the desire of its leaders. I suspect things will only get worse in the next 10 years. It’s doubtful we will make much progress towards reducing global warming and that will increase tensions worldwide. There’s also the rise of authoritarian governments who use and abuse their people. China may well gain in prosperity but I predict they will find it more and more difficult to hold it together without increasing their control over their own people.

      1. The definition of “genocide” is not reached using the Tytus method. (A cult Polish comic book about a monkey trying to humanize itself) – “… a penny is money,
        money is bankroll
        bankroll is the ground,ground is land
        land is Earth
        earth is mother,
        mother is an angel,angel is guardian,
        the guardian is watchman is a caretaker,
        the caretaker is the host … ” etc
        Because then we use the so-called human rights as clubs and a trick with which we beat our opponents .

        . This is extreme cynicism, chutzpah, and just a lie.The devaluation of concepts does not really serve the victims, when we call any behavior (that we don’t like) the strongest, the terms lose their meaning.
        Concern for human rights is a permanent situation, not a temporary measure used according to the principle – we are losing economic competition, so it is time to use other measures.
        Criticism of others should be based on your own moral situation.
        That is, if your country still maintains a concentration camp (Guantánamo), detains and tortures prisoners and prisoners of conscience (Assange)
        If your state still cannot treat minorities with dignity and equality by law enforcement.
        If your politicians encourage torture, they attack foreign countries militarily for made-up reasons.
        If all reasonable statistics show that the US is the most militant nation on earth and China hasn’t fought any war in 40 years, maybe it’s time to put some things in the right proportions?
        Secret US prisons (CIA) outside the US and torture not to mention.

        I hope the situation of the Uighurs. it will constantly improve, but it will not be achieved by lies, propaganda and attempts to ban the political system and the legal authorities of a foreign country (China)

        1. You can’t compare the treatment of terrorists with an ethnic cleansing. Even if you could, mistakes made by one country don’t justify mistakes in another country. As to the rest, I just don’t believe you or agree with you. What you say here makes you sound like an uncritical observer of China. I’m not interested in propaganda.

          1. No offense, but you use double standards of assessment as to human actions. I hope it is culturally and propaganda motivated and not racially motivated, for example. As for who is a terrorist, it is decided by a court, a trial, a court. And even if the caught man was a terrorist, the prohibition of torture is an absolute prohibition. Torture of prisoners is a crime against humanity for which the best punishment is hanging the criminal, not degradation or other nonsense, just like the US does.
            About the victims of human wars conducted by the USA, which can be counted in hundreds of thousands, if not more at the turn of the last 40 years, it is not even known what to say. Certainly, a family whose American drone murdered the whole family is easier to live thanks to the US propaganda that it was done in the name of rights human or democracy.
            In turn, calling the murdering of children as justified mistakes / errors is another step in the dehumanization of people and wars that are waged by the USA.

            You are not interested in Chinese propaganda because American propaganda has wreaked havoc on your moral judgments. No offense.

              1. Argumentum ad personam (Latin “argument against a person”) – a non-substantive way of arguing in which the debater abandons the actual dispute and begins to describe the actual or alleged features of his opponent or his achievements.

                We are guests on Jerry Coyne’s website, so it is appropriate to behave culturally. Of course, I could take an example from your speech and write something like – “you stink man, your thoughts terrible stink” but he himself admits that apart from expressing his aggression, such a dispute does not lead to anything. It is therefore appropriate to end this conversation. I wish you a nice day.

        2. You lost me at Guantanamo being a concentration camp. That’s when I knew I was reading propaganda. All states have to be ruthless in thwarting their existential enemies. What is necessary cannot be immoral.

          A naval base leased from Cuba is tailor-made for prisoners captured outside America’s borders who cannot for a variety of reasons be put on trial in American courts, are too dangerous ever to be released, and whom America recoils at summarily executing as illegal combatants. All great powers need such places for such enemies. What Americans should not do is feel so guilty about Guantanamo that they close it before its necessity has expired.

          1. What are you talking about, man? What summarily execution? what illegal fighters? The status of these people should be determined by the Geneva Convention and possibly by martial courts, and not by some summarily execution.
            Your post about the fact that what is necessary cannot be immoral is some fascist gibberish. During the Second World War, the Nazis dreamed of the annihilation of Jews and Slavs as necessary.
            I hope that during the Russia-Ukraine conflict, no one will follow the example of the USA, but will treat prisoners with full respect for international law.

        3. Even if everything you say is true (it isn’t) this is pure whataboutery. Because one country does something wrong doesn’t mean another can do some vicious thing to another country.

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