Friday, January 26, 2018

This Was the Day It Was

It was an interesting sort of day in our sad old world. 

Some of us focused on Davos and the visual display of the Trump effect. That started with the 'vertical insertion'  of Hair Furor, on the third of four helicopters.  They didn't pop flares on the way in, there was probably a lot of surveillance on  that part of the Alps yesterday.  Trump met with the leaders of European Industry who introduced themselves and spoke briefly about what their corporation was doing for America. Some of the names like 'Nestle', Trump recognized - he asked about their candy bars and was informed they were now into coffee,  infant nutrition, water and more lucrative fields.  He politely congratulated each on on their accomplishments after their 30 seconds of thumbnail sketching. Trump closed the audience by inviting them all to do more in America. He should have asked them if they had homes there. I'd  bet most of them do.

Day two he gave his address to the 'Davosians'.  Basically he said America was up for anything - so long as it was an American idea. The world was invited to follow, but only if American rules were followed. 'Open for business' in America means you're getting a tax cut, 'open for business' anywhere else means no government involvement. Trump said nothing new. At home the state Department did, announcing a new round of sanctions against individual Russians. Trump announced that the DACA problem was going to be solved and WH spokespeople said that legislation would be forthcoming this week -  'breaks' for some young 'dreamers' who might not be sent back.

Another focus of attention was the enclave of Afrin in Syria which was taken under attack be Turkish forces in an effort to extend its buffer zone in, and influence on Syrian. Although the Turks were well positioned on three sides and had moved the whole Army it seemed into position , the only indication they were serious came in the form of some pretty spectacular bombardment. The military advance, mostly, it seemed, by 'free Syrians' allied with the Turks - seemed spotty and tentative and more about eating rations than fighting. The Turks announced killing hundreds of Kurds, while the Kurds claimed they were killing hundreds of 'gangsters'. It would appear that the Turks weren't suffering much at  all beside the ammunition expenditure. So far the eastern Kurds have done little to help their brothers. The Syrians, having been asked to intervene by the Kurds,  were holding out for a restoration of Afrin to the Motherland. That wasn't forthcoming. The Americans have managed to stay out of it, and to keep their Kurds out of it. But they may have to clamp down on Free Syrians who see this as an opportunity to get back at Assad.

It will be interesting to see if the Eastern Kurds will remain uninvolved,  as a loss in the West is every bit a loss to them. They might inconvenience the Turks at home or along the border or, with Assad's not looking,  travel west to reinforce Afrin from government territory.

The third focus of interest was on England where some cretin politician hit the headlines saying the Russians had threatened to kill hundreds of thousands of Brits by a nuclear attack on the water and gas works or infiltrating the electrical system. This came after yesterdays military harrrumph that there wasn't enough in the national mess fund to battle the 'feckin Russians' at all. The furor rose and was drowned out, in the tabloid media, by even more startling news that a pack ( a herd?  a giggle? ) of baboons had escaped the zoo there and were 'marauding' the city of Paris. As well as that, there was another tale spread about a EURO riot over a sale of Nutella. Hopefully most Brits could 'hoik it' home, to find the Russians had not yet eliminated all the utilities and hopefully find that any French baboons in the area had missed the Nutella in the larder..

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