Friday, April 03, 2015

Risky developments: Iran+Israel, Yemen, Greece+EU, Baltics+Russia

Many recent events make me moderately worried about the political future of the world and the global peace.

First, Obama and his comrades "celebrate" the deal with Iran. "Only" 500 if not 1,500 centrifuges should keep on running at one center (Natanz), other centers (Fordow) should be turned into nuclear physics research facilities, and so on. Just like Obama celebrates, people on the streets of Persia celebrate, too.

On the other hand, Israel is deeply worried. The deal is an existential threat for Israel, the Israeli cabinet unanimously opposes it, and I tend to agree. Israel at least demands that the final deal will include Iran's recognition of Israel's right to exist. I doubt they will get even this seemingly modest thing. (Update: Wow, Kerry's office instantly rejected the task to defend Israel's right to exist. I thought that it would only be the Iranians who would be the problem.)

Despite the continuing "Israel and U.S. are great ally" talk, it seems pretty clear to me that the Obama administration has much more friendly relationships with the mullahs than with the Israeli authorities. I think it is a very disturbing fact. As someone said, Obama's folks find the Iranian nuclear enrichment kosher but Israel's construction of apartments is not kosher!

Is that how allies behave?

In these conditions, Israel must be thinking about the military option again – and its plans to bomb the Persian nuclear facilities. It's tough because Israel would enjoy a minimum degree of international support – I hope that it would at least include the current Czech president. However, it may be the right and perhaps necessary thing to do.

By the way, Vice-President Biden recently said that the American Jews can't count with him if they were in trouble because he will happily sacrifice them if it brings him a political profit, and they must rely on Israel if they need safety. Those statements are stunning for an incumbent vice-president.

Meanwhile, Saudi Arabia, a rich oil-producing country, has launched air strikes and other destructive attacks against Yemen, one of the world's poorest countries. The Saudis don't like that the Houthis – who are Shiites, unlike the Saudis who are Sunnis – got more powerful in Yemen. I would normally tend to agree with the Saudis but what they're doing in Yemen seems rather barbaric to me.

Greece and April 9th

Greece may very well be 6 days from the default. Many institutions now confirm that the Greece's financial shortage could mean default on Thursday, April 9th. How does the Greek government react? Has it started to save the money?

Not at all. Instead, the Marxists hired 4,500 extra redundant health workers and abolished a EUR 5 fee to enter the hospital etc. They probably don't have enough finances for an International Monetary Fund repayment on April 9th; plus the welfare and public wages payments etc. on April 14th.

As some of these individuals have boasted, they are a left-wing government so they will choose not to pay their debt but to spread the stolen money among their equally parasitic voters. Exactly, this is the kind of behavior that deserves to be called left-wing, and that's why you should better beat or shoot a person who is left-wing or depends on left-wing politicians over "lending" him or her or them some money. You won't get it back; they are thieves, they are scum that has to be kicked into every day and kept near the sewerage system, otherwise every country may get devastated like Greece did.

Warren Buffett added one of the sane voices here. Once Greece exits the Eurozone, it will be good news for the Eurozone and the Euro because it will become more clear that violations of rules have consequences. It will reduce the moral hazard that has surpassed almost all conceivable limits. The Eurozone will lose its weakest links that was incompatible with a strengthening currency. So when traders get rational, the Euro should actually strengthen.

If and when Greece fails to pay the money to the International Monetary Fund on April 9th (and maybe they will avoid this outcome by getting some money in Moscow on Wednesday), it won't immediately mean default. IMF allows a one-month-long grace period. Only sometime in early May, the Greek failure to pay would officially get to the IMF bureaucrats who could recognize it as a default. In the whole IMF history, no country calling itself "civilized" has ever defaulted to the IMF. Indeed, Greece is the worst client in the IMF's history.

This schedule seems rather clear, smooth, and problem-free for the rest of the world.

If you are Greek or if you have relatives in Greece, please make sure that you move all your money out of the country before Thursday. The Syriza government already plans to nationalize all the banks and introduce its own "parallel" currency. I think that the safety of the deposits' value wouldn't be a top priority of the left-wing leaders if they really conquered all the banks.

These developments make me think about all the nontrivial changes after the fall of communism, in 1989 and early 1990s, that Czechoslovakia had to undergo in order to become a proper capitalist country. Convertibility of the currency, privatization of companies... and later the banks, liquidation of subsidies almost everywhere, and so on. Greece is clearly going to move exactly in the opposite direction, towards communism. They will probably use a parallel currency that won't be convertible for Greeks and the banks will be government-controlled, not to mention hundred of other features of communism, most of which already hold in Greece.

Russia's nuclear defense

The Russian leaders have announced their determination to react assertively, and most likely with nuclear weapons, if someone tried to steal Crimea away from Russia; or if someone tried to distribute permanent hostile military units in the Baltic states.

NATO troops can't be stationed in the Baltic states according to the 1997 NATO-Russia Founding Act which is still valid. Well, in 1997, Russia was a political dwarf that "behaved" but it's still true that the treaty was never revoked.

I would love to believe that the leaders of the U.S. in particular will be sensitive about these existential red lines delineated by Russia. But when I observe the Obama administration's support for the Iranian centrifuges, the Saudi destruction of a poor neighboring country, and the continuing insane, Nazi-style Russophobic propaganda in the U.S. and much of the West, my optimism largely evaporates.

A quasi-global nuclear war has become more likely than it was in the 1980s.


  1. Things have got so bad that Iran is now the least crazy place in a crazy region. The American plan seems to be to basically "give" Iraq to Iran and let them sort out the mess. I think it's a good idea.

  2. You should be more worried about the situation in Saudi. Revolution there (looking more likely) guarantees the crazies get a bunch of nukes.

  3. Regarding Yemen, it is Iran that has put the Houthis in power. Saudi Arabia and other Sunni countries see themselves getting circled by Iran, with Lebanon, Syria, Iraq all coming under Shia rule. Indeed, it is rumored that Israel is helping ISIS because they are fighting Iran.

    Obama is a Jew hater. In college he wrote a poem about apes and figs.

  4. Research facilities, means Iran gets to develop next generation centrifuges at will. They are also not revealing the extent of their other research. So whenever they want, they can switch to uranium enrichment, which is now much faster then their supposed one year breakout.

    Israel has little chance of destroying Fordow. Their existing path of assassinations and cyberwarfare looks like the best chance.

    Something is wrong when the French are the toughest actor.

  5. There won't be any revolution in Saudi Arabia.

  6. Perhaps good idea from the viewpoint of the mess that is being maintained in the region now. But the fact that one may even *consider* this crazy gift shows how totally failed the U.S. policies in the Middle East have become, how totally šitty bunch of dirty dilettantes the recent U.S. administrations have been.

  7. After the inane fiasco of our 2003 “Regime Change” in Iraq (which led directly to the rise of ISIS} we have learned, thankfully, that we cannot employ military force to bring the Middle East into the modern world. We also cannot employ the threat of military force to “contain” Russia or to solve the Ukrainian conflict. Great and lasting harm would be the inevitable result of either and I do agree that, especially in the latter situation, there is a very real, existential threat to us all.
    I think Obama’s strategy is as correct in the Middle East as it is wrong in the Ukraine, however.
    I know a number of people who visit Iran regularly and many who lived in Tehran at the time of the revolution. The political structure of Iran is complex and rapidly changing. Without writing an essay I would simply state that the Basij are being weakened by the developing detent and that is a very, very good thing. Above all, it should continue.
    Our strategy is to maintain stability in the Middle East by trying to balance the three major powers, Iran, Turkey and Saudi Arabia, against each other. I note that we are opposing Iran in Yemen but supporting it in Iraq. We do need to get Turkey more involved and progress is being made in that effort.

  8. Dear Gene, maybe you did learn that, but the recent interventions are showing that none of the major U.S. diplomats and politicians has actually learned the lesson that you claim to have learned.

  9. Good comments of yours.

    Concerning the research: it is sort of weird when Iran is encouraged to create new nuclear physics centers in this way - as if nuclear physics research were "safe" and had nothing to do with the nuclear bomb. Nuclear physics research is really the main human activity that has made - and is still making - the bombs possible. It's totally plausible that two new equipped nuclear physics research centers will help Iran to get closer to the bomb more quickly than just two facilities full of mindlessly spinning centrifuges.

    I am grateful that it's not my job to solve problems such as Fordow...

  10. These complicated and often counter-intuitive and non-uniform alliances sound crazy - they are testimonies of the degree of tension and instability in the region. When things get slightly organized, pretty much only conflicts that clearly polarize the forces and nations to "two opposing camps" survive. But the Middle East is closer to a battlefield of everyone against everyone else.

  11. I don't think "we" learned anything. A Democratic president wouldn't have gone to war in Iraq in the first place, and a future Republican president might very well start another war.

  12. Physicists ignore the boundary between philosophy and metaphysics for a simple reason: this boundary is a stupid, irrational superstition. See my comment above.

  13. Surprised that you would not like to divert the Iranians to fund physics for ends than bombs. They will build a bomb eventually if they find that the best use of their resources.
    in the meantime we are building some better dealings with them and the focus put on other research. I doubt we can expect more than that as a first step.

  14. Er, I hope zeGoggles will clarify, I'm still assuming he meant "Physical versus Metaphysical" not "Philiosophical versus Metaphysical" and that it was just a typo. Maybe I got that wrong!

    I think more or less anything in philosophy that isn't strictly epistemolgy can be considered to be some kind of metaphysics.

  15. Dear Rehbock, it's surely applied physics whoseproducts will be "similar" to inventing new bombs, new ways to enrich, new fuels that may explode, and things like that.

    I have no idea why you think that I should support such research, especially in Iran whose leaders recently said that the "need to destroy Israel is non-negotiable".

    If you ask me, I don't really think that similar research should get too much funding even in the Western countries. This is not really about learning important things about Nature. We don't really need new ways to deal with uranium or plutonium isotopes. These are practical insights no one needs for peaceful reasons and when Iran gets them, it's bad.

    Your last sentence talks about the "first step". How do you envision "other steps"? The idea that this loosening of Iran's freedom to strengthen is just a "first step" terrifies me.

    They will build a bomb eventually if they find that the best use of their resources.

    I don't think so. If Israel (and others?) keeps the rate of assassinations of the Iranians doing similar things (plus perhaps bombing and cyberterrorizing the facilities) above a certain threshold, they will never build the bomb, and that's exactly what should be happening up to the hypothetical moment when Iran becomes capable of peaceful co-existence with nations thinking that Allah is a pile of crap.

  16. It's just plain lie. Obama has already started a greater number of wars and messes than Bush did.

  17. Well I think metaphysics (which is a subset of philosophy so there isn't really a "boundary") - leads to fairly unproductive discussions anyway.

    If you know that you can't reasonably answer certain questions, what's the use in speculating about them?

    So I generally prefer epistemology to ontology.

    Just because a question can't be answered empirically or logically, don't *necessarily* imply that it's a meaningless question to ask though.

    It's irrational/superstitious to think you can know the answer, so with some qualifications I largely agree with you!

  18. If he was in a good mood and in public he would probably say: I'll believe it when I see the guy floating in air in front of my door. Otherwise, he would probably use words like crap, BS.

  19. Putin practically endorsed George W Bush because he was upset how Clinton invaded Kosovo after promising Russia they would have a veto over NATO actions.

    Bob Dole actually caused the cancellation of the 1980 VP debate after his performance in 1976, complaining about Democrat wars.

    That said, it appears likely that the bombers are ascendant in the Republican Party. Bill Kristol was the one calling for regime change in Egypt, bombing of Iran, bombing of Syria, etc.

  20. This new research is to use centrifuges on germanium rather than uranium, allowing them to research and build better centrifuges. If the new centrifuges that they develop without sanctions are 20 times more efficient, then after their ten year no enrichment period, they would then be able to do in 6 months what would previously take 10 years.

  21. Not really. They bankrolled the Pakistani nuclear program, and it is believed that there was an agreement that they would deliver if Iran or someone else developed. There was a meeting with high level Saudi and Pakistanis just before John Kerry arrived, possibly intended as a public signal.

  22. Separate Kurdistan into its own country. Turks will not be happy and even oppose militarily, but they are slowly Islamicizing as well.

  23. Stability was Henry Kissinger about the Iran-Iraq war. "Can't they both lose?"

  24. you might substitute 'delusional' for 'risky'
    especially in California !

  25. The 2003 US Invasion of Iraq resulted in the death of more than 150000 Iraqis and about 4500 US casualties. And as Gene stated, it ultimately led to the rise of ISIS. This is still the biggest screw up of the 21st century. Compared to that statistics such as "Obama has bombed twice as many countries as Bush" are pure spin.

  26. I didn't say that the democratic party is "better or producing better or more peaceful results in foreign policies", I just said they aren't likely to start any wars. Obama's "interventions" have been symbolic gestures. You can be damned sure he isn't going to do squat Iran, I don't know if the same thing would be true of a Republican. And yes, it's a post-vietnam thing.

    Also I wasn't the one singling out the 2003 Iraq war, that was the guy I replied to.

  27. I love how republicans talk about us "allowing" Iran to obtain the bomb like we're their parents or something. Iran doesn't care much about our sanctions, they certainly don't care about our opinion, and they are going to build a bomb unless we invade them, which is never going to happen.

  28. Re: Hawking-Hartle - ok I was being too harsh, and I concede that it's fair to interpret it as a psychological/plausibility argument disfavouring God.

    I apologise for implying that physicists are less aware of these distinctions, it was wrong of me to generalise like that.. I just get annoyed at all the humanities types telling me that "pi is a social construct" as though aliens might come up with a different opinion as to it's value.

    What I was getting at re: HH is that even if there *are* initial conditions you can always posit some kind of random selection event or environmental/multiverse explanation without any need to invoke God, and if indeed there's no boundary, you can still have God as the "inventor" or "cause" of logic/maths/physical-law if that's your thing.

    In both cases neither the God conjecture nor it's negation can be strictly speaking ruled out on purely empirical or rational grounds, certainly in practice and probably even in principle - so it's going to come down to subjective plausibility as to whether people believe it.

    I like to pooh-pooh philosophy with the best of 'em, though Hume and Kant were really smart guys and great in their day on epistemology: logic, empiricism, evidence, demarcation, levels of certainty etc. Most (not all) of their stuff still stands up really well, even today, so I don't see philosophy as having no value whatsoever! (Plus I think it can be fun).

    I even prefer Hume to Popper on demarcation sometimes. He pointed out for instance that causation is not a direct observable and that we only empirically observe correlations, but that we aren't justified to say causality doesn't exist, and have no obligation to abandon the concept when making theories, rather in line with Feynman's point above.

    Perhaps if they thought about it more carefully, the extremist members of the self-appointed Popper/Logical Positivist police would have us do away with causality entirely, on the grounds of its being "unfalsifiable rubbish"!

    (This could well explain why their "theories" all suck ;-) )

    Anyhoo I feel slightly guilty now - I've contributed quite enough of my own flap-doodle to the anti-philosphical flap-doodle thread, so I'll leave it at that! :D

  29. The only candidate who was guaranteed to never engage in any imperial war was Ron Paul.

  30. Are you volunteering for the front line then? I'm sure you're creative productive and effective enough to survive.. :-)

  31. One thing Putin did to spite the bien-pensants and liberal left. Deliberately did Putin spike the guns of the army on the march of cultural Marxism taking over the world. The internationalists and global corporates will never forgive that, for Putin put an end to the gay agenda and stopped agenda 21 in its tracks and thus became the public enemy No1 of the global elite and their investment banking backers.

    Speaking as a Brit', we were allies with Russia in the second great war of the C20th and still have pretty close links with the Bear. I do not wish these bonds to be sundered. Britain and Russia face common foes and we need the Bear more so now that Obama has given us up to the wolves of Brussels.
    I deem Putin to be a patriot and though he is a nasty piece of work - I'm afraid to say it, Russia has always needed strong leaders to keep it together.
    Putin, was absolutely correct about the Ukraine and the Brussels interference was totally out of order and on the sly the EU's meddling was encouraged by Obama's loons in Washington, to deny this is to ignore the nose on the front of your face.

    Putin, Europe and the US have a common and united enemy, the rise of Islamofascism - Wahhabism as it is so named is the most dangerous mass movement on the planet and it is the west's nemesis , here in the west Wahhabism is the antithesis of every value and tradition we hold dear and cherish.

    To my eternal wonder....

    and not insubstantial approval, Obama's courtship of Iran is an interesting development and one in terms of realpolitik makes very great sense. Iran has a great history pre Islam and they are not the nutters that they are portrayed to be, having said that the theocracy needs to be discontinued. Thus, the west needs to engage with Iran, aid and bring about a proper restoration of the real Persia - Persia is the key to unlocking many of the answers to the ongoing car crash that is the present day middle east - fact.

    Israel must not be sidelined though, that's the tricky bit and here Putin could help with Tehran but his good council was cut off and biting the hand that could feeds has been the Achilles heel of the west ever since the liberals skewered the best president they nearly had - Richard Nixon.

    The west has all the enemies in needs and more but we are hamstrung by our own and left leaning governments and particularly the loons sitting in the supranational Brussels Empire - are it's [the west + western strategies and Realpolitik] own worst enemy.
    We need Russia, we need to talk to Tehran and we need to keep Israel as a sovereign and independent nation - we need to shut down the Turkish/Saudi Empire - they are the real threat to Europe and the west as a whole.

  32. Despite the propaganda this has been the official Iranian stand(more or less) since the revolution

  33. Israel is now allied with Saudi Arabia and other Sunni Persian Gulf states which are supporting Sunni militants in Al-Qaeda and, to a lesser extent, the Islamic State

    Both Israel and the Saudi bloc have identified Shiite-ruled Iran as their chief regional adversary and thus are supporting proxy wars against perceived Iranian allies in Syria and now Yemen.

    Over the past decade, the Israelis and the Saudis have built a powerful alliance, a relationship that has operated mostly behind the curtains. They combined their assets to create what amounted to a new superpower in the Middle East, one that could project its power mostly via the manipulation of U.S. policymakers and opinion leaders – and thus deployment of the U.S. military.

    Israel possesses extraordinary political and media influence inside the United States – and Saudi Arabia wields its oil and financial resources to keep American officialdom in line. Together, the Israeli-Saudi bloc now controls virtually the entire Republican Party, which holds majorities in both chambers of Congress, and dominates most mainstream Democrats as well.

  34. zeGogglesDoNossingApr 4, 2015, 2:54:00 AM

    I appreciate your candor, however Philosophers are actually quite adamant about there being a meaningful split between metaphysical questions and philosophical ones. Different philosophers have different ways of characterizing the metaphysical. For quine, metaphysical questions were simply those which failed to be analytically decideable. For heidegger, metaphysical questions sought to ground the being of beings- in the cartesian metaphysics, in which existence is grounded in the self sufficient subject, this ultimate ground would then be the free will. Incidentally, the metaphysical was often grounded with some misunderstanding of physics- descartes, for instance,

  35. You would have a lot better chance getting people to realize the Muhammad is a pile.

  36. Only if you believe the Paki's really have a bomb. Israel clearly isn't worried.

  37. zeGogglesDoNossingApr 4, 2015, 3:45:00 AM

    God as the unmoved mover is just old aristotelian metaphysics. Descartes tried to hide the free will in the poorly understood cracks of the physics of his time, and Penrose tries to do the same with Quantum Gravity. Ironically, the idea of emergence is, actually, our post modern metaphysics, and Nietzsche identified it as such 160 years ago. Einstein and Weyl still sought out the true, we now seek out the real and the technological- but that is still a metaphysics, since it still proposes a ground to the being of beings. An older generation thought of the universe as a helium droplet or a superconductor or a domain wall or a multiverse, kids these days, why, they act like it's a Rydberg atom sometimes- a nice feature of physics is that it's so good at pulling the ground out from under you, over and over again. But we shouldn't call anything we can't falsify a metaphysics, because, well, that's what the scoundrels you hate are doing to your favorite ideas, no? By the way, your statement that the existence of a distinction between philosophy and metaphysics is itself an irrational superstition is fascinating - though it amounts to saying there's no such thing as (at least) analytic philosophy, I can still only admire it as an inspired rhetorical move.

  38. And Pew says:

  39. Israel is not the only mid-east country to be alarmed. BBC's hardtalk program was talking to a Saudi ambassador who said that if it is apparent (and it will be) that Iran is developing a nuclear bomb, then the Saudis would not hesitate to rapidly arm themselves with nuclear weapons. They feel that a country of Shias with nukes is an existential threat to them.
    I wonder why Obama and Kerry just don't get it. The Saudis must have made it crystal clear to their allies, the US, that such a deal is, to say the least, dangerous and creates instability.

    Also, demonizing Russia is a dangerous policy. MSM spin does this in N America and Western Europe. The Maidan coup
    overthrew an elected leader, not a dictator. Certainly Putin is no angel, and Russia is quite capable of taking some hardline
    actions, but they were provoked, and Obama's foreign policy seems unnecessarily aggressive, to say the least. I wonder just why they seem to want a new Cold War scenario?

  40. The Saudis have given Israel the greenlight to use their airspace for flights to attack Iran.

  41. Going back to at least when Bill Clinton was president, the idea was that if nuclear technology were available to more countries, it would reduce the threat of war. At the time, they let the Chinese walk out with plenty of technology.
    Obama no doubt thinks Iranian nukes are OK, and would force Israel to the bargaining table.

  42. I think he's more of a 'apres mois la deluge' crowd.

  43. It doesn't matter what Ahmadinejad says---aside from the fact that he is most likely lying, it is Khamenei who makes policy. It is hard to believe your statement coming out of Saudi--

  44. "Democrats aren't likely to start wars." What?

    That's why I criticized your comment as a deluded package of insane lies.

    Democrat JFK began the U.S.-Vietnam war. Democrat Obama began war operations against countries in peace with Bush's U.S. - like Libya, Syria, and Yemen - and pretty much also kickstarted the civil war in Ukraine.

    Maybe I also need to remind you that Franklin Delano Roosevelt that made the U.S. join the Second World War was a Democrat, and so was Woodrow Wilson behind the U.S. entry to the First World War.

    In comparison with all these things, the 2003 Iraq war was just one tiny, and still rather surgical, episode and it looked to more promising results than any other political or military U.S. intervention in the Middle East in the last 15 years.

  45. When the U.S. executive power was led by better people than those we see now, the U.S. indeed was an adult in the room.

    And Israel still is. It won't act as a parent just by talking. It will need to spank Iran but it will have to be done because the price for not doing so would be too high.

  46. Thanks for the Clinton-Kosovo example which is really the template for all the recent unwise U.S. invasions led by the Americans' fundamental misunderstanding of geography.

    Bombing is often bad but it often works, it's sometimes the most effective thing to do. George Bush Sr bombed Saddam when Saddam invaded Kuwait and it just worked beautifully. A limited war with a clear military goal. Democrats and similar folks prefer lots of microscopic social engineering on the ground, and that's what creates the really lasting mess.

  47. There have always been Islamic combatants but ISIS was created in April 2013, during Obama's reign, and because of the Syrian civil war where Obama has also intervened.

    Moreover, a nonzero fraction of the Iraq war casualties occurred during Obama's tenure, too.

    I am not denying that Bush made a war against Iraq. But he had reasons that looked sensible and it was a targeted war against one country, not a chaotic conglomerate of interventions into 10 countries that the U.S. leaders don't understand.

  48. Your way of arguing is amazing. To pick a 7-year-old claim of a president who is already out of office and to misinterpret it.

    Why don't you prefer the 3 days old literal words of the top Iran's general?

  49. Nuclear weapons only "prevented" wars because they were owned by largely rational leaders who prefer life over death.

    On the other hand, it's totally plausible that nuclear weapons, even those owned by Iran, would "only" strengthen the position of Iran behind the negotiation tables. But that's another horror scenario that Israel tries to prevent.

    It's like in the song, "The Bomb"

    9/11 all over under the Sun. You can't hit us back, sounds like fun!

  50. “après moi le déluge” ;-)

  51. Nice expression with a cool background story.... it was new to me! :-)

  52. Ah ok so it wasn't a typo then, sorry!

    So you would broadly subdivide philosophy into logic, epistemology and metaphysics then?

    It's certainly true that you can't reason without making at least some grounding metaphysical assumptions, even the efficacy of reason itself is a metaphysical assumption - reason can't justify itself from the inside.

    This was strengthened to a degree by Godel's results on relative consistency etc...

    I once saw a talk by a crazy Russian logician who expects that ZF is inconsistent and spends his time trying to invent non-standard logics where the principle of explosion can be controlled - which was a bit much for me to be honest!

    It's better to acknowledge and be explicit about these assumptions than have them lurk implicitly in the background though isn't it? (For business-as-usual maths and physics, i.e. most of the interesting stuff, I don't think it's so important).

    The Germans have a nice word for this: "unhintergehbar", lit. "un-trickable" but used in the sense of un-see-behindable.

    Trying to get to the bottom of foundational issues is always at some point like trying to see the back of your own head, probably as an unavoidable consequence of the subject/object divide and being a bounded part of a larger subsystem.

    So I think that properly speaking, in principle metaphysics will never quite "go away", no matter how much progress science makes.

  53. He is the commander of Basij a very secondary force. Sabre rattling is expected from both sides. Iran just like all other Arab/Islamic and third world countries don't like the treatment that Palestinians have endured.
    The Islamic Republic has general policies not affected by a particular leader.

  54. "Excellent" argument on Basij. And Khamenei with his 9-point tweet how to destroy Israel is also just a *secondary* mental cripple, isn't he?

  55. These are "proposal". But I think the important point is that the Palestinians must be given the "right" to decide about the destiny of the country and not dictate to them by the force of arms.

  56. There is no country whose destiny should be decided by the Palestinians.

  57. You could replace the Obamister with a baboon or an orangutan and nothing would change. What figurehead will sit in the White House is decided long before the fake elections, and they all understand if they do not do what they are told, they will get the JFK treatment.

  58. "As a Christian Catholic"---give me a break...didn't work in N Ireland..didnt work in the Inquisition...well, actually, it worked too well...Cardinal Richelieu had a field day eliminating people diplomatically.
    Diplomacy in the case of the Iranian nuclear deal simply guarantees that Iran will develop nuclear bombs. They need a "peaceful" nuclear program about as much as the highland jungles of New Guinea need a supercomputer.

    Why don't you simply "come out" Shannon, and declare that you hate and despise Jews and anything to do with them and Israel, and then stfu.

  59. Hmm, maybe use the term "fruitbat", "loon", or something. Your choice of mammals sounds racist, and it really doesn't matter what race or miscegenistic mix Obama is.(Gad, here I am being PC:))
    He has to be either a manipulated weakling, or else a truly nasty liar (ie, a politician).
    Here is my twist on a lawyer joke--How do you tell a dead politician on a highway from roadkill?
    There are skidmarks before the roadkill.

  60. But Saddam invaded Kuwait because he misread American signals to him---he thought that he had the green light to invade without US blowback.

  61. Dear Gordon, are you having an hysterical fit again ? ;-) Is that because your masters have lost the battle ? Feel like a loser ? Come on, pull yourself together and keep worthy.
    In Northern Ireland Martin McGuinness and the Queen Elisabeth shook hands and smiled at each other, this sealed the peace between the UK/Northern Ireland and the Republic of Ireland. That was it. Sorted.

  62. Barry O'bomber is our first black president, in color only. He was raised primarily by his upper-middle class white grandparents. His formative years were spent in polite white American society. He does not possess one inkling of what the true black American experience is. Hell, he has no clue of the daily strife faced by any non-1%er. He never lived in the working class world, and he just doesn't give a hoot.

    Is everybody getting it now? This guy is just another in a line of frat boys and spoiled rich brats that have held high office in the US. They all falsely convinced themselves that, through their personal talent only, did they succeed. And like any good sociopath, they cannot and will not ever understand why everybody isn't just like them.

    Face it folks, Barry is Ronny Reagan with a brain. And that makes him perhaps the most dangerous man to ever sit in the Oval Office. His color has nothing to do with it. If he were purple or orange or blue, he would still be a megalomaniac.

  63. The Israel Lobby is acting like the Obama administration is having a personal vendetta against Israel. This nuclear deal with Iran is purely geopolitics for the interest of the US. Everyone knows the only country that can challenge US hegemony in the 21st century is China. Iran is a powerhouse in terms of its oil supply. By normalizing relation with Iran and having both Iran and Saudi Arabia on the US's side, the US can call on these two nations to blockade the supply of oil to China during wartime. This is why the US needs Iran.

    There is no permanent enemy or friend in geopolitics; Israel should understand that. The US is just looking out for its own interest; nothing personal against Israel.

  64. The problem will not go away by either closing the eyes and the ears or using force . Either one will only make the problem worse.
    But hopefully the wise ones will prevail. Maybe the Nuclear deal is a good start.

  65. Gordon sees racists or antisemits and point at them whenever he can: "shhh my neighbour is antisemit". He catches himself denouncing whoever is deviating. However he does feel troubled by this sudden surge of PC inside of him that he cannot control. He admits to it however. Fair play to him.

  66. He would have invaded green light or not(easy target). Because after he did the dirty job with Iran. It was time to cut him to size and he got the signal by lowering oil process to all time low instead of rewarding him.

  67. you must not live in America?

  68. Wheeler revered Bohr to an excessive degree, and de-fanged Everett's startling original Phd thesis, whether you agree with it or not. It could have been to protect Everett, but more likely was also not to anger Bohr.

    ..."semi-retarded propagators" hmm, "retarded" is politically incorrect, Lubos. Now it is "differently-abled propagators" :)

  69. Dear Gordon, Wheeler revered Bohr to the appropriate degree - Bohr was really the spiritual father of the quantum generation, a guy who had a toy model for the hydrogen atom with the right spectrum 15 years before QM was born, and a guy who was immediately able to comprehend and sort new insights of the quantum revolution as they were coming.

    So I agree with you that he revered Bohr and he torpedoed Everett's original draft of the thesis (also) for this reason. But the "detail" you and other anti-quantum zealots seem completely incapable of comprehending - and you don't even seem to be interested in it - is the fact that as we know even know, half a century later, Bohr and Wheeler were right while Everett was wrong.

    His original draft was *really* a pseudointellectual talkative pile of vacuous, philosophical, and deluded crap, and it was in no way enough to get a PhD. I think that even the thesis he finally published was incompatible with a PhD degree.

    Look at your offensive anti-Bohr conspiracy theories from a procedural viewpoint. To get a PhD, Everett needed a reviewer. It was about foundations of QM so Bohr would be a possible reviewer. Not only a possible one; by all sociogically objective counts, he was the most qualified "peer" to review such theses in the world. And Bohr just said that the thesis was crap. That's exactly how things should work. Sometimes the reviewer may also be wrong - but it is relatively unlikely if he's competent and impartial; and he wasn't wrong in this case.

    What's worrisome was the subsequent rise of confused irrational cultists like you who celebrate Everett as if he were a great physicist. He wasn't a great physicist. He was a physicist who barely got a PhD because his work had no valid content, and he was recommended to leave physics research, and that's exactly what should have happened.

    He is being celebrated mostly by people who wouldn't deserve a quantum physics PhD themselves and who are deluded. When you effectively suggest that Everett made greater insights about the foundations of quantum mechanics than Bohr, can't you realize how "differently-abled" - I mean totally unhinged psychopath - you are?

    Many times, you have tried to claim that you don't belong to this insane anti-quantum sect of pseudointellectual semi-imbeciles but your comment above makes it very clear that you do.

  70. I dont belong to any "insane anti-quantum sect". My comment was innocuous and in no way anti-quantum. I can think that Everett's Phd was interesting without BELIEVING it. He took Schrodinger's equation and saw where it led if taken seriously. At this point I believe in a variant of the Copenhagen interpretation...
    Hartle's, or even Fuchs'. I don' know if my comments are so GROSSLY misunderstood by you because of some bizarre Czech language quirk, or because you just want to generate some controversy where non exists. My comprehension of QM is vastly more than it was a few years ago. I think I am also correct, and supported by multitudinous rational reports from non-crackpot physicists who met him and tried to discuss with him, that Bohr was almost impossible to talk to and to understand in his arguments and speech. Pais has a good book on Bohr. This does not undermine his work or views, but he was not pellucid like Dirac.
    In short, GMAB and actually read more than afew sentences and grab a few words out of context and flame. The Everett comment came after I read a rather good biog about him and his work and scanning his Phd. There is NOTH'in saying I believe his view is the correct one. Even astrology can be "interesting" :)
    And NEVER call me an anti-quantum zealot again until you believe that Griffiths, Hartle, Gell-Mann, or maybe Fuchs are wrong.
    Other people seem to be able to follow my texts.

  71. Universities shouldn't be distributing science PhD degrees for writings that are "interesting". Science isn't arts, legitimate theses must be valid, use correct calculations or argumentation or empirical data (or their combination) and reach nontrivial conclusions that are more correct than their negations or alternatives. Everett didn't do any work of this sort which is why he didn't deserve a PhD for that.

  72. Nah, of course you did. "Anti-quantum zealot cultist" ...
    a total libel of my views. There are certain words that can't be mentioned on TRF e.g. Everett, without provoking a flaming even if is not claiming that what he says is true. The words I used in the first post were Brian Greene's in his latest book, which you should be familiar with, because you translated it. He, also, makes no claim of truth for Everett's version, but does think it interesting. The whole business of "interpretations of" causes the problem because science goes out the window and philosophy enters.
    I really have NO NADA, Keine Ahnung, why you are responding the way you are when, in effect, I mostly agree with you. Radio silence for a while ... ---...

  73. You may mention Everett and a whole cult of hundreds of people is doing it all the time.

    You may even suggest that Everett did more for the foundations of quantum mechanics than Niels Bohr.

    But if you write such a thing, you unmask that you are an unhinged anti-quantum cultist. I insist that this is no libel but a very accurate, benevolent, and conservative description of what people like you are when it comes to the foundations of quantum mechanics.

    The same comments apply to Brian Greene or whoever else writes similar insanities.

  74. and just where did I suggest that Everett did more for the foundations of QM than Bohr?
    Oh, that's right, I did not. I did say that the combined efforts of Heisenberg, Dirac, Sommerfeld, and Born did more to develop it and push it forward.
    Once again, a vacuous straw man argument suggesting I believe something that I do not, then, when I object, calling it playing the victim card.
    Man, this is getting boring. Why not just set a reset button? Forget that I ever wrote that Everett's idea was interesting (not true)--in the same way that Borges' story, "The Garden of Forking Paths" was interesting.

  75. Wow! No offense, but that was 1964. Have you heard of voltage sensitive dyes or Ca2+-sensitive indicators that allow visualization of voltage changes in single synapses? Thinking has changed a lot since those ancient days. Not to mention functional MRI.

  76. Metaphysics = stale philosophy
    Philosophy = not stale metaphysics?

    Just guessing.


  77. Right, I feel it the same except that from a science viewpoint, all of metaphysics+/=philosophy is stale, so there can't be any well-defined internal boundary of that kind.

  78. Affirmative, however it doesn't change my point;

    IMHO, Future Libet statistical experiments should solve the conscious -QM problems.

  79. Spoken like a true scientist, Sir!