The Dim-Post

September 3, 2015

Nothing will come of nothing

Filed under: Politics — danylmc @ 7:41 am

syria

The nightmare of the Syrian refugee crisis intensified again overnight. The above image of a dead Syrian child washed up on a beach in Turkey has been published across most European news media. The rhetoric in the UK has gotten uglier with David Cameron refusing to admit more refugees, describing the families fleeing the civil war between ISIS and the Asad dictatorship as a ‘swarm’ trying to break into the UK for their private economic advantage.

John Key has, as usual in international policy, adopted Cameron’s position although his rhetoric is softer. Key refuses to take in more refugees as a response to the crisis because ‘it won’t solve the problem’. Well, it won’t stop the civil war in Syria – that’s true. But if we can reduce, even by a fraction the number of children suffocating to death in delivery trucks or washing ashore as corpses then that would be a great thing.

We’re not doing that – yet – because migrants present both upfront costs and political risk. Key’s mother was a refugee from the Nazis though, and you’d think that if any politician could see the virtue of giving these families a new chance on the other side of the world and to sell that to the public it’d be him. But Key didn’t get to where he is today by empathising with and helping helpless people, even though he’s ultimately only here because someone else did that for his family. His instincts are to help those who can help him and then extract maximal benefits from the exchange. And this mentality works for him personally, obviously, but it points to the nihilism in the dark heart of the transactional politics Key is such a master of: impoverished refugees have nothing to offer him, so they get nothing.

119 Comments »

  1. Wow what a sick situation.

    Comment by Lee Clark — September 3, 2015 @ 8:20 am

  2. Already the language is changing to ‘we’ll review in 2016’. Taking bets now on the number of rounds of polling until the announced (minimal) increase.

    Comment by jmarshall — September 3, 2015 @ 8:29 am

  3. Now you’ll be accused of “Key Derangement Syndrome”, your reward for a thoroughly accurate appraisal.

    However, the same character trait also leads to poll-driven pragmatism, which Key has demonstrated throughout (at least, prior to the third term and the growing feeling of invulnerability). So, a little more noise from us deranged types, and he could well shift his stance. No real downside for him if he does.

    Comment by sammy 3.0 — September 3, 2015 @ 8:29 am

  4. “Key’s mother was a refugee from the Nazis though, and you’d think that if any politician could see the virtue of giving these families a new chance on the other side of the world and to sell that to the public it’d be him.”

    Sadly, Key’s inability to draw this comparison is far from idiosyncratic.

    Comment by kalvarnsen — September 3, 2015 @ 8:31 am

  5. Never have you written anything so acute as this on Key. “…the nihilism in the dark heart of the transactional politics Key is such a master of: impoverished refugees have nothing to offer him, so they get nothing.”

    Comment by RHT — September 3, 2015 @ 8:38 am

  6. Syria! People dying, it’s horrible! I won’t stand by! (the Prime Minister 2015, on sending troops)

    Syria? The dying thing? I’m standing by … the All Blacks (the Prime Minister, later in 2015)

    Comment by sammy 3.0 — September 3, 2015 @ 8:49 am

  7. Reblogged this on Talking Southern Auckland and commented:
    WARNING: Picture included will be distressing to some.

    But as the saying goes
    Evil Triumphs when good men do nothing

    Comment by Ben Ross - Talking Auckland — September 3, 2015 @ 8:50 am

  8. A brutally accurate assessment. I think it’s the most powerful post you’ve ever written.

    Comment by TerryB — September 3, 2015 @ 8:56 am

  9. there’s beeen a huge tragic refugee problem for a long time even before Assad, i dont think making this a personal arrack on Key helps in any way pays any respect to those suffering.

    Comment by NeilM — September 3, 2015 @ 8:56 am

  10. NeilM I think you miss the point (deliberately?). He’s saying Key: is there anything in there? When all is said and done, what actually is he, as a man, as a human? Is his highest principle poll-sanctified gains of trade?

    Comment by Joe-90 — September 3, 2015 @ 9:12 am

  11. “there’s beeen a huge tragic refugee problem for a long time even before Assad, i dont think making this a personal arrack on Key helps in any way pays any respect to those suffering.”

    I wager that the refugees are more concerned about getting asylum than people paying respects to their suffering. If personal attacks on John Key result in the refugee quota being lifted that is more use than a bucketload of people paying respects.

    Comment by Sam — September 3, 2015 @ 9:14 am

  12. “i dont think making this a personal arrack on Key helps in any way”

    Yes. It certainly doesn’t help Key to ignore the problem and kick it down the road into 2016…

    Key blatantly undermines everything this country gave his family to help him become the man he is today. No one is blaming him for the refugee crisis. It’s what his government does to help for which he is responsible.

    —-

    Remember all that hype about “punching above our weight” and how we should be on the security council because we are seen as fair and compassionate blah blah. This is us failing to live up to that hype. Spectacularly failing.

    Comment by nommopilot — September 3, 2015 @ 9:21 am

  13. NeilM I think you miss the point (deliberately?).

    I assume that is a rhetorical question, Joe?

    Comment by Gregor W — September 3, 2015 @ 9:22 am

  14. Evil Triumphs when good men do nothing

    Comment by tom hunter — September 3, 2015 @ 9:24 am

  15. Key doesn’t want them here because New Zealand doesn’t. If poll driven means that you are doing what the country wants, isn’t that quite democratic?

    Personally, I would be happy to up the quota by a few in order for Danyl to move some refugees into his house.

    Comment by King Kong — September 3, 2015 @ 9:24 am

  16. Key can’t empathise with anyone, or anything, that don’t have a Dollar sign on it. What a sad indictment on our government. We could have taken more. But we didn’t because ONE person said NO, and that makes our whole country seem heartless. And we could do so much more. And how many people with Toddlers of the age of that Beautiful little boy, lying dead in the sand. Refuse of Ideology

    Comment by deadlynz — September 3, 2015 @ 9:28 am

  17. Evil Triumphs when good women do nothing

    “There’s a different leader in Syria now. Many of the members of Congress of both parties who have gone to Syria in recent months have said they believe he’s a reformer.”

    Comment by tom hunter — September 3, 2015 @ 9:29 am

  18. “…Key doesn’t want them here because New Zealand doesn’t. If poll driven means that you are doing what the country wants, isn’t that quite democratic..?”

    Let’s hope the polls don’t tell him we’ve turned against Jewish bankers – he’d have to kill himself. after all, isn’t that quite democratic?

    Comment by Sanctuary — September 3, 2015 @ 9:30 am

  19. I’d like to see our refugee quota increased considerably but despair that this tragedy is turned into a partisan bidding war to prove how much one cares.

    Why an increase of just a few hundred? Why not a few thousand?

    I sometime ago advocated international intervention in Syria to stop Assad – prior to ISIS coming to prominence. That would have prevented the current humanitarian crisis.

    Comment by NeilM — September 3, 2015 @ 9:46 am

  20. “I’d like to see our refugee quota increased considerably but despair that this tragedy is turned into a partisan bidding war to prove how much one cares”

    You are the very soul of concern, NeilM…

    Comment by nommopilot — September 3, 2015 @ 9:58 am

  21. “I sometime ago advocated international intervention in Syria to stop Assad – prior to ISIS coming to prominence. That would have prevented the current humanitarian crisis.”

    NeilM for Prime Minister!

    Comment by petronious — September 3, 2015 @ 10:08 am

  22. Danyl, could remove my comments please. I don’t want to be apart of such discussion beneath such a picture.

    Comment by NeilM — September 3, 2015 @ 10:10 am

  23. this tragedy is turned into a partisan bidding war to prove how much one cares.

    Which differs from Key’s performance earlier in the year … how?

    The guy acted like a petty playground kid (“get some guts!”) and told us how much he personally cared, and – quite explicitly – the other lot didn’t. So, it seems fair enough now to ask him if he does.

    Comment by sammy 3.0 — September 3, 2015 @ 10:11 am

  24. I don’t for a second doubt polling tells Key New Zealanders oppose Muslim migration, but if Key is that poll driven couldn’t we take a few thousand Yazhidis, Syraic Christians and Alawites? If that all that stands between Key and giving succour to some? I know it is a pretty awful option, but if that is the least worst option?

    Comment by Sanctuary — September 3, 2015 @ 10:15 am

  25. I sometime ago advocated international intervention in Syria to stop Assad

    Why?. If we’d taken him out all this shit would now be the fault of the evil capitalist West, plus any left-wing toadies who’d been foolish enough to Blair themselves. See Libya.

    I learned my lesson with Iraq in 2003. I’d been listening to people like this. You know the sort – caring people – for more than a decade as they tub-thumped and preened about getting rid of Saddam. I thought I was on the same side as those assholes.

    Comment by tom hunter — September 3, 2015 @ 10:18 am

  26. But if we can reduce, even by a fraction the number of children suffocating to death in delivery trucks or washing ashore as corpses then that would be a great thing.

    It sure would.

    And this mentality works for him personally, obviously, but it points to the nihilism in the dark heart of the transactional politics Key is such a master of: impoverished refugees have nothing to offer him, so they get nothing.

    And what about your plan of doing something-for-the-children? Is this not a cynical nihilistic bout of political opportunism?

    You would have us make a big song and dance about how generously kind hearted we are being. The people of Syria will jump into trucks and onto rafts. They’ll arrive at that camp and we’ll tell 99,998 out of 100,000 well screw you, when John Key would have told 99,999 out of 100,000 to screw off. That’ll makes us both twice as good as John Key and just as much of an arse as John Key.

    Then you get to the margins, we are encouraging more Syrians to flee. For the sake of that one additional immigrant will more die because they made the journey or will more live because they fled the war zone?

    Comment by unaha-closp — September 3, 2015 @ 10:33 am

  27. Danyl, could remove my comments please. I don’t want to be apart of such discussion beneath such a picture.

    You probably should have thought of that before accusing those moved by it and wanting to respond of engaging in “a partisan bidding war to prove how much one cares.” FFS.

    That boy looks to be about the same age as my son. I cried when I saw it this morning.

    Comment by Andrew Geddis — September 3, 2015 @ 10:36 am

  28. Then you get to the margins, we are encouraging more Syrians to flee.

    There are an estimated 4 million Syrian refugees. Some 2 million of these are in Turkey, and another million in Lebanon. There’s lots and lots and lots for us to take from those countries without “encouraging” them to make the dangerous journey over the sea and into Europe.

    Comment by Andrew Geddis — September 3, 2015 @ 10:40 am

  29. Then you get to the margins, we are encouraging more Syrians to flee.

    I think this is how Key et al think about it. It’s like welfare: we’re creating an incentive for people to flee and sponge off us. Only, Syria is a fucking war zone. People are getting massacred by chemical weapons and enslaved by ISIS. These are already quite strong incentives to flee. The one-in-a-million chance that you’ll get to come live in New Zealand if you flee because we’ve raised our quota isn’t going to have much of an impact on their behavior, even at the margins.

    Comment by danylmc — September 3, 2015 @ 10:45 am

  30. “His instincts are to help those who can help him and then extract maximal benefits from the exchange.”

    This is an excellent analysis of Key’s modus operandi. How anybody can look at the refugee situation and refuse to to do anything at all to help astonishes me. Key has the power to increase NZ’s refugee quota and save a few lives, but he refuses to do so. Has the man no pity?

    Comment by Karen — September 3, 2015 @ 10:48 am

  31. We’re not doing that – yet – because migrants present both upfront costs and political risk.

    If we encourage more refugees to flee, then more will die in transit.

    That is a pretty big upfront cost.

    Comment by unaha-closp — September 3, 2015 @ 10:49 am

  32. If we encourage more refugees to flee, then more will die in transit.

    So … just to get this straight … NZ shouldn’t offer asylum to any of the 4 million people who’ve already fled Syria and are already trying by any means possible to get into Europe because there may be some family sitting in the Syrian war zone who hears that NZ is taking a few hundred refugees from camps in Turkey/Lebanon and so chooses to leave the war zone for those camps, thereby putting themselves at greater danger than they would have been had they stayed in a place where bombs are falling, bullets are flying, chemical weapons are being deployed, etc, etc. And the risk to that notional Syrian family outweighs any humanitarian value obtained by guaranteeing some hundreds of Syrian families sanctuary here in NZ.

    This is … nuts.

    I’m also assuming from your reasoning that the Govt’s offer to take 100 Syrian refugees last year was a bad thing to do, and actually the best we can do for the people of Syria is to return them to the war zone (where they will act as a deterrent to others thinking of leaving, thereby keeping them in the war zone where they are safer)?

    Comment by Andrew Geddis — September 3, 2015 @ 11:01 am

  33. I’m also assuming from your reasoning that the Govt’s offer to take 100 Syrian refugees last year was a bad thing to do, and actually the best we can do for the people of Syria is to return them to the war zone (where they will act as a deterrent to others thinking of leaving, thereby keeping them in the war zone where they are safer)?

    It’s simple economics, Andrew.

    Comment by danylmc — September 3, 2015 @ 11:04 am

  34. If we encourage more refugees to flee, then more will die in transit.

    That’s some pretty tortured logic.

    I would suggest that the refugees have more than enough incentive to flee and have likely build the personal risks into the equation, without factoring in how the tender hearts of the West might flutter at bearing some additional hypothetical humanitarian cost.

    Comment by Gregor W — September 3, 2015 @ 11:04 am

  35. It’s simple economics, Andrew.

    Even better – if we “agree” to accept a whole bunch of asylum seeking families, then dump them into the middle of the Pacific Ocean to drown and widely circulate the news amongst refugee camps, this will teach them not to trust Western Governments’ promises of succour and so force them to return to the safety of the Syrian War Zone.

    Really, we’re just doing them a favour.

    Comment by Andrew Geddis — September 3, 2015 @ 11:09 am

  36. “If we encourage more refugees to flee”

    Our paltry quota, even if we doubled it will not have any effect on the behaviour of millions fleeing a dire situation. not even at the margins of the margins…

    But it will have an effect on the lives of a lucky few who find their way here. One of their children may even become a multimillionaire prime minister one day…

    Comment by nommopilot — September 3, 2015 @ 11:09 am

  37. The one-in-a-million chance that you’ll get to come live in New Zealand if you flee because we’ve raised our quota isn’t going to have much of an impact on their behavior, even at the margins.

    Yeah right.

    John Key won’t say it like that, he won’t point out that we will be making eff-all difference. He’ll use this to maximal political effect, with pictures of dead kids and all. He’ll get DPF to put up a post about how compassionate NZ is being, making accommodations to accept more refugees from this terrible war. The media will take the lead in stoking feeling of pride in how NZ is making a real difference to the lives of so many.

    John Key is a consummate politician and will maximise the amount of marginal political benefit to be derived from this minimal effort.

    Comment by unaha-closp — September 3, 2015 @ 11:11 am

  38. Anything New Zealand does will be “at the margins” – whether committing troops, or accepting refugees. In both cases, the numbers will be a very small fraction of the global total.

    The difference is – we can quantify and demonstrate the benefit to refugees. The result will be actual human beings, not fractions.

    Demonstrating the effect of sending troops is no more than a leap of faith.

    Comment by sammy 3.0 — September 3, 2015 @ 11:14 am

  39. You probably should have thought of that before accusing those moved by it and wanting to respond …

    Woah there. This article is as much about John Key lacking a soul as it is about saving little Syrian kids from drowning. Which is to say that it’s as much about who to hate and why, as who to save and why. That’s why it’s gaining such gleeful comments from all the usual suspects:

    Has the man no pity?

    Key’s inability to draw this comparison is far from idiosyncratic.

    I think it’s the most powerful post you’ve ever written.

    No, it’s not the most powerful post that Danyl has ever written. It’s the same thing I’ve read a hundred times over the decades in The New Yorker, The Atlantic, Slate, Salon, Huffington Post and so forth . The narrative of the right-wing business politician, his heart and soul ripped from his body; blank-eyed, pitiless.

    As such it’s not even an appeal to compassion, but another call to arms, and if Key is as smart a politician as he’s been to date, he’ll announce that the quota is being lifted, perhaps even look into the camera with huge, liquid eyes – and the issue will be gone in 24-48 hours.

    Comment by tom hunter — September 3, 2015 @ 11:27 am

  40. Half of Syria’s population has been displaced or killed. We can do a lot for every single refugee we take.

    (I don’t know how to host images in comments, otherwise I’d post that infographic directly.)

    Plus, they’ll bring more sit-down felafel restaurants into the country.

    Comment by Moses — September 3, 2015 @ 11:30 am

  41. As such it’s not even an appeal to compassion, but another call to arms, and if Key is as smart a politician as he’s been to date, he’ll announce that the quota is being lifted, perhaps even look into the camera with huge, liquid eyes – and the issue will be gone in 24-48 hours.

    Right now they’re almost certainly polling on the issue.

    If they decide that they *do* need to raise the quota – because voters tell them that they want that, then they will do so by the absolute minimum required to make that electoral gain. I predict that any such increase would be in the range of 300-500, once only.

    Comment by Moses — September 3, 2015 @ 11:33 am

  42. Readers could help the situation by donating here:

    https://www.unicefusa.org/donate/help-syrian-children/16078

    A.

    Comment by Antoine — September 3, 2015 @ 12:03 pm

  43. I predict that any such increase would be in the range of 300-500, once only.

    They’ll probably baseline on 150 (Tampa number) and then add just enough more to look good in comparison about 200 or so.

    Comment by unaha-closp — September 3, 2015 @ 12:05 pm

  44. “The guy acted like a petty playground kid (“get some guts!”) and told us how much he personally cared, and – quite explicitly – the other lot didn’t. So, it seems fair enough now to ask him if he does.”

    Like the post itself, this comment hits the nail right on the head..

    Comment by Eltalstro — September 3, 2015 @ 12:11 pm

  45. A friend just posted Mike Hosking’s little comment about this on her FB feed. It made my skin crawl. I think if I saw Hosking out and about I’d walk up and break the fuckers nose, just to show that his opinions also have a dollar value in corrective surgery.

    Comment by Sanctuary — September 3, 2015 @ 12:15 pm

  46. They’ll probably baseline on 150 (Tampa number) and then add just enough more to look good in comparison about 200 or so.

    It’s currently 750. Less than 1000 will have the wrong optics.

    Comment by Moses — September 3, 2015 @ 12:17 pm

  47. “As such it’s not even an appeal to compassion, but another call to arms, and if Key is as smart a politician as he’s been to date, he’ll announce that the quota is being lifted, perhaps even look into the camera with huge, liquid eyes – and the issue will be gone in 24-48 hours.”

    so you agree with danyls post then? –

    thats what this type of comment is saying – key will move for political not humanitarian reasons and he will be driven by self interest and a view of ‘whats in it for me”

    Comment by framu — September 3, 2015 @ 12:18 pm

  48. UNICEF USA are a great organisation. But if you donate to UNICEF NZ, you can claim a third back on your tax return.

    https://www.unicef.org.nz/syria

    Everyone wins.

    Comment by Moses — September 3, 2015 @ 12:20 pm

  49. In the same spirit, how about this?

    https://www.redcross.org.nz/what-we-do/in-new-zealand/refugee-services/

    Danyl and AG can probably make a greater contribution by blogging, in order to raise awareness and to encourage the Government to do the right thing – but for the rest of us in the comments, getting the ‘ol chequebook out is likely to be more useful than arguing with each other.

    A.

    Comment by Antoine — September 3, 2015 @ 12:45 pm

  50. key will move for political not humanitarian reasons and he will be driven by self interest and a view of ‘whats in it for me”

    As opposed to you and other left-wingers, including the politicians you choose, who are always moved by humanitarian reasons and an interest in the welfare of others?

    Of course. That’s always the implication and it would have worked perfectly in this case, but for the shots at Key’s humanity (or lack of, I know – funny).

    By contrast, back in 2013, Obama announced that his infamous “Red Line” had been crossed but that there would be no serious consequences for Assad; no cruise missiles on his Mig fighters and airfields; no shoot-downs of barrel-bombing Mil 24 helicopters.

    I wonder whether anybody at the time analysed his inaction as being ”the nihilism in the dark heart of the transactional politics”, and that, since Syrian victims had nothing to offer him in terms of domestic politics (except a huge downside from a revived anti-war movement), they too would get nothing – except for warm words?

    I don’t recall any such commentary, only criticism for weaselling out of a commitment or praise for having avoided a war, a type of inaction deemed morally superior to the inaction of taking in more refugees – even though the refugees are partly a result of the earlier inaction.

    But in the spirit of the previous two posters you could also write to Key, as I have. Here’s his email:

    john.key@parliament.govt.nz

    Try not to imply that he lacks a soul, empathy, pity and other such human traits, or that he only cares about people depending on what he can get out of them. You never know, but it might work.

    Comment by tom hunter — September 3, 2015 @ 12:56 pm

  51. Brilliant, trenchant, piercing post.

    Comment by swordfish — September 3, 2015 @ 1:01 pm

  52. “As opposed to you and other left-wingers, including the politicians you choose, who are always moved by humanitarian reasons and an interest in the welfare of others?”

    way to go tom – another straw man – well done

    fucks sake

    Comment by framu — September 3, 2015 @ 1:03 pm

  53. Just write to John, framu.

    You never know what can happen when you reach out to another human being – as opposed to a straw man.

    Comment by tom hunter — September 3, 2015 @ 1:17 pm

  54. I wonder whether anybody at the time analysed his inaction as being ”the nihilism in the dark heart of the transactional politics”…

    I doubt that very much, because most people are capable of discerning the difference between reluctance to join a war, escalate it (because Putin) and generally kill a whole lot of people, and reluctance to help refugees.

    Comment by Psycho Milt — September 3, 2015 @ 1:18 pm

  55. “but it points to the nihilism in the dark heart of the transactional politics Key is such a master of: impoverished refugees have nothing to offer him, so they get nothing”
    Joseph Conrad would be proud.

    Comment by Stephen — September 3, 2015 @ 1:18 pm

  56. @Antoine,

    Danyl and AG can probably make a greater contribution by blogging, in order to raise awareness and to encourage the Government to do the right thing – but for the rest of us in the comments, getting the ‘ol chequebook out is likely to be more useful than arguing with each other.

    I’ve done all three (blogged, donated and argued)!

    Comment by Andrew Geddis — September 3, 2015 @ 1:35 pm

  57. tom

    You made a statement that, to me, appeared to support the gist of the topic, i asked if that was the case
    Nothing more than that, and certainly not the ad hom train you pulled into the station

    Comment by framu — September 3, 2015 @ 1:39 pm

  58. I doubt that very much, because …

    .. there are two sets of standards in judging the humanity of a person, one for the left and one for the right, whether action or inaction is being debated.

    Speaking of which:

    … the ad hom train you pulled into the station

    The ad hom train was already in the station, fuelled up and ready to go, painted in the loud colours of the nihilism in the dark heart of the transactional politics Key is such a master of: impoverished refugees have nothing to offer him, so they get nothing”

    I guess you didn’t notice that.

    Comment by tom hunter — September 3, 2015 @ 1:44 pm

  59. “I guess you didn’t notice that.”

    i noticed it – but – i never said it

    danyl said it – and going by your comment you appeared to agree – i asked if you did

    nothing more than that (for the second bloody time)

    Comment by framu — September 3, 2015 @ 2:12 pm

  60. > I’ve done all three (blogged, donated and argued)!

    That is legendary.

    I also have a son of similar age or a little more. I will let him choose which charity we donate to, from a list including Red Cross and UNICEF.

    A.

    Comment by Antoine — September 3, 2015 @ 2:14 pm

  61. @ Tom Hunter

    An argument that attacks the moral character of the PM, is by definition an ad hom attack. That’s the point.

    Comment by RJL — September 3, 2015 @ 2:20 pm

  62. “Now you’ll be accused of “Key Derangement Syndrome”, your reward for a thoroughly accurate appraisal.”

    Aside from Antoine at 42, this is way, way beyond KDS

    Comment by Tinakori — September 3, 2015 @ 2:23 pm

  63. Well it’s good to know what we stand for as a nation, at least. We stand for silver ferns and stars and shit. What we definitely don’t stand for is opening our doors and our hearts to the wretched of the earth, especially if they might happen to be Muslims.

    There are many countries that behave an awful lot worse than New Zealand does, but there can’t be very many that exhibit quite our toxic levels of sanctimonious hypocrisy.

    Comment by Higgs Boatswain — September 3, 2015 @ 2:55 pm

  64. I’ve always found you to be a pompous ass Tinakori, but the fact you choose to label people angry at Key for equivocating over refugees and affected by the image above ‘deranged’, shows you lack class and compassion as well.

    Comment by rp — September 3, 2015 @ 2:59 pm

  65. It’s currently 750. Less than 1000 will have the wrong optics.

    What sort of number do you pick for a worthwhile, genuinely helpful contribution, where the thing we do actually exceeds the hype we will manifest doing something for politics or image or to show we “care”?

    I’d suggest about 50,000 to 100,000 would start to make a serious contribution.

    Comment by unaha-closp — September 3, 2015 @ 3:05 pm

  66. Uhaha, a collection of humanitarian organisations and their supporters (people such as Duncan Garner) have been calling for NZ to:

    Double the Quota. ie, 1500 people.

    Comment by Moses — September 3, 2015 @ 3:14 pm

  67. Here’s a new news story on the subject:

    http://www.stuff.co.nz/national/politics/71706489/refugee-crisis-john-key-softens-on-refugee-quota

    A.

    Comment by Antoine — September 3, 2015 @ 3:21 pm

  68. I don’t recall any such commentary, only criticism for weaselling out of a commitment or praise for having avoided a war

    I recall that there was but only in the less well travelled, more radical recesses of the internet (WSWS, Counterpunch etc.)
    Also, your analysis doesn’t account for the Russian factor.

    Comment by Gregor W — September 3, 2015 @ 4:01 pm

  69. Also, your analysis doesn’t account for the Russian factor.

    I think that was overblown, as Putin is in general. It’s not the Ukraine and he’d actually have to project power a long way from his borders. I know they have that naval base they want to keep and there have been recent reports of Russian troops, not just equipment, coming into the country, and that has included fighter-bombers and pilots.

    The bigger concern was probably the Iranians, Assad’s puppet masters. They were always going to fight hard and dirty to keep him there. Also Obama wanted that nuclear deal badly enough to basically ignore the 2009 protesters in Iran, so he was never going to go out on the ledge for Syrians.

    Still, shooting up his helicopters and fighter-bombers and bombing their runways, would have evened the scores a bit and might – very slim might – have enabled a non-extremist group to take control. Faint hope given what’s happened in every other country I guess, but it still burns me that Assad got away with those chemical attacks, not to mention the barrel bombs.

    Counterpunch eh? Figures. I wonder if anybody on the Far Left has speculated that Obama’s playing a Nixon-Kissenger game of allowing all the Islamic sides to slaughter each other. I’ve certainly seen it suggested in blog comments – both from the viewpoint of condemnation and applauding.

    Comment by tom hunter — September 3, 2015 @ 4:31 pm

  70. According to a friend’s translation of this article, the toddler’s name is Elan Kurdi, from Kobani. The more humanity he’s remembered with, the better. http://e3lam.org/2015/09/03/60707

    Comment by Frith Te Aroha — September 3, 2015 @ 4:46 pm

  71. “actually the best we can do for the people of Syria is to return them to the war zone”

    But if they die in Syria, their deaths aren’t on the West (unless you think that the CIA started the Arab Spring. Much as I dislike the CIA, they’re not that powerful)

    Comment by kalvarnsen — September 3, 2015 @ 4:49 pm

  72. @tom hunter – actually the ‘Obama as Nixon’ hypothesis has been out forward at CP.

    There is a good essay on a paper form the Brrokings Institute (IIRC) which premises it as a State Dept stalking-horse for a Syrian Balkanisation strategy.

    Comment by Gregor W — September 3, 2015 @ 5:00 pm

  73. “Now you’ll be accused of “Key Derangement Syndrome”, your reward for a thoroughly accurate appraisal.”

    I guess Tinakori thinks ‘Key Derangement Syndrome’ is brilliantly clever, which is why he repeats it over and over again. But it’s what guys like David Farrar said over and over again during the 2000s in response to any criticism of Bush. Invading Iraq and setting up an international torture network and all the rest of it were such obviously awesome policies that anyone disagreeing with them must, surely, be literally insane. (Unlike the criticisms those guys were making of Helen Clark, like the fact that her running budget surpluses and paying down debt were destroying the economy, which were just really sensible and serious.) So ‘derangement syndrome’ is an argument I associate with shills who can’t manage a coherent argument, and turn out to be wrong about everything.

    Comment by danylmc — September 3, 2015 @ 5:05 pm

  74. this is way, way beyond KDS

    Lèse-majesté. Off with their heads.

    Comment by Joe W — September 3, 2015 @ 5:22 pm

  75. I’m not sure derangement syndrome isn’t a thing, but it goes both ways. Clark had plenty of detractors who couldn’t admit she’d done some things that were actually quite good for NZ and instead waffled about her sexuality and marriage as though they mattered.
    So far on this post Sanctuary has said “Let’s hope the polls don’t tell him we’ve turned against Jewish bankers – he’d have to kill himself. after all, isn’t that quite democratic?” and intimated he’d like to punch Mike Hosking in the face and break his nose without any criticism from other posters . I find the fact no one has called him on it a bit odd to be honest, those are fairly appalling things to say .

    Comment by Cliff Clavin — September 3, 2015 @ 5:30 pm

  76. “Key’s mother was a refugee from the Nazis though, and you’d think that if any politician could see the virtue of giving these families a new chance on the other side of the world and to sell that to the public it’d be him.”

    An Aussie journo once observed the phenomenon of “slamming the door behind you”, after discovering nativist views among Australians with Mediterranean and Slavic descent. It’s a distant cousin of the hoary old Model Minority fallacy.

    Comment by Kumara Republic — September 3, 2015 @ 5:50 pm

  77. “A friend just posted Mike Hosking’s little comment about this on her FB feed. It made my skin crawl. I think if I saw Hosking out and about I’d walk up and break the fuckers nose, just to show that his opinions also have a dollar value in corrective surgery.”

    And at the same time he seems to have no problem with taxpayer dosh being doled out to highly profitable multinationals. I’m only surprised that he didn’t play the “Muslims are coming!” card.

    Comment by Kumara Republic — September 3, 2015 @ 6:31 pm

  78. Maybe we should take refugees from other areas than Syria, places like Afghanistan, and other places that the poor boat people refugees come from.

    And demand that Australia dismantle its refugee concentration camps.

    Comment by Andrew R — September 3, 2015 @ 6:46 pm

  79. Regarding “Key Derangement Syndrome”, the polar opposite under Helen Clark was probably the “orchestrated litany of whines”.

    Comment by Kumara Republic — September 3, 2015 @ 6:52 pm

  80. Late in 1938 to escape persecution in Nazi Germany 950 Jews were forced to pay exorbitant prices to board SS St Louis, a luxury liner of the Hapag line, to sail to Cuba. Once in Havana harbour the passengers were not allowed to disembark, and the ship was forced to sail back to Europe. After weeks of every government turning a blind eye, the captain of the St Louis drove the ship aground on a sandbank in Southampton harbour Eventually Holland, France, Belgium and Britain each took a quarter of the people, less than half of whom survived the holocaust. These frightened and exploited people were what we would call today, boat people. Now we have a Prime Minister making a virtue out of tightening the law to discourage people suffering the plight of those on board the St Louis from landing in our country. John Key says that it is not an attack on refugees, yet it is playing to a xenophobic fear some New Zealanders have of hordes of strangers invading our land. Of all people, our Jewish Prime Minister ought to understand that persecuted people have no option but to escape to save their families from harm, and that, like the tyrannized German Jews of 1938, they grasp at any straw to do so. There is no virtue in attacking already terrified people begging for understanding.. Could any Cuban have claimed to feel perfectly satisfied with the treatment their government handed out to the 950 people aboard the SS St Louis? John Key should know that we too take no pride in the oppression of desperate people we turned away from our empty land because we played the game of political point scoring. Mr. Key seems to make a habit of forgetting his past, to the detriment of others currently in his previous predicament, I do wish he wouldn’t.

    Comment by michael keir-morrissey — September 3, 2015 @ 7:42 pm

  81. “I’ve always found you to be a pompous ass Tinakori, but the fact you choose to label people angry at Key for equivocating over refugees and affected by the image above ‘deranged’, shows you lack class and compassion as well.” rp

    “So ‘derangement syndrome’ is an argument I associate with shills who can’t manage a coherent argument, and turn out to be wrong about everything.” Dmac

    No contest in the ostentatious morality stakes, guys, I cede the ground entirely. Though, rp, if I had the horrible choice between pompous ass and dimwitted jackass I know which one I’d prefer.

    FYI. Daniel,while I think David Farrar is an excellent liberal blogger and we share a number of views the invasion of Iraq wasn’t one of them. When you think in stereotypes………

    Comment by Tinakori — September 3, 2015 @ 8:15 pm

  82. Oops, Danyl

    Comment by Tinakori — September 3, 2015 @ 8:16 pm

  83. … in response to any criticism of Bush.

    Like any invented epithet it does end up getting thrown at everything, but I think the response of BDS lay less in relation to Iraq and waterboarding than to the utterly bizarre insanity that erupted over things like Katrina, where Bush was blamed for everything – and with the same standard we see here (“George Bush Doesn’t Care About Black People”). Of course now we have none other than Obama backer Donna Brazile saying that Bush he did okay. Ten years too late to correct the fucking insanity but I guess it counts for something.

    Hell, I knew people who just about had an aneurysm when they saw “The Smirk”. Fair enough, I began to feel that way about seeing Helen’s visage around 2006.

    But this is the same shit, which is why so many fanboys are high about it, and it absolutely deserves the label, KDS.

    I get that your angry about this, and that you’ve combined it with your disdain for Key, National and the Right in general. But you’ve pointed out many times that unhinged hatred of Key does not work: it’s more akin to the daily production from the losers over at The Standard, just written more elegantly. You’d have been better off with something along the lines of stuff you’ve done on Key earlier – because it is difficult not to write satire, even amidst horror.

    Comment by tom hunter — September 3, 2015 @ 9:15 pm

  84. I disagree, tom.

    It struggles to qualify as elegant.

    Comment by Lee Clark — September 3, 2015 @ 9:54 pm

  85. This isn’t “unhinged hatred of Key”, this is utter disbelief that even a crisis as dire as the one facing these thousands of refugees isn’t enough to get Key and this National government to act.

    That is, it appears, not until some sampling of the ‘mood of the nation’, or whatever, tells them that their inaction might lose them support with the voting public. Then we see the turnaround. That’s not leadership.

    Comment by Corokia — September 3, 2015 @ 11:00 pm

  86. Key’s resistance to lifting the refugee quota is especially interesting in light of National being ostensibly the ‘forward looking’ party, ‘global’ and ‘connected’ in its nature, and with an ‘outward’ focus, etc. But as the current refugee debacle reminds us, National’s cutting-edge, globalist rhetoric – useful when defending the TPP, overseas-investors, and the prospect of a 21st century flag – has its obvious limits. National is oh-so-globalist when it suits them.

    Comment by Nick Firth — September 3, 2015 @ 11:12 pm

  87. @ NeilM: “I sometime ago advocated international intervention in Syria to stop Assad – prior to ISIS coming to prominence. That would have prevented the current humanitarian crisis.”

    Perhaps not; See this:
    http://www.nytimes.com/2015/03/03/science/earth/study-links-syria-conflict-to-drought-caused-by-climate-change.html?_r=1

    @ Andrew Geddis: “That boy looks to be about the same age as my son. I cried when I saw it this morning.”

    Indeed. Rips one’s heart out, doesn’t it.

    Comment by D'Esterre — September 3, 2015 @ 11:31 pm

  88. @ Corokia: “That is, it appears, not until some sampling of the ‘mood of the nation’, or whatever, tells them that their inaction might lose them support with the voting public. Then we see the turnaround. That’s not leadership.”

    Dead right. It’s poll-driven followership. Don’t tell me it’s ok because Helen Clark did it too. This lot were going to be better than that, remember?

    Comment by D'Esterre — September 3, 2015 @ 11:35 pm

  89. 32. I’m also assuming from your reasoning that the Govt’s offer to take 100 Syrian refugees last year was a bad thing to do, and actually the best we can do for the people of Syria is to return them to the war zone (where they will act as a deterrent to others thinking of leaving, thereby keeping them in the war zone where they are safer)?

    Comment by Andrew Geddis — September 3, 2015 @ 11:01 am

    No. We did that little good quietly. Because if we are going to end up doing f*#k all, we should be making f*#k all noise about it.

    What I don’t like is a national debate vilifying the government as heartless, whilst making the body of a small child symbolic of the personal failings in the PM’s character. This generates publicity and news hyped out of all proportion to what we are going to end up doing.

    The opposition plan is to tell 99,998 refugee children to piss off then take two in its arms and return triumphant to NZ. Where they can shame John Key who would have made the same journey and returned with only one child. A strong win for the opposition, which will be sung about for ever and loudly. Massive gains for very little cost.

    But here is the thing, John Key is being called a nihilistic self serving arsehole for telling 99,999 refugee children to piss off. Yet the opposition plan to tell 99,998 to piss off, so they can bank a solid political win. What does that make the opposition? Personally I feel all politicians are arseholes and this merely serves as confirmation.

    And then you have the margins. For the opposition to bank that solid political win they need to hype the goodness and effectiveness of their deed, way out of proportion to the actual effect.

    Comment by unaha-closp — September 4, 2015 @ 12:11 am

  90. The job requires it, I guess, We elect A-hole1 to tell 99,999 kids that they aren’t good enough to live here. Then A-hole2 steps forward and correctly says A-hole1 is indeed an “A” grade A-hole. We will all feel better about ourselves if we elect A-hole2, who will do twice as much good.

    A-hole2 gets elected and proceeds to tell 99,998 kids that they aren’t good enough to live here. A-hole2 smiles and beams telling us what a nice person they are. You know they enjoy it.

    But imagine if we elected a nice person, instead of these A-holes, when there are 55 – 60 million displaced people in this world.

    Comment by unaha-closp — September 4, 2015 @ 9:33 am

  91. What I don’t like is a national debate vilifying the government as heartless, whilst making the body of a small child symbolic of the personal failings in the PM’s character.

    So what you are saying is you don’t like politics?
    I think you’d better change that wet nappy, son.

    Key is the PM. That role comes with a number of responsibilities including, for better or worse, a degree of moral leadership.
    The moment he lets the opposition set the moral narrative, and then backtracks an untenable position based on popular polling, he is (rightly) found wanting IMO.

    An analysis of why he is found wanting is entirely appropriate and must necessarily be predicated on some form of character assessment. The way we all conduct ourselves are, after all, a product of our own experiences and worldview.

    Comment by Gregor W — September 4, 2015 @ 10:40 am

  92. @unaha-closp,

    I think you vastly overestimate the amount of attention Syrian refugees are paying to how NZ’s media covers this issue. All I’m thinking is that it’s completely heartbreaking to see a 3 year old’s drowned body on a beach, and if there’s something NZ can do to stop even one kid suffering that fate (by taking them out of a refugee camp in Turkey or Lebanon before they try and get to Europe), then that’s a fundamentally good thing to do. And I don’t care who is saying it or what their motivations are for doing so.

    Comment by Andrew Geddis — September 4, 2015 @ 10:51 am

  93. An analysis of why he is found wanting is entirely appropriate and must necessarily be predicated on some form of character assessment.

    I like politics and think politicians are A-holes. A politician who uses the picture of a dead refugee child to promote a policy of telling 99.998% of refugees to piss off qualifies. A politician who happily tells 99.999% of refugee children to piss off qualifies.

    Comment by unaha-closp — September 4, 2015 @ 11:48 am

  94. Great post, Danyl, but I disagree with the last line. ‘impoverished refugees have nothing to offer him, so they get nothing.’

    In fact, I can see two ways in which taking in more refugees would benefit Key; 1) if polling suggests NZ would favour it. (And I agree with those upthread, who said Nats will be feverishly polling on this right now , and 2) International favours. If “my buddy Barack” or Helen Clark at the UN called and asked us to take more refugees, this could be leveraged into some unspecified favour to be granted to NZ/Nats at a later date.

    If I was completely cynical, I would suspect Key is sitting back waiting on those calls asking for favours before acting. It saddens me greatly, but I do believe this is how our world is run

    Comment by Helen — September 4, 2015 @ 11:55 am

  95. “Approximately 1200 refugees and their family members are approved residency annually in New Zealand…”

    http://www.refugeehealth.govt.nz/about-us/refugees-and-asylum-seekers-in-new-zealand

    Comment by Ross — September 4, 2015 @ 12:11 pm

  96. Andrew,

    I hope you are right. The problem is big and the numbers we help are so small. I fear otherwise.

    Comment by unaha-closp — September 4, 2015 @ 12:14 pm

  97. Some frankly horrifying data from the Amnesty International NZ website:

    – As per the UNHCR, New Zealand ranks 90th in the world in per capita assistance to refugees.
    – Australia’s refugee quota is three and a half times larger, per capita, than New Zealand’s.
    – Australia takes five times more refugees and asylum seekers per capita than New Zealand.
    – Our annual refugee quota of 750 people hasn’t been raised since it was set nearly 30 years ago.

    This really is a disgrace. We have been led to believe that Australia has a poor refugee policy compared to ours, but clearly the reverse is true.

    Comment by Helen — September 4, 2015 @ 12:52 pm

  98. The problem is big and the numbers we help are so small..

    Making this about Key doesn’t really move the debate about how to solve the Syrian crisis to anywhere useful.

    Any increase in our intake although worthwhile in itself will not help the millions already displaced and will not stop more people being displaced and killed by the Assad regime.

    It would be a terrible irony if we assisted a few hundred people but stood aside and let a few thousand take their place in misery.

    This has been going on for a number of years. There’s been plenty of opportunity for the international community and the UN to act but they haven’t.

    Comment by NeilM — September 4, 2015 @ 12:55 pm

  99. Nick Firth: as far as globalists are concerned, free movement of capital is good. Free movement of people, not so good.

    Comment by Kumara Republic (@kumararepublic) — September 4, 2015 @ 1:05 pm

  100. Egyptian cartoonist Doaa Eladl.

    Comment by Joe W — September 4, 2015 @ 1:17 pm

  101. Making this about Key doesn’t really move the debate about how to solve the Syrian crisis to anywhere useful.

    Spare us your shadowboxing, NeilM.
    This thread is not attempting to “solving” Syria’s woes. It’s specifically about our nation’s lack of political response to the plight of Syrian’s fleeing a warzone, and dying in their thousand along the way.

    Our country can and should do more.
    Our PM should be leading rather than following, but rather, he has been found both sorely lacking and hypocritical.

    Comment by Gregor W — September 4, 2015 @ 2:58 pm

  102. We have been led to believe that Australia has a poor refugee policy compared to ours, but clearly the reverse is true.

    I am not so sure.

    http://www.theguardian.com/australia-news/2015/aug/06/australia-turned-back-20-asylum-seeker-boats-with-633-people-in-past-18-months

    https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Australian_immigration_detention_facilities

    Comment by Ross — September 4, 2015 @ 3:04 pm

  103. Meanwhile, Australia have sent some of its refugees from Nauru to Cambodia. Only 4 refugees have been relocated, at a cost of $40 million. That’s a spectacular failure.

    http://time.com/4016756/cambodia-australia-refugee-deal-nauru/

    Comment by Ross — September 4, 2015 @ 3:08 pm

  104. Gregor, given the tragedy involves millions of people I’m not sure that making judgements about people on the basis that they would or would not accept 200 more refugees seems to me rather harsh and doing so under the image of a dead child rather unpleasant.

    The belated attention of the world might yet make a difference, hurling abuse at people probably won’t.

    Personally I think Key should take in more but in terms of the people who have acted badly, who have failed to act, who have lead to this situation, he’s well down the list of who I would condemn.

    Comment by NeilM — September 4, 2015 @ 6:25 pm

  105. You might disagree with me Gregor but I did defend Merkel recently here from accusations of being a terrorist and Nazi (with Tsipras busily erecting barbed wire on Kos) and earlier Susan Devoy from what I thought was unfair criticism when she was appointed.

    And have consistently advocated left wing international solidarity with the Syrian opposition. To no avail.

    Not that that means much but I think there’s most likely more people out there that think like this that don’t participate in political debate.

    Comment by NeilM — September 4, 2015 @ 6:51 pm

  106. I hope Key doesn’t follow Helen Clark’s advice and to do what she did with the Tampa refugees.

    Any Syrian refugees should be in addition to our quota.

    Comment by NeilM — September 4, 2015 @ 8:40 pm

  107. “Making this about Key doesn’t really move the debate about how to solve the Syrian crisis to anywhere useful.”

    While there are some could-have-beens about how it began, I think there’s an overwhelming consensus that, short of massive military intervention that would make the invasion of Iraq look low-key, there is no solution to the Syrian civil war. Outside powers may be able to play a mediating or facilitating war, but whether the resolution is military or diplomatic, it has to come from within Syria. So at this point, mitigating its fallout really is the best thing anybody outside Syria can do.

    Comment by kalvarnsen — September 4, 2015 @ 8:59 pm

  108. “So at this point, mitigating its fallout really is the best thing anybody outside Syria can do.”

    Too true. Syria seems to be too much of a failed state to save it now. And it seems a no-win whatever’s done – do nothing and refugees continue to flee; drop bombs and risk someone worse (or weak-willed) taking Assad’s place, or risk a Vietnam with sand.

    Comment by Kumara Republic — September 4, 2015 @ 9:51 pm

  109. I’m sorry to have offended your delicate and hitherto invisible leftist sensibilities NeilM, but the fact that the only person who can both take moral leadership and remove political obstacles to take in more refugees on behalf of NZers is the Prime Minister (and his cabinet).

    Since he’s not showing that leadership, I reserve the right to judge him for it.

    Whether he is relatively more venal, cynical or hypocritical than any other premier on this issue is irrelevant.

    Comment by Gregor W — September 4, 2015 @ 10:08 pm

  110. Surprised it hasn’t been mentioned yet, but what does it mean when all of the Govt’s support partners – even ACT – support raising the refugee quota?

    Comment by Kumara Republic — September 4, 2015 @ 10:15 pm

  111. @Kumara Republic: The risk of somebody worse taking Assad’s place is very real even if no (foreign) bombs are dropped – the only advantage is that if no bombs are dropped, the West is less to blame for whatever that somebody worse ends up doing.

    Comment by kalvarnsen — September 5, 2015 @ 12:45 am

  112. Frederic C. Hof worked on Syria-related matters in the U.S. Department of State from April 2009 until September 2011. His article in Foreign Policy magazine seems entirely appropriate to this debate, including the following line: pantomime of outrage:

    Assad and Baghdadi share a common objective: Each wants to be one of the last two combatants left standing in Syria. This is why they generally avoid each other and concentrate instead on eliminating all the alternatives. Assad sees the Islamic State as his ticket back to polite society. Baghdadi sees Assad and Iran as his ticket to supremacy in the Sunni Muslim world.

    In this light, granting impunity to Assad or Tehran for what the Syrian war has wrought — 300,000 dead, 4 million refugees, 8 million internally displaced, 600,000 besieged, tens of thousands imprisoned, and countless more disabled, terrorized, and traumatized — is more than a moral failure. It is a self-inflicted wound in the war against the Islamic State.

    I ran out of tears and moral outrage and anger on this issue a long time ago, having shed all that on countless images of little Egyptian, Libyan and Syrian kids dead from gas attacks, bombs – and drowning.

    Comment by tom hunter — September 5, 2015 @ 9:10 am

  113. I understand that Denise Roche tabled a Private Members Bill to double the Refugee Quota (June 17th) has anything come of that?

    Comment by Lee Clark — September 5, 2015 @ 9:23 am

  114. I ran out of tears and moral outrage and anger on this issue a long time ago, having shed all that on countless images of little Egyptian, Libyan and Syrian kids dead from gas attacks, bombs – and drowning.

    Nice for you that you’re still able to drag your grief & anger-wracked carcass online to offer yourself as a role model.

    Comment by Joe W — September 5, 2015 @ 9:49 am

  115. Lee

    I don’t know about Roche’s bill although I understand she wants to raise the quota from 750 to 1000. However, we currently house about 1200 refugees each year.

    Comment by Ross — September 5, 2015 @ 10:30 am

  116. Nice for you …
    As opposed to the role model of tears-at-a-photo provided earlier by AG. I didn’t notice any snark from you or others then about grief and anger-wracked carcasses.

    Comment by tom hunter — September 5, 2015 @ 10:31 am

  117. I understand that Denise Roche tabled a Private Members Bill to double the Refugee Quota (June 17th) has anything come of that?

    It will be pre-empted by a National move on the numbers before Tuesday 2 pm, the earliest time that Parliament can respond to it.

    National’s move (on Monday, post-cabinet) will not prevent any opposition MP seeking leave to introduce a bill. So they will find a National MP who is desperate for preferment, or is otherwise expendable. S/he will then deny leave, in the House on Tuesday. So Key can say “It wasn’t me, ref”.

    Comment by sammy 3.0 — September 5, 2015 @ 10:32 am

  118. I note the absence of left wing demonstrations against Assad and Putin.

    But the bitterness directed against Key serves it’s purpose.

    The White Saviour Industrial Circus will soon move on to comfort itself with another bout of ostentatious angst over some other pictire of a dead person from next weeks tragedy.

    Comment by NeilM — September 5, 2015 @ 8:22 pm

  119. Sidebar: Turns out the father of the dead wee boy was also the people smuggler driving the boat. People in the boat begged him to slow down as the speed was causing the boat to be swamped.

    This doesn’t alter the wider tragedy……but it serving notice the first draft of this history is incomplete and may be completely wrong.

    Why is Obama still pushing for regime change in Syria? That policy right there – that one – is a primary cause of this wider disaster….and Obama is STILL at it. On contrast, Russia’s Vladimir Putin is actively trying to stabilise the situation by backing Assad (as he has done all along – having warned of exactly that which is happening now). Yet Putin is getting a terrible press for following the only sane policy in the Syrian mad house.

    Comment by Steve W — September 14, 2015 @ 11:29 pm


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