jeudi 24 juin 2010


My intuition tells me a war in Middle East is quite probable, maybe even imminent. Tensions are rising, and diplomacy seems to be incompetent and impotent in its attempts to defuse them. And possible the leaders of some countries think the sooner the better. I don't think President Obama is a dovish person. Quite the opposite. Can he accept the waning of America's influence in the whole world and the rise of extremist forces. Maybe he draws some parallels with the situation in Europe in the late thirties and thinks that the war wouldn't have been so devastating if the British, French and their allies were determined enough to attack Germany before it became too well prepared and equipped.

samedi 19 juin 2010

Monarchy is democratic!

Some politically incorrect thoughts I had looking the royal wedding of Crown Princess Victoria of Sweden and Daniel Westling

Isn't monarchy more democratic than elected government? Why must we prefer some special persons, why shouldn't we trust simple, ordinary people? And members of royal families are just such ordinary people who have no special genes or talents. In away, this is true of aristocracy in general. You are either born into nobility or you are ennobled for some reason. In general, this amounts more or less to random selection, the nobility is a more or less good sample of the general population. Why should we think persons we elect to become deputies and ministers are more able to do their job, to govern, take difficult decisions? If we want competence, we should give our future rulers proper education, they should have a competence in political science, economics, sociology, psychology, ecology. As a minimum, this would mean a couple of years of specialized graduate studies. Very few of our parlamentarians or members of government can boast of such preparedness for their job. Wouldn't it be better to choose the rulers at random and to give them the necessary education from the very beginning?

Трубочист на цыпочках

Пока не ознакомился с творчеством скульптора Тауно Кангро, думал, что он просто один из заурядных, не выдающихся ничем особым наших скульпторов. После того, как видел его статуи целующих на Musumägi и особенно, когда видел его статую трубочиста, почему-то стоящего на цыпочках, понял, что Кангро даже не посредственный художник. Его скромный талант скульптора не идет ни на какое сравнение с его талантом пиарщика. Очень боюсь, что он еще осчастливит наш столичный город огромной статуей Kalevipoeg'а. Эстония сильно страдает от безвкусицы и потери чувства меры на государственном уровне.

mercredi 9 juin 2010

On the Background of the Israeli Attack on the Turkish Ship

The Israeli leaders have made a big blunder. Sending special troops to take over the blockade-bustering ship led to the bloody clash, and a major diplomatic disaster for Israel and particularly its present government. It would have been better to send to the ship a police force with real experience of dealing with violent crowd without making use of live ammunition. But I doubt very much that the present pre-cold-war relations between Turkey and Israel are mainly the result of actions taken by the present and previous Israeli governments that certainly irritated Ankara. I am inclined to think that there is more theatre than sound political talk in the angry rhetoric of the PM Erdogan. He wants to gain more votes for his party and more sympathy from the street in the Near East. But most probably the rift between Israel and Turkey would have opened sooner or later. Distancing himself from Israel is just one step in agenda aiming at islamization of Turkey and asserting Turkey's role as a regional superpower. I wouldn't be astonished if the incident weren't even pre-arranged. It helped Erdogan to achieve one of his aims: to neutralize the military who were his main adversaries. After the clash on Mavi Marmara it would be nearly impossible for the Turkish generals to stage a coup or even put much pressure on the ruling Islamists. Erdogan and his entourage have already clashed with the military arresting several generals who are accused of subversion, of preparing a coup against the ruling party. Thus, the fight between the Israeli special troops and the would-to-be martyrs was also a fight between the Turkish military and Islamists. The process of islamization of Turkey goes on for many years already, and has resulted in introducing some changes in the society: more segregation between men and women, more Islamic propaganda, more agitation in favour of Muslim brethren in other countries, and redefining the national interests of Turkey taking less into account those of the US or other Western countries. It has also resulted in creating more tensions between the majority Sunni Muslims and minority Alevis, Christians and secularist intellectuals. One result of this tension is the recent murder of a Catholic bishop in Turkey, an act that has not raised much protest in the West. The incident on the "humanitarian" ship was Erdogan's spectacular PR victory, and certainly helped him to move on with both his Islamic and nationalist agenda. But it put him on a collision course with Iran who is fearing to lose his monopoly as the Big Brother or the oppressed and humiliated Muslims in the region. This is not necessarily good news for Israel: the competition between the two would-to-be Big Brothers certainly means there will be more attacks and provocations against Israel in next months and years, maybe even some small-scale wars between Israelis and Iranian proxies on the other side of the border. But I am more or less sure that neither Turkey or Iran will be careful enough not to burn their own fingers in the flames they are fanning.

lundi 7 juin 2010

The most famous Muslim not a Muslim...

The most famous Muslim scientist in the XXth century is undoubtedly the Pakistani physicist Abdus Salam. The irony is that while he was a deeply devout person with firm belief in God and the Quran, he belonged to the Ahmadiyya spiritual movement that has always been loathed and persecuted by the mainstream Muslims in Pakistan. Nowadays, thanks to an amendment to the Pakistani Constitution, no devout Ahmadis can call themselves Muslims. Recently there were terrorist attacks in Lahore against worshippers in two Ahmadi mosques (they are not allowed to call their temples mosques) where about 70 people were gunned down. If Dr. Salam were there (he spent some time in Lahore) he would have been murdered too. However, he was fortunate enought to die peacefully at his home in Oxford. For some Muslims it is a luck to live in a non-Muslim country...