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Selling Arms to Libya is The Least Bad Option Available

Russia’s and China’s decision to agree to a loosening of the UN embargo makes geostrategic sense.

Andrew Korybko

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Let’s start with the indisputable facts: the “Arab Spring” Colour Revolution created the pretext for NATO’s 2011 War on Libya and the subsequent murder of Gaddafi.  US foreign policy is fully responsible for all this and for the rise of terrorism in Libya and the present problem with Daesh in that country.

Having got that out of the way, this article is not a polemic.  It is an analysis of the reality that currently exists in Libya taking into consideration the geopolitical imperatives of all the sides.

The UN Security Council recently decided to relax the arms embargo on Libya.  Why did that happen and why did Russia and China support it?

For starters, illegal arms have been pouring into Libya for years.  It’s just that they have not been going to the Libyan government.

The arms embargo against Libya imposed by the UN Security Council is hurting the only forces that are legitimately capable of fighting terrorism in Libya, just as the unilateral Western embargo against Syria had been doing the same in Syria.

The UN Security Council’s decision to relax the arms embargo on Libya does not provide for a full resumption of unrestricted weapons sales to Libya.  Rather it permits “exceptions” to the embargo based on the Libyan authorities’ requests individually assessed on an “as-needs” basis.

The West created this mess and now wants to profit by “fixing” it by selling weapons to the newly formed Government of National Accord (GNA).  Of course it wants to do this for all the wrong reasons.  The main reason – other than the publicly stated one of “fighting terrorism” – is to equip a new loyal proxy enforcer.  However it is not guaranteed that will succeed.  it is not impossible that the person chosen – CIA-linked General Haftar – might get a massive ego boost causing him to turn on his unipolar patrons, especially if he feels he can play them off against potential multipolar rivals like Russia and China.  Already he is refusing to recognise the UN-approved government in Tripoli, so there’s a chance he might one day “go rogue” and become the second most disruptive factor in Libya behind Daesh.

Foreign Fighters

A widely expressed concern about the partial lifting of the UN arms embargo is that weapons might inadvertently end up in the hands of terrorists.  Presumably it was to prevent this happening that the embargo was imposed in the first place.

This is certainly possible. There is definitely a risk that undisciplined and/or untrained army units might hand over their weapons to terrorists some of whom they might just see as “local rebels” or even as “freedom fighters”.  There is also a very real possibility that army units might surrender them to the terrorists on the battlefield as the Iraqi military did during the summer of 2014.  However the presence of US, UK, French, Italian, and the (likely though unacknowledged) presence of Egyptian and/or Gulf (UAE) special forces on the ground should preclude this from happening at least on a wide-ranging scale.

In saying this I should make it clear that I do not support the presence of foreign troops in Libya.  I am simply stating a fact.  As undesirable as the presence of these troops may be for supporters of multipolarity like myself – and indeed for the Great Powers like Russia and China which support multipolarity – their presence is the current reality.

Whilst there is plenty to criticise in the presence of these troops, one possible ‘silver lining’ is their potential capacity to prevent weapons ending up in the hands of terrorists they weren’t intended for.  That does not of course mean that once Dash is defeated they won’t channel weapons to other terrorists and other non-state actors.  However that does not seem to be their intention at the moment.   

The Kremlin’s Calculations

Amidst all the outrage in the alternative media about the UN Security Council decision to allow a partial lifting of the embargo, it might be useful to remind everyone that this decision was also supported by the Russian and Chinese governments – the twin stewards of the emerging multipolar world order.  Whilst some criticisms of the decision are legitimate, it is doubtful Moscow or Beijing would have agreed to the loosening of the arms embargo if they did not have their own reasons for doing so.  These would certainly not be because Moscow and Beijing have “sold out to the West” as certain information provocateurs routinely say.  It is because Moscow and Beijing pragmatically understand the nature of the terrorist threat on the ground and realise that the only way it can possibly be defeated is if the legitimate UN-approved authorities are provided with the military means to do it.

Consistent with this approach Russia is planning to sell its own weapons to the Government for National Accord if an agreement to do so can be reached.

This would be a major development.  It would offer a whole new set of opportunities for Russian diplomatic engagement in Libya.

One of the traditional means through which Russia cultivates strategic relationships is through “weapons diplomacy”.  This entails selling weapons, training local troops to  handle them, and providing maintenance as needed.

Such “weapons diplomacy” often prepares the groundwork for more robust and comprehensive relations in other fields.  It is regularly used by Moscow as the first step in reaching out to non-traditional partners.

Whilst Tripoli has historically always been close to Moscow, it would have been unthinkable just a few years ago for its new pro-Western regime – created as a result of a Western military intervention in the country – to look to Moscow for help in fighting terrorists.  That it is doing so is a sign of the exceptionally strong impact in the region of Russia’s anti-terrorist intervention in Syria and of the way Libya’s authorities have come to think of Russian weapons as a game change in their struggle.

China’s Takeaway

As for Beijing, it probably won’t get as involved on the ground as Russia, the West, and Washington’s Arab allies are.  However Beijing undoubtedly hopes it can recoup some of the losses it has suffered since the Western backed conflict in Libya began 5 years ago.  

When the Libyan conflict began China dramatically evacuated all its citizens from Libya, leaving behind billions of dollars in capital investments.  However, when the situation improves, China will doubtless seek ways to reintegrate the country into its global network of investment bases and turn it into a key node along the One Belt One Road (New Silk Road) project.

The Chinese will probably continue with their usual policy in these situations, which is to remain quietly on the sidelines while the other Great Powers sort the mess out, and then quietly come forward with a raft of win-win deals in order to clinch the strategic partnerships that everyone else had previously competed for.

Taking into account the nature of the Russian-Chinese Strategic Partnership, this would also work out to Moscow’s benefit.  The Libyan conflict in fact provides an excellent example of how Russia and China, by playing to their individual strengths, are able to compliment each other in achieving shared objectives.

Russia will provide the Government of National Accord with the arms and diplomatic support it needs in its anti-terrorist struggle, which will have a disproportionate psychological effect despite their likely small scale since they will be supplied by the military power whose actions have had such a dramatic impact in the Syrian conflict.  China will then – as it always does – step in after the situation has been stabilised, reaching out to the Libya elite and striking deals that – at least to a certain extent – will partially realign Libya with the multipolar axis led by Russia and China and away from the exclusive control of the unipolar system dominated by the US.

As for the US and its partners, once the conflict is over (which could take years) they could find themselves deprived of at least some of the ‘booty’ they assumed would be theirs.

Concluding Thoughts

Libya will likely remain a mostly colonised, strongly pro-Western state for the foreseeable future.  The enormous scale of the Hybrid War the West has waged against Libya since 2011 – culminating in the killing of Gaddafi and the subsequent years-long anarchy – realistically allows for no other possible scenario.

The US and its allies seem to have made a strategic decision to refocus on Libya and to rebuild it into the sort of occupied state they want it to be.  Such a state will not of course be one that works for the benefit of all the Libyan people.  However reconstituting the Jamahiriya is impossible unless pro-Gaddafi “Green” elements both return to power and remain in power for decades.  That obviously is something the West will not allow.  The only possibility is that the West might at some point in the future permit some sort of “pseudo-Green” elements claiming a notional fealty to the idea of the Jamahiriya to return to power, but only provided they actually continue to collaborate with the West.

The EU for its part had previously wanted to participate in Libya’s reconstruction.  This despite the fact the EU was party to the US-led war which destroyed Libya in the first place.   It was not until the US-engineered Immigrant Crisis came crashing on the EU’s shores and Daesh began to attack Europe – under very suspicious circumstances – that the EU changed its mind and fell in with the US plan for Libya.  Today in Libya the EU is a fully paid up ally and foot-soldier of the US.

The scale of the anti-terrorist war in Libya is gigantic.  The myriad of non-state actors and openly terroristic groups like Daesh that are operating in Libya is so large that it would be impossible for a “secret war” to root them all out. 

This is what forced the US’s hand, obliging the US to “go public” by turning to the UN Security Council to seek approval for a loosening of the UN arms embargo.  That required the backing of Russia and China, which in turn has led to the door into Libya being re-opened for them.

Moscow and Beijing supported the loosening of the embargo in part primarily because of their unwavering commitment to fighting all forms of terrorism no matter where they happen or who is behind them and regardless of whether their Great Power counterparts are fully committed to the struggle or are pursuing it for some ulterior purpose.  However, although the prospects are limited, there is now also a real chance that Russia and China might be able to capitalise from the anti-terrorist struggle in Libya to reach out to those sectors of Libyan society that might be interested in seeing Libya integrate with the broader multipolar world once the conflict is over.  If done intelligently, in a properly thought out way, drawing on the respective strengths of the two partners in the Russian-Chinese Strategic Partnership, this could open up a way to at least a partial re establishment of Russian and Chinese influence in a country that had appeared to be completely lost to Western influence. 

Though there are risks inherent in this strategy, given the threat of Daesh turning Libya’s North African coast into a terrorist oasis, easing the UN arms embargo on Libya is the least bad of option available.  The Russians and the Chinese no doubt also see it as the only way to draw Libya back towards a multipolar alignment.  As such their support for the loosening of the embargo can be seen as a long term investment which might pay dividends one day in the future.

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‘Meme-killing’ EU regulation could end YouTube as we know it, CEO warns

The proposed amendments to the EU Copyright Directive would require the automatic removal of any user-created content suspected of violating intellectual property law.

The Duran

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YouTube’s CEO has urged creators on the popular video site to organize against a proposed EU internet regulation, reinforcing fears that the infamous Article 13 could lead to content-killing, meme-maiming restrictions on the web.

The proposed amendments to the EU Copyright Directive would require the automatic removal of any user-created content suspected of violating intellectual property law – with platforms being liable for any alleged copyright infringement. If enacted, the legislation would threaten “both your livelihood and your ability to share your voice with the world,” YouTube CEO Susan Wojcicki warned the site’s content creators in a blog post on Monday.

The regulation would endanger “hundreds of thousands of job,” Wojcicki said, predicting that it would likely force platforms such as YouTube to allow only content from a hand-picked group of companies.

“It would be too risky for platforms to host content from smaller original content creators, because the platforms would now be directly liable for that content,” Wojcicki wrote.

While acknowledging that it was important to properly compensate all rights holders, the YouTube chief lamented that the “unintended consequences of Article 13 will put this ecosystem at risk.”

She encouraged YouTubers to use the #SaveYourInternet hashtag to tell the world how the proposed legislation would impact them personally.

“RIP YOUTUBE..IT WAS FUN,” read one rather fatalistic reply to the post. Another comment worried that Article 13 would do “immense damage … particularly to smaller creators.”

The proposal has stirred considerable controversy in Europe and abroad, with critics claiming that the legislation would essentially ban any kind of creative content, ranging from memes to parody videos, that would normally fall under fair use.

Alphabet, the parent company of Google and YouTube, has opposed Article 13 for months. The measure was advanced in June by the European Parliament. A final vote on the proposed regulation is expected to take place sometime next year.

World Wide Web inventor Tim Berners-Lee and Wikipedia founder Jimmy Wales have also spoken out against Article 13.

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WSJ Op-Ed Cracks The Code: Why Liberal Intellectuals Hate Trump

WSJ: The Real Reason They Hate Trump

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Via Zerohedge


As pundits continue to scratch their heads over the disruptive phenomenon known as Donald Trump, Yale computer science professor and chief scientist at Dittach, David Gelernter, has penned a refreshingly straightforward and blunt Op-Ed in the Wall Street Journal explaining why Trump has been so successful at winning hearts and minds, and why the left – especially those snarky ivory-tower intellectuals, hate him.

Gelernter argues that Trump – despite being a filthy rich “parody of the average American,” is is a regular guy who has successfully resonated with America’s underpinnings.

Mr. Trump reminds us who the average American really is. Not the average male American, or the average white American,” writes Gelernter. “We know for sure that, come 2020, intellectuals will be dumbfounded at the number of women and blacks who will vote for Mr. Trump. He might be realigning the political map: plain average Americans of every type vs. fancy ones.”

He never learned to keep his real opinions to himself because he never had to. He never learned to be embarrassed that he is male, with ordinary male proclivities. Sometimes he has treated women disgracefully, for which Americans, left and right, are ashamed of him—as they are of JFK and Bill Clinton. –WSJ

Gelernter then suggests: “This all leads to an important question—one that will be dismissed indignantly today, but not by historians in the long run: Is it possible to hate Donald Trump but not the average American?“.

***

The Real Reason They Hate Trump via the Wall Street Journal.

He’s the average American in exaggerated form—blunt, simple, willing to fight, mistrustful of intellectuals.

Every big U.S. election is interesting, but the coming midterms are fascinating for a reason most commentators forget to mention: The Democrats have no issues. The economy is booming and America’s international position is strong. In foreign affairs, the U.S. has remembered in the nick of time what Machiavelli advised princes five centuries ago: Don’t seek to be loved, seek to be feared.

The contrast with the Obama years must be painful for any honest leftist. For future generations, the Kavanaugh fight will stand as a marker of the Democratic Party’s intellectual bankruptcy, the flashing red light on the dashboard that says “Empty.” The left is beaten.

This has happened before, in the 1980s and ’90s and early 2000s, but then the financial crisis arrived to save liberalism from certain destruction. Today leftists pray that Robert Mueller will put on his Superman outfit and save them again.

For now, though, the left’s only issue is “We hate Trump.” This is an instructive hatred, because what the left hates about Donald Trump is precisely what it hates about America. The implications are important, and painful.

Not that every leftist hates America. But the leftists I know do hate Mr. Trump’s vulgarity, his unwillingness to walk away from a fight, his bluntness, his certainty that America is exceptional, his mistrust of intellectuals, his love of simple ideas that work, and his refusal to believe that men and women are interchangeable. Worst of all, he has no ideology except getting the job done. His goals are to do the task before him, not be pushed around, and otherwise to enjoy life. In short, he is a typical American—except exaggerated, because he has no constraints to cramp his style except the ones he himself invents.

Mr. Trump lacks constraints because he is filthy rich and always has been and, unlike other rich men, he revels in wealth and feels no need to apologize—ever. He never learned to keep his real opinions to himself because he never had to. He never learned to be embarrassed that he is male, with ordinary male proclivities. Sometimes he has treated women disgracefully, for which Americans, left and right, are ashamed of him—as they are of JFK and Bill Clinton.

But my job as a voter is to choose the candidate who will do best for America. I am sorry about the coarseness of the unconstrained average American that Mr. Trump conveys. That coarseness is unpresidential and makes us look bad to other nations. On the other hand, many of his opponents worry too much about what other people think. I would love the esteem of France, Germany and Japan. But I don’t find myself losing sleep over it.

The difference between citizens who hate Mr. Trump and those who can live with him—whether they love or merely tolerate him—comes down to their views of the typical American: the farmer, factory hand, auto mechanic, machinist, teamster, shop owner, clerk, software engineer, infantryman, truck driver, housewife. The leftist intellectuals I know say they dislike such people insofar as they tend to be conservative Republicans.

Hillary Clinton and Barack Obama know their real sins. They know how appalling such people are, with their stupid guns and loathsome churches. They have no money or permanent grievances to make them interesting and no Twitter followers to speak of. They skip Davos every year and watch Fox News. Not even the very best has the dazzling brilliance of a Chuck Schumer, not to mention a Michelle Obama. In truth they are dumb as sheep.

Mr. Trump reminds us who the average American really is. Not the average male American, or the average white American. We know for sure that, come 2020, intellectuals will be dumbfounded at the number of women and blacks who will vote for Mr. Trump. He might be realigning the political map: plain average Americans of every type vs. fancy ones.

Many left-wing intellectuals are counting on technology to do away with the jobs that sustain all those old-fashioned truck-driver-type people, but they are laughably wide of the mark. It is impossible to transport food and clothing, or hug your wife or girl or child, or sit silently with your best friend, over the internet. Perhaps that’s obvious, but to be an intellectual means nothing is obvious. Mr. Trump is no genius, but if you have mastered the obvious and add common sense, you are nine-tenths of the way home. (Scholarship is fine, but the typical modern intellectual cheapens his learning with politics, and is proud to vary his teaching with broken-down left-wing junk.)

This all leads to an important question—one that will be dismissed indignantly today, but not by historians in the long run: Is it possible to hate Donald Trump but not the average American?

True, Mr. Trump is the unconstrained average citizen. Obviously you can hate some of his major characteristics—the infantile lack of self-control in his Twitter babble, his hitting back like a spiteful child bully—without hating the average American, who has no such tendencies. (Mr. Trump is improving in these two categories.) You might dislike the whole package. I wouldn’t choose him as a friend, nor would he choose me. But what I see on the left is often plain, unconditional hatred of which the hater—God forgive him—is proud. It’s discouraging, even disgusting. And it does mean, I believe, that the Trump-hater truly does hate the average American—male or female, black or white. Often he hates America, too.

Granted, Mr. Trump is a parody of the average American, not the thing itself. To turn away is fair. But to hate him from your heart is revealing. Many Americans were ashamed when Ronald Reagan was elected. A movie actor? But the new direction he chose for America was a big success on balance, and Reagan turned into a great president. Evidently this country was intended to be run by amateurs after all—by plain citizens, not only lawyers and bureaucrats.

Those who voted for Mr. Trump, and will vote for his candidates this November, worry about the nation, not its image. The president deserves our respect because Americans deserve it—not such fancy-pants extras as network commentators, socialist high-school teachers and eminent professors, but the basic human stuff that has made America great, and is making us greater all the time.

Mr. Gelernter is computer science professor at Yale and chief scientist at Dittach LLC. His most recent book is “Tides of Mind.”

Appeared in the October 22, 2018, print edition.

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The Trump Miracle and the Logical End of US Democracy: What Happened?

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I don’t wish to dine with a Clinton Snowflake.

And a Clinton Snowflake would rather see me off to San Quentin, the Deplorable that I am.

Something happened under Obama-Clinton rule that has never happened before, not even in the heat of passions culminating in the Civil War. The country polarized, splitting into two groupings. Forever.

Obama’s, Grand Canyon divide was cemented, subsequently, by Clinton’s “Deplorables” gaff interpreted as disdain and disrespect for the working, one-half of the country. Millions of Americans will never accept her and her Snowflakes and vice versa. “Never say never,” it’s said, often enough. But, this time, “never,” is an unequivocal: “Never!”

Quite simply, the Obama-Clinton regime politicized that which should never be politicized, namely, core beliefs and values, starting with God.

Debate is one thing, but the regime followed up with direct and indirect actions, which some writers call rainbow fascism. “You won’t bake a wedding cake for two gays out of some fossilized belief in scripture? We’ll shut you down.”

The regime’s aggression against the Church, the family, and the infant in the womb is dynamite inserted into the foundation on which the country stands.

Along with compassion and sensitivity to opposing views, compromise used to help mend political wounds. It allowed the nation to move on after an election. However, when religious tenets are challenged by a political Party with executive order power, the door on possible compromise slams shut. Obama-Clinton politicized the sacred and the Holy, a big no-no considering that politics divide. It wasn’t done out of ignorance, disrespect, or plain arrogance. It was a conscience, systematic attack by the Godless against God-fearing Christians.

God either exists or He doesn’t – no compromise, here. That is, “He might exist,” placates neither the believer nor the atheist. The Bible is either the Word of God as delivered through His prophets or it isn’t. No compromise possible.

Abortion-on-demand is another issue without compromise considering the commandment: Thou shalt not kill (murder). There is also common sense compassion, which makes us human and says that abortion is wrong. You’re either for murder of the defenseless or against it.

A partial birth abortion, despite the insinuation of compromise in the term, is actually a viler variant of infanticide because it’s performed in the last trimester, at 5-7 months. The well-developed, living infant is pulled out of the womb, legs first. The medical executioner then plunges a probe with a catheter into the living brain in order to suction out a bloody slurry and collapse the skull. Is it murder of the defenseless or a “woman’s right” as Snowflakes call it?

Clinton claims: “Fetuses feel no pain and have no rights.” Curiously, Himmler leaned on a nearly identical contention to justify ghoulish, medical experiments on pregnant women in Konzentrationslager. Is there a difference? Indeed, there is. Clinton is a woman, making her serial murders more of a monstrosity.

The Holy Bible is either the Word of God or it isn’t. It’s not a book to be adapted to one’s whims or sexual lusts. Scripture strictly condemns male homosexuality in at least three passages and, implicitly, in some one-half dozen others. Nonetheless, Obama-Clinton attached the promotion of LBGTq-ism to the Democratic plank, overriding scripture. Clinton informed one audience that Christians would have to change their beliefs on some issues.

Hold on! “I’m getting my musket,” as more than one American has said.

I used to enjoy dialogue. But a sour aftertaste remains from the last time that I waded, innocently enough, into an after-dinner, back-and-forth. The topic was the upcoming primaries.

Dodging a flurry of leftism hooks from a New York Cityite at a Hamptons hideaway, I smiled through early-round attacks recalling how Mohammed Ali used to taunt opponents and cockroaches until they lost their cool. It worked. My opponent promptly tangled himself up in the ropes of his emotions.

It became apparent, in the ensuing minutes, that the Achilles heel of the Left was the absence of a viable candidate. That is, one who could be liked – a leader with charisma with a realistic chance winning.

Hillary was the only figure looming big on the horizon. After flying about on her crooked broom, peddling influence and laundering bloody cash from terrorism-sponsoring sheiks, wads of cash stuffed her Pampers. The Wicked Witch of the West, as victims of her foreign policy still address her, apparently, had it all. Except likeability. Or, something new to offer millions of working Americans beyond the scandals, a world in flames, and the same old corrupt things, starting with her foundation, which kept the cash but forgot Hattian children.

Deep-down inside, my opponent knew that getting excited about Hillary would be a daunting task. It’s precisely Hillary’s inability to generate enthusiasm that eventually metamorphosed into, “What Happened?” It wasn’t Russia; it wasn’t the dog that ate her homework.

As Secretary of State, Clinton’s role in creating and sponsoring head-choppers, baby burners, and heart-eating fanatics in ISIS’s jumpsuits was already well-established for anyone who was interested in looking beyond the hyaluronic acid smile and the praise of her attendant, media handlers.

Propagandists led by CNN and MSNBC did their best to sequester her “Arab Spring” fiascos. Her ties and support of the Muslim Brotherhood, apparently, inspired by live-in aide and right-hand woman, Huma Abedin were off limits for the press. Lesbian lover or not, the real issue is the between-the sheets confidences of one woman, holding one of the highest positions in the US Government and another with connections to jihadist circles inspired by Sayyid Qutb, the godfather of al Qaeda. What would have been made of it by the press if Trump had a mistress whose grandfather was Osama bin Laden?

Clinton’s connivance, her intrigue, and her use of the sword to overthrow foreign governments constituted the essence of her foreign policy. Now, the rich, sweet thing is crying over supposed, Russian interference that she claims cost her the election! No proof of Russian involvement has been found, despite massive efforts and the wasteful expenditure of millions of dollars. Even so, in her warped sense of reality, it’s inconceivable that American voters chose a vulgar, thrice-married, casino operator who trash talks instead of her. Curiously, it was Christians, in particular – Catholics, Protestants and the Orthodox – fearing a de facto Obama third term, who voted in droves for Trump.

Jonathon Van Maren writes: “…Christians are having conversations around the dinner table about what do if the government forces curricula on them that they cannot accept, because their own government is increasingly indicating that Christian parents are too homophobic and too hateful to teach their own children.”

Fear is setting in at both ends of the political spectrum. Meltdown, weep-in snowflakes fear Trump yet he and Christians are not forcing the LGBTq groupings etc., to make lifestyle changes. In contrast, Obama-Clinton’s Rainbow Fascism demands core value changes, or else! It’s already ruining the lives of those who cannot compromise religious tenets. What’s next? Obviously, children must be taken away from homophobic and irresponsible parents. It’s already happening in Norway and Sweden.

Curiously, WaPo’s entire editorial board endorsed her. Isn’t endorsement of Clinton’s terrorism by proxy tantamount to being a terrorist? Can WaPo be trusted, again? Another liberally slanted paper, the NY Times largely swept Clinton’s sordid past under the carpet, with about 90 percent of its articles casting her in a positive light. In contrast, it was open season on Republicans and, soon enough, on Trump.

“Considering her international war crimes record, if you vote for her, as I’m sure you’ll end up doing, you’re going to be an accomplice. Of terrorism,” I sighed. “So unfriend me now, please.”

Swinging, aimlessly – now, a bug in my web – my opponent’s accusations turned Archie-Bunker-personal – “You’re a SOB, M#*/!er. All you do is criticize but you haven’t done squat! Do something in the community instead of blaming everything on Obama and Clinton.

“Some time ago, I saw little, practical sense in it,” I replied. “That is, in wasting time to change the system.”

If it was ever possible to improve matters on a local level, those days are gone. Plato, Socrates and Aristotle did not consider the rule of money to be compatible with democracy. After three, consecutive, two-term geniuses steering the US Titanic – Clinton, Bush, Obama – the scraping sounds of hitting the iceberg are all-too-audible. The mass media orchestra plays on yet the waterline has reached the nation’s gunwales.

“Sorry, trends are apparent enough. Liberty, freedom of expression – all on the wane. Government as well as media controls are tightening! Prisons are full. Stalin has been outdone. His maximum Gulag stay was 15 years regardless of the charge. What’s ours? A life sentence for being in a romantic relationship with a drug smuggler? Common sense is being pushed aside by nonsense. Sorry, I find little sense building sandcastles at ebbtide.”

My opponent had had enough. Spilling whisky to get away from me, he spewed more venom and parted the room. Forever.

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