Wednesday, January 04, 2017

Wars, sigh

StrategyPage summarizes how the actual level of violence is down, but...

it's not just the Islamicists:

 One of the bloodiest of these irregular conflicts is the one going on in Mexico, where drug gangs battle over who shall control the lucrative drug smuggling routes into the United States. Most of the killings are done by drug gang gunmen in civilian clothes. The death toll is over 85,000 since 2007. 
blame this on the Beatles and the aging yuppies who thought drug use was goodd for you.

As I have written before: this is why Duterte is trying to stop the drug cartels from taking over (mainly Chinese but the Mexicans are here too). But Obama instead decided regime change and his MSM minions are hyperventillating about all those innocent (?!) lives lost. bull. Even the vigilante hits seem to know who to kill.

But his threats to stop aid, and when "congress" stopped providing arms for the military to fight the Abus etc, Duterte turned and bought them from China. Of course, Obama has sat back and left China steal the West Philippine sea, and now he started pressuring the Philippines to push back, prompting Duterte to ask: And who will die with us if we do?

Things should get interesting when Trumpie boy gets in. From Drudge it sounds like he is already using his bully pulpit to reign in outsourcing jobs back to the USA, and one only waits to see what will happen in China, which right now is facing an economic downturn while Xi is trying to reign in corrupt there.

as for the rest of the world, the SParticle has a list of wars, but notes:

Calling any incident, with a lot of gunfire and a few dead bodies, a "war" has also been misleading. The fact is, worldwide violence has been declining since the end of the Cold War and the elimination of Russian subsidies and encouragement for pro-communist (or simply pro-Russia or just anti-West) rebels and terrorists. The media also has a hard time keeping score. If you step back and take a look at all the wars going on, a more accurate picture emerges. So take sensational reporting of the “Chinese threat” with a bit of skepticism. Most current wars are basically uprisings against inefficient, corrupt and oppressive police states or feudal societies which are seen as out-of-step with the modern world. Many are led by radicals preaching failed dogmas (Islamic conservatism, Maoism and other forms of radical socialism) that still resonate among people who don't know about the dismal track records of these creeds.

But the biggest war is rarely in the news: The ongoing civil war in the Congo. 
and even now that peace deal is falling apart...sigh. NYTimes has the latest:

NAIROBI, Kenya — Did a group of bishops just disarm one of the most explosive political problems in Africa? Shortly before midnight on New Year’s Eve, with crowds waiting anxiously in the streets of Kinshasa, the capital of the Democratic Republic of Congo, Catholic bishops announced a deal that could calm a very turbulent nation. Congo’s president, Joseph Kabila, who has overstayed his term in office and is widely believed to have looted millions, would step down by the end of 2017, the bishops said. The opposition would play a meaningful role in a transitional government. Elections would be held. Political prisoners would be freed....But there is at least one problem that is pretty hard to ignore: Mr. Kabila has yet to sign the agreement.

in our prayers.

No, I never worked there: I worked in Liberia and Zimbabwe, both of which had murderous civil wars.

Zimbabwe stablized with Mugabe, who slowly morphed into a crooked socialist dictator, helped by the UK wailing that he stole the land from white farmers (who had stolen the land from local tribesmen) so placed sanctions on the country.

Of course, to keep in power he didn't just give the land to the locals, but started diverting (white owned) land and businesses to his cronies. He also had sent some of his army to central Africa as peacekeepers to keep them in shape, and allowed China in to help, while organizing unemployed teenagers into terror gangs. (such teenaged terror gangs were behind the massacres in Rwanda that Bill Clinton refused to send in troops to stop) .

Before you point fingers, this is medieval Europe redux: or game of thrones in the jungle. Sigh.

Bantus stress living together, but often this stress on peace means you keep anger inside, and it explodes in rage. And an understory is using witchcraft to normalize thuggish behavior. And one of these days I'll write about witchcraft. This is the backstory here, but also an unwritten backstory behind Mexico's gang wars, where Saint death is worshiped and Catholic priests are tortured to death.

Idi Amin stayed in power because he used such witchcraft and scared local opposition: he was finally taken out by a nearby country, whose president was trained in anthropology and performed a ceremony to reassure his men they were safe from curses.

So although the bishops are pushing for peace in the Congo, alas the greedy probably will ignore them, knowing that these beliefs don't carry the same weight as witchcraft, which gives you power and money quickly, not in the next world.

and the AIDS epidemic, which was uncurable with modern medicine, pushed many to seek the help of local shamans,  some of whom were witches, not witchdoctos, so encouraged witchcraft (i.e. albino body parts) or rape of virgins to get a cure.

The reason we call African shamans "witchdoctors" is that they diagnose "witchcraft", and hold a ceremony to find who is making you sick.

Usually this results in you reforming your life (i.e. you mistreated your mother, so let's kill a bull to honor her spirit), but sometimes it leads to the death of the accused, who is the local troublemaker and often innocent.

But there are witches who use the power of evil. For example, if you want your business to succeed, usually you sacrifice an animal to the gods, but if you really want to succeed, you sacrifice a young person and put body parts under the foundation. When I was in Liberia, one teenaged street kid got away and the cops arrested the guy doing this.

and don't point fingers: In Africa, aborting your baby is murder/witchcraft too, and when a woman bragged at the DNC convention she was happy she aborted her baby so she could go to college and have a lucrative career, well, in African terms she was doing the same thing as their witches.

Another under-reported story is President Bush push to treat HIV with retroviral medicine, a move that saved literally millions.The nuns I worked with and the hospital where I used to work have such programs....One of my African friends lost two brothers with HIV,  and just lost her niece who was in the program but died of infection after years of treatment...sigh.

Alas, this program only gets into the news when some westerner complains they won't teach modern sex ed in high schools and condom use (what the Pope calls western cultural imperialism) instead of stressing local customs on limiting sexual contact (mistresses for businessmen, and celibacy and non intercourse sex for teenagers).

now I'm into R rated territory, but like the witchcraft issue, the anthropological and cultural under-currents are almost never included in the press, unless they are doing a "look at these primitive people" type expose



there is good news in Africa: China is building a maritime silk road, that could help.. India? from the Wikipedia article:

he Silk Road Economic Belt and the 21st-century Maritime Silk Road, also known as The Belt and Road (abbreviated B&R), One Belt, One Road (abbreviated OBOR) or the Belt and Road Initiative is a development strategy and framework, proposed by Chinese paramount leader Xi Jinping that focuses on connectivity and cooperation among countries primarily between the People's Republic of China and the rest of Eurasia, which consists of two main components, the land-based "Silk Road Economic Belt" (SREB) and oceangoing "Maritime Silk Road" (MSR).
The strategy underlines China's push to take a bigger role in global affairs, and its need for priority capacity cooperation in areas such as steel manufacturing.[1][2] It was unveiled in September and October 2013 in announcements revealing the SREB and MSR, respectively. It was also promoted by Premier Li Keqiang during the State visit in Asia and Europe...

The Maritime Silk Road initiative was first proposed by Xi Jinping during a speech to the Indonesian Parliament in October 2013.[8] Like its sister initiative the Silk Road Economic Belt, most countries in this area have joined the China-led Asian Infrastructure Investment Bank. East Africa[edit] This region of Africa (In particular Zanzibar) will form part of the MSR after improvement of local ports and construction of a modern standard-gauge rail link between Nairobi and Kampala.[9]

The Chinese have moved in and are modernizing farming and infrastructure to make money, The bad news is that often they don't hire locals, but other Chinese instead. This will cause friction and eventually we may see them thrown out the way Idi Amin threw out the Indian shopkeepers there.

The the Brits imported a lot of folks from India to run small businesses in the good old days, and like the Chinese, they often kept businesses in their families/community and didn't intermarry...., and many are still there ( see movie Missisippi Marsala for the backstory.. a lot of them have fled and run businesses in the US now).

again, a story that is interesting but not usually in the news.

via Instapundit:

Right now, I am busy reading about very ancient history from  the viewpoint of trade and agriculture rather than war war war, and it is fascinating. Here is one example. and then there is this

too often the modern world history is taught as Marxism and wars, but now I am finding that things are a bit more complicated...

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