8 comments on “A must read from Dani Rodrik

  1. That is actually impressive. That someone would go to such lengths to fit up the military is unexpected.

    It shows the difficulty of normal Westerners dealing with Third World sh!tholes where this sort of lunacy is normal. No wonder Fayed thinks Prince Phillip did in Dodi. I mean, in every other sh!thole he has lived in, they would have, wouldn’t they?

  2. it isn’t just ‘Third World shitfoles’ (Dear God)

    This passage describes a fundamental psychological effect that must be brought about for these plots to succeed:

    “The established narrative that painted the military as the villain not only made it difficult for well-meaning outsiders to comprehend the nature of these trials, it also made them unwitting accomplices in the fraud being perpetrated. This was brought home to me in the course of my interactions with Gerald Knaus, the founding director of the European Stability Initiative (ESI)….”

    Compare with the shocked intial reaction of Germans upon being shown the death camps “These criminals must have committed terrible crimes to be treated…”

    Psychological themes are universal though and the same trick can be worked, the same narrative established to facilitate what we might presently regard as lower-level abuses. See the narrative established regarding the UK tabloid press to justify Leveson.

  3. To be fair, SMfS, looks like it was one part of the military intent on aiding the fitting up of another part of the military, as much as anything.

    Worth bearing in mind, any organisation, once you get above the hewers of wood carriers of water level, becomes increasingly political towards the top. Self advancement becomes increasingly the main priority.

    There’s been great deal of ‘blame Blair’ for the Iraq debacle. Less attention to the gold braid wearers whose “Yes Prime Minister, we have the men to do the job. Queen & Country donchaknow!” made it all happen. “There’ll be knighthoods & medals in this. So a few squaddies get blown to bits for nothing gained You have to accept what wars you can get. They’re not as easy to find as they were in father’s day”

  4. Ironman – “This passage describes a fundamental psychological effect that must be brought about for these plots to succeed:”

    How is that fundamental psychological effect brought about? By repeated military coups against popularly elected Islamist governments perhaps? I am not sure that the psychology here is difficult. It is *natural* to assume that the military was plotting.

    If nothing else, that is what the military does in Third World sh!tholes.

    “Compare with the shocked intial reaction of Germans upon being shown the death camps “These criminals must have committed terrible crimes to be treated…””

    That seems, now this is not the right way to phrase it, the appropriate first response. That is a sign of Germany not being a Third World country. People expect that prisons are full of criminals in functioning, civilised countries. Not completely random people selected on a fairly arbitrary basis. What the Germans couldn’t grasp was the nature of the people who had seized control of a civilised government.

    bloke (not) in spain – “Worth bearing in mind, any organisation, once you get above the hewers of wood carriers of water level, becomes increasingly political towards the top. Self advancement becomes increasingly the main priority.”

    You don’t have to tell me. But I doubt the British Brass plots against each other in this way.

    “There’s been great deal of ‘blame Blair’ for the Iraq debacle. Less attention to the gold braid wearers whose “Yes Prime Minister, we have the men to do the job. Queen & Country donchaknow!” made it all happen.”

    Because that is probably not true. The Brass seemed to have no enthusiasm for the war at all. They went along because British defence policy is predicated on keeping in with the Americans. Blair may have been enthusiastic – to the point that I am willing to bet that without him, there would have been virtually no British involvement at all. A token effort perhaps, like most of the rest of the West.

  5. I would, as Tim has done, indeed urge everyone to read Dani Rodrik’s piece. I was also struck – an example of the same psychological factor I would argue – by Amensty’s reaction reaction to him; the people he spoke to there just couldn’t construct a narrative would allow them to see military officers as victims.

    Or just join the uplifting and enlightening discussion on Third World Shitholes; your choice.

  6. But I doubt the British Brass plots against each other in this way.

    No, not in quite that way. But favoured projects? Get in the way of those at severe career peril.

    They went along because British defence policy is predicated on keeping in with the Americans.

    Really. Your defence expertise is showing, again. They didn’t do Suez, we didn’t do Vietnam. Grenada and the Falklands, the latter on a military rather than a defence industry perspective, were no-score ignores. We were on the Armilla Patrol long before they thought the region was significant except in the anybody-except-Iran stakes.

    Barring NATO (which is, frankly, a hell of a throwaway), our military involvement with USA of the same was pretty damn marginal between Korea and Blair.

    Intelligence* co-operation – the “special relationship” – a different matter.

    * Yes, I know, it is wider than that. But this is the internet.

  7. Ironman – “the people he spoke to there just couldn’t construct a narrative would allow them to see military officers as victims.”

    Again, how many coups does an Army have to carry out before people become a little inclined to believe the Army wants to carry out a coup? The psychology is not all that difficult. I would have been surprised if the Turkish military was not planning a coup and maybe all this means is that they were just very good at hiding it.

    “Or just join the uplifting and enlightening discussion on Third World Shitholes; your choice.”

    At some point, any sensible discussion has to go back and start from basic truths. The problem with Turkey is treating it like any other country. When it is not.

    Richard – “You don’t think this sort of thing in the ’30s might have given them a small clue?”

    No, not really. There being a quantum leap between that, which after all everyone did to some extent, and Auschwitz.

    Surreptitious Evil – “No, not in quite that way. But favoured projects? Get in the way of those at severe career peril.”

    So normal politics in the British Army. Very British politics in the British Army. Nothing like a massive campaign to fake evidence of a coup to get your rivals sentenced to 20 years in prison. Whether you like the Nimrod or not.

    As I said, I don’t think comparisons with the British Army are all that useful.

    “Really. Your defence expertise is showing, again. They didn’t do Suez, we didn’t do Vietnam. Grenada and the Falklands, the latter on a military rather than a defence industry perspective, were no-score ignores.”

    Actually the Falklands might not have been able to occur without US support. If they did not come in it was partly because they were mildly conflicted in public but also against a tiny Third World dictatorship they weren’t really needed.

    “Barring NATO (which is, frankly, a hell of a throwaway), our military involvement with USA of the same was pretty damn marginal between Korea and Blair.”

    And as I said, if not for Blair, it would probably have continued to be that way – a token contribution. It was the Army Brass braying for a war. They prefer peacetime soldiering. Britain would have provided a fig leaf. To keep in with the Americans. As I said.

    “Intelligence* co-operation – the “special relationship” – a different matter.”

    And all those nice bases.

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