LXXXII - (Re) leituras - The Book of the Five Rings, by Myamoto Musashi - comments by André Bandeira

The very time I'm writing these lines, there are about 70 japanese who are dying for me and you. German newspapers have insinuated that these japanese, mostly belonging to the fire-brigade, habe been ordered to go to the reactors of Fukushima and try to quell the atomic leaks. Kami Kaze means «the wind of God». When the Mongols were about to invade Japan, a series of winds came from the Mount Fuji and pushed the mongol ships away, putting the entire invading fleet, in desarray. Soon after, or sometime before ( I do not remember well), the japanese, who were keen in using their long swords, managed to jump into the ships and make the admirals endure so many losses that they decided to retreat. In this book, dating back to the XVIIth Century, one can see that the art of the samurai («the lone wave») is based on victory and not in a philosophy such as the one exposed in Sun Tzu's Art of War. For this latter, the general who managed to win one hundred battles without a fight, was at the top of military science. For Musashi, if there were one hundred battles to fight, the samurai would have waged and won everyone of them. It was by cumulative wisdom, that the bushido (the code of the samurai) could be fufilled. Something quite reasonable in a country which cherished peace but was always exposed to invasions and natural tragedies, leaving everyone to take care of himself in a matter of minutes. Hard and winding road where enlightment could only come at the very and sudden end. These japanese firemen are doing now their bushido. The diagnosis seems dull: either they'll die in a few weeks or they'll manage to survive, the most, until the end of the year. I cannot avoid a shout, in this world of lust and pleasure: which right has whoever of putting the end to someone else's life, for whichever reason, when there are so many manmade and natural forces able to wipe us all from the Earths'surface in a matter of seconds? Should any student learn History sitting in a kind of electric chair and receive electrical shocks similar to the pains which he's seeing depicted on the History books? There was an old italian journalist, Tiziano Terzani, who was dying slowly a few years ago, who wrote, during that time, a book called « On more leap on the merry-go-round ». He once visited the Temple in Japan where kamikazes used to depose their last vows, before leaving on their last missions. One said: I want to die in the sky as a crystal glass being broken in the clouds. May this purity go off in our minds when our thoughts are just jockeying to find a way out which adds more suffering to the one already existent. Shouldn't we put the cream of our bravery, the top of our pride, the glamour of our technology in the battle of Fukushima? Or else, shouldn't we admit that we still have a long way to go, before being ready to fight the battles of Fukushima, as these japanese firemen, are fighting now?


The Libya conflict – My narrative

The Libya conflict – My narrative - Mendo Henriques _ WAIS

The conflict in Libya is between, on one side, the Libyan Jamahiriya,
a legal regime in the face of international law, supported by a
tribal structure centered in Tripoli and Sirte but infringing human
rights since its inception in 1971; and, on the other hand, a complex
coalition of Libyan tribes with a majority in Cyrenaica and also in
Tripolitania and Fezzan, ruled by the Libyan National Council's
authority and an allegiance to the Libyan National Senoussi dynasty,
whose flag they use and to whose Constitution of 1951 they seem to pay
allegiance. These rebels used the right of resistance against
repression and comparative underdevelopment to start a post-Islamic
revolution in January 2011. They reaffirmed the legitimate desire to
overthrow a tyrant, as accepted by political doctrines that found a
contemporary expression in the Universal Declaration of Rights.

Starting from Benghazi, the Libyan revolution conquered villages and
populations up to the outskirts of Tripoli in February, with the
support of dissident military units, including Air Force. Yet, it
never managed to have a unified command. Given the stalemate, Colonel
Gaddafi gathered his tribal support and hired thousands of mercenaries
in black Africa (and continues to hire war veterans, members of the
Polisario http://www.aujourdhui.ma/nation- details81531.html) to
launch an offensive with heavy weapons in the direction of Benghazi.
After dominating the corridor of Ajdabia, he threatened to raze

Faced with the threat of crimes against humanity, the UN Security
Council, after the favorable stand of the Arab League, voted
Resolution 1973, which allows for the creation of a no-fly zone and
approved military action, with a 10 affirmative votes and 5
As the conflict in Libya became a peace enforcement operation, it
opposes national and international forces on both sides. The armed
forces operation by U.S., France and England (and Italy, Greece,
Canada, etc,) gave way now, 29 March, to a NATO command and control
structure that integrates forces from Qatar and UA Emirates.
I believe it is encouraging for the world at large that U.S. forces,
the Armée de l'Air and the RAF destroyed heavy weapons of the “tyrant
of Tripoli”.

I appreciate pacifist arguments that "love is better than war" but I
do not believe in permanent human kindness. I appreciate the antitrust
and anti-corruption arguments about the oil business, but the Libyan
oil can be easily replaced by other sources for European countries,
except, perhaps, Italy. I believe that in European democracies, reason
of state is bigger than vested interests. I support President Obama's
declaration that there will be no international intervention of ground
troops.. Libyans on the ground will sort it out and I am informed such
is the goal of Odyssey Dawn ...

An operation of peace enforcement implies the use of armed force to
achieve a ceasefire. The force can also be used to achieve other
purposes such as sheltering the victims of hostilities. It is clearly
a situation of armed conflict. This means that the forces are
countered by one side and they must fight to force a cease-fire. In
the process, they lose their neutrality. These operations are beyond
the ability to UN command and control, and can only be performed by a
coalition of the willing or a polyarchy such as NATO. As the Libya
conflict regards a sovereign state, national law should be taken into
account and thus an international mandate is essential to the
operation to be legitimate.

All things considered, I believe - as prime-minister Cameron told the
Commons, applauded by Labor - that the Libyan conflict is a "just,
necessary and lawful war." This is not a humanitarian intervention, as
Bosnia 1998. It is not power projection as Afghanistan 2001: It is
not, as Iraq 2003, a war for "regime change". It is a conflict to
create conditions for regime change by the people, because human
rights are equal for all. It is both a civil war and an international
conflict. Pretty much like Spain 1936-39.

This brings me to Carl Schmitt’s political categories. I think they
are not that relevant for international conflict. The “theorist of the
Third Reich” was a much more intelligent but less cunning Fascist than
Hitler's Nazi fellows, and he was out of his depth when he tried to
adapt Donoso Cortes’s traditionalist political categories to a 20th
century situation. Indeed, last year, at the kind invitation of the
Portuguese editor, I presented an Alain de Benoist’ book in Lisbon,
called " Carl Schmitt Actuel, Guerre juste, terrorisme, État
d’Urgence”, Nomos de la Terre”. I restricted myself to an academic
presentation of its contents, expressing my disagreement in a polite
way. I said that M. de Benoist was pretty much doing something like
“enfoncer des portes ouvertes”. Anyone who knows the Roman Law
distinction between inimicitia and bellum justum ( the traditional
example is Octavius’ conduct of war against Cleopatra as bellum justum
and against Mark Antony as inimicitia) may see that the Libya conflict
is a belllum justum against the “tyrant of Tripoli” from the point of
view of the NATO coalition on account of Resolution 1973; and it is
inimicitia from the perspective of the post-Islamic rebels.

An intellectual debate about the Libya conflict is a very good thing
because it keeps our minds busy. Yet, when it comes to see people die
on account of war initiated by a tyrant, I do not consider myself an
intellectual but a citizen of the world who says “Rwanda, never
again!” , “East-Timor, never again” "Bosnia never again”. I feel I am
well accompanied by the Arab League, the majority of Western public
opinion, and the magnificent North African youth who launched the Post
Islamic and almost bloodless revolutions in Egypt and Tunisia. The
West and the Arab countries have given a hand to prevent Post Islamic
revolution to sink in the Libyan wilderness. I think it a sign of hope
that the moral conscience of humanity proves itself superior to the
vested interests that celebrated agreements with the "pirate of
Tripoli" .. eh… ..all right.. with that grotesque and comic strip
personage who, for the next few days, weeks, or months, will be the
"Tyrant of Tripoli".


LXXXI - (Re)leituras - Tito, a Biography, by Phyllis Auty - Comments by André Bandeira

Why picking up a Tito's biography in a time of arab «revolutions»? First, it is quite strange to welcome, with no magnifying glass in hand, a «rebellion» against an alleged tyrant, which is led by the very tyrant's late Ministers of Interior and Justice. Second, remember that the first victim in war, is truth. Third, there is no evidence that democracy means peace. So, returning to Tito: it was the yugoslav Tito, and not the indian Nehru, who invented the non-aligned movement. Since we have been sneaking out of the Cold War, for the last 20 years, tainted with an atavic mistrust, and blinded with vengeance, it is natural to conclude that the non-aligned movement should be dismantled too.If there is only one block, there is no need of any Third World movement. What, then, else than democracy, universal democracy?! As Lacan, the famous french psychiatrist, once said, my mind lies where I'm not and I lie where my mind is not. So Tito managed to be a good austro-hungarian subject. Once the monarchical social-democracy of central Europe had been dismantled by the sectarian fury of Britan and the malevolence of France, during the First World War, Tito still survived through partisan communism and became a good republican tribune, at the helm of a Federation in the Mediterranean. The monarchists, led by Mihailovic -- who was, no doubt, a serbian patriot -- managed to waste the support by the British and alienate the support of the rest of the south slavic people. What I mean is that the popular champion Tito became a better leader than the legitimist faithful. Later, on the southern bank of the Mediterranean, some arab «raïs» amounted to be tentative Titos. Neither the USSR, nor the USA could take the responsibility for all of them, and they put them there (with much less merit than Tito himself) as if they were displaying the pawns on the chess board, before a long match. It is time now -- TVs imply -- to declare a victor, so TVs could table their broadcasts, before they'll be irrevocably replaced by social networks. But the world is not black and white, and the pawns have a much more colourfoul checkered board downunder. There is no use in selling us a daily quack that we can't avoid a new fatalism called democracy. There is, indeed, another fatalism: war. Empires will fall, Princes shall perish... Tito was the wise subject of an Empire and, in a solid Empire, everyone among its subjects, has himself a bit of an Emperor. I prefer this than the Empire of the masses, the uniformity of the buzz, and the continuum of stimulation. The first error of NATO happened in Yugoslavia, when, deprived of a UN mandate, Europe decided to lighten its heavy conscience, with a design of its own, on Tito's Empire. This time, provided with a UN mandate, Europe wants to redesign its own Empire, which has vanished long before Tito's. There is no greater folly than the one which sees Heaven whenever he sees blue. As Sun Tzu said, 2.500 years before Clausewitz: «War is the most serious matter of State, a matter of Life and Death». Fourth: never begin a war without the will of waging it.


LXXX - The Return of Depression Economics - and the crisis of 2008, by Paul Krugman - comments by André Bandeira

It is probably late referring now to this book, which has been published three years ago. But Krugman is still very active as a journalist. Nevertheless, three years have passed after he received the Nobel Prize in Economics. So, we have time enough to recover from the kick and taste the core of his words. Krugman, the «Globalist», came in Obama's tide. But he advocated globalism, no matter this was being spread by the merchant or by the canon. It doesn't matter either whether «globalism» is being spread by throngs of disenfranchised youths, on the southern bank of the Mediterranean. Basically, Krugman says that we are not in a depression, but we are in a depression Economics' mood. As Keynes used to say, ideas matter much more than vested interests. Krugman's ideas are the ones pointing out that this kind of depression Economics has to be solved on the side of demand, and not on the side of supply. Thus, austerity will only turn a recession into an economic slump, as it did among the asian tigers, in the nineties, or Mexico, Argentina and Brazil. These are his ideas. But what kind of ideas are the ones exposed by Krugman? I say that I don't know. He portrays himself as a liberal. And as a keynesian. It is fair, but it is not enough. Actually, he didn't become a faustian neo-conservative, as it happened with many liberals, when they indulged in being carried away by pure politics. But Krugman expresses his own ideas in steep formulae such as the one that the UState intervened in the Economy, after the Great Depression, by means of an enormous undertaking of public investments: the Second World War. This is too much of a heavy joke, not to be interpreted as true. In conclusion: he says that the investment Banks, as well as the shadow banking system, have to be more regulated. This is a cacophony of Obama - we have it on TV, and we have it now, in a book. But what Krugman means is frightening, if not terrifying. He means that an economic crisis is basically a question of attitude, being reckognizable in the way one expresses his ideas, the color he paints the sky and the capability he has to influence public policies. So to say, the magic touch of Krugman's «liberalism» consists in finding the way how to make himself heard, when Governments have the time and resources to try the most juicy ideas in the marketplace. This is indeed, neither a problem of indoctrination in Economics, nor one of upper hand in Politics. It is a problem of civilization, if not of basic human decency. Krugman barks superbly, but the burglars are already faraway. We wonder if he is nothing more than an echo.


LXXIX - The Seven Pillars of Wisdom, by Theodor Edward Lawrence - comments by André Bandeira

Everybody knows about David Lean's movie «Lawrence of Arabia» and those who have watched it, certainly remember as well, the superb acting in it of Peter O'toole.Reading the unabridged edition of this major book on the awakening of the arab peoples, after four centuries of decline, seems to me very helpful by watching TV and the experts' forecasts. Generally, the book is the report of an anguished soul, who has been subject in infancy to a strict anglican education, and who escaped up towards a stoic and efficient daydreaming. As a matter of fact, everybody knows, both from the movie and from History, that the secret agent Lawrence ( El Aurens, in arabic)never managed from his bosses, to fulfill the promise of an arab independence in the aftermath of first World War and the dismantlement of the turkish empire. He shows all the pain and grief for having to take decisions of life and death among the arab beduins, whom he managed to raise against the Turks, despite the fact that he knew, as well, that his much admired british General, Allenby, would never grant them independence. T.E. Lawrence was a Crusader by ideal but, in a way, he became an arab. This amounts to no surprise when some light is shed on the Templars and their alleged conversion to a kind of muslim mysticism, which costed them being torched under Philip's, the Fair, orders. As we know, the Arab world became divided under a franco-british mandate, according to the Sykes-Picot secret Treaty, which came to an end only during the Suez crisis of 1956. The arab countries were not only victims of colonialism, but also they were victims of the tragedy of Versailles Treaty. The book is full of wisdom, although it is hard to say how many pillars this wisdom is able to prop up. It is also full of horrible war scenes, described with pacifist purposes and shows how much the arab tribes, before independence, had a range which stretched from Morocco to Constantinopla. In a situation which was a «tertium genus» between civil and independence war, T.E. Lawrence manages to convince the reader that some genuine arab order is essential to a fair solution in the arab region. That is why he should be read in times where experts imply the aequivocal concept of «arab street» (an expression pertaing nowadays much more to London or Paris than to «Arabia» itself), thereby ignoring completely the different national traditions which emerged from the UN Charter on Decolonization, in the fifties.