Category Archives: Politics: International

There Was a Seventh Child

For Americans of my generation–a little too young to be drafted into it–there are three iconic photos of the Vietnam War. One is of Saigon’s Chief of Police conducting a summary execution of a Viet Cong officer. A second is of a naked child fleeing down a road after being napalmed, aka the ‘Napalm Girl’ photo. And the third is the famous picture of people clinging to a helicopter’s landing gear as it took off, overladen, from the US’s Saigon embassy as the war effort collapsed.

That third picture, we now know, was to be only the first of a series of photos of ignominious retreat from ill-considered colonial Great Power maneuvers, with the latest coming out of Afghanistan.

That second photo has a subsequent history too, although it is more inspiring, as the victim not only survived, but surmounted the trauma caused by her injuries and also the injuries caused by the world-wide publicity of the photo; eventually she founded an international charity.

Huan Nguyen, being sworn in as a Vice-Admiral in 2019.

It turns out, however, that the subsequent history of the first photo is perhaps the most amazing. The man executed had killed a South Vietnamese Colonel and six of his children. The seventh, then nine, survived and after the fall of Saigon, managed to reach the US. He later joined the US Navy. Yesterday he was promoted to the rank of Admiral.

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Not Getting It

Via Daily Kos, Ukraine Update: Putin suffers yet another diplomatic humiliation; fog of war envelopes Kherson, wherein you will find an interesting account of how the smaller ex-Soviet “stans” are getting all bolshie with Putin.

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Ukrainian Government Continues Media Dominance

This superior piece of trolling is by the Ukrainian Ministry of Defense, and ostensibly aimed at Russians in danger of being called up for service in the war.

Spotted via Crooks & Liars, Ukraine’s Ministry Of Defense Trolls Fleeing Russians.

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Genuinely Weird

This is not Italy

One of the stranger things I’ve seen in the paper recently: Jason Horowitz, Hobbits and the Hard Right: How Fantasy Inspires Italy’s Potential New Leader:

ROME — Giorgia Meloni, the hard-right leader who is likely to be the next prime minister of Italy, used to dress up as a hobbit and attended “Camp Hobbit” a gathering of hard-right youth.

As a youth activist in the post-Fascist Italian Social Movement, she and her fellowship of militants, with nicknames like Frodo and Hobbit, revered “The Lord of the Rings” and other works by the British writer J.R.R. Tolkien. They visited schools in character. They gathered at the “sounding of the horn of Boromir” for cultural chats. She attended “Hobbit Camp” and sang along with the extremist folk band Compagnia dell’Anello, or Fellowship of the Ring.

All of that might seem some youthful infatuation with a work usually associated with fantasy-fiction and big-budget epics rather than political militancy. But in Italy, “The Lord of the Rings” has for a half-century been a central pillar upon which descendants of post-Fascism reconstructed a hard-right identity, looking to a traditionalist mythic age for symbols, heroes and creation myths free of Fascist taboos.

Worth reading the whole article. Incidentally, the article suggests that,

Ms. Meloni …. said she had learned from dwarves and elves and hobbits the “value of specificity” with “each indispensable for the fact of being particular.” She extrapolated that as a lesson about protecting Europe’s sovereign nations and unique identities.

Given the history, I expected her to say it sounded like (20th Century Italian Fascist) corporatism. But, no, it’s just dressing up 21st Century nationalism and bigotry.

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Putin Joke

Predictable punch line, but still funny:

Putin dies and ends up in hell. After a few years, the devil calls him in and tells him that he is being paroled back to Moscow for good behavior. Putin arrives in Moscow and goes to his favorite bar and orders a small pitcher of vodka. He starts talking to the bartender. “I’ve been away for a long time, Tovarisch, and I have been out of touch. Do we still hold Crimea?” “Yes,” the bartender replies. “How about the Donbas?” “That, too,” says the bartender. Putin is hesitant to ask, but he jumps in the deep end, “Do we have Kyiv?” “Yes, we have Kyiv.” “That’s wonderful!” says Putin and pulls out his money to pay for his drink. “What’s that?” asks the bartender. “Ten rubles,” says Putin, “eight for the drink and two for you.” “Rubles? We haven’t used rubles for years. The price is ten Euros.”

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Ukrainian Joke

Question: why are all Russian vehicles in Ukraine marked with a “Z”?

Answer: the other half of the swastika was stolen by military contractors

From Business Ukraine Magazine via Eugene Volokh.

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