Sunday, September 29, 2013

Something All Should Read

I hope to be able to revert to the simple Otherjones in a few days, but while this traumatic encounter with Blogger is playing out, I've had little time to write.

Here, however, is an article that came to me from my Italian publisher, though it was published in Counterpunch.  I recommend everyone who has conflicted feelings about Israel to read it.

Thursday, September 26, 2013

Why Otherjones

I recently read that only 5% of Americans are interested in foreign affairs.  So why a blog about what happens in other countries?
Forget about the butterfly wings flapping in Mexico that impact Siberia.  What happens from day to day in the 200 countries Americans share the planet with have a direct - and newly cumulative - bearing on our daily lives: whether taxes go up or down, whether social security is solvent, whether schools are repaired, immigrants welcome or deported - and especially, whether we will continue to dominate those 200 countries with the most awesome military and spying technologies the world has ever seen.

Rather than the butterfly, it’s useful to think in terms of phase transitions.  A phase transition is a magic moment when a trend that was gathering pace reaches a tipping point and changes direction. whether for better or worse. The problems we face are disparate trends all leading eventually to phase transitions, but also, interacting and hence affecting each others phase transitions.

Another useful notion derived from modern physics is that the arrow of time is irreversible: one a trend takes off, it keeps going in the same direction until it reaches a phase transition. That is why when a political opposition  campaigns for peaceful change, it rarely succeeds.  Examples are 1917 Russia, when the Mensheviks failed to obtain gradual, ‘civilized’ change and the more determined, better organized Bolsheviks imposed it by force.  This also happened in Depression era Germany, where the social democrats capitulated to the Nazis.

The United States is witnessing a monumental phase transition from uncontested world power to has been, as one diplomatic blunder after another bring its ‘Atlantic’ partners closer to the point of view of former ‘Third World’ nations whose voices are poised to carry the day in international fora.

America’s decline is occurring more rapidly that its ascent, with near daily markers that I will continue to report and analyze.

Please Send Feedback on Accessing Otherjones

Dear Readers,

It's been two months since I've posted regularly, and during that time I've been trying to move my blog  to Blogger.  This has been incredibly complicated and as a result of poor tech support you now have to type in otherjonesii (which I intended to be II.....) to get here.

Several days ago I tried to send out a message via the Google group that I've been using to signal new blogs but I don't think that worked, so the only thing I can think of is to see who is accessing this site.

I will resume blogging as soon as I know I'm accessible.

Deena Stryker

Saturday, September 7, 2013

Assad's Interview with Le Figaro in English

To meet 'the monster' via his own words in a lengthy, thoughtful interview with the conservative French newspaper Le Figaro, go here:´s-interview-with-le-figaro/

Thursday, September 5, 2013

Shades of Peter the Great!

It’s been almost two months since my last blog, as I’ve been busy with my books, and also seriously inclined to discontinue this effort for lack of feedback. Today’s G20 Summit however is calling so loudly for a comment that I cannot resist. Whether I will continue to post blogs will depend on whether my readers indicate a desire for me to do so, either by commenting here or emailing me at

RT’s claim that President Obama still doesn’t want to talk to President Putin, notwithstanding yesterday’s affirmation via MSNBC that he continues to hope the Russian President will change his mind about Syria, is a piddling piece of disinformation compared to the bigger picture (it’s always the Big Picture that counts) that is taking shape in St. Petersburg.

In this morning’s coverage, RT showed President Obama in worried conversation with the two European heads, Von Rompuy and Barroso. Following the stunning vote by the British Parliament not to participate in the United States’ plan to strike Syria, that picture tells me the European Union, usually a docile if not enthusiastic accomplice, no longer feels it has much to lose by not obeying Washington’s marching orders. Following are a few developments that might be influencing their change of attitude:

The NSA spy scandal is making Europe, lead by Germany, rethink the wisdom of a major trade pact with the United States which, like a counterpart in Asia, would strengthen American power;

The BRIC countries, Russia, China, Brazil, India and South Africa, have announced a meeting on the Summit margins to discuss plans for an alternative to the World Bank;

And then there’s Syria. That county is a lot closer to the European home than Afghanistan or even Iraq.  It sits next to the Holy Land, with an important Christian history that started with the crusades, and borders on NATO stalwart Turkey, whose people are adamantly opposed to intervention. All of this may weigh more heavily on the European conscience than the fact that Syria is a Russian ally, considering Europe’s growing dependence on Russian gas.  I won’t get into the issue of the Nabucco Pipeline vs North and South Stream projects because it makes my head ache and is probably a hyped-up issue anyway.  More important than competing pipeline routes is the fact that in a few short decades, Russia has gone from wanting to be part of the European House, in Gorbachev’s words, to partnering with it in increasingly vital ways.

I find it quite amazing that political observers, at least on this side of the Atlantic, appear to have forgotten that for decades they were warning of an imminent Soviet military takeover of Europe or at least, of a soft takeover they called Finlandization. The new ‘enemy’, Islam, has erased a thirty year obsession from the minds of an entire cohort of intellectuals, without making the slightest room for historical insights. Yet how not to think of Peter the Great, as the world’s presidents gather in the city he built in the early eighteenth century as part of an effort to bring his country into the European modern age?

Although this is a smaller irony, Putin was born in St Petersburg, Dmitry Medvedev studied there and both started their political careers in the city briefly known as Leningrad.  If I know anything about the importance of history in Russian education, they cannot fail to have been influenced by the legacy of their country’s great reformer, even if it is the Black Sea city of Sochi that has been front and center as the country prepares to host the 2014 winter Olympics, because more people are moved by sports than by history).

RT’s anchor Rory Suchet pointed out another oddity: the American media has been harping on Russia’s announced Security Council veto of military action against Syria, while remaining silent on China’s equally firm opposition in that body, due of course to Washington’s dependence on Chinese financing of its debt.

While you watch sanitized reports about the G20, reflect on the fact that while Peter the Great’s project suffered a multi-century setback, it is being realized in spades - hopefully not too late for the world to pull back from its multiple brinks, starting with Syria.