Monday/Tuesday Highlights

Well, morning it ain’t. Hope y’all had a good day.

  1. A shot across the bows?
  2. I can’t imagine how anyone thinks that is a good policy.
  3. The Sec Council vetoes and why.
  4. A book noted.
  5. Another, very different.
  6. And speaking of books, I read these all when I was younger.
  7. More unanticipated consequences, green this time. Probably in more ways than one.
  8. Data sets and warming.
  9. Interesting tech? This is also interesting.
  10. Midgely and another book to read (and re-read).
  11. A font?
  12. Assisted suicide, the B/P pair here and here.
  13. Violence, America and numbers.
  14. Whoops, Coptic variant.

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  1. Boonton says:

    3.The Sec Council vetoes and why.

    Not too bad, but it seems to miss one element, Iran. Syria is a client and ally of Iran and Russia and China have not perfect but relatively friendly relations with Iran and depend on stability in Central Asia where pipelines ensure that Russia is able to export its oil to a diverse range of customers and China can get the oil it needs without having to go over the ocean.

    To Iran, support for the uprising by Gulf States is another example of Sunni states trying to contain the Shi’ite megastate of Iran, whose influence has grown by Bush’s toppling of Saddam’s regime in Iraq. In contrast, Libya was easy. Libya had few friends except maybe the former Italian prime minister who got some business deals and donations from them.

  2. Mark says:

    Russia has oil pipelines to (?) the Middle East? I don’t see a lot of pipelines here going to China.

    What are you talking about?

    Syria is 87% Islamic of which is 78% Sunni (Wiki). Why would Iran put pressure on a sectorial basis on China and Russia on Syria’s behalf on that basis?

  3. Boonton says:

    The ‘stan’ countries have their own instabilities and are stuck between two possible markets, to the west they can push their oil of out of Caspian Sea, competiting with Russia or to the east they can sell to India and China. You may recall back before 9/11 Afghanistan was being looked at as a possible pipeline route to free ‘stan’ oil without having to go through Iran. Regardless, Iran is very attractive to all the players here. A southern pipeline can push oil and gas either out to a warm weather port in the Gulf or travel to India and China by pipeline without touching Afghanistan. So Russia and China both have an interest in warm relations with Iran.

    As for Syria, it is an extension of Iran’s interest in the middle east. It supports the Hezzbola party in Lebannon and Palestine, it acts a pseudoproxy against Israel. Perhaps its population is not Shi’ite, but hey the US isn’t 78% Jewish yet it supports Israel! This is why the Gulf states are very down on Syria. Iran is no longer held back by Iraq. They are looking at Iran extending its influence straight from Persia all the way to the Mediterranean Sea.

  4. Boonton says:

    Syria is 87% Islamic of which is 78% Sunni (Wiki). Why would Iran put pressure …

    Syria might be that but the Al-Assad family and ruling clan are Alawi’s which self-identify as Shi’ite. (A little bit like that back and forth over whether or not Mormons are really Christians, some Sunni Muslims view the Alawi religion as pagan and non-Muslim, while others accept them as Muslims. See

    Iran feels a connection with Syria’s ruling clan which together with its expanded influence in Iraq holds the promise for a huge strip of land extending from Persia all the way out to the Med. Sea being under Iranian influence. Clearly a democratic revolution in a Sunni majority Syria would not be in Iran’s interests.