Trust Science

In the computer "simulation" model of the universe, the software that gives you "non-artificial" intelligence may not be something that is at all visible in this universe. It looks like we have brains that do computation, and indeed, maybe the entire code for AI is in our DNA waiting to be copied. But I suspect our brains have been distributed as something similar to "object code only".

I also suspect that when you have an idea, it's not really yours. God/environment injects "random ideas" into our brain such that they appear to be self-generated. Which puts a question mark over whether we really have geniuses or not.

The one thing that you're most likely to have control over is your deliberate conscious thought. And with that you can choose to follow the scientific method to vet information. See what ideas of yours can withstand scientific scrutiny.





There are two ways you can go about dealing with the world.

You can start with looking after yourself, then your immediate family, expand to your community and hopefully eventually see yourself as part of the world as a whole.

The other way is to start with the global perspective and then work your way down to how to deal with people in your immediate vicinity.

I took the latter approach innately, and got waylaid mainly by the Cold War. Note that the Cold War has not been fully responded to any more than 9/11 has. In both cases it is the underlying ideological conflicts that need to be wrapped up, rather than just their arbitrary instantiations (communism is just one non-humanist dogma among many).

Because of the opposite approach I took, I would be hopeless as a politician who first and foremost needs to deal with local issues. It's also why we shouldn't be leaving global problems to politicians to deal with. What we need is a global force for good in the world.




God's Obvious Mission

Here is the sad situation we are in.

Political debate in Australia and other western countries has not so much ground to a halt as it has entered the realm of entertainment. There is no serious discussion on how to fix the world, because:

1. The politicians debate what they think is convenient to debate, and they aren't the top experts anyway.

2. The media decides what the terms of the debate will be on their media, and is able to lock out new or decent players.

3. The internet is too vast and fragmented to allow the debate to occur. There was a brief time when the Iraqi blogs were able to provide focus for real debate (brave enough to be open to the world instead of the elite), but that focus has now gone, and regardless, the result of that debate has no impact on the power structures who have successfully locked out competition.

In the UK the existing power structures managed to get the sheep to even vote against the Alternative Vote referendum. In Australia, apathy has caused Australians to not look outside the message the media gives. This has led to horrors such as Australians believing the Iraq war was wrong and withdrawing troops before the job had been completed. It has led to the Julia Gillard prosecuting Australian troops for rough words used by rough men, instead of sending those rough men to assist in Libya. The Australian government makes an effort to prohibit freedom of speech and institute censorship instead of ensuring the population gets genuine debate. They are not accountable to anyone other than fellow elitists. The rare situation where a 3rd party like Pauline Hanson comes along to challenge the existing power structures they find a way to lock her up as a political prisoner.

Democracy has failed.

Now let's take a look at China. The leadership there is in no way communist. They run their economy according to the best known practices. Rational government. They preside over a population that is largely rural and would likely vote for REAL communism if they don't do this properly.

Rational government works.

Which leadership is most likely to fulfill God's Obvious Mission? First of all let me define that, since so many are blind to the bleeding obvious. If there was a god and he asked someone to go on a mission, the mission would be a simple "fix the world". Anyone can take on this mission. You can devote say 10% of your time to this mission. Fix the world. Analyze what is wrong with the world, then fix it.

The US government has in the past made a lot of effort to fix the world - most noticably fighting and winning the Cold War. They stood up to the plate when God called on players to go on his mission.

But the US is less willing to step up to the plate now, and is unlikely and unable to do anything about Australia when it suffers from the same lack of debate by a media interested in entertainment not problem-solving (part of God's Obvious Mission).

Using whatever freedom of speech we still have in Australia we should be lobbying the Chinese government to take on the GOM. GOM will entail fixing the institutions in Australia so that they are also on the GOM. The Chinese may need to intervene militarily in Australia in order to get Australia on the GOM, so we can discuss what military options are available to the Chinese to complete this mission. They are building up a relationship with the East Timorese which will be an excellent place from which to launch an intervention.

How close are we to getting China to embark on GOM? Good question! Although they have generally opposed intervention in places like Libya, that is hopefully just an elaborate cover story. They are pretending to be against interventionism so that dubious countries like Australia will think nothing of the Chinese military buildup. We need the Chinese to strike while Australia is unprepared and busily engaged in political theater.

I notice that the Chinese are getting pretty involved in Christianity. This is at a time when in the western world most Christians are that in name only and don’t really believe in God. The Chinese may be on GOM already and we just haven't noticed this independent actor coming into view. Let us pray. Or lobby. Whatever.




End of a Universe

I used to live in a universe where the Australian government cared about human rights and would obviously send ground troops to Libya in their hour of need.

However, the troops never went there. And when I tried to petition my government to get the troops sent, I was physically intimidated. The two parties have a gentleman's agreement to keep power for themselves and lock out third parties like Pauline Hanson. Politics in Australia is a mere sideshow. The media is complicit in this conspiracy.

I previously touched on how a completely contrived universe could be created. Now I realise that you don't need to go that far. It is enough to just look at the current one through a lens with the right conspiracy theories. In a world where a majority of the planet says that the 2003 Iraq war was for oil, without a single scrap of evidence anywhere for that theory, nor a single drop of oil stolen, it should be easy enough to peddle some alternate conspiracies.

So tomorrow I will create a new universe with some role changes.




Conflict Space

I was debating with an anti-2003-Iraq-war American today, and it served to highlight the tribal instincts. They divided the world into nation states and couldn't conceive that America could attack someone who wasn't directly threatening them.

Whereas people like me divide the world into humanists, non-humanists and anti-non-humanists (otherwise known as "neutral", "bad" and "good" respectively) - a grouping that includes members of every nation in all categories. And we view nation states as a forced grouping by geography. And the important thing is the ideology of the person who rises to the top in that geographical region, because if it's an anti-non-humanist who gets into power, the resources of the nation state get to be used to topple non-humanists.

In answer to befuddled insurgents who look at US military rule and see "dictatorship" while I see "freedom", there is a sub-category of anti-non-humanism called anti-subjugation. Instead of fighting dictatorship, which the US military technically was, instead of fighting occupation, which the US certainly was, instead of fighting power - and the US military is certainly the most powerful - the goal was to fight subjugation - which wasn't occurring.

It was not possible for me to isolate this desire to fight subjugation - not power, occupation or dictatorship - without the Iraq war. As I needed to live those brief months where the US had a military occupation to see how the Iraqis reacted to that.

It was with that that I also had the terminology to explain to Russians what was causing the free nations of NATO to naturally band together (as non-subjugators and anti-subjugators) without needing to be forced to do so. This was something innate/organic in the nature of these groupings/nation states/democracies.




At War with Palin

After having read this I am inclined to take my chances with Obama who has a relatively good track record on war. Let's go through them.

"First, we should only commit our forces when clear and vital American interests are at stake, period."

So only selfish wars allowed? No foreign aid allowed? If that's what it means to be American these days, then I'll take my chances with the French who were at the forefront of using their troops to help others in Libya.

"Second, if we have to fight, we fight to win."

Sure. And be cunning about it.

"To do that we use overwhelming force."

No, that's what non-cunning people do. Cunning people outsource the fighting to the locals wherever possible. Get the locals into a position where they can claim that they won the war themselves - because they did!

"We only send our troops into war with the objective to defeat the enemy as quickly as possible."

The enemy you generally face is in fact a culture. Changing a culture is not something that is even a military job, let alone being tasked to do it quickly.

"We do not send our military and stretch out the mission with an open-ended and ill-defined mission."

The mission is "change the culture so that people like Timothy McVeigh do not commit terrorism". Also other things like Koran-burning should not cause a hostile response. It takes a long time to get such tolerance built. The military doesn't need to be involved in the final stages of that, which make take generations, but sometimes is involved in the initial stage.

"Nation-building, a nice idea in theory, but it’s not the main purpose of our armed forces."

Sure. Afghanistan and Iraq were unique in that respect. Normally you can just reuse the old military.

"We use our military to win wars."

9/11 demonstrated that the war is between ideologies, not nation-states. Defeating an ideology needs more than just the military.

"And third, we must have clearly defined goals and objectives before sending our troops into harm’s way. If you can’t explain the mission to the American people clearly, concisely, then our sons and daughters should not be sent to battle. Period."

Why is it the government that needs to define the goals? Why not allow the government to have "plausible deniability" and then throw it open to pundits to make the case for why converting a dictatorship into a democracy is a good thing for humanity?

"Fourth, American soldiers must never be put under foreign command. We will fight side by side by our allies, but American soldiers must remain under the care and command of the American officers."

Why? Are you implying that other NATO allies are not trained to NATO standards?

"And fifth, sending our armed forces should be the last resort."

Why? Why not simply "a resort", "another tool in the toolbox"? What's so damned special about war? Do you send in police as a last resort too? Why not? Why not send in 3rd grade teachers to check out a burglary report? Why the immediate escalation to armed cops? There may not even be any burglars!

"We don’t go looking for dragons to slay."

You should. Otherwise small dragons become big dragons because nobody was out and about slaying small dragons. Continuous warfare, even if in non-combat, is the position that needs to be taken to ensure you're not asleep at the wheel and will eventually prevail.

"However, we will encourage the forces of freedom around the world who are sincerely fighting for the empowerment of the individual."

How about giving them real help - which is well within your power to do - rather than just yelling "encouragement" from the sidelines, or shedding crocodile tears?

Palin, if there were any justice in this world, you should have to trade places with a Libyan rebel who is currently stuck and in desperate need of external assistance.




Trapped Frogs

There are situations in the animal kingdom where tragedies occur due to a miscalculation. E.g. a frog will go into a space in the rocks and it so happens that there is enough food available that it doesn't need to leave, so it remains in that safe place. It then successfully grows to an adult, only then finding that the rock opening is too small for it to get out of when food is in short supply. The tragedy is that we can see this fundamentally flawed behaviour, but we can't write a "frog instruction manual" so that the frogs can protect themselves.

We have a similar situation with humans trapped under dictatorships in places like Syria and Iran. It is unlikely that they will be able to free themselves any more than the frog can. The laws of physics are stacked against them. We are very lucky indeed that the way weapons systems developed, the liberal democracies survived by the skin of their teeth. Otherwise we'd be looking down the barrel of worldwide Nazi slavery, with no-one to come to the rescue.

Given the lucky and flukey way that liberal democracy has managed to wind up in a winning position, we now owe it to those who didn't make it, to rescue them. It's what we would expect/demand if the situation was reversed.





One of the annoying things I am facing is that there's not a very good "focus" for the liberation efforts underway.

When Iraq was being liberated, we had the Iraqi blogs, but that nominally only covered Iraq. Still, it was where people from all over the world came together to discuss strategy/progress/etc. One of the Iraqi blogs recently had a post showing it was still alive, and I asked in the comments (another annoying thing is that comments now require a sign-on as well as moderation) if they could do anything to provide a focus for liberation efforts, but didn't get a reply.

I have set up a forum of my own to provide some of what I'm looking for, but mainly spammers were interested in that.

There were the libyafeb17 forums, but that is only about Libya. I'm interested in quite a broad range of liberation. Also no IRC channel.

There is also this TV channel.

I was more after the interactive nature of IRC though, and I originally found that in #optunisia and #oplibya and #opsyria and #operationfreedom at irc.anonops.ru. The server is quite unreliable though, and today the domain was hacked making it point to irc.tsukihi.me (which used to be called helldive.org and before that partyvan.info which was apparently part of Anonymous at one point). Then it was made to point to freenode. There is some info here with a recommendation to go to irc.anonops.in which is currently down.

Note that I personally am what is called a "moralfag" - someone who just talks about the right thing to do (e.g. whether to deploy NATO ground troops or not) rather than DDOSing targets (which I don't even know how to do). I wish people would focus on things revolving around freeing millions of people from state-slavery. It is unbelievable that many people oppose even the NATO air war in Libya and question NATO's motives. It was bad enough that Bush was being questioned regarding the 2003 Iraq war. That is the intellectual battle I choose to fight. To at least rip up the confidence the detractors like to talk with, with zero evidence at hand. Currently that battle is largely stalled here and here.




Space Travel

Here is how space travel can possibly be achieved.

People are likely to have a huge stress when travelling to Mars or beyond. Being couped up is bad enough. Being couped up and knowing that you are millions of miles away from home is something that could quite literally drive you insane. In space, no-one can hear you scream. The last thing we need is insane astronauts. So here's what needs to happen.

You get people who are willing to live in a confined space, such as their house as coach potatoes wishing that they could order home delivery everything so that they never need to leave their chat rooms.

Drug them up so that they are asleep during the launch of their space vehicle. Send up two space vehicles. One that is meant to go to Mars, the other stays in orbit around Earth. Don't tell them which one they are in. When people wake up, keep them in darkness, and for extra safety, keep their eyes closed. They should be able to feel an air current. This lets them know they are potentially on a planet with wind, and it's clearly a breathable atmosphere, even if there is no light. They should call out "are we in a game?". This gives the maximum flexibility for behaviour. The answer given need not be honest, and the astronaut needs to take this into account. If he's in a game (real or faked), he needs to know the rules. These can be given prior to the astronaut being able to visually see anything. The environment can be described so that he can start using his imagination.

Next, he needs to be given medication. This should probably consist of about 3 identical-looking pills. Don't tell him what the pills are for. They can all be placebos. The point is that one of them could be some sort of hallucinogenic.

Next thing is the date should be shortly before the 1st April. This way the astronaut never knows whether he is being lied to or not. It could all be a wind up to an elaborate April Fool's Day prank, and even after the day has changed, it could still be faked, because the authorities could have changed the calendar deliberately. So long as the astronaut is not given any independent way of verifying this, every day is dangerous, and the astronaut needs to constantly hedge his bets as to whether the environment is earth orbit, or interplanetary travel, or a space station prepositioned along the route.

Space stations can be of near-identical shape so that one room just needs to be "renovated" in order to appear to be a space station. Staff can be rotated so that it appears that an identical twin was at the space station. E.g. someone who was called Esther at one point in the journey might have a twin sister called Ethel picked up at a space station. Don't let the astronauts know how many people are in the space ship, and do indeed use identical twins as astronauts. Staff in separate compartments can do IM chatting under different fake IDs to give the illusion of a large number of astronauts. There can be strict rules of non-disclosure.

Other things need to be done to complete the illusion. E.g. ensuring that messages posted on an earth-based chat room are appropriately delayed, regardless of whether the astronaut is in orbit or is on his way to Mars.

Hopefully those things will make a start on making space travel as pleasant as possible. A pity we don't have a way of faking the absence of gravity or things would be a lot more flexible. Fortunately Mars has similar gravity to earth, so that can potentially be faked too, although I think anyone reaching Mars will be eager to see it for themselves and will risk insanity on the trip home rather than requesting that that be rigged in such a way to provide "plausible deniability" also.

Note that these ideas were based on me living my life as if my router may have been hacked such that all the information I have about the universe is also faked. ie when I go to the BBC News website, if I am instead directed to some other website, I wouldn't even know. And I'm not the sort of person who normally tries to verify that, because I have faith in humanity, and have no reason to leave Sydney. It was only when I needed to get a message to Gaddafi that I ever decided to ensure that the message was getting through, rather than being intercepted by my government. I attempted to verify by going to the Chinese embassy, and at one point nearly going to the Russian embassy AS WELL. Gravity is so annoying, because otherwise only a small portion of Sydney would need to be faked for me to be happy enough that I'm still in Sydney.




Sim Universe

When I was on the Anonymous chat rooms dealing with the Tunisian and Libyan and (sort of) Syrian revolutions, I noticed that I was generally getting all my information online, mainly from the BBC website, and discussion was online too. All thought that I had was based on what I could get via my computer via the internet. And if those websites such as the BBC had been faked, and the chat room was similarly controlled by the CIA, I would have been discussing events that weren't even occurring. The whole thing could have just been an imaginary event. That lends itself to the following things:

1. We should be able to set up our own artificial universe, with a website that people get their info from.

2. The current universe may already be set up that way. It's purely the result of people or machines making up some ridiculous story about Jews and Muslims etc etc and we're dumb enough to believe it. Well, we have no choice but to believe it, since we're inside it and forced to live at least the bit we're willing to get off the couch and verify for ourselves, anyway.

3. For someone like me who isn't willing to get up off the couch, it's a simple matter of hacking into my PC and installing the appropriate software, or else hacking into my router. So long as the BBC keeps working, I'll be happy enough even if the news is all faked. People in say the Philippines would need to be employed to continue contacting me and pretending to be Americans or whatever. I don't have the technical expertise to verify that. It would be rare that I ever phoned someone up (which would require intercepting the phone call too). Instead of employing people in the Philippines we could just have volunteers (aka fellow game players). People just shouldn't break the bond of trust, and continue to give opinions as if they were really part of this faked universe.

Here's a proposal document which has had input from others:


(proposal for n computer game/conceptual model for universes)

In reference to the game sim-city, here is a proposal for a sim-universe.

The objective of the sim-universe is to:

1. Discover the Laws of Physics
2. Discover the Prophet (if any exist in the world at that time) - he is presumably in the peace camp advocating some sort of kumbiyah solution
3. Assemble an almighty war machine for an Ultimate Showdown but never actually deploy it (imagine NATO forces assembling in France to launch on Libya, and the Benghazi rebels getting more and more sophisticated while never actually launching an attack on Sirte)
4. Discover the true nature of DNA manipulation, to create organs with ones own tissue, and never die.
5. Strengthen individual liberty.
6. Name the minorities who are being exploited as a political football.
7. An exploited minority is one who actually controls the rules of the universe, and the challenge in the universe is for free people to end his/her exploitation so that the rules can be modified so that "Heaven" is created.
8. Identify universal human rights and extend them worldwide.
9. Create free trade worldwide.

To keep everyone honest, whenever you're chatting to someone on Yahoo Messenger or whatever, you can always ask "which universe?" and if anyone says "real life" the appropriate response to that is "rofl" - there is no such thing as real life - anyone who has gone to the effort of constructing a universe deserves equal credit to whatever universe you think you currently reside in (when you go to sleep, you are in an alternate universe anyway - your imagination is someone else's reality!).

You can choose to "play" on the male or female team. The male team must be determined to solve the War of the Day (e.g. think Libya April 2011 in the "Earth" universe) via war, and must spend all its time creating a grand military alliance that conforms to the Laws of Physics. The female team must be determined that a peaceful solution to the crisis exists and must have a knee-jerk reaction to any talk of violence. The male team must want immediate warfare, but is permanently denied it because the forces are under political control of females, who are the majority of the population in any country that matters. They are only allowed preparations for war, not a real war.

One of the great things about this is that even blind people can play the game, because the universes are completely made up. The person who made up the game is the One True Prophet, but they must always deny (just like everyone in the Anonymous chat rooms will deny being a Fed) that they are him/her, and may be dead in the "real world" by the time the puzzle is figured out anyway. Also, he may have chosen to go for "computer generated everything", so he doesn't know the laws of physics even himself (assuming he's still alive and still an active gamer). The battle of the sexes (left-brain and right-brain thinking) takes place in an Anonymous channel describing the operation and which action should be taken next. People get their "news" from another website, the equivalent of BBC News. Some people will be in a team that creates that News website that speaks of further atrocities and the men are further inspired to continue to create the world's deadliest alliance on record. Hopefully there will be sufficient gamers willing to take on each of these roles for each universe in existence, but it doesn't really matter, because when you enter a universe, you can always find out what the current status of it is, and if it's waiting on news, you know you need to adopt that role yourself or find a different universe. Different universes will presumably differ in popularity.

Given the amount of effort expected to be expended in these things, the Prophet may allow succession so that when they get sick of playing, others can still enjoy it. To make things easier to start with, we'll assume that all the Laws of Physics that apply to Earth also apply to the new universe. Although if the official news agency starts broadcasting new scientific breakthroughs like the poles of Planet Spock just swapped around and now everything is subjected to anti-gravity instead of gravity, that's the new reality and everything presumably needs to be tied down. That's an extreme example though - probably best to keep the Laws of Physics the same so that we actually have something we can relate to.

Possibly just need to switch country names around to start off with. E.g. China is the world's only/greatest liberal democracy, Australia has the civil war, and the Australian rebels are asking the Chinese for assistance. China is assembling a million-man liberation force, with no plausible enemy at home, and nuclear weapons to protect it even if it somehow misjudged that. East Timor has agreed to allow its territory to be used as a launch pad into Australia. Rest of the world has abstained because they can't stomach the idea of "invading" Australia, while China has a variety of reasons for wanting to see the rebels succeed and is willing to back that with force. What are the news reports for the liberation force being assembled in East Timor? What has the male team been suggesting? Via plausible deniability, the news reports just happen to be taking great ideas from the channel and the assembled force in East Timor gets updated. Reports from Sydney are getting more shrill. Women and children being killed by the bucketload, yada yada yada. What are the Chinese actually able to assemble anyway? Any ideas? Ok, let's make this the first alternate universe, and in the absence of actual software to lighten the load, we'll use committees to provide proof of concept. We'll call it Operation Panda. Shitload better than Operation Odyssey Dawn. The rules for the universe need to be set up so that the universe is actually believable to humans.

Video can be created that looks at least as convincing as:

Panda News reports include:

1. Gillard (Australian dictator - Australia is a Marxist state - similar to North Korea in at least one other universe) claims that there are no women and children being deliberately killed.
2. Australian rebels are waving Chinese flags in the street in appreciation of the no-fly zone that the Chinese are operating over northern Australia.
3. Chinese insist that they are in for the long haul.
4. US/UK/France/Russia make a minor amount of noise about this being an internal Australian matter, but mostly just don't want to back the loser.
5. China says that the Australia regime's sponsorship of the Malayan Peoples Army Liberation Front is something that the world as a whole should not tolerate and calls on more people to join the alliance.

Note that by creating one or more alternate universes, we can hopefully abstract the problems we have in our "real" universe, so that more sims and less "real" people die.

There is already this software in existence:


but Artificial Intelligence will be needed to ensure that the moves are all logically correct to be human-believable, so it will be necessary to hand-construct one.




End of an Era

So Bin Laden's reign of terror is finally over. And in yet another coincidence - I got that news just as I had given up trying to protect Muslims from genocide and more-or-less decided to protect Jews from genocide instead. I have discovered in my dealings with Muslims that there is too much "the Jews want xyz" and it would be a lot easier for me to respond "I'm a Jew, and I don't want that". Generally every Middle Eastern dictatorship is blamed on the Jews, while meanwhile there is nothing the poor Jews can actually do because its written in the Islamic religion to fight the Jews till the end of time:

The Day of Judgement will not come about until Muslims fight the Jews (killing the Jews), when the Jew will hide behind stones and trees. The stones and trees will say O Muslims, O Abdullah, there is a Jew behind me, come and kill him. Only the Gharkad tree, (a certain kind of tree) would not do that because it is one of the trees of the Jews." (related by al-Bukhari and Muslim).Sahih Muslim, 41:6985, see also Sahih Muslim, 41:6981, Sahih Muslim, 41:6982, Sahih Muslim, 41:6983, Sahih Muslim, 41:6984, Sahih al-Bukhari, 4:56:791,(Sahih al-Bukhari, 4:52:177)

I realise there are Muslims who don't subscribe to the literal interpretation of this. I used to be one of them, and I would write this off the same way that Jews write off stoning your own children to death if they are disobedient. But it is time for me to be a Jew who needs to face Muslims who do believe the literal interpretation. Obviously I will be part of Reform Judaism since I don't follow the literal interpretation. I will self-identify as a Jew the same way that Christians self-identify as Christians. It reminds me of when I was in Grade 11 (about 16 years old) and they introduced the major religions as part of religious studies, and each one sounded cool so I used to adopt it for a week. It was only temporary though, as I always went back to the cold comfort of atheism.

P.S. The final straw was on realizing that intermarriage between the two ideologies wouldn't work either, as Jewish men aren't able to marry Muslim women, and any solution that leaves Jewish men without a bloodline in order to achieve peace is no solution that I can tolerate.




Middle East Status Update

The Middle Eastern revolutions have been a huge blessing. First of all, whenever I look at a group of people, such as the Tunisians, I know that they didn't choose to be born in Tunisia. So I don't expect them to all have an identical mentality, and in fact, I consider it to be racist to have that expectation. That's why I consider most on the left-wing to be racist. They talk about Palestinians etc without hedging that only x% of them are on the permanent grievance left-wing cause celebre.

So in Tunisia, there was always going to be x% of people who just wanted to live in a normal European-style secular capitalist liberal democracy, and people in the West shouldn't have anything against such people. The sickest thing I see in the West is when I see right-wing Americans claiming that the Tunisians aren't ready for democracy until the x is large enough for the Tunisians to be able to take on automatic weapons in a glorious revolution. Sick, sick, sick.

Fortunately the Tunisians got lucky and they had a military coup at the highest level. This fact gets lost in the pictures of glorious revolution seen on TV. There is simply no way past a properly-organized modern military. That is somewhat lost on the Egyptians too. The street demos triggered off what was basically a military coup. The Libyans managed to get some military units to switch sides, but it was nowhere near what was required for victory. Even NATO air strikes have only been enough to protect eastern gains and not enough to dislodge Gaddafi. In Yemen it seems that at the end of the day, the ruler himself was decent enough to do a military coup on himself. Similar to Gorbachev. In Syria it looks like people are going to get the same result as in Iran - as many people mowed down as required to ensure regime survival.

Anyway, the take-away lesson here remains that glorious revolutions are no match for automatic weapons. This is the deadly equation that saw 100,000 Iraqis die in 1991 without achieving anything at all.

Obviously the results of democracy in these countries remains somewhat unpredictable. I am willing to wear the (small) risk of Al Qaeda terrorists having the numbers in a place like Tunisia. The Tunisians don't have the capacity to do much harm, and they will quickly tire of Al Qaeda should they choose it. Reality is that they will feel insulted that I even mention Al Qaeda. This is a nation that just passed a law saying that election lists must be staggered with equal numbers of women. They're about to leapfrog the West with something like that. I'm normally against quotas, but I think in a situation like that, it doesn't matter who the spokesman for an ideology is, so it may as well be staggered.


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