Monday, September 30, 2013

The Furlough


Not worth blogging about this, though it affects me directly;  the whole pseudo-crisis being a twice-refried rehash of that nonsense about the fiscal cliff.
To update Marx:   History happens, first as tragedy, then as farce; then as slapstick re-runs on cable channels.

For anyone who might care to sample what we have written about all this, here you go:



[Late-breaking update!]  Nearing midnight, 30 September:

In an eleventh-hour attempt to avert a government shutdown,  House Republicans this evening  crafted a bill that would continue funding operations, provided only that President Obama personally slaughter a baby panda on the White House lawn with his bare hands.
Unnamed Administration officials hinted that the motivation for the proposal was the same as has ruled the GOP for the past several years,  namely to make the President look bad.  Tea Party Stalwarts meanwhile loudly proclaimed that it was for the good of the country.

… Aaaaaah, t’ heck with it.  This dreck isn’t even worth satirizing.




[Update 1 October 2013]  O B.T.W.  What you’ve been reading in the media, about how this “won’t impact national security”? -- Don’t believe a word of it.  It already has.

[Update later this evening]  Don't take my word for it.  A friend just sent this link:
http://www.newsmax.com/Newsfront/cia-nsa-shutdown-employees/2013/10/01/id/528656

Those morons among you, who rely on FOX for your news,
http://www.foxnews.com/politics/2013/09/30/government-shutdown-wont-shut-down-nsa-spying/
have simply been lied to.  (But then, you don't care.)

[Update, 2 Oct 13]  And now this.  The facts are dribbling out at last:

http://www.washingtonpost.com/world/national-security/shutdown-makes-us-more-vulnerable-to-terrorist-attacks-intelligence-officials-warn/2013/10/02/a65b9266-2b86-11e3-97a3-ff2758228523_story.html




-- Wait -- Don’t think I’m complaining.  Our motto on this site, carrying on the grand old Wobbly tradition of  Don’t mourn -- Organize!”, is

Don’t kvetch -- Satirize!

So let us observe, that for the minority that remain on-mission, they’ll be enjoying REALLY GREAT PARKING.

This whole business is distressing.  Here, therefore, is a relaxing hamster.


~

Thrust suddenly into leisure, I have been re-reading Gordon Craig’s celebrated history of Germany.  Of the Bismarck era, he writes:

The Reichstag did not attract the best in the nation, and those who came to it  did not seem to grow in its service.

Remind you of anyone?  What man in his right mind  would want to run for Congress now?  It’s a downward spiral, a vicious circle.


Update 2 October 2013]
Incoming FBI Director James B. Comey was stunned to discoverthat his agency has had to stop training recruits, close criminal cases and even deny gasoline money to agents because of budget cutbacks


[Update 3 Oct 2013]   It has been pointed out that some non-governmental workers are indirectly affected by the shutdown -- the proverbial coffee-shop across from the IRS.  But’s not only Federal employees who are directly affected.  This, from a friend with a linguistics Ph.D., who works at a sort of academic think-tank, that has contracts with the government:

 You think you are in weird-land; we cannot get into the building because our security is run by the feds, but because we are employed by the university, we are expected to continue our work. Everything's on hold anyway, because there was just a huge raft of layoffs and the rest of us are walking around in various stages of disbelief.

[Update 4 Oct 2013]  And now many non-furloughed (non-government) astronomers have gone effectively blind, since their telescopes have been dry-docked.

[Update 5 Oct] Now this:

Bethesda-based Lockheed Martin said Friday that it will furlough about 3,000 employees next week due to the government shutdown.
.

Sunday, September 29, 2013

Freud vs. Cantor


.

In his Psychopathology of Everyday Life, 1904, Freud gave an early expression to his naturalistic outlook on religion and allied topics.  “I believe in fact that a great part of the mythological view of the world, which reaches far into the most modern religions, is nothing other than psychological processes  projected into the outer world.  The obscure apprehending of the psychical factors and relationships of the unconscious  is mirrored -- it is hard to put it otherwise; one has to use here the analogy with paranoia -- in the construction of a supersensible reality.”
-- Ernest Jones, Freud: The Last Phase (1957), p. 353

As for the actual existence of this or that supersensible reality, I shall have nothing to say here.  As a matter of mere logic, Freud, having assumed (A) their non-existence (on principle), seeks to explain their prevalence in people’s belief, and finds the answer in psychological projection.   (I have myself attempted a similar explanation, in the related case of penguins.)

Very well.  But what of that vast, enduring, ever-evolving, and richly articulated  suprasensible reality  known as mathematics ?   A Naturalist (or, in our terms Nominalist, as opposed to Platonist or Realist) account  must either hopelessly scumble the actual distinctness, variety, and logical interrelation of its explicandum, or reduce to absurdity (which part of the Oedipal complex gives rise to the Urysohn Metrization Theorem?).
[We’ll refrain from writing yet another anti-naturalist satire, and merely point the reader who has an appetite for such things, to the following, directed against the overreachings of ultra-Darwinism/evolutionary-psychology:  The Urysohn MetrizationTheorem:  an Adaptationist Account. ]

The real point of that observation has, of course, nothing to do with Freudian psychology per se, for we count ourselves (on many points) among its defenders, but rather takes aim at Assumption A -- the axiomatic non-existence of suprasensible realities.   If that assumption is infirmed in the case of mathematics, other questions are re-opened as well.
(In actual fact, I believe that even coffee-cups -- and certainly rabbits -- are largely supersensible, ourselves having access to but the intruding tip here below;  but that is a matter for a later seminar.  For the nonce, consult our discoveries concerning the elusive snow bunnies, who are uncontroversially supersensible.)

We have expounded and defended the Platonist account, in a long series of essays beginning here:

            Theologia mathematica


We hold -- to make the point precise -- that psychology has nothing whatever to say, nor ever could, about the transcendental organon -- timeless, independent of species and even of embodied consciousness -- of abstract mathematics itself.   Where psychology may have something to say, is about the vicissitudes of mathematical discovery, as a human (or Venusian) activity:


So far, however, no-one but mathematicians themselves (as opposed to professional psychologists) have had anything of interest to say on the subject; and even they, not much.

Psychology Porn


Back when I was in high school, I hungrily and indiscriminately devoured such periodicals as my parents happened to subscribe to.   Some, like The New Yorker (still going strong) and Scientific American (now intellectually defunct, but fine while it lasted), opened up whole new world’s, to my lasting enrichment.  Others, like the middle-brow Saturday Review, Time, Life, and (even) Soviet Life, were at least worth glancing at for a time.  One, Psychology Today (still being published, apparently) did not begin publication till I had left home, but my mother subscribed, and I would leaf through it sometimes when I visited home.   It turned out to be pretty lame.

Unlike the topics of physics porn or philosophy porn, which have heft, being aimed at the well-educated (the latter, indeed, egregiously in The New Yorker), pop psychology (short for popcorn psychology)  is not worth noticing, let alone polemicizing against:  its audience understandably needs something to occupy their eyes while they concentrate on chewing their gum, bless ‘em.   But there is an interesting paragraph in the “Retrospect” chapter of the final volume of Ernest Jones’ classic biography of Freud, worth quoting here.   Jones himself was a practicing Freudian analyst, and towards the end of a long career, writes:

What impresses [the psychoanalyst] is the shallowness of so much of what passes as acceptance of Freud’s ideas, and the superficiality with which they are treated.  They are so often bandied about lightly as a form of lip service, that one cannot help suspecting that much of the so-called acceptance  is really a subtle form of rejection, a protection against assimilation of their profound import.
-- Freud, vol. III (1957), p. 433.

An intriguing -- and typically Freudian -- take on the matter;  and yet, I suspect, inaccurate.   For with no such suspected motives of Widerstand (resistance, Abwehrmechanismus) the educated public (and the middle-brow media that serves them) also widely trivializes the findings of physics, misunderstands those of linguistics, and caricatures those of philosophy.  So, Case Not Proven.

(Nor yet disproven.)

~


Jones’ conjecture as to the source of public acceptance-through-trivialization of Freudian theory, while not persuasive, is yet suggestive.   So let us think aloud.

That a movement or doctrine may be emasculated by an embrace, was well known to those of us in the antiwar movement, self-imagined as the revolutionary youth movement, in the late 1960’s:  we called it coöptation.   Individual activists could be bought off by being given a nice job at a university or think-tank, or be lured into self-parody by an ingratiating media.  As for the unreflective mass of followers, they were offered cooptation by trivialization:  “You’ve come a long way, baby” and “You’re in the Pepsi generation” (ads respectively for a cigarette and a soft-drink)

That parallel, however, will not take us far towards elucidating the case in question.  For that was a conscious and cynical maneuver, whereas Jones points to classically Freudian unconscious Resistance, where the obfuscators are largely unaware of their own motives.  Moreover, the Youth Movement has too little theoretical gravitas  to parallel Freudian theory:  a Marxist critique of the capitalist war-economy may have been logically at its center, but sociologically  was far on the periphery.   To examine the undercurrents of resistance in the way Jones intends, we need something with more intellectual heft.


Not, however, Freudian theory itself.  Its results are too uncertain, its current position in the noosphere too beleaguered, and cooptative lip-service by now too rare, to provide a useful test-case.  But let us check for parallels or anti-parallels (among the many skew lines) in the more settled fields of physics and linguistics.


~

“How on earth do you know that?” I asked.
“Now, Watson, confess yourself utterly taken aback.”
“I am.”
“I ought to make you sign a paper to that effect.”
“Why?”
“Because  in five minutes  you will say that it is all so absurdly simple.”
-- A. Conan Doyle, “The Adventure of the Dancing Men”, in The Return of Sherlock Holmes (1904)

Holmes’ prediction  proves, of course, correct (it is for such scenes that Nigel Bruce was so perfectly cast).  And the exchange illustrates both prongs of the scientific-academic strategy of dismissal, of any theory put forward by a rival: 
(1) wave it aside as preposterous
(2) wave it aside as old hat


Specifically, as regards the reception of Chomsky’s psycholinguistic theories, these took the forms as follows:

 (1) Caricature the theory, so that it seems to lead to absurd conclusions;  then point out that these conclusions are absurd.

(2)   The exact opposite:  So far from rejecting the theory as absurd, embrace it as true -- but as obviously true.  Plato/Vico/Groucho already said that.   Or:  I said that; and your own “theory”, with its welter of neologistic terminology  and slippery symbolisms, is naught but a “notational variant  of mine.




[to be continued, inshallah]

"Thank You For Your Service"


This morning’s NYTimes  book section reviews the new book by David Finkel, Thank You For Your Service.

For several of the battalion’s survivors, who are struggling with a variety of psychological and physical ailments, home assumes an unrelenting immediacy that proves more baffling and tormenting than the war itself.

By chance, I was just now reading Oliver Goldsmith’s classic 18th-century essay “A Reverie at the Boar’s Head Tavern in Eastcheap”.   Here recounts the tale of a simple soldier, who,

by his courage and his conduct  in numberless battles, had obtained at last  a colonel’s commission …;  from several wounds, however, he was at last rendered incapable of following his master to the field:  wherefore he was considered as a piece of useless lumber, which is thrown aside to rot in a corner.  Soldiers then fought,  while their vigour remained, in defence of their country;  and in old age  were obliged to beg their bread thro’ those kingdoms which their valour had saved.

The same might be said, of many a miner, and many a ditch-digger, and many a gandy-dancer,  throughout time.

[Update Veterans Day 2013]

In Afghanistan, interpreters who helped U.S. in war denied visas; U.S. says they face no threat

Saturday, September 28, 2013

Implicit vs. Active Knowledge



I greeted the young mother next door, and noted  with approval  the locomotive progress of the heir and baby, Master Jack.   “It’s Mr Crawlies!” I observed colloquially, as he busied himself amid the bugs and flowerbeds. He is actually capable of walking “six steps”, his mother assured me;  but he prefers to crawl (lazy fellow) “because it’s easier”.  I noticed that his cotton onesie was fitted with leather soles, which might more realistically been applied at the knees.

Then up skipped his elder sister, my little friend Marya, who lately has marched into kindergarten.  With scarcely a glance at her young sibling, for whose quaint ways  she shows indulgence but no doting,  in a half-whisper  she informed me:

“Today is my first day to write.   I knew how to write before, but I kept it in my head,”, she said, indicating the noggin in question  with a well-informed forefinger, “and didn’t let it out.”

What exactly that might mean, I leave for the elves to interpret.  She herself, grown to womanhood, will no longer know.   But years later (after I am gone), she might happen to read this, and wonder, then smile at a dim remembered light ….

Friday, September 27, 2013

(Not-Quite-)Word of the Day: “paregmenon”


A friend forwarded one of his daily emails from Anu Garg’s “A.Word.A.Day” feature.

Now, normally, I dislike “word a day” features, unless (as on this site) they are full cultural/philological portraits, of value in themselves  even if you never use the word in question -- which, they being mostly quite obscure, you generally should not.  Prose that does not grow organically, but is mined autodidactically from dictionaries and thesauri, tends to be a wretched breccia of jackdaw-bits.   But today’s offering appeared, at first glance, an interesting exception. 

The entry as given by Mr. Garg:

paregmenon

PRONUNCIATION:
(puh-REG-muh-non)

MEANING:
noun: The juxtaposition of words that have the same roots. Examples: sense and sensibility, a manly man, the texture of textile.

ETYMOLOGY:
From Greek paregmenon, from paragein (to bring side by side). Earliest documented use: 1577.

USAGE:
"The Songs poets also used paregmenon for more than two words in succession ("Climbed those high hills,/ Ridged hills and higher heights").
William McNaughton; The Book of Songs; Twayne Publishers; 1971.

That stylistic phenomenon is indeed prominent and needs a name.  
As a young man, not knowing a word for it, and requiring one for my own notes, I made one up based on something I had read, and called such a relation “rhematic”.    That use of the word (though it may have existed once) is by now purely idiolectal -- though the duality “theme and rheme” (roughly:  topic and comment) has latterly been revived for textual linguistics, in an unrelated (um, nonrhematic) sense.  So at this particular onomasiological cubby-hole, the lexical cupboard is bare.


And those who specially need to fill it, are Arabists, such as myself:  for Arabic does notoriously avail itself of this morphosemantic flourish;  in classical Arabic, it's called jinaas, or tajniis.  Indeed, since both those words are slightly ambiguous (the latter can also mean ‘naturalization’, for former not), their use together can provide a case of “disambiguation via semantic intersection”, as in old-fashioned law English.

Yet I've never previously seen a good English equivalent, even among Arabists.  Classical grammars of Arabic translate the term as "paronomasia", but that's no good, since that word usually means "punning", and tajniis is usually employed, not with the flavor of low puns, but with a touch of appropriate elegance:  as indeed, Austen’s title Sense and Sensibility.   The figure at its best  suggests depth and dignity, bringing out a sense  latent in the common etymon, though commonly forgotten in the day-to-day use of the derivata: thus Gide’s serviable mais non servile.   Even that comical manly man -- though it smacks of Saturday Night Live twitting Schwarzenegger, that does not inhere in the structure, but springs merely from the degraded nature of our age;  for those who hark to the days when men were men indeed, it rings with virtus virumque.



So, paregmenon has, in principle,  a role to play.  The only problem is, it is a word with  -- so far as my own experience goes -- no life outside of dictionaries of obscure and lifeless words.   It is not listed in the massive Merriam-Webster unabridged dictionary (third edition).  Nor does it appear in the Oxford Companion to English Literature (3rd edn. 1946), which does, however, list paronomasia.  The word might even be a modern invention, masquerading as ancient -- much as the old Beduin, pried and paid by lexicographers of the pre-Islamic Arabic tongue, pulled words for the occasion  out of their …..  -- or rather, out of their foreheads, like Minerva.

Thus, Curtius, in his Europäische Literatur und lateinisches Mittelalter (1948), discusses much the variety of literary wordplay, under the Latin name of annominatio (a direct morphological equivalent of Greek paronomasia:  both mean ‘names next to another’);  for this, he gives three Greek equivalents -- none of them the supposed “paregmenon”.   The latter seems to be a word simply found among the bulrushes.

As example of annominatio, he gives  a line of Matthew of Vendôme,

Fama famem pretii parit  amentis nec amantis;
  est pretium viae  depretiare decus

and comments (here I quote from Trask’s translation),

In this distich, two pairs of homophonous words  and three inflections of the same stem  are introduced in true virtuoso fashion.


None of this is to say that paregmenon might not prove useful, just because it is no veteran of the field, but a word still in the womb.   As such, it has not accumulated the distressing plethora of senses which infects the whole vocabulary of rhetoric’s termini technici.   Cut it from whole cloth -- on a recognizable morphosemantic pattern -- and use it consistently, in a stipulated sense.  -- C.S. Peirce defended, and practices, this dodge, as regards the terminology of philosophy;  and in the sciences (especially mathematics) it is absolutely standard (homotopy, holonomy, functorial, equicontinuous, etc.).   In cases where a pre-existing word like regular or normal is pressed into mathematical use, it winds up with fifty different meanings.


Note:  There is more that might be saidupon the matter of wordplay, not by way of mere further exemplification, but of digging towards the depths:  this would lead us in the direction of Freud’s Der Witz und seine Beziehung zum Unbewussten (1905 ff).   We touch but on the edges of that subject, here:



~

As it happens, our lexical diurnalist  supplies likewise a daily quotation.  The one for today was:

Travel is fatal to prejudice, bigotry, and narrow-mindedness. -Mark Twain

That thought is not intended to illuminate the word, paregmenon, that it accompanies;  like everything in the trivial “….-a-day” genre, it is paratactic, unattached, just one d*mn thing after another.   Yet as it happens, both word and epigram share a characteristic:  aureate at first view, they prove pinchbeck upon inspection.

For, Twain’s contention is falsece n’est pas fatale, du tout.   It is true only for a minority of determined voyagers. 
The fact of that falsity  has by now grown familiar:  so much so, that it has spawned a new dichotomy, by répartition de sens, which we mention (and sublate) in our post “Tourism vs. Travel”.


However, our intention here is not to segue over to that topic, the travel through space to exotic locales; but rather through time, to past civilizations, as revealed through their literature.
C.S. Lewis, in his essay “De Audiendis Poetis”, addresses the problem -- often not even recognized 
as such by readers -- of coming to grips with expressions of thoughts of an earlier culture.


It is not only hapless students in High School English class, forced to read something by Shakespeare, who funk the challenge.  Here Oliver Elton, in The English Muse (1932), p. 269, twits the premier English poet of the seventeenth century, as regards his adaptations of the greatest poet of the fourteenth:

So great is his ‘veneration’ for the master, that he must needs turn him into Revolution English.  Strange that Dryden did not see that the remedy for the ‘obscurity’ of Chaucer’s language, is to learn it


The danger here is not the “obscurity” of Chaucer’s language, but its specious familiarity (perhaps not for our struggling freshman;  then substitute “Shakespeare” or “Pope”).  If a book is in Spanish and you don’t understand Spanish, you know you have to either learn Spanish, or read a rendering done by someone who did.  You don’t simply interpret bits here and there in terms of what you think it might mean -- “casa, that must mean ‘case’;  mesa -- heck I know that one, that’s one of those flat-topped mountain thingies; estar -- that’s how a Hispanic pronounces the word star”.   But when Shakespeare writes “caviary to the general”, our listless reader might suppose the reference is to a supreme military commander -- shrug, and skim on.
[Note:  The phrase means rather, ‘beyond the grasp of the groundlings’.]



Lewis helps us visualize the psycho-temporal dilemma, with a spatial metaphor:

There are two ways of enjoying the past, as there are two ways of enjoying a foreign country.  One man carries his Englishry abroad with him, and brings it home unchanged.  Wherever he goes, he consorts with other English tourists.  By a good hotel, he means one that is like an English hotel.  He complains of the bad tea  where he might have had excellent coffee.  He finds the ‘natives’ quaint, and enjoys their quaintness.

In the reading of literature, such self-centric ahistorical intellectual laziness was catered to by the New Critics (though, to their credit, they did require “close reading” of another sort), and was raised to a principle -- if that is the word -- by the unprincipled blackguards and sluggards of Postmodernism.   What a text means, is simply what it means for you (and indeed:  you in your least cultivated, most immanent, identity-politics sense).

Really to read and think your way into the minds of our great predecessors, is hard work even on the face of it, harder still if you appreciate the depth of the problem, since you don’t know what you don’t know.  When learning a definitely foreign language, you at least know when you come up with a bump.   If you don’t know what, say, izquierdo means, you know you can’t just pull an interpretation out of your ear or other orifice, you’ll have to do some research.
It is in part for that, that I have so assiduously cultivated a tiny number of other languages, while letting all the others lie.   The wordlist, or word-a-day level of experience and understanding, is worthless. A word like paregmenon, for anyone who meets it for the first time, not in genuine use, but in atomistic abstraction,  is like a trinket from a souvenir store, purporting to be some local cultural relic, but actually manufactured in plastic in Taiwan, based on sketches in some manga.
To get anything lasting out of it, you have to burrow into the language and its associated culture(s), and grow up in it.  Just as, to understand another country, it is not enough to have taken the whirlwind packaged tour, you have to have lived there (and, preferably, loved there).
 -- For more on the distinction, consult our essay here:


.

Thursday, September 26, 2013

The Case for Intervention in Liechtenstein (renewed)


[Update 26 September 2013]  Long’s we gonna bombard Syria over chemical weapons, might as well bomb Turkey too -- it’s right in the neighborhood.  Two birds / one stone.

Almost 40 percent of protesters surveyed by a Turkish medical group complained of continuing repercussions from their exposure to the tear gas that security forces used to quell last spring’s antigovernment demonstrations.

Sounds like the government added a little somethin’ special to that ‘tear gas’ …

[Update 27 Sept]  Another reason it was worth waiting, and not just barging in  guns blasting, like Rambo, or Maverick John McCain:


Most of Syria’s toxins said to be ‘unweaponized’
U.S. and Russian officials believe the country’s chemical arsenal could be destroyed more easily than thought, lowering the risk that the nerve agent stockpile could be hidden away by the regime or stolen by terrorists.
http://www.washingtonpost.com/world/national-security/most-of-syrias-toxins-can-be-destroyed-more-easily-than-officials-initially-thought/2013/09/26/66cd1ca2-26e3-11e3-b75d-5b7f66349852_story.html


~  Original post [25 Aug 2013]  ~



The vexed question, whether the United States should risk sending ground troops into Liechtenstein, or simply while away the time knocking the stuffing out of them with drones, has caused much scratching of educated heads.   But before we tackle that tough one head-on, herewith a quick run-down of other trouble spots, that cry out for invasion.


=> FLASH UPDATE ! <=
This means War !!!


Nigeria
For many years now,  the Boko Haram terror group has been slaughtering Christians -- burning churches, killing children, etc.  The government is powerless or unwilling to stop it.

India
In India, decade after decade, brides are attacked with acid or scalding water, to extort a larger dowery, or in some dispute with the mother-in-law.  Meanwhile, rape is epidemic, including gang-rape.

Egypt
After many years of military rule, a civilian president is finally democratically elected.  He is removed in a military coup.   The nation teeters near civil war.  This one could get really ugly.

Mauritania
Slavery is alive and well and living in Mauretania.  An unbelievable one in five there is a slave:
Intervention?  Obviously.  Immediately.
[Update 27 Sept 2013] And now this:
Obwohl seit 1981 verboten, ist die Sklaverei in Mauretanien noch immer an der Tagesordnung und de facto straffrei.
http://www.nzz.ch/aktuell/international/auslandnachrichten/die-sklaverei-ist-nicht-verschwunden-1.18157241?extcid=Newsletter_27092013_Top-News_am_Morgen

Papua
For a tiny country, Papua New Guinea generates a disproportionate number of mind-numbing atrocities:

Spurred by the killing this week of a young woman accused of witchcraft in Papua New Guinea, the United Nations called on the country to address increasing vigilante violence against people accused of sorcery and to revoke a controversial sorcery law.   The United Nations human rights office in Geneva said it was deeply disturbed by the killing of the woman, Kepari Leniata, 20, who was stripped, tortured, doused in gasoline and set on fire on Wednesday as hundreds of spectators watched. http://www.nytimes.com/2013/02/09/world/asia/un-calls-on-papua-new-guinea-to-curb-violence-after-burning-death-of-woman.html

And now:


An infamous Papua New Guinea cult leader known as “Black Jesus” was castrated by an angry mob after being hacked to death for killing young girls as sacrifices.
Steven Tari, a convicted rapist who was suspected of cannibalism, was killed in a remote PNG village.

Looks like a job for the Marines.



Yemen
A cottage industry of kidnapping Westerners has been netting tens of millions of euros for al-Qaeda from spineless European governments (while pretending not to).    The results are intolerable.  Either the problem must be addressed at the criminal source (Yemen, Mauritania, etc.) or, with a creatively different strategic approach which sounds more and more attractive the longer you think about it, at the financial source, by invading France, Denmark, Holland, Switzerland, and other perpetrators.

North Korea
A basket case;  total loss; probably past saving.  The latest wrinkle: a large segment of the population is addicted to crystal meth, of all things.  At this point, it might almost be a kindness to drop a large bomb on the thing.  Put them out of their misery.
About their only exports are super-high-quality counterfeit dollars and other contraband.  Plus  threatening their neighbors with nuclear annihilation should count for something, anyhow. 

Burma
There are lots of bad things to say about Burma, but we’ll let you go hunt them up yourselves.

So there you have it;  one could go on.   As for Liechtenstein, the main plus for intervention there is that, militarily, compared to the other countries, it would be a piece of cake.

*
Für psychologisch tiefgreifende Krimis,
in pikanter amerikanischer Mundart,
und christlich gesinnt,
klicken Sie bitte hier:

*
[Footnote]  We almost forgot Syria.  For some years now, it has been in a multi-sided civil war, with increasingly significant foreign intervention; at present, the major players are al-Qaeda and Iran.   Its President, beleaguered, is striking back with everything he has.   Although there are many factions, the principal line of cleavage is:  Sunnis on the one side, spearheaded by al-Qaeda-affiliated groups (ISI, ANF);  versus Alawites and Christians, backed by Iran.   John McCain’s bright idea is that the U.S. should wade into the morass on the side of al-Qaeda against the Christians. -- Oh, wait …


*
Si cela vous parle,
savourez la série noire
en argot authentique d’Amérique :



Weiteres zum Thema:


Gar nicht zum Thema  aber doch unterhaltsam,
an diesem sonnigen Sonntagsmorgen:



Der Schweiz zugewidmet:

A consulter aussi:  notre compte-rendu de la glorieuse intervention de l’Islande en Azawad:




~
~   ~
Difficult though it may be to believe,
we have written a story
even more incredible than international politics:
Murphy and the Magic Pawnshop
~   ~
~
[This just in]  A reader comments:
I found one reason for intervention: they are really Lichtenstan -- yes,  one of those democracy-hating "stan" countries.

We reply:
Yesss !!!!  For too long that rogue mountain nation has thumbed its nose at the world!!!
Lichtenstan delenda est !!!!

[Flash update]  A motive-analysis of the interventionist faction:
http://worldofdrjustice.blogspot.com/2013/08/intervention-in-syria-cui-prodest.html