World Cup 2022–WTF?

Tomorrow the US will play Iran in the group stage…..and the news is the antics by the US team….

In a move well beyond posting a cliche quote in the locker room, the US Soccer Federation angered Iran by publicly airing its support for Iranian protesters—two days before the nations’ teams meet in the World Cup. The US federation posted Iran’s flag on social media in a graphic without the emblem of the Islamic Republic—four curves with a sword between them—which means, “There is no God but Allah,” the Wall Street Journal reports. The US federation confirmed Sunday that the alteration was intentional, per Yahoo Sports, made to show “support for the women in Iran fighting for basic human rights.” Iran’s supreme leader told the country Saturday that the protesters are being used by the US.

Iran’s soccer federation complained to FIFA’s ethics committee, quoting what it said is a rule calling for anyone “who offends the dignity or integrity of a country” to be suspended for at least 10 days or face other discipline, per the Guardian. After reactions began surfacing, from Iran and other places, US soccer officials discussed the matter and decided Sunday evening to delete the posts. They had consulted Iranian American experts before posting the altered flag but not the US team or government, per Yahoo. A spokesman said the US federation nonetheless stands by its support of the protesters.

At a press conference Sunday, the US players fielded as many questions about the flag as they did about soccer. The Americans said repeatedly that they empathize with the people of Iran but are focusing on preparing for their next match. The protests have been an issue at the World Cup for Iranians, as well. Players didn’t sing the national anthem before their first match in Qatar, and Iranian fans in the stands booed as it played. Some Iran fans have displayed flags with the emblem of a previous ruler, the late Shah Mohammad Reza Pahlavi, and have carried signs reading “Women, Life, Freedom” at the tournament. FIFA and Qatari officials have declined to provide assurances that fans wearing T-shirts with the slogan will not be kept out of the stadium Tuesday.

This was stupidity…..where was the team captain or the coach?

If it was the American flag that was so defiled there would be a great uproar…..

Even more stupidity arising from the World Cup….this time in Belgium…..There has been many clubs that were not suppose to move on….teams like Saudi Arabia, Ghana, Senegal and Morocco….and this is the game in question.

Riots broke out in several Belgian and Dutch cities after Morocco’s 2-0 upset win over Belgium at the World Cup on Sunday. Police detained about a dozen people after they deployed water cannons and fire tear gas to disperse crowds in Brussels and eight more in the Northern city of Antwerp. Dozens of rioters overturned and torched cars, set electric scooters on fire, and pelted cars with bricks. Two police officials were injured in the Dutch port city of Rotterdam. By late evening Sunday, an uneasy calm had returned to most of the cities involved, the AP reports.

Brussels Mayor Philippe Close urged people to stay away from the city center. Even subway and tram traffic had to be interrupted on police orders. “Those are not fans, they are rioters. Moroccan fans are there to celebrate,” Close said. There were also disturbances in the cities of Antwerp and Liege. “Sad to see how a few individuals abuse a situation to run amok,” said Interior Minister Annelies Verlinden. Police in the neighboring Netherlands said violence erupted in Rotterdam, with riot officers attempting to break up a group of 500 soccer supporters who pelted police with fireworks and glass. Media reported unrest in the capital of Amsterdam and in The Hague. Morocco’s victory was a major World Cup upset and was enthusiastically celebrated by fans with Moroccan immigrant roots in many Belgian and Dutch cities.

What part of this incident is a way to celebrate or protest the score?

It is a game…..if people cannot accept that then maybe it is time to re-think priorities.

I Read, I Write, You Know

“lego ergo scribo”


What Is Russia Fighting For?

We are closing in on one year of the conflict between Russia and Ukraine…..I have asked what are the results that Russia is looking for that would prod them into this conflict?

A good question since very few of Russian objectives have been realized……

It’s curious to see the US military advocate diplomacy to end the war in Ukraine, while President Joe Biden and his senior officials oppose it. Much to the embarrassment of the administration, Mark Milley, chairman of the joint chiefs of staff, says that Ukraine is unlikely to win back the Crimea and it is time for talks. “You want to negotiate from a position of strength,” Milley said in a speech in New York last week. “Russia is on its back.”

Soldiers tend to have a better balanced sense than politicians about the way in which advantage in war can swing backwards and forwards. They ought to have after their grim experiences in Afghanistan and Iraq, in both of which the US thought at one point that it had won a total victory.

Milley may well be right, but it is difficult to see why Ukraine should negotiate while it is winning victories on the ground. As for President Vladimir Putin, he will scarcely want to talk until his army has achieved something other than stage shambolic retreats and lose territory captured in the first days of the invasion.

What indeed are Russia’s war aims? On 24 February, and for a couple of days afterwards, they were clear enough: Russia wanted to conquer Ukraine and install a proxy government, much as in Czechoslovakia in 1968. It did not happen: the invasion failed miserably to achieve any of its objectives, so what exactly is Russia fighting for today?

As for the war itself, the Ukrainian victories at Kharkiv and Kherson show that the Russian army is a shambles and it has never recovered from the initial debacle. But the ground war in Ukraine is only one part of the conflict: another is the Russian drone and missile assault on Ukrainian electricity, gas and water supplies. As we have seen in conflicts in the Middle East, precision-guided missiles and drones, once the monopoly of the US, are the new face of war, against which total defence is impossible. The Russians are avoiding direct attacks on the two nuclear plants in western Ukraine, but they are destroying the transmission cables and substations that cannot be speedily replaced.

The other front in the conflict is the economic war against Russia which has turned out to be a spectacular boomerang with ruinous consequences for European economies. Sanctions are a collective punishment on ordinary Russians, but do not directly target the Kremlin. Sanctions did not remove Saddam Hussein in Iraq over 13 years or Bashar al-Assad in Syria over a decade, and there is no reason to suppose that they will work against Putin.

What is Russia Fighting for Today?

Kherson is back in the news after being liberated from Russian control…..

Weeks after filling the streets in celebration after the city’s recapture, residents again are fleeing the southern Ukraine city of Kherson.

Unable to win on the battlefield, “Russia is bringing death, starvation and hypothermia to civilians,” said Mateusz Morawiecki, who was attending the International Summit of Food Security in the capital. Saturday was the 90th anniversary of the start of the “Holodomor,” or Great Famine, in which more than 3 million people were killed over two years when the Soviet government seized food and grain supplies. German Chancellor Olaf Scholz marked Ukraine’s solemn commemoration with a message by video. “Today, we stand united in stating that hunger must never again be used as a weapon,” Scholz said.

The Ukrainian battlefield is very fluid….it will not be over until it is over….and if the US has it’s way it will never be over.

I am still waiting for someone to answer my question of what does the US hope to get in return for our massive investment in Ukraine?

Could this be the answer?

High-level European officials are furious with the Biden administration and are now accusing the US of profiting from the war in Ukraine while Europe is facing a potential energy crisis.

In comments to POLITICO, a senior EU official said, “The fact is, if you look at it soberly, the country that is most profiting from this war is the US because they are selling more gas and at higher prices, and because they are selling more weapons.”

The US-led sanctions campaign on Russia has backfired on Europe as it has ratcheted up energy prices to the point where Europeans may face blackouts this winter. On top of the energy situation, European leaders also fear they will lose out on investments due to unprecedented subsidies included in the US’s Inflation Reduction Act, which President Biden signed into law in August.

The Inflation Reduction Act includes $369 billion in subsidies and tax breaks for green businesses, incentivizing companies to invest in the US instead of Europe. European leaders have publicly criticized the US for the legislation and are considering subsidies of their own, signaling the beginning of a new trade war.

The senior EU official told POLITICO that the double whammy of high energy prices and loss of trade to subsidies could turn public opinion against supporting Ukraine. “We are really at a historic juncture,” the official said. “America needs to realize that public opinion is shifting in many EU countries.”


I Read, I Write, You Know

“lego ergo scribo”