Since the November 13 terrorist attacks in Paris, new revelations have provided more evidence that Islamist elements who launched the attack were well known to the intelligence services before the attack that killed 130 people.
These details are of the greatest political significance. They contradict official claims that the attackers evaded the attention of French and European intelligence, and that the only way to prevent new attacks is to accept a permanent state of emergency and police-state measures. If the terrorists were able to plan and execute such a massive, coordinated attack, it was because intelligence agencies did not use the powers they already have to prevent attacks that were carried out by Islamist terrorist forces with which they have close political ties.
On November 25, the New York Times reported that Belgian authorities had a list of suspected Islamists that included the Belgian residents who were involved in the Paris attacks. It wrote, “a month before the Paris terrorist attacks, Mayor Françoise Schepmans of Molenbeek, a Brussels district long notorious as a haven for jihadists, received a list with the names and addresses of more than 80 people suspected as Islamic militants living in her area.”
Wittgenstein wrote ‘While thinking philosophically we see problems in places where there are none. It is for philosophy to show that there are no problems’. He meant that the ‘problems’ philosophers grapple with are of their own making. In a related remark he said: ‘This is the essence of a philosophical problem. The question itself is the result of a muddle. And when the question is removed, this is not by answering it’. Even more explicitly he said: ‘All that philosophy can do is to destroy idols’. As he understood his job, it was not to produce or construct something; his job was entirely destructive. This is how Wittgenstein thought of philosophy when he thought about it in the abstract, and I share this view of philosophy. I believe that when we see how to dispose of all philosophical categories, our job is finished. For example, in epistemology our job is not to argue that it is possible to know such-and-such because so-and-so ; rather, we undermine all those ideas that make it seem as though we could not know such-and-such. Undermining philosophical ideas takes the form: When we philosophise, we are tempted to think so-and-so, but if we consider that idea, and do so while remaining free of all philosophical jargon , we find that we cannot make sense of it.
“It reminds me of that old joke- you know, a guy walks into a psychiatrist's office and says, hey doc, my brother's crazy! He thinks he's a chicken. Then the doc says, why don't you turn him in? Then the guy says, I would but I need the eggs. I guess that's how I feel about relationships. They're totally crazy, irrational, and absurd, but we keep going through it because we need the eggs.”
Woody Allen is right, here, about relationships, but also about philosophy. Philosophical ideas are …”totally crazy, irrational, and absurd, but…we keep going through it because we need the eggs.” And here is where Allen has philosophy and, I think Cook does not. We go through with these crazy philosophical ideas, even though they are based on some false assumptions that we are chickens, so to speak, because we are invested in them. Lots depends on the eggs we get from those assumptions, the mistakes we’ve made, the commitments we hold, …and we are not willing to give them up easily, even though, like the guy in Allen’s example, one admits the eggs one has are based on someone’s crazy idea that they are a chicken. Philosophy can not be easily done by showing some few key mistakes, and let it go at that. No one is going to give up their eggs just because someone makes an argument that they are based on some philosophical mistake. Wittgenstein thought that he could figure out where the mistake was made and his work would be done. He did this after writing the Tractatus. He possibly always thought his job was to simply figure out the mistakes made. It seems to me that is a narrow view of philosophy, and not even a complete understanding of how to correct its mistakes. How would you know you had a correct analysis of the mistakes of philosophy unless your efforts to correct them, by getting people to see the error of their ways (in holding onto the eggs) succeeded? You couldn’t. How do you show that you understand a mathematical principle if all you can do is show various wrong answers. You have to also go on to show how to obtain correct answers.
The refugee crisis was the final straw, the moment when - since this is an issue which caused public opinion to become enraged - the doubts and criticism that have been growing in private, were able finally to go public.
What we are now seeing is a concerted attempt by the German political and economic establishment to try to find ways of mending Germany’s fences with Russia.
That fate led me to meet with Dragana Trifkovic is not an accident. Dragana, who is a bright and bold Serbian politician, political scientist, and leader of public opinion, repeatedly came to Donbass, despite ongoing hostilities, in order to assist by word and deed. The foundation of her clear political position is the unity and solidarity of the Slavic world and a fierce rejection of Western intervention in others’ affairs. She is especially hostile towards NATO interventions, one of which, with the support of European structures, destroyed Yugoslavia and brought war and woe to her land. The most ruthless strike was inflicted on Serbia. Now, Europe has come to reap the benefits of being shackled in the wake of the American course. Dragana Trifkovic’s point of view is extremely interesting in light of events happening in Donbass and the world.
Marina Kharkova: How do the people of Serbia and Serbian politicians react to the war being waged by Ukraine against Donbass?
Dragana Trifkovic: The people of Serbia sympathize with the Russian people in Donbass because we know, from personal experience, what you are going through. There are many parallels between the war in Yugoslavia and the war in Ukraine. In both cases, war is imposed from outside, and the reasons are political, not ethnic, in nature. The US has used the same script for many years, creating havoc throughout the world. Color Revolutions, snipers who shoot at crowds, special operations, information war - the Americans have harnessed all of these skills brilliantly. Speaking of “Americans,” of course, I mean the political elite and not the American people. It is difficult for Serbs to look at the suffering of Russian people; we simply cannot watch the injustice that is happening in Donbass. The fratricidal war must be stopped. Part of the Ukrainian people, having succumbed to the manipulations of the West, has blamed all that is happening on Russia and the Kremlin without giving any conclusive evidence. I am convinced that, one day, people will look at this conflict with different eyes, if they manage to free themselves from the influence of Western propaganda. And I’m sure this will happen. As far as Serbian politicians are concerned, the situation is quite different. They are under the control of Washington and Brussels, and are not elected to serve the interests of the Serbian people, but rather to realize benefits for others. For this reason, they “argue” about the Ukrainian conflict in a different manner than a large portion of the Serbian people.
Unable to reconquer Donbas, Kyiv wants it as an economic basket case to dampen secessionist feeling in the rest of South-East Ukraine
In a process that begun in July 2014 and was completed November later that year, the Ukrainian government in Kyiv severed all links to rebel-held Donbas in east Ukraine. This meant it stopped making social payments to citizens and de-funded all state institutions–courts, registries, hospitals, banks, post offices and state-owned enterprises.
Strategically, this was a mistake. Nothing would have underscored the legitimacy of Kyiv’s rule in east Ukraine more but for it to continue to perform many of the functions of the state there. Likewise, the people in east Ukraine would notice it was Kyiv which continued to supply them with services the rebels were incapable, and Russia unwilling, to provide. As it was, the Kyiv government became a solely negative factor in their lives – what with its offensive military operations and the arming up of neo-Nazis.
Instead, it was the rebels which were forced to pick up the slack and which now – along with the prestige of being the people who keep the neo-Nazis at bay – enjoy also the legitimacy of being the people who provide the electricity, water, heating, pensions and medical care to Donbas people. In fact, initially the two rebel statelets – the DPR and LPR – were reluctant and slow to take responsibility for many of these tasks so they should really thank Kyiv for forcing them to take their state-building of rival, secessionist republics seriously.