Wednesday, 12 April 2017

Fun Online Polls: Government guidelines for physical activity & Imposing sanctions on Russia

The results to last week's Fun Online Poll were as follows:

Do you achieve the government's guidelines for physical activity every week? Multiple answers allowed.

As it happens I do, I like to keep fit - 20 votes
Yes, I take government guidelines very seriously - 0 votes
Don't know, don't care - 38 votes
No, probably not - 16 votes
No, certainly not - 8 votes
None of their business - 52 votes
Kraft durch Freude! - 4 votes
Other, please specify - 1 vote


Which is, reassuringly, pretty much what I expected. Thanks to all 102 who took part.
---------------------------------------------------
Daft idea of the week was floated by Boris Johnson at a G7 meeting:

Boris Johnson has failed to secure the backing of the G7 nations for swift sanctions against Russia and Syria, leaving the US-UK plan to pressurise Vladimir Putin in tatters.

Germany and Italy vetoed the idea of targeting Russian and Syrian military leaders until an investigation has been carried out into who was to blame for last week’s nerve gas attack in Idlib province.


I think the link between Russia, Assad and the actual nerve gas attack is far too tenuous to justify sanctions, even if there was any chance of them 'working' i.e. persuading Putin to change his mind (which appear to be zero).

Which reminds me, the EU imposed limited sanctions on Russia because of the Ukraine/Crimea annexation thing three years ago and what difference has that made? These were recently extended by another six months without anybody even noticing.

So that's this week's Fun Online Poll: "Should the G7 impose further sanctions on Russia because of Assad's nerve gas attack in Syria?"

Vote here or use the widget in the sidebar.



8 comments:

Mike W said...

'I think the link between Russia, Assad and the actual nerve gas attack is far too tenuous to justify sanctions, even if there was any chance of them 'working' i.e. persuading Putin to change his mind (which appear to be zero).'

Entirely agree with the above. I thought it might be fun to try to find the best journalistic accounts of why Assad, who is achieveing his miltary objectives brick by brick, would actually do it. I have had a search around the papers here, who are happy to spout CIA stuff, but cannot find a clever 'explanation' of the why not the how. Without lawyer Blair to appease, I suppose the Americans cannot even be arsed this time. Anybody read any logic twisting accounts of why Assad wanted to snatch defeat from the jaws of victory? Please link.

paulc156 said...

Does defy logic at first glance that Assad would use such weapons but... The problem with the alternative version of events seems to be technical. Apparently (or so we are told) if conventional explosives hit nerve gas factory it just destroys the nerve gas, so unlikely to result in multiple deaths caused by nerve gas and that the nerve agents are only combined immediately prior to use not in manufacture of storage. That is, without catalyst the nerve gas is rendered harmless. Also we saw no video evidence of any burns caused by explosive impact. As an act of terror it is quite effective and Syria may have been emboldened by Trump's apparent disinterest in regime change despite numerous occurrences of chlorine attacks being reported. Just my tuppence worth.

paulc156 said...

4th line down should read "not in manufacture OR storage"

Bayard said...

"The problem with the alternative version of events seems to be technical."

Waht about an alternative alternative version of events? https://www.craigmurray.org.uk/archives/2017/04/the-balance-of-probabilities/

Mike W said...

Thanks Bayard. yes I go along with the problem the author has with the actions seen.I hear you Paul156 and agree with the two part nature of chemical weapon warheads etc. But I wasn't really searching for the technical aspects. I am intrested in Assad's strategy for using chemical weapons in a battle situation which he has the resources to win conventionally (with Russian support)over the coming months. In short, what Syrian 'Grand Strategy' informed this use (if we accept the contested starting point they did it)?

For example, will it turn out that (1)the use of Chemical weapons can be mixed into a combat mission by an officer as low as a Syrian squadron commander/wing commander and this happened? Or (2)that Syrian Chief of Staff acting directly under Assad, has to order their use in a combat mix. Assuming (2), again what is the strategy? With Russian support Assad will still be at the top table, once Isis have been run back over the Turkish border.

Bayard said...

"Which reminds me, the EU imposed limited sanctions on Russia because of the Ukraine/Crimea annexation thing three years ago and what difference has that made?"

Hasn't it resulted in some Eastern European countries losing a large chunk of their export market?

"Without lawyer Blair to appease, I suppose the Americans cannot even be arsed this time."

As the Russians keep pointing out, no-one has even bothered to manufacture any "evidence" that it was Assad who used the chemical weapons. After all, it was only civilians that got killed and the Syrian rebels haven't shown much evidence of worrying too much about them if it meant pulling off a propaganda coup by a false flag attack, a sort of reverse human shield.

paulc156 said...

The Craig Murray article seems reasonable.
I think that Assad himself is unlikely to have either sanctioned or encouraged the continued use of such weapons but it does seem plausible that a lower ranking commander could have done so. It does seem plausible that now the west has reacted with force that rebel groups themselves may deliberately use such chemical weapons (we know they have them and they have used them)in order to provoke further US strikes. It's pretty obvious that evidence thus far can hardly be called conclusive and does reek of political opportunism.

Mark Wadsworth said...

MW, PC, B, on this one, we all find ourselves relatively in agreement, which makes a welcome change.