Breizh Info :Salvini tacle Macron : « Qui sème la pauvreté récolte les manifestations…»-et varia

Breizh Info :
MIIL Saint-Barnabé (22) : des lignes de granulation et des machines durables
mill
Fondée en 1984 par Jean-Yves Boullier, un normand qui s’était installé en Basse-Bretagne, MIIL (Montages Installations industrielles loudéaciennes) est installée non pas à Loudéac… mais à Saint-Barnabé dans les Côtes d’Armor. L’entreprise construit des lignes de granulation – pour la fabrication des aliments du bétail, les engrais, la transformation du bois en granulés… Forte de […]

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Quid du mouvement des Gilets jaunes ?
gilets jaunes 5
Aussi paradoxal que cela puisse paraître, ce mouvement des Gilets jaunes qui se dit apolitique est extrêmement politique et porte les vraies questions : sociales, économiques, démocratiques. En remettant au goût du jour le sens des mots, peuple, pauvre, services publics, représentativité, horizontalité, fraternité, ce mouvement renoue avec la tradition française égalitaire (1). En jetant […]

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L’Afrique est-elle indéveloppable ?
L’Afrique_au_XXIème_siècle_4,2 milliards
L’Afrique est-elle indéveloppable ? C’est la question que se pose le n°108 de la revue l’Afrique réelle, dirigée par Bernard Lugan. Retrouvez ci-dessous l’édito et le sommaire. Pour s’abonner à la revue, c’est ici Numéro spécial : Indéveloppable Afrique ? – Ni croissance, ni développement – L’Afrique n’a pas progressé depuis les indépendances – Le mensonge de la […]

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Salvini tacle Macron : « Qui sème la pauvreté récolte les manifestations…»
Samedi 8 décembre. Alors que dans un Paris quadrillé par les forces de l’ordre Emmanuel Macron était enfermé dans son bunker de l’Élysée, à Rome 80 000 personnes venues de toute l’Italie ont acclamé Matteo Salvini. Tout un symbole. Arrivé sur un air d’opéra de Puccini, Matteo Salvini, vice-Premier ministre et ministre de l’Intérieur, a […]

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Le Faou (29). Un marché de Noël le 22 décembre
noel_faou
Après le succès de la première édition l’an dernier, l’école Diwan du Faou reconduit le NOËL FAOU, au centre-ville du Faou, le samedi 22 décembre, à partir de 16h. Il s’agit d’un marché principalement nocturne pour une magie qui ravira les plus petits et leurs parents ! Au programme, avec l’appui des commerçants et de la […]

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Javier Portella : « Seul un grand mouvement populiste peut devenir le levier d’un véritable changement. » [Interview]
Nous avions évoqué récemment l’ascension du parti Vox en Espagne, un évènement historique depuis la chute de Franco, et qui témoigne de l’écroulement progressif des partis « traditionnels » qui ont gouverné l’Europe de l’Ouest depuis plusieurs décennies. Pour évoquer cette « reconquista » espagnole, nous avons interrogé Javier R Portella, philosophe et essayiste. Il est l’auteur de La liberté […]

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Route du rhum 2018 : le bilan
routedurhum
C’est l’heure du dernier bilan pour l’édition 2018 de la Route du Rhum, destination Guadeloupe. La onzième édition de la Route du Rhum-Destination Guadeloupe s’est en effet achevée ce vendredi 7 décembre à 14h00 (heure métropole) : décalée de cinq jours suite aux conditions météorologiques dans le golfe de Gascogne qui ont retardé une partie de […]

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Les Jardins de Mémoire : on cultive le souvenir dans le Morbihan
jardin_memoire
C’est un vaste jardin, verdoyant et paisible, rempli d’essences diverses et qui recèle un secret… Cet endroit unique se trouve à la Pointe de Kerisper, dans le Morbihan, où les deux rivières d’Auray et du Bono se rejoignent. Son nom, « les Jardins de Mémoire », laisse bien sûr présager de sa vocation, et pourtant des promeneurs, […]

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Gilets jaunes. Un « Pot de départ de Macron », le 15 décembre ?
gilets jaunes 5
Aussitôt les manifestations de l’Acte IV des Gilets jaunes achevées ce samedi, et malgré l’ampleur de la répression (Plus de 1700 arrestations), il semblerait qu’on se dirige tout droit vers de nouvelles actions, samedi 15 décembre. Un nouvel appel a en effet émergé sur Facebook, le 8 décembre, invitant à une nouvelle mobilisation pour le […]

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Chronique sarcastique. Gilets jaunes : La droite la plus conne du monde [Vu ailleurs]
pignon_droite
Nous vous proposons ci-dessous un texte d’Ulysse (l’Internaute, pas le navigateur), décapant, à propos des Gilets jaunes, de la droite, de la récupération. Il va y avoir débat ! Les Gilets Jaunes, c’est la révolte immanente dans ce qu’elle a de plus trivial, de plus évident, irréfragable. Elle pue, elle est sale, elle crie, mais elle […]

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Anaïs, The Liquidators, Les Wriggles, Merzhin : les concerts de la semaine en Bretagne
Anaïs, The Liquidators, Les Wriggles, Merzhin et quelques autres : voici les concerts de la semaine en Bretagne. On commence la semaine mardi, avec Pat’O’May, sur la scène Michel, à Nantes. A découvrir jeudi, The Greenings, à l’Ibis Rennes Cesson Et à Liffré, Anaïs (pop soul) Même soir à Taden (22), The Liquidators (ska rocksteady early reggae) Vendredi […]

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Les 8 doléances des Gilets jaunes approuvées par Michel Onfray
GiletsJaunes081218
Sur son site Internet, le philosophe Michel Onfray raconte avoir ramassé un tract anonyme des Gilets jaunes, contenant 8 revendications, qu’il fait totalement siennes. Et ce dernier de se lancer, au préalable, dans une longue tirade intitulé Grandeur du petit peuple : Les gilets-jaunes sont dans la rue parce qu’ils savent que l’Assemblée nationale et le Sénat […]

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Gilets jaunes : Couderc appelle à l’Acte V samedi prochain [Vidéo]
Christophe Couderc, des Gilets jaunes, s’exprimait samedi soir sur BFMTV, en appelant à une nouvelle manifestation samedi prochain, à Paris : «Emmanuel Macron et son gouvernement ont pour mission la liquidation de la France. Comme tous mes camarades Gilets Jaunes, j’appelle à l’Acte V samedi prochain à Paris, et il faudra faire cela tous les week-ends. […]

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Opus Dei: “Suivre de près les pas du Christ”

Opus Dei:

“Suivre de près les pas du Christ”
Notre condition d’enfants de Dieu nous poussera — j’y insiste — à entretenir un esprit contemplatif au milieu de toutes les activités humaines (être lumière, sel et levain, par la prière, par la mortification, par une profonde culture religieuse et professionnelle); et pour que ce programme soit une réalité: plus nous serons plongés dans le monde, plus nous devons être à Dieu. (Forge, 740)

Ne jetons pas sur le monde un regard de tristesse. Ces hagiographes qui voulaient, coûte que coûte, découvrir des traits extraordinaires chez les serviteurs de Dieu, et ce dès leurs premiers vagissements ont rendu, sans le vouloir, un mauvais service à la catéchèse ( …).

Maintenant, avec l’aide de Dieu, nous avons appris à découvrir, tout au long de journées apparemment toujours semblables, un spatium verae poenitentiae, un temps de véritable pénitence, au cours duquel nous prenons des résolutions d’améliorer notre vie: emendatio vitae. C’est là le chemin qui nous disposera à recevoir dans notre âme la grâce et les inspirations du Saint-Esprit. Or cette grâce, je le répète, s’accompagne du gaudium cum pace, de la joie, de la paix et de la persévérance dans le chemin. (…) (Quand le Christ passe, 9)

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Vers où va-t-on ?-Un rapprochement public saoudo-israélien pourrait se retourner contre Riyad

Vers où va-t-on ?-Un rapprochement public saoudo-israélien pourrait se retourner contre Riyad
Publié le 26 mai 2018
Vers où va-t-on ?-Un rapprochement public saoudo-israélien pourrait se retourner contre Riyad

Vers où va-t-on ?

Vers où va-t-on ?

Un rapprochement public saoudo-israélien pourrait se retourner contre RiyadPosted: 03 Jul 2017 07:20 AM PDT

Article original de Andrew Korybko, publié le 21 Juin 2017 sur le site Oriental Review
Traduit par le blog http://versouvaton.blogspot.fr

Il y a longtemps que l’Arabie saoudite et Israël coopèrent l’un avec l’autre contre leur rival iranien commun, et que leurs liens stratégiques avec les États-Unis sont ce qui les rapproche. Cependant, en raison des sensibilités politiques des deux côtés, aucun des deux n’a formellement reconnu l’existence de cette coordination en coulisses, et encore moins leur pays respectif. Néanmoins, des rapports ont circulé au cours des derniers mois indiquant que Trump et son équipe travaillent fort dans les coulisses pour rassembler publiquement les deux afin de cristalliser plus solidement ce qui s’est avéré être une coalition anti-iranienne très fragile et désunie.

La première étape consiste, selon les sources médiatiques internationales et israéliennes, à encourager doucement l’Arabie saoudite et Israël à négocier des relations économiques entre les deux parties. Cela constituerait une reconnaissance de fait de plusieurs façons et pourrait, comme on s’y attend, faire beaucoup pour une transition plus lisse, l’un de ces jours, vers une reconnaissance formelle. L’Arabie saoudite ne serait pas seule dans cette situation, car elle aurait sans doute le soutien des Émirats arabes unis et de certains de ses autres alliés régionaux, le Qatar étant visiblement absent de cet arrangement à la lumière de la récente guerre froide qui a éclaté entre les deux pays du Golfe.
En outre, un autre élément joue. L’Arabie saoudite pourrait permettre aux pèlerins palestiniens de voler directement à partir de leurs territoires occupés vers le Royaume avec une escale simple et symbolique dans la capitale jordanienne d’Amman. Si cela se produit réellement, cela aurait un symbolisme puissant dans toute la communauté musulmane mondiale en montrant que le gardien des Deux Saintes Mosquées est fondamentalement d’accord avec Israël et son occupation de la Palestine.
Alors que Trump pourrait s’associer à cela et que les liens économiques formels supposément proposés entre le Golfe et Israël enverraient un message positif à d’autres pays musulmans pour suivre leurs traces. Il est aussi possible que cela puisse se retourner contre Riyad en générant un énorme mécontentement parmi le public international ciblé, au point qu’aucun autre État ne suivrait ce plan.

Donc, dans l’ensemble, il y a beaucoup de risques liés à ce que Trump essaie de faire. Il parie que le poids lourd sunnite, l’Arabie saoudite, est assez influent pour que d’autres pays musulmans suivent son chemin, mais il se pourrait qu’il n’y ait pas assez d’argent dans les coffres du Royaume pour financer les pots de vin que cela pourrait nécessiter. En outre, même ce mouvement pourrait encore compromettre la crédibilité du pays aux yeux de tous les croyants qui sont conscients de ses crimes régionaux, en avançant essentiellement l’argument répandu dans certains cercles que les Saoudiens sont des « vendus » dans chaque cas, et que leur garde des Deux Saintes Mosquées ne fait pas automatiquement d’eux des modèles moraux dont les politiques doivent être suivies aveuglément.

Andrew Korybko
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Vers où va-t-on ?

Un rapprochement public saoudo-israélien pourrait se retourner contre RiyadPosted: 03 Jul 2017 07:20 AM PDT

Article original de Andrew Korybko, publié le 21 Juin 2017 sur le site Oriental Review
Traduit par le blog http://versouvaton.blogspot.fr

Il y a longtemps que l’Arabie saoudite et Israël coopèrent l’un avec l’autre contre leur rival iranien commun, et que leurs liens stratégiques avec les États-Unis sont ce qui les rapproche. Cependant, en raison des sensibilités politiques des deux côtés, aucun des deux n’a formellement reconnu l’existence de cette coordination en coulisses, et encore moins leur pays respectif. Néanmoins, des rapports ont circulé au cours des derniers mois indiquant que Trump et son équipe travaillent fort dans les coulisses pour rassembler publiquement les deux afin de cristalliser plus solidement ce qui s’est avéré être une coalition anti-iranienne très fragile et désunie.

La première étape consiste, selon les sources médiatiques internationales et israéliennes, à encourager doucement l’Arabie saoudite et Israël à négocier des relations économiques entre les deux parties. Cela constituerait une reconnaissance de fait de plusieurs façons et pourrait, comme on s’y attend, faire beaucoup pour une transition plus lisse, l’un de ces jours, vers une reconnaissance formelle. L’Arabie saoudite ne serait pas seule dans cette situation, car elle aurait sans doute le soutien des Émirats arabes unis et de certains de ses autres alliés régionaux, le Qatar étant visiblement absent de cet arrangement à la lumière de la récente guerre froide qui a éclaté entre les deux pays du Golfe.
En outre, un autre élément joue. L’Arabie saoudite pourrait permettre aux pèlerins palestiniens de voler directement à partir de leurs territoires occupés vers le Royaume avec une escale simple et symbolique dans la capitale jordanienne d’Amman. Si cela se produit réellement, cela aurait un symbolisme puissant dans toute la communauté musulmane mondiale en montrant que le gardien des Deux Saintes Mosquées est fondamentalement d’accord avec Israël et son occupation de la Palestine.
Alors que Trump pourrait s’associer à cela et que les liens économiques formels supposément proposés entre le Golfe et Israël enverraient un message positif à d’autres pays musulmans pour suivre leurs traces. Il est aussi possible que cela puisse se retourner contre Riyad en générant un énorme mécontentement parmi le public international ciblé, au point qu’aucun autre État ne suivrait ce plan.

Donc, dans l’ensemble, il y a beaucoup de risques liés à ce que Trump essaie de faire. Il parie que le poids lourd sunnite, l’Arabie saoudite, est assez influent pour que d’autres pays musulmans suivent son chemin, mais il se pourrait qu’il n’y ait pas assez d’argent dans les coffres du Royaume pour financer les pots de vin que cela pourrait nécessiter. En outre, même ce mouvement pourrait encore compromettre la crédibilité du pays aux yeux de tous les croyants qui sont conscients de ses crimes régionaux, en avançant essentiellement l’argument répandu dans certains cercles que les Saoudiens sont des « vendus » dans chaque cas, et que leur garde des Deux Saintes Mosquées ne fait pas automatiquement d’eux des modèles moraux dont les politiques doivent être suivies aveuglément.

Andrew Korybko
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Vers où va-t-on ?

Un rapprochement public saoudo-israélien pourrait se retourner contre RiyadPosted: 03 Jul 2017 07:20 AM PDT

Article original de Andrew Korybko, publié le 21 Juin 2017 sur le site Oriental Review
Traduit par le blog http://versouvaton.blogspot.fr

Il y a longtemps que l’Arabie saoudite et Israël coopèrent l’un avec l’autre contre leur rival iranien commun, et que leurs liens stratégiques avec les États-Unis sont ce qui les rapproche. Cependant, en raison des sensibilités politiques des deux côtés, aucun des deux n’a formellement reconnu l’existence de cette coordination en coulisses, et encore moins leur pays respectif. Néanmoins, des rapports ont circulé au cours des derniers mois indiquant que Trump et son équipe travaillent fort dans les coulisses pour rassembler publiquement les deux afin de cristalliser plus solidement ce qui s’est avéré être une coalition anti-iranienne très fragile et désunie.

La première étape consiste, selon les sources médiatiques internationales et israéliennes, à encourager doucement l’Arabie saoudite et Israël à négocier des relations économiques entre les deux parties. Cela constituerait une reconnaissance de fait de plusieurs façons et pourrait, comme on s’y attend, faire beaucoup pour une transition plus lisse, l’un de ces jours, vers une reconnaissance formelle. L’Arabie saoudite ne serait pas seule dans cette situation, car elle aurait sans doute le soutien des Émirats arabes unis et de certains de ses autres alliés régionaux, le Qatar étant visiblement absent de cet arrangement à la lumière de la récente guerre froide qui a éclaté entre les deux pays du Golfe.
En outre, un autre élément joue. L’Arabie saoudite pourrait permettre aux pèlerins palestiniens de voler directement à partir de leurs territoires occupés vers le Royaume avec une escale simple et symbolique dans la capitale jordanienne d’Amman. Si cela se produit réellement, cela aurait un symbolisme puissant dans toute la communauté musulmane mondiale en montrant que le gardien des Deux Saintes Mosquées est fondamentalement d’accord avec Israël et son occupation de la Palestine.
Alors que Trump pourrait s’associer à cela et que les liens économiques formels supposément proposés entre le Golfe et Israël enverraient un message positif à d’autres pays musulmans pour suivre leurs traces. Il est aussi possible que cela puisse se retourner contre Riyad en générant un énorme mécontentement parmi le public international ciblé, au point qu’aucun autre État ne suivrait ce plan.

Donc, dans l’ensemble, il y a beaucoup de risques liés à ce que Trump essaie de faire. Il parie que le poids lourd sunnite, l’Arabie saoudite, est assez influent pour que d’autres pays musulmans suivent son chemin, mais il se pourrait qu’il n’y ait pas assez d’argent dans les coffres du Royaume pour financer les pots de vin que cela pourrait nécessiter. En outre, même ce mouvement pourrait encore compromettre la crédibilité du pays aux yeux de tous les croyants qui sont conscients de ses crimes régionaux, en avançant essentiellement l’argument répandu dans certains cercles que les Saoudiens sont des « vendus » dans chaque cas, et que leur garde des Deux Saintes Mosquées ne fait pas automatiquement d’eux des modèles moraux dont les politiques doivent être suivies aveuglément.

Andrew Korybko

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The New Atlantis: Antisocial Media: How Facebook Disconnects Us and Undermines Democracy By Siva Vaidhyanathan-fort bien mais pourquoi relier cet article avec facebook et twitter qui ne vaut pas mieux:Messieurs les américains: »Il est important d’être sérieux »-Oscar Wilde

The New Atlantis: Antisocial Media: How Facebook Disconnects Us and Undermines Democracy By Siva Vaidhyanathan-fort bien mais pourquoi relier cet varticle avec facebook et twitter qui ne vaut pas mieux:Messieurs: »Il est important d’être sérieux-Oscar Wilde
Publié le 28 novembre 2018

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Antisocial Media: How Facebook Disconnects Us and Undermines Democracy
By Siva Vaidhyanathan
Oxford ~ 2018
276 pp. ~ $24.95 (cloth)
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How Facebook Deforms Us
Strengthening our social fabric won’t be enough to fix the platform that’s fraying it

L. M. Sacasas

It was late in 2006 that I was first encouraged to join Facebook. A friend who had recently graduated from college eagerly reported that it was an amazing way to keep up with friends. I demurred at the time, but by next year I had capitulated. My relationship to Facebook then took on the quality of a bad high school romance: on again, off again. It became a steadier relationship when I became the de facto administrator for my employer’s Facebook page. From that point forward, I maintained a consistent presence on the platform. Along the way I continually fiddled with my Friends list, tinkered with privacy settings, flirted with Google+ on the side, started a Facebook page for my blog, and experimented with different strategies to engage with political and religious issues.

Since the fateful fall of 2016, I have mostly withdrawn from the platform. I deleted the page for my blog. I began deleting my old posts. I stopped wishing friends a happy birthday. Currently, I use the platform almost entirely for self-promotion among a small number of Friends, who include chiefly family and friends. In the last couple of years, even that level of involvement has come to feel like a moral compromise. Why not delete my account altogether, then? A fair question. It’s difficult, I suppose, to cut that last tenuous thread that binds me to my weak ties, a handful of childhood friends, former colleagues, and distant relatives.

I suspect my story is far from unique. Facebook itself presented us with the status option that may most adequately define our relationship to the platform: it’s complicated. That also seems to be the case for Siva Vaidhyanathan, a professor of media studies and the director of the Center for Media and Citizenship at the University of Virginia, and the author of Antisocial Media: How Facebook Disconnects Us and Undermines Democracy. The book is unsparingly critical of Facebook, and rightly so. It also offers serious and compelling suggestions for how to move forward. But these two aspects of Antisocial Media generate an intriguing tension throughout the work: As far as Vaidhyanathan is correct in his critique, his program for reform will likely fail.
Facebook as Vice

Vaidhyanathan’s work has many virtues, not the least of which is its timeliness. The publishing process is slow, and the world of digital media does not let up. But the dates of articles cited in the book show that Vaidhyanathan was working on revisions up to the last possible moment. It is not an easy thing to write a book about digital technology that does not feel outdated as soon as it is released, but Vaidhyanathan has gotten as close as can be hoped. Of course, the timeliness is also by design: In April, amidst a firestorm of controversy surrounding CEO Mark Zuckerberg’s testimony to Congress on his company’s role in the 2016 presidential election, Oxford University Press moved up the book’s publication date from its original fall release, with the book shipping just five weeks later.

Vaidhyanathan’s previous scholarly work tackled the thorny topic of copyright in the early years of the Internet era, and made him among the first to cast a skeptical eye on the social consequences of Google’s search dominance. He was also, early in his scholarly career, a close colleague of the late Neil Postman, one of our most prophetic and astute scholars of media and technology. We should thus not be surprised that Antisocial Media is a deeply informed and accessible work. The book offers clear, deeply researched, and evenhanded prose, enhanced by the author’s willingness to speak candidly about his own experience as a Facebook user, and reflecting the author’s admirable commitment to addressing his readers principally as fellow citizens.

The title of the introduction — “The Problem with Facebook Is Facebook” — gets right to the heart of the matter, and is one of the lines most frequently cited in discussions of the book. The platform “cannot be reformed at the edges,” Vaidhyanathan goes on to say. “Basically, there are two things wrong with Facebook: how it works and how people use it” — which is to say, of course, that Facebook is all wrong. In these opening pages we also read that “Facebook is feeding our worst appetites while starving the institutions that could strengthen us” and that “Facebook undermines our ability to think collectively about our problems.” Vaidhyanathan is undoubtedly correct in these judgments, each of which he goes on to substantiate throughout the book in well-researched detail.

Follow The New AtlantisIt’s thus surprising to discover that, despite his unsparing critique, Vaidhyanathan is nonetheless committed to remaining a Facebook user. Although he affirms that Facebook has been “bad for all of us collectively,” he also believes it “likely has been — on balance — good for individuals.” You must know this to be true, he continues, because “if, on balance, the positive effects of Facebook did not outweigh the negative effects, you likely would have quit it by now.” This conclusion seems at best debatable when, as Vaidhyanathan himself shows, Facebook’s engineers, like the creators of casinos and snack food, specifically designed it to be addictive. But ultimately, Vaidhyanathan wants us not to abstain but to “harness Facebook so it serves us better and harms us less.” In order to do so,

we must turn to regulation around the world. To learn to live better with Facebook, we must understand the ideologies and histories of technology. We must sharpen our critical tools so that we have better conversations about Facebook and the other inventions that seem to offer us so much for so little, but ultimately take much more than they give. We must stop and think.

All of this might sound like a reasonable program for action had we not read, three pages earlier, that “calls for ‘media literacy’” are futile and that “there are few regulatory interventions beyond better privacy protections that would make a significant difference to how Facebook operates.” These two sets of claims may not ultimately be, strictly speaking, contradictory, but they do suggest a strange incongruity that manifests at various points throughout the book. It’s particularly evident at the end of the introduction, where Vaidhyanathan offers the following “confession”: “I have lived my life through Facebook. Facebook has been the operating system of my life.” This admission, and the underlying reality, are part of what lend Antisocial Media its rhetorical force. Alongside the work’s evident logos, it also injects ethos and pathos, generating a palpable tension.

It is this tension — which there is no indication that Vaidhyanathan experiences as such — that points us toward the full meaning of his work. To be clear, this is not to suggest that Vaidhyanathan is contradicting himself or being hypocritical. Rather, we ought to press this tension in order to more fully disclose to ourselves the nature of our situation.

Vaidhyanathan recognizes that there are no easy or straightforward solutions to the problems he catalogs, certainly not in the short run. His noble hope is that, over the long run, we will strengthen the institutions that can sustain “a healthy social and political life,” and will reinforce the work of these institutions with robust norms that will better order our relationship to Facebook. The institutions Vaidhyanathan names include libraries, schools, universities, and unspecified civil society organizations. The norms he has in mind are rules that govern behavior and adjudicate conflicts. He sometimes calls them democratic norms or republican norms (small-d, small-r). They are the moral and epistemic guardrails that keep a democratic society functioning. “Norm-building is so much harder than technology development,” Vaidhyanathan acknowledges. “But it’s the only effective response we have to the problems we have invited.”

Vaidhyanathan is not wrong about the need for both renewed institutions and revived norms. But Facebook will undermine those efforts at every turn — and not only Facebook. As Vaidhyanathan acknowledges at various points throughout Antisocial Media, Facebook is just one important component of an immensely complex set of mutually reinforcing social, political, and technological trends. And the norms and institutions we need in order to put Facebook “in its proper place” will never materialize because of the actual place Facebook, and digital technology more broadly, already occupies in our society. We are thus stuck in a vicious cycle.
Pleasure and Purpose

Antisocial Media explores Facebook’s social consequences by circling the platform and considering it from a variety of perspectives, each revealing an important aspect of the whole. The first perspective is on Facebook as a site of pleasure, a sound place to begin. This chapter explores why we may find it so difficult to go without Facebook. “Despite all the problems it facilitates and all the hatred it amplifies,” Vaidhyanathan writes, “Facebook is valuable.” Facebook connects us with friends, introduces us to important causes, and provides entertainment. So we pay attention. “We don’t do that for frivolous reasons,” he tells us — we don’t merely do that for frivolous reasons, one might have better written.

Immediately, however, he also reminds us that “Facebook manipulates us.” Borrowing from Natasha Dow Schull’s exploration of casino design in her 2012 book Addiction by Design: Machine Gambling in Las Vegas, he details how Facebook is consciously and meticulously designed to generate compulsive engagement. He pays particularly close attention to the key role played by the proliferation of both images and identity performance. The net effect of these design decisions, he soundly observes, is a drift toward tribalism that undercuts civic responsibility.

We see already a tension that will develop throughout the book. On the one hand, Vaidhyanathan tells us, the problem with Facebook is Facebook. So, we might think, the platform cannot escape being the thing that it is. Yet he also seems to believe that users can become the sort of people who will remain stoically uncorrupted by their use of Facebook. At times, he even seems to believe that there is some version of Facebook, tamed by appropriate regulation and taken up by these more virtuous users, that can become a safe and inconsequential vehicle for sharing baby and puppy pictures. This tension seems to arise from an attempt to offer a tangible suggestion about how to move forward. It is, after all, unreasonable to expect that Facebook will simply go away. But this tension also leaves muddled the questions of what Facebook is, who we are when we log on to it, and whether we should actually expect either to be capable of becoming something else.

At the end of the first chapter, there is an instructive discussion about what Aristotle could have taught Mark Zuckerberg. There is surely a great deal Zuckerberg could learn from the ancient philosopher, and many of the points Vaidhyanathan offers from Aristotle about the true nature of friendship, and the political nature of human beings, are well taken.

In places, though, one wishes for a richer engagement. For example, Vaidhyanathan claims that Zuckerberg’s understanding of how Facebook has changed the world “commits the same fallacy that Aristotle did when examining the natural world.” That fallacy is teleology, “the explanation of things based on what they are intended to do, not what they actually do. Zuckerberg assumes that Facebook performs a certain type of work in the world because he intended it to do that work.” The lesson Vaidhyanathan draws for Zuckerberg is this: No matter what he intends for his platform, what really matters is how people actually use it, and people will use it for nefarious as well as benevolent purposes.

Vaidhyanathan here invokes a common but plain misunderstanding of Aristotle to offer a truism — that the consequences of technologies are often different than their creators’ intentions — that could just as well have been made on its own, yet could also have been enriched after all by engaging with what Aristotle really said about how things work. That the bad behavior of Facebook’s users is an important part of the larger picture is true enough, but it too is only part of the picture.

Aristotle’s teleology is part of his broader doctrine of the four causes, which he offers as a way of explaining the nature of a thing or an organism. Expanding on one of Aristotle’s own examples, we can look at the case of a bronze statue. Bronze is the material cause of the statue, that out of which it was made. The formal cause of the statue is the form into which the raw bronze is shaped, or, we might say, the statue’s design. The efficient cause of the statue, that which brings it into being, is the sculptor and his sculpting actions. The final cause, or telos, addresses the question of purpose, or what something is for — in this case, perhaps to commemorate a political leader. Or, to offer another example of a final cause, Aristotle says that surgical instruments are for the sake of health.

When Vaidhyanathan claims that Aristotle was mistaken in giving a teleological explanation of things, he has in mind Aristotle’s application of final causes to nature: “Aristotle explains the function and structure of plants and animals by their ends (telos), or what they are meant to do.” To Vaidhyanathan, it’s as if Aristotle thinks the function of a tree is no different from the function of a table — both are given by someone’s or something’s intention. But this is not right. Like things, organisms have something “for the sake of which” they become what they become. For Aristotle, the final purpose of a tree is not its intention or desire, or that of an outside agent; it is simply that which the tree in its earliest form will eventually become. The final cause of the acorn is the full-grown oak. Purpose in this sense is simply a way of speaking about that toward which something regularly tends.

From this fuller view of Aristotle’s causality we might suggest a richer view of Facebook. Mark Zuckerberg’s intentions for Facebook are certainly part of how we ought to grasp the nature of the platform, but Vaidhyanathan is right that they don’t get us very far. The same is true, however, about the users’ intentions. When we use Facebook, our intentions are constrained, channeled, and impelled by the structure and the digital material of the platform, its formal and material causes.

Further, although Facebook is an artifact rather than a living thing, it is a peculiar kind of artifact: Unlike a bronze statue, it is a dynamic thing that is continually changing, that in a sense grows and evolves. It has an end toward which it is tending. This end may not be clearly given, as a bronze statue’s is, or set in the way of a truly living thing, but it is nonetheless intertwined with the platform’s material, formal, and efficient causes, which are bringing it about.

Facebook’s movement toward its end is partially the consequence of the ongoing work of its designers and engineers, but it also plays out within the parameters of a particular trajectory from which the platform cannot altogether deviate. To some degree independently of the intentions of either Mark Zuckerberg or any of its two billion users, Facebook will be the sort of thing that Facebook has been becoming.
The Moral Formation Machine

Each chapter of Antisocial Media frames Facebook as a machine: “The Pleasure Machine,” “The Attention Machine,” “The Politics Machine,” “The Disinformation Machine,” and so on. The final point that we might draw from Aristotle, which the book implies but does not spell out, is that Facebook is also a moral formation machine. One answer to the question “What is Facebook for?” is that it is for the formation of a particular kind of human being. Aristotle’s Nicomachean Ethics even helps us to understand how this process unfolds: Repeated action becomes habit, habit becomes inclination, inclination becomes virtue or vice, and these virtues and vices define our character. The habits generated by our use of Facebook shape our character. While we consciously or half-consciously perform our aspirational identity, as an inevitable consequence of Facebook’s formal and material qualities our identity is being shaped in a more profound though often unnoticed manner. There is no opting out of this dynamic.

If reading with and against the grain of Vaidhyanathan’s discussion of Facebook as a pleasure machine accents the formative powers of media technology, his discussion of surveillance draws our attention to the moral and cultural vacuum in which Facebook’s consequences unfold. In combination with ubiquitous recording devices that we each carry around with us at all times, Vaidhyanathan explains how Facebook has enabled and encouraged three distinct but related modes of surveillance: peer surveillance, corporate surveillance, and state surveillance. He is correct to note that our understanding of privacy is wholly inadequate to the challenges raised by digital tools of surveillance. He also correctly observes that Facebook’s own framing of privacy, as an engineering problem or a matter of consumer choice, does not help the situation. Indeed, it fosters an inability to conceive of privacy as a social, political, and, above all, moral reality. The hollowing out of our lived understanding of privacy was underway long before Facebook arrived on the scene, and Vaidhyanathan helpfully points to existing American legal traditions that have contributed to our shallow understanding.

But I return to the question of moral formation. How is it that we became the sort of people who cared so little about privacy? Marshall McLuhan, Neil Postman, and other media ecologists had their own ideas about the matter, often linking the evolution of our understanding of privacy to the rise and fall of print as the dominant medium of communication.

But it is also the case that embracing Facebook, and social media more broadly, has accustomed us to expect and crave a certain degree of publicness. The social and moral context that undergirded a fuller and more robust understanding of privacy is gone. It is important to understand that very few people have ever been able to articulate a detailed and well-constructed theory of privacy. One did not have to; it was part of the social fabric, a tacit moral sense. It was, in other words, a matter of norms and institutions.

That fabric has been torn to shreds, in no small measure owing to the capabilities that electronic and digital media have created. As I understand him, Vaidhyanathan wants a renewal of these norms guarding not only how we handle our own privacy but also how we handle the frightening power each of us now has to compromise the privacy of others. Yet so long as we are the sort of people shaped by the practices that characterize social media, we are unlikely to experience such a renewal. We lack the moral infrastructure to sustain such a project.

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Could It Be Otherwise?

One of the most enjoyable features of Antisocial Media is Vaidhyanathan’s vignettes about his friendship with Neil Postman. He is clearly fond of Postman, and he gives Postman a great deal of credit for shaping how he has come to think about technology. “Neil inspired my lines of questioning and broadened my vision,” Vaidhyanathan writes. “But he did not convert me to the faith.” The faith in question is an “orthodox” media ecology in the vein of Marshall McLuhan. The chief problem with this school of thought, in Vaidhyanathan’s view, is its technological determinism: “The technologies come first; the mental and social features come from the technologies. It’s a strong, simple line of causation.”

I am, admittedly, inclined toward an orthodox variety of media ecology, although I don’t expect to succeed where Postman failed. I simply note that the charge of technological determinism requires a much longer discussion. It was McLuhan, after all, who affirmed, “There is absolutely no inevitability as long as there is a willingness to contemplate what is happening.” And it is, of course, important to take economic and political factors into consideration when one contemplates what is happening.

But by whatever combination of factors, Facebook has, for now, achieved an unprecedented level of influence in societies across the globe, as Vaidhyanathan documents so well. Could it have been otherwise? Certainly. But that is irrelevant. If we live our lives through Facebook, our lives will be shaped by Facebook. If Facebook mediates our public discourse, then that discourse will be shaped by the formal properties of the platform. The critical point to register is that we will be worked over by the medium, as McLuhan has put it. We will conform to its image. And this will happen regardless of how judiciously and responsibly we post.

Although Vaidhyanathan was not converted to the faith by Postman, he writes very nearly like a full convert in the concluding chapter of Antisocial Media, where he deploys Postman’s 1992 book Technopoly to describe our cultural surrender to an ideology of technology. It was in Technopoly that Postman wrote,

Surrounding every technology are institutions whose organization — not to mention their reason for being — reflects the world-view promoted by the technology. Therefore, when an old technology is assaulted by a new one, institutions are threatened. When institutions are threatened, a culture finds itself in crisis.

This is as apt a characterization of our situation as we are likely to find. Curiously, Vaidhyanathan speaks of the need for “reinvestment in institutions that promote deep thought conducted at analog speed.” But this is the point at which Postman and McLuhan might help us to see more clearly than Vaidhyanathan. We want desperately to believe that the old institutions can be reinvigorated, renewed, revived. But the age of analog speed, barring some great catastrophe, is behind us, whether we like it or not. Facebook is just one of the facets of the emerging digital order that is assaulting the very institutions Vaidhyanathan wants to reinvigorate, tearing up the ground they require to survive, and undermining the cultivation of traditional citizenly virtues.
Quitting

At one point in Antisocial Media, Vaidhyanathan, channeling Postman, makes the following legitimate complaint: “It’s hard to participate in a republic, let alone face global challenges, when hit network programs such as The Voice have our eyes darting from television to iPad to phone, tweeting and cheering and chatting and shopping along.” Channeling Seinfeld, he immediately adds, “Not that there is anything wrong with that.” He goes on to say that the problem is the “unrelenting ubiquity of these draws on our attention.” I suspect, however, that Vaidhyanathan was too quick to diffuse the moral outrage. At some point, it seems to me, we must examine our practices and count the moral costs.

Vaidhyanathan is adamant about his refusal to abandon the platform. Discussing media theorist Douglas Rushkoff’s 2013 opinion piece explaining his decision to quit Facebook, Vaidhyanathan argues that such decisions make no difference at all to Facebook. “I’m still a Facebook user,” he adds. “And I have no plans to resign.” There is, he concedes, little to be done about Facebook’s influence except for the slow, deliberate work, to which he returns throughout the book, of renewing norms and rebuilding institutions. As I have suggested, renewal and rebuilding may not be the best way of framing the work, undoubtedly slow and deliberate, that must now be undertaken. Perhaps it is more like the work of reimagining than renewal. We cannot return to what is passing away, but we can work toward what has not yet come into being. And I cannot help but think that the cause could only be helped if more of us were willing to walk away from Facebook.

In Living into Focus (2012), Arthur Boers writes that he once heard the Amish farmer and writer David Kline tell a story about a bus full of Protestant tourists visiting Amish country. An Amish man is also on the bus, and so the tourists ask him about how his people are different from other Christians. The man first mentions some obvious similarities, such as wearing clothes and liking good food.

Then the Amish man asks: “How many of you have a television?”

All passengers raise their hands.

“How many of you believe your children would be better off without TV?”

Most, if not all, passengers raise their hands.

“How many of you, knowing this, will get rid of your television when you go home?”

No hands are raised.

“That’s the difference between the Amish and others,” he concluded.

The difference, in other words, is that the Amish maintained their robust deliberative institutions and norms precisely because they have been willing to pay the price of subjecting their use of technology to the greater good of sustaining the health of their community. The rest of us have inverted the priority, and we have paid our own price.

L. M. Sacasas is a fellow of the Greystone Theological Institute and the director of its Center for the Study of Ethics and Technology, and a teacher in Winter Park, Florida. He writes about technology at The Frailest Thing.

L. M. Sacasas, « How Facebook Deforms Us, » The New Atlantis, Number 56, Summer/Fall 2018, pp. 82-91.
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Antisocial Media: How Facebook Disconnects Us and Undermines Democracy
By Siva Vaidhyanathan
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BLOGS | BOOKS | CONTACT | SUBSCRIBE | DONATE | [The New Atlantis on Facebook] [Follow The New Atlantis by email] [The New Atlantis on Twitter] The New Atlantis BROWSE BY: TOPIC | AUTHOR iStockPhoto Related Articles This article appears in the SUMMER/FALL 2018 issue of The New Atlantis PDF version Printer-friendly Buy this issue E-mail this page Related articles Ian Marcus Corbin, “Time to Log Off,” Summer/Fall 2018 L.M. Sacasas, “The Tech Backlash We Really Need,” Spring 2018 Related topics Internet Media Social Networking Technology and Culture Postman, Neil Related Articles Reviewed in this article Antisocial Media: How Facebook Disconnects Us and Undermines Democracy By Siva Vaidhyanathan Oxford ~ 2018 276 pp. ~ $24.95 (cloth) Email Updates Enter your email address to receive occasional updates and previews from The New Atlantis. Latest tweets from @TNAjournal about 12 minutes ago — The stronger norms and institutions we need to put Facebook in its proper place will never materialize because Face… twitter.com/i/web/status/1… about 9 hours ago — RT @jeff_bilbro “One answer to the question ‘What is Facebook for?’ is that it is for the formation of a particular kind of human b… https://t.co/Jv3GzWAijZ about 16 hours ago — Calls for stronger regulation, civic institutions, and “media literacy” will not be enough to fix Facebook. Just po… twitter.com/i/web/status/1… How Facebook Deforms Us Strengthening our social fabric won’t be enough to fix the platform that’s fraying it L. M. Sacasas It was late in 2006 that I was first encouraged to join Facebook. A friend who had recently graduated from college eagerly reported that it was an amazing way to keep up with friends. I demurred at the time, but by next year I had capitulated. My relationship to Facebook then took on the quality of a bad high school romance: on again, off again. It became a steadier relationship when I became the de facto administrator for my employer’s Facebook page. From that point forward, I maintained a consistent presence on the platform. Along the way I continually fiddled with my Friends list, tinkered with privacy settings, flirted with Google+ on the side, started a Facebook page for my blog, and experimented with different strategies to engage with political and religious issues. Since the fateful fall of 2016, I have mostly withdrawn from the platform. I deleted the page for my blog. I began deleting my old posts. I stopped wishing friends a happy birthday. Currently, I use the platform almost entirely for self-promotion among a small number of Friends, who include chiefly family and friends. In the last couple of years, even that level of involvement has come to feel like a moral compromise. Why not delete my account altogether, then? A fair question. It’s difficult, I suppose, to cut that last tenuous thread that binds me to my weak ties, a handful of childhood friends, former colleagues, and distant relatives. I suspect my story is far from unique. Facebook itself presented us with the status option that may most adequately define our relationship to the platform: it’s complicated. That also seems to be the case for Siva Vaidhyanathan, a professor of media studies and the director of the Center for Media and Citizenship at the University of Virginia, and the author of Antisocial Media: How Facebook Disconnects Us and Undermines Democracy. The book is unsparingly critical of Facebook, and rightly so. It also offers serious and compelling suggestions for how to move forward. But these two aspects of Antisocial Media generate an intriguing tension throughout the work: As far as Vaidhyanathan is correct in his critique, his program for reform will likely fail. Facebook as Vice Vaidhyanathan’s work has many virtues, not the least of which is its timeliness. The publishing process is slow, and the world of digital media does not let up. But the dates of articles cited in the book show that Vaidhyanathan was working on revisions up to the last possible moment. It is not an easy thing to write a book about digital technology that does not feel outdated as soon as it is released, but Vaidhyanathan has gotten as close as can be hoped. Of course, the timeliness is also by design: In April, amidst a firestorm of controversy surrounding CEO Mark Zuckerberg’s testimony to Congress on his company’s role in the 2016 presidential election, Oxford University Press moved up the book’s publication date from its original fall release, with the book shipping just five weeks later. Vaidhyanathan’s previous scholarly work tackled the thorny topic of copyright in the early years of the Internet era, and made him among the first to cast a skeptical eye on the social consequences of Google’s search dominance. He was also, early in his scholarly career, a close colleague of the late Neil Postman, one of our most prophetic and astute scholars of media and technology. We should thus not be surprised that Antisocial Media is a deeply informed and accessible work. The book offers clear, deeply researched, and evenhanded prose, enhanced by the author’s willingness to speak candidly about his own experience as a Facebook user, and reflecting the author’s admirable commitment to addressing his readers principally as fellow citizens. The title of the introduction — “The Problem with Facebook Is Facebook” — gets right to the heart of the matter, and is one of the lines most frequently cited in discussions of the book. The platform “cannot be reformed at the edges,” Vaidhyanathan goes on to say. “Basically, there are two things wrong with Facebook: how it works and how people use it” — which is to say, of course, that Facebook is all wrong. In these opening pages we also read that “Facebook is feeding our worst appetites while starving the institutions that could strengthen us” and that “Facebook undermines our ability to think collectively about our problems.” Vaidhyanathan is undoubtedly correct in these judgments, each of which he goes on to substantiate throughout the book in well-researched detail. Follow The New AtlantisIt’s thus surprising to discover that, despite his unsparing critique, Vaidhyanathan is nonetheless committed to remaining a Facebook user. Although he affirms that Facebook has been “bad for all of us collectively,” he also believes it “likely has been — on balance — good for individuals.” You must know this to be true, he continues, because “if, on balance, the positive effects of Facebook did not outweigh the negative effects, you likely would have quit it by now.” This conclusion seems at best debatable when, as Vaidhyanathan himself shows, Facebook’s engineers, like the creators of casinos and snack food, specifically designed it to be addictive. But ultimately, Vaidhyanathan wants us not to abstain but to “harness Facebook so it serves us better and harms us less.” In order to do so, we must turn to regulation around the world. To learn to live better with Facebook, we must understand the ideologies and histories of technology. We must sharpen our critical tools so that we have better conversations about Facebook and the other inventions that seem to offer us so much for so little, but ultimately take much more than they give. We must stop and think. All of this might sound like a reasonable program for action had we not read, three pages earlier, that “calls for ‘media literacy’” are futile and that “there are few regulatory interventions beyond better privacy protections that would make a significant difference to how Facebook operates.” These two sets of claims may not ultimately be, strictly speaking, contradictory, but they do suggest a strange incongruity that manifests at various points throughout the book. It’s particularly evident at the end of the introduction, where Vaidhyanathan offers the following “confession”: “I have lived my life through Facebook. Facebook has been the operating system of my life.” This admission, and the underlying reality, are part of what lend Antisocial Media its rhetorical force. Alongside the work’s evident logos, it also injects ethos and pathos, generating a palpable tension. It is this tension — which there is no indication that Vaidhyanathan experiences as such — that points us toward the full meaning of his work. To be clear, this is not to suggest that Vaidhyanathan is contradicting himself or being hypocritical. Rather, we ought to press this tension in order to more fully disclose to ourselves the nature of our situation. Vaidhyanathan recognizes that there are no easy or straightforward solutions to the problems he catalogs, certainly not in the short run. His noble hope is that, over the long run, we will strengthen the institutions that can sustain “a healthy social and political life,” and will reinforce the work of these institutions with robust norms that will better order our relationship to Facebook. The institutions Vaidhyanathan names include libraries, schools, universities, and unspecified civil society organizations. The norms he has in mind are rules that govern behavior and adjudicate conflicts. He sometimes calls them democratic norms or republican norms (small-d, small-r). They are the moral and epistemic guardrails that keep a democratic society functioning. “Norm-building is so much harder than technology development,” Vaidhyanathan acknowledges. “But it’s the only effective response we have to the problems we have invited.” Vaidhyanathan is not wrong about the need for both renewed institutions and revived norms. But Facebook will undermine those efforts at every turn — and not only Facebook. As Vaidhyanathan acknowledges at various points throughout Antisocial Media, Facebook is just one important component of an immensely complex set of mutually reinforcing social, political, and technological trends. And the norms and institutions we need in order to put Facebook “in its proper place” will never materialize because of the actual place Facebook, and digital technology more broadly, already occupies in our society. We are thus stuck in a vicious cycle. Pleasure and Purpose Antisocial Media explores Facebook’s social consequences by circling the platform and considering it from a variety of perspectives, each revealing an important aspect of the whole. The first perspective is on Facebook as a site of pleasure, a sound place to begin. This chapter explores why we may find it so difficult to go without Facebook. “Despite all the problems it facilitates and all the hatred it amplifies,” Vaidhyanathan writes, “Facebook is valuable.” Facebook connects us with friends, introduces us to important causes, and provides entertainment. So we pay attention. “We don’t do that for frivolous reasons,” he tells us — we don’t merely do that for frivolous reasons, one might have better written. Immediately, however, he also reminds us that “Facebook manipulates us.” Borrowing from Natasha Dow Schull’s exploration of casino design in her 2012 book Addiction by Design: Machine Gambling in Las Vegas, he details how Facebook is consciously and meticulously designed to generate compulsive engagement. He pays particularly close attention to the key role played by the proliferation of both images and identity performance. The net effect of these design decisions, he soundly observes, is a drift toward tribalism that undercuts civic responsibility. We see already a tension that will develop throughout the book. On the one hand, Vaidhyanathan tells us, the problem with Facebook is Facebook. So, we might think, the platform cannot escape being the thing that it is. Yet he also seems to believe that users can become the sort of people who will remain stoically uncorrupted by their use of Facebook. At times, he even seems to believe that there is some version of Facebook, tamed by appropriate regulation and taken up by these more virtuous users, that can become a safe and inconsequential vehicle for sharing baby and puppy pictures. This tension seems to arise from an attempt to offer a tangible suggestion about how to move forward. It is, after all, unreasonable to expect that Facebook will simply go away. But this tension also leaves muddled the questions of what Facebook is, who we are when we log on to it, and whether we should actually expect either to be capable of becoming something else. At the end of the first chapter, there is an instructive discussion about what Aristotle could have taught Mark Zuckerberg. There is surely a great deal Zuckerberg could learn from the ancient philosopher, and many of the points Vaidhyanathan offers from Aristotle about the true nature of friendship, and the political nature of human beings, are well taken. In places, though, one wishes for a richer engagement. For example, Vaidhyanathan claims that Zuckerberg’s understanding of how Facebook has changed the world “commits the same fallacy that Aristotle did when examining the natural world.” That fallacy is teleology, “the explanation of things based on what they are intended to do, not what they actually do. Zuckerberg assumes that Facebook performs a certain type of work in the world because he intended it to do that work.” The lesson Vaidhyanathan draws for Zuckerberg is this: No matter what he intends for his platform, what really matters is how people actually use it, and people will use it for nefarious as well as benevolent purposes. Vaidhyanathan here invokes a common but plain misunderstanding of Aristotle to offer a truism — that the consequences of technologies are often different than their creators’ intentions — that could just as well have been made on its own, yet could also have been enriched after all by engaging with what Aristotle really said about how things work. That the bad behavior of Facebook’s users is an important part of the larger picture is true enough, but it too is only part of the picture. Aristotle’s teleology is part of his broader doctrine of the four causes, which he offers as a way of explaining the nature of a thing or an organism. Expanding on one of Aristotle’s own examples, we can look at the case of a bronze statue. Bronze is the material cause of the statue, that out of which it was made. The formal cause of the statue is the form into which the raw bronze is shaped, or, we might say, the statue’s design. The efficient cause of the statue, that which brings it into being, is the sculptor and his sculpting actions. The final cause, or telos, addresses the question of purpose, or what something is for — in this case, perhaps to commemorate a political leader. Or, to offer another example of a final cause, Aristotle says that surgical instruments are for the sake of health. When Vaidhyanathan claims that Aristotle was mistaken in giving a teleological explanation of things, he has in mind Aristotle’s application of final causes to nature: “Aristotle explains the function and structure of plants and animals by their ends (telos), or what they are meant to do.” To Vaidhyanathan, it’s as if Aristotle thinks the function of a tree is no different from the function of a table — both are given by someone’s or something’s intention. But this is not right. Like things, organisms have something “for the sake of which” they become what they become. For Aristotle, the final purpose of a tree is not its intention or desire, or that of an outside agent; it is simply that which the tree in its earliest form will eventually become. The final cause of the acorn is the full-grown oak. Purpose in this sense is simply a way of speaking about that toward which something regularly tends. From this fuller view of Aristotle’s causality we might suggest a richer view of Facebook. Mark Zuckerberg’s intentions for Facebook are certainly part of how we ought to grasp the nature of the platform, but Vaidhyanathan is right that they don’t get us very far. The same is true, however, about the users’ intentions. When we use Facebook, our intentions are constrained, channeled, and impelled by the structure and the digital material of the platform, its formal and material causes. Further, although Facebook is an artifact rather than a living thing, it is a peculiar kind of artifact: Unlike a bronze statue, it is a dynamic thing that is continually changing, that in a sense grows and evolves. It has an end toward which it is tending. This end may not be clearly given, as a bronze statue’s is, or set in the way of a truly living thing, but it is nonetheless intertwined with the platform’s material, formal, and efficient causes, which are bringing it about. Facebook’s movement toward its end is partially the consequence of the ongoing work of its designers and engineers, but it also plays out within the parameters of a particular trajectory from which the platform cannot altogether deviate. To some degree independently of the intentions of either Mark Zuckerberg or any of its two billion users, Facebook will be the sort of thing that Facebook has been becoming. The Moral Formation Machine Each chapter of Antisocial Media frames Facebook as a machine: “The Pleasure Machine,” “The Attention Machine,” “The Politics Machine,” “The Disinformation Machine,” and so on. The final point that we might draw from Aristotle, which the book implies but does not spell out, is that Facebook is also a moral formation machine. One answer to the question “What is Facebook for?” is that it is for the formation of a particular kind of human being. Aristotle’s Nicomachean Ethics even helps us to understand how this process unfolds: Repeated action becomes habit, habit becomes inclination, inclination becomes virtue or vice, and these virtues and vices define our character. The habits generated by our use of Facebook shape our character. While we consciously or half-consciously perform our aspirational identity, as an inevitable consequence of Facebook’s formal and material qualities our identity is being shaped in a more profound though often unnoticed manner. There is no opting out of this dynamic. If reading with and against the grain of Vaidhyanathan’s discussion of Facebook as a pleasure machine accents the formative powers of media technology, his discussion of surveillance draws our attention to the moral and cultural vacuum in which Facebook’s consequences unfold. In combination with ubiquitous recording devices that we each carry around with us at all times, Vaidhyanathan explains how Facebook has enabled and encouraged three distinct but related modes of surveillance: peer surveillance, corporate surveillance, and state surveillance. He is correct to note that our understanding of privacy is wholly inadequate to the challenges raised by digital tools of surveillance. He also correctly observes that Facebook’s own framing of privacy, as an engineering problem or a matter of consumer choice, does not help the situation. Indeed, it fosters an inability to conceive of privacy as a social, political, and, above all, moral reality. The hollowing out of our lived understanding of privacy was underway long before Facebook arrived on the scene, and Vaidhyanathan helpfully points to existing American legal traditions that have contributed to our shallow understanding. But I return to the question of moral formation. How is it that we became the sort of people who cared so little about privacy? Marshall McLuhan, Neil Postman, and other media ecologists had their own ideas about the matter, often linking the evolution of our understanding of privacy to the rise and fall of print as the dominant medium of communication. But it is also the case that embracing Facebook, and social media more broadly, has accustomed us to expect and crave a certain degree of publicness. The social and moral context that undergirded a fuller and more robust understanding of privacy is gone. It is important to understand that very few people have ever been able to articulate a detailed and well-constructed theory of privacy. One did not have to; it was part of the social fabric, a tacit moral sense. It was, in other words, a matter of norms and institutions. That fabric has been torn to shreds, in no small measure owing to the capabilities that electronic and digital media have created. As I understand him, Vaidhyanathan wants a renewal of these norms guarding not only how we handle our own privacy but also how we handle the frightening power each of us now has to compromise the privacy of others. Yet so long as we are the sort of people shaped by the practices that characterize social media, we are unlikely to experience such a renewal. We lack the moral infrastructure to sustain such a project. 4 issues ~ $24Subscribe to The New Atlantis. Could It Be Otherwise? One of the most enjoyable features of Antisocial Media is Vaidhyanathan’s vignettes about his friendship with Neil Postman. He is clearly fond of Postman, and he gives Postman a great deal of credit for shaping how he has come to think about technology. “Neil inspired my lines of questioning and broadened my vision,” Vaidhyanathan writes. “But he did not convert me to the faith.” The faith in question is an “orthodox” media ecology in the vein of Marshall McLuhan. The chief problem with this school of thought, in Vaidhyanathan’s view, is its technological determinism: “The technologies come first; the mental and social features come from the technologies. It’s a strong, simple line of causation.” I am, admittedly, inclined toward an orthodox variety of media ecology, although I don’t expect to succeed where Postman failed. I simply note that the charge of technological determinism requires a much longer discussion. It was McLuhan, after all, who affirmed, “There is absolutely no inevitability as long as there is a willingness to contemplate what is happening.” And it is, of course, important to take economic and political factors into consideration when one contemplates what is happening. But by whatever combination of factors, Facebook has, for now, achieved an unprecedented level of influence in societies across the globe, as Vaidhyanathan documents so well. Could it have been otherwise? Certainly. But that is irrelevant. If we live our lives through Facebook, our lives will be shaped by Facebook. If Facebook mediates our public discourse, then that discourse will be shaped by the formal properties of the platform. The critical point to register is that we will be worked over by the medium, as McLuhan has put it. We will conform to its image. And this will happen regardless of how judiciously and responsibly we post. Although Vaidhyanathan was not converted to the faith by Postman, he writes very nearly like a full convert in the concluding chapter of Antisocial Media, where he deploys Postman’s 1992 book Technopoly to describe our cultural surrender to an ideology of technology. It was in Technopoly that Postman wrote, Surrounding every technology are institutions whose organization — not to mention their reason for being — reflects the world-view promoted by the technology. Therefore, when an old technology is assaulted by a new one, institutions are threatened. When institutions are threatened, a culture finds itself in crisis. This is as apt a characterization of our situation as we are likely to find. Curiously, Vaidhyanathan speaks of the need for “reinvestment in institutions that promote deep thought conducted at analog speed.” But this is the point at which Postman and McLuhan might help us to see more clearly than Vaidhyanathan. We want desperately to believe that the old institutions can be reinvigorated, renewed, revived. But the age of analog speed, barring some great catastrophe, is behind us, whether we like it or not. Facebook is just one of the facets of the emerging digital order that is assaulting the very institutions Vaidhyanathan wants to reinvigorate, tearing up the ground they require to survive, and undermining the cultivation of traditional citizenly virtues. Quitting At one point in Antisocial Media, Vaidhyanathan, channeling Postman, makes the following legitimate complaint: “It’s hard to participate in a republic, let alone face global challenges, when hit network programs such as The Voice have our eyes darting from television to iPad to phone, tweeting and cheering and chatting and shopping along.” Channeling Seinfeld, he immediately adds, “Not that there is anything wrong with that.” He goes on to say that the problem is the “unrelenting ubiquity of these draws on our attention.” I suspect, however, that Vaidhyanathan was too quick to diffuse the moral outrage. At some point, it seems to me, we must examine our practices and count the moral costs. Vaidhyanathan is adamant about his refusal to abandon the platform. Discussing media theorist Douglas Rushkoff’s 2013 opinion piece explaining his decision to quit Facebook, Vaidhyanathan argues that such decisions make no difference at all to Facebook. “I’m still a Facebook user,” he adds. “And I have no plans to resign.” There is, he concedes, little to be done about Facebook’s influence except for the slow, deliberate work, to which he returns throughout the book, of renewing norms and rebuilding institutions. As I have suggested, renewal and rebuilding may not be the best way of framing the work, undoubtedly slow and deliberate, that must now be undertaken. Perhaps it is more like the work of reimagining than renewal. We cannot return to what is passing away, but we can work toward what has not yet come into being. And I cannot help but think that the cause could only be helped if more of us were willing to walk away from Facebook. In Living into Focus (2012), Arthur Boers writes that he once heard the Amish farmer and writer David Kline tell a story about a bus full of Protestant tourists visiting Amish country. An Amish man is also on the bus, and so the tourists ask him about how his people are different from other Christians. The man first mentions some obvious similarities, such as wearing clothes and liking good food. Then the Amish man asks: “How many of you have a television?” All passengers raise their hands. “How many of you believe your children would be better off without TV?” Most, if not all, passengers raise their hands. “How many of you, knowing this, will get rid of your television when you go home?” No hands are raised. “That’s the difference between the Amish and others,” he concluded. The difference, in other words, is that the Amish maintained their robust deliberative institutions and norms precisely because they have been willing to pay the price of subjecting their use of technology to the greater good of sustaining the health of their community. The rest of us have inverted the priority, and we have paid our own price. L. M. Sacasas is a fellow of the Greystone Theological Institute and the director of its Center for the Study of Ethics and Technology, and a teacher in Winter Park, Florida. He writes about technology at The Frailest Thing. L. M. Sacasas, « How Facebook Deforms Us, » The New Atlantis, Number 56, Summer/Fall 2018, pp. 82-91. Follow Our Work Updates daily A few times per week 2-3 emails per month Subscription 4 issues ~ $24 Back issues $7 each eResources HOME SUBSCRIBE CONTACT BOOKS CURRENT ISSUE BUY BACK ISSUES SUBMISSIONS BLOGS ABOUT ADVERTISE DONATE PRIVACY POLICY PERMISSIONS WEBMASTER Published by the Center for the Study of Technology and Society BLOGS | BOOKS | CONTACT | SUBSCRIBE | DONATE | [The New Atlantis on Facebook] [Follow The New Atlantis by email] [The New Atlantis on Twitter] The New Atlantis BROWSE BY: TOPIC | AUTHOR iStockPhoto Related Articles This article appears in the SUMMER/FALL 2018 issue of The New Atlantis PDF version Printer-friendly Buy this issue E-mail this page Related articles Ian Marcus Corbin, “Time to Log Off,” Summer/Fall 2018 L.M. Sacasas, “The Tech Backlash We Really Need,” Spring 2018 Related topics Internet Media Social Networking Technology and Culture Postman, Neil Related Articles Reviewed in this article Antisocial Media: How Facebook Disconnects Us and Undermines Democracy By Siva Vaidhyanathan Oxford ~ 2018 276 pp. ~ $24.95 (cloth) Email Updates Enter your email address to receive occasional updates and previews from The New Atlantis.
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The New Atlantis: Antisocial Media: How Facebook Disconnects Us and Undermines Democracy By Siva Vaidhyanathan-fort bien mais pourquoi relier cet varticle avec facebook et twitter qui ne vaut pas mieux:Messieurs: »Il est important d’être sérieux-Oscar Wilde
medias-presse.info : La Journée contre les violences sur les femmes : l’occasion pour promouvoir l’avortement et la GPA par Francesca de Villasmundo-« Pitié pour les femmes »-Montherlant
Le blog de Liliane Held-Khawam:Dépossession, les milliards envolés de France Télécoms entre 99 et 2001! Michel Bon
The Economic Collapse : General Motors And General Electric Were Both Victimized By The Same Ponzi Scheme, And They Are Both Telling Us The U.S. Economy Is In HUGE Trouble
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medias-presse.info : La Journée contre les violences sur les femmes : l’occasion pour promouvoir l’avortement et la GPA par Francesca de Villasmundo-« Pitié pour les femmes »-Montherlant

medias-presse.info

La Journée contre les violences sur les femmes : l’occasion pour promouvoir l’avortement et la GPA
par Francesca de Villasmundo

Dimanche 25 novembre, il n’y a pas que les gilets jaunes qui ont manifesté. C’était aussi la Journée internationale pour l’élimination de la violence à l’égard des femmes 2018. Les villes européennes ont toutes eu leur petit cortège criard s’associant à cette initiative.

Qui n’est qu’un absurde gadget féministe qui n’aura aucun impact sur l’augmentation des comportements violents, leurs véritables causes en étant soigneusement occultées, politiquement correct oblige : l’islamisation de la société européenne, une laïcisation outrancière destructrice des fondements chrétiens de la famille et des cités, protectrices de la femme, la déchristianisation générant la perte du respect d’autrui et de la notion de charité, cette volonté post-moderne de détruire la complémentarité entre les sexes et le rôle maternel de la femme dans la société, sont quelques unes des raisons qui peuvent expliquer la recrudescence des violences sur les femmes. Néanmoins, et paradoxalement, c’est surtout la femme moderne elle-même qui est son premier bourreau.

C’est d’ailleurs si vrai, qu’à l’occasion de cette journée internationale, le mouvement italien lgbt dénommé Arcigay a publié une affiche dans laquelle on voit une femme enceinte et ce slogan :

« Personne ne contrôle mon corps. L’autodétermination ne se touche pas. »

Et en-dessous :

« Jackie, enceinte pour les autres (hommes ou femmes). Être mère est un libre choix, mais ne pas l’être l’est aussi. L’expression ‘utérus en location’ est une violence qui se blottit dans le langage. »

En somme, c’est une publicité pour l’avortement et la pratique de la GPA sous couvert de dénoncer les violences sur les femmes et pour cacher l’horreur de la GPA, si bien nommé en italien ‘utérus en location… De belles contradictions !

Car en acceptant l’avortement comme un droit, et aujourd’hui la gestation pour autrui, la femme contemporaine s’inflige à elle-même la pire violence qui soit tout en détruisant sa féminité et sa maternité. Et dans un enchaînement logique, en ne respectant pas l’être humain et son corps en son sein, elle se prive du respect qu’elle doit à son propre corps et à elle-même et que les autres lui doivent. Sans considération envers elle-même et l’enfant qu’elle porte mais qui est un autre être qu’elle, comment pourrait-elle prétendre au respect de la part des autres ? Et quand elle se fait ‘machine à reproduire’, ne risque-t-elle pas d’être traitée comme une ‘machine’ que l’on casse ou met au placard quand on n’en a plus besoin ?

Francesca de Villasmundo

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le Saker Francophone: L’Angola vient-il de connaître un «nettoyage ethnique» à la birmane ? Par Andrew Korybko

L’Angola vient-il de connaître un «nettoyage ethnique» à la birmane ?

Par Andrew Korybko – Le 26 octobre 2018 – Source eurasiafuture.com

andrew-korybkoL’exode rapide et massif de 380 000 Congolais de la région Nord-Est de l’Angola ces deux dernières semaines fait immédiatement penser à la crise des Rohingyas de l’an dernier en Birmanie. Mais à y regarder de plus près, aucune des deux crises ne s’est déroulée exactement selon ce qu’en ont rapporté les médias traditionnels. En outre, chacune de ces deux crises est intervenue dans le cadre du jeu géopolitique américain, que le gouvernement local de chacun des deux pays l’ait réalisé ou non.

Carte régionale établissant les positionnements de l’Angola et de la République démocratique du Congo. (Angola colorisé par le saker francophone). Source : RFI

Ce sont surtout le projet de retrait américain du traité FNI, la crise de la Caravane 2.0, et l’assassinat de Khashoggi qui ont fait les gros titres cette semaine, mais perdue au milieu de ces occurrences, une information aurait sans doute dû faire l’objet d’une attention beaucoup plus soutenue de la part du reste du monde : l’exode rapide et massif de 380 000 Congolais de la région Nord-Est de l’Angola. Kinshasa affirme que ses ressortissants ont été forcés de quitter le havre où ils avaient trouvé refuge à l’issue de leur fuite du conflit Kasaï, au sud-ouest de leur pays d’origine, tandis que Luanda les a comparé tacitement à des « armes de migration de masse », exploitant illégalement l’un des gisements de diamants les plus considérables du monde, au Nord-Est du pays.
« Armes de migration de masse »

Considérés de manière superficielle, les événements ressemblent beaucoup à ceux de l’an dernier au Myanmar avec les Rohingyas, quand on avait vu un demi-million de membres de la minorité musulmane partiellement reconnue (considérés par Naypyidaw comme des migrants d’ethnie Bengali et leurs descendants) fuir vers le Bangladesh voisin, suite au lancement par le gouvernement d’une opération de sécurité répondant à une recrudescence d’attaques terroristes. L’Angola déclare ne pas avoir forcé les Congolais à fuir, mais une enquête récemment publiée par Reuters met ces affirmations en cause, et affirme qu’un mélange de tensions ethno-tribales et de pression gouvernementale sont à la source du plus important mouvement de population transfrontalier depuis les conflits interconnectés rwandais–congolais des années 1990, souvent appelés « Guerre mondiale africaine ».

Pour comprendre les événements dans ces deux instances, le lecteur doit accepter l’existence du concept d’« armes de migration de masse », mais ce concept ne correspond pas forcément exactement à la désignation qui en est souvent faite. Pour bien comprendre ce phénomène, le brillant ouvrage de Kelly M. Greenhill, chercheur de l’Ivy League Armes de migration de masse : les déplacements forcés utilisés comme moyen de coercition, écrit en 2010, fait référence. En très bref, Mme Greenhill dit que les flux de populations au travers des frontières peuvent servir d’armes à des fins politiques, économiques, militaires et ultimement stratégiques, en catalysant les événements qui déclenchent ce type de processus. Soyons clairs : aucune personne n’est consciente qu’elle a été manipulée à devenir un migrant, mais c’est là que réside le « génie » de cette approche.
Des États différents, un scénario unique

Les « armes de migration de masse » peuvent « plausiblement être niées », mais restent tout à fait observables comme Mme Greenhill le décrit, et ce paradigme explique parfaitement les conflits en Angola et au Myanmar. Ce dernier pays a hérité d’une minorité musulmane considérable, concentrée dans une région frontalière sensible à l’issue de l’indépendance du pays, ce qui constitue spontanément une menace à la sécurité du pays. L’armée a répondu à la vague terroriste de l’an dernier en créant les conditions qui ont forcé une grande partie de ces populations à fuir vers le Bangladesh, où elles fonctionnent également comme une « arme », en raison de l’effet déstabilisant que ces déplacements massifs ont exercé sur la sécurité aux frontières du pays, et sur sa stabilité politique. D’une certaine manière, on pourrait dire que les Rohingyas ont été exploités comme « armes de migration de masse », aussi bien contre le Myanmar que contre le Bangladesh.

Pour en revenir à l’Angola, les frontières arbitraires imposées à l’époque coloniale, et héritées par la suite, ont séparé des tribus qui avant cela avait interagi pendant des siècles, ce qui a fini par aboutir en la création partielle d’identités composites dans ce pays et au Congo voisin (précédemment connu sous le nom de Zaïre). Les divisions artificielles qui ont été imposées à la région avaient été renforcées par l’intervention militaire zaïroise aux côtés des « rebelles » pro-américains, immédiatement après l’indépendance de l’Angola ; cela n’avait fait qu’augmenter l’animosité de cette nation victimisée envers son grand voisin. Les flux migratoires récents en provenance du Kasaï ont déstabilisé le Nord-Est de l’Angola, mais le retour de ces gens forcé par les autorités juste avant les élections prévues en décembre empire la situation, faisant de ces gens des « armes de migration de masse » dans les deux pays.
La connexion chinoise

Que ces « armes de migration de masse » aient été activées à ce moment précis ne constitue sans doute pas un hasard : chacune des crises a généré des réponses répondant aux intérêts américains. Au Myanmar, la controverse mondiale qui s’est fait jour à l’issue de la crise des Rohingyas s’était muée en problème international, et avait tenu lieu de pression – sans grand succès – sur Suu Kyi pour qu’elle serre la vis à l’armée ; cela aurait fait monter d’un niveau la guerre de l’« État profond » du Myanmar, qui semblait juste résolue, mais le pays avait subi ces déstabilisations comme « punition » pour le « rééquilibrage » inattendu décidé par le gouvernement civil, qui venait d’entamer un rapprochement avec la Chine. Pour ce qui concerne l’Angola, l’opération de sécurité organisée par les autorités du pays déstabilisent le Congo deux mois avant la toute première transition de pouvoir pacifique de l’histoire du pays ; les événements qui en découlent pourraient réduire les chances de voir le successeur désigné par le pouvoir en place, favorable aux chinois, prendre les rênes du pays.

Il serait crédible de plaider une thèse selon laquelle les deux pays ont cherché délibérément à faire quitter leur territoire à un groupe identitaire, ce qui techniquement s’apparenterait à une opération de « nettoyage ethnique », mais la thèse opposée tient également la route : chacun des pays exploite des prétextes qui relèvent de la loi et l’ordre, ce qui s’apparente au droit souverain de tout pays de sécuriser ses frontières de ce qu’il considère (à raison ou à tort) comme des menaces étrangères contre ses ressortissants. Selon cette seconde thèse, les flux migratoires qui en résultent constituent des « dégâts collatéraux » involontaires. Mais quel que soit le bout de la lunette par lequel on regarde le problème, le fait est que ces États ont pris des décisions de leur propre chef (qu’ils aient été incités à le faire ou pas), décisions qui profitent à l’agenda américain d’entretenir des cycles de déstabilisation auto-alimentés (guerres hybrides).

Conclusions

Les événements qui viennent de se produire en Angola ressemblent très fortement à ceux du Myanmar l’an dernier : dans les deux cas, l’armée du pays a réalisé des opérations de sécurité, et dans les deux cas, des flux migratoires rapides et massifs d’un groupe identitaire précis en ont résulté (et dans les deux cas, le gouvernement du pays considérait ces personnes comme des immigrés illégaux) ; ces flux migratoires portaient les signes dérangeants de « nettoyage ethnique », mais sauter à des conclusions hâtives reviendrait à négliger deux facteurs importants. Tout d’abord, des problèmes de sécurité très graves pré-existaient bien, et ont forcé les autorités de chacun de ces deux pays à réagir ; et deuxièmement, leurs actions ne peuvent pas être considérées hors du contexte stratégique plus large de la géopolitique régionale. Nonobstant leur légitimité, chacune de ces opérations a travaillé, avec plus ou moins de succès, en faveur des intérêts géopolitiques américains.

Andrew Korybko est le commentateur politique américain qui travaille actuellement pour l’agence Sputnik. Il est en troisième cycle de l’Université MGIMO et auteur de la monographie Guerres hybrides : l’approche adaptative indirecte pour un changement de régime (2015). Le livre est disponible en PDF gratuitement et à télécharger ici.

Traduit par Vincent, relu par Cat pour le Saker Francophone
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The Economic Collapse: Russia And Ukraine Are On The Brink Of War – And Why That Could Lead To World War 3

The Economic Collapse:
Russia And Ukraine Are On The Brink Of War – And Why That Could Lead To World War 3

Russia And Ukraine Are On The Brink Of War – And Why That Could Lead To World War 3

Posted: 25 Nov 2018 11:03 PM PST

A respected foreign journalist living in Ukraine is warning that a war that most Americans cannot even imagine “teeters on the razor thin edge of becoming real”. When Russia opened fire on Ukrainian Navy vessels and captured three of their ships, it made headlines all over the globe. An emergency meeting of the UN Security Council was hastily arranged for Monday at 11 AM, and hopefully there will be a positive outcome from that meeting. Because right now Moscow and Kiev are on the brink of war, and once a Russian invasion happens there will be no turning back. At that point the U.S. would have a major decision to make, and if we chose to defend Ukraine that could mean that we would suddenly find ourselves fighting World War 3.

Most people don’t realize that this crisis has been simmering for over a week. The following is from a U.S. News & World Report article that was posted on November 19th…

A dispute over shipping lanes is threatening to reignite the 4-year-old simmering war between Ukraine and Russia following confrontations sparked by both sides in recent days.

Russian border guards on Monday detained Ukrainian fishing vessels in the Sea of Azov, a strategically important body of water contained to the north by Ukraine, to the west by the Crimean Peninsula and to the east and south by Russia. Monday’s incident came days after Russian President Vladimir Putin slammed Kiev for detaining Russian commercial ships also in the Azov in what he described as “a totally illegal move” and which Kremlin officials have warned may prompt retaliation.

When you realize what has already taken place, it puts the most recent events in an entirely different context.

The Russians blocked the Kerch Strait in retaliation for having had their own commercial vessels detained by the Ukrainian government.

And when the Ukrainians decided to test the Russians by sailing Ukrainian Navy vessels into the Kerch Strait, the Russians decided not to back down. The following comes from Sky News…

Russia has opened fire on Ukrainian ships and captured three vessels in a major escalation of tensions off the coast of Crimea.

Three sailors have been wounded after the Ukrainian navy said two artillery boats were hit by the strikes in the Black Sea.

Ukraine’s President Petro Poroshenko called an emergency session of his war cabinet and said he will propose that parliament declare martial law.

So the truth is that neither side is exactly “innocent” in this situation.

The Kerch Strait is absolutely critical, because it is the only way into and out of the Azov Sea…

The strait connects the Azov Sea with the Black Sea and runs between the Crimean Peninsula and Russia. It’s a shallow, narrow stretch of water just two to three miles (3.2 to 4.8 kilometers) wide at one point near the Chuska landspit.

The strait is an important economic lifeline for Ukraine, as it allows ships leaving the port city of Mariupol to access the Black Sea.

It’s also the the closest point of access for Russia to Crimea, a peninsula Moscow annexed in 2014. The international community has largely not recognized Russia’s annexation of Crimea, but that did not stop Russia from building a bridge over the Kerch Strait connecting Crimea to mainland Russia. The Kerch Strait bridge was opened in May.

In addition to asking for a declaration of martial law, Ukrainian President Petro Poroshenko has also been gathering with his top military leaders. Poroshenko is pledging that Ukraine will not take any “offensive” military actions, but he also says that they are ready to defend against any attacks from Russia.

The Russians are accusing Poroshenko of manipulating this crisis in order to pump up his flagging approval ratings for the upcoming presidential elections. There is a very real possibility that Poroshenko could lose, and he is desperate to stay in office.

Of course the Ukrainians are blaming Russia for everything, and Poroshenko says that what happened on Sunday “was an act of war”…

Finally, Ukraine has called for an urgent UN Security Council meeting over ‘Russian aggression’ while Ukraine’s secretary for national security, Oleksander Turchynov, accused Russia of engaging in an act of war: “We heard reports on incident and have concluded that it was an act of war by Russian Federation against Ukraine”.

At this point, it is unclear what the Russians will do next.

Hopefully they will see that a full-blown invasion of Ukraine would not be wise.

But if they decide that such a war is inevitable, they will move with lightning speed as we have seen in other conflicts. For example, Russia had already annexed Crimea before the rest of the world even started talking about it. And we all remember what happened in Georgia.

If and when Russia finally pulls the trigger, their forces will be halfway to Kiev before the mainstream media in the western world even realizes what is happening.

And if Russia does invade, the Trump administration will be under tremendous pressure from Republicans, Democrats and other NATO members to intervene. Already, there has been some very tough talk from Secretary of State Mike Pompeo…

It’s yet unclear how far the U.S. is willing to go in support for Ukraine. In a joint statement after Klimkin’s meeting with Secretary of State Mike Pompeo last week, both sides “condemned Russia’s aggressive actions against international shipping transiting the Black Sea, the Sea of Azov and the Kerch Strait to Ukrainian ports” and agreed that “Russia’s aggressive activities in the Sea of Azov have brought new security, economic, social, and environmental threats to the entire Azov-Black Sea region.”

But if we directly intervene in a military conflict between Russia and Ukraine, that could very easily trigger World War 3.

Most Americans are not concerned that a conflict between Russia and Ukraine could potentially affect the United States, but the threat is very real. In fact, according to foreign correspondent Nolan Peterson such a war “teeters on the razor thin edge of becoming real”…

This is the most dangerous moment I’ve seen in Ukraine in years. Tonight, a war that many people in America can only imagine thanks to Hollywood movies, teeters on the razor thin edge of becoming real. Tonight in Ukraine we go to sleep not knowing what tomorrow will bring.

Let us hope for peace, because right now the world is becoming a more chaotic place with each passing day…

About the author: Michael Snyder is a nationally syndicated writer, media personality and political activist. He is publisher of The Most Important News and the author of four books including The Beginning Of The End and Living A Life That Really Matters.

The post Russia And Ukraine Are On The Brink Of War – And Why That Could Lead To World War 3 appeared first on The Economic Collapse.

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