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Transnational Thursday for April 4, 2024

Transnational Thursday is a thread for people to discuss international news, foreign policy or international relations history. Feel free as well to drop in with coverage of countries you’re interested in, talk about ongoing dynamics like the wars in Israel or Ukraine, or even just whatever you’re reading.

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Thames Water is going bust, apparently:

I don't know how a company with a 100% monopolized industry selling priceless life-sustaining goods to one of the world's richest cities could be going bust. Some have pointed the finger at former owner Macquarie for letting debt pile up and extracting billions in dividends. I suppose the government could also have regulated prices too low.

What a metaphor for modern-day Britain:

But this year's contest between Oxford and Cambridge came with a quite literal health warning that will resonate with customers of Thames Water and millions more around the UK used to hearing about the sewage in our rivers and beaches.

The boat race crews were given safety advice to avoid swallowing water splashed up from the Thames. After the race, the Oxford rowers criticised sewage levels in the river.

The Daily Mail has lurid stories of highly paid executives, nefarious Chinese investment (I don't know what Chinese banks could do to hurt Britain more than the e coli in the Thames is already doing) and characterises Macquarie as the Vampire Kangaroo:

Didn't the Thames used to have a reputation of being kind of a sewer river at one point?

Haven't they've been doing a couple of massive upgrade projects and maybe those were mismanaged and/or the rising interest rates are somehow fucking them?


Continuing from last week's post on Sinn Féin making a u-turn on the hate speech bill, the Irish Independent has reminded us of one of Sinn Féin's proposed amendments to the bill just one year ago:

The definition of “hate” is laid out in section 10 of the bill and is about preparing or possessing material likely to incite violence or hatred against people on account of their protected characteristics.

Under the Sinn Féin amendments, migrant status would have become one of these protected characteristics.

The party’s amendments to the laws specified that reference to a person’s migrant status included references “to persons seeking international ­protection, persons with refugee status, persons with permission to remain and persons with any other regular or irregular migrant status”.

Now given the party's present (probably tactical) lack of clarity on why they are opposing this bill, and the fact the past year has seen the controversy garner worldwide attention, there is still a possibility that Sinn Féin have woken up to the fact that there is political gain to be had in curtailing the most extreme woke tendencies which until recently have gone unopposed amongst all the main parties. This is more plausible in light of the fact that some genuine opposition has arisen within the coalition government, notably Fianna Fáil TD Willie O’Dea accusing the Justice Minister of playing to the "woke gallery". It does seem like every party has simultaneously remembered that elections are still a thing and that they've been doing a lot of very unpopular things recently, but whether that will actually lead to a change in direction seems far less likely.

Still, unless some very clear statements are made that leave no doubt about the party being genuinely opposed to any hate speech bill, I'm going to rule out the scenarios of Sinn Féin remembering that a good portion of their base are the same working class types who have to live beside asylum centres and chalk this down to "left-wingers think left-wing law doesn't go far enough!".

The Irish left wing open borders position alway confused me. Isn't being upset about British immigration 300 years ago their whole thing?

I don’t think it makes sense to liken them, modern immigration doesn’t involve the state confiscating your land to give to immigrants.

They're more analogous than you think.

The English rulers wanted to increase the number of domestic supporters so they imported supporters from England and seized land to give it to them.

The Irish left wants to increase it's number of domestic supporters so they bring in politically loyal but violent foreigners. They lavish them in tax dollars and pay them to live in local neighbourhoods. The imports commit violence against locals, but it's a hate crime to fight back. Eventually the locals flee.

So their goal is essentially the same result with a few more steps.

Here's how I see it, your description was true for other countries and the related policies have since become a dogma to export via UN resolutions and American soft power or enforce via EU law. There is no real immigrant voting bloc in Ireland, the biggest left-wing party Sinn Fein has flipped their stances on the hate speech bill and the EU migration pact because the last year has caused division within their base (working class vs woke middle class), there was no 5 figure increase in 3rd world immigration until like 2 years ago. The immediate consequences of this situation (though not so immediate when there's an election coming up) work against the left defined strictly, though of course the woke wings of the centrist parties are pretty happy about it.

The conditions for this situation to arise thoughtlessly on the other hand have been present for a long time. Ireland paved the way for the present immigration situation at a time when we faced little consequences for it, the Irish government got to pass laws that made them look good in the eyes of the EU, UN etc while the actual immigration numbers (excluding EU migrants) were minimal. Immigration was simply not that important an issue until recently and there was no cost to winning over the striving middle class who have always been ashamed to be stuck in a backwards Catholic country. Now that Ireland is actually facing consequences for their eagerness to ape the big important countries the cracks are starting to show.

The whole western world is outraged after an Israeli airstrike killed seven aid workers from the World Central Kitchen charity: three of them British, one Palestinian and single citizens of Australia, Poland, USA and Canada (one victim held a dual American and Canadian citizenship). IDF attacked a convoy of three vehicles spaced 1.6 km and 800 m apart (or 1 mile and 0.5 mile apart). The attack consisted of three methodical missile strikes aimed at each vehicle and took a couple of minutes. This in conjunction with the fact that the convoy was previously announced to IDF leaves little space for a mistake.

More then 600 senior jurists from UK conducted a letter in which they accuse Israel of war crimes and call for a ban on sale of weapon systems to Israel. Prime minister of Australia, Anthony Albanese 'expressed outrage over the death of an Australian aid worker'. Yacov Livne, Israeli ambassador to Poland rubbed the Polish public opinion very wrong way when he refused to apologize for the death of a Polish citizen and accused some Polish politicians of antisemitism. Some demand an expulsion of the ambassador, which is unlikely to happen. After the incident Joe Biden urged Benjamin Netanyahu to significantly shift his code of conduct towards civilians in Gaza under the threat of reducing support.

The chief of staff of IDF, Herzi Halevi released a recorded message, saying that the strike "was not carried out with the intention of harming WCK aid workers", adding the IDF was "sorry for the unintentional harm". Netanyahu called the event 'tragic' and assured that "he will do everything to prevent this from happening again".

Since the 7th October about 200 aid workers and 100 journalists were killed in Gaza, more than in the rest of the world combined in this time frame, which rises a justified question about the intentions of IDF towards civilians. I'm very interested how is Israel going to act in the face of its crumbling global credibility and its loss of trust among allies, especially when younger, less favorable towards Israel demographics gradually gain political prominence.

Netanyahu said that these deaths were unfortunate, but 'this happens in wartime'. If that's the case, a loss of international support through sloppy rules of engagement is also 'just something that happens in wartime', so Israel needs to wear it.

There are allegedly rumours that there was a terrorist suspect the IDF thought had entered the convoy at the WCK warehouse, but actually stayed behind. That was allegedly enough to trigger the order from someone. (Some discussion on /r/credibledefence)

Edit: 2 Officers fired for the stuff up

There are allegedly rumours that there was a terrorist suspect the IDF thought had entered the convoy at the WCK warehouse, but actually stayed behind

It wouldn't probably be very controversial if I say that this explanation of killing seven civilian aid workers is just ridiculous. Even if the convoy actually somehow transported one terrorist, does it justify the death of seven innocent people? And we know that there was no terrorist, so it looks to me more like a damage control on the Israeli side, attempts to water down the responsibility. But maybe it was the trigger and I'm overly cynical.

In the end, as @BahRamYou wrote, probably little will change, since western politicians see supporting Israel as the least bad option, so they have to express their anger in front of public opinion, but it won't influence their long-term attitude.

Meanwhile, the US has approved transfer of thousands of bombs and 25 F35s. So I think Israel is just going to keep doing what it's doing. It doesn't seem to affect anything if a million college students protest, they've still go the unwavering support of the elites from both parties.