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Keith E Rice's Integrated SocioPsychology Blog & Pages

Aligning, integrating and applying the behavioural sciences

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The Madness of Pietro Poroshenko…?

Imagine that the Scots independence referendum (18 September) produces a knife-edge, inconclusive result, with both sides claiming electoral fraud. Imagine Alex Salmond declares victory anyway; but the UK government roundly rejects Scottish independence and refuses to negotiate with the Scottish Nationalists on any terms other than as the governing party of Scotland-within-the-United Kingdom. Imagine extreme nationalists, mainly from within the police and armed forces, then start organising militia, take over government buildings, deport UK officials across the border and set up customs and immigration checkpoints at all major crossings between England and Scotland. With their Liberal Democrat coalition partners trying to put as much distance between themselves and the Tories as possible in their attempts to stave off electoral annihilation in 2015, imagine the Conservative-dominated government – so unpopular with Scottish voters they have no more than one Tory MP from Scotland at Westminster – then orders the border checkpoints to be retaken – by force, if necessary. Imagine the UK troops meet resistance, shots are exchanged and some UK soldiers killed. Imagine the UK government then orders airstrikes against Scottish militia and the UK army starts shelling areas of Glasgow, Edinburgh and Aberdeen where there are Scottish militia barracks. Of… Read More

Has Vlad played a Blinder?

Was the Russian takeover of Crimea daring RED opportunism that took advantage of ethnic tensions in Eastern Ukraine and Crimea exacerbated by the new Kiev government’s apparent willingness to discriminate against ethnic Russians…? Or was it 2nd Tier-level strategic thinking that had been working towards this potential outcome, while balancing a whole load of other issues, and was ready to move when the time was right…? Last Summer I speculated Putin a 2nd Tier Thinker? and was rebuffed by some complex thinkers who saw Vladimir Putin more as a ‘wily’ RED-driven opportunist who seized his moment. Yet it has stayed with me just how tactical and strategic Putin was. He rescued Barrack Obama from the corner he had painted himself into with his ‘red line’ announcements about Syria and became the hero of the Summer by levering Bashir al-Assad into agreeing to give up his chemical weapons. Yet Putin’s solution allowed Russia’s client, Assad, to continue his brutal and ruthless war with conventional weapons. Syria only makes the headlines occasionally these days but the daily slaughter grinds relentlessly on. The West remains directionless and indecisive about Syria but increasingly less inclined to support the rebels as they become increasingly more dominated… Read More

What Kind of Endgame? What Kind of Syria?

Of course, you can find a steady drip of news from Syria if you look for it; but there haven’t been that many front page headlines about the Syrian conflict since the US stepped back from the brink of a missile attack in the Summer. Under tentative Russian protection, the Syrian Government appears to have co-operated fully with the United Nations weapons inspectors who are reported to be making good progress (BBC News, 2013b) While no one should underestimate how dangerous the inspectors’ task is – and they haven’t yet been able to access some sites which are in highly-contested areas – their success has been without the kind of nightmare casualties I envisaged in Putin a 2nd Tier Thinker. (The BBC’s Jonathan Marcus (2013b) was just one expert who foresaw similar scenarios.) So far the weapons inspectors have done remarkably well, the Syrian Government is credited with meeting its obligations to the UN Security Council and Vladimir Putin with getting them to do that…and the world has breathed a collective sigh of relief. Given the commercial media’s RED/ORANGE rapacious appetite for new and exciting events to draw in the audience, it’s not too surprising the media’s attention has largely gone elsewhere.… Read More

Putin a 2nd Tier Thinker?

Has Vladimir Putin just revealed himself on the global stage this week to be a world-class statesman? While a number of American commentators seem to have taken offence at Putin’s letter to the American people in Thursday’s New York Post yesterday, around the world other commentators, such as Der Spiegel’s Uwe Klussmann, postulate that Putin is saying what others around the world actually think. Already the Internet is alive with discussion of who seems the more reasonable, assured and statesmanlike: Putin or Barack Obama… with many people coming down clearly on Putin’s side. Obama might have argued in his televised speech on Tuesday evening that what makes the United States ‘exceptional’ is its resolve to intervene in the truly horrible…but Putin’s riposte that no one has the right to consider themselves that much more exceptional than others is hard to beat. From an Integrated SocioPsychology perspective, Obama’s argument comes from a vMEME harmonic of BLUE nationalism and ORANGE status-seeking; Putin’s more complex argument comes from the GREEN vMEME and possibly beyond. Back in February 2009 I posited whether Obama [was] a 2nd Tier thinker. Despite the huge sense of optimism in much of the world at his election, within weeks I wasn’t impressed that… Read More

Lose a Cat, lose a Father….

Yesterday we – my wife, Caroline, and I – attended a service for the interment of my father’s ashes. A few hours later we picked up a new cat, a 6-week old male kitten we’re calling Basmati – ‘Basmati Rice’, geddit?! Baz, as we tend to call him, is settling in remarkably well and is a real delight after what seems to have been 6 months of loss. Personally I would never admit to being religious or, in any sense, ‘spiritual’ beyond having a strong but rather vague conviction that there is something bigger than me ‘out there’.  On the odd occasion I do think about it, I tend to think of this ‘something’ in God-the-Father/Allah-the-Compassionate terms – which I attribute to cultural memes rather than any spiritual intuition. And I certainly consider myself far too rational to entertain anything superstitious! Yet, for several years now, I’ve had the thought that I would lose Artemis, my cat, and Ted Rice, my father, within a very short time of each other. Of course, I could rationalise this by arguing that both were approaching the end of their natural life and had already lived significantly beyond the average age of their sex and… Read More

Wanted: Suitable Latvian Men for Latvian Women

This article on the BBC News the other day (13 October) really caught my eye…about there being a shortage of suitable men for the women of Latvia. Of course, there have been many shortages of men before. Usually after wars there are shortages of men since men do most of the fighting. Even in the one and only truly ‘total war’ of World War II, far more men were killed than women. Eg: the Germans lost over 5 million men and the Soviet Union an estimate of upto 10 million. (If just some of the anecdotes I’ve heard are true, British and American soldiers in the ruins of Berlin in 1945 could have almost any German woman they wanted, especially if they had chocolate, cigarettes, nylons, etc, to give away.) However, a significant shortage in peace time is unusual. Paradoxically statistics show that more male babies are born in Latvia than girls. However, a high early male mortality rate means there are 8% more women than men in the country. Among the under-30s, there are almost 9,000 more men than women. However, this is inverted between the ages of 30-39 so that there are almost 3,000 more women than men. This… Read More

‘Lost’ in Purgatory?

Over 2 weeks later it’s still being remarked upon in the internet fan forums about just how similar in theme were the final episodes of 2 of the biggest TV dramas of the past few years, Ashes to Ashes (21 May) and Lost (24 May). The Life On Mars/Ashes to Ashes story arcs ended with ‘rough diamond’/’Neanderthal throwback’ [take your pick!] DCI Gene Hunt revealed to be a Christ-like figure living in purgatory to work with the souls of dead coppers to help them accept their untimely demise and move on to the afterlife proper. Hunt even got to fend off the devil-like Discipline & Complaints investigator Jim Keats’ attempts to steal the dead coppers’ souls. Truth to tell, I wasn’t much impressed with the ‘Ashes to Ashes’ finale, ruminating that the purgatory explanation was something of a cop-out, saving the writers from having to come up with some kind of science fiction story of alternate realities/dimension shifts/etc, etc. But – blow me! – just a few days later a near-identical theme was acted out in ‘Lost’s’ 2.5-hour grand finale. This time around it was Jack Shephard being Christ-like to save the island from the darkness brought on by the devil-like ‘Man in… Read More

‘Liberal Conservatives’: new politics?

The first day of the Tory/Lib Dem coalition we had Nick & Dave: the Love-In in the Rose Garden which more than a few commentators likened to a wedding, such was the bonhomie and adoring gazes between the principals. Yesterday we had Vince Cable, the Lib Dems’ voice of sensible moderation, and William Hague, the conservative of the Conservatives, sharing the walk along Downing Street to David Cameron’s first cabinet meeting. Not to mention the bizarre spectacle of Lib Dem anti-nuclear spokesperson Chris Huhne taking charge of implementing the Tories’ plans to build more nuclear power stations! Today, of course, Cameron’s at war with a number of his own backbenchers over the intention to fix the level at which Parliament can be dissolved prematurely at a vote of 55% of the House of Commons (up from a simple majority of 51% and making it that much more difficult to get rid of them). At least the Lib Dems are only being berated for this ‘stitch up’ by members of another party (Labour)! Undoubtedly the week since the general election results were declared has been one of the most interesting in modern British politics! The 55% no-confidence level stitch-up is, in fact, a key plank… Read More

Munir Hussain and the wrong messages of Judge John Reddihough

What has our kingdom come to when a man and members of his family are tied up by knife-wielding masked intruders and threatened with death, some of the victims escape, get help, chase the perpetrators and beat up badly one of them, only to be jailed for excessive use of force…?!?!? This is effectively what has happened to Munir Hussain and his brother Toker who were jailed this week for 30 months and 39 months respectively. Walid Salem, the intruder they caught, suffered such injuries (including, it is claimed, a permanent brain injury) in what  was clearly a sustained attack by the Hussains that he was considered unfit to be tried on a charge of unlawful imprisonment and was merely put on a supervision order. In sentencing the Hussain brothers, Judge John Reddihough described the assault on Salem by the Hussain brothers as “a dreadful, violent attack”. It undoubtedly was. Among the implements the Hussains and 2 other neighbours used to beat Salem were a cricket bat and a metal pole, (Reportedly the cricket bat was used to strike Salem with such force that it broke in 3!) “This case is a tragedy for you and your families,” the judge told Munir Hussain.… Read More

Should the BNP appear on the Beeb?

There are few things guaranteed to get the knickers of the British ‘chattering classes’ in a twist more than the British National Party (BNP). It’s bad enough that they exist at all – that they are gaining significantly in electoral support in 21st Century Britain is simply unbelievable! And now the BBC are considering having them on ‘Question Time’…how utterly disgraceful!! People who vote BNP are clearly small-minded, uneducated, unthinking and immoral racists. It’s a harmonic of the BLUE and GREEN vMEMES which condemns the BNP and which condemns those who vote for them. It’s a variant harmonic of these vMEMES which has led the Equality & Human Rights Commission (EHRC) to take the BNP to court on the charge that the latter’s constitution is discriminatory as it does not allow membership to those of a non-white ethnicity. And it’s another variant harmonic of these vMEMES which has drawn up the forthcoming Equality Bill (2009). The problem with these approaches is that, rather than understand what it is about the BNP that gains support from substantial numbers of people, they attempt to suppress the BNP. However, Nick Griffin and the top echelon of the BNP are smart characters. They have got… Read More