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Rose of Red Lake

Did GRRM really say Meereen would end like Iraq?

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4 minutes ago, DMC said:

Uh, no they did not.  The neoconservatives within the administration that composed the Bush doctrine then fomented and conducted the war decidedly failed at their goals, public or private.  (I suppose you could argue Cheney was solely interested in Halliburton's no-bid contracts, but he seems like a pretty big ideologue as well to me.)  For idealistic neocons, the goal was to export democracy to the Middle East to provide for a stable ally in the region.  For realistic neocons the goal was to eliminate a threat.  Either way, it's derived from a "peace by force" approach (which is importantly distinct from traditional realism) that is quite analogous to Dany's incursion in Slaver's Bay. 

I'd say Iraq being a chaos isn't that bad, either, all things considered. Just as Vietnam was pretty much a success, too. Sure, it was very costly, but they did get the message across that you better do not try to do your own thing. You do stay in line ... or you burn.

I'd maintain that no sane person within the US administration actually buys this democracy exporting nonsense. What is that even supposed to mean? How do the US profit if Iraq technically can vote an administation/party to power that is not favorable to American (business) interests? They need a client government, not (real) democracy.

[I'm actually in love with GWB since that interview at the end of his term where he jokingly admitted evolution is a fact, effectively mocking the intelligent design morons.]

The crucial thing from a realpolitik outlook is to prove that you are able to destroy assets that could techncially be exploited by rival powers. And that was done.

That they could have sort of put more competent people in place to establish some sort of client/puppet regime there goes without saying.

4 minutes ago, DMC said:

And with Iraq, that neoconservative approach when applied resulted in a bold and spectacular failure.  Iraq is still not a stable democracy, removing Saddam comprehensively worked against US interests in the region as it strengthened our biggest geopolitical adversary there, Iran, and birthed/emboldened far more extreme fundamentalist and anti-west movements throughout the region.  Pretty sure that's what Martin's getting at, if the quote is accurate (I have no idea).

I'm not sure Iran is a threat the US do have to care much. The problem is that they do their own thing since 1979 not that unsuccessfully. And that's not good. Carter certainly looked rather bad a few decades ago because of their meddling, but one could get over that. Al-qaida and ISIS, etc. never are more than phantom threats to the US (sort of like Cuba) - very good and useful as propaganda tools to justify more wars, but not a threat that can realistically be considered a threat the integrity of the US as a nation state. I mean, what can they realistically do? Kill about 3,000 people in suicide attacks? I expect more people to die in traffic accidents in the US in a year. And at this point they pulled that off exactly once.

But then, this is not the right place to discuss my cynical view on world politics.

I can see the quote being somewhat accurate, but we would definitely overinterpret George's spontaneous reference to world politics there if we were to interpret in the way you suggest. Daenerys Targaryen doesn't have the military power of the USA at her back - in fact, she doesn't even a home basis or a homeland army she could activate if she were to get severe pushback in Ghiscar.

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7 minutes ago, Hrulj said:

Slaves of the Ghiscari, while some are certainly Ghiscari, are foreigners as well in large part. They were brought there, not born there. And while slaves are a large group common Ghiscari will see More in common with a Ghiscari noble than a Lyseni bedslave or Dothraki fieldhand. Which is reflected in sons of the harpy. The conflict is not just one between slavery and abolition but one of religion as well, over which Dany tramples. The Harpy is the main god and a slave god of Ghiscari. To whom Dany doesn’t give two thoughts.

Why not declare all those black Americans Africans? I thing the American slavers did use that kind of argument back in the day (and descendants today likely continue to use it today).

The Ghiscari slavers brought the slaves into their lands, and now they are there and as much 'Ghiscari' as those mongrels pretending to be Ghiscari while speaking Valyrian.

I don't care with whole some Ghiscari commoner identifies with - we don't even know how many such people are there.

There is no meaningful religion conflict there. Dany refuses to marry as per the rites of a religion she does not follow and which would make her appear as a servant rather than a ruler. That is a power play, not a religious conflict.

7 minutes ago, Hrulj said:

The movement didn’t start locally. It is an invasion. Enforced by foreign soldiers and former slaves. 
 

As a movement it is started by the Unsullied of Astapor.

7 minutes ago, Hrulj said:

What change can they bring? They’ll all die without sons or daughters to carry on. Slaves were raised toiling in the field and now should magically know how to run a society or design a water mill. You can’t execute the elite and think society moves on.

You can build a new society. The European settlers in the Americas knew how you kill old elites and replace them with your own ;-).

7 minutes ago, Hrulj said:

I am well aware she broke the deal. Something she will no doubt regret since it seems to be her forte. No deal made with her can be relied upon. Nothing she promises can be considered upheld. You and I may debate it but Martin made his view clear. She is a foreigner and she will leave. Slaves will be reinslaved again while they watch her sail away. 
 

She might leave eventually - but before that she will kill all the slavers.

7 minutes ago, Hrulj said:

That’s another idiocy of Dany. If you kill an entire segment then kill them all. No half measure. You think those younger than 12 are grateful? You think women who grew up and lived in splendor will just shrug their shoulders and enjoy stale bread and even staler water? She made enemies of them all and hen left seeds to grow into revenge.

So, it is bad to kill children and bad not to kill children? If you are in a position of power you don't have to kill everybody at once, you know. You can wait and see and kill the next generation if and when they cause problems.

It worked pretty well for a ancestor the Conqueror - he even spared the lives of most of the kings he crushed.

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7 minutes ago, Lord Varys said:

I'd say Iraq being a chaos isn't that bad, either, all things considered. Just as Vietnam was pretty much a success, too. Sure, it was very costly, but they did get the message across that you better do not try to do your own thing. You do stay in line ... or you burn.

It exacerbated the chaos.  That's not what the world's only superpower wants in that region.  The only argument you could reasonably put forth that it helped anyone "stay in line" is Gaddafi and, well, that seemed didn't work out for him anyway.  And if you think any of the amorphous benefits from the Vietnam War were worth the blood and treasure spent, well, let's just say I strongly disagree.

11 minutes ago, Lord Varys said:

I'd maintain that no sane person within the US administration actually buys this democracy exporting nonsense. What is that even supposed to mean? How do the US profit if Iraq technically can vote an administation/party to power that is not favorable to American (business) interests? They need a client government, not (real) democracy.

Yes, many neocons did actually believe that, whether you buy it or not.  The idea is rather ironically derived from democratic peace theory, which itself has it's own issues, but never suggests you should compel a foreign regime into democracy by military force.  It was derided and/or dismissed in academic circles until Dubya staffed most of the DOD and NSA with its acolytes.  Then they got him to invade Iraq - whether it was also due to either Shakespearean (Saddam literally tried to kill his father) or Oedipal (Dubya sided with and hired the neocons his father and Scowcroft successfully repelled during the Persian Gulf War) daddy issues is rather beside the point.  Now the neocon ideology is even more aggressively derided and dismissed, understandably so.

19 minutes ago, Lord Varys said:

The crucial thing from a realpolitik outlook is to prove that you are able to destroy assets that could techncially be exploited by rival powers. And that was done.

No.  One easy way to crosscheck the Iraq War with traditional realism (another way of saying realpolitik) is to take a look at the Powell doctrine.  By any reasonable evaluation, almost all of its list of questions are decidedly in the "no' column - and plenty of people were saying this in 2002.  Another easy heuristic to think of the realist approach is they prioritize balance of power.  Removing Saddam plainly and strongly shifted the balance of power in the region towards Iran's advantage.  That's why the US supported him when he, ya know, invaded them.  This was easily anticipated by even casual observers.

28 minutes ago, Lord Varys said:

I'm not sure Iran is a threat the US do have to care much.

Well, regardless of whether they should or not, it's hard to find any credible US foreign policy analyst that wouldn't describe Iran as a "threat/adversary" to care about.

32 minutes ago, Lord Varys said:

we would definitely overinterpret George's spontaneous reference to world politics there if we were to interpret in the way you suggest.

I think the quote is saying just like the Iraq War employed this "peace by force" model, Dany is attempting to affect change comporting to her interests in a region she doesn't understand via overwhelming military force.  And this approach tend to have adverse effects.  I really don't think that's over-interpreting the quote.  

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3 minutes ago, DMC said:

It exacerbated the chaos.  That's not what the world's only superpower wants in that region.  The only argument you could reasonably put forth that it helped anyone "stay in line" is Gaddafi and, well, that seemed didn't work out for him anyway.  And if you think any of the amorphous benefits from the Vietnam War were worth the blood and treasure spent, well, let's just say I strongly disagree.

Oh, I'd agree that Vietnam was too costly - but it was not a failure, was it? If we go by the goals of the domino theory which essentially was the reason why the war was fought. A complete success would have been to retain direct control over Vietnam, but the objective of them not being a successful communist state was achieved.

Chaos would only be a real problem if it truly affects your interest to a meaningful degree. Does it do that? I don't know. If it were worth the effort the war would then likely continue to properly restore order.

3 minutes ago, DMC said:

Yes, many neocons did actually believe that, whether you buy it or not.  The idea is rather ironically derived from democratic peace theory, which itself has it's own issues, but never suggests you should compel a foreign regime into democracy by military force.  It was derided and/or dismissed in academic circles until Dubya staffed most of the DOD and NSA with its acolytes.  Then they got him to invade Iraq - whether it was also due to either Shakespearean (Saddam literally tried to kill his father) or Oedipal (Dubya sided with and hired the neocons his father and Scowcroft successfully repelled during the Persian Gulf War) daddy issues is rather beside the point.  Now the neocon ideology is even more aggressively derided and dismissed, understandably so.

Well, if the US are actually stupid enough to allow their elected officials to determine long-term policy then, well, the people paying to as many taxes as they could should change that.

I mean, honestly, how fucked up must a country's government be if they don't even have a good geostrategic reason to wage a pretty costly war?

3 minutes ago, DMC said:

No.  One easy way to crosscheck the Iraq War with traditional realism (another way of saying realpolitik) is to take a look at the Powell doctrine.  By any reasonable evaluation, almost all of its list of questions are decidedly in the "no' column - and plenty of people were saying this in 2002.  Another easy heuristic to think of the realist approach is they prioritize balance of power.  Removing Saddam plainly and strongly shifted the balance of power in the region towards Iran's advantage.  That's why the US supported him when he, ya know, invaded them.  This was easily anticipated by even casual observers.

Well, I guess that's why chances rise that we are going to get some Iran war in the foreseeable future, no?

3 minutes ago, DMC said:

Well, regardless of whether they should or not, it's hard to find any credible US foreign policy analyst that wouldn't describe Iran as a "threat/adversary" to care about.

Yeah, but one assumes the justification of the US position on Cuba also is based on such 'analyses'. Any realistic assessment of political power and economic influence would say that the US either run the world or control it to the point that they can very much ensure that nothing happens that they don't want to happen (if people misbehave, they do pay the price).

No state or group has the power to conventionally threaten the US, and the other nuclear powers definitely don't have the resources to do lasting harm without paying the price.

The threat Iran poses would be rather minor on US domestic security (especially in light of the potential of the US to answer Iran-funded/conducted terror with the utter annihilation of Iran) but perhaps considerable in the economic sphere - which should and would actually be accepted if the US cared about actual 'free trade'. The EU actually does like the Iranian agreement and also do like to continue doing business with the Iranian government.

3 minutes ago, DMC said:

I think the quote is saying just like the Iraq War employed this "peace by force" model, Dany is attempting to affect change comporting to her interests in a region she doesn't understand via overwhelming military force.  And this approach tend to have adverse effects.  I really don't think that's over-interpreting the quote.  

I realize that you see it that way - I'd say the comparison is off for the reason I mentioned. On a more superficial level the parallel that does exist is the idea that in ADwD we got Dany being unable to rule via compromise and peace after she (sort of) won the war. But the message I expect to see in TWoW is that the war will continue (it already begins after Dany's disappearance) and it will be won. It is likely going to be a graveyard peace thereafter, but that's the the only peace they can have.

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Posted (edited)
11 hours ago, Rose of Red Lake said:

If they need an outsider they don't really know to liberate them (and she even has a religion surrounding her) she hits all the Dune warnings. "No more terrible disaster could befall your people than for them to fall into the hands of a hero" It makes sense that GRRM would complicate revolutionary heroes who start cults, like his contemporary. 

Why is the author saying that parallels can be drawn to Iraq then? He never once mentions the KKK or race based slavery. There is just too much oddball weirdness going on with Dany, like taking the former masters and makes them plow the fields without a wage just inverts the hierarchy like Stalin. There is also something suspect in her "liberatory project" similar to the U.S. and their supposedly benevolent foreign interventions. If GRRM really did say  say he thinks Meereen and Iraq might end the same way this is interesting to me, because the U.S. just made things worse and now Iraq is an unstable hot bed of terrorist activity. 

Hmmm debatable. At the helm of GWB, he justified his actions in various ways, to prove that he was tougher than his father, to prove himself to his father, to save the poor oppressed Iraqi women (his wife's argument), to do the "good Christian thing," as a born again fundamentalist, to pursue U.S. oil interests, and to seek vengeance for 9/11 (in a place that had nothing to do with it). In a similar vein, Dany is in Meereen for opportunistic reasons (she wins a cult army), hubristic reasons (to prove that she's better than her father), and for good old white man's burden style altruistism. 

Meereenese Blot argues the opposite and lays out the chain of events. I'll go with the essay GRRM approved and pass on yours.

Dany is an alien to them. I'm fine with using these words if the author did in the quote above. Her outsider status and desire to fix a culture she doesn't understand is a white savior trope. Her Valyrian ancestry doesn't mean she's a local or has ties to them since the Valyrians subjugated that region. And I certainly hope the author does write Daenerys as a tyrannical anti-savior to counter the dumpster fire of white savior storylines. Hollywood and racist fiction writes the same story and over and over: good looking white actors who are natural-born leaders, worthy of the loyalty of those of another color or culture, who are the only ones who can lead/save/change the illiterate brown people. I really don't prefer that GRRM retread these tired stereotypes just so Daenerys can stay winning.

The author took time to show their society as more complex than it seemed on the surface when Daenerys first landed like an ignorant Christopher Columbus.

I don't really condone any type of cultural genocide from a person who has never set foot there, it's like white people being shocked at head hunters and forcing them to act more like a good Christian, aka more like them.

Almost every tyrant embarks on on a genocidal program to cleans society of [war/drugs/bad people/immorality/ethnic differences/disabilities], believing that human atrocities were necessary to create a better world. I'm not really comfortable with that and I think it's intentional. In fact more people should be uncomfortable.

This comment gave me flashbacks to https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/You're_either_with_us,_or_against_us

Her being an outsider is a retread of many colonialist and/or imperialist storylines. Don't really know many people who make colonialist critiques who are also right wingers.

And Dany is more Essosi now? Or  is she more Westerosi when it's convenient? Or maybe Dany is never a foreign invader, she is a local to everyone :wub:

Would it make any difference to the morality of what Danerys is doing if she was black (Martin did toy with the idea of the Targaryens being black)?  

Daenerys has never practised genocide, cultural or otherwise.  The activities of the Masters, OTOH, come closer to the definition of genocide (eg killing 24,000 children, to create 8,000 Unsullied).

If there were no Daenerys, and the slaves simply rose against their masters, would you still be on the side of the masters?As @Lord Varys points out, the vast majority of the people fighting the Masters are the local inhabitants. Are they wrong to seek freedom?

Murdering freedmen was very much part of the modus operandi of the first KKK.  Lots of critics have made the comparison between the Sons of the Harpy and the KKK.

As for Adam Feldman's essays, they are interesting and well-written , but they are not Holy Writ.  His big error, IMHO, is to leave the Volantene Armada out of the account, which in turn casts doubt on the good faith of the Yunkish (even if the Sons of the Harpy are committed to peace).  Rather lamely, he later suggested that Daenerys and Hizdahr could have struck a peace deal with them, when they turned up. 

Tyrion, in fact, noted that while some Yunkish lords favoured peace, and some wanted an immediate assault on Meereen, most were just biding their time until the Volantenes arrived.  

Edited by SeanF

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1 hour ago, Lord Varys said:

Why not declare all those black Americans Africans? I thing the American slavers did use that kind of argument back in the day (and descendants today likely continue to use it today).

The Ghiscari slavers brought the slaves into their lands, and now they are there and as much 'Ghiscari' as those mongrels pretending to be Ghiscari while speaking Valyrian.

I don't care with whole some Ghiscari commoner identifies with - we don't even know how many such people are there.

There is no meaningful religion conflict there. Dany refuses to marry as per the rites of a religion she does not follow and which would make her appear as a servant rather than a ruler. That is a power play, not a religious conflict.

As a movement it is started by the Unsullied of Astapor.

You can build a new society. The European settlers in the Americas knew how you kill old elites and replace them with your own ;-).

She might leave eventually - but before that she will kill all the slavers.

So, it is bad to kill children and bad not to kill children? If you are in a position of power you don't have to kill everybody at once, you know. You can wait and see and kill the next generation if and when they cause problems.

It worked pretty well for a ancestor the Conqueror - he even spared the lives of most of the kings he crushed.

You could. It’s been almost two centuries since slavery is gone and differences cultural and social still persist and will continue to persist. 
 

That’s not how it works and such a view is rather modern measuring its age in decades rather than centuries or millennia even amongst us who are way ahead of Ghiscari or Weaterosis. People are more than inhabitants, it’s genes and culture. 
 

neither does Danny. And she is enjoying the fruits of that lack of care. 
 

Aegon the conqueror not only appealed to faith of the seven but converted alongside his sisterwives and all of his descendants. Family that can trace their fate for millennia and had their own religion for equal time dumped it at the drop of a hat when given chance to rule over lands. Danny doesn’t do that. Another mistake. 
 

Unsullied are not native Ghiscari. They are foreign born slave boys. Even if they were Ghiscari, which they were not, they are Astapori and not Merenese. 
 

European settlers in America came with the goal to settle and take lands as well as skills and expertise that put them above natives. Slaves of Mereen can’t even feed themselves without oversight from slave owners. Hardly a same comparison to make. 
 

Either kill them all, children, women, elderly, stab those on their deathbed too or don’t kill anyone. Never take half measures when it comes to dealing with problems trough killings and death, you only leave those thirsty for revenge behind. 

 

Aegon didn’t try to Establish new Valyria. He didn’t try to change Westeros. He came and adopted the customs, religion and system of previous local rulers and people’s. Serfs staid as serfs. Small folk got raped on their wedding day under Aegon just as they did under Durran or Gardners. Noble lords staid as noble lords, Aegon didn’t decide to tear them all down and out smallfolk in their place. He didn’t abolish feudalism. He didn’t lead the peasants of Westeros to nail Nobles to the crosses. And he especially didn’t lead Essosis to do that. 

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5 minutes ago, Lord Varys said:

Oh, I'd agree that Vietnam was too costly - but it was not a failure, was it? If we go by the goals of the domino theory which essentially was the reason why the war was fought. A complete success would have been to retain direct control over Vietnam, but the objective of them not being a successful communist state was achieved.

Chaos would only be a real problem if it truly affects your interest to a meaningful degree. Does it do that? I don't know. If it were worth the effort the war would then likely continue to properly restore order.

First, yes, I think if a conflict is too costly in terms of blood and treasure spent, that's another way of saying it's a failure.  Second, to the bolded, they did become a communist state.  Still are, nominally.  Whether you want to define Vietnam's regime as "successful" after reunification is a complicated argument, but Saigon is still called Ho Chi Minh City.  Third, yes, it does do that.  Chaos in the region that accounts for half of the world's petroleum reserves is of inherent interest to that world's hegemonic power.

13 minutes ago, Lord Varys said:

I mean, honestly, how fucked up must a country's government be if they don't even have a good geostrategic reason to wage a pretty costly war?

Have you been following politics since, I don't know, ever?  How fucked up is it that World War I even happened?

17 minutes ago, Lord Varys said:

The threat Iran poses would be rather minor on US domestic security (especially in light of the potential of the US to answer Iran-funded/conducted terror with the utter annihilation of Iran) but perhaps considerable in the economic sphere - which should and would actually be accepted if the US cared about actual 'free trade'. The EU actually does like the Iranian agreement and also do like to continue doing business with the Iranian government.

The threat of Iran to the US is pretty boilerplate and IR 101.  Iran developing nuclear weapons is undesirable - that's agreed upon across most ideological spectrums.  There's no real debate on the identification of that as a problem among the western powers and almost all their policy analysts, the argument resides in the solutions to that problem.  The primary reason Iran developing nuclear weapons is such a threat is due to the fear it could spur an arms race in the region.  Israel would have to finally admit they've had operational capabilities for decades, the Saudis would be forced to aggressively initiate programs as well, etcetera etcetera.  Then, with such proliferation, the probability a terrorist element gets their hands on and successfully deploys such a weapon drastically increases.  Which is why, even though I'm pretty bleeding heart, I agree it's distinctly in the US' interest to curb Iranian nuclear ambitions in the wisest approach possible.  The Iranian agreement appeared to be the best possible tactic, but, well...

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Posted (edited)
26 minutes ago, Hrulj said:

You could. It’s been almost two centuries since slavery is gone and differences cultural and social still persist and will continue to persist. 
 

That’s not how it works and such a view is rather modern measuring its age in decades rather than centuries or millennia even amongst us who are way ahead of Ghiscari or Weaterosis. People are more than inhabitants, it’s genes and culture. 
 

neither does Danny. And she is enjoying the fruits of that lack of care. 
 

Aegon the conqueror not only appealed to faith of the seven but converted alongside his sisterwives and all of his descendants. Family that can trace their fate for millennia and had their own religion for equal time dumped it at the drop of a hat when given chance to rule over lands. Danny doesn’t do that. Another mistake. 
 

Unsullied are not native Ghiscari. They are foreign born slave boys. Even if they were Ghiscari, which they were not, they are Astapori and not Merenese. 
 

European settlers in America came with the goal to settle and take lands as well as skills and expertise that put them above natives. Slaves of Mereen can’t even feed themselves without oversight from slave owners. Hardly a same comparison to make. 
 

Either kill them all, children, women, elderly, stab those on their deathbed too or don’t kill anyone. Never take half measures when it comes to dealing with problems trough killings and death, you only leave those thirsty for revenge behind. 

 

Aegon didn’t try to Establish new Valyria. He didn’t try to change Westeros. He came and adopted the customs, religion and system of previous local rulers and people’s. Serfs staid as serfs. Small folk got raped on their wedding day under Aegon just as they did under Durran or Gardners. Noble lords staid as noble lords, Aegon didn’t decide to tear them all down and out smallfolk in their place. He didn’t abolish feudalism. He didn’t lead the peasants of Westeros to nail Nobles to the crosses. And he especially didn’t lead Essosis to do that. 

There are plenty of skilled people among the slaves, scribes, healers, artisans, musicians, soldies etc.  They don't need the Masters, in order to survive.  

And, they are now as local as the Masters.  They are not foreign interlopers.  The Masters themselves have foreign ancestry.

Edited by SeanF

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Here are are a couple more quotes from Martin, about his story and the Iraq war.  

https://ohnotheydidnt.livejournal.com/63695691.html 

I’ve said many times I don’t like thinly disguised allegory, but certain scenes do resonate over time. Other people have made the argument, which is more contemporary, that it might have resonances with our current misadventures in Afghanistan and Iraq. I’m aware of the parallels, but I’m not trying to slap a coat of paint on the Iraq War and call it fantasy.”

https://www.theguardian.com/books/2014/aug/16/george-rr-martin-game-of-thrones-interview 

We were talking on a day this week when the news headlines were again dominated by the conflicts in Syria, Iraq, and Gaza, which felt appropriate because one reading of A Song of Ice and Fire is that war and border disputes are almost inevitable to human communities?   

“Certainly, one of the major themes of the books is war. Almost all fantasy fiction since Tolkien has been concerned with war. In the Tolkien imitators, it’s always a fight between good and evil, and the evil ones wear black or are ugly. I wanted to stand some of those things on their heads, and so I put my good guys – the Night’s Watch men – in black, and there’s good and evil on both sides. But it’s not an allegory. If I wanted to write a novel about Vietnam or Syria, that’s what I’d do.”

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Posted (edited)
2 hours ago, SeanF said:

Here are are a couple more quotes from Martin, about his story and the Iraq war.  

https://ohnotheydidnt.livejournal.com/63695691.html 

I’ve said many times I don’t like thinly disguised allegory, but certain scenes do resonate over time. Other people have made the argument, which is more contemporary, that it might have resonances with our current misadventures in Afghanistan and Iraq. I’m aware of the parallels, but I’m not trying to slap a coat of paint on the Iraq War and call it fantasy.”

https://www.theguardian.com/books/2014/aug/16/george-rr-martin-game-of-thrones-interview 

We were talking on a day this week when the news headlines were again dominated by the conflicts in Syria, Iraq, and Gaza, which felt appropriate because one reading of A Song of Ice and Fire is that war and border disputes are almost inevitable to human communities?   

“Certainly, one of the major themes of the books is war. Almost all fantasy fiction since Tolkien has been concerned with war. In the Tolkien imitators, it’s always a fight between good and evil, and the evil ones wear black or are ugly. I wanted to stand some of those things on their heads, and so I put my good guys – the Night’s Watch men – in black, and there’s good and evil on both sides. But it’s not an allegory. If I wanted to write a novel about Vietnam or Syria, that’s what I’d do.

He says aware of the parallels - so he must see some basic ones. I think we know not to make exact allegorical comparisons, but it sounds like he took the basic ingredients--conquest by a culturally and historically ignorant superpower with realpolitik consequences--and resulted in a similar looking cake. Serendipity. His other quotes suggest that we shouldn't expect straightforward good vs. evil lines to be drawn in Essos either.

Edited by Rose of Red Lake

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On 1/1/2020 at 10:51 AM, Lord Varys said:

And the Ghiscari taught Valyria slavery, not the other way around. Culturally, the Ghiscari conquered Valyria, even if they lost the wars, not the other way.

This makes as much sense as saying Africa, culturally, conquered Europe in the Modern Age. Did africans ‘teach’ europeans to be slavers? 

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6 hours ago, SeanF said:

Here are are a couple more quotes from Martin, about his story and the Iraq war.  

https://ohnotheydidnt.livejournal.com/63695691.html 

I’ve said many times I don’t like thinly disguised allegory, but certain scenes do resonate over time. Other people have made the argument, which is more contemporary, that it might have resonances with our current misadventures in Afghanistan and Iraq. I’m aware of the parallels, but I’m not trying to slap a coat of paint on the Iraq War and call it fantasy.”

https://www.theguardian.com/books/2014/aug/16/george-rr-martin-game-of-thrones-interview 

We were talking on a day this week when the news headlines were again dominated by the conflicts in Syria, Iraq, and Gaza, which felt appropriate because one reading of A Song of Ice and Fire is that war and border disputes are almost inevitable to human communities?   

“Certainly, one of the major themes of the books is war. Almost all fantasy fiction since Tolkien has been concerned with war. In the Tolkien imitators, it’s always a fight between good and evil, and the evil ones wear black or are ugly. I wanted to stand some of those things on their heads, and so I put my good guys – the Night’s Watch men – in black, and there’s good and evil on both sides. But it’s not an allegory. If I wanted to write a novel about Vietnam or Syria, that’s what I’d do.”

That makes it pretty clear - there are no intentional parallels there, but he is aware that, due to his long writing process and some similarities, people might think the Slaver's Bay story of ADwD could be a comment on real world American politics - which, in my opinion, would be stupid and short-sighted in any case because Daenerys Targaryen isn't the US army and no colonial power.

If you wanted to draw a parallel there then Dany would be a version of Cortes going to America and helping those Aztecs who don't want to be blood sacrifices to break with that custom and change their society so it does no longer incorporate shit like that. The superficial parallels to the real war are that things didn't go all that well after Dany won at Astapor, Yunkai, and Meereen - hammering home the factor that military victory is resolving all the problems. But they are going back to resolve everything rather ultimately by military means.

The very prospect that Slaver's Bay could revert back to slavery or that the Ghiscari culture is going to survive is ludicrous. The Volantene slave army has been set up to revolt against their master, being led in that effort by fanatic priests who interpret Daenerys Targaryen as their version of Jesus Christ come again. Nobody in the Yunkish coalition will be able to stand against that. People will either join the Dany bandwagon or they will be killed. That's it.

11 hours ago, DMC said:

First, yes, I think if a conflict is too costly in terms of blood and treasure spent, that's another way of saying it's a failure.  Second, to the bolded, they did become a communist state.  Still are, nominally.  Whether you want to define Vietnam's regime as "successful" after reunification is a complicated argument, but Saigon is still called Ho Chi Minh City.  Third, yes, it does do that.  Chaos in the region that accounts for half of the world's petroleum reserves is of inherent interest to that world's hegemonic power.

None of the other dominoes fell, did they? In no small part due to the other US engagements in the region done as part of the Vietnam enterprise. The crucial thing from a raw power perspective is that any country entertaining the Vietnam idea did learn the cost of defying the US. And they still are rather bad off in that region - and you can be very sure that they do understand why that is.

I'd say that being able to control access to oil resources (especially if you do have alternatives - which the US always had; I don't think you guys were (really) dependent on oil imports) gives you also a desirable political advantages which is, in context, the second best thing to be actually able to exploit the resources. And in the long run the US will, eventually, be the guys who control who is going to do the oil business in Iraq.

I'm not sure that's enough of a justification for war - but then, the domino nonsense was also nothing but the presumptuous doctrine of a country who is trying to rule the world since, well, Wilson or so, so I'd be very surprised if such thoughts did not figure into the deliberations of the people thinking long-term.

11 hours ago, DMC said:

Have you been following politics since, I don't know, ever?  How fucked up is it that World War I even happened?

I don't know much about the intricacies of World War I - but that was a different world where no single power essentially dominated most of the world (which the US effectively do since 1950, after the British Empire was finally dissolved). The US did use both World War I and II very rationally to build their empire by destroying/taking over the influence spheres of the other powers.

Waging a war for pretty much no rational reason - and one being just a waste or money with no plan how to make it profitable - just doesn't make much sense. But then - it isn't that big an issue. Iraq was never a threat, so one can pointlessly destroy it without fearing repercussions or payback eventually.

11 hours ago, DMC said:

The threat of Iran to the US is pretty boilerplate and IR 101.  Iran developing nuclear weapons is undesirable - that's agreed upon across most ideological spectrums.  There's no real debate on the identification of that as a problem among the western powers and almost all their policy analysts, the argument resides in the solutions to that problem.  The primary reason Iran developing nuclear weapons is such a threat is due to the fear it could spur an arms race in the region.  Israel would have to finally admit they've had operational capabilities for decades, the Saudis would be forced to aggressively initiate programs as well, etcetera etcetera.  Then, with such proliferation, the probability a terrorist element gets their hands on and successfully deploys such a weapon drastically increases.  Which is why, even though I'm pretty bleeding heart, I agree it's distinctly in the US' interest to curb Iranian nuclear ambitions in the wisest approach possible.  The Iranian agreement appeared to be the best possible tactic, but, well...

I know that this is the narrative, but who does that convince? Do those people care about my or anyone's fear that some US general is going rogue, selling nuclear bombs and rockets to terrorists? Or simply turns terrorist himself? Of course not. It is a reality of life that dangerous weapons might be used to kill people, you yourself included. It is a good and convincing narrative to use the dangers others pose by acquiring those weapons as an excuse to justify a preemptive attack, but it is still just an excuse for starting a war.

The point where Iran could be a real danger to the US would be when they do have a number of powerful nuclear weapons as well as the systems to launch them - and even then we just had the balance of power thing that's effectively still there with those nuclear powers who are not US allies. No rational person would fund or support a terrorist nuclear strike in the US if they had reason to expect (and they do have every reason to expect this) that the US would answer with the eradication of that country brought about by their own nuclear arsenal. The US are the only country ever to use nuclear weapons in war (thus we all know they are willing and capable of using them again) and they did crush two countries in the wake of 9/11. If the terrorist had used a nuclear warhead to destroy New York then we can be reasonably sure that this would have justified nuclear retaliation.

After all, only fringe elements both in the US and Iran want to bring about the end of the world by, you know, causing armageddon when all Jews are back in Israel and stuff like that. Iran needs to keep its people in line - they do make some efforts to become sort of a leading power in the region, but there would be no danger for the US over in America even if Iran conquered all of Iraq, say - just as the US are not threatened by India ruling all of India, or by China getting back Taiwan.

If this kind of silly justification for your own actions did have any merit on a general level then any state having a reason to fear that the US would give it an Afghanistan, Iraq, or Vietnam treatment should have a vital interest to have nuclear weapons as a potential deterrent. Nuclear weapons are the main thing keeping the Kims in power in North Korea right now. If they didn't have them, the US could crush them like a bug without having to fear the nuclear annihilation of Seoul (which would be a pretty big catastrophe, all things considered).

Considering how dependent the Saudis are on US protection - and how quickly that country could descend into chaos if the US were to start supporting the opposition against the regime there - I'd say the danger of them insisting on developing/acquiring nuclear weapons if the US make it clear that they don't want them to have them are, well, very low. The sole reason why the House of Saud is ruling this land is because the US want them to be in charge. If they misbehave, they will end like Saddam. If the Saudis were to fear that the Iran would threaten them with nuclear weapons, they could station US warheads in Saudi Arabia - that's what was done during the Cold War in Europe, too. But then, that wouldn't really be necessary considering that the warheads in Israel should reach Iran rather quickly if push came to shove.

But while this is interesting we should not derail this thread.

11 hours ago, Hrulj said:

You could. It’s been almost two centuries since slavery is gone and differences cultural and social still persist and will continue to persist.

What does this mean? There are also such differences between the refined and the ignorant, the rich and the poor, the strong and the weak, the retards and the gifted, the beautiful and the ugly, etc. That doesn't mean that those people aren't part of the same larger group if a working propaganda unite (like a nation state, say) is in place to give them a feeling of fake unity.

11 hours ago, Hrulj said:

That’s not how it works and such a view is rather modern measuring its age in decades rather than centuries or millennia even amongst us who are way ahead of Ghiscari or Weaterosis. People are more than inhabitants, it’s genes and culture.

Even if I were to concede that culture is meaningful social barrier (I don't think it is) - it is not a barrier GRRM plays up as a meaningful barrier. Thus you shouldn't drag that into. There isn't even a language barrier between Daenerys Targaryen and the Ghiscari - just as there is no meaningful language barrier anywhwere in Westeros. And if something cripples or prevents human understanding on a large scale it is language barriers.

There are no meaningful cultural differences between slaves and slavers in Slaver's Bay, just as there are none but slavery between the Ghiscari and those who want to abolish slavery.

11 hours ago, Hrulj said:

neither does Danny. And she is enjoying the fruits of that lack of care.

Well, I guess she might actually know that, considering she actually rules Meereen and might have access to some numbers.

11 hours ago, Hrulj said:

Aegon the conqueror not only appealed to faith of the seven but converted alongside his sisterwives and all of his descendants. Family that can trace their fate for millennia and had their own religion for equal time dumped it at the drop of a hat when given chance to rule over lands. Danny doesn’t do that. Another mistake.

Aegon I did not convert - he was already following the Seven before he went to Westeros, as did at least some Targaryens before him.

11 hours ago, Hrulj said:

Unsullied are not native Ghiscari. They are foreign born slave boys. Even if they were Ghiscari, which they were not, they are Astapori and not Merenese.

LOL, they are more Ghiscari than the Ghiscari themselves. They are the successful export product of Astapor. The legions of Old Ghis come again (sort of). The slavers do not discriminate racially against their slaves (as you imply they do). Martinworld slavery isn't justified by way of racism (as American slavery essentially was). Everybody has the right to be enslaved - Ghiscari, too. And one imagines that a considerable portion of all slaves in Slaver's Bay are poor or impoverished Ghiscari who were enslaved.

11 hours ago, Hrulj said:

European settlers in America came with the goal to settle and take lands as well as skills and expertise that put them above natives. Slaves of Mereen can’t even feed themselves without oversight from slave owners. Hardly a same comparison to make.

Yeah, right - their cruelty and malice and will to eradicate the natives set them above the corpses of the natives, that much is true.

Where do you get the notion that the slaves cannot feed themselves?

11 hours ago, Hrulj said:

Either kill them all, children, women, elderly, stab those on their deathbed too or don’t kill anyone. Never take half measures when it comes to dealing with problems trough killings and death, you only leave those thirsty for revenge behind. 

Or you make them accept their lot. Which is not that hard with children.

11 hours ago, Hrulj said:

Aegon didn’t try to Establish new Valyria. He didn’t try to change Westeros. He came and adopted the customs, religion and system of previous local rulers and people’s. Serfs staid as serfs. Small folk got raped on their wedding day under Aegon just as they did under Durran or Gardners. Noble lords staid as noble lords, Aegon didn’t decide to tear them all down and out smallfolk in their place. He didn’t abolish feudalism. He didn’t lead the peasants of Westeros to nail Nobles to the crosses. And he especially didn’t lead Essosis to do that. 

Which is why Aegon I wasn't a revolutionary. Which nobody claimed he was. But this doesn't mean he couldn't have been a revolutionary.

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5 minutes ago, Lady Dacey said:

This makes as much sense as saying Africa, culturally, conquered Europe in the Modern Age. Did africans ‘teach’ europeans to be slavers? 

Somebody did. Slavery is a social institution somebody did invent and pass on. Sure, it might be many people invented variations of slavery independent of each other but in regions where there was a lot of interaction between people the concept would have been invented by somebody and then adopted by others.

George has Yandel tell us that the Ghiscari taught slavery to the Valyrians. I just repeated that. If you have issues with that, take it up with George ;-).

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7 minutes ago, Lord Varys said:

Somebody did. Slavery is a social institution somebody did invent and pass on. Sure, it might be many people invented variations of slavery independent of each other but in regions where there was a lot of interaction between people the concept would have been invented by somebody and then adopted by others.

George has Yandel tell us that the Ghiscari taught slavery to the Valyrians. I just repeated that. If you have issues with that, take it up with George ;-).

Yandel isn’t George : ) 

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2 minutes ago, Lady Dacey said:

Yandel isn’t George : ) 

He still wrote that particularly section or signed off on it - and there is no reason to doubt that he is accurate here, especially since nobody anywhere contradicts him.

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Posted (edited)
15 hours ago, Rose of Red Lake said:

He says aware of the parallels - so he must see some basic ones. I think we know not to make exact allegorical comparisons, but it sounds like he took the basic ingredients--conquest by a culturally and historically ignorant superpower with realpolitik consequences--and resulted in a similar looking cake. Serendipity. His other quotes suggest that we shouldn't expect straightforward good vs. evil lines to be drawn in Essos either.

In this case the "superpower" is the Slaver coalition.  Daenerys relies almost exclusively on local freedmen being prepared to defy their former masters, and fight for their freedom.  Even without Volantis, they outnumber her forces by three to one or so.  The soldiers of Yunkai are a joke, but the contingents from Qarth, Tolos, and Mantarys, plus the sellswords, know their business.   The legions of New Ghis are impressive soldiers, and they number about 30,000. The dragons are not a military asset at this point.

Now, there are fault lines among the Slavers.  Tatters is prepared to switch sides, as Dany figured out.  The Volantenes are about to revolt, but no one on her side knows this.  And, the Ironborn are about to strike, but this conflict is proceeding nothing like Iraq did. 

Edited by SeanF

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On 1/1/2020 at 5:22 PM, Rose of Red Lake said:

Why is the author saying that parallels can be drawn to Iraq then? He never once mentions the KKK or race based slavery. There is just too much oddball weirdness going on with Dany, like taking the former masters and makes them plow the fields without a wage just inverts the hierarchy like Stalin. There is also something suspect in her "liberatory project" similar to the U.S. and their supposedly benevolent foreign interventions. If GRRM really did say  say he thinks Meereen and Iraq might end the same way this is interesting to me, because the U.S. just made things worse and now Iraq is an unstable hot bed of terrorist activity.

A Sunni Arab uprising in an historically Ba'athist state actually has a stronger parallel with the KKK in the case of Syria.

22 hours ago, Lord Varys said:

I'd say Iraq being a chaos isn't that bad, either, all things considered. Just as Vietnam was pretty much a success, too. Sure, it was very costly, but they did get the message across that you better do not try to do your own thing. You do stay in line ... or you burn.

Vietnam was a failure, and it's still ruled by the communist party to this day. All of French Indochina went communist.

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8 hours ago, Lady Dacey said:

This makes as much sense as saying Africa, culturally, conquered Europe in the Modern Age. Did africans ‘teach’ europeans to be slavers? 

I think the Ghiscari are meant to be to the Valyrians like the Greeks to the Romans (with aspects of Egypt as well). An empire and civilisation that previously dominated the region, influenced the Valyrians profoundly and then was ultimately defeated by them.

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On 12/31/2019 at 1:44 PM, The Young Maester said:

You could say Dany is the western powers. They came in and invaded a land they don’t understand and left it an even bigger mess than it already was.

Only difference between the US and Dany, is that she had good intentions. But it seems like the same scenario to me. 

You could say the North didn't understand Southern culture when they fought to stop slavery. See, if people back then tried to excuse slavery just like Daenerys Targaryen's critics are desperately trying to do now, the South would still have slaves. The truth is, slavery is an evil done by humans to other humans and it needs to be stopped. What America intended in Iraq was something completely different.  And if Martin, as has been suggested here, is saying the two are equivalent, then I have to question Martin's knowledge of politics and history.  

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6 minutes ago, Dothraki Khal said:

You could say the North didn't understand Southern culture when they fought to stop slavery. See, if people back then tried to excuse slavery just like Daenerys Targaryen's critics are desperately trying to do now, the South would still have slaves. The truth is, slavery is an evil done by humans to other humans and it needs to be stopped. What America intended in Iraq was something completely different.  And if Martin, as has been suggested here, is saying the two are equivalent, then I have to question Martin's knowledge of politics and history.  

You can draw parallels between any two military conflicts, but Martin is clear that Slavers Bay is not Iraq.

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