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2020-02-16 Europe
Swiss Crypto AG spying scandal shakes reputation for neutrality
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Posted by Besoeker 2020-02-16 08:27|| E-Mail|| Front Page|| [258 views ]  Top

#1 As is commonly said I da burgh (Pittsburgh) as an expression of feigned incredulity, "Git aht!"
Posted by M. Murcek 2020-02-16 08:34||   2020-02-16 08:34|| Front Page Top

#2 Like most Europeans, they can't stand to be on the same side with Americans. They think the wrong side won the Cold War.
Posted by Herb McCoy  2020-02-16 09:22||   2020-02-16 09:22|| Front Page Top

#3 They weren't too happy when we asked what happened to all those German Jews' bank accounts after the war.
Posted by Procopius2k 2020-02-16 10:58||   2020-02-16 10:58|| Front Page Top

#4 Swiss "neutrality" is more than a little coy. Their dominant industry hides behind the US-dominated global financial system and its interbank transfer mechanisms.

Without this support from the US, Swiss international banks would collapse.

Of course they're going to help us when and where we require it - discreetly, of course...
Posted by Lex 2020-02-16 11:01||   2020-02-16 11:01|| Front Page Top

#5 From the article:

But still, every few years it seems the Swiss get a wake-up call about their neutrality.

They have to learn all over again that it's not a shining beacon of hope at the heart of Europe. Rather it is a pragmatic and often grubby survival tactic in a continent with a very bloody history.


A more interesting question to me is why this was suddenly revealed now — and why this time it is conceded rather than brushed off as similar rumours have been in the past.
Posted by trailing wife 2020-02-16 13:04||   2020-02-16 13:04|| Front Page Top

#6 They have to learn all over again that it's not a shining beacon of hope at the heart of Europe. Rather it is a pragmatic and often grubby survival tactic in a continent with a very bloody history.

This. I've been to Switzerland three times. In fact, I've visited the Italian, German, and French speaking parts of the country - and even sat idly on the stone steps of an ancient Church listening to old men smoke nasty French cigarettes and speak Romanish to one another. So I know something of the cold, calculating soul of the Swiss people.

So here's the thing about being an American in Switzerland: they're richer than you are, more cultured than you are, and they look down on you. Period. Picture you're a rural Mexican from some place like Morelos, and your cousin brings you Chicago to help him run his food truck in the financial district. How do people treat that guy? That's how the Swiss will treat you... even when you're shelling out a cool ten grand as a tourist.

It's not personal. They look down on the Italians even more than they look down on you. And everyone else too. But here's their thing: they've got it good up there in the mountains, looking down on everyone and everything. It's nice and safe. They've read their history books, and they know that Europe is and always will be a never-ending cluster-you-know-what punctuated by periods of calm (like right now). So they stay apart literally and figuratively, but make themselves useful to the Powers That Be without ever formally joining anything. If that's the Nazis, British, Catholic Church, the Soviets, or the United States; well, it's all the same to them. They want to be left alone, and their willing to play the games that must be played to accomplish that.

A likable people? No. Practical and cynical? Yes. Do they live long and well for the most part? Why, yes; yes they do.
Posted by Secret Master 2020-02-16 13:48||   2020-02-16 13:48|| Front Page Top

#7 Excellent synopsis SM. Ha, and I thought I was the only one who felt that way.
Posted by Besoeker 2020-02-16 14:06||   2020-02-16 14:06|| Front Page Top

#8 ^ Me 3. The Swiss have it about as good as anyone on earth.

Directly because they're:
-cultured
-disciplined
-well-educated
-ferociously independent
-well-trained in the art of self-defense
-free of can't and virtue-signaling
-proud of who they are and what makes them different.

Wish there were a way that our confused, self-hating, addled society could profit from their example.
Posted by Lex 2020-02-16 15:38||   2020-02-16 15:38|| Front Page Top

#9 * free of cant [= pious, obviously insincere virtue-signaling/bullshit]
Posted by Lex 2020-02-16 15:39||   2020-02-16 15:39|| Front Page Top

#10 Minding your own business and steering clear of Euro entanglements and War for 700 years. There does not appear to be a downside.
Posted by Besoeker 2020-02-16 15:51||   2020-02-16 15:51|| Front Page Top

#11 I would love to be fortunate enough to live in such a society.
Posted by Lex 2020-02-16 15:56||   2020-02-16 15:56|| Front Page Top

#12 The French Revolutionary armies invaded and occupied. Rechristened the place as the Helvetic Republic. They looted the banks.
Posted by Procopius2k 2020-02-16 16:04||   2020-02-16 16:04|| Front Page Top

#13 Interesting how much of what Orwell praised about the virtues of English hypocrisy in "The Lion and the Unicorn" also applies to the Swiss -- see marked boldface passages below and substitute "Swiss" for "English" and see whether it's not still fundamentally correct:

One is that the English [the Swiss] are not gifted artistically. They are not as musical as the Germans or Italians, painting and sculpture have never flourished in England [Switzerland] as they have in France.

Another is that, as Europeans go, the English [the Swiss] are not intellectual. They have a horror of abstract thought, they feel no need for any philosophy or systematic “world-view”. Nor is this because they are “practical”, as they are so fond of claiming for themselves.

... they have a certain power of acting without taking thought. Their world-famed hypocrisy – their double-faced attitude towards the Empire, for instance – is bound up with this.

Also, in moments of supreme crisis the whole nation can suddenly draw together and act upon a species of instinct, really a code of conduct which is understood by almost everyone, though never formulated.

The phrase that Hitler coined for the Germans, “a sleep-walking people”, would have been better applied to the English. Not that there is anything to be proud of in being called a sleep-walker.

But here it is worth noticing a minor English trait which is extremely well marked though not often commented on, and that is a love of flowers [ the Swiss love of walking, of fresh air, of green space?]. This is one of the first things that one notices when one reaches England from abroad, especially if one is coming from southern Europe.

Does it not contradict the English indifference to the arts? Not really, because it is found in people who have no aesthetic feelings whatever. What it does link up with, however, is another English characteristic which is so much a part of us that we barely notice it, and that is the addiction to hobbies and spare-time occupations, the privateness of English [ Swiss ] life.

We are a nation of flower-lovers, but also a nation of stamp-collectors, pigeon-fanciers, amateur carpenters, coupon-snippers, darts-players, crossword-puzzle fans.

All the culture that is most truly native centres round things which even when they are communal are not official – the pub, the football match, the back garden, the fireside and the “nice cup of tea”.

The liberty of the individual is still believed in, almost as in the nineteenth century.

But this has nothing to do with economic liberty, the right to exploit others for profit.

It is the liberty to have a home of your own, to do what you like in your spare time, to choose your own amusements instead of having them chosen for you from above.

The most hateful of all names in an English ear is Nosey Parker. [ There must be a Swiss equivalent, but I don't know it. ]

It is obvious, of course, that even this purely private liberty is a lost cause. Like all other modern peoples, the English are in process of being numbered, labelled, conscripted, “co-ordinated”.

But the pull of their impulses is in the other direction, and the kind of regimentation that can be imposed on them will be modified in consequence. No party rallies, no Youth Movements, no coloured shirts, no Jew-baiting or “spontaneous” demonstrations. No Gestapo either, in all probability.
Posted by Lex 2020-02-16 16:12||   2020-02-16 16:12|| Front Page Top

#14 I like Secret Master's description but I can't bring myself to envy them. They can keep their mountains. I like beaches.
Posted by Abu Uluque 2020-02-16 16:32||   2020-02-16 16:32|| Front Page Top

#15 I prefer my Rocky Mountains.
Posted by Old Patriot 2020-02-16 22:44||   2020-02-16 22:44|| Front Page Top

#16 OK, a proposition for debate (or a simple 1-2-3 vote). How do the a) contemporary US, b) contemporary (not Orwell's) UK, c) contemporary Switzerland and d) contemporary Hungary and Russia rate on these following dimensions of social/political attractiveness identified by Orwell 80+ years ago:

1. privateness of [ social / political ] life.

That is, does our "culture that is most truly native cent[er on] things which even when they are communal are not official..." -- for example, in the English mid-20c context, "the pub, the football match, the back garden, the fireside and the 'nice cup of tea'."

2. "The liberty of the individual is still believed in, almost as in the nineteenth century."

That is, "the liberty to have a home of your own, to do what you like in your spare time, to choose your own amusements instead of having them chosen for you from above."

3. Antithesis: Is it despised to be a busybody, interfering in others' affairs as opposed to leaving them alone -- to be what Orwell called, with scorn, a "Nosey Parker"?

4. Trend/Tendency: Is it the case that "the pull of [the people's] impulses is ... [toward] regimentation" -- that is, toward "party rallies, ... Youth Movements ... “spontaneous” demonstrations." or toward a Gestapo?

How does the contemporary US measure up vs the UK, Switzerland, and Hungary/Russia?

Vote now
and vote often
Posted by Lex 2020-02-16 23:05||   2020-02-16 23:05|| Front Page Top

#17 I'll go first:

1. privateness of [ social / political ] life.
Best: US, Switzerland
Medium: Hungary, Russia
Worst: contemporary UK

2. "The liberty of the individual is still believed in, almost as in the nineteenth century."
(That is, "the liberty to have a home of your own, to do what you like in your spare time, to choose your own amusements instead of having them chosen for you from above.")

Best: Switzerland
Medium: Hungary, Russia, US
Worst: UK

3. Antithesis: Is it despised to be a busybody, interfering in others' affairs as opposed to leaving them alone -- to be what Orwell called, with scorn, a "Nosey Parker"?


Best: Switzerland, Hungary, Russia
Worst: US, UK [ the Twitter-sphere]

4. Trend/Tendency: Is it the case that "the pull of [the people's] impulses is ... [toward] regimentation" -- that is, toward "party rallies, ... Youth Movements ... “spontaneous” demonstrations." or toward a Gestapo?

Best: Switzerland
Medium: Hungary
Worst: US, UK, Russia

OVERALL:
Best (by far): Switzerland
Next-best: Hungary, then Russia
Bad: US
Awful: UK

Posted by Lex 2020-02-16 23:13||   2020-02-16 23:13|| Front Page Top

#18 #15 I prefer my Rocky Mountains.

OP, your neck of Colorado must resemble Switzerland. I envy you.
Posted by Lex 2020-02-16 23:14||   2020-02-16 23:14|| Front Page Top

23:54 Knuckles Spavins2792
23:35 Lex
23:32 Seeking Cure For Ignorance
23:14 Lex
23:13 Lex
23:05 Lex
22:44 Old Patriot
22:38 Lex
20:59 Thaith Elmeresing6163
20:53 Thaith Elmeresing6163
20:52 Rob Crawford
20:49 Lex
20:45 Lex
20:24 SteveS
20:18 Lex
20:16 Lex
19:24 KBK
19:11 Skidmark
18:53 Skidmark
18:53 DarthVader
18:50 DarthVader
18:42 Anomalous Sources
18:39 Skidmark
18:38 Skidmark

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