44 definitions by Primus Intra Pares

(GOVERNMENT) seizure of power by an armed entity, usually the army but sometimes the police.

Usually coups are perpetrated in countries with very weak governments, such as in West Africa, Bolivia, or Southwest Asia. They get progressively worse (i.e., more violent, more prolonged, and more repressive) until eventually some junta builds up protection against against the next coup. This is what happened in Iraq after 1979; it happened in Syria in 1973; it also happened in Japan in 1607. In other cases, the coup accomplishes its goals (Chile 1973) and retires as a PR move.

After a coup occurs, the military leadership is known as a junta.
Military coups are usually motivated by the personal ambition of the perpetrator; the central figure is usually very personally corrupt, as well.

Military coups are difficult to pull off and usually are nipped in the bud. Even with foreign assistance, they are hard, because they are a form of high-speed civil war.

Inter-class violence often comes with a coup d'etat.
by Primus Intra Pares July 11, 2010
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(VIETNAMESE HISTORY) Vietnamese word for "liberation"; refers to 31 April 1975, when Saigon (Ho Chi Minh City) was captured by the PAVN, ending the Second Indochina War.

The "g" is pronounced like a "y."
For both the Vietnamese and Usonians, Giai Phong was a massive turning point in history. For the Vietnamese, it meant that the huge sacrifices made for independence were crowned with grinding toil, but new dignity as well. For the Usonians, it meant shame and and denial.

The USA entered a long dark night of the soul from which it has yet to emerge.
by Primus Intra Pares July 26, 2010
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(IRANIAN HISTORY) A coup d'etat against the democratically elected prime minister of Iran, Muhammed Mossadegh (s.1951-1953). Perpetrators: the US CIA and the UK MI-6. The operation successfully replaced the constitutional monarchy of Iran with a dictatorship by Shah Muhammad Reza (August 1953). The motivation of the operation was to liquidate a genuinely popular nationalist leader who had stood up to the Anglo-Iranian Oil Company (AIOC) (whose assets had been nationalized by Mossadegh after it had robbed Iran for 42 years).

The AIOC's reputation was so stained with evil afterward that it changed its name to British Petroleum (or BP, p.l.c.).

Operation Ajax is often blamed for poisoning the relationship between the USA and the Islamic world. It was approved by John Foster Dulles, who also embroiled the USA in the Second Indochina War.
Operation Ajax actually was launched soon after the nationalization of AOIC's assets in Iran (1951). Initially the situation was hopeless, because Mossadegh was far too popular and because the previous arrangement with AOIC made Iran nearly impossible to govern. The UK suffered a balance of payments crisis because the AOIC was the single largest source of overseas payments.

John Foster Dulles, however, was very sympathetic to the oil company's plight.
by Primus Intra Pares July 18, 2010
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(US GOVERNMENT) Agency in the Department of Homeland Security (DHS). Mostly a new entity, which is perhaps the single most conspicuous domestic policy failure of the US government since 2000.

The TSA's job is to inspect baggage carried on flights at 450 international airports in the USA. Implementing this mandate simply consisted of "federalizing" thousands of private-sector employees who had been woefully under-qualified. Initially, the DHS had been formed explicitly to break law enforcement unions (which contribute to fighting corruption in law enforcement, as well as protecting law enforcement officers' rights as employees). In the case of the TSA, this had disastrous consequences for the quality of air travel.
The Transportation Security Administration has one mission, namely, to check passengers and luggage at 450 international airports across the USA. It does not inspect freight or border entries; that is done by Customs and Border Protection. For this function, it employs 45,000 screeners under lousy conditions with awful pay. And it spends more doing this one thing than Sweden spends on its entire military.
by Primus Intra Pares June 17, 2010
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(MULTILATERAL GOVERNMENT) International court created in 2002 to try criminal cases (as opposed to civil cases) in international law. Criminal charges may include: genocide, crimes against humanity, and war crimes. Ultimately, the ICC is supposed to be able to try crimes against the peace (or aggression), something it presently cannot do.

The three basic categories of international crimes were defined in the Nuremberg Trials of Nazi officials. However, because the Nuremberg Tribunals only tried citizens of Axis nations for crimes against Allied or neutral states, their moral authority was greatly weakened.

The ICC complements the International Court of Justice (ICJ), which tries civil cases.
Even before the International Criminal Court commenced operations in 2002, it was critically weakened by the vociferous opposition of China, the USA, Israel, Iraq (then under the rule of Saddam Hussein), and Libya. These countries went so far as to vote against the Treaty of Rome (1998). The US government subsequently signed the treaty (December 2000), but "unsigned" it in May 2002.

One other country to do this has been Sudan.

India, Indonesia, Pakistan, and China have never signed the treaty; Russia, Egypt, and Israel have signed it, but not ratified it.
by Primus Intra Pares July 19, 2010
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(VIETNAMESE HISTORY) Army of the "Republic of Vietnam"; organization created, funded, armed, by the US government; mostly conscripts with no motivation to kill patriotic countrymen in the countryside (which is what the "Viet Cong" really were). Extremely poor fighting force; however, fairly self-confident at staging the occasional coup d'etat.

Collapsed completely in early months of 1975. Mostly behaved as one would expect a group of brutally terrorized conscripts serving a regime they despised to behave.
The other definition of ARVN includes a quote from the Stanley Kubrick movie, "Full Metal Jacket." It is used as a taunt of Vietnamese "cowardice" by young US soldiers. Of course, no sane conscript would risk his life to fight for occupiers, against an "enemy" consisting of patriotic citizens of his own country. So the taunt fell flat.
by Primus Intra Pares July 25, 2010
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(ECONOMICS) a shock to the industrial system caused by massive errors in investment decisions. In essence, financial crises are failures of the capital markets (stock exchanges, etc.) to do their job.

In the lead-up to a financial crisis, money entrusted to capital managers to invest is spent instead on bolstering the plutonomy. Then, when those same capital managers are overleveraged, it becomes obvious that the economy has been producing the wrong stuff; its corporations are therefore worth a lot less than everyone had supposed they were.

Then people sell their shares of stock, causing a liquidity crisis for many firms, which react by firing people and dumping anything of value at reduced prices.

This requires a lot of expensive genius to do well.
While there is little evidence so far that the 2008 financial crisis was engineered by any one perpetrator, the very same economic elites who caused it are now poised to benefit from it by imposing "disaster capitalism."
by Primus Intra Pares July 11, 2010
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