The Phileas Club 48 – War breaks up countries, thinking doesn’t

July 1, 2012 by  
Filed under - The Phileas Club, .Episodes, Featured

The Phileas ClubOn this episode, your hosts:

  • Patrick Beja from France (notpatrick on Twitter)
  • John from the US (copperdome on Twitter)
  • Paul from Hong Kong (foxlore on Twitter)
  • Eric from France / US / China (eolander on Twitter)
  • Roman from Russia (zemmome on Twitter)
  • Turki from Saudi Arabia (sauditurki on Twitter)

Talk about:

  • the EU crisis
  • Egypt and Syria

And a number of other local stories…

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Talk to you next month!


6 Responses to “The Phileas Club 48 – War breaks up countries, thinking doesn’t”
  1. Kevin says:

    To defend Senator Rand Paul (as referenced in the last segment on the American healthcare ruling), he did not try to imply that the Supreme Court doesn’t have the authority to decide whether laws are constitutional. I appreciate that the panelist quoting him out of context adds humor to the remark at Senator Paul’s expense, but Paul’s actual point was that the Supreme Court is a group of nine judges with political viewpoints on the legal system and the Constitution. If a law says the exact opposite of a part of the U.S. Constitution and the Supreme Court upholds it, that does not mean the law is not actually “unconstitutional”, it means that the Supreme Court found it to be constitutional and therefore legally the law can stand. Remember the outrage on the political left (and right, to be fair, but more on the left) in the U.S. in 2009 when the court ruled on “Citizens United” and opened the floodgates for massive outside and corporate spending on political ads. Even President Obama criticized the ruling, and that’s Senator Paul’s point. Yes, of course they have the responsibility to decide what’s constitutional. That does not mean, however, they are infallible.

    (NOTE: I’m not trying to argue that the Affordable Care Act was unconstitutional. I dislike the law and think it does violate the spirit of the Constitution with the individual mandate, but understand Justice Roberts’ reasoning for casting the deciding vote that Congress has the power to tax, although I disagree with it.)

    And in full disclaimer, I worked very closely with Senator Paul’s father’s (Ron Paul) 2012 presidential campaign. Which is why I commented on this issue.

  2. Dmitry says:

    Hey Patrick,

    Long time listener and another Russian here. While I appreciate very much the fact that my country was represented (for the first time?), I should also note that Roman is definitely far on the “anti-Putin and pro-western” end of our political spectre (checking his Twitter was enough evidence), and believe me, there are quite alot of Russians that would disagree with his opinions. To imply that Roman speaks for Russian public opinion is, well, ridiculous. It would be roughly the same as asking an active member of French communist party to represent French public opinion on events – the bias would be obvious. I would suggest that you try and find somewhat less politically extreme Russians next time, for a more balanced view.

    Now, to add another Russian’s 2 cents to the discussion. People here are quite concerned about Euro crisis, because EU is our largest trade partner. Our own economic situation at the moment is kinda okay-ish, But if EU goes down, there’s a very good chance we go down with it. Our dependance on gas and oil export revenues doesn’t help either. People are very much aware about Greece in particular. Greece is also one of the more popular Russian destinations for tourism, and so far little changed in this regard, my friends return from Greece quite happy.

    Regarding Syria. Contrary to what Roman was saying, not everyone here in Russia wants Assad gone, the public opinion is quite divided. A good chunk of population doesn’t care at all, because Syria is so far away, and we’ve got plenty of our own problems. However, among those who follow Syrian events, there is a fairly popular opinion that Western position is biased and somewhat hypocritical, and that Russia should defend its own interests in the region above anything else.

    Should you be interested to know more about Russian viewpoint, I’d be happy to talk. :-)

    Great show, and keep the good work.

    • Roman says:

      Dear Dmitry,
      I’m glad other Russians listen to the podcast, I asked Patrick via Twitter to talk more about events in Russia, so he asked me to talk about some of them in the podcast.
      I do not pretend to have an objective view of what is going on in Russia and it’s foreign policy, it’s only my opinion and my feelings on the issues, I tried to state the government position as well, but why Russian government takes a particular position in foreign affairs in particular I can only guess.

      I was pretty clear that I’m anti-Putin, and I’m also pro-human rights, not just pro-Western per se, I do like Europe at large where human rights are a foundation of state to citizen relationship, there are human rights violations in Europe as well, but there is a recourse to combat them, unlike Russia. And corruption exists everywhere, but in Russia it’s rampant and uprooted in every institution. I want Russian constitution to be the foundation of the state as it’s supposed to be and be respected by the government and it’s institutions, but nobody does.

      It was my first podcast I participated in, so I was quite intimidated often mumbling and stumbling, other guests being practically professional broadcasters and podcasters left me in the dust, though I tried to prepare reading all the major news for the past month, which I usually follow anyway, but I tried harder this time. If it wasn’t a fiasco, I did not more than average. I hope you get in touch with Patrick, send him an email, and I would gladly listen to what you have to say. Or here is an idea, we can record our own podcast, you can get your friends and I get mine and we can have a friendly discussion on issues within Russia and the ones that affect it from the outside. What do you think? Ping me if you’re on Twitter.

  3. Dmitry says:


    I think I wasn’t clear enough in my first post. I also quite overused the word “quite” :/ Anyway!

    1. I respect your political views, I think you are absolutely entitled to them, and I don’t intend to debate them here, or prove you wrong. Proving someone wrong is a monumental (and often fruitless) task. However, your input in the podcast, coupled with Patrick’s remarks, created an impression that your views and beliefs are prevalent among russians today, that there is this regime and there are people who don’t support it. With that, I thoroughly disagree.

    2. I’m not a fan of Putin or his regime. I was dissapointed when Medvedev decided not to run for the second term. However, Putin did not elect himself president. Majority of russians did. Even in 100% clean and fair elections, he’d still win, because he still has genuine (if declining) public support. Those protests and demonstrations in Moscow, while significant in comparison to earlier years, are still next to nothing in the context of a huge country that is Russia.

    3. About Russia’s foreign policy. Again, in the podcast you made it sound like it’s dictated by Putin’s nostalgia of Soviets and his fear of revolution. This is a terrible simplification. There’s this thing called national interests, that goes beyond current form of government. Russia has its own interests, which sometimes coincide and sometimes contradict with those of the West. Second, genuine anti-western, or rather, anti-US sentiment is still substantial within certain part of russian society, and Putin naturally plays to it, when it suits him.

    4. I’m pro-human rights and anti-corruption too. However, I don’t like the solutions offered by our radical opposition.

    5. Don’t worry about mumbling and stumbling, I’m sure I wouldn’t be any better in your shoes. First time is always the hardest. Also, I didn’t advertize myself as a participant of the show, that’s not what I meant. I’m happy to provide feedback, however.


  4. Roman says:

    Dmitry, you’re totally right it’s pointless argueing about these things.
    But a healthy discussion can lead to good things, without a debate and compromise we won’t come to a solution that would benefit most people, it would lead to power grabs and divided society.
    Everyone is preaching to the converted already, we need a platform for debate where each side can argue it’s points and a roadmap is established.
    I would like to know how you would like things change in Russia.

  5. What’s up friends, how is the whole thing, and what you want to say concerning this post, in my view its really amazing for

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