En la gastronomía peruana abundan las recetas que no todos los estómagos toleran: el suri, un gusano que brota de la putrefacción del árbol de aguaje, es considerado un manjar en territorio amazónico; el cuy o conejillo de indias se usa en la cocina tradicional de los Andes; el gato se sigue metiendo en el potaje –casi en la clandestinidad– en algunas comunidades afroamericanas asentadas en la costa… La peruana puede considerarse una gastronomía para paladares aventureros. Entre los platos que levantan suspicacias, el más popular y extendido es el anticucho, elaborado con corazón de vaca.
El anticucho se cocina a la parrilla. El secreto de su receta se encuentra en la sazón, de "tradición morena" (afroperuana). Para adobar la carne se emplea generalmente ajo, aceite vegetal, vinagre y una combinación de especias en la que predominan la pimienta molida y el ají panca. El anticucho, que se sirve ensartado en palitos de caña, siempre viene acompañado de papa sancochada, un pedazo de choclo –maíz cocido– y salsa de ají picante. Para los que tienen más saque, a las brochetas de anticucho se les puede añadir rachi –estómago de res–, mollejas y choncholí –intestinos de res–, también preparados a la parrilla. Y de postre, picarones, un dulce frito hecho a base de harina de camote –patata dulce– y calabaza, que se sirve bañado en miel de chancaca.
En sus orígenes el anticucho era un plato de pobres. Durante la época colonial los esclavos africanos de las haciendas hicieron comida de aquello que los patrones consideraban las sobras: las vísceras de animal. De la carne desechada, la más cotizada era la de corazón de vaca. Algunos historiadores sitúan la invención de los anticuchos en los alrededores de la plaza de toros de Acho, en Lima. Hoy el anticucho es uno de los platos más exóticos y genuinos de la gastronomía peruana.
Este pinchose come cuando se pone el sol. Al atardecer, van a apareciendo las anticucheras con sus carretillas para atrincherarse en las aceras, generalmente en algún cruce de caminos, en las esquinas, o junto a los paraderos de buses que hierven de gente al final de la jornada. Los fines de semana también surgen puestos en las zonas de cantinas y discotecas, y en los aledaños de los estadios, las iglesias, los parques... Las anticucheras –porque el anticucho es por tradición cosa de mujeres en el Perú– saben situarse en lugares estratégicos, donde los anticuchos se vuelven un anzuelo irresistible para los sentidos, tanto para el olfato, con ese aroma sabroso y picante que despierta instantáneamente el apetito, como para la vista, cuando las llamas de sus parrillas refulgen en la penumbra y resulta inevitable contemplar a las anticucheras cocinando las brochetas, macerando, dando vueltas a la carne.
Es fácil orientarse en Lima a la hora de ir en busca de anticuchos: basta con lanzarse a la calle después del atardecer y tentar la suerte. Aunque hay nombres propios que se han ganado su fama a fuerza de cocinar a la intemperie, como es el caso de doña Pochita, quien tiene su puesto en la calle Ignacio Merino, junto al mercado del distrito de Lince. Noche tras noche, su clientela hace cola en la acera para degustar sus famosas brochetas. También se reúnen numerosos transeúntes en torno a las brasas de doña Pascuala –esquina de la calle Santa Rosa con la avenida Angamos, junto a la iglesia San Vicente de Paul, en el distrito de Surquillo– y de doña Delia –esquina de la calle Héctor Velarde con Juan Torciguera, también en Surquillo–.
La tía Grimanesa prepara los anticuchos más conocidos de Lima. Durante casi 40 años regentó una carretilla en el cruce de las calles Enrique Palacios y 27 de Noviembre, cuya esquina se convirtió en uno de los lugares más transitados del distrito de Miraflores. Su éxito le permitió dejar la calle y montar su propio local, que se encuentra en Jirón Ignacio Merino 466, también en Miraflores. La tía Grimanesa cambió de parrilla, pero el toque de sabor de sus anticuchos no se ha resentido. No se puede decir lo mismo de los precios.
The reason for bringing Netanyahu is that Boehner wants to craft a super-majority in Congress that can over-ride Obama’s veto of new sanctions on Iran. He doesn’t have enough Republican votes to do so, but if he can get Democrats beholden to the Israel lobbies of the American Israel Public Affairs Committee to join the veto over-ride effort, he might succeed.
Obama has spent a great deal of time and effort trying to negotiate with Iran over its civilian nuclear enrichment program, intended to allow Iran to replicate the success of France and South Korea in supplying electicity. (That would allow Iran to save gas and oil exports for earning foreign exchange).
Because nowadays producing enriched uranium for fuel via centrifuges is always potentially double use, this program has alarmed the US, Europe, and Israel. Iranian Supreme Leader Ayatollah Ali Khamenei has given several fatwas (akin to encyclicals) orally in which he forbids making, storing or using nuclear weapons as incompatible with Islamic law (a position also taken by his predecessor, Ayatollah Ruhullah Khomeini). So maintaining that Iran is committed to making a nuclear bomb is sort of like holding that the Pope has a huge condom factory in the basement of the Vatican.
But, there are no doubt Iranian Revolutionary Guards Corps commanders and maybe some engineers and scientists who really wish Khamenei would change his mind (he won’t).
So if you wanted a compromise between Iranian nuclear doves (the hard line leadership) and Iranian nuclear hawks (the subordinates who have to take orders from the doves), what would you do? You’d keep options open. And keeping options open also has a deterrent effect, so it is almost as good as having a nuclear bomb. That is, if Iran has all the infrastructure that would be needed for a nuclear weapons program but didn’t actually initiate such a program, you’d put enemies on notice that if they try to get up a war on you the way Bush-Cheney got one up on Iraq, they could force you into going for broke and abruptly making a bomb for self-defense. This posture is called in the security literature “nuclear latency” or colloquially “the Japan Option” (we all know Tokyo could produce a bomb in short order if they felt sufficiently threatened).
I started arguing that this policy was what Iran was up to some 7 or 8 years ago, and I think it is now widely accepted in policy circles.
So the point of the UNSC plus Germany negotiations with Iran is really about how long Iran would take to break out and produce a bomb. Will it be 3 months or one year? Iran wants a shorter timeline (for maximum deterrence, since they already saw what happened to Baghdad). The P5 + 1 want a much longer timeline. They would also like to spike the centrifuges and make sure there is no heavy water reactor (plutonium builds up on the rods).
If the two sides can reach an acceptable compromise, sanctions would be lifted, Iran would run its Russian-built reactors to produce electricity (though likely within a decade they will be undercut in price by solar panels; still, solar doesn’t have deterrent properties ), and there would be thorough frequent UN inspections of its enrichment facilities (plutonium leaves a signature). It isn’t really possible to have a big nuclear facility hidden from US satellites; the US spotted Fordo immediately. You need a lot of water, truck traffic, etc.
But Iran would have latency and therefore deterrence and I suppose might be emboldened that Israel wouldn’t dare nuke it because it might well be able to nuke back some months later.
US hawks in both parties and the Israeli political right wing want to prevent Iran from having any nuclear enrichment program at all, so as to prevent Iran from having the security that comes from the deterrence Lite produced by latency.
The US Joint Chiefs of Staff looked at this issue and have decided that only an Iraq-style invasion, occupation and regime change could hope to abolish the nuclear enrichment program.
If that is what it takes, the US and Israeli hawks are perfectly all right with it. It would be good times for the military-industrial complex, and Israel’s last major conventional enemy (though a toothless one) would be destroyed. An irritant to US policy and a threat to Wahhabi Saudi Arabia, our big volatile Gasoline Station in the Sky, would also be removed.
Iran is three times as populous and three times as large as Iraq. So I figure this enterprise would cost at least 15,000 troops dead, 90,000 seriously wounded, and altogether $15- 24 trillion dollars over time (including health care for the 90,000 wounded vets). Given the size of the country and the nationalism of the population, it could be much more like the US war in Vietnam than Iraq was, i.e. it could end in absolute defeat. Russia and China would almost certainly aid insurgencies to weaken the US.
And that is what the right wing psychopaths in Washington DC and Tel Aviv have planned for us. If they can over-ride Obama’s veto and scuttle the negotiations, they set us up for a war down the line, as Obama warned in the SOTU.
After nearly 20 years as de facto ruler of the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia, King Abdullah ibn-Abdulaziz al-Saud died last night at the age of 90. Abdullah, who took power after his predecessor King Fahd suffered a stroke in 1995, ruled as absolute monarch of a country which protected American interests but also sowed strife and extremism throughout the Middle East and the world.
In a statement last night Senator John McCain eulogized Abdullah as “a vocal advocate for peace, speaking out against violence in the Middle East”. John Kerry described the late monarch as “a brave partner in fighting violent extremism” and “a proponent of peace”. Not to be outdone, Vice President Joe Biden released a statement mourning Abdullah and announced that he would be personally leading a presidential delegation to offer condolences on his passing.
It’s not often that the unelected leader of a country which publicly flogs dissidents and beheads people for sorcery wins such glowing praise from American officials. Even more perplexing, perhaps, have been the fawning obituaries in the mainstream press which have faithfully echoed this characterization of Abdullah as a benign and well-intentioned man of peace.
Tiptoeing around his brutal dictatorship, The Washington Post characterized Abdullah as a “wily king” while The New York Times inexplicably referred to him as “a force of moderation”, while also suggesting that evidence of his moderation included having had: “hundreds of militants arrested and some beheaded”. (emphasis added)
While granting that Abdullah might be considered a relative moderate within the brazenly anachronistic House of Saud, the fact remains that he presided for two decades over a regime which engaged in wanton human rights abuses, instrumentalized religious chauvinism, and played a hugely counterrevolutionary role in regional politics.
Above all, he was not a leader who shied away from both calling for and engineering more conflict in the Middle East.
The gold standard for terminological precision — another quintessentially intel quirk — is set by Style Manual & Writer’s Guide for Intelligence Publications. This was compiled by the Central Intelligence Agency’s Directorate of Intelligence, though in a sense, per its preface, it has many fathers: “The works of Barzun, Bernstein, Copperud, Follett, Folwer, the Morrises, Strunk and White, Gregg, and other recognized arbiters of English usage.”
What’s happened, here, to the CIA’s trademark protection of sources and methods? For all we know, Barzun is now in grave danger; Copperud can fend for himself. Ancestry aside, much of Style Manual’s pedantry is innovative and telling. The second footnote, to cite one example, is beautifully hegemonic: “Note that, even in proper names, we always use the American spelling for English words spelled differently in the British Commonwealth.” The Labour Party? I think you mean the Labor Party. On this side of the Atlantic, we speak the President’s English; that much we earned in the Revolution.
Nothing is left to chance. The spy writer is advised, “In paraphrasing communist statements, put [Socialist or socialist] in quotation marks. The same applies to imperialism and imperialist (and to anti-imperialism and anti-imperialist), which are terms communists use in describing their opponents.” Not in this century, granted, but the point is well taken. There is no such thing as imperialism, only “imperialism.” There was also no Korean War or Vietnam War, though there was a Vietnam war and a Korean war. The distinction is required because these wars were “‘undeclared.’” I don’t add my own political or interpretive bias here: undeclared carries quotation marks in the original.
Most informative is Style Manual’s “Word Watchers List,” which deals with “possibly troublesome words, word types, and word problems.” Here its authors show off a heady command of language, the talent by which the security services get reality to behave itself. They are so bold as to gainsay the United States Constitution — “The Preamble […] is out of bounds grammatically when it speaks of a more perfect Union” — and they are so delicate as to advise that regime “has a disparaging connotation and should not be use when referring to democratically elected governments or, generally, to governments friendly to the United States.” Best yet: “The DI [Directorate of Intelligence] is not in the business of deciding whether something is good or bad.” More than nitpicking, this is worldview maintenance — the point where use of language becomes use of weapons.
Torture becomes “enhanced interrogation.” Word choice is world choice, the spies know.