Middle East: Passion & Protest

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Re: Middle East: Passion & Protest

Unread postby Zhuanyong » Mon Sep 02, 2013 11:28 pm

Anybody have any thoughts on Obama's decision to strike Syria, and seeking out Congressional approval for the strikes?
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Re: Middle East: Passion & Protest

Unread postby Shikanosuke » Tue Sep 03, 2013 1:36 am

Zhuanyong wrote:Anybody have any thoughts on Obama's decision to strike Syria, and seeking out Congressional approval for the strikes?


I'd rather not have to do it at all. I wish Obama hadn't created 'red lines' months ago, and I'm not sure we'd have our backs against the wall now. Furthermore if we're going to do this, I think we should wait for the proof to be on before ramping this up. The UN has been asked to expedite the results, and I haven't read what France's proof was. I heard ours was soil samples and cable intercepts between the regime and its chemical weapons division. I think asking Congress for approval is smart. The President's authority is at its strongest when he acts with the express approval of the people. If it comes back to bite us, the media won't be able to blame it on unilateral actions of a president.

That said, if we're going to do it I hope we really do it once or twice and get out. Don't set up the rebels for a victory either. Just do the deterrent strike and move on.
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Re: Middle East: Passion & Protest

Unread postby laojim » Tue Sep 03, 2013 7:47 pm

Zhuanyong wrote:Anybody have any thoughts on Obama's decision to strike Syria, and seeking out Congressional approval for the strikes?


One cannot help but woner if this is to be his way to get out of doing anything. As the congress has been going lately it can all be stalled by a philibuster or an anonymous hold which can easily move the deadline to the end of the session. Traditionally the soi-disant conservatives tend to be hawks, ready to pick a fight with anyone who comes into their sights and the liberals tend to be doves usually, these days, with some version of the guns and butter problem. At the moment, however, the libs tend to be the hawks and the cons tend to be doves when they discover that their opposition is hawkisn. This leads to a confusion of the usual alignments.

More to the point, however, the Jewish lobby and the big business lobbies are united because war means money and war with an Islamic nation serves the interests, or imagined interests, of Israel. This makes a nearly unstoppable faction regardless of other issues.

All the recent palaver about cutting the budget, starving the poor, cutting the elderly loose to fend for themselves, and so on may likely be converted to hot air as people see yet another blank check written for yet another middle eastern war stretching off into the indefinite future replacing the erstwhile colonial masters of this or that arab state. I would just refer you to Chomsky's analysis of the so called "Arab front" colonialism in the area. you might recall that the Iraq war, now lost and left in chaos, was paid for "off the budget" which amounts to a vast outlay that we are stilol pretending isn't there.

It is, therefore, a mess and there is no reason to suppose that it will be settled during this administration as the Republicans have thrown their full weight into, as they said years ago, stopping the Obama administration from doing anything at all. The congress is, therefore, likely to cry havoc without actually loosing the dogs of war.

Mind you, there is nobody in the administration with the direct financial interest in havoc as was the case duging the Baby Bush administration. Mr. Cheney continues to enjoy his wealth back in Wyoming and some of his cronies have done fabulously well from killing innocent Muslims and maiming countless American soldiers who now can't get their benefits because even the VA is all but broke.

History may well record Obama as a brilliant political strategist as he has set the hawks and doves loose in each other's pen and the only effective strategy of recent years would be a governmental shutdown on a scale not seen before. It might be interesting and I have a box seat.
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Re: Middle East: Passion & Protest

Unread postby WeiWenDi » Fri Sep 06, 2013 12:16 pm

Shikanosuke wrote:
Zhuanyong wrote:Anybody have any thoughts on Obama's decision to strike Syria, and seeking out Congressional approval for the strikes?


I'd rather not have to do it at all. I wish Obama hadn't created 'red lines' months ago, and I'm not sure we'd have our backs against the wall now. Furthermore if we're going to do this, I think we should wait for the proof to be on before ramping this up. The UN has been asked to expedite the results, and I haven't read what France's proof was. I heard ours was soil samples and cable intercepts between the regime and its chemical weapons division. I think asking Congress for approval is smart. The President's authority is at its strongest when he acts with the express approval of the people. If it comes back to bite us, the media won't be able to blame it on unilateral actions of a president.

That said, if we're going to do it I hope we really do it once or twice and get out. Don't set up the rebels for a victory either. Just do the deterrent strike and move on.


I agree completely and utterly with this view.

Diplomatic settlement with Iran, Russia and Israel is a first priority, and all avenues should be fully exhausted. We need to see solid UN results before we act. And then, if we act, we need to do so in the most limited way possible so as not to aid al-Qaeda.
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Re: Middle East: Passion & Protest

Unread postby Dong Zhou » Wed Sep 11, 2013 9:18 am

What do people think of Russia's proposal? Seems reaction among the politicians is "ok, sounds good but will they really do it?", I'm worried there is a bit too much scepticism on our part and it may scupper things
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Re: Middle East: Passion & Protest

Unread postby Sun Fin » Wed Sep 11, 2013 9:24 am

All I know about it is what WWD and CrazedMongoose have been discussing on FB but if it's genuine which they seem to feel it is then it can only be good!
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Re: Middle East: Passion & Protest

Unread postby Shikanosuke » Wed Sep 11, 2013 12:04 pm

Dong Zhou wrote:What do people think of Russia's proposal? Seems reaction among the politicians is "ok, sounds good but will they really do it?", I'm worried there is a bit too much scepticism on our part and it may scupper things


I think it was a deft move by the Russians, an attempt to remove the option of a unilateral American move. However, I think people are really excited by this because it seems so obvious and easy. I've read quite a few articles recently though who have stated that we need to be extraordinarily cautious, on a logistical level, of this move. America has the most specially trained troops in destroying these weapons, these weapons need to be destroyed at specially constructed sites (and someone has to pay for this of course), and these weapons are spread about a war-torn Syria we'd have to collect. So I think there's alot of good reason to be skeptical of a potentially impossible plan which requires full Syrian cooperation.

We Americans would be wise to be very crafty in drafting any UN resolution with care, where a lack of progress or cooperation actually results in action. Not that I want action, mind you, I just think it'd be an obvious Syrian and Russian victory to pass a UN resolution which is toothless and accomplishes nothing.
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Re: Middle East: Passion & Protest

Unread postby WeiWenDi » Wed Sep 11, 2013 5:47 pm

Shikanosuke wrote:We Americans would be wise to be very crafty in drafting any UN resolution with care, where a lack of progress or cooperation actually results in action. Not that I want action, mind you, I just think it'd be an obvious Syrian and Russian victory to pass a UN resolution which is toothless and accomplishes nothing.


Personally, I'm struggling to understand this latest round of developments myself. But given that (in my limited understanding of the situation) the only real skin we have in the game at this point is essentially all on Obama's face, and Russia's proposal - even if toothless - would allow him an 'out' in order to save it, I would hesitate to call even such a move an 'obvious Syrian and Russian victory'. It is a Russian victory PR-wise, since as I noted on FB it makes Putin look like the only adult in the room, but it's difficult to see how they stand to gain any tangible tactical advantage from their own proposal. (I'm not saying they can't, mind you; I'm just saying they don't seem to be playing the same game we are.)

You may disagree, though, since I note that I have a much narrower and classically-Realist definition of the national interest than you sometimes seem to.
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Re: Middle East: Passion & Protest

Unread postby Shikanosuke » Wed Sep 11, 2013 10:38 pm

WeiWenDi wrote:
Shikanosuke wrote:We Americans would be wise to be very crafty in drafting any UN resolution with care, where a lack of progress or cooperation actually results in action. Not that I want action, mind you, I just think it'd be an obvious Syrian and Russian victory to pass a UN resolution which is toothless and accomplishes nothing.


Personally, I'm struggling to understand this latest round of developments myself. But given that (in my limited understanding of the situation) the only real skin we have in the game at this point is essentially all on Obama's face, and Russia's proposal - even if toothless - would allow him an 'out' in order to save it, I would hesitate to call even such a move an 'obvious Syrian and Russian victory'. It is a Russian victory PR-wise, since as I noted on FB it makes Putin look like the only adult in the room, but it's difficult to see how they stand to gain any tangible tactical advantage from their own proposal. (I'm not saying they can't, mind you; I'm just saying they don't seem to be playing the same game we are.)

You may disagree, though, since I note that I have a much narrower and classically-Realist definition of the national interest than you sometimes seem to.



Well yea tactical wise it may not be a victory. But I think Russia will believe it a victory for isolating American efforts and neutralizing American efforts. And for Syria for essentially legitimizing its war (which at this point I'm fine with). That said, you could say its a Russian tactical victory because they get to keep selling weapons to Syria and probably aid in destroying them.
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Re: Middle East: Passion & Protest

Unread postby Dong Zhou » Fri Sep 13, 2013 12:35 pm

Galloway now claiming it was Saudi Arabia's fault for chemical weapon attacks, accusing Prince Bandar bin Sultan bin Abdul Aziz of having them sent to al-Qaida.

I would see it as a, if I had to pick a winner, Russian one. Putin as he comes out the stronger player who has come up with a scheme that saves everyone face a bit, makes them look the peace-brokers so changing the usual narrative. If he can get Assad to do this then Russia keeps their ally, if anything strengthen their influence in the area and their naval base.

Was surprised to see Putin challenge American Exceptionlisim (sp?) in his article.
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