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This Weekend

September 21st, 2013 - 2:47 pm

Barack Obama’s depiction of his Syrian chemical weapons “Red Line” policy as a triumph looked less than glowing in the light of Bashar al-Assad’s recent demands to comply. “WASHINGTON (Reuters) – President Bashar al-Assad said on Wednesday it would cost about $1 billion to get rid of Syria’s chemical weapons under a plan agreed to by Russia and the United States last week.” Who would pay the $1 billion? Assad offered some suggestions.

“As I said, it needs a lot of money. It needs about 1 billion. It is very detrimental to the environment. If the American administration is ready to pay this money and take the responsibility of bringing toxic materials to the United States, why don’t they do it?”

Assad sounds like he’s got Obama over a barrel and not the other way around. A billion isn’t much money these days. The only question is what it buys. In this case, maybe nothing. Assad says it will take a year to deliver the goods, as the BBC explains.

Under the terms of the CWC, Syria has been given nine months to complete the destruction of its chemical weapons.

Syrian President Bashar al-Assad has said he is committed to a plan to destroy his country’s chemical weapons but warned it could take about a year.

Professor Hay said he hoped the Syrians should be given a bit of “latitude” – if the destruction programme falls behind: “If the work is going well, and for some technical reason there is a hiccup, or if the sheer volume of material cannot be processed in time, I am reasonably hopeful that if it is clear that Syria is not just stalling for time, then there will have to be some give in the deadline.”

What? Not a next day money-back guarantee? A billion ain’t what it used to be.

And if Syria is just stalling for time, what does America do if they don’t comply? Why go to the United Nations, which will doubtless recommend giving them another billion and another year. The world is witnessing a geographic miracle; the transformation of Syria into North Korea, another country which is always on the point of giving up its WMDs but never quite does. In the meantime the international community will focus on another transgressor. That’s right and you guessed it: Israel. Vladimir Putin argues the only reason that Syria has chemical weapons in the first place is because Israel has nukes. All the US has to do in order to demilitarize the Middle East is to get Israel to throw away them old shootin’ irons.

“Syrian chemical weapons were built in response to Israel’s nuclear weapons,” Putin said, responding to a question about the chances of persuading Syria to give up its arsenal, as agreed under a deal proposed by the Kremlin last week. …

Putin told one of the conference participants that Israel will have to agree to get rid of its nuclear weapons, as Syria was giving up its chemical weapons.

That’s a preview into the next big meme that will hit US left wing academic circles. Demilitarize the Middle East and start with Israel.

Of course, none of this should detract from the administration’s achievements in Syria, which have been momentarily overshadowed by dire news from Kenya, where attacks reportedly from al-Shabab attacked a shopping mall and killed over 30 people after first ascertaining they were not of the right religion.

It’s a tragedy, but coming on a day which reports many dead in Iraq, and many more dead in Libya and many more dead in Africa and the Middle East, what is truly interesting about the Kenya attacks is that they have received prominent play at all. Only last week, rebels from the Moro National Liberation Front attacked and burned parts of Zamboanga City, which has a million inhabitants and it received almost no media play.

The contrast between the triumphs that are portrayed inside a narrow power circle and the actual reality of the wider world is the most striking feature of the media age. As Pauline Kael famously said when Nixon won by a landslide, “I don’t know anyone who voted for him.” She was probably telling the truth.

The Narrative is all about votes. The Syrian “triumph”, the War in the Congo, the attacks in Nairobi, the Siege of Zamboanga are all weighed in the balance of how many states they will swing or how many dollars in campaign funds they will generate. Then the right kind of story is written.

And as for Syria, well how long does it take to print a billion dollars?

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All Comments   (15)
All Comments   (15)
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I vote “#%@$^!& Obama Says” as the best new comedy of the season! While straight man (no pun intended) Obama pretends to rule his house, he his played for a fool by the always-cadging Assad and his apparent sidekick, Putin.
1 year ago
1 year ago Link To Comment
Russia, because in 1941 it was invaded by its ally and co-signator of the Hitler/Stalin Pact, claimed the right to extend its defensible borders to the far side of its neighbors ("From Stettin in the Baltic to Trieste in the Adriatic, an iron curtain has descended across the Continent").

So Russia understands the concept of defensible borders; indeed, has made a fetish of the thing to the point that it has a self-awarded moral right to the whole concept of defensible borders, to the point that any defensible border anywhere on earth is a threat, and must be penetrated by the state security services.

The KGB has so swallowed up the world, that vcat's paw Iran is now arming the anti-AQ in Syria and arming the pro-AQ in Kenya, Yeman, and Somalia, and KSA, the sponsor and creator of AQ, is allied with those governments now under attack by KSA's AQ. So Iran and KSA are both attacking themselves. Well, that's just great. Americanization, i suppose, in that we have two opposing economic systems and thus are also attacking ourselves.

There is only one explanation for all this: The KGB has become bored with the competition, and has now engaged the globe in a match between its own St. Petersburg and Moscow wings.

Tailgunner Joe had 'em doped --but then they doped HIM, and finished him off in Bethesda.
1 year ago
1 year ago Link To Comment
Israel should say to Putin, "Fine, you give up all your Eurasian, European, Oriental, Levantine, Persian, and Arabic National Socialist genocidalists and we'll give up our nuclear weapons."
1 year ago
1 year ago Link To Comment
Who knew the chinless Ophthalmologist is smarter than Dr. Evil? At least he asked for a Billion.
1 year ago
1 year ago Link To Comment
This game isn't hard to play. In fact it's pretty easy. But you have to have a certain amount of confidence in yourself. Reagan showed it was pretty easy to shame the bad guys into following the rules, just as they do to us.

The example of Time magazine is perfect, coincidentally enough. Time was founded on Walter Lippman's idea there needed to be a national media to tell people what to think, so the great unwashed wouldn't get ideas of their own. The shaming was then aimed at wrong-thinking Americans, and has been ever since. The idea that they need to constantly shame wrong-thinking Americans eventually made progressives forget they ever needed to shame anybody else, such as evil foreign dictators. In fact they got so used to using evil foreign dictators to shame wrong-thinking Americans they came to think evil foreign dictators were the good guys.
1 year ago
1 year ago Link To Comment
Some of us were wise to Time's function as a mental hypnotic long ago. I had an English teacher in high school who used to say, "When people don't know what to do with their hands, they smoke a cigarette; and when they don't know what to do with their brains, they read Time magazine." (He let it be known there would be consequences if anyone were so foolish as to bring a copy of the rag into his classroom.)
1 year ago
1 year ago Link To Comment
It took me a while as I grew up but I had just about figured it out when they ran a review of the first version of Red Dawn and called it ''fascist''. As if that didn't do it, when I wrote an irate letter to the magazine I got in return a snotty, condescending reply and that completed the package.
1 year ago
1 year ago Link To Comment
Who's winning and who's losing??? YYAAaawn.. boring.

I don't care. Just give me my new ObamaIPhone5 and latest US Treasury check, and I'll be on my way out to party..

And I do mean, PARRR-TY!!
1 year ago
1 year ago Link To Comment
Shebab Twitter account suspended after Kenya mall attack claims

Take that!
1 year ago
1 year ago Link To Comment

Pakistan frees top-ranking Taliban prisoner

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By Tim Craig and Kevin Sieff, Sunday, September 22, 12:49 AM E-mail the writers

ISLAMABAD, Pakistan — Pakistan’s security forces released a top-ranking Taliban prisoner Saturday in an effort to expedite the peace process in neighboring Afghanistan.
1 year ago
1 year ago Link To Comment
"Only last week, rebels from the Moro National Liberation Front attacked and burned parts of Zamboanga City, which has a million inhabitants and it received almost no media play."

The Moro have been Hukking things up for so long that this is a periodic given.

"The Narrative is all about votes."

What of Filipino voters? Must some Aquino or other sell US military involvement as a temporary program of mutual benefit? Something that can't be attacked as "re-colonization?"
1 year ago
1 year ago Link To Comment
"Putin told one of the conference participants that Israel will have to agree to get rid of its nuclear weapons, as Syria was giving up its chemical weapons."

And "Checkmate!"
1 year ago
1 year ago Link To Comment
All Europeans may not be anti-Semities, but they play them on the TV news.
1 year ago
1 year ago Link To Comment
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