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Mainstream Media Covers Obama’s Middle East Meltdown

January 4th, 2014 - 11:46 pm

Michael Weiss starts off with a humdinger of a lede in Politico:

It’s hard to pinpoint just when, exactly, Barack Obama’s Syria policy fell apart. Was it in December, when Islamists humiliated U.S.-backed rebels by seizing what limited supplies America had given them? Was it back in September, when Obama telegraphed his reluctance to enforce his own “red line” after the Syrian regime used chemical weapons on its own people? Was it in the months beforehand, when the administration quietly and mysteriously failed to make good on its pledge to directly arm the rebels? Or did it collapse in August 2011, when Obama called on Syrian dictator Bashar Assad to go, only to do almost nothing to make it happen?

But collapse it has, and more than 130,000 deaths later, the White House is now pinning its hopes on a peace conference in Switzerland later this month that is being billed as the last, best hope for a negotiated solution to a conflict that has displaced a staggering 40 percent of Syria’s total population, some 23 million people, in what the United Nations says is fast becoming the worst and most expensive humanitarian catastrophe in modern history.

The only problem with Weiss’s article is that it has drawn its compass too small. The mayhem is much, much more extensive than Syria. For example, Syria really abuts western Iraq, which is falling apart, too. Sarah Birke of the New York Review of Books reminds us “how al-Qaeda changed the Syrian War”:

Talk to any Syrian you meet on the Syrian-Turkish border these days, and in less than five minutes the conversation is likely to turn to Da’ash — the Arabic acronym for the rebel organization known as the Islamic State of Iraq and Greater Syria, or ISIS. Linked to al-Qaeda, the fearsome group has swept across northern Syria, imposing sharia law, detaining and even beheading Syrians who don’t conform to its purist vision of Islam, and waging war on rival militias. … The influence of the Islamic State of Iraq and Greater Syria is all the more startling given how recently the group entered the conflict.

The Washington Post reminds us that “a rejuvenated al-Qaeda-affiliated force asserted control over the western Iraqi city of Fallujah on Friday, raising its flag over government buildings and declaring an Islamic state in one of the most crucial areas that U.S. troops fought to pacify before withdrawing from Iraq two years ago.”

It seems al-Qaeda is everywhere these days, excepting Benghazi, where the New York Times assures us a video was responsible for occasioning the burning of the U.S. consulate there.

Still, al-Qaeda’s resurgence is disturbing, given assurances from as recently as the last presidential election that bin Laden was dead and Detroit was alive.

And what shall one make of Karzai a-fixing to double-cross the United States?

The Afghan government is now considering releasing 88 detainees who are of particular concern to the United States. Collectively, Graham said, they killed 60 members of the U.S.-led International Security Assistance Force (ISAF). … In March, the United States transferred control of the Parwan prison next to Bagram air base — with its roughly 3,000 detainees — to the Afghan government. Since then, Graham said, the Afghans have released 560 detainees without trial, and “some of those have gone back to the fight.”

You’d think the Taliban won that existential conflict; that they are going to take that place over shortly after the U.S. leaves. If the U.S. can leave, since the Pakistanis are making trouble over the amount they’ll charge to let Americans drive to the nearest port. And speaking of Pakistan, they “are determined to restore traditional peace of Balochistan” after 50 militant camps sprang up in it.

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We attempted an emergency bone graft of decent, consensual civilization in both Afghanistan and Iraq. The lifeless and brain dead patient has not responded. It is time to pull the plug. = Bigger Diggler

We left Sharia law in place, i.e. an Islamic Constitution in Iraq, and due to that, all that was gained would inevitably be lost. I blame Bush for that, but more than Bush, the Progressive-dominated U.S. State Department which led the post-war effort.

I do agree that at this point, not one more American life or dollar should be sacrificed for the Arab and Persian Middle East. Bomb them as necessary, or blockade them, but not another boot on the ground nor American casket nor "reconstruction" dollar. America has done more than any other nation on earth to bring piece to a place dedicated to hate and murder, from cradle to grave.

My theology professor in college, John Warwick Montgomery, who once led an expedition to Afghanistan in search of Noahs Ark, once said something to the effect that the Afghanie tribesmen that they love nothing more than to "beat on each other all day every day from dawn to night". It was a regular "Hatfield and McCoy" type situation. Along with every other culture dominated by Islam, it is simply an irreconcilably lost people.

Ann Coulter was right.
"We should invade their countries, kill their leaders and convert them to Christianity. We weren't punctilious about locating and punishing only Hitler and his top officers. We carpet-bombed German cities; we killed civilians. That's war. And this is war."

At this point, however, the capital has been spent and wasted, and quarantine and defense should be the primary American policy. For example, if Pakistan wants to "charge" the USA for leaving Afghanistan, give them one warning, then plow a 20 mile wide strip from Afghanistan to the Pakistani coast, and call it sovereign American territory, paid-in-full on 9/11/2001, and by the sacrifices of American military men since. Bomb their Nuclear facilities, capital, and ports. Leave them starving or allow Europe and the U.N. to provide food. But never again allow the enemy to dictate our war policy as has happened with Pakistan since 2001.
14 weeks ago
14 weeks ago Link To Comment
The Donks, having as MASH once put it "the light touch of a German jazz band," respond to a crisis in the Ummah by sending bacon, as in Kevin Bacon.
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=zDAmPIq29ro

In fairness they use the same approach for all their problems foreign and domestic. They believe problems are caused by enemies. Why isn't the Grand Vision of domestic Obamacare and Green Energy and global Peace and Justice being realized? Clearly because Darth Cheney and the Koch brothers are meeting in a basement and giving orders to their vast army of Wreckers everywhere. This is the greatest and most dastardly plot since Leon Trotsky destroyed the Soviet harvest and tricked the chickens into not laying eggs. The Believers only vary in if they include a delegation of bearded ulta-Orthodox Jews in the basement with Dick and the Kochs. Those who do not admit to the overtly antisemitic theory will conveniently ignore that their fellow conspiracy theorists think that way.

We must be relentless in denying the lies and repeating the truth. Under Bush we won. The only error was that under pressure from the Democrats Bush allowed the size of our forces to shrink in order to fund modernizations. If we had simply continued with the winning strategy we would have peace and victory. What we need is three times the military we now have and no spending on distractions or maintenance of allies of our enemies at the public expense.

Everyone who dies violently now in Africa Asia Europe and the Americas because of the poverty and hate spread by totalitarianism including Islamism dies because Obama and the Democrats replaced law decency and civilization with fear hate and chaos. Everyone who suffers when we have to go back and do the job again will suffer because Obama and the Democrats abandoned them. The Arabs do not deserve this. No one does.
14 weeks ago
14 weeks ago Link To Comment
The Muslim world is a solid 500 years behind the West in virtually any area you want to mention. Primitive, illiterate, religiously-intoxicated and brain damaged, it is utterly and completely hopeless and a filthy sewer of hate and stupidity. The borders imposed on the Arab world, with the consequent police states kept the lid on the boil for a short time, until the murderous dirty-necked incompatibility with decency, civilization and modernity erupted in 9-11.

We attempted an emergency bone graft of decent, consensual civilization in both Afghanistan and Iraq. The lifeless and brain dead patient has not responded. It is time to pull the plug.

Realistically, we have ignored history. In the mid-1850s, the Czar of Russia deemed the Ottoman Empire's Caliphate as "the sick man of Europe." At the Battle of Lepanto 500 years ago, captured Muslim canon were so obviously inferior that the Europeans simply melted them down to reuse the metal. Spain publishes more books in Spanish each year than the Arab world, with 50 times the population, has published in 1,000 years.

Time and Time again, we have ignored the fact that the highest ideal of this religion is the restoration of that same Caliphate. Thus, there is absolutely no basis for civilization in Islamdom.

The good part of the Invasion of Iraq is China got all the oil contracts, and China is also Saudi Arabia's biggest customer. It now has a colossal stake in Persian Gulf stability. China has the world's largest land army. Historically, it has no issue of subduing Islam by eradicating 60 percent of the civilian population, and brutally eliminating all vestiges of Islamic culture. It cracks down regularly and harshly on its "restive" Muslim population, and yet brilliantly bypasses Western press criticism. It is officially atheistic. It unequivocally supported the use of poison gas against civilians in Syria, broadcasting its ideological commitment to fierce, unrestrained genocide against Islam.

Get 'er done.
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14 weeks ago
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13 weeks ago
13 weeks ago Link To Comment
The UN just issued a report saying it was almost certainly the rebels that used sarin gas in three attacks. So much for those who have steadfastly maintained that only the Assad government could get their hands on such stuff. That was the underpinning of our argument to go to war against Syria. I'm so glad Putin stayed our hand through normal diplomatic channels. In a lot of places it is how you ask and not what you ask. Many people do not react well to threats but will cooperate if approached more adroitly. The US abroad is often an elephant in a china shop.
14 weeks ago
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Who says it fell apart?

This Administration, from top to bottom, their sympathies have always lied with Islam and The Shari'ah.
14 weeks ago
14 weeks ago Link To Comment
You know a tree by its fruit. Islam is the tree and this is its fruit. Any questions?
14 weeks ago
14 weeks ago Link To Comment
Fail Burton - I'm going to disagree with a great deal of your post.

First, democracy, the rule of the people by the people, theoretically began long before the emergence of the USA. Do you think that such ideologies spring fully formed from one individual's mind? They developed as economies changes from local, isolate, tribal self-sustenance, to larger populations interacting, trading in a market economy.

The earliest thinkers about democracy, apart from the Greeks, developed in Europe - and the Magna Carta of 1215 was one early rejection of unilateral Ruler authority. The increasing focus on 'the right to think, reason and debate' of individuals led to civil laws and governance - and such thinkers as Locke, Hume, Hobbes and so on cemented the 'natural nature of man' within the political realm.

The USA was indeed the first nation to set itself up as a 'demos', of and by and for the people - since it had no long, long history of hereditary Rulers to get rid of. But, democracy is a NATURAL mode of political and economic organization for LARGE populations.

That's why it emerged when the populations of Europe increased beyond the economic carrying capacity of local tribal( feudal) organization. The Middle East has remained frozen in tribalism (ie hereditary rulers) either within lineage or dictatorships, long past its 'best before' due date - due to the revenues from oil. But, the population size is too large for a two-class hereditary political system and democracy, which is based around the Rule of the Middle Class must emerge.
The old Rulers are fighting this - just as they did in Europe from the 13th c to the 16th.

Bush was right, in my view, to attempt to weaken tribalism in the ME and enable the development of democracy. He did this to prevent the implosion that we are now seeing in that region. Obama has wrecked this emerging infrastructure and is enabling, not the return of national tribalism, but of fundamentalist Islamism - which is very different from that old tribalism. And Islamism isn't about 'nationhood' but about a pathological control of all peoples within fundamentalist Islam. It is a 'sick' ideology, whereas tribalism, in its day, had merit and value.

The thing about fundamentalism is that it operates not merely within brute repressive force but within a fiction of utopia. IF ONLY we can control people, THEN, everything will be great. But the basic causes of misfortune, such as pestilence, crop failures, ecological weakness, disease...and that even more insidious..individual psychological greed and corruption..prevent utopia from ever existing outside of, of course, our imagination. But fundamentalists are prepared to destroy to achieve such imagined realms for they have moved outside of, even the realm of 'being human'.

That's why we in the West must continue to encourage and enable the development of a middle class economy and thus, of democracy, in the Middle East and elsewhere. We are a global reality and we cannot afford to enable and allow a cancerous pathology to develop anywhere.
14 weeks ago
14 weeks ago Link To Comment
In fact America did have a long history of hereditary rulers since they were ruled by one until they revolted. Americans prior to the Revolutionary War saw themselves as an extension of both England and Europe. The Declaration of Independence conspicuously rejected one and The Federalist Papers directly addressed the perils of the other in terms of Balkanization. That fear of Balkanization and wars of succession motivated Lincoln during the Civil War like no other factor. In other words, a long European history of balance of power wars. Yankee America was anti-Europe in every respect of government. Our Civil War was empowered by an idea of Europe, anti-Federalism. American peace has been maintained on this continent by pro-Federalism.

In fact democracy did not emerge in Europe. Instead they attempted to mimic our revolution the same way the Arab Spring spread. In the end, it didn't take. At the outbreak of WW I it was still kings and princes fighting feuds, but this time with a staggering ability to deal out death due to a scientific ingenuity not squashed by colonialist Arab horsemen (Mongols, Huns). WW II was a direct outgrowth of that unfinished fight. Only with millions dead in fighting, POW and concentration camps and American and Soviet boots on their necks did dictator-led Europe finally see the democratic light.

When it comes to the Middle East, the reason they have not engaged in wars to end all wars is that they never had the tech capacity to do so. Rather than being bombed into sensibility like Europe was, the ME has been frozen in place by a Pax Americana. The reason the ME never had a European Enlightenment is because they were overwhelmed by bottom up Arab colonialism whose one innovation was the same as the Huns and Mongols: mobile armies, and little else. The difference between Europe and the Middle East is that the thin veneer of Arabic/Islamic culture dominated their entire area of the world. There was no innovation because multi-culture was literally destroyed by Arabic colonialism as was never the case in Europe. It was not an emerging middle class that profited Europe but an extra-national class of scientists who ignored national boundaries and created the possibility of a middle class free from time wasting drudgery and books everyone eventually had access to. Consciousness rose from technology. Today the average American knows more about bottom line science than the average scientist did in the 19th century.

England took the idea of rule by people an awful long way, but they never crossed the goal line. They still have a frickin' queen rich in land beyond the dreams of avarice and still no Constitution. No matter how powerless that queen is she is still there. Why?

If only massive war and bombings finally got democracy into an Enlightened Europe, what will it take in the ME? It is not possible to plant democracy there. They must and will go their own route with their own traditions and history, for good or ill. It is not our history or traditions, or anything like them.

My argument remains as before. America is the sole anomalous founding example of a nation from its boots up which is not dog eat dog or ruled by dictator or royalty. There was no transition. There was philosophy, a statement, and war. Other countries such as Australia and Canada are doing a great job of mimicking that end result. But in nations like Brazil, India and Indonesia that are little more than Victorian era polities with subways and cell phones, it's a problem. In the medieval ME, it's much worse.
14 weeks ago
14 weeks ago Link To Comment
Nope, I'll continue to disagree, Fail Burton. America did not have a long history of hereditary rulers. The century between its settlement and its independence is hardly, in the historical sense, very long. Furthermore, by the time of the settlement of America, the key economic and political battles in Britain against absolute sovereignty were long dealt with, as well as the separation of church and state. Furthermore, the economy was no longer local sustenance but a market economy and with a strong and very large entrepreneurial private capitalist middle class.

Therefore, since democracy is grounded in a middle class market economy, it operationally and intellectually began in Europe. There is a long intellectual history of the development of this private market economy, from animal to wind to steam power, with innovations in technology, chemistry, biology, medicine (see Fernand Braudel's history of its development). And despite your claim, the era of the 1900s was not 'kings and princes fighting feuds'; you are totally ignoring economic realities and population bases - and the rule of law and governance which denies any such power to 'kingly feuds'.

The reason the Middle East didn't develop industrial technology was because its population base was never large enough to go beyond the critical carrying threshold of a dry horticultural and pastoral nomadic economy. There was no need to change and thus, no need to destabilize the long term order by focusing on individual freedom to dissent and innovate - as happened in the West. AND, the post WWI insertion of the West into the ME, was based on the reality of oil reserves and the transformation of the west's energy supplies from coal to oil. BUT, the ME , existing as it did in a pre-industrial economy, didn't have the technological capacity to find or process oil, so the West moved in.

The huge financial gains went to the ME hereditary rulers who used it, in a redistributive mode, to silence and restrain their populations. But, the ME populations moved from a rural to an urban base in these power war years, and exponentially increased...far, far beyond the capacity of being funded by oil money distributed from the Rulers. The need for a middle class private economy is at the crux of the problems in the Middle East right now - not your 'arab colonialism' (?).

Again, the middle class, which developed in Europe from the 15th century on, was engaged in, not science, but marketing - private business - and this is the basis of the capitalist economic mode. And of democracy. I've no idea what evidence you can claim to support your contention that there was no democracy in Europe until the 20th century.

The Queen is not a 'frickin queen', but a beloved symbol of continuity of history and nationality. That's why she's there and revered. The British development of common law, of the parliamentary system, all of which arewritten codifications - all act as the constitutional constraints of behavior.

And of course, I disagree with your 'bombed into sensibiity'; the two world wars were not dealt with by the 'sensibility of the US' whatever that means but were actually due to economic imbalances of power in eastern Europe, which was transitioning from a two-class to a three class economic and political infrastructure. Western Europe had moved into a three class structure far earlier than Eastern Europe. And the Middle East remains two-class today, which is the cause of its problems.

Canada and Australia are not mimicking the USA; they are both based on the British parliamentary democracy, which sets up an elected legislature to make laws. Again, I think it would be helpful if you defined 'democracy'.
14 weeks ago
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It would help if you didn't define all history as revolving around some type of middle class or lack of it based on some pedantic population threshold. I suppose dropping a-bombs on Japan was an expression of class and the lack of European dictators after WW II a coincidence. WW I was a royal and aristocratic feud, not existential in even the slightest way. It was a chess game played by bored royalty to no purpose and with no end game.

Arab colonialism was a very real thing, and still is to this day. The Koran itself is built around managing conquered populations, not a true moral ethos. It's ethos is one of identity, Arab identity. Your religion and therefore a type of correctthink was emphasized, not ingenuity. Even today, Egypt does not allow Christians to be President and everyone has religious ID cards. The ME has been steeped in identity for ages.

India had eleventy kazillion people even a thousand years ago - that didn't mean a thing - it had grinding poverty, not a middle class. It had plenty of people, many of whom regularly starved in famines. Hyderabad had the same stark contrast between rich and poor in 1800 it has today.

America shrugged off identity, kings, princes, class and aristocracy ages before England did. Their expressions of class and aristocracy are still within living memory, ours gone with powdered wigs. America rewarded aggressive ingenuity, and within a matter of years. Why am I not surprised the world outside America is our cultural colony. They cannot produce what we do, only mimic it. Even trivial things like soccer standings around the world are based on USA Today 1982. That is not an expression of class economics or population but eccentricity set to the service of America's religion - what works and how could it be better.

America is the foremost intellectually aggressive nation in the world and has been for 200 years. That is because restraint has been removed, not a middle class put in place.
14 weeks ago
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It appears that you have missed the mark on Hobbes and Locke, and not by a small margin. Hobbes and Locke were thoroughly anti-democratic. The "natural nature of man" was the individual against everybody. The demos was nothing more than a mob that had to be controlled by the absolute authority of the state. Justice was whatever the ruler commanded, no matter how arbitrary, and with no appeal to any other authority.

Locke is merely a better dressed Hobbes. He covered his malignant view of human nature with the fabric(ation) of the "social contract." Let's agree to make make the state supreme so that we have something greater than us to prevent us from killing each other is hardly the basis of a good and lasting society.

What has "by the people" gotten us? An observor of the Revolution would say that under King George that any tax without representation was too much, while under the demos no tax with representation is too much. Surely you see the irony. Crazy King George was far less rapacious than the current (and most previous) administrations.

All things considered the USA is the best of breed, but let's not delude ourselves to think for a moment that contemporary American culture is anything but anathema to the mind not already besotted by American/European public education. Every US embassy and consulate is under instructions to make acceptance of sodomy a condition of American "friendship". With friends like that who needs enemies?
14 weeks ago
14 weeks ago Link To Comment
It depends on what you mean by democracy. Hobbes certainly supported the sovereign will of the king but he also supported the equality of men and, the nature of the state as a created construct, that Lockean 'social contract', which led to the separation of church and state...such that the state was created by man and not by god.

Every population operates within both a societal or communal status and a personal individual status. The reason for this is because our species, alone of all species, has a knowledge-base which is not genetic but is learned. We LEARN how to live; it's not innate. Therefore, our species must live within a society that stores and develops this knowledge base. The trick is to set up a political or state governance system that is responsive to the people. That is the Social Contract.

The current Washington governmental infrastructure has isolated itself from The People - and its imposition of not merely taxes, but governance (Obamacare, the IRS overseeing conservative groups, NSA, etc etc) has moved outside of democracy.

It's up to the people to reject this isolate and arrogant government in Washington - but it will be quite the battle, as the elite in Washington will use every corrupt means to retain power.

14 weeks ago
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I do not accept the presupposition that the separation of church and state is always and everywhere the most desirable outcome. Denial of God (and I mean Catholic) as the ultimate authority of government power and social structure appears to be working out rather badly in the USA.

The state established goddess of Liberty has been quite successful in convincing men that freedom means doing anything you want right now without regard to tradition or posterity, and making them forget that the liberty that sustains civil life is the freedom to do what is right. The Judeo-Christian tradition established the rules of right conduct for all human beings even as most people refused to follow them.

The goddess of Liberty has corrupted politics, probably beyond repair, destroyed the family, and inverted truth and beauty, all while glorifying man's most animalistic behavior, particularly in sexual license. Unless and until virtue ethics are the basis of government power and legislation the fragmentation of society and the debasement of civil life will continue unabated. The answer is quite simply, Cristo Rey.
14 weeks ago
14 weeks ago Link To Comment
P Boston, I agree with you that the supposition that man is the ultimate agent of power is not desirable. I'm an atheist but I consider that man cannot and should not ever have the 'hubris' to consider himself inviolate in his capacity to make good judgments. Humility and acknowledgment of fallibility is vital - and that means that man can never set himself up as supreme.

By separation of church and state I don't mean to imply that man is the supreme power, but that political decisions should be made by a legislature - and understood as open to debate, dissent, rejection and/or acceptance. If there is no separation, then the 'church' or whatever is Supreme Authority (and it could be a human dictator or an aristocracy) could say that no-one has the right to debate, argue and reject any decision.

I agree with you - the freedom to 'do what is right' and all individuals must operate within moral and legal constraints. I accept the Golden Rule in that area.
14 weeks ago
14 weeks ago Link To Comment
ETAB said:

"Bush was right, in my view, to attempt to weaken tribalism in the ME and enable the development of democracy. He did this to prevent the implosion that we are now seeing in that region. Obama has wrecked this emerging infrastructure and is enabling, not the return of national tribalism, but of fundamentalist Islamism - which is very different from that old tribalism. And Islamism isn't about 'nationhood' but about a pathological control of all peoples within fundamentalist Islam. It is a 'sick' ideology, whereas tribalism, in its day, had merit and value."

I generally agree with this statement. However there's no way democracy could have been stable in Iraq without the US military standing behind it for many years. The Iraqis had no prior tradition with genuine democracy.

One could make a compelling argument that with the removal of Saddam, we had no dog in Iraq's various fights. If the Iraqis insisted on collapsing into chaos then that was their business. However that argument ignored Iraq's strategic importance.

Iraq borders Iran, Syria, Saudi Arabia and the Persian Gulf. A perfect location for an American military presence to maintain hegemony in the Middle East. Before the Persian Gulf War, Iraq had a strong economy and an educated population. I had Iraqi classmates when I went to graduate school and they were competent engineers. A democracy successfully established in Iraq would have been the poster child for the rest of the Middle East. Of course, the Iraqi people would need to be dragged to that conclusion kicking and screaming (to their mindset it was much better to remain in the 9th century situation of killing their neighbor because he believed in a slightly different version of the Easter Bunny).

The goal should have been to reconstruct Iraq into the idealized version of Turkey (secular democracy) as envisioned by Atatürk. Of course, Obama had to bow down to his moonbat political base and the MSM. A historic opportunity flushed down the toilet in order to stay true to the leftist narrative.

ETAB also said:

"The thing about fundamentalism is that it operates not merely within brute repressive force but within a fiction of utopia. IF ONLY we can control people, THEN, everything will be great."

Oddly enough, socialism works on the same principles.

If people could just get along and join the narrative, we could all be singing in the fields and factories as a liberated proletariat enjoying the worker's paradise as envisioned by Lenin and Marx. Stupid people.... can't get with the program....

Why is it not surprising that Islamic Fascism and Socialism are like yin-and-yang?
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14 weeks ago
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formerly Eggplant: Yes, I agree with everything you've said. That was the point of enabling democracy in Iraq - to serve as a 'lynchpin' for the rest of the area. But Obama, an utterly ignorant and arrogant idiot, ruined it, with his removal of the stabilizing forces of the US and his rejection of the reality of Islamic fascism.

And into that void, Iran - with its imperialist agenda of economic and political domination of the region, has moved in - by first 'sending' in the Islamic fundamentalists to destabilize and terrorize the people. And of course, Russia and China, cynical users of this rapidly destabilizing implosion, have moved in to enrich themselves via arms contracts, oil, food, resources - while the local populations flee to refugee camps and die in the hundreds of thousands.

Agreed, socialism, like communism and fascism, are all similar, all utopian, all fundamentalist ideologies of total control leading to an imagined perfection. The hubris, the arrogance...is always met with failure, a failure that decimates the population and implodes the constraints that keep us moral and human.
14 weeks ago
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"The earliest thinkers about democracy, apart from the Greeks, developed in Europe - and the Magna Carta of 1215 was one early rejection of unilateral Ruler authority."

The Magna Carta in NO WAY included anyone but the Lords vs. the King.

Guess again.
14 weeks ago
14 weeks ago Link To Comment
Of course it included only the lords versus the king because they were the owners of capital (the land, the livestock, the knowledge) and as such, they were the basis of the economy. The fact that the peasantry wasn't yet involved because the economies were too small to have a middle class is not relevant- for a middle class didn't develop until several centuries later.

What IS democratic was a rejection of unilateral absolute authority, the authority of sovereign Will, ie, the singular Will of the King, and an insistence that such individual Will be restrained by law - and what developed was common law, the law of the commonality not the sovereign.
14 weeks ago
14 weeks ago Link To Comment
I think there have been brief flashes in the Arab world which suggest that some want a change toward a more liberal state, and will revolt against the autocratic dictators. (Recall the Tunisian cart vendor who was humiliated by the functionaries who insulted and beat him and confiscated his wares, and in protest he set himself ablaze. I think there are things the U.S. Can do -- and it doesn't include an invasive war. Some of what the West can do is detailed in an anthropology text written by a person who spent years living in the Arab world (and has no illusions)..."Culture and Conflict in the Middle East" by Philip Carl Salzman.
14 weeks ago
14 weeks ago Link To Comment
Most definitely, many people in the Middle East want a more liberal state. These include the 'green demonstrators' in 2009 in Iran, who demonstrated in favor of such a liberal democracy - and Obama utterly ignored them and sided with Ahmandinejad.

These include the people in Egypt who also demonstrated - against Mubarak whose totalitarian regime was preventing the development of small private businesses and a middle class economy; (here Obama dithered); and supported Morsi, who introduced the Muslim Brotherhood and its Islamism..only to be taken out by the military, with Obama now cutting off their much needed funding - driving them to China and Russia.

Then, there's Syria and its 'red line', which Obama, when that line was crossed, fled from, and effectively handed Syria over to Russia AND Iran.

And Obama, denying that Islamic fundamentalist exists, insisting that Benghazi was due to 'American sin' (that made-in-USA video); informing everyone that Al Qaeda is 'vanquished and feeble', when in reality it is becoming stronger and stronger.

The reality of electronic communication, of an economically linked global world, and of a population that has exponentially grown far, far beyond the tribal political mode - and requires a middle class economy (private businesses rather than state oil); and democracy (empowering this middle class)....that's what's driving the Middle East. But the rulers are holding on, and in the vacuum, fundamentalism is developing with its utopian violence and a sense of fulfillment even if it is pathological.
14 weeks ago
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I think you've nailed the current situation (and the horror of Obama promoting the most regressive/oppressive reactionary faction, the Brotherhood, will go down in history as one of the worst of all political blunders committed by an American president).
14 weeks ago
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Whenever you have a political vacuum after the removal of a dictatorship centered on an ad hoc cult of personality of course civil strife will be the result if there are recognizable factions such as Sunni, Shite, Pashtun, etc., and with no military occupation by an outside force.

Egypt avoided having live fire involved in their revolution because, with the exception of Christian Copts, Egyptians think of themselves as pretty much one nation. The Muslim Brotherhood is an unorthodox political religious group with no real historic basis.

Afghanistan, Iraq and Syria enjoy no such natural protections, and Lebanon exists on mutual suspicion and a frozen civil war that could come unglued at any time.

Going into Iraq and Afghanistan was idiotic. Going into Syria will be too. We're talking about nations that never settled their nationhood by the naked use of violence as have others in the region, and indeed, around the world.

It is a process they must go through simply because they are so willing to die to do so, as we once were. Water will find its own course in the Middle East.

As the Pax Americana recedes as we spend more and more of our treasure on managing immigrants, so too will Africa once more set alight and Asia as well, as grievances frozen in place by our military might will once again roll themselves out and play themselves out.

People have to accustom themselves to the fact that American-style democracy is an anomaly few choose to participate in. Even Europe only adopted it after America stepped in and bombed the crap out of them to end 2,000 years of violence never quiet for more than 45 years at a crack, and they unironically called that "The Long Peace." That was shattered in 1914.

From Canada to Australia, from Mexico to Argentina, this world simply doesn't realize how much it's relative peace has been bought and paid for by America. Take away the American hand laughingly referred to as "imperialistic" by the politically correct, and you'll see the true meaning of "imperialism."
14 weeks ago
14 weeks ago Link To Comment
Bravo, sir, esp your 4th and 5th paragraphs! The attitudes, traditions and beliefs of a society cannot be erased by top-down power that does not derive from the general population. Take this away and the people will resume whatever they feel they have to do, even after centuries. Look what happened in the former Yugoslavia and the peripheral zones of the former USSR; note how it is not happening in Mother Russia.

And, as you said, the worst of these was the herding of populations into ''countries'' by European powers, folks who'd never felt a sense of nationhood...ever.

It was fruitless for us to run around generation after generation supposedly shaping people to live as we do (surely they would want to, wouldn't they?).

They have to shape their own futures; we can't do it as shown by generations of blood and treasure expended in the effort. If they're stuck in pre-Greek tribalism or post-Renaissance feudalism or whatever, the evolution of their societies is up to them, not us.
14 weeks ago
14 weeks ago Link To Comment
"The attitudes, traditions and beliefs of a society cannot be erased by top-down power that does not derive from the general population. "

Of course, a bottom-up moborcracy.... (HINT: Book Two of Mackay's "Popular Delusions..".
14 weeks ago
14 weeks ago Link To Comment
A MESSAGE TO ALL AMERICANS:

p)RESIDENT 0BAMA AND HIS MINIONS WILL BE PUSHING MANY POLITICAL ISSUES THIS COMING YEAR TO TAKE ATTENTION AWAY FROM HIS FAILED TRAIN WRECK, KNOWN AS 0BAMACARE...IRS, NSA, AP SPYING AND BENGHAZI SANDALS...

PLEASE, WE DON'T WAN'T TO TAKE OUR EYE OFF THE BALL...STAY ALERT!

AMERICANS BEWARE! ... ISSUES COMING DOWN THE PIKE FROM THE LIBOCRATS ARE FOR DISTRACTION PURPOSE ONLY...PERIOD

THANK YOU AND HAVE A WONDERFUL 2014.
14 weeks ago
14 weeks ago Link To Comment
Only a third wanted war with England. Less than a third want to throw off the yoke of Tyranny today, far to many are too “comfortable” to risk losing it all. Only time we (US) have any business doing "Nation Building" is after a World War otherwise its always been a Progressive Pipe dream! If we thought 2012 Suppression of the Vote and 110% Voter Rolls voting 101% to a single party was bad... We ain’t seen noth'n yet! Cornered tyrants will only "Double down", 2016 should "Burn the Barn down" but the patriotic blood has all been spent in Foreign Wars, only the sheep live here now.
14 weeks ago
14 weeks ago Link To Comment
Despite my earlier pessimistic view on the future of Islam, it is clear that the collapse of Pax America, if handled correctly bodes well for an extremely bright future for America. Our golden age is ahead of us.

The upheaval of the New World Order has its genesis in America's unrivaled technological dominance. We sent out the internet to the world, and we are seeing the cataclysmic results of it. The New World Order, as posited by Bush 1.0, believed that Islam could be reformed and brought into a decent society of world governance. We now know that is not true. Islam is going through its final spasm of genocidal murderous fratricide, artificially delayed by the well-meaning West since World War 1.

The vast technological revolution presently occurring in the United States is not well or widely understood. It makes any effort to engage with the rest of the world a pointless exercise in frustrating futility. National politicians have no control over it. It is irrelevant who holds the office of the President. The fracking revolution has had no support from the National Government, and even with any opposition, it rolls on unimpeded, crushing the established oil companies and acting silently bypassing and making the Arab Middle East totally irrelevent. We simply must disengage with the rest of the world: We speak a brand new language and the rest of the world has no translators. We have become virtually a hive of aliens incomprehensible to the rest of the world. They will never catch up.
14 weeks ago
14 weeks ago Link To Comment
" We simply must disengage with the rest of the world: We speak a brand new language and the rest of the world has no translators. We have become virtually a hive of aliens incomprehensible to the rest of the world. They will never catch up."

So we disengage as per your prescription. No allies of any consequence. No strategic locations outside of our borders. Then one day we find ourselves completely surrounded by nuked-up folks who hate our guts. Many so because we walked away on so many occasions when they cried out for help to overcome their squalor and oppressors and others simply because we appear weak and ripe for the picking.

That day you will look out the window and say "oops, I guess they just caught up. Maybe I should cancel my subscription to Wired magazine".

14 weeks ago
14 weeks ago Link To Comment
Do we actually have any allies of any consequence NOW? If so, who? And what do those supposed allies bring, if anything, to the table of this supposed "alliance"?

With a very few exceptions, most of our "alliances" in my opinion are now, and always have been a one-way street. Aside from tiny assistance from our "allies" in Afghanistan, and probably a bit more from Britain and Australia in Iraq, I just can't seem to get my mind around the idea that it has all been a total waste.

And just how are we going to "help to overcome their squalor and oppressors?" Talk to me like a sixth grader, tell me the mechanics of how we are supposed to do just that.

My most burning memory was the battle of Mogadishu, where our solders were killed and their bodies drug through the streets naked, for the crime of helping their killers "overcome their squalor and oppressors." Was that one as good for you as it was for me? Killing our soldiers who were there solely to make sure food got through to the hungry?

My other memory was the French aircraft carrier that was sent to the Afghanistan theater, and it took three of our carriers to protect it, it was so primitive and backwards by comparison.

Then there was Iraq, where we expended our best and brightest for 10 long years, with no discernible improvement or movement toward a decent consensual government. Same story with Afghanistan, which obviously will collapse the second we leave.

In my opinion, the bloodbath presently taking place in the Muslim ME has been a long time coming, and probably necessary (apparently our "allies" have pretty much the same idea). The bloodshed presently is confined to the borders of some of our most hated enemies, which is a vast improvement over having it exported in the nature of international terrorism. Our mantra was for too long preserving "stability" in this part of the world, and it backfired big time on 9-11.

North Korea is on the verge of collapse, if we have the brains to let it happen. We have repeatedly propped it up with food in one phony nuclear deal after another. Are we in an alliance with China, or who, on that one?
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14 weeks ago
14 weeks ago Link To Comment
You declared "" We simply must disengage with the rest of the world". Yes, "THE REST OF THE WORLD". Exactly that is what you stated.

The last I time I looked at my globe "the rest of the world" included such entities and, by the way, allies with names like Australia, New Zealand, Japan, India, South Africa, the Philippines, Peru, Argentina, Iceland, Ireland, Israel, Brazil, Honduras, England, Spain, France, Germany, Poland, Italy, Switzerland, Panama, Denmark, Sweden, Finland, Mexico, and Canada-Florida.

Possibly you really didn't mean "the rest of the world" but just the general Middle East. So let's just observe while they nuke-it-out there since we are sure that they will keep it walled-in and never take a crack at Panama.. or Honduras ..or all of Indonesia ... certainly not Israel .... or anyplace else they intend to start hanging the nuclear noose.

And then there is the silly notion about "having it exported in the nature of international terrorism". Certainly that would never occur to anyone to do that would it? Surely not.

We foolishly sent our people inadequately protected into a hell-hole run by warlords and they were butchered. So from that act of gross ineptitude and stupidity we should conclude that we should withdraw "from the rest of the world"?

Here's another hot idea. Let's let some blowhard run for the presidency on a ill-considered but vote getting promise that "I'll bring 'em home from Iraq" and then proceed to do so with no option considered of keeping residual US and allied forces in place to keep the place from backsliding into anarchy.

What you preach may have allure to some but it is, in my opinion, nothing less than a path to suicide. But maybe it will be seen as okay with "the rest of the world".

PS: Knock off the "sixth-grade" crap. It doesn't reflect well upon the debate at hand nor yourself.
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14 weeks ago
14 weeks ago Link To Comment
Disclosure: I have never voted for Obama (in fact, have not voted since approximately 1982). I have never seen one of his speeches. I pulled the plug on my TV and have not watched TV, other than briefly and rarely in hotel rooms on business trips, since 1998.

"The last I time I looked at my globe "the rest of the world" included such entities and, by the way, allies with names......." Yeah, then there was Desert Storm. Remember that one? When George Bush 1.0 organized the world's most mighty UN coalition ever?

It was a coalition in name only. Probably at least 95 percent of all the heavy lifting was done by the Americans, and quite frankly, we could have done the other 5 percent a lot easier than supporting and protecting the assorted lesser powers by just doing 100 percent of it ourselves. We needed Syria's 15,000 ill-trained troops and France's decrepit aircraft carrier and Sweden's 3 antique fighter bombers to make it happen? Really? The truth is, it was precisely the Grand Alliance George 1.0 build that prevented us from going in in 1991 and removing Saddam when it would have been easy. The Syrians would not have approved. We can't have Syria disapproving and causing cracks in the vaunted "alliance."

What would an Iraqi "residual force" be capable of right now in Fallujah? Besides putting young people constantly in danger of being hauled before Iraq's overtly religious court system? Taking orders from Maliki? Yeah, he has really demonstrated some leadership qualities, in fact, there is a pretty good argument that he blundered right into the situation in Fallujah. And now you want to put Americans in the crossfire that he stupidly created?
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14 weeks ago
14 weeks ago Link To Comment
"What would an Iraqi "residual force" be capable of right now in Fallujah? Besides putting young people constantly in danger of being hauled before Iraq's overtly religious court system? Taking orders from Maliki?"

Given the sacrifice that our military personnel made to free the people of Iraq from a tyrant and then to give them a chance at a civilized form of government it should be inconceivable that we would tolerate either of that which you describe. That is the least that we could do to honor those who made the sacrifice. To cut and run is not a correct and honorable option nor is tolerance of anything but total respect from Maliki or any part of the governing apparatus. Apparently we are going to do the former because we don't have the balls to demand from Maliki the latter. If we are going to leave a residual force that is intimidated by a corrupt and unstable Iraqi leadership then, yes, we should not consider it. But such behavior on our part will never be recognized as that which achieved great results for those or that for whom we have sacrificed. Sometimes the choices are sacrifice, submit, or surrender. Take your pick. Some apparently think that "sit on the sidelines and watch" is a fourth option. That seldom works as a best choice in this world.
14 weeks ago
14 weeks ago Link To Comment
At some point, the Muslims need to get real. I have seen absolutely nothing out of Iraq indicating that Maliki "gets it." He has everything in his hands that our troops sacrificed for. He has the roadmap laid down by Ataturk no later than 1924, which built a somewhat decent society in Turkey out of the ruins of the Ottoman Empire. Where are the modern Ataturks? Is nothing to be expected from Iraq's leaders?

Or, you can admit the obvious: Muslims are irredeemably hopeless. If nothing else, the sacrifice of our troops have proven that for eternity.
14 weeks ago
14 weeks ago Link To Comment
You can also admit that the European Union, comprised of many of our supposed "allies," now weakened and without any military capability to speak of, is also totally hopeless and clueless. Including Britain nowadays.

The Truth? America virtually alone saved Europe in World War 1, World War 2 and the Cold War. In any of those decisive conflicts, America had allies in name only, as a way of flattering the Europeans that they still mattered. Read Wretchard's article on the evacuation of Singapore. Probably the actual starting point when Britain, we should have admitted to ourselves, no longer mattered.

Study America's war production.....4,000 B-29's in just a few years that turned Japan into a cinder. Truck, tank and aircraft production that turned the tide in Europe, including for the Soviet Union.

Afghanistan? NATO is there in name only.

Europe is as hopeless and clueless as Iraq. We have no allies there, either.
14 weeks ago
14 weeks ago Link To Comment
So in the final analysis, we have virtually had "allies" in name only. We have deluded ourselves about the nature and capabilities of these alliances. There is nothing real there.

To the extent that we have fought along anyone else that actually contributing something tangible to the effort, likely we could have done it better and easier by ourselves. Oh sure, after 9-11 this thing called "NATO" called all kinds of press conferences and passed resolutions and said wonderful things about being there at our side, but in reality, other than a few Canadian snipers, some Japanese road builders and a couple of platoons of Aussie Special Forces, we were and have been in Afghanistan all alone. Our erstwhile "alliance" with Pakistan was simply rudely brushed aside to kill bin Laden.

Americans have lived in a world of purely-imaginary "alliances" for 100 years.
14 weeks ago
14 weeks ago Link To Comment
B/D. I can't argue 2with your "theory." (IE. Fact that can't happen. IE. "Disconnect with the rest of the world.) The problem is, we haven't yet made the technological jump to cure liberalism! So, tell me - honestly - how can we "disconnect" from the M/E when aitch and company; reid, pelosi, durbin - heck, even bill gates(!) won't even let us keep out the aliens from the south? (Who may never catch up, uh, as a culture?)
This has less to do with technology than with those who drown themselves in it - cellphones, twitter, facebook and liberal media - while being distracted from even understanding the M/E situation. Never mind the WADC crowd that is not only fronting it but IMPORTING it!
ALL you say sounds good. Implementing it? That would require leadership. Something ELSE technology hasn't given us yet. At least, not on a constitutional level!
14 weeks ago
14 weeks ago Link To Comment
Well, it would be easier to be optimistic if we were not, in fact, a hive of aliens.

The precipitous deterioration of the cultural and moral substrate of America bodes ill, as things currently stand, no matter how good we get at cloning, psychopharmacology, porn-surfing, ear-budding, contracepting and the like.
14 weeks ago
14 weeks ago Link To Comment
I do not agree with your superficial characterization of the results of technological revolution. EVERYONE actively involved in or dependent upon political vagaries is depressed and forlorn.

They do not live in the real world:

http://www.theatlantic.com/politics/archive/2014/01/the-agony-of-frank-luntz/282766/

I see the increasing sense of political powerlessness we are currently undergoing is an overwhelmingly positive process. It is lovely that both the Democrats and the Republicans are mutually equally dreading the 2014 election.

They have both jumped the shark.

They are deeply irrelevant to this technological revolution and they know it deep down inside.
14 weeks ago
14 weeks ago Link To Comment
Oh, don't get me wrong. We might yet experience one of our Great Awakenings; I just happen to think that the signs point more to a conversion of blood.

Technology may be a help, but only if what's being communicated and disseminated is worth hearing.

A culture that can't tell truth from lies, right from wrong, beauty from ugliness, has little chance of doing good rather than evil no matter how powerful are the means at its disposal.
14 weeks ago
14 weeks ago Link To Comment
Hey, at least we did not follow Russia's advice and nuke the Macondo 252 well in the Gulf of Mexico!!!!!

Now that would have been very self-destructive behavior. Remember Bill Clinton with Wolf Blitzer on CNN? Here is the YouTube clip Bill Clinton on BP oil spill: Blow It Up. At least he wanted to use only conventional explosives.

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=IyUfI2_ULII&feature=youtu.be&t=3m11s

Thank God Clinton discounted using nukes! Can you imagine a radioactive Gulf of Mexico?

Here is George Stephanopolous pimping the idea of following Russia's lead and using nukes.

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=pAJhxO1g2xs

The term "useful idiot" somehow comes to mind.


14 weeks ago
14 weeks ago Link To Comment
Now China is boasting about how its subs could nuke the western USA.

http://downtrend.com/robertgehl/china-releases-graphic-showing-nuclear-attack-wiping-out-western-us/?utm_source=Outbrain

I guess Obama needs to go bow and give a speech in Beijing like he did in Cairo. Can we get a Chinese Spring too?
14 weeks ago
14 weeks ago Link To Comment
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