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Spengler

Vote for the Syria Strike but Add Iran to the List

September 7th, 2013 - 5:46 pm

President Obama has asked Congress not to throw him in the brier patch. Destructive as the Syria charade is to America’s global standing, it is a shrewd political maneuver with an asymmetrical risk-return for the president. If Congress backs him, it shares the blame for nasty consequences and takes Obama off the hook. If Congress vetoes the strike, Obama can shrug his shoulders and bow to the will of the people — which appears to be set against another foreign military adventure. Obama then has an ironclad pretext to sit on his hands while Iran finishes building nuclear weapons. If the American people don’t want a strike against Syria, all the less so will they want a strike against Iran. That presumably explains why Israel supports the strike, even though the inevitable blowback would hurt Israel more than anyone else.

The correct response to Obama’s cynical gambit is not to throw him in the brier patch by voting down the Syria resolution. Instead, Republicans should amend the resolution to authorize the use of force against Iran as well as Syria. Since Obama is inclined to ask Congress’ permission, Congress should pre-authorize a military strike against the dog’s master as well as the dog. The road to Damascus runs through Tehran, as Michael Ledeen emphasizes. It doesn’t matter whether such a resolution might pass or not: it would put the White House in excruciating embarrassment. The resolution need not require the administration to attack Iran, merely to authorize a strike. If the White House rejects the resolution, its credibility is shattered; if it accepts the resolution, the time-wasting diplomatic games with Tehran come to an end.

It’s time to play dirty and change the rules of the game.

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Top Rated Comments   
Well the Obama "dominate the News Cycle Plan" is working perfectly. While we little people are unemployed, and barely getting by,he and the DC crowd are off and running to go to war. Meanwhile the MSM takes up the issue and delivers teh 24/7 drumbeat with stock footage of gas attacks and rag heads shooting machine guns etc etc etc. What is not in the news is a faltering economy, rampant joblessness, government run amok, EPA regulating people out of jobs and companies out of business, no report on what happened in Benghazi or Fast and Furious, Amnesty being quietly pushed through the house, no defunding of Obamacare, no cutting the budget or the rampant debt and $90 trillion of unfunded liabilities, No constraints on the IRS persecution of conservatives which is still happening, a racist Justice Department suing states over voter ID laws, and the beat goes on. We the people cannot get redress of our grievances. We cannot get justice. We cannot protest without persecution. And the lame asss progressives and liberals sip their cocktails and continue to plan the destruction of our country and celebrate what a great job this pathetic jerk of a president is doing. We are going down the tubes and the landing is going to be very hard.
46 weeks ago
46 weeks ago Link To Comment
From 6000 miles away numerous pompous pontificators beat the war drums for an attack against Syria. They use us, meaning those who live in Israel, as part of their excuse making. Baloney!
An attack against the Assad regime will do nothing but hand the most heinous weapons ever produced into the hands of Al Qaida. No matter what you think of Assad he kept the lid on the pot. And the only reason he refused to disarm was that Obama and the shmucks that he calls on, lacking any knowledge or foresight, and motivated purely by the financial interest of their
cronies, attacked Libya and killed Khadaffi. After he disarmed.
Now, blowing the opportunity for a historic realignment for the good, Obama wants to attack Syria. Stupid is as stupid does.
And the best way towards regime change in Iran is NOT a direct attack. It is for complete diplomatic, financial and military support of the Iranian rebels. Those that are still alive after Obama abandoned them. That is the only way towards legitimate regime change in Iran. Of course Obama will, as usual, make the wrong decision.
46 weeks ago
46 weeks ago Link To Comment
Anyone who wants Hussein to lead us into war is insane.
46 weeks ago
46 weeks ago Link To Comment
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All Comments   (92)
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Spengler, Are you done writing for Asia Times? Or just about Obamas foreign policy? Please clarify.
45 weeks ago
45 weeks ago Link To Comment
46 weeks ago
46 weeks ago Link To Comment
The idea to use shale gas from Israel's offshore fields is pretty cool. But judging by the pace of development, real production won't begin for another 10 years or so. By that time imho 4th-5th generation nuclear fusion or fision reactors will have collapsed the cost electricity. There are now five groups in north america, one group in germany, one in china and one in Japan working on thorium fision designs. Likely by this time next year -- those numbers will double--with new players popping up all over. Plus another 5 or so groups in the USA and elsewhere working on fusion designs. Likely these numbers will double in the next year or two. Whether any of this will pan out given the record of the last 40 years remains to be seen. However, it can be safely said that the excitement in the nuclear energy industry about the future is reminiscent of the 20 year period before 1970. In this its helpful to understand that unlike other industries which have witnessed several technological revolutions in the last 40 years--the nuclear industry has been totally stagnant. Nuclear power plants that were developed in the 50's and 60's are still in operation today--mostly unchanged from the day they were put into operation. So its about time.

Its helpful to understand that when the cost of electricity falls to 1/4-1/10 the cost of cheapest coal fired electricity--the world changes completely and forever. One of the biggest effects will be that the cost of desalination will fall to ranges making it profitable to use desalinized water for agriculture. That effectively means that many of the deserts of the world would be available for cultivating. That doubles the sized of the habitable planet.

The wars in Syria are just blow back--principally on the Saudis and Iranians-- from the events of the 1970's. A passing tempest. Iran's nuclear weapons program, and Pakistan's nuclear weapons represent more permanent threats to worldwide stability.
46 weeks ago
46 weeks ago Link To Comment
Jordan also has a budding oil shale program. The technology for this is provided by the Estonians, who have decades of experience with open pit mining for oil shale. Open pit scrapes off the surface of the earth to get at the oil shale which is the dug up and processed. The Israili method borrowed from the USA is in situ.By this method the shale is cooked underground until it liquefies. And then its pumped to the surface. Needless to say the Israeli environmentalists are still not having it. That said, oil shale progress on both sides of the Jordan is moving at a snails pace.
http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Attarat_Power_Plant
http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Oil_shale_in_Jordan
46 weeks ago
46 weeks ago Link To Comment
Syria, a sovereign nation, did not sign the Chemical Weapons Convention of 1996.  The present conflict affects only Syrians.  This conflict is not an international dispute; it's a civil war initiated by insurgents and fought entirely in Syria.


en.wikipedia.org/wiki/List_of_parties_to_the_Chemical_Weapons_Convention#States_that_have_signed_but_not_ratified
46 weeks ago
46 weeks ago Link To Comment
Yeah, let's go ahead and confront Syria, Russia, Iran, and North Korea all at once, while the people we're now arming to the teeth to fight alongside us are mass murdering Christians. That sounds brilliant.

Spengler, I've come to expect more from you. :(
46 weeks ago
46 weeks ago Link To Comment
Mr. Goldman what the heck is wrong with you and Radosh and the others?
Can you point to ONE positive thing this Administration has accomplished in the Middle East? Libya belongs to the Moslem Brortherhood; we backstabbed our ally in Egypt and left it in the hands of the MB (fortunately it was rescued by the military), Iraq is slowly sinking into disorder and civil war and we are on track to had Afghanistan back to the Taliban. Israel is under nearly continuous attack from the Palis and now you want us to meddle in Syria?
You want us attack a regime that has, for the most part, behaved itself and turn it over the Moslem Brotherhood, too, AND start a war with Iran?

I am normally a warhawk. I have great faith in our military and it ability to defend this country. But I have absolutely ZERO faith in our political and military leadership.

I strongly suggest we leave off meddling in the ME, until we do some serious navel-gazing about the nature of warfare and how it is be waged. Lately we seem more concerned with offending "offending" the enemy than we do with getting the war won. Until this changes we're not going to accomplish anything positive.
46 weeks ago
46 weeks ago Link To Comment
Goldman wrote: "The resolution need not require the administration to attack Iran, merely to authorize a strike...."

Obama set a red line with Syria / Assad, yet he's been protecting Iran's nascent nuclear sites from Israeli attack by sending envoy after envoy to pressure Israel to wait and trust him. If you are going down this route, Congressional authorization on Syria should be contingent upon a Congressional red line (the point at which Iran crosses 20% below 250 kilograms uranium enrichment threshold, where nuclear experts say Iran can make a bomb) compelling the president to act. That way the Israelis and the world would know whether Obama means what he says about Iran and the bomb.
46 weeks ago
46 weeks ago Link To Comment
I think Israel knows what it means now.

In times of war pray for peace. Then prepare for war.

There is only one place in the middle east where Jews, Muslims and Christians can live together in peace and security. That place is Israel.

If it comes to war with Israel then Syria, et al should have reason to fear what may happen. Obama is nothing but a clown in a suit now. Everyone knows that.

What a sad state of affairs that Putin, Assad, Netanyahu, Erdogon...the list goes on, just mock the President of the United States of America. That is reality now. What a weak leader we have elected.

46 weeks ago
46 weeks ago Link To Comment
Yet this isn't Kennedy versus Khrushchev; it's Obama up against Putin of the KGB who appears to have studied that crisis.
46 weeks ago
46 weeks ago Link To Comment
Disagree only slightly with the Kennedy comparison......Kennedy then was the nouveau riche, nouveau arriviste who was a little too big for his britches, the same as our current nouveau arriviste pretender out of the "cloud' of "affirmative action".

Krushchev studied carefully, took dismissive bites out of Kennedy and then spat them out, dismissively.

Putin ....grim, dour bare-chested Putin.....is taking 21st century bites out of Hussein Obama and spitting them out also.

Russia has had more centuries of very bloody intrigue than we Americans have had to learn from. We simply can't compete. This is our problem in dealing with international nastiness....other countries simply have had centuries' more experienced with practiced subtlety, although those Mongol hordes galloping across the steppes admittedly weren't too subtle.

Look at old pictures of Kruschev....small beady, cold, porcine eyes. Notice Putin's cold, small, rodent's eyes.......he has a late model, low mileage used car he wants to sell Obama with an ignition-bomb customized with a cell-phone wireless detonator.

Our childlike, petulant, chip-on-the-shoulder-president-in-name-only walks into Putin's Petersburg gilded showroom, Putin sidles up from behind Obama and says...."DUDE!...have I got the DEAL for You, Man!"

Don't ride into uncertain areas with your shiny emptiness, move, Man, in flashy [pun alert] style with my "ride".

Watch the News now with real worrying concern.


46 weeks ago
46 weeks ago Link To Comment
Hells Bells.
Merely 'Authorizing Force" against Iran doesn't provide for its use.
More correctly, congress should say NO to Syrian and.... here it comes...
Actually Declare War on Iran.

Now, before we get in a wad, remember, wars, even those fought by us, have not always been the result of an attack by an enemy. 1812 and 1845 are key examples. In the case of 1812, the distress to the US was much less than what Iran was and is doing to US forces in Iraq and Afghanistan, or has done to us in other spheres.

That debate would be monumental; the congress would have to prepare and vote on a bill of particulars. It is almost like a trail, with punishment to be metted out. For Iran it would be regime change, end of work and destruction of all nuclear ambitions and the creation of a secular society. THEN DO THE JOB.

Then, if in the course of the war, something was needed in Syria or anyplace else, so be it. (I refer to North Africa during WWII. No NA country declared war on anybody and the French had already surrendered... yet it was a battle ground.)

46 weeks ago
46 weeks ago Link To Comment
I agree with you that Congress must not sanction any war against Syria, either using the word “war” or using a Kerryesque euphemism meaning the same thing. However, Congress should not declare war on the present regime in Iran. Rather, Congress should recognize that a state of war ALREADY EXISTS, has existed, and has been declared by Iran's present regime – since 1979.

This way, it becomes abundantly clear that the United States is not the aggressor and that the present regime in Iran IS the aggressor, and that Congress merely recognizes that the Iranian regime has committed and is continuing to commit acts of aggression against the United States. If any third party seeks to intercede, it must be made clear that the Iranian regime must FIRST completely apologize for its seizure of the United States Embassy in Tehran and pay reparations for that outrage. If Khamanei refuses to apologize even attritely, it is HE who is unreasonable and it is HE who is unwilling to talk peace.
46 weeks ago
46 weeks ago Link To Comment
typos exist. sigh.
46 weeks ago
46 weeks ago Link To Comment
One can see from this discussion why Obama keeps running rings around the Republicans. Michael Ledeen asked last week why Obama suddenly decided to ask Congress for permission to attack Syria. I surmise it is because he figured out that he would lose the vote. That shuts up all the people who don't want him to attack Syria: he won't. It shuts up McCain et. al. who want him to attack Syria: they won't be able to muster the votes. Obama gets off the hook. American influence in the world disintegrates. but Obama doesn't mind that. He probably considers that a collateral benefit. And it surely takes him off the hook with respect to Iran: if the American people don't want an attack on Syria, a fortiori they will not want an attack on Iran. Pardon me if I shed a tear over our predicament. It's my Republican Party and I'll cry if I want to.
46 weeks ago
46 weeks ago Link To Comment
".... if the American people don't want an attack on Syria, a fortiori they will not want an attack on Iran. "

More baloney. There is nothing to be gained by an attack on Syria. And what Obama has proposed, a three day missile, is worse than doing nothing. He is handing the Iranians a huge victory. On the other hand, Iran has been a terror sponsor on the world stage for decades and their missiles in Venezuela topped with nuclear devices are a direct threat to the continental USA.
46 weeks ago
46 weeks ago Link To Comment
Wow, we're talking Republicans? That's the big enchilada, the takeaway, the bottom line?

God All Mighty
46 weeks ago
46 weeks ago Link To Comment
Most of us are smart enough to know it's insane to intervene in a Muslim civil war on the side of al Qaeda.

Obama wants to break International Law to enforce an International Norm that no one else is willing to support. There is no national security interest in Syria except to ensure al Qaeda or other Islamists don't prevail. Attacking Syria is against the national interest.

Attacking Syria would have no effect on Iran except to quicken their resolve and speed up their development of nuclear weapons to ensure that they aren't the next Muslim nation to be attacked by an American president who is in trouble.

This is all about Obama's ego. You've been played.

I had hoped Yakov would have been hired to replace you by now. He knows what he is talking about.
46 weeks ago
46 weeks ago Link To Comment
You have a tendency to wrap yourself in the GOP when you're losing. The last resort of the scoundrel, updated, maybe?

if the American people don't want an attack on Syria, a fortiori they will not want an attack on Iran.
...This will do as the dumbest non-sequitur of the month. You'd be well advised to read Claudia Rosett (War Weary-Really?). For the sake of politeness, let's just leave it there.

As for your repeated ownership claims about 'my party', well, good luck there. You're all set to be the last man standing at the rusty turnstile next to the collapsed big tent.
46 weeks ago
46 weeks ago Link To Comment
Way to go Republicans!

Thank goodness for giving us the lighthouse in these difficult times. I can clearly see the way through this policy military stuff in Syria now because of McCain and Paul, and the whole middle east, you know, if you can just put them together like a pudding or something.

Thanks to the GOP for their leadership for the past few decades. You guys rock!



46 weeks ago
46 weeks ago Link To Comment
Why don't you use a few more CAPS next time?
46 weeks ago
46 weeks ago Link To Comment
intended for a commenter below ... lousy new PJM system
46 weeks ago
46 weeks ago Link To Comment
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