Thursday, October 15, 2015

The Underlying Delusions

DDGD – October 14, 2015

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Today’s Post is brought to you by: The Secret Society of Mush for Brains – We smoked it. We inhaled it. We legalized it.  With special nod to Vladimir Putin.

Editorial Comment

If the underlying “facts” of one’s rational analysis are false than the conclusions reached, no matter how rational they may seem, are likely to be false as well.

Articles & Commentary

There will be those who will refuse to see Iranian hands in the current turmoil in the Territories, then, when the evidence becomes clear, they will find ways to justify it. Iran has the right to defend her interests, they will say, she has the right to become a regional power. Meanwhile, just like in Syria, the Territories will burn. And the question the Palestinians have to ask themselves before it’s too late: can they survive another Nakba? It is the responsibility of those who would provide a negative answer to do their best to stop the current foolishness even at the risk of being condemned as traitors.

Even if we assume that Obama is right on Syria, and other foreign policy “challenges,” it’s clear, judging  from their actions and statements, that most world leaders, including some of Obama’s allies, and not just enemies like Putin, Khamenei, and even lowly nincompoopish (or just plain poopish) Assad, perceive him as weak and unreliable. That is quite important, because politics is often more about perception than reality. This means that as long as Obama is perceived to be weak and indecisive, the strength of his military machine wouldn’t matter, and he will continue to be tested to his last day in office. So will his successor, until he/she proves themselves in the field, in part, by effectively addressing some of the issues where Obama is perceived to have failed.

This is what Obama and his choir of realistic doves fail to see for all their realistic rationalism. For their rationalism is based on a certain set of assumptions some of which are plain false (such as their view that Iranian leaders are much more motivated by national interest considerations rather than religious ideology), while others are simply not shared by America’s enemies (for instance, the definition of leadership and what makes a leader strong).

For this reason, whatever conclusion Obama makes on the basis of his rational analysis of things, his particular “calculus,” so to speak, may differ by a mile from that made by his detractors, even though they may be as equally rational: their calculus just happened to be different.

But as a world leader, since the title of leader of the Free World seems anathematic to him, Obama has to speak a common language if he wants to be understood, and has to act in a certain way, at least some of the time, if he wants to be respected, even feared. For the ability to strike fear and awe in the heart of your enemies is actually one of the basic qualities expected of a capable leader in a “realist” world order. It is here where perception makes all the difference, and it is for this reason that Putin is perceived as a strong leader, even though, by certain measures, his decision-making might indeed reflect a growing weakness. Both ordinary peoples as well as other world leaders need to see you proving your strength day after day through decisions and actions taken, not by being lectured at and made to deduce the “facts” on their own from some raw data you provide. If the needs were important before, they are essential now, in our emerging neo-Westphalian multipolar world order.

Meanwhile, Obama will keep on boasting about having the strongest most sophisticated and best equipped army in the world, while all other leaders keep wondering why such army has so far failed to stop the Islamic State with its ragtag militias of idiots and cutthroats, and why it hasn’t been able to prevent the bloodbath in Syria. For what conflict is this mighty army being saved: Armageddon? Well, this is exactly what it might have to deal with soon as a result of all this “caution.” Some people save themselves for marriage, others for Armageddon.

“The United States should neither seek nor shy away from confrontation with Russian forces in Syria.”

This is the main conclusion reached by Fred Hoff of the Atlantic Council and the Obama Administration former point man in Syria, in an article that amounts to a long confession regarding his mistakes in relations to things Syrian.

His second conclusion is far more damning:

“I want the president to change course, but I fear that Syrians—Syrians who want a civilized republic in which citizenship and consent of the governed dominate—are on their own.”

And while Hoff hopes he is wrong in this regard as well, unfortunately, this is a time where is probably quite right.

Quote of the Day

“Obama administration stammers: Putin didn't surprise us... though we thought he'd turn on Assad... but he'll sink in Mideast quagmire.” James S. Robbins

Tweets of the Day

If Russian intelligence in Syria so great, why is Putin asking US for information on ISIL targets?

Video(s) of the Day

German parliamentarians try to put themselves in the same boat with Syrian refugees in their own particular way.   

Artistic Delirium

"Perseverance" by Ammar Abdulhamid from "Reflections on Liberty and Revolution Series - a digital deconstruction of Delacroix's famous Oeuvre "Liberty leading the people."

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