Thursday, January 14, 2016

The POTUS Position!

“True wisdom comes to each of us when we realize how little we understand about life, ourselves, and the world around us.” –Scorates

DDGD January 14, 2016

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Today’s Post is brought to you by…  Believers In the Spoken Word Temple.  

The Delirica

UmReeka: Video shows American sailor apologizing for Iran incident. Iran got what it wanted from that little naval incident: images of American soldiers kneeling in humiliation, and apologizing. That should play well with the domestic audience, and should send a message of strength across the region. America’s withdrawal from the region is equivalent to means Iran’s ascendancy. There will be no immediate price for America, but there will definitely be a regional one: more blood will spilled across Syria, Iraq and Yemen, and soon elsewhere as well. 

The Deliricon

Screeding: 1) A form of journalism where established journalists rail against the injustices perpetrated by certain regional and/or global actors, while totally ignoring or justifying similar behavior by others with whom they have certain ideological affinity, or whom they consider as representing a necessary or a milder form of evil. 2) A political speech.

Saudomy: The practice of abandoning a longtime ally in favor of a longtime enemy for no apparent reason, and despite the fact that both the betrayed ally and the embraced enemy tend to embrace similar ruling ideologies and embrace same troubling behavior. Rational observers of this behavior conclude that the causes of this practice should be sought in the inner workings and ruling ideology of the adopting side, rather than the newly betrayed or embraced sides.

Mullanoma: A type of chronic itch that the afflicted can never hope to scratch no matter how hard they try. The itch is indeed known to drive certain of the afflicted, especially those dabbling in politics, to adopt ludicrous and self-defeating policies that end up empowering their enemies, both domestic and foreign. However, the medications often taken to relief the itch tend to have an overall dulling effect on all senses and sensations, thus allowing the afflicted to revel in imaged victories and accomplishments associated with the very defeatist policies they enacted. Currently, there are no effective treatments for mullanoma.  

Syrialysis: A form of paralysis that befalls some politicians whenever they are required to do the moral thing in the absence of any guarantees of eventual success and accolades.

The Daily Delirynth

“…instability will continue for decades in many parts of the world…The world will look to us to help solve these problems, and our answer needs to be more than tough talk or calls to carpet-bomb civilians.” Thus Spake Zarobama

POTUS gives a SOTU instead of a damn, with an orange-clad FLOTUS in attendance:…as we focus on destroying ISIL, over-the-top claims that this is World War III just play into their hands. Masses of fighters on the back of pickup trucks, twisted souls plotting in apartments or garages, they pose an enormous danger to civilians, they have to be stopped, but they do not threaten our national existence.

Obama is right, IS/Daesh does not represent a serious not to mention existential threat to America, and there is no threat of WWIII on its account. What it does represent is a serious and even existential threat to various other peoples and states across the world: the secularists, and certain religious minorities. More importantly though, we should not forget the threat that IS backers pose, not just its obvious backers, such as the Saudi and Wahhabi establishment and the Turkish government, but also its theoretically “unlikely” sources, but practically the most logical ones, that is, Iran, the Assad regime, and even Russia, which was more than happy to allow its Caucasus Jihadis to travel to Syria, embedding few of its operatives in them, you know, for a rainy day, which might just have come (See: Istanbul suicide attack and ensuing arrests of three Russians).

When you come after Americans, we go after you. 

Unless, of course, you are Iran which continues to hold Americans as prisoners under spurious charges, and the Obama administration is not even raising the issue. There were even a number of American citizens besieged in Madaya, and elsewhere in Syria, and still no attempt at rescue was ever mounted. Albeit, one would imagine that the Madaya Americans will be rescued as part of the package deal that allowed for UN aid convoys to enter the besieged town. But who knows with this administration? 

Our foreign policy has to be focused on the threat from ISIL and Al Qaida, but it can’t stop there. For even without ISIL, even without Al Qaida, instability will continue for decades in many parts of the world — in the Middle East, in Afghanistan and parts of Pakistan, in parts of Central America and Africa and Asia.

Some of these places may become safe havens for new terrorist networks. Others will just fall victim to ethnic conflict or famine, feeding the next wave of refugees.

The world will look to us to help solve these problems, and our answer needs to be more than tough talk or calls to carpet-bomb civilians. That may work as a TV sound bite, but it doesn’t pass muster on the world stage.

We also can’t try to take over and rebuild every country that falls into crisis... (APPLAUSE)

... even if it’s done with the best of intentions. That’s not leadership; that’s a recipe for quagmire, spilling American blood and treasure that ultimately will weaken us. It’s the lesson of Vietnam. It’s the lesson of Iraq, and we should have learned it by now. (APPLAUSE)

Fortunately, there is a smarter approach, a patient and disciplined strategy that uses every element of our national power. It says America will always act, alone if necessary, to protect our people and our allies, but on issues of global concern, we will mobilize the world to work with us, and make sure other countries pull their own weight.

That’s our approach to conflicts like Syria, where we’re partnering with local forces and leading international efforts to help that broken society pursue a lasting peace.

That’s why we built a global coalition, with sanctions and principled diplomacy, to prevent a nuclear-armed Iran. And as we speak, Iran has rolled back its nuclear program, shipped out its uranium stockpile, and the world has avoided another war.

Finally! Here Obama finally comes out and reveals what Fred Hiatt accurately describes as his fatalism, and what I have been criticizing as a “realist” belief in the inevitability of violence when it comes to humanity’s transition into a multipolar world. The last time I did so was just a few days ago in fact:

…it has long been customary for various American think tanks and research centers, some acting with partial funding from the U.S. governments, others from relying on their endowments or private funding, to draw up potential scenarios for future developments in regions around the world. Over the course of decades of organizing events and drawing up such scenarios in regard to the Middle East, a school of thought emerged that basically contended that America’s interests will be served better in the 21st century through improving and normalizing its relations with Iran as a new regional power in the Middle East, while decreasing reliance on Israel, and completely abandoning the GCC, Egypt, and even NATO’s ally Turkey. In fact, according to this school, relations with Western Europe themselves might need to be drastically overhauled in favor of an envisioned alliance with China. While there is nothing wrong in bringing countries such as Iran and China from the cold, there is a definite problem in thinking that that could only be done if certain norms regarding human rights and democratic values are abandoned, and the stability of entire regions is sacrificed. Why? Because the price of standing up for these norms as well as peace and stability is deemed by this lot to be too high. Such calculations are exactly what promises to make the 21st Century the bloodiest in history.

And once again, President’s Obama refers to Syria as broken, but he doesn’t explain why he failed to intervene when it was not broken to prevent its breaking. He had ample opportunity to do so? Then again, if he were one of those people who read the various scenarios and thought them inevitable rather than contingent on what American chooses to do or not do, then, why intervene? Why fight a losing war? How about: to prevent the return of mass violence to the global scene, something that the Responsibility to Protect Doctrine, the legal doctrine that Obama supported at one point in his career, was meant to accomplish? But that violent turn too, it seems, was inevitable in his thinking. Was it really? We will never know.

Now, the occurrence of mass violence is academic. Now, we have to take it on faith that it was inevitable, in Syria, and in “the Middle East, in Afghanistan and parts of Pakistan, in parts of Central America and Africa and Asia.” Now we can look forward for generations of conflict and struggle, with powers like Russia, China, Iran, Saudi Arabia and Turkey shaping the outcomes, while America, and “on issues of global concern,” attempts to “mobilize the world to work with us, and make sure other countries pull their own weight.” Because that’s exactly what happened in Syria, and, as we all should know by now damn it, it worked. “That’s our approach to conflicts like Syria, where we’re partnering with local forces and leading international efforts to help that broken society pursue a lasting peace.

More on my reading of SOTU tomorrow through my biweekly post on the Lawfare Blog. 

While Assad is a “brutal dictator” who must eventually leave office, Hagel said, the United States should have learned from the chaos that followed the abrupt removal of Iraq’s Saddam Hussein and Libya’s Moammar Gadhafi that taking out authoritarian leaders without knowing who will take their place is not the best solution.

“We have allowed ourselves to get caught and paralyzed on our Syrian policy by the statement that 'Assad must go,'” Hagel said, adding, “Assad was never our enemy.”

I wonder what it takes for someone to become America’s enemy in Hagel’s view! Assad has American blood on his hands, as he openly encouraged Jihadists to cross Syria’s border into Iraq, opened training camps for them on along the borders, and hosted many Iraq’s Baath leaders who planned anti-American attacks from their bases in Syria. Assad assassinated a friend of America and the West in the Middle East, the late Lebanese PM Rafic Al-Hariri, among other Lebanese luminaries. That all took place before the revolution and before Assad embarked on his campaign of mass murder and ethnic cleansing.

So, to correct Mr. Hagel: 1) Assad has been America’s enemy for quite a while now, and 2) the paralysis in Syria’s policy is in no way related to a preoccupation with Assad’s departure, because nothing that the Obama Administration did, its rhetoric notwithstanding, ever mounted to a serious effort to achieve this end. Its willingness to walk away from enforcing its infamous red line on chemical weapons is a testament to that. Moreover, the intervention for which most opposition in Syria called, especially in 2011-2012, never amounted to a call for the removal of Assad by military means, but merely for stopping its violent attacks on opposition strongholds, including the use of tanks and planes. With this accomplished, serious negotiations could take place under UN auspices. The Obama Administration, however, has made a practice of misrepresenting our demands, speaking of troops on the ground and full-scale invasions and the like.

Quote of the Day

“By allowing the [Assad] regime to veto aid to civilians in areas outside its control, you have allowed the U.N. to become a political tool of the war.” –Syrian activists in a letter addressed to the UN.

Tweet(s) of the Day

Video(s) of the Day

Cartoons: The Cauldron

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