Thursday, March 24, 2016

A Dangerous Symbiosis

The Last Tango in Office

DDGD March 24, 2016

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Today’s Post is brought to you by…  The Obama Phallacy, now in a theater near you: The fifth installment in the Obama Series dealing with what happens to Barack Obama when he finally becomes totally unencumbered by considerations of decency, humanity and even diplomacy. As Syria goes to hell, Obama goes to Cuba. As Europe does the Twist, he does the Tango. As others deal with existential threats, he deals with existential angst. Brought to you by Realist Entertainment – the producers of The Obama Identity, The Obama Supremacy, The Obama Ultimatum and The Obama Legacy.

Featured Quote

“Groups like ISIL can’t destroy us. They can’t defeat us,” he continued. “They can’t produce anything. They’re not an existential threat to us.” –President Barack Obama

The Delirica

A dangerous symbiosis: The Islamic State is likely to try to carry out more suicide attacks in the coming weeks and months, because the rise of far right parties and movements in Europe and the United States is something that is seen by its leaders as quite the beneficial development as it is bound to radicalize more Muslims all over the world. In other words, at this stage, the Islamic State is in effect campaigning hard for Donald Trump, as well as for Ted Cruz as a second alternative. And the two men and their Party are giving IS exactly what it needs to keep on campaigning. Meanwhile, President Obama and the Realists will keep on refusing to take responsibility for any of that, they will keep on being proud of their decisions on Syria, and they will keep on ignoring the fact that Assad and his cronies are the ones directly responsible for the rise of IS, and might be in fact be involved in facilitating, one way or another, IS-led operations in Europe.


#ISIS #Assad don’t pose existential threat 2 America but #Obama’s indifference poses such threat 2 American values … 7:18 PM - 23 Mar 2016

#Trump #Cruz #Obama How can all these allegedly good Christians forget basic principle of Christian morality? That “do onto others” thing 7:24 PM - 23 Mar 2016

Goddamn it! Pardon my French. But if this is the best America can offer, perhaps what we need at this stage is to save American values from all those damn Americans. Perhaps, just perhaps, there are too many “real” Americans in America today for its own good. Perhaps what we need is to bring in more refugees, not less, so they can help us save us from ourselves. And if a few Jihadi bastards happened to sneak past our robust security systems and ended up committing something horrible, perhaps it’s OK, perhaps to preserve American values we need to be baptized by blood.

Now if you don’t like that damn logic, remember that this is exactly what lies at the heart of the Realist Code of Ethics. After all, I just spent the last five year of my life listening to Realists telling us that we needed to go through this “rough period” in Syria on our own, that the slaughter taking place there is actually our long-awaited trial by fire, that only by being slaughtered, tortured, starved and deprived of our homes and liberties, we would eventually learn to appreciate the value of freedom and democracy, and mature as a people. So I guess, what works for the goose…

The Daily Delirynth

Refugenics: The level of indifference exhibited by some towards the suffering of the Syrian people shows that they have decided to ignore the dictates of their conscience and humanity long before they began ignoring those of their reason. Thankfully, there are notable exceptions in this regard.

It took a while, almost two years in most cases, before the Syrian Tragedy got on the radar of celebrities. Eventually, celebrities from all over took notice, especially in read to the plight of refugees. But despite the tireless efforts of people like Angelina Jolie, and more recently George and Amal Clooney, and Jude Law, among many others, the overall impact on the decision-makers involved has been minimal, except in the case where the person involved, like Angela Merkel, have already been on board. Be that as it may, the efforts of our celebrity activists are quite appreciated, and social media responses have been quite grateful.

The Politics of Realism Meets the Politics of Deflection: Obama’s Syria failure is a perfect case study in how bad foreign policy is made. By correctly noting that the U.S. has actually intervened in the Syrian conflict ever since 2013, Jeremy Shapiro makes the following argument:

…Obama effectively compromised on his own doctrine. But why? It turns out that while a president's philosophy does matter somewhat, bitter domestic politics, bureaucratic pressures, and what the president derisively referred to as the "Washington playbook" — the set of standard Washington responses to international crises — will have a powerful effect on any president's foreign policy. The larger lesson of America’s screwed-up Syria policy is not that American inactivity produced chaos or that American meddling made a bad situation worse. It is that the Washington sausage factory tends to produce an incoherent foreign policy that satisfies no one, regardless of what the president thinks.

I have a rather different take on the matter based on my own experiences and contacts with various Obama administration officials, former and current, and various organizations working closely with the administration on outreach to the Syrian opposition and rebel groups. I believe that out of his commitment to remain true to his Realist politics, Obama intentionally adopted a series of half-measures in regard to Syria designed specifically to deflect growing pressure from Congress and, more importantly, from within the ranks of his administration, but not seriously designed to help rebels topple the Assad regime, or to help them protect the areas and towns that came under their control and provide an effective governance structures there. Achieving that would have required declaring a series of no-fly zones, or providing TOW missiles to rebels, something the administration had no interest in providing whatsoever. Indeed, such measures represented its real red lines.

In fact, the administration had real reservations on watching rebel groups topple the regime, fearing an Islamist takeover and ensuing chaos and mayhem. The administration, it seems, wanted to pressure the regime, then, use its ongoing contacts with Iran and Russia to convince them to play a more positive role in the political process and for reaching an agreement that can allow for transition beyond the Assad regime.

The administration support of rebel groups waxed and waned in accordance with the state of its talks with Iran and Russia, and how close the rebels came to posing an existential threat to the regime. Each time, the rebels came close to represent a serious threat against in the regime in Damascus and Latakia for instance, shipments of weapons were delayed and any logical support or intelligence sharing that were being provided were put on hold. This of course, created a major trust gap between rebels and the administration. But the administration cared little for that.

Since the administration has always examined the Syrian Conflict through its Realist Prism, it naturally predicted that Russian intervention will trap the Russian President Vladimir Putin in a quagmire. The fact that this failed to happen lends much credence, albeit belatedly, to what Syrian activists having arguing all along, namely that serious focused intervention can actually preempt the development of a quagmire, not cause it. 

For the region, the failure of liberal realism was no less catastrophic than that of messianic neoconism. But there is an important difference here: the neocons were humbled and, one way or another, they admitted their mistakes and pulled on the brakes, especially during President W’s second term in office. The Realists, on the other hand, continue to congratulate themselves, having restricted their definition of success to the low material costs directly incurred by the U.S. irrespective of any human and material costs to others.

Even the administration’s decision to follow the Congress’s lead and accuse the Islamic State of perpetrating genocide against Christians, Yezidis and Shia in Iraq and Syria seems irrelevant and hollow, since no action will likely follow. Moreover, the decision is bound to be interpreted by Syria’s Arab Sunni population and by Sunnis around the world that their lives do not matter, since they have been the target of what many scholars have described as genocide, this one perpetrated by the Assad Alawite regime supported by Iran and Shia militias. The Obama administration’s policies in the region have made the U.S. a virtual culprit in the ongoing Sunni-Shia conflict, fighting on the side of the Shia. Pressed on this point, the Realists will admit that this is indeed a dangerous development, but they will insist that it was inevitable. For the Realists at heart are quite fatalistic, and are the ultimate believers in Murphy’s Law: they confuse possibilities with inevitabilities and draw their policies accordingly, and in process making our worst nightmares come true as though by design.

Tweet Fleet

Question: are there no rules in #GOP that allow leadership 2 kick someone out (.@realDonaldTrump) 4 betraying basic vision of Party? 5:36 PM - 17 Mar 2016

Catherine Jefferson Retweeted Ammar Abdulhamid @TheActualAmmar: The major American political parties have NO consistent basic visions.

@ErgoOne Indeed. That's major weakness. Americans take being Rep or Dem seriously despite the fact that they tell little about the person. 6:31 PM - 17 Mar 2016

@TheActualAmmar: Given what Trump is proposing I prefer to have individuals reject Trump rather than parties myself. 1:08 AM - 18 Mar 2016

Well yeah, I guess that's definitely the important thing to do here .@ErgoOne

Video(s) of the Day

This fifth anniversary of Syria's war without end is a bleak moment indeed. Perhaps we have become inured to the scale of the suffering in what is the heart of the Middle East. The children who already know nothing else, the displaced, the dead and the dying.

Cartoons: The Cauldron

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