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15 August 2010


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Norman Rogers

It's quite a spectacle when David Gregory engages someone above his paygrade. The man has zero credibility.

President Obama gave a speech at West Point where he cited "conditions" as one of the mitigating factors in an Afghan withdrawal so all General Petraeus is doing is reminding people that the President has a way out when it becomes apparent that we cannot start leaving next year.

Is General Petraeus going to run for President? If so, he needs to resign and start raising money ASAP.

Patrick Lang

Norman Rogers

By next summer, staying in Afghanistan will not be a political possibility for Obama. pl


I contrast the MTP piece with the front page article in the NYT and come to the conclusion that CT is the path forward.

What is more interesting is that the MSM has been caught flat-footed on this change and hopefully they stay that way.


Col Lang,

If, as you say, Obama must leave next year because of political concerns then Gen. P. might still be in the running for president. I say this because it seemed that saddling Gen. P with a losing war post-McChrystal seemed like a way of nullifying him as a threat. But now he seems to be in a political position where that won't hurt him. Because the country is so committed to interventionism I don't believe his desire to remain in Afghanistan will be an issue beyond a minority of paleoconservatives and hard leftists. Of course, facts/realities may change.

Moreover, because of his stated tactical strategies (protecting civilians, empowering Afghan women, etc) I think he would be a viable candidate for many centrists who remain interventionists, but who won't face the ugly realities of war, and there is the AIPAC crowd. We already know Gen. P is concerned about how "the folks" view him, why I ask? The question is whether to run him in 2012 or 2016.

Patrick Lang


Counter terrorism? pl


Apparently Gen. P. didn't get our memo: COIN is out.

Norbert M. Salamon

Anybody will be a fool to run in 2012, for there is no upside in economics in the near future for the USA.
President Obama had a chance to right ther ship of state, unfortunately due to the neo-con politics and blue dog democrats this was not possible.
There is no chance that the deteriating economy, its insolvent financial institutions, insolvent Federal Government and insolvent 2nd and 3rd level Governments that there is enough money left to rebuild the USA for the xxi-st century. Thus the slow economic collapse is certain.
Make believe accounting [both by banks and governemnt re real financial positions], denying global warmng, denying coming oil crunch, perpetual wars, all take unmitigatable strain on overall economic future, thus Gen P's position is of little consequence in the realm of things.

In fact, the next President may need all his troops at home to keep peace, for any further major deteriation of civilian life will place too many gun owners in desperate situations, no housing, no food, no medical treatment - just political BS. Such does not lead to desirable end states.


Obama must want this announced 40 day media campaign Petraeus launched today. Otherwise he could simply order Petraeus to shut up and to stay silent about being shut up.

So it seems to be in Obama's plan to have a longer U.S. stay in Afghanistan and needs the public support Petraeus can arrange for that.

Either that or his more of a puppet in the hand of Gates than I assumed.

SAC Brat

I like the translated version of this interview at The Bobblespeak Translations.


Patrick Lang

SAC brat

I liked it too and added it to the post. pl

Patrick Lang


As I have written several times here COIN's last stand is in Afghanistan. pl


Sir, that's what I was saying.

Medicine Man

Mountains, secrecy, war criminals, and money laundering...

That was a sharp, one-liner.

different clue

Norbert M. Salamon,

I don't think Obama even tried to right the political-economic ship of state. Maybe he thought the ship was self-righting upon his election? The neocons and blue dogs did not make him build his economic adviser team out of Wall Street-Goldman Sachs
oriented Clintonites. That was his choice and his signal. No one made him doublecross many of the people who voted for him in the belief that he meant his campaign statements about seeking no government enforced requirement to buy individual for-profit health coverage plans of questionable value from profit-seeking insurance companies. He chose that double-cross entirely on his own. The evil Rahm Emmanuel made him do it? He freely chose to choose Rahm Emmanuel as his Chief of Staff.
About our economic future, we can still manage a non-violent decline to a smaller and slower economy IF enough people decide that our economy will decline one way or another, and decide to try taking charge and power through the political system to keep the decline manageable.
50 million suburban American households cold begin an orderly program of turning their yards into high-production gardens, super-insulating their houses, restricting their use of energy, learning how to store and stockpile food,
fitting their roofs to harvest all forms of skywater, installing water-free composting toilets, etc. That would reduce future shortages of all kinds of things right there, if 50 million suburban households get started right away.
The still-employed could begin moving what money they have into second and third tier minibanks and microbanks and credit unions. They could reduce their standards of living enough to pay their debts down to zero. Think of how much money they would have to buy stuff with after they have achieved zero debt payment status.

If the Afghan War looks entirely pointless by 2011, with simple retreat being the only way out; a primary opponent could help us measure how many American primary voters would seek that way out and would vote for it.

Clifford Kiracofe

"By next summer, staying in Afghanistan will not be a political possibility for Obama. pl "
"the deteriating economy, its insolvent financial institutions, insolvent Federal Government and insolvent 2nd and 3rd level Governments.... major deteriation of civilian life..."NM Salamon

So if we take these insights together what then are the politics of the run up to 2012?

Change the subject by an Israeli-American war against Iran?

Hope such a war will be "good for the economy" and make Obama look more presidential and a "war leader"?

And what would the timing of the Iran war be? 2011? or early 2012? or???

FB Ali

Off topic (though very relevant to a recent one): There's an excellent discussion on the US and a military strike on Iran by Juan Cole on his blog today. I would highly recommend it.



"Follow the money".

The Elephant in the room is the future state of the American economy. It is in the process of going over the falls. Worse is to come. Much worse. The future of Americas entire foreign policy must pivot on this. Obama knows this. The powers that be know it, and, with the economy on a razors edge, Gen. Petreaus, his aspirations, and Afghanistan are light entertainment. Iraq is irrelevant as far as I can tell.

It seems obvious that Iraq is now needless expense. Probably Afghanistan as well. Obama has, I think, already made these calls. What I would dearly like to know right now is the Treasury's appreciation of the financial consequences of war with Iran, especially if they believe destabilisation would cause a flight of capital to the U.S. dollar, potentially saving Americas financial bacon, or instead exacerbate the current crisis situation (which is about sovereign debt).

I believe the Israeli government is making the same calculation, wondering, in addition, how long Uncle Sugar can support them politically, financially and militarily at current levels. My guess is "not for much longer", which leaves me to think that the final "Ask", - bombing Iran, will not be long in coming.

I don't know if the bulk of Americans understand, but life is never going to be the same again, maybe as good, but different. I don't think Obama will be a Two term President and I hope Norbert Salamons predictions are short of the mark.

My sources for these prognostications are the group linked below - European economists who have not been wrong in their predictions since they first published in 2006.

You will need to make allowances for high levels of European snark and cynicism about America, but their work is spot on. They even predicted accurately how fast the "eastern European debt crisis" and the troubles of Greece would disappear from our radar screens.



SAC Brat,

wonder where moonshine patriot picked up their 'teleprompter translator'? i could just see the 'translations' of the white house-petraeus press conferences, in particular those questions that cause them to squirm and worm.


If I were Obama, I would be looking around for a way to prevent a first strike against Iran.

That's the real issue. Is Iran going to be attacked by Israel, the U.S., or both?

Is it even remotely possible that Obama has thought this through and has decided that the only way to prevent an attack on Iran is to keep us at war in Afghanistan and Iraq?

I have read, with great interest, the piece by Juan Cole. I recommend it. And I ask again, has Obama decided that the only way to prevent a catastrophic attack on Iran is to keep us tied down in Afghanistan and Iraq?

Because I think that will do it. As Colonel Lang points out, the political climate just isn't in place for more war. And as Colonel Lang also points out, the train is tending to leave the station toward Iran.

Or, looking at it another way, is it even remotely possible that Obama is seriously considering attacking Iran? Certainly, a lot of people in Washington are hell-bent to do it.

Patrick Lang

FB Ali

The Cole piece is a useful re-statement of the warning given in the VIPS letter to the president. pl


I watched the movie '1984' it seemed pretty realistic,and a lot better acting.


President Obama can be re-elected in 2012 if he follows my plan:

He should visit Tehran in the same way President Nixon went to China, he should do this fairly soon, perhaps just after or even before the Nov 2010 elections.

All I see are upsides. Our credibility in the Muslim world would be where it should be. Iran can help us with a graceful exit from Iraq, perhaps finally peace in Afghanistan; we can help Iran with nuclear power stations and building oil refineries so they can become more energy independent and they in turn could supply some of our oil needs.

We lost a lot of face over Vietnam and now we're becoming friends with them again after 35 years. We lost a lot of face over the hostage crisis in Iran but that was 31 years ago.

President Nixon helped China, just look at where they are today. President Obama should do the same for Iran.

General Petraeus can be Sec of Defense after he cooperates with the Iranians and gets the Afgahn mess sorted out.

Let the Israelis, Pakistanis, and Saudis stew in their own juices.
They deserve to.


"For four decades now, American strategy in the Middle East has been based on one simple idea: that everyone in the region knows it is pointless to wage war against the Jewish state, since Washington backs it to the hilt. Therefore, if the Arabs had a problem with Israel, they’d have to petition Israel’s American patron for relief. This post-1973, post-energy-crisis strategy put us in the middle of the Arab-Israeli conflict and tied all our regional allies, from Jerusalem to Riyadh, to American apron strings. It gave rise to the peace process, producing Israeli peace treaties with Egypt and Jordan and a negotiating track with the Palestinians and Syria, while helping to hedge against the possibility of the Saudis again using oil as a political weapon. This arrangement made the United States the regional power broker, which suits not only Jerusalem but Arab nations as well—at least compared with the prospect of Iranian regional hegemony. America’s regional allies fear that an Iranian nuclear bomb would shift the balance of power against the entire order of the Middle East."


The question is, would Saudi Arabia have anything to fear if Iran became the hegemon? Would Iran be interested in tangling with a toppled Riyadh filled with Sunni Wahabis or Salafis? As has been noted, it's the governments of such states as Egypt and Jordan who are keeping their more radical Sunni citizens at bay. Would a shia Iran wish to upset this balance?


"What worries the rulers of Sunni Arab countries is that, as their citizens watch satellite television images of the destruction wrought by Israel on Lebanon, sympathy will grow for Hezbollah, regarded by many Arabs — Sunni and Shia alike — as the only credible political and military force willing to match words with actions by taking on the might of Israel’s military force.

Perhaps that is why President Mubarak of Egypt, who has little taste for Hezbollah, admitted yesterday that “Israel will not be victorious in the current conflict”. He said: “Israel should stop the killing of defenceless Lebanese civilians.”"



Did anybody see the Die Spiegel article about German economic growth?

The German have currently become the "Anti-FoolObama's" of the world and are achieving real economic growth as a result.

The Chinese are also growing by being as "Anti-American system" as possible without acting against their own interest or starting a war.

IMHO, DP is just creating a narrative to blame Foolbama for the coming disaster in AfPak and probably Iraq because it will be in his best interest and poll numbers.

“People expect Byzantine, Machiavellian logic from politicians. But the truth is simple. Trial lawyers learn a good rule: 'Don't decide what you don't have to decide.' That's not evasion, it's wisdom.” - Mario Cuomo

John Howley

Follow the money.

102 House Democrats voted against the Afghan-Iraq supplemental in July, up from 32 the year previous.

Next, it will be what?

No money, no war.

Yes money, yes war.

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