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04 August 2011


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William R. Cumming

Great post! The Arab spring is now almost winter. Where are the snows of yesterday? Perhaps gone with the Cedars of Lebanon?

Does the USA have any effective leverage in MENA?

Charles I

Well at least in Syria it may be less horrible, perhaps more tending to political evolution, to be abused by leaders of one's own majority sect/tribe than by the hated entrenched rotten minority core. One less cleavage between ruled and rulers. Although I suppose there'd likely be some Alawite bloodletting.


Almost winter? You're not the first to mkake this metaphor:

I recommend again Heinrich Heine's 'Deutschland. Ein Wintermärchen' (Germany: A Winter's Tale)


Farmer Don

Col. Lang,
You say about Egypt,Syria,Iraq and Yemen,"All these countries are "challenged." they should be treated with benign indifference and neglect. we cannot "Fix" them". I agree.
But why do you not think Libya should be on that list also?

Patrick Lang

farmer don

Libya should be on the list. But getting rid of Qathafi would have been easy if it had not been for the Obama "style." We have unfinished business with Qathafi. pl



Their 'madness' pales in comparison to Israel's 'madness'. How do we protect U.S. from Israel's madness when we have their agents-of-influence like Mr. Cantor, Hoyer, Ms. Pelosi, Mr. Reid, etc. in the halls of Congress, and their espionage/daddy wharbucks aIPAC working their levers on the White House, how do we protect ourselves from them?

Bill Hatch

Well said Col.


William R. Cumming

Thanks confused ponderer for the Heinrich Heine reference.
As readers of this blog know I argue that the culture of the Germans vis a vis the Chinese is the longterm struggle for the Hearts and Minds of the Eurasian continent. Heine's writing will resonate for a long time. Thanks again.

The Moar You Know

"We need to protect ourselves from the madness that arises in these place. We do not need to "reform' them."

Amen. In addition to their other obvious and manifold problems, Arab society seems to have but one career path - advancing from being a payer of bribes to one who takes them. The way of the strongman. They certainly seem to have no interest at all in democracy.

Rather like Mexico today, but Mexico may, in the long run, be redeemable. Sadly, I see no signs of potential redemption in the Middle East.


Plus ca change, plus c'est la meme chose...


29,000 children under 5

Could we do more about this and less about dreams of empire?

MOGADISHU, Somalia—Kaltum Mohamed sits beside a small mound of earth, alone with her thoughts. It is her child's grave -- and there are three others like it.

Just three weeks ago, Mohamed was the mother of five young children. But the famine that has rocked Somalia has claimed the lives of four of them. Only a daughter remains. The others starved to death before Mohamed's eyes as she and her husband trekked to Somalia's capital, Mogadishu, in search of aid.

Thousands of parents are grieving in Somalia and in refugee camps in neighboring countries amid Somalia's worst drought in 60 years.

The drought and famine in Somalia have killed more than 29,000 children under the age of 5 in the last 90 days in southern Somalia alone, according to U.S. estimates. The U.N. says 640,000 Somali children are acutely malnourished, suggesting the death toll of small children will rise.

Charlie Wilson

Apparently we are involved in 120 wars around the world. We need a 12 step program to cut this addiction before calling others mad.

Patrick Lang


"... we are involved in 120 wars around the world."

Name them or be quiet. pl



Since this trial is happening with full cooperation and direction of the military, isn't there an old message to Assad and the other despots: Your military will replace you when it is their best interest.

Old message dating from Roman Empire and the Praetorian Guard.

Babak Makkinejad

The Crown Colony of Hong Kong was not a democracy nut it had something called "The Rule of Law". It was the only time and the only place in the entire 3000-year long history of China (barrin that brief period of rule by Shi Hwang Ti) that a Chinese person enjoyed protection of Law in his person, in his family, and in his property.

Maybe very many or most of these states will be ruled by Dictators but why cannot these states have the Rule of Law?

And while Europeans enjoyed such competent dictaors such as Naopoleaon, Lenin, Hitler, Stalin, and Franco who actually could build something; why is it that Muslim polities are often rules by Dictators that are basically incompetent?

William R. Cumming

Well PL do you count cold or hot wars? Hot meaning US soldiers, sailors, airmen and women, or do you just want drone deployments?

Is Mexican border activity a war? I argue yes but others may disagree.


Amen to your analysis of revolting Arab politics. Its too bad that the dinosaurs in State Department are still in the 1960s.

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