10 September 2013


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The mistake here I believe is putting too much focus on the individual politicians psychology rather than the systemic issues that really drive events. Whatever Obama (or Bush's or ... ) personality, we have a governing system that is in thrall to military action rather than diplomacy, in thrall to Israeli interests and designed to shortsightedly protect a small class of corporate elite rather than aim for global development and shared sustainability.

Col Lang's comments a few threads ago about the belief system of our "leaders" was particularly helpful - seeing these "leaders" as sociopaths misses the point in most cases.


After seeing indescriminate killing but being uncertain of who actually used those weapons we should just indescriminately kill off a bunch of Syrians "... on both sides..." ? That's an emotional response; and as I am rather certain CJCS General Dempsey pointed out any such order given with out the prior consent of the Congress is illegal. Unlike the guilty party in Syria we expect our armed forces to obey the law.


siun what thread was that? pl

ex-PFC Chuck

" . . there is no reason to believe that President Obama is a sociopath . . . "
Not necessarily. Recent research using MRIs and other means shows that the areas of sociopaths’ brains associated with empathy simply don’t fire when confronted with the sorts of stimuli that in normal people trigger this emotion. Furthermore these studies show that about 4% of the population consists of these hardwired (or is it unwired?) sociopaths, and that they are significantly over-represented in the cadres of people in senior leadership positions in all elements of society, but especially politics and corporate management. See "The Sociopath Next Door", by Martha Stout.

ex-PFC Chuck

As Yves Smith asks this morning at Naked Capitalism, "Why Does John Kerry Still Have a Job?"


Bandolero: Gee, I wish I had voted for her.

Medicine Man

I think he stepped in it too.

His talk about "red lines" really boxed him in - politically speaking. It will be interesting to find out (if we find out) if it was circumstance that created the snare or if interested parties fashioned his loose talk into the rough outline of a false flag operation.

I don't personally think he is a true believer, or a narcissist for that matter, but Matthew is correct above when he suggests that we watch closely to see how honestly the US approaches the Russian-sponsored disarmament.

Medicine Man

It is possible that Kerry was playing the useful idiot for Obama. Judging from what Col. Lang and others here think of him, he may be a natural for the role.


Mrs. Teresa Heinz Kerry is worth an estimated $750 - $1200 million.
John Kerry is personally worth more than $320 millions.


Historically Tsarist Russia and Persia were often in conflict, as were Tsarist Russia and Turkey and Tsarist Russia and France. Times change, yesterday's fanatical enemy is today's useful neighbor. Iran China and Russia have many common interests and at least one common antagonist. It is probable that there is no specific written security treaty between Russia and Iran, there is obvious strategic level co-operation over the last two years. There is no need for "friendship" as nations, unlike their citizens, do not have friends but only current and future interests.
It would help in the practice of diplomacy for the American diplomats to remember that in re some of our "supposed" friends.



I wrote that after googling up the following headline:

“Iran and Russia sign agreement to coordinate security”


The proverb “The enemy of my enemy is my friend” sounds Persian but apparently entered the English language from India.



OK. Maybe the Winter Soldier bought his own boat. pl

Babak Makkinejad

You are reading too much into that.

"Training police forces and providing security in the region were among the main issues of the talks,” Mohammad-Najjar said, adding that various other issues such as the Caspian Sea, fighting organized crimes as well as human and drug trafficking were also discussed in the meeting."

There is no cooperation between Iran and Russia beyond mundane issues such as above.

Yes, Russia and Iran will cooperate if and when a cow cosses the border between them - had there been a common border.

Babak Makkinejad

There has been zero strategic cooperation between Iran and Russia for years.

That has not changed over the last 2 years, to my knowledge.

There might be between China and Russia, however.

Russia is neither friend nor the enemy of Iran and likewise for Iran.

Russia is neither friend nor enemy of the United States, in my opinion.

Charles I

and what, just vote for permanent war straight out?

Charles I

" our national interest is threatened by a country who cannot harm us militarily" caught my ear


My opinion and yours differ on the strategic co-operation ( UN votes come to mind as does the work of the SCO and the obvious assistance with issues nuclear ). Through the Hu and Wen years and now with the Xi and Li leadership China and Russia have arranged and smoothed any obvious issues re borders and old antagonisms. China likewise has worked to help develop Iran's oil and gas deposits since the USA corps are forbidden to be seen helping anything Iranian. I repeat my statement about nations and friends; at times of war nations actually can have allies and enemies otherwise it is just interests that move co-incidentally sometimes and at cross purposes other times. I don't think that an analysis in "friends and enemies" terms really contributes to understanding national behaviours. ( I look at these sort of issues in "profit and loss/ who whom" terms and that too is probably blinkered just in a different direction.
I suspect that it does not bother Russia one little bit that Iran's existence and Israel's ownership keeps the USA deeply identified with the Crusader's role in the middle east. Interests are what they are, the USA being seen as the cat's-paw by some ( or the wagged dog if one prefers a Hollywoodism ) does not hurt the image of Iran, Russia or China nor their several and mutual interests in the Middle East, Africa, South Asia and the South Pacific.


Siun, I invite you to study the behaviour of the former leader of the Australian Labor party, one Kevin Rudd, who has presided over the virtual destruction of his party at the Federal election last week, giving the conservative Party (quaintly named Liberal in Australia, but is nothing of the sort) a landslide victory.

Mr. Rudds behaviour since hood winking the Australian people with his outward charm in 2007 was so bad towards his colleagues that they deposed him the following year. He then schemed and plotted his way back into the leadership Seven months ago. Kevin is a classic narcissist, there is no other word for it. He remains in the party and will not leave until someone can metaphorically drive a stake through his heart.

Individuals do matter some of the time.



There can be a third way. If United States is still a functioning democracy, a third way can emerge if there is enough clear and concise demand for it across the board.


Col Lang, It was in the comments on "U.S. intervention in Syria: War for virtue" in which you discussed the "city on the hill' beliefs in play. I found that very helpful since we often miss that truly held belief aspect of the whole mess.

It's so much easier but in the end so unhelpful I think to blame individual sociopathy or simple greed and miss both the wider systemic factors and the complex communal belief systems that drive these national policies and behaviors.

Babak Makkinejad

If Russia were interested in harming US, she could have elected to do nothing to stop the United States from entering another unwinnable war.

That Russia, in fact, has exerted so much effort to prevent another quagmire for and by the United States indicates that she is a friend of the United States.

And certainly not an enemy.

And no, Syria was not worth so much to Russia.


I believe it's the system more than the man.

Mr. Obama is still quite a young man. There is not enough time in the day to learn the intricacies of economics, resource control, tribal histories on all continents, how deeply to bow to the Japanese emperor, and still run the country. So, he must constantly rely on advice from senior advisors, and respect the secret treaties/constraints that his predecessors have set up. Above all, he must live up to the dignity of the office.

When those senior advisors tell him that "acting Presidential" demands an attack, rather than taking four weeks for information-gathering and multiple projections on possibilities, then the echo-chamber tends to amplify one course of behavior. When those same advisors couple failure to act with non-survival, emotional flooding and tunnel vision set in. Taking one choice and running with it looks better than evaluating, which gets seen as dithering. So it's systemic. Who's giving bad advice?

There exists at least one top-secret agreement between the office of the President and Israel that Pres. Obama inherited from Nixon. Apparently, in order to ensure that Israel does not use its nuclear bombs, America is expected to go along with some things. Please remember that Pres. Obama was visited by a senior contingent from Israel at the start of this crisis. ...When others with incomplete information see someone making decisions they wouldn't make, they typically assume he is stupid, or evil, or crazy. All possible; but #4 often they lack key info pieces and would make that same decision if they knew.

Not to say people are not narcissistic. The shibboleths of narcissism are an inability to imagine others having complex minds with free will; and a magnification of one's own importance/pain coupled with an inability to empathize with the pain of others. I believe narcissism is rampant in Congress, America, and Israel, IMHO. This is causing much suffering. Only the Pentagon has been able to imagine others being more than cardboard cutouts and being able to respond to America's moves. Pentagon's sadly the only adult in the room, it seems.

I believe the current situation is a problem best addressed by social work mechanisms. Treating narcissism involves opening the mind up to the possibility that other minds, other people are out there; they have feelings; and they deserve compassion. Hire America's best social workers to sit down with the Congressmen and senior advisors.


Depends on when, where, and how much harm is in the Russian plans and at whom they will be addressed.
The USA continues to try to encircle Russia, Iran and China with military bases. The Sauds keep funding Chechen attacks ( Beslan my friend ); The Israelis keep trying to upset the Russian economic restructuring and supported active measures by Georgia against Russia. It is not necessarily the USA that is center in the plans here although as an American it is mandatory that we believe that we are the center of the universe.
Russia's interests ran parallel to Kerry's brain mouth disconnect so they used it. Not a sign that they are our bff. They didn't prevent a quagmire as is obvious from today's active media blitz and the terrorists refusal to agree to the removal of Assad's chemical weapons.
At any time, any stone can be the most important stone on the board other times it is irrelevant. Syria is the current most talked about stone, it is not necessarily the most relevant.


I read somewhere a long time ago, that Kerry purchased a second set of medals. I would love to know the timing of the purchase if true. I think we can agree that he has learned how to: "ask a man to be" the first and "the last to die for a lie."



The Winter Soldier bought an extra set of medals so that he could throw these duplicates away with his other Wintry friends. pl

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