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24 January 2015


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Alba Etie

apparently two or three terrorist were captured , and have "North American " accents -

Alba Etie

And with the Millenium Bomber - it was an alert Customs Agent that stopped that attempt on LA .


What do you mean by that?

Bababk Makkinejad

I cannot imagine you got married expecting the worse.


Ah! No, meeting my wife was the pleasant surprise. She is definately my beacon, my lighthouse, my bright spot in a sea of gloom and I am thankful for her being in my life.

Alba Etie

Being from Texas - and the Austin area these last thirty odd years - I was also a Lance Armstrong Partisan. There was a huge Armstrong following here . Literally there were fist fights over not 'messing with Lance " . So it is a point to ponder how your own assumptions can affect your relationship with others - especially if these assumptions are defended by an aggressive jingoism . I pray that there is a complete and thorough denunciation of Armstrong - he is a complete and total emabarassment to all things Texian .

The beaver

Oh Oh where did we go wrong?

Reality: Africa-Sahel and Sub-Africa are quite different from the ME and central Asia.



I venture that there is no strategy. What is misrepresented as strategy is no more than the goal of retaining the maximum discretion to decide as we please and do as we please while other governments accommodate us.The basis for making those decisions can be whim, political tactic, or some hair-brained scheme ginned up by the amateurs in the White House. According to the NYT profile over the weekend, Ben Rhodes - NSC Middke East staffer and close confident of BO - was a failed novelist moping around his Queens apartment on 9/11/ He then was filled with the Spirit, inveigled his way into Washington policy circles, became one of BO's 2008 foreign policy briefers, and now has the President's ear on Syria, Iran, etc.



The aforementioned R------s hated me and did every thing he could to negate what arguments I could make. I nominate him for the ICC court docket. pl

Patrick D

Brilliantly expressed, CP.

Conversely, if one wants to manipulate an American, flattery that reinforces that delusional self-perception is the way to go.

Norbert M. Salamon

A point intrigues me:
To what extent is the psychological imperative forces [or leads] these varius actors to forget the lessons of Vietnam, Afganistan, Cuba, Iraq, Somalia, Lybia and Yemen when they contemplate thier newest actions on other soverign states {Syria, Mali, Iran and other areas of Africa] with respect to "indispensible nation", "american exceptionalism", "Others want our system, etc?

Is it the politicians'"ego, narcisism, or plain hubris which causes this psycological blockage?

I am not well enough versed either in psychology or the inner working of USA's [or Canada's] political, spying and related relations to answer this question.
Does anybody here has some ideas, will greatly appreciate same.
Thank you


I hope all americans read this letter from Tomas Young, a paralyzed and dying veteran of the Iraq War, addressed to George W. Bush and Dick Cheney. Maybe then most people would decide against any preemptive and unnecesary wars.


William R. Cumming

Gallup after wide polling reports 142 million people in foreign countries have the USA as their first choice for migration.

William R. Cumming

Babak! Depending on how you define "protectorate" how much of the world is a US protectorate for financial, military or other reasons?

Is that a mark of "empire"?

William R. Cumming

Note Bene! The UN counts almost 200 members some very tiny. Cyprus for example has perhaps less than 1M now that the Russians are fleeing.

I count almost 100+ countrys that would not exist currently without US efforts in the past whether that effort made sense for the USA or not.

Does the USA have a Grand Strategy, and if not does it need one for the rest of the 21st Century?

ex-PFC Chuck

"Indispensable nation"
Reminds me of what one of my first bosses said: "If you think you're indispensable, stick your finger in a glass of water, pull it out quickly, and observe the hole left behind." I think it applies to nations as well as fingers and people.

dilbert dogbert

On reading the first paragraph of the post my pea brain substituted Israel for Algeria. I suspect with a little bit more thought I could think of many other countries names to substitute for Algeria.
My pea brain hurts.



"My pea brain hurts." That is the idea. pl


Dear Sir,

could you give some arguments why you consider the removal of Qathafi beneficial.



I no longer think that encouraging the removal of Qathafi was a good idea. At the time it seemed likely to me that Libya with its small population and many educated expatriates who would return would stabilize itself quickly. That was not the case. pl


Reading the above comment reminds me of the slightly younger saw that there are 10 kinds of people in the world - those that understand binary and those who don't.

Patrick Bahzad

Just like PL, I can see a number of upsides in the decision to get rid of Khadafi. objective and rationale reasons set aside, it should be seen as a clue for all tyrants and sponsors of regional and international terrorism, that no matter what kind of diplomatic relations we (as in "the West) are willing to have with them, there still comes a time when old scores will be settled. That's a reminder nobody should take lightly.
It's difficult however to list the "ups" of the intervention when the counter-factual narrative (i.e. what would have happened if we hadn't gone in) is open to lot of conjecture.
One can certainly argue of the aftermath of the regime change has not been handled well by the West, for lack of political will and courage.
Finally, a side-note, but I'm afraid the decision of the French and British to go in first were just as much an opportunistic political decision as it was a strategic move (whose long term consequences had not been factored properly into the operational decision-making).
As for the policies of the US in NA in general and Algeria in particular, I think they had disaster written all over it since the early 1990s, starting with the decision to support a transition towards an elected islamic government in Algiers, which led in the end to a civil war and 200 000 casualties, to the decision to support the built-up of a new Mali army that vanished into thin air when the AQ groups moved south (costing the US tax payer about 2 billion dollars, that were as useful as the 20 billion put into the Iraqi army) ... Similar mistakes, based on similar ignorance, tend to produce similar consequences unfortunately.

Patrick Bahzad

yeah well, one might also argue you're misunderstanding what the 'rest of the world' is about. Tends to be the case when one considers the US to be the envy of the world. Might be true in some regards, and in some areas, but seeing it as a global truth is seriously over-estimating the reach and appeal of the "american dream" in the world.
But of course, to realize that, it might be necessary to go to these countries and talk to the people on the ground (provided you speak their language, and don't have to rely on English to communicate with the "locals").
So here's a sobering reminder of the way the US are seen in a vest number of countries: to them "America just bombs shit" ... unfortunately that's also how lots of people in charge in the US see themselves: "blowing stuff up is the way they roll" ... sad but true.

Patrick Bahzad

Which countries do you mean, when you say 100+ ?

As for your two questions regarding the US as such, yes the US have a strategy (not saying it's a good one, or that it's based on correct assumptions, but still they do).
Whether it needs (another) one for the 21st century will depend on how well they one they have works out for the US and the rest of the world.
My take: the world is too large a place for the current US strategy to work out.

Patrick Bahzad

are they serious in that article ? Have they ever been to Mali ? do they speak French, let alone bambara ?
Sure, Iraq and Mali are different and from a technical point of view, the US did a great job training the local army (are you f*ing kidding me ?) ... the truth is, some numb-nut in Africom thought they get pull it off to get Mali 'on board' while understanding nothing about the power dynamics at work in that country ...
So even with all the differences in the world, some causes produce same effects: meaning US-trained forces in Mali and Iraq did run and hide when the Djihadis (AQIM or ISIS) went on the offensive.
You know what they say ? madness is doing the same thing over and over again but expecting a different result ... QED

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