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14 February 2015


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PL, Doesnt American politics reward "positive" "upbeat" "can-do" "America can/will always win" macho rhetoric over realism and sober analysis because the "upbeat, macho" guy will beat up the less macho guy in political advertisements, debates, etc.? America loves a winner (even when they lose)....someone who projects optimism, invincibility, aggressiveness

There does not ever seem to be any price to be paid to politicians who act macho and turn out to be wrong versus those who back away from a fight and might save us a lot of money, lives,

To what extent is our Foreign Policy dictated by the political calculation of winning the next election? The Rebublicans believe they need to maintain their "macho" brand image and the Democrats need to repudiate their "wimpy, pacifict, defeatest" image.

Just a theory, what do u think?

Ex 11B

Because in the swamp, telling the truth is the worse thing you can do.

Generalfeldmarschall von Hindenburg

I seem to remember a guy named Petraus being involved in training these "troops". Is he suffering any censure on the cable channel news mastication shows? Didn't think so.


Apropos "ambition-fueled group think,"


To add a minor footnote --a question, really-- to the points made by that piece and by PL, there has to be a specific term (from marketing? or the literature on cons and fraud?) of goods that can be sold on either side of an outcome.

I.e., if a bad thing happened w/o said good, then clearly said good was needed; if a bad thing happened *with* the good, then clearly not enough of the good had been purchased.

"Training" (a lot, that) and "defensive weaponry" seem to function as such in the grotesque market of ideas that seems to structure so much of contemporary foreign-policy thinking.



To quote the article: "... probably more would gain than lose from continued detente with Putin’s Russia..."

The neocons would lose: power and influence as we as income. Most importantly (to them) they would lose the deep seated emotional attachment to their ideology by virtue of seeing their nuclear armed enemy destroyed - via peaceful means ( continued detente). I think it is their emotional need that is driving this now.


It looks like ISIS has further consolidated its hold on territory gained and preparing for another push. Unlike the Iraqi Army their have built a reputation for victory. That has to boost their morale tremendously. We need something more from this administration than another meaningless speech from Obama.

Babak Makkinejad

As long as things were going well, nary a peep came out of EU leaders. Only when Putin raised the stakes and called their bluff did they run to him to kiss and make up.


so the Iraqi army that was trained for 6 months will stand and fight unlike the one which was trained for 5 years and ran.


High-profile assassination of a Sunni tribal sheikh. More political grid-log to be expected.

Interesting to see that both IS and Shia militia could be behind this.


Swami Bhut Jolokia

I'm sure there is some truth to what the Albu Nimr sheikh is saying. Pardon my cynicism, but there's also this: "... arming tribes directly or at least pressuring the Iraqi government to give the tribes more firepower...".

That's what we need. More tribes running around with modern arms. What could possibly go wrong?



It is not the tribes who are the threat n Iraq or anywhere else. It is the damned governments and the jihadi crazies. pl

Swami Bhut Jolokia

PL, I agree it's not the tribes who are currently the threat. But let's play this out. We give them arms and they are able to quell the crazies. Then what? Best case they form a viable government, worst case shades of Somalia.



IMO it was vanity on the part of Western colonialists to think that unified states could be made in Somalia, Afghanistan, Iraq, etc. Traditional Islamic societies, Abbasid, Ottoman, etc. functioned under the schema of Ibn Khaldun that tacitly accepted that government could control only that within their grasp and that they should work on the rest. pl

Swami Bhut Jolokia

Agree 100%. I have more than a passing familiarity with the fallout from colonial legacies. Lines drawn in faraway places by colonial masters who believe they know all take a very long time to become permanent, if they become permanent at all.

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