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17 September 2015

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BabelFish

Would I be considered snarky if I thought this was like the Titanic crew reconsidering its iceberg policy?

LeaNder

A bit maybe, BF, but "iceberg policy" seems to be an apt image. At lease to anyone that is also familiar with the term unicorns. ;)

Medicine Man

BabelFish: You're only saying what a lot of us are thinking. Maybe they are simply trying not to make the same mistake a third (fourth if you include Egypt) time in a row. Miracles abound.

If US leadership is sobering up on the snowballing mess that is the Middle East, I wonder if you could share some of your detox kit with our government up here? Not so long ago our PM was echoing the "Assad must go"-sentiment like some kind of sweater-vest wearing clone.

Liza

A pivotal meeting will be held at the Kremlin Monday between Putin and Netanyahu. The outcome of that meeting will undoubtedly influence the administration's position both on the Syrian war and on relations with Russia in general.

The Israeli media has reported that Netanyahu's objective is to prevent Hezbollah from acquiring Russian weapons. Deployment of an advanced S-300 Asprey missile system would present an unrivaled threat, and further negotiations can be expected on this issue. (Putin noted in a recent interview that the S-300 has the capability to strike any plane taking off from Israel).

This will be a very challenging negotiation for Netanyahu. Putin had a phone conversation with King Salman of Saudi Arabia yesterday in which the Israeli-Palestinian co.fluctuations was discussed. The Israeli-Palestinian conflict also was discussed in recent meetings that Putin held with King Abdullah and with President Sisi.

http://www.haaretz.com/news/diplomacy-defense/.premium-1.676280

eakens

Israel failed to block the nuclear deal, which has emboldened our leaders.

confusedponderer

In the army the sergeants in cases like this always said: Ich hab schon Pferde kotzen sehen ... indeed, can it be?

turcopolier

CP

Something like "I have seen the elephant" in the US Army? Meaning, having come to the circus I have seen what the beast is really like and want to go home now. pl

confusedponderer

Horses physiologically can't puke, and to have them seen do it means having seen the impossible happen.

confusedponderer

That said, it always had that touch of disbelief.

A. Pols

It could be...., but will it be? That remains to be seen.
The role of Ego and the desire not to appear weak seems to drive politicos straight to the end game of failed policies. While it's clear to many that the removal of Assad is unlikely to benefit anyone one other than in the probably transient ascendancy of one group or another of "Mohammedan Fanatics", the current policy is being driven by naive assumptions arrived at by certain parties in this country 5 or more years ago. That the same policies have resulted in shocking reversals of fortune where it has played out seems to matter little to those trapped in the psychology of prior investment. Like gamblers on a losing streak, they'll want to "bet the farm".
I hope we can avoid that and reorganize our corporate culture in time.

Pete Deer

Babel,
I was thinking much the same thing. These people are NOW getting around to figuring things are not going well? It reminds me of Emperor Hirohito's surrender speech when he said "the war has not necessarily gone in Japan's favor."
It would be hilarious were it not so catastrophically tragic.

Pete

rjj

Is this evidence of rethink [verb] or of a fresh (!!) new (!!) Recieved Truth [noun]?

HankP

The problem here is that all the quoted political figures had a D after their name. That usually results in the politicians with an R after their name taking the opposite tack, usually with inflammatory rhetoric.

And let's face it, it's always easier for politicians of both parties to denounce those despicable foreigners.

confusedponderer

"role of Ego and the desire not to appear weak"

Robert Parry calls it, IMO rather aptly, 'tough-guy/gal-ism'.

https://consortiumnews.com/2014/06/23/obamas-true-foreign-policy-weakness/

Mrs. Fiorina proposed a five division expansion of the army and a one division expansion of USMC?

I propose the ur-American rap battle template, more precisely, epic rap battle of history* setting as a template for American politics - enter Gandalf and Dumbledore. Nice staff, compensating for something, ma'am?

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=ZIMoQHpvFQQ

That said, only yesterday I saw a USMC enthusiast expressing his outrage at the pesky (if, as of today, frugal) Dutch, with a puny two digit airfleet, dare criticise the US armed forces helicopter program. Know your place worm.

* PS: The best of the series probably are imo Marthin Luther King vs. Ghandi
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=-6G6CZT7h4k
and Thomas Edison vs. Nicola Tesla
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=gJ1Mz7kGVf0

VietnamVet

Colonel,

Yes, the refugee crisis is forcing all the players to reassess their Middle East policy. Just maybe, the braying from here in the wilderness will be heard and World War III can be avoided.

NBC news last night broadcast Richard Engel helping a pregnant Syrian woman who collapsed in front of him gassed by the Hungarian Police. He did not interview her husband standing in the background but said he was a deserter from the Syrian Army. Staged or not, that young man is a human being, he has to be filled with impotent rage. It is totally insane to import thousands of these young men into your country while being complicit in the destruction of their homes and families. New Kosovo’s will spring up throughout the heart of the Eurozone.

http://www.nbcnews.com/video/nightly-news-netcast/57873088#57873088

gemini33

All week I've been surprised at things that have been published in MSM. Seems like some serious change in the air. Almost afraid to believe it. I wonder if these are things that were spun off from the Iran deal negotiations.

Upcoming UN week seems to be an important one and not just because of the anniversary. Pres Obama has a summit on peacekeeping forces which might also be significant. The Pope will be in town. Interestingly, Netanyahu is making a trip to Moscow even though he'll be in the same UN room as Putin just a few days later.

One more thing. Every so often there's an important national security or foreign policy story on this ridiculous Buzzfeed web site. This story is extensive, full of details and really strange for a few reasons (related to foreign weapons for the Pentagon train & equip program for Syria). I'll leave the link here for anyone who might be interested. http://www.buzzfeed.com/aramroston/the-secret-arms-deal-behind-americas-syria-fiasco#.evDN7exRA
http://www.buzzfeed.com/aramroston/the-secret-arms-deal-behind-americas-syria-fiasco#.evDN7exRA

alba etie

All
Another piece of this shifting geo political MENA puzzle is that Netanyahu is coming to the Whitehouse November 9 allegedly to confer with President Obama about the done deal with the Iranian 's nuclear program . Ahem - I wonder could the conversation not also turn to the IDF 's continuing CAS for the Liver Eaters in the Levant . Could this also maybe be part of the conversation that Netanyahu recently had with Leader Putin ? Is this the ground work being laid for President Assad being retired to Moscow ? We shall see. But my bet is that this is a strategic shift away from the neocons ...,

readerOfTeaLeaves

What seems to have happened is that Netanyahu-Likud's insult to Obama of that third speech before Congress made it necessary for some Dems to push back against AIPAC. IOW, the Israeli Lobby, much of it led by former GOP operatives, partisanized the Iran Deal -- and, by extension, they have now made Israel a partisan issue.
Whoops.

And in addition, Josh Marshall at TalkingPointsMemo had a wry analysis of how some very big AIPAC financial backers got soaked by lobbyists in DC, who squandered millions trying to block the Iran Deal.
http://talkingpointsmemo.com/edblog/the-dumb-money

rkka

They certainly are asking the right questions.

Unfortunately, the Anglosphere Foreign Policy Elite & Punditocracy (AFPE&P) have a long-standing tendency to exclude & denigrate those who ask good questions about AFPE&P plans for the demonization & overthrow of those who they wish to destroy.

We'll see.

Matthew

BF: Mr. Putin knows how to exploit Western hypocrisy. See http://www.zerohedge.com/news/2015-09-18/obama-folds-again-begin-military-talks-russia-very-shortly

William R. Cumming

September 18, 2015

Readout of Secretary Carter’s Call with Russian Minister of Defense Sergei Shoygu

Pentagon Press Secretary Peter Cook provided the following readout:

This morning, Secretary of Defense Ash Carter had a constructive conversation with the Russian Minister of Defense Sergei Shoygu on the situation in Syria. The secretary and the minister talked about areas where the United States and Russia’s perspectives overlap and areas of divergence. They agreed to further discuss mechanisms for deconfliction in Syria and the counter-Islamic State of Iraq and Levant (ISIL) campaign. The secretary emphasized the importance of pursuing such consultations in parallel with diplomatic talks that would ensure a political transition in Syria. He noted that defeating ISIL and ensuring a political transition are objectives that need to be pursued at the same time. Both the secretary and the minister agreed to continue their dialogue.

U.S. Department of Defense
Office of the Assistant Secretary of Defense

different clue

BabelFish,

As long as the SAR remains in coherent control of a reduced-but-still-real geographic footprint in Syria, a DC officeholder change-of-heart which results in the US ending its support for anti-Assad forces while there are still Assad forces to benefit from that ending of support to anti-Assad forces will be just in time rather than too late. So perhaps we can hope that the DC officeholders force a climbdown from the anti-Assad policy in time to make a difference.

Perhaps the DC officeholders might even take the next step of working with Russia to overwhelm the anti-Assad supporters with a wave of support to Assad so huge that the anti-Assad supporters are all wiped out despite KSA's and the Erdogists' best efforts.

different clue

Liza,

One wonders whether that S-300 system going to Syria will be accompanied by as many Russian operators and minders as it takes to be sure it does not reach any hands not pre-approved by the Russian government.

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