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25 September 2015

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Bill H

I don'y need to point out to anyone here that Russia has a lot more nuclear weapons than does Spain, I'm sure, but perhaps someone should point that ot to the amateurs in the White House who keep treferring to Russia as a "regional power."

João Carlos

I think hubris never end well...

William R. Cumming

P.L.! Your assessment accurate IMO!

Jack

Sir

This statement of imperial hubris is coming from the so called "liberal and realist" Obama administration. I watched the last Republican debate where we had the spectacle of many candidates swearing fealty to Israel and committing to war on their behalf. And then we had Carly who would not speak to Putin.

The duopoly is filled with hubris with visions of imperial grandeur. IMO, a reflection of the attitude of the majority of our fellow citizens who want an interventionist big government in all spheres.

turcopolier

Jack

Yes, "54-40 or fight," and "remember the Maine" have come again as emblems of the zeitgeist in the US. "We've got the men, we've got the guns, we've got the money too, and if they want to fight by jingo..." Unfortunately the R2P Harpies will not send their children to fight. That privilege will be relegated to the Good Frank's "sheep." pl

ISL

Dear Colonel,

You have often described the "children" running US Foreign Policy. This quote from the first article is "so third grade" and presumably reflects "advanced" diplomatic thinking in the Washington bubble.

"Putin was striking a now-familiar pose of less-than-perfect posture and unbuttoned jacket and, you know, knees spread far apart to convey a particular image," Earnest said.

One almost expects a "Putin, yo mamma...." followup...


DH

How likely is it that these are face-saving statements and that there is a tacit understanding we won't interfere with Russia's efforts?

turcopolier

DH

One can only persist in hope and seek to avoid despair. Frank could tell you that Spiritual Pride and Despair are the only unforgiveable sins. In the first instance because the Spiritually Proud will not seek forgiveness and in the second instance because those that Despair will not believe that salvation is possible. pl

Origin

My prediction is that Russia will remind US that they are important. It may be a cold winter in parts of Europe.

DH

Over to you, Alba Etie.

LeaNder

DH, I would assume that patterns of speech or images are hard to change. Needs time. Maybe? What patterns are established at this point in time ... Who picks them up and for what reason may be more difficult to clarify.

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Spiral_of_silence

Wikipedia: Spiral of perceived consent?

ex-PFC Chuck

The group think dynamics make it unsafe to the career of anyone within the reality distortion field to consider saying anything else. As one of the quotes I pasted into a comment I posted on the previous thread earlier this morning said, "Their business is reacting, day and night. Working weekends and evenings is routine; theirs are 24/7 jobs. That leave no time for pondering big pictures. They are caught up in tactics; larger ends are for memoirs.”
http://turcopolier.typepad.com/sic_semper_tyrannis/2015/09/my-entry.html#comment-6a00d8341c72e153ef01b7c7d3b91e970b

ex-PFC Chuck

John Boehner resigns as Speaker of the House and Member of Congress effective October 30.
https://twitter.com/BenjySarlin/status/647404178223067136/photo/1

robt willmann

Mostly off topic, but U.S. House of Representatives Speaker John Boehner yesterday resigned not only his position as Speaker of the House, but from Congress completely, effective at the end of October--

http://www.nbcnews.com/politics/congress/house-speaker-john-boehner-resign-n433581

His current term does not end this year, so he is bailing out, after being in the House since his election in 1990. He may like to drink whiskey, but he has been around since the war on Iraq started in 1991, which has restarted after a brief hiatus beginning in 2009, and he has seen the federal budget now get out of control as well as the operation and influence of the federal government itself, although he has contributed some to the problem. I think he correctly views that the budget and operating problems in the federal government are now intractable and some things are going to become unglued.

The fiscal year for the federal government is from October 1 through September 30. U.S. Treasury Secretary Jacob Lew sent Boehner and others a letter a couple of weeks ago about the debt limit--

http://www.treasury.gov/connect/blog/Pages/Treasury-Sends-Debt-Limit-Letter-to-Members-of-Congress.aspx

Boehner is a Catholic, he saw the Pope and helped in getting him to address Congress, and now he is getting out.

elaine

Yesterday there was a brief story on ANSA news saying the U.S. had
moved nuclear weapons to Germany. Looked for it today & couldn't find it.
If the story is true what are the implications?

Fred

One speech from Frank the Good that already seems to have had an effect. Now if only some other neocons had been paying attention....

oofda

Apparently the U.S. plans to replace older weapons. And there ARE implications, as Russia threatens with counter measures.

http://www.telegraph.co.uk/news/worldnews/europe/russia/11886639/Russia-threatens-US-with-nuclear-arms-counter-measures.html

ISL

Elaine,
What this indicates is that the POTUS has NOT sat down with the cabinet and stated:

>These are the policy guidelines that I want to govern US relations with Russia. I want each of you in your cabinets to maintain consistency with these guidelines, or you (or your minions) are no longer members of this administration.

Obviously that has not happened.

Misanthrope

Well, those headchoppers have a lot of work to do:

http://fortruss.blogspot.co.uk/2015/09/why-syria-is-russias-stalingrad.html

Can't have them being wiped out before they really get started, can we?

different clue

ISL,

This sounds like Earnest is earnestly channeling his master's sense of unavenged insult and humiliation at Putin's hands, and his master's pathotoxic narcissist rage and hatred for Putin. He is His Master's Voice.

One hopes that Putin and Lavrov and etc. understand that they are dealing with an unstable human land mine named Obama who is just waiting to go off if "rubbed the wrong way".

BostonB

Very scary because I've been in both states in life.

Relatedly, Thomas à Kempis, was denied canonization because when his body was disinterred they found splinters under his finger nails (i.e., buried while still alive). Such a discovery ends the canonization process due to the possibility of despair.

walrus

@DifferentClue; My thoughts exactly.

walrus

Differnet Clue:

This sounds like Earnest is earnestly channeling his master's sense of unavenged insult and humiliation at Putin's hands, and his master's pathotoxic narcissist rage and hatred for Putin. He is His Master's Voice.

One hopes that Putin and Lavrov and etc. understand that they are dealing with an unstable human land mine named Obama who is just waiting to go off if "rubbed the wrong way".

Ex PFC Chuck:

The group think dynamics make it unsafe to the career of anyone within the reality distortion field to consider saying anything else. As one of the quotes I pasted into a comment I posted on the previous thread earlier this morning said, "Their business is reacting, day and night. Working weekends and evenings is routine; theirs are 24/7 jobs. That leave no time for pondering big pictures. They are caught up in tactics; larger ends are for memoirs.”

Yes, in my opinion, both of you are correct. What I wish to add is that working for a brooding narcissist is indeed like playing with an armed land mine or sitting on top of an active volcano because the "right" answer to any perceived problem changes with the narcissists mood swings.

We are all familiar (well most of us) with solutions that change day by day in a chaotic manner, but narcissists like Obama add another dimension that makes rational policy development virtually impossible. That is that the proposed policy options must not reflect negatively in even the tiniest way on the great mans self image on the day.

To put that another way, a brilliant strategy proposal, a model of truth, clarity and virtue will be rejected out of hand if it contains the tiniest suggestion that the great man may have made a wrong decision that the new policy attempts to correct. I have seen chiefs of staff fired for correcting their bosses small mistake.

The people in Washington are not idiots, whatever else they may be. I wouldn't mind betting that the majority of them know that the "Moderate Syrian Rebel" strategy has no chance in hell of working. However speaking out against it is going to get you fired, not because your compatriots will feel aggrieved but because President Obama will feel aggrieved and visit fire and brimstone on you for the implied criticism.

We are now in a position where the "right" answer to any problem depends on Obamas state of mind. Putin has just rubbed salt in Obamas Syrian wound by investing Russian assets in securing a solution. I wouldn't mind also betting that Putins speech in the U.N. is going to enrage Obama as well.

gemini33

Well, there goes that last thread of hope that Earnest was keeping up the tough guy act to placate neocons & R2Pers while Obama was doing a backchannel with Russia. I can't think of a president in my lifetime who has been handed such epic opportunities to do the right thing, a great thing, but just blew it. This is the fourth such (epic level) opportunity for this president by my count.

I kept thinking "this is so obviously the right thing to do, there are people stepping up practically doing it for him, plus he has the momentum of the course-changing Iran deal, doesn't ever have to face election again, is set for life -- there's no way he'd not take this opportunity".

Lately I've been seeing people from other countries on social media make comments about how petty the US leadership has become. Not out of hate but out of disappointment.

gemini33

I don't see world leaders and other key people flying into Madrid.

Odin's Raven

Macedonia's economy was much smaller than Persia's. They did have a much better army and a much better leader though. Putin doesn't actually want to conquer America however.

charly

But it is simply the truth that Russia is a regional power. It is the strongest or second strongest power in North American, European and Asian regions and it is not as if those regions are the important ones

different clue

Walrus,

Probably Earnest is wired up like many ordinary people . . . wired up to safely carry 110 volts of ho hum drum ordinary thoughts and feelings. I wonder what shape his brain/mind/spirit will be in after he is done carrying Obama's 220 volts of pure pathotoxic narcissist rage.

Ulenspiegel

It is an art to convert economic strength into political gains, an art that Russia has not mastered the last years. The fate of Gazprom could tell you a lot and the fact that Russia is investing in more pipeline capacity to central Europe, too.

The basic weakness of Russia is that Russia can only build up economic pressure by cutting deep into her onwn flesh, the Russian government know this, Russia's opponents, too.

With a shrinking GDP (best case 5%) and quite limited access to western know-how and technology, which are essential to improve Russia's economic strength, I do not expect a cold winter, quite contrary, the most likely scenario for me is BAU.

The question is not whether Russia is economically weak or not, but how the west should react to the facts, here as German I would prefer cooperation with Russia and a comtainment of USA politics in Europe.

DH

Walrus, armchair psychology is fun, but I've never agreed with your assessment of Obama as a pathological narcissist. I'd be interested in reading a post by you on the subject to see what the various takes on it would be.

DH

LeaNder and Chuck, thank you both for those thought-provoking sources.

walrus

DH, it's been done:

http://turcopolier.typepad.com/sic_semper_tyrannis/2010/05/walrus-on-narcissistic-leaders-.html

DH

Thank you. I think JohnH's reply to your post comes closest to my thoughts...

"Unfortunately I think that narcissism has always been the flip side of leadership. Most of us don't need the fawning adulation of our peers. And most of us have enough self-awareness to preclude us from exuding the self-confidence necessary for selection as a leader.

Narcissism and the accompanying tendency to put self-interest above public interest is why the founding fathers instituted a system of checks and balances. Unfortunately, leaders find ways to circumvent or disable checks on their authority over time."

...but I don't see Obama as a pathological narcissist. He was raised by loving grandparents and a "good enough" mother. He is simply a human.

I have appreciated that he wanted to get out of Afghanistan but bowed to the inevitable, and he tried hard to work around his Syria red line statement. I tend to think he thanked his lucky stars that Putin got him out of that one, and that Putin seems in the process of helping in Syria. Or maybe he reads SST.

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