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29 September 2015


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FB Ali

Col Lang,

Brilliant post! I fully agree with your prescription. It is the only sensible way out of this quagmire that the US has created for itself.


Good advice! However, I doubt the folks across the river will listen. Going into an election year will not help either.

Jay McAnally

* Accept Russian and Iranian co-belligerence in the war against the jihadis, ALL JIHADIS.

* Fully coordinate operations, intelligence analysis sharing and logistics with the co-belligerent partners.


My God! A common sense prescription to cure insanity. What is one to think! :-)

David Habakkuk


'Propaganda and IO are wonderful things. Any sort of "reality" can be generated with good "theming" and enough repetition.'

What these people do not grasp is that a central problem with propaganda and IO is that it is extremely easy to fool oneself. They are lost in the fantasy worlds they have created.

William Fitzgerald

Pat Lang,

"T'is a consummation devoutly to be wished." Perhaps, Birnam Wood is ever so slowly coming to Dunsinane in the sense that contacts made at the U.N. and which may be forthcoming in the theatre of ops. will eventually yield the results for which you and many of us are hoping.


Babak Makkinejad

US is not in a quagmire; the Muslim states and population are in that quagmire and the longer this lasts, the farther behind they are going to fall.


David Habakkuk

I several times had the terrible experience of offering press statement to interagency meetings that were merely expedient nonsense. Within a short time I watched the people who hade been in the very meetings begin to believe what I had facetiously offered as "wisdom." I am not proud of that. My desire to have interminable meetings end all too often were responsible. pl

Texas Nate

Excellent suggestions Col. Lang.

A. Pols

I have tried to give similar advice to drunken friends in the past....

I make myself unpopular with friends by saying the same things about the MENA. I told them similar things in the runup to the despoliation of IRAQ. Those who remember mostly admit I was right, but think I just made some lucky guesses then and am now deluded over Syria, and a credulous fool for not seeing Putin as the Incubus that he is...
What can one do?

Congrats on an incisive analysis..


I couldn't agree more! Especially your description of the Borg thinking vis a vis pesky obstacles to their R2P/neo-liberalism fuelled visions of reality couldn't be more apt.

Neo-liberals, neo-cons or R2Pers still haven't gotten that indeed the world is not, to use Friedman's phrase, flat.

Today I read that in Germany police recommends to house Christians, Alawites, Druze, Kurdish refugees separate from the Sunni Muslims, since the two larger groups have demonstrated a tendency to opportunistically melee with each other, using the furniture as weapons. Apparently these folks haven't yet arrived in the brave new world yet. Apparently they just need to twitter more to see the light.

And not only have the US created Chaos and destruction, they have also refused persistently to learn from their mistakes and instead follow the imperial instinct to double down when challenged in their mindless pursuit of Stupid.

Also, one could add to the list of allies against the Jihadis the Chinese, given that apparently there is a contingent of Uighurs within ISIS. Likely, the Chinese do not have an interest to see them return to China to seek salvation there.

The impression is that the same sort of 'strategist' who sees it as a brilliant idea to train Chechens and have them become a problem for Russia, see similar potential for jihadi Chinese to become a problem for China. Given the emphasis on the pivot to Asia hardly that far fetched. The idea was harebrained then and it is even more harebrained now, considering that the blowback must be apparent even to the thickest of the bunch.

Alas, they probably rather believe, like Prince Bandar, that these goons can be switched on and off, just like they believe in the efficacy and utility of regime change as the general remedy to leaders in countries who choose to disagree with benevolent hegemonic US prescriptions. Proof of evil and prima facie evidence of disordered thought indeed!

Generalfeldmarschall von Hindenburg

It's very clear that the neocon policy is to maintain US and Israeli supremacy by destabilizing everyone else- including Europe. Maybe especially Europe.

Babak Makkinejad

"...since the two larger groups have demonstrated a tendency to opportunistically melee with each other, using the furniture as weapons..."

I am not a bit surprised.

I knew that Germany could not absorb them; likely scenario would ethno-religious enclaves that are as separated from one anther as from the larger Deutsch population.

Babak Makkinejad

You are not alone.

A conversation with an English friend a year ago - a well-travelled man - in which I supplied my very critical views about NATO states policies in Syria - and by implication about Iran - ended by him saying: "It is all the West's fault".

In essence he was dismissing my views as another typical - I should think, from his point of view - shallow Third Worlder's baseless opinions, clearly lacking in substance, objectivity, as well as missing essential Truths of the situation.

Only recently when he saw reports of Turkey sending truckloads of help to ISIS that he called my previous statements as "Spot on".


AMEN to that.

Clearly its about deciding who represents the threat to our interests. There is not even a debate about this. Instead the media now try to present the threat as both the Jihadis and Assad. In order to convince us Assad is bad he is sold as the one who allowed ISIS to come into being. Ridiculous!

different clue

Generalfeldmarschall von Hindenburg,

Europe has the strength, money, power, etc. to defect and join the Coalition of Co-Belligerence against Jihadis. Why does Europe freely choose to refuse to do so?

Patrick Bahzad


A great summary of a reasonable COA. Will this voice of reason be heard ? I don't know, but statements coming out of several European capitals suggest that at least the narrative about the syrian conflict has slowly shifted. It seems that the foreign policy establishment in majors European countries, and which had been very sympathetic to NeoCon, R2P and KSA views, is in the process of beng dumped and substituted by the advice given for some time already by military advisers and officials. Again, will this be enough to turn the tide in Syria, I don't know, but the Russian move certainly tilted the balance in that direction.

Two minor points I would like to raise not out of disagreement but as caution against any more of the naive choir boy attitude in DC and elsewhere:

- JaN (AQ) has been careful in recent months to make its massive presence less obvious, by dispatching their troops and assets among a variety of groups and names, which makes it difficult for the West to single them out for what they are. Jaysh al fath in Particular has become the newest vessel for AQ infiltration. Not only that, but AQ might be clever enough to enter into a deal with the Syrian government, as the Prophet himself has done when he signed a ten year truce with Mecca, at a time the city was still his enemy. Two years into the truce, he besieged Mecca and took the place. Therefore, I'm not sure that JaN/AQ would refuse a ceasefire deal with their opponents, but to them it would only have temporary value and would only be signed as a means to their end goal, which hasn't changed. Let us not be fooled by the rhetorical discourse that might come out of some rebels groups. They might sign into a deal now but they won't abide by it.

- regarding Kerry's statements about making a State for all the Sunnis, I wonder whether this is not an implicit admission to a plan aimed at recognizing the de facto destruction of both syria and Iraq by 10 years of American meddling and war. Would such a Sunni state only encompass the Sunnis of syria ? or isn't there a new brain dead strategy in the making at State, calling for the establishment of an all Sunni State encompassing most of western Iraq and eastern syria, as a prize for encouraging cooperation of the tribes against ISIS ? In plain English, "help us fight ISIS and you'll get a state of your own". The idea would be not just to neutralize the ISIS threat, but to check Shia Iraq and keep control over the Kurdish regions as well, as a sort of balancing act between the three ethnic/religious groups present in the region. maybe a Freudian slip by the Secretary of State, wouldn't be his first.


So true. Which inspires me to bring out this relevant and infamous quote:

The aide said that guys like me were "in what we call the reality-based community," which he defined as people who "believe that solutions emerge from your judicious study of discernible reality." ... "That's not the way the world really works anymore," he continued. "We're an empire now, and when we act, we create our own reality. And while you're studying that reality—judiciously, as you will—we'll act again, creating other new realities, which you can study too, and that's how things will sort out. We're history's actors…and you, all of you, will be left to just study what we do." https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Reality-based_community

This means that that reality-based observations, goals and strategies, such as PL has described in this post are not of interest to the Borg. I keep hoping the realists will make a comeback, but I'm not holding my breath.

How our current foreign policy "leaders", regarding Syria and elsewhere, look to me https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=m0M8pZnNlnI

FB Ali

In an earlier comment I had said that Col Lang's prescription was the only sensible way out for the US from the quagmire it had gotten itself into, the quagmire of perpetual war. This, of course, begs the question: but does the US want to get out? Sadly, the answer appears to be No!

It suits the elements that control US policy to have it engage in unending conflict and war. That enables the US military to remain strong; it keeps the 'defence' industry humming (production lines, research labs, thinktanks, consultants, all the other hangers-on); it enables the security industry to flourish; it brings in huge orders for weapons and equipment from abroad. It suits the neocon ideologues who dream of world domination. Another underlying factor is sheer momentum - set firmly on this path it would require immense leverage and effort to change direction in any significant way.

Meanwhile the quagmire bubbles merrily on. In Afghanistan as well as in the ME. That war seems set to last for another few decades, with US troops firmly based in the country.

The Beaver

I don't know whether to cry or laugh:


So what about the Sultan, the Al_Thani family ( $3B in 2013 alone to pat rebel turned ISIS fighters, the Al_Saud and the rich Saudis and their so-called charities and I can go on and on including those rich pedophiles from the ME buying children from the ISIS thugs. Nyet !

Instead we are given the list of the most wanted from the P3 and some barbaric mercs from some hot spots. All sizzle but no steak.

So Dave Cameron, François Hollande and Pres Obama will get back to their business as usual - well we have sanctions, folks :(


Excellent points. Also this morning, Richard Haas was on Morning Joe and was making even more ludicrous points- that Assad was the cause of all the jihadi troubles in the ME and that is why he has to go to achieve any peace in the region. "Quatsch" as the Germans would say.(Baloney, bilge, nonsense)


It also makes it hard to turn the juggernaut. If you have been spoon feeding the public that Iran are 'irrational actors' and not to be trusted under any circumstances it is difficult to bring them back in from the cold. Likewise if KSA are 'our close allies' then how do you explain they are also the primary source of ideology and funding for both AQ and IS. The US - and much of the rest of the West - is in its own MSM/political reality bubble and everything is seen through that lens.

William R. Cumming

Looks more and more that the real policy of this administration and former Boomer President administrations was to undermine the nation-state system. Of the announced candidates none but Trump has announced border controls as the key to ,maintaining a nation-state. Will the collapse of the Chinese economy finish the job or just create 7-10 new Han-Chinese nation-states?

I suggest the UN start kicking out members that have no border controls!

Ishmael Zechariah

Col. Lang,

Thanks for this post. The three points you make:
1-Ignore Erdogan's Turkey,
2-Ignore Saudi Arabia's wishes with regard to Syria,
3-Ignore Israel's wishes with regard to Syria,
clearly identify the three main jihadi supporters. If one could curtail the activities of these actors in this area the jihadi issue would wither away.
Do you think the policy makers will see the light before a serious reset is forced on us all?
Ishmael Zechariah


Babak Makkinejad said:

"US is not in a quagmire; the Muslim states and population are in that quagmire and the longer this lasts, the farther behind they are going to fall."

I respectively have to disagree. I believe that American Society, at least on the coasts, perhaps not in "flyover country", exhibits all the hallmarks of a degenerative ""fin de siècle". The idea that America can somehow avoid experiencing the effects of the Middle East quagmire it generated is a mistaken belief.

Washington may think that the consequences will be a few awkward dinner party silences when confronted by European guests, the possibility is that the cumulative effect on Americas international trade position might be rather negative.

To put that another way: President Obama at the U.N. pronounced: "I believe that what is true for America is true for virtually all mature democracies." Not true. The rest of his speech is a classic example of imperial hubris.



A huge AMEN

I happened to watch that Morning Joe show today. Really bad for my blood pressure.

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