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16 October 2015


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ex-PFC Chuck

Very insightful, as usual Dr. Brenner. Thank you.

red brick


Did you see what Michael T. Flynn, former Director of DIA, had to say (on Al Jazeera) about the DIA document that b cites?



Very good commentary and analysis here on your site. Thanks.


An Interesting article that applies here to a certain degree



"And why EU, Canada, Australia have been conforming to US initiatives in the Middle East over the past decade?"

Is it that puzzling, Babak? Habits die hard, and notions about how the world works die even harder. Here in Australia, certainly, we're still (mostly) running on the momentum of the last 70 some years. Put simply, despite its lapses, to most Australians US equals good.

That inherited consensus is no longer monolithic but its gravitational pull remains exceptionally strong. Balancing this history against America's increasingly erratic behaviour, our whirlwind trading romance with China and our location on the outskirts of Asia guarantees an interesting decade or two as we get ourselves reoriented.

So no, I don't think Australia is suffering from "a form of dementia etc". I'm not even sure the US is. They've lost their way, particularly in the aftermath of 9/11, and I think Michael's overview nicely covers many of the consequences and some of the reasons. The transition from being the indispensable nation, free to do as it wished and convinced of its own rectitude, to something less exalted and more in keeping with reality was never going to be easy. 9/11, and all that's followed, simply ensured the process would be excruciatingly painful.


Thank you for your courtesy in posting this article. I found it very helpful in allowing me some mental models to hang the current events from. I was despairing at ever making sense of this.

Truth is, even with your great help, I still still despair of making any sense of this.

Oddly enough, I started a re-read of Mao's "On Contradiction" and that is helping quite a bit as well.

Again, thank you.


Highly erudite, insightful, and doesn't work. Does nobody notice that it doesn't work? Isn't that what intelligence services are supposed to do?



Babak Makkinejad

Unfortunately Mr. Hasan did not permit General Flynn to state his opinions and elaborate them. It was too journalistically rhetorical.

Babak Makkinejad

Ingolf & Amir:

Thank you both - what you say makes sense to me.

In effect, we are dealing with another manifestation of the phenomenon of the Persistence of the Past.

I guess the absence of independent (from the United States) analytical capability to analyze the world in Europe and in Australia further diminished their capacity to extricate themselves from the strictures of the Past.


Germany has sidelined the US in the Ukraine ever since Merkel's very public no weapons for the Ukraine speech. The Normandy Four pointedly excluded the US and Minsk II upset the Nuland crowd no end.


The DIA delivered analysis and said that what it saw with that "salafist principality" was following the intent of several parties. It did not create the conspiracy it just described it.

Obama himself admitted intentionally letting IS grow in his interview with Tom Friedman:
The reason, the president added, “that we did not just start taking a bunch of airstrikes all across Iraq as soon as ISIL came in was because that would have taken the pressure off of [Prime Minister Nuri Kamal] al-Maliki.”

"Regime change" in Iraq (and Syria) by "tolerating" IS growth and while IS was scrapping up U.S. weapons left and right and filled its ranks with CIA trained "moderate rebels" and Uigurs NATO member Turkey smuggled in from Central Asia.

Right along Biden's partition of Iraq plans (since 2006) and the pipeline fuzz even Foreign Affairs now writes about: https://www.foreignaffairs.com/articles/syria/2015-10-14/putins-gas-attack

All this does not mean that IS is a direct instrument of the CIA or any other service but that it is exploited and actively used for the plans the U.S. and other governments have.


"In addition to the manifest lack of aptitude for such an undertaking, the kinds of conceptual adjustments indicated by the Russian intervention touch on highly sensitive questions of America’s status and mission in the world which its political elite is unprepared to engage."




Explain to me what the US did to encourage the growth of IS. It is not apparent to me. the best argument, I think, is the failure to prevent export of IS oil, but, as PB says this is a complicated matter in local context. With regard to maskhirovka and the validity of our analyses, I can only say that we do the best we can with the evidence available. We must avoid falling into the mental trap that caught McLellan in the Antietam Campaign, when having captured a copy of Lee's field order he refused to believe it was real for so long that he lost the advantage. The available evidence indicates to me that the Russians continue to increase deployed troop and equipment levels. Thus far the Russian coalition appears to include; SAA, Syrian militias, hizbullah, IRGC, Iraqi militias and Cubans. R+6? pl


Finally made it this week to visit the Antietam battlefield in person. Very moving experience that I would recommend to everyone. The battle is much easier to understand once you have seen the place in person. SWMBO has agreed to let us visit Shiloh next.



Yeah? By that what does EU mean to you? Essentially, Western Europe? And the UK? Do you mean, literally, the nations in the EU. Do mean all of Europe including the old Warsaw Pact Nations? Europe is an idea...that's it. Different ideas at that?



It feels you alluded to Lawrence Lessing before, ePC. I found him interesting too.

But I assume he may not even have the chances of Bernie Sanders. Crowd sourcing versus special interest wealth may have its limits.

This would be one partial explanation, one angle, in search of an answer to the peculiarly strong issue momentum post 911? Beyond the larger context of the US as the winner of the cold war. ... Adding the fact of having to deal with some type of "solution" aftermath.

I do prefer the way our elections are funded, no doubt. But yes, that was vaguely on my mind too, plus maybe related special appointments post election as a vague memory trail.

"In the Soviet Union, the party line was that the party was to serve the workers. The workers knew better. In America, the party line is that Congress is to serve the people. But you and I know better, too."

Reminds me of a book review in the post 911 universe or shortly before. Sounded interesting, but I did take no note. A book by a former German correspondent working in "both worlds" for a longer time.


Thank you, Professor Brenner, for your splendid analysis.

Katherine, Mass.


b, we probably all have a strong tendency to look at the reality out there in ways that seem to confirm believes. Which also makes us, no matter if ordinary citizen or academics pick selective quotes and run. Or try to fit it into our larger argument.

this is the whole passage from your Friedman quote:

"The reason, the president added, “that we did not just start taking a bunch of airstrikes all across Iraq as soon as ISIL came in was because that would have taken the pressure off of [Prime Minister Nuri Kamal] al-Maliki.” That only would have encouraged, he said, Maliki and other Shiites to think: " ‘We don’t actually have to make compromises. We don’t have to make any decisions. We don’t have to go through the difficult process of figuring out what we’ve done wrong in the past. All we have to do is let the Americans bail us out again. And we can go about business as usual.’ ”

He may have been misguided. But to the extend I understand the approach to Iraq of Bush jun, it did in fact help to produce this split.

So what does that quote prove?


Pat, was this the document that we discussed here? It surfaced not "tooo" long ago. Never mind its date?


Re "The available evidence indicates to me that the Russians continue to increase deployed troop and equipment levels. Thus far the Russian coalition appears to include; SAA, Syrian militias, hizbullah, IRGC, Iraqi militias and Cubans. R+6? pl "

What is wrong with this?
Putin has stated his objectives very clearly.
He is going to defend the integrity of the Syrian state and Syria's national boundaries. His actions are legal. So, get out of the Way, USA, and stop your tantrums and poo flinging.


Dr. Brenner,

"reverse launder" - that's the perfect phrase to explain it!

Great article, thanks!



Did I say that I thought what the Russians are doing is a BAD THING? Pay attention. pl

Babak Makkinejad

EU means the European Union.

It has finally realized Charlemagne's and Napoleon's and Hitler's dream of a Unified Europe.

The 3 Duke of London, the Baron of Paris, and the Duchess of Berlin are exercising power - the other dukes and counts and barons are subordinate to those 3.

And the Emperor resides in Washington DC.


Obama's story that Maliki did not endorse the Sunnis enough and that letting ISIS grow was thereby preferable to letting Maliki stay in is nonsense.

Obama wanted Maliki to go because he wasn't a willing U.S. puppet and because the Saudis demanded it.

Maliki acted towards the Sunni as he acted towards anyone. He just did not give them the privileges they demanded. Their areas were not worse off than others.

Also the Sunni resistance restarted (it had never really stopped) with bombs going off in Baghdad and Maliki was reelected with record votes as a strong leader to put it down. U.S. Wahhabi allies disliked that and put pressure on Obama. So instead killing of IS, a Wahhabi financed entity, he let it grown and went after Maliki.


Excellent piece. I want, however, to point out one fact--US "academe" never had understanding of Russia. In fact, what passes in US as Russian Studies can hardly be called as such. American Soviet/Russian narrative was formed on purely ideological and propaganda bases and a very wrong set of standards which often were applied in a wrong place and a wrong time. The understanding of the colossal difference between Soviet/Russian elites, conditioned by war, and US elites, not conditioned by it at all, was always lacking, to put it mildly. And so was understanding of the true impetuses, despite paying lip service to them, behind Russia's both internal and foreign policies. This, plus, generally abhorring intellectual level of US media, who, in large part, do form US foreign policy. But here we get into the dramatic difference between knowledge or information, which are not the same, and with US "elites" being overwhelmed by the latter while having none of the former. The results are predictable.


I am pretty sure that the "Cubans are coming" story is red-baiting by the Miami anti-Cuba mafia. At least that is where Fox and others sourced it from. Cubans as "experts" to drive Russian tanks in Syria? Cuba has T-55/62. Syria has T-72s. Wrong "experts".

The U.S. helped the Turks smuggling the weapons from Libya to Syria. The CIA trained fighters for the insurgency. It fed the beast that was, according to DIA in 2012, a solely radical Islamist insurgency. The experience from Afghanistan says that building up an Islamist insurgency (against the Soviets) inevitably results in extremist factions. Was there intent to create IS? Probably not. But it was a foreseeable effect of what the U.S. was actively doing. It has since done nothing, except on the margins, to fight IS down or to pressure Turkey to close its border.

Maskhirovka seems to have worked well enough to hide the Aleppo attack. I did not see that coming even while closely following the situation. Letting Suleiman pop up in Latakia was a nice feint.
It kind of woke me up and I am now looking for more surprises.

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