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15 December 2015


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Babak I agree, IMO you have fully outlined the circumstances that deal became a necessity for the west, in addition I would add that Iran continually up the ante showing her knowledge and knowhow to a point proven that no longer it can be rolled back. IMO, basically west forced Iran to prove that she has the industrial base and the knowhow to become a nuclear state if she wants too before they (the west) agreed to make a deal which Iran promise not to become one. IMO due to her own regional geopolitics Iran never truly intend or will try to be a nuclear or WMD state. This whole exercise made Iran politically stronger in her region and in the world, they earned it.

Trey N

Well, we're just going to have to agree to disagree about the fundamental causes of war. My studies over the years have led me to conclude that the vast majority of conflicts throughout history have arisen from economic causes. The instigators usually manipulate their populace with appeals to nationalism or other ideologies in order to gather support for their goals and to disguise their true aims.

Regarding Iraq in particular, Alan Greenspan himself stated in his memoir "The Age of Turbulence": "I'm saddened that it is politically inconvenient to acknowledge what everyone knows. The Iraq war is largely about oil."

I'm curious to know what your take on the situation in Syria is. Why do you think the US is so hell-bent on ousting Assad? Do you believe it's simply a continuation of the goals in Iraq that you mentioned above?


President Richard Nixon on John F. Kerry: "Well, he is sort of a phony, isn't he?"


April 28, 1971, 4:33 p.m. President Richard M. Nixon takes a call from his counsel, Charles Colson.

"This fellow Kerry that they had on last week," Colson tells the president, referring to a television appearance by John F. Kerry, a leader of Vietnam Veterans Against the War.

"Yeah," Nixon responds.

"He turns out to be really quite a phony," Colson says.

"Well, he is sort of a phony, isn't he?" Nixon says.

Yes, Colson says in a gossiping vein, telling the president that Kerry stayed at the home of a Georgetown socialite while other protesters slept on the mall.

"He was in Vietnam a total of four months," Colson scoffs, without mentioning that Kerry earned three Purple Hearts, a Silver Star, and a Bronze Star, and had also been on an earlier tour. "He's politically ambitious and just looking for an issue."


"He came back a hawk and became a dove when he saw the political opportunities," Colson says.

"Sure," Nixon responds. "Well, anyway, keep the faith."



I'm cynical enough not to expect logic. But, in a debate on national TV I would have thought there would be enough curious citizens like me who are interested to know how this no-fly-zone is planned to be implemented and the "moderators" would probe that just a little bit more in depth.

Alas it's just another entertainment program dressed up as "serious" presidential debate. Hyperbole first and always. We, the citizens are the dumb ones. The guys on stage were just feeding us what we want.


lmao the man has generals for that. Its called "management". The job of a President isn't to be Wikipedia.



Yes. Trump is pretty much the only candidate on either side who consistently doesn't want to start 12 wars in the MENA on January 22nd and then import the entire ME as refugees. Seems after last night Cruz and Paul are following his lead.

Pretty sure oofda is in the pot for Big Grandma or Senile Sanders. Go figure.

Chris Chuba

"HRW said in a report released Wednesday that all participants in international efforts to help settle the crisis should insist that the Syrian government give international monitors immediate access to all detention centers"

Does this mean that Human Rights Watch is completely satisfied with the status of Syrian Army POWs being held by rebel forces, why no demands in that arena? Rebel groups that do not have a plausible number of POW's should be excluded from the Jordanian list of moderates.

The Russians should consider the power of PR soundbites and just keep repeating something short and sweet over and over again, "since Assad is going to lose the elections anyway, why not let him participate?"

Perhaps this is not their style but it might be one of the few things that could penetrate western media.
They may have to adapt to this cultural difference, kind of like the insincere American smile that Valissa posted a url to ... "Zhvanetsky wrote Americans smile as if they were plugged into the wall." Now I am self-conscious :-)

Mark Logan


Is it not naive to expect a clear open and frank admission of having been wrong?

different clue


Well, I'm in the pot for Senile Sanders too. He seems to be a New Deal Reactionary just like I am, though he calls it "Democratic Socialist". And I'm not sure he's really senile. He seems to me just as alert and brain-functional as I am.

But if he is driven out of the nomination and Clinton gets it, then some interesting decision trees present themselves. For example, if it becomes Clinton v. Bush or Clinton v. Rubio or etc., then the options get ugly.

If Sanders is still in the D-race by Michigan, I'm voting for Sanders. If he's been driven out of the race before Michigan, I'm crashing the R-primary and voting Trump. And then I'll see how I feel about what the 2 parties present me with in November.

But it is interesting that Trump is opening an "Overton Escape Hatch" for some other Rs-who-dare to crawl through.


It is indeed a sad day when it is left to Trump and Paul to inject sanity into the debate on foreign policy.


I've been following everything Stephen Cohen says on the subject of Ukraine and Russia since the Maidan coup. For quite awhile, he was one of the very few voices of sanity in the US on the subject that I could find. You all probably know this but he does a weekly radio talk on John Batchelor's show (I'm not a fan of the show for other topics but I'm a regular listener to the Cohen segment).

Last night Cohen said that he believes Kerry is signalling his own position on Syria, but he's not convinced this is the position of the president. The reason he has doubts is because of Kerry's meeting with Lavrov and Putin in Sochi last May, when Kerry came to an agreement then Nuland contradicted it, publicly, the next day or soon after. And then Obama backed Nuland, not Kerry, at least in public.

Here is the podcast for anyone who is interested:


Maybe this stemmed directly from the meeting and maybe it didn't, but the US just announced the withdrawal of its dozen air superiority capable fighters, the F-15s, from Incirlik airbase. Joe Biden also called Erdogan and told him to get his troops out of Mosul as demanded by the Iraqi government before the UNSC. Not a good day for old Tayyip. NATO membership isn't quite the trump card he thought it was.

I wonder if there are any similar surprises in store for KSA.


"You have to wonder if Kerry is off the reservation."

Stephen Cohen was wondering the same thing last night on the radio.


I was thinking that Victoria Nuland did not go to the Sochi meeting on May 12, and for that reason maybe this trip to Moscow was different.

But a statement from State Dept says she did go to the Sochi meeting, and to the NATO meeting that followed it. From there she went to Kiev. And that is where she reversed Kerry's agreements in public three days after Sochi. I don't think Kerry was in Kiev at the time. Kerry was busy working on the Iran deal around this time and on May 31 he had that bike crash and really bad leg injury. Between that and the Iran deal, if I remember correctly, he wasn't involved in Ukraine issues for quite awhile afterward.

State Dept May 14, 2015
"After accompanying Secretary of State John Kerry to Sochi, Russia, and to Antalya, Turkey, for the NATO meetings, Assistant Secretary for European and Eurasian Affairs Victoria Nuland is visiting Kyiv, Ukraine, May 14-16, where she will meet with senior Ukrainian Government officials to discuss a range of bilateral and regional issues."


I keep thinking they're going to make a deal - Crimea for Golan, or a piece of Iraq, a piece of eastern Syria, a pipeline compromise, the separatist regions of Ukraine, or some combination.

Not that Russia has to do it to keep Crimea but they would like someone to twist arms to get international recognition of it as part of Russia and call off the Ukrainian neo-Nazi thugs (assuming anyone can do that) and lift the sanctions, which half of Europe wants. Cohen and Batchelor said German industrialists are really leaning on Merkel to lift the sanctions and she told them just go ahead, they won't be enforced, but the banks don't want to violate the sanctions so trade is more difficult.

Putin is a pragmatic man.

Babak Makkinejad

What would one tell the families and friends of the dead: "really sorry old chap, seems we took a wrong turn there..."?

Babak Makkinejad

Speaker of Iranian Parliament stated today that he expected the war to go one for another 4 or 5 years.


One more follow up. It seems that Nuland's presence in the room at the Sochi meeting in May is kind of a mystery.

"Nuland has insisted that she was right beside Kerry in his meetings in Sochi. The press photographs have excluded her. The Kremlin, Lavrov and Kerry have spoken as if Nuland wasn’t there."

There is a photo of the meeting in this blog post. No Nuland.



Trump has kicked the Overton Window so hard and fast to the right he gave the damn thing a hamstring.

Sanders talks a good game but look at his voting record. Man voted for the Obama Amnesty and refused to go after Hillary for Benghazi/private servers/etc. He'll side with the Tribe and have us bombing Hezbollah cause muh human rights and Tikkun Olam.

That being said we don't really have to worry about him winning the nod.


Jack... IMO it is typical to look for someone of something to be at fault when things aren't they way we think they should be. What I see are many trends that have converged so that political debates have less and less meaning every year and are more and more circus-like. From what I know from tracing the history I do not think that it is the citizen's fault that the "power elites" attempt to hold on to their power and authority via propaganda and that almost the entire MSM is owned by 6 companies.

In 1928 Edward Bernays book Propaganda was published and this new science of manipulating the masses has proved very successful https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Propaganda_(book)

Over the years since then, propaganda, later renamed public relations, has been used more and more in politics. This has long been recognized and people keep saying it should be stopped, but in reality how does one stop such a trend when there is so much money and power on the line.

Politics has over the years become less and less about substance and more and more about catchy sound bites, focus groups and emotional and cultural manipulation. I think people crave more substance and more reliable/truthful information, but realistically they can't force the media elites to change the news system... they don't have the power to do so. Nor do most people have the time, energy and inclination to seek out alternative news sources and do the research and thinking necessary to find things out for themselves.


"CP's post about that book he read "

... not yet read :)

Charles Michael

"conceding Crimea to Russia in exchange for eliminating ISIL"

Nope, to consider Crimea still as a bargaining chip, is contrary to all realistic assesments of the situation in Ukraine and in ME.


Tyler, I seem to be tiring of watching US presidential debates, but this piece by Charles Pierce on Esquire caught my attention:


"Rand Paul Didn't Win, But He Raised the Most Important Questions of the Debate

Namely, if we're willing to start World War III to look "strong."

In other words, I am not sure who followed whom. But I am open to change my mind.


Tyler, Sanders said he wants to bomb Hezbollah? "He'll side with the Tribe"?

Were there news concerning Hizbollah outside reports about Syria recently, that could have make him say that. Or did some of you guys dig up earlier statements by him?


"the Limited-Delayed Enrichment deal of Gareth Evans."

Can you help me out on both the deal and Gareth Evans?

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