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27 January 2016

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Valissa

LOL... what a great title for a blog post... thanks for the chuckle!

Meanwhile the Russians have built new credibility in the ME with their actions regarding the Syria situation, and now China is also going gangbusters to take a leadership role in the ME.

M.K. Bhadrakumar… China shows a Third Way for Arab world http://blogs.rediff.com/mkbhadrakumar/2016/01/26/china-shows-a-third-way-for-arab-world/
To be sure, this is a spectacular diplomatic feat by China to outflank the US’ pivot strategy in the Asia-Pacific and at the same time to challenge Uncle Sam in his traditional hunting grounds. It’s double whammy, since from Cairo Xi traveled to Tehran where he forewarned Washington that Iran’s long-awaited accession as member of Shanghai Cooperation Organization is getting under way.

The whole post is a must read... China's move into the ME is brilliant diplomatic bit of gamesmanship.

SECDEF and the entire FP establishment are being hit with REALITY at many levels... especially with the fact that the US is no longer the sole world hegemon, and that a multipolar world is on the rise.

Losing influence in the ME and Asia? There's always Africa. AFRICOM has been awfully busy in recent years building mini-bases and and influence there. Anyone curious about this, Nick Turse has had numerous articles about this over at Counterpunch (and other similar news sites).

Cee

Like the Israeli defense minister saying he preferred ISIS over Iran. Drop these allies!

cynic

Do they really believe the nonsense they utter, or are they just generating the next day's quota of propaganda to be dispensed by a compliant media to the populace?

If they believe it(or affect to believe it),is that because they are ignorant, or stupid, or ill informed, or(perhaps deliberately)consistently badly advised; or because they are carefully following the politically correct path that leads to preferment and shuns truth?

turcopolier

cynic

I have been over this ground many times on SST. I spent an eternity dealing with the Borgists. "...they are ignorant, or stupid, or ill informed" Yes they really are all of that because the disease of social science malarky has dominated our educational system long enough to wipe out nearly all individual and rational thought in favor of conformism built in graduate schools across the country. pl

robt willmann

Senate Joint Resolution 29, which claims to authorize the use of force by the U.S. through the president's discretion, against ISIS/ISIL, "associated forces", and "successor organizations", is still lurking beneath the radar. Sec. Def. Carter may not have to worry about a "coalition" if that abomination slides through Congress.

It is on the Senate calendar for today (27 January), and it looks as if the calendar just continues to roll over with previous and new items staying on it until they are somehow removed. The S.J.Res. 29 has item number 352--

https://www.gpo.gov/fdsys/pkg/CCAL-114scal-2016-01-27/html/CCAL-114scal-2016-01-27-pt6.htm

Senators can put an objection to proceeding with a bill or resolution formally in the congressional record, but no one has done that yet on this one. That apparently forces a formal consideration about whether to proceed to consider the bill or resolution, although obviously objections can also be raised on the Senate floor--

https://www.gpo.gov/fdsys/pkg/CCAL-114scal-2016-01-27/html/CCAL-114scal-2016-01-27-pt7.htm

The silence on this very important item is deafening, as the saying goes. My guess is that Senator McConnell, House Speaker Ryan, and president Obama have already combo'd on this deal, and are going to try to ease it through before opposition can build. I would be very surprised if Ryan and Obama have not been "read into" this.

Jonathan

BBC a few moments ago:
headline: "Yemen conflict: Saudi-led coalition targeting civilians, UN says"

the content may not be surprising, that the UN report was leaked may be more significant but I have no way of beginning to think about that and offer it for comment.

http://www.bbc.com/news/world-middle-east-35423282

Booby

As Andy Rooney said, "You can ignore the facts; but, ignoring the facts does not change the facts." But, the Borg may be so arrogant or ignorant that they are incapable of letting facts alter the reality of their alternate universe.

Valissa

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

... which is predicated on: "American Exceptionalism", "The US must not look weak", "We're Number One" with a subtext of "Our shit don't stink"

The ancients had much to say about "hubris" https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Hubris

Hubris + groupthink = The Borg doing stupid shit

It's not complicated, and PL has discussed this many times here at SST, as have many of the commenters.

Fred

“…but the jihadists are still launching attacks around the world, including in Indonesia, Afghanistan and Paris.” And San Bernadino.

I wouldn’t say the coalition is doing nothing, Saudi Arabia is still funding America’s enemies. Just what is in the 28 pages redacted from the 9-11 Commission Report that the Obama Administration, like the one before it, still doesn’t trust Americans to know?

Jack

Sec. Carter, the one who wanted to gin up a war in Korea is probably unhappy that he can't have his own war with a "coalition of the willing". He can then write a book for his retirement and get on MIC gravy train at a Wall St PE firm like good old Tony in Britain.

VietnamVet

Colonel,

“They are ignorant, or stupid, or ill informed". It is seeping into my consciousness that you are correct. This was not my experience working for the federal government. But, after 2008 corporations did begin to ignore rules and regulations. Fines became the cost of doing whatever they wanted.

Today, the Middle East has turned upside down with the Russia Intervention. Greece is chastised by the EU for weak borders after years of the troika forcing austerity on Greeks. Another couple million Muslim refugees and the EU is dead. The consequences of disappearing wages, fear and perpetual war are blithely ignored by press. On the other hand, the Washington Post is in a hissy fit melt down contemplating a Trump/Sanders Presidential race. It is unbelievable that Donald Trump is dissing Fox News. These are too interesting of times.

JerseyJeffersonian

Fred,

Yes, those redacted pages...

What a tale they might have to tell, eh?

Valissa

"It is unbelievable that Donald Trump is dissing Fox News."

I almost spewed my morning cup of tea watching that on the morning news. Trump is really shaking things up :)

btw, the only tv news I can stand to watch a little of is my regional news station NECN (New England Cable News). They do local news the old fashioned way, they send out reporters who then give live reports. Good local weather forecast. None of their anchors look like Stepford people. Very little punditry, even on their one evening political show. Of course, when it comes to national or international news they suck up whatever the MSM is transmitting and at that point I often hit the mute button or turn off the tv. But when the segment came on where The Donald was shown crapping on Fox News, I was mesmerized... LOL.

Valissa

To clarify a bit... I'm talking about the people at or near the top circles of power. I would guess that among the rank and file employees there are probably many good analysts in various gov't and military depts/units... but to get promoted past a certain level, you have to follow the script of the higher ups.

Even Stephen Cohen (Russian expert, academic, liberal/Democrat) warned his younger colleagues that if they spoke up against US policy too much their careers would suffer. Despite his impeccable academic credentials on Russia, he has been targeted repeatedly by his peers for daring to be fair and objective about the Russian situation. He has been labeled a Putin apologist and worse.

turcopolier

Valissa

You don't have it quite right. To get to be one of the top managerial officials in a department you have to leave the business of the substance of the department and become a "manager." There are a few anomalies like I was who manage to acquire high rank and honors (SES-4 and Presidential Rank of Distinguished Executive) but these are eventually eliminated by the Borg. See my article "Artists and Bureaucrats." pl

Valissa

pl, thanks for the clarification. IMO, our gov't could greatly benefit from more anomalies like yourself ;)

turcopolier

Valissa

In the Army I made my way by skill and willingness to stick my neck out both figuratively and literally. In DIA I was enabled to do what I managed to do through the protection of several directors of DIA who were noble men and who defied the Borgist neocons. pl

Origin

Colonel and All,

What I see in Ash Carter's current tact in Libya and the confused responses to it is the beginning of a Borgian nervous breakdown being brought on by an extreme weariness and accumulation of entropic failures. In the last few days, it just seems the American Borgian energy has just gone away.

Some of its members in desperation are trying to get Senate Joint Resolution 29 passed because there is no better option for Borgian existence than a huge war that has zero popular support to keep the juices flowing. Even if the resolution passes, there is nothing short of a nuclear attack that would enable any significant deployment under it and that might not be enough. There is not even enough energy to stir a debate on the issue. If it comes to the floor, nobody will care. The Borg is just too weary even to rise to a debate about starting or continuing the eternal war. The Presidential Race has devolved into a children's parlor game of warmongering, chest thumping phantasies.

If the concept of the Borg is a sound one and I think that it is, then it does, in fact, act with some sort of "collected" collective consciousness that is the sum of the members and their experiences and beliefs. If it does exist, it has created some sort of self-regulating mechanisms just as does the Star Trek Borg. That collected experience logically includes both the stupid ignorance of its members as well as their wisdoms.

In one of my earlier posts, I posited that "The established strategy of the foreign policy of the United States is to create chaos to destabilize the world."

http://turcopolier.typepad.com/sic_semper_tyrannis/2015/11/experiencing-the-nemesis-of-hubric-exceptionalismwho-are-we-now-origin.html

As events have unfolded, on reflection after reading the comments and later posts, my proposition of the operative American Strategy seems true even though, the source of the policy may not be a conscious decision as to that is what the policy is as I posited, but rather the consequences of what the Colonel describes as ignorance and stupidity. In any case the ultimate operative result in the instigation of the policy is the same--instability and chaos. Some actors in the Borg try to meet one goal, other another, and others still another and another... The result is that little good effect is created and the established strategy of creating chaos and destabilization of the world occurs.

Times like these where the Borgian weariness prevails have occurred previously in history. When a Bork cannot match its myth to some actuality, the system usually breaks down very fast in highly unpredictable ways. Examples are found in the USSR in its Revolution and in the 1980's and Europe in the 1910s.

The Borg seems to be just really, really tired. Will the Borg in its weariness and entropy lash out into WWIII, quit the MENA, or just collapse into some sort of catastrophic collapse, like an inability of the U.S. to elect a new President in a failed or contested election? The Borg is at a place where it must do something. By it nature it lives and will not disappear. It is incapable of conceding defeat. I keep wondering how the system break will play out this time?

Cortes

Then perhaps worth considering an exercise in "Compare and Contrast " with Generals Myers and Dempsey?

http://www.counterpunch.org/2016/01/27/iraq-rumsfeld-and-other-thugs/

Cortes

Generals Myers and Dempsey compared and contrasted here:

http://www.counterpunch.org/2016/01/27/iraq-rumsfeld-and-other-thugs/

bth

Ashton Carter was put in as Sec of Defense to fight a budget war, not a real one.

elaine

"Yemen conflict: Saudi-led coalition targeting civilians, UN says"

With the Saudis currently heading up the Human Rights Commission
@ the U.N. it's doubtful this will lead to any significant change.

jerseycityjoan

"We need others to carry their weight, there should be no free riders,” he said.

This philosophy should also be applied to the other First World countries that we continue to spend hundreds of billions defending. In fact, I would like Secretary's Carter's statement become America's new slogan.

If we have to be the first country with its own branding and marketing campaign, so be it. Anything to get the world off our backs.

Then we could afford something approaching Bernie Sanders-style world here in America. Yes, as he's been saying, we'd pay more in taxes but most Americans would experience a financial net gain in the end.

I want off the fantasy treadmill.

I want us to face reality and force others to face it, too.


hemeantwell

Thanks for bringing up Cohen. Since the end of the Soviet Union he has been advocating a respectful stance towards the Russians, in the face of policies that essentially aimed at turning Russia into a peddler of natural resources to the US and the EU, without an independent foreign policy. He's been steadily vilified for his position. A real shame, he's a good scholar and a decent guy.

Valissa

In case anyone else is interested, here is the link to Col. Lang's paper “Bureaucrats Versus Artists…” http://turcopolier.typepad.com/sic_semper_tyrannis/files/artists_versus_bureaucrats....pdf

If anyone wants to know in more detail how the groupthink of the bureaucratic process effects intelligence, this is a great source.

Having the new search function was very helpful in finding this paper :)

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