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08 March 2016

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Tony

"...he (Netanyahu)dares to once again show his contempt for Obama by spurning an invitation..." Why did the WH invite him to begin with? I think Obama is asking to be humiliated.

David Habakkuk

All,

'Natanyahu and company are so sure of their "soft power" (campaign money) position in the US that he dares to once again show his contempt for Obama by spurning an invitation to the Oval Office.'

I think it is an interesting question here as to how far they have a realistic perception of events, and how far a completely delusional one.

In this country, is precisely very many of those of us who have been traditionally the most philosemitic who have viewed developments over the past two decades with, to be frank, a combination of bafflement and horror.

There are a very wide range of claims that were made by old-fashioned antiSemites here, which people like myself and my wife were used to treat with derision and contempt, among other things because they had no relation whatsoever to our own experience of Jews in Britain (which is quite extensive, and diverse.)

It is a quite bizarre – indeed, discomforting experience – to, as it were, have the ghost of an old anti-Semite, whom one had dismissed as a bigoted, paranoid and hysterical fool, saying to you: Haim Saban? Sheldon Adelson? Paul Singer? Bill Kristol? Different Elliots, Abrams and Cohen? The Kagan/Nuland ménage?

'Do you think these people give a damn for the interests of most of the inhabitants of Britain, or indeed the United States?'

Sometimes one begins to suspect that, irrespective of whether there is a God, empirical evidence suggests there must be a Devil, who plays bad jokes.

crf

Remember "bring back our girls"?

A potential mission with a clearly defined objective & limited scope, and with, potentially, a large political payoff (if you go in for that kind of reward).

Of course absolutely not much was done beyond a few politicos, literally, sending out Twitter messages. (Obama did send some military advisors to west Africa: but obviously with no mission to see things get done.)

They do not care about those people.

Obama lent his support to butchering Yemen instead. And, he's sleepwalked into letting the Saudis infest Oceania and south-east asia with destabilizing fundamentalist Wahabism, setting up potential repeats of the Nigeria situation there. Would a peep of protest and diplomatic countermeasures be wise?

oofda

When Carter was a deputy to William Perry in the Bill Clinton administration, he was utterly oblivious of Russian interests and concerns. The Russians began to consider him as snake-oil salesman for his ideas on reducing their ICBM fleet. He could/would not comprehend that they had concerns about other players than the USA- like China.

For the Russians, the eastward expansion of NATO was a betrayal of a promise supposedly made when the Soviet Union peacefully ended. Whether such a promise was really made by Bush I or not, many people in Russia consider it as gospel. And for the Russians, NATO expansion into Ukraine is a red line- period. For some in the USG to continue to push NATO expansion into Ukraine is reckless insanity. What on earth are we doing indeed.

Margaret Steinfels

On the EU/Turkey confab in Brussels, the word "ransom" appears in the headline:

"Shopping in a Turkish bazaar is never wise for the novice. The EU learned that lesson the hard way when it discovered the carefully crafted refugee deal it believed it had sold to Turkish leaders in the run-up to Monday’s summit turned out to be little more than the beginning of the negotiation."
http://politi.co/1W5g6E4


Plus: an assessment of the deal now being discussed: "Any deal on migration that the EU strikes with Turkey would be almost impossible to implement, according to an internal report prepared for Eurojust, the EU’s judicial cooperation agency."
http://politi.co/21WMvjN

Babak Makkinejad

All:

From Ambassador Chas Freeman:

http://www.mepc.org/articles-commentary/speeches/americas-persian-and-arabian-wars

SmoothieX12

"For some in the USG to continue to push NATO expansion into Ukraine is reckless insanity."

This reckless insanity has a very rational explanation.

Valissa

Biden arrives in Israel to talk billions in military aid — and patch things up https://www.washingtonpost.com/world/middle_east/biden-arrives-in-israel-to-talk-billions-in-military-aid--and-patch-things-up/2016/03/07/d2dce47a-cec2-11e5-90d3-34c2c42653ac_story.html

Six reasons why Iran won’t join the war in Yemen http://www.al-monitor.com/pulse/originals/2016/03/iran-saudi-yemen-war-military-involvement.html

Five years on, predictions by Gadhafi's son come true http://www.al-monitor.com/pulse/originals/2016/02/libya-gaddafi-son-predictions-chaos.html

tim s

"US Foreign policy. What on earth are we doing? Carter, Durnford, Nuland, Brennan and the incredible Breedlove all seem intent on war with Russia."

I think that TPTB realize that their time is short, with the mess they have made of the economy and the political landscape. They're getting a scare on both sides of the uniparty for POTUS and may doubt that they can count on maintaining power in the not-so-near future as they have been able to do for decades past. Their mask is coming off, and they are no good at faking it anymore.

They're not good at much of anything, I'd say, and they have painted themselves into a corner. They are detested everywhere, and have nowhere to run. If they manage to squeeze Hillary through the public minefield, I'd be willing to bet they'll go all in, thinking that it is their last best chance at the world domination they have dreamed of, and are failing miserably at achieving.

Ishmael Zechariah

Colonel,
With the collapse of their mendacious Syria policy, the collapse of the oil prices, and the termination of their oil thievery, davutoglu and tayyip (Grima Wormtongue and Saruman?) are in trouble. After the Sukhoi incident tayyip's son and his family skedaddled out of Italy due to fears for their security. It is nice to know that there is no security for them anywhere. tayyip & co. have to try to brazen it out. We will see if that works.
The best show in Turkey today is the fight between the gulen crowd-those (dis)honorable architects of kangaroo courts, fake proofs, blackmail, etc. whose leader lives in Pennsylvania- and the tayyipist kleptocrats of the muslim brotherhood pedigree. A few of the gulen moles in TSK were recently cashiered out. More will follow. A very satisfying side-show entails reading/observing the "confessions and self-criticism" of liberal democratic "useful idiots" who now claim to have been misled by tayyip, omitting the fact that their "misleading" involved largesse in cash and position. Now they are trying to get in with whatever comes next. The third ring of this circus involves the Europeans and their dealings with tayyip. Scenes of Merkel's latest trip to Istanbul, including "thrones" , were priceless.

I think we, secular Kemalists, still have enough power to cleanup the mess Turkey is going to be in once we hit bottom. The overall economic malaise will help us. Hopefully.

Ishmael Zechariah

The Twisted Genius

SmoothieX12,

I'd like to hear your rational explanation. My take on the most immediate snit is the botched attempt to extend NATO to the Ukraine-Russia border. The most visible jewel of that attempt would have been the NATO flags flying over Sevastopol and NATO ships owning the Black Sea. Being bested by Russia in this attempt and seeing Crimea firmly back in the Russian fold leaves a festering wound in the NATO psyche. This perceived slight must be addressed. On another level, I see NATO trying to justify its continued existence through continued expansion. A final reason to continually confront Russia is the US fixation on full spectrum dominance. We just can't accept the existence of a peer competitor.

Imagine

The Turgidson character was quoting John von Neumann, father of modern game theory, who actively campaigned for a preemptive nuclear attack on the USSR based on these odds. Santa Monica's RAND is a direct descendant of his school of thinking. Game theory was invented partially to justify such actions, but it falls short by basing analysis only on the single axis of utility and not the second axis of moral good. There are some things even a mafia lord will not do for money because they are wrong. Current game theory disregards this, and requires fixing.

Dubhaltach

In reply to SmoothieX12 08 March 2016 at 01:55 PM

"This reckless insanity has a very rational explanation."

Really? Really and truly? Well why don't you tell us what it is instead of just asserting it?

Seamus

Many people mention Dr Strangelove as the ultimate Cold War/nuclear nightmare film. I think a much better - and altogether more frightening and sobering - one is Fail-Safe with Henry Fonda and Walter Matthau.

http://www.rottentomatoes.com/m/failsafe

Fred

TTG,

I agree. It is said the wasted billions and the risk of complete destruction over something of so little importance to our Republic.

visitor

"The Saudis have been defeated. They have lost a lot of men"

Does anybody have any pointers to casualties statistics or any kind of practical evidence regarding "losing a lot of men" (e.g. large Saudi units being sent back for R&R, budget increase to deal with military pensions for war wounded and widowers, whatever)?

So far, I have only read scattered reports about incidents when the Houthis managed to ambush Saudi forces, and about recruitment of South American mercenaries, but nothing conclusive about overall fatalities or equipment losses.

Walrus

There is a suggestion elsewhere on the web that Kerry (the borg) has a "plan B" for Syria which is to create and arm a lebanese sunni (mercenary?) rebel force to attack East into Syria from Lebanon, thus threatening Latakia and the Russian rear areas.

Apparently the Greek coastguard intercepted a freighter loaded with arms originating in Turkey that was allegedly bound for a Lebanese port.

Allegedly a senior US Government spokesman said that a plan B could/would involve "military - like" operations.

Hezbollah has said nothing about this, but I could believe that such a move would be music to Israels ears.

Question for SST: would such an operation be feasible? Would it make sense from a Neocon perspective? Who would "run" such an operation turks, israelis, the CIA?

SmoothieX12

"My take on the most immediate snit is the botched attempt to extend NATO to the Ukraine-Russia border. The most visible jewel of that attempt would have been the NATO flags flying over Sevastopol and NATO ships owning the Black Sea. Being bested by Russia in this attempt and seeing Crimea firmly back in the Russian fold leaves a festering wound in the NATO psyche."

These are merely consequences. They are, primarily, a product of what is my academic contention from the last 15 years--absolute collapse of the OODA loop in US power "elites".

1.US (disclaimer--by US I mean its political class), until recently, thought that it could fight and win conventionally in Russia's immediate vicinity. It can't. For some this reality begins to dawn, for others--not. If it would be limited to Breedlove alone, that would have been of lesser concern but we are talking about large strata of American decision-makers. Considering a pathetic state of US Russian/Soviet "studies" field and of Russia "experts" it is not surprising that such moods prevail.

2. Russia is a direct challenge to US exceptionalism by: see pp.1 and by the fact that she can (will she be able--that is another discussion, it is not preordained) provide for civilizational alternative. This process is already launched and some results are visible. Russia knows that so called "liberal" project, of which US is a main driving force, is over.

3. US internal dynamics which is not positive, to put it mildly. New issue of Cold War is needed for a number of tactical domestic reasons. Some of them to unify public opinion, others to make money for MIC, and, considering the fact that US foreign policy is formulated by ethnic-religious mafias (AIPAC and Saudis are prime examples) it is very doubtful that US will break the vicious circle of never-ending Chalabi moments.

This, very-very short, list of reasons may give some primer for understanding of what is going on. In some sense this whole behavior is reminiscent of Bene Geserit and Guild navigators who were afraid that Paul Atreidis will take the water of life. The water of life, of course, being finally dumping IMF monetarist policies and with it a dollar, including resumption of the emission. Considering the real (I underscore), real, Russia's economy one may see the "trouble" along the way for the US. This, plus, of course, that Russia produces world-class weapons, all of them. In some sense, saying all this may, actually, contradict my own thesis that well, to put it mildly, those in power are not nearly as bright as one might think, since they seem to foresee at least some ramifications of what is going on. But, actions speak louder than words. As Clausewitz brilliantly observed: "It is legitimate to judge the event by its outcome for this is the soundest criterion". The outcomes are everywhere and passing judgments on those is not only warranted but irresistible.

SmoothieX12

EU is run, pardon my French, by imbeciles. I mean it. The whole Western "elite" today is a panopticon of dimwits, bureaucrats, shysters and perverts. Most of those are also weaklings--this is a demand of liberal order. Anyone with principles, courage, human decency may not apply. Rare exceptions merely prove the rule. The problem is systemic and can not be addressed by merely changing one set of creeps for another.

asx

Client Paralysis, a term I first saw here on SST is reaching terminal phase. American interest is no more than the sum total of all our client interests. All tails wag the dog.

It is almost as if there is a machine intelligence and algorithm running our foreign policy with no adult intervention. Each of these missteps compute into some intangible national advantage per this algorithm. But the sum total is a complete Fubar. This will produce an outcome no different than the market crashes precipitated by the HFT bots.

Babak Makkinejad

Let me get this straight:

"A Lebanese Sunni (mercenary?) rebel force to attack East into Syria from Lebanon" -

And pigs would fly....

aleksandar

"Russia is a much weaker country militarily and economically than the US".
Sorry, sir I don't think so. If we only check numbers, it's right but.....
Russia :
- Complete sky dominance due to the failure of JSF for the ten years to come.
- AA capabilities better than NATO.
- No logistical problems to rearm and reinforce theirs troops but capacity to destroy NATO LOC everywhere in Europe.
- Up to 2 millions of soldiers available just to begin with.
- Best knowledge of Ops Theater and a 500 km deep operational front.
- OPS PLANS already drafted to resist an invasion.
- Ground forces manned with excellent military equipment.( T90, Armata and so on )
- Capability to launch a partisan war.

AND
Ready to lose million of deaths to defend "Mother Russia".
How many million of deaths are NATO nations ready to accept to win such a war ? And how long ?


Haralambos

Walrus, I think you might have seen this, since b comments here rather frequently, but, in case you have not, here it is: http://www.moonofalabama.org/2016/03/kerrys-plan-b-an-attack-on-syria-from-lebanon-with-saudi-and-turkish-help.html

Kooshy

Colonel I think you forgot the NK, or you left that out. IMO sanctions wouldn't change anything, even if China genuinely comes on board.

turcopolier

Kooshy

I am not concerned with NK. ROK and Japan should be concerned with them. Now, if NK uses a nuke in combat all bets are off in my view. pl

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