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04 May 2016


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Judging by The Donald's latest statements, plus well articulated position on talking to Russia "from the position of strength", I kinda doubt it. I want to be wrong, but I could be wrong about that;-)

Ishmael Zechariah

Ah, yes. The Mongols. Whatever else they were, they were fighters. The Borgist trash would be nothing without the might of the US Armed Forces.
Here is a link to some Mongol fun:
Ishmael Zechariah



One should always negotiate from a position of strength. If your negotiating "partner" thinks you are weak the process is not negotiation. It is a way to surrender. pl


I've just done reading "Jarhead" by one Anthony Swofford.

He, along with his fellow sniper platoon were 'informed' [prior to the press arriving] that which is permitted (e.g. "Yes ma'am!, am proud to be serving the USMC! Me & the boys, we're gonna be kicking raghead ass for this great country of ours.) - along with that which is not (e.g. "Our gas suits are f××ked!, we gonna die when saddam lands his scuds on us.")

I've yet to view the 'silver screen' rendition, so I've no idea how faithful it adhered to his [gulf war I] auto-biography...


Fred IMO Trump vs Clinton, Trump may have a better chance to win, if Clinton can't ( which will be hard )to unify the dems, I believe I lot of young democrats will choose to stay home.
There are a lot of angry republicans that want to defeat the Clintonian mentality and will go out just to make sure she has less chance at the same time young democrats who wanted real change will rather not to vote.



Is he supposed to be representative of something? pl


My favorite mongol precepts are from Babur (mongol from his mother's side)
Babar ba aesh kosh
kay alam dobara neest

(Babar, make merry for you will not have this world again)

Another one about his regret after he swore not to drink again:
"Everyone regrets drinking and swears an oath. I swore the oath and regret that"

I got a very old copy of Tuzk-e-Babri urdu translation from my maternal grandfather's( a timuri mughal himself) little library. It is short and sweet. Here is an online English version:

Daniel Nicolas

Perhaps all Kerry intends to gain is personal? He gets to look like the tough negotiator, R+6 continue their campaign, and he gets to tell obama that we're not backing down but let me work my magic. Nothing actually changes but when the city is fully restored to peace, he can claim that he was part of the strong negotiation team that helped end the war in Syria.


Kerry couldn't be clearer that there will be no peace in Syria with the person of Assad in power. That is probably one commitment that will be kept. Everyone has a veto on peace in Syria.

We should perhaps be looking at the wider picture and asking why Lavrov is smiling, why Russians are parking motorized divisions on the western border against the deployment of battalions by NATO toward the east, why aircraft brushoffs are beyond Cold War levels and why the Iranians are stoking up the rhetoric again, particularly with regard to Gulf transit routes, without obvious external provocation. These matters are culminating into something later this year and Kerry and Lavrov act like big picture guys who realize that one or both of them won't be at the table a year from now.

And I would just assert that Obama is a known commodity to Putin and that Hillary or Trump offer wildcards that are unnecessary if matters in Syria and the Ukraine and sanctions with regard to Russia are resolved to some predictable conclusion between August and the November elections. Kerry will want his legacy.

Maybe Iran is tied to the body of Assad more than Russia. Maybe Iran made commitments to Russia it didn't keep early this year. Maybe if Iran claims to be able to create a land corridor clear to Lebanon they ought to prove it. Does Sadr really want Iran that vested in Iraq? I doubt it. Nothing like getting a mob to kick down the blast barriers and let them stroll around the Green Zone to make Sadr's point.

A three to six month gaming cycle like was done last November might be fun.

Aleppo is a piece in a bigger puzzle and no party in Syria or Iraq has the manpower to tip the scales beyond localized advances. I think this is why matters like Aleppo seem so perplexing to us watching intensely but from afar.


Slightly off topic, political and financial market news out of Turkey has gotten interesting. Look for activity tomorrow. http://www.bloomberg.com/news/articles/2016-05-04/turkey-s-premier-forced-out-as-erdogan-asserts-his-dominance

different clue


I remember the Muhammad Ali sidekick being named "Bundini Brown". I remember that from having read Hunter S. Thompson articles about Muhammad Ali . . . and Hunter S. Thompson wrote memorable articles.


Richard Armstrong

He does not have enough service to retire. He will just leave with no benefits. pl



I think there are more angry "anti-establishment" voters within the base of each party than the alleged leaders admit too. The GOP establishment spent months being beaten by them.


I remember when Kerry was nominated Secretary of State and the usual news sources went on and on about this incredible career he had with all this foreign affairs experience and how he was going to be the greatest Secretary of State since the Nixon Administration.

Turns out not so much, but thanks for finally admitting the US never even tried to get their Jihadi buds to compromise.



Not sure whether you're being autstically myopic or engaging in DOOOOM mental masturbation. Either way knock it off.

Trump's "America First" foreign policy means no stupid wars for no reason. The man isn't going to open himself up to easy attacks so he can assuage internet commenter "Babak Makkinejad".

Look who he has running for the fainting couches. There's your answer.



Trump and Putin are both alphas. Alphas respect each other's territority. Not sure how you read "position of strength" as anything more than a good idea.


IMO, if you are a Shia muslim in ME, regardless of one’ ethnicity or background, you would have no stronger ally, backer suporter than Iran, no matter if you are Nassorlah, or Sadr, there is no choice or alternative, Iran will be your only ally, and the ruling Sunnis and their suporters in the West will be your enemies. IMO this fact has not and will not change anytime soon. Actually since the Arab sprint and 06 Lebanon war unfortunately, this is getting more intense and more dangerous, to the point that now major powers are directly involved facing each other with guns going at opposite direction. IMO Sadr has no choice other than Iran.

Babak Makkinejad

Sadr cannot afford to go against either Qum or Najaf - which are not going to let Iraq slip from the hands of the Shia - after more than 1400 years of illegitimate Sunni governance.

Qum and Najaf can "de-frock" and de-legitimize him in an instant. He has gone to Tehran for "consultations" - by the way.

To your "looking at wider picture":

Both the European Union and the United States consider Russia, Iran, and ISIS to be adversaries. There is no give, as far as I can tell, in those positions - based on reading the available Internet Sources.

If I am correct in my surmise, we should expect the war for control of Syria to continue even after ISIS is destroyed by R+6 in the next 4 or 5 years since the antagonism against Russia and Iran will continue to persist.

I do not see an end to this cycle - with or without Trump as US President - until and unless the Big 3 - US, Russia, and China - would be willing to negotiate a peace to replace the defunct Peace of Yalta.

I think China and Russia are willing - I do not think US is yet ripe for that.

Call it the Peace of Makkinejad - who first articulated its desirability on this forum.

Babak Makkinejad

The Mughals' claim of being descendants of Mongols was a sham - it was based on the sham claim of Timur the Lame to be a descendant of Chengiz Khan.

different clue


I am not Republican, but I don't like the Clintonian mentality much myself either. A new meme came to mind ( even as I will fitfully try to relaunch "outside the Borg" from time to time. And it came from the phrase "more fun than a barrel of monkeys."

If Trump is more fun than a barrel of monkeys, then Clinton is more trick than a barrel of Nixon.


Thank you


The patient, consistent Russian approach provides quite a contrast. For example, here's a few quotes from Lavrov's most recent interview:


"We are satisfied with the joint work performed by the Russian and the US military. Daily video conferences are held between the head of the Russian Reconciliation Centre in Hmeymim and his American counterparts based in the Jordanian capital. A Joint Centre for Rapid Response to Ceasefire Violations will start operating in Geneva today or tomorrow. It will be an ongoing shoulder-to-shoulder 24/7 operation. US and Russian information sources will provide real-time data to this centre. The officers working at this centre out of Geneva will have an instant and objective picture and, most importantly, a common view of the situation."

[. . .]

"It is noteworthy that during the ceasefire coordination process on Aleppo (to reiterate, its modalities were determined the day before yesterday and it should be brought into effect as soon as possible), our US partners attempted to define the boundaries of the silence zone” so as to include a significant part of the positions held by Jabhat al-Nusra. We managed to exclude this as absolutely unacceptable.

However, again, this suggests that someone wants to use the United States (I do not believe that it is in the US interests to shield Jabhat al-Nusra) to take the heat off this organisation. In this context, I should mention what I referred to earlier, i.e., the information pointing to the unseemly connections between the Turkish leadership and ISIS and Jabhat al-Nusra."

[. . .]

"The actions of Turkey as the main instigator of this talk about “security zones,” plan B and other aggressive aspirations betray expansionist motives not only as regards Syria. The Turks are still staying in Iraq and have a troop contingent there without the consent of and contrary to the demands of the lawful Iraqi government. They are saying that they have introduced their troops in Iraq to consolidate its sovereignty and territorial integrity. What can one say to this? There is nothing to comment on. These neo-Ottoman aspirations – to spread one’s influence and absorb territories – manifest themselves fairly strongly.

In general, this is brazen conduct. Do you know how many times the Turks violated Greek airspace last year? About 1,800 times, and over 200 times in April 2016 alone. Nobody in Brussels and no NATO commanders ever mentioned that a NATO member regularly violated the airspace of another NATO member. Such connivance at this clearly expansionist conduct may have a bad end."

[. . .]

"Question: Do the Americans hear our signals? How seriously do they perceive Turkey as a factor that can further destabilize the situation?

Sergey Lavrov: I think they understand everything perfectly well but “of course, he is a son of a bitch, but he’s our son of a bitch.” This is how they regularly describe their friends that are not famous for good behavior. Obviously, they do not want to bring the quarrel out of the NATO cottage although this is a huge problem."

[. . .]

"It’s possible to enumerate a great many elements of [Syrian] state structure, in the form of questions addressed to us. But afterwards one should not say that we will support whatever decision, federalisation, autonomy, etc. We will support any decision the Syrian parties make. That is what our position boils down to. They should conduct the talks independently, for which they have a framework outlined by the UN Security Council, and the available experience of the coexistence of Syrian ethnic, political and religious groups."

The critical points of principle are quietly made again and again, month after month, year after year. BS is called out, generally diplomatically, and all the while the door to cooperation is unobtrusively left open.


Heads up for David Habakkuk

Valery Gergiev, the great Russian/Ossetian conductor who performed in South Ossetia immediately after the Russian deliverance of it and backed Putin on The Crimea, will be performing with his orchestra in the ruins of Palmyra on Thursday according to the BBC.

I wonder if they'll be playing Shostakovich's 7th?


Somewhat along those lines, Trump has endorsed the expansion of Israeli settlements.


Babak Makkinejad

So you are telling me that Trump will eviscerate America's Love Affair with Israel, reign in the Cold Warrior, and open a new chapter of comity and amity on this planet?

We shall see.

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