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08 October 2016


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Babak Makkinejad

"Obama must be under a lot of pressure ...", from whom precisely?

What can these agents (of pressure) do to him?

I find that argument un-convincing.

Babak Makkinejad

Carter obtained a Ph.D. in Theoretic High Energy Physics and then - failing to secure an academic position - went into the government. Likely, he is either an INTJ or ENTJ. With the usual physicist intellectual arrogance.

Hagel, likely, was from more humble background and humility was probably beaten into him through his experience in the military.

mike allen

Interesting moniker, SwiftBoat? Why do you call him that? Are you trying to re-elect Junior Bush?

Babak Makkinejad

It tell you that people are unwilling to call it quits lest they look weak elsewhere.

Sometimes you need to fold them and go home to the wife and kids...

mike allen

jld -

I say what I believe to be true. Sorry if you see that as agitprop. Please do not sic your Russian hacker friends on me. I cannot afford a new computer.


Englis Outsider

IMO the Russian statement was clearly a declaration of an intent to defend Syrian air space. pl



Not all INTJ or ENTJ are arrogant!

(Though we do tend to that direction).

And you are right, eight years as an infantryman has been known to beat humility into a person.


BH, you are spot on regarding SEAD being the priority during Desert Storm. Chuck Horner and friends organized an overwhelming attack that included Army Aviation taking out outlying radar sites, hundreds of decoys in the air and HARM missiles attacking SAM and AAA sites, plus cutting off and/or destroying Command & Control infrastructure.

The game has surely moved forward from then but it is always a race of new capability and countermeasures to cancel them out. The Russians build the best AA systems in the world and if the equipment is manned by Russian personnel, it will be a tough go for anyone in opposition.


I agree on Chuck Hagel, he seemed different. But my opinion is based on sparse knowledge, and I have absolutely no clue what led to his resignation in 2014, or for that matter the larger controversy:


Babak Makkinejad

Thank you, no surprises there.

mike allen

Qoppa -

I don't buy your argument.

"static front"? No way. Daesh (IS) has been trading ground with the SAA there for quite awhile. Yes, Assad's forces hold the airfield and a portion of the city, nothing much else. Daesh rules all else around there.

"more deadly than any other attack on IS"? Patently not true! Any look at events over the past two years shows that to be false.

"Sudden love for Assad?" That was a joke, right? American airtrikes on Daesh (your IS) have been ongoing since December 2014 wherever and whenever they were found.

What army are you talking about being "explicit in disliking the US-Russian arrangement"? The SAA or the Turkish Army? Or did you mean the American Army? I did not understand your thread there.

Shit does happen, Qoppa. And quite often in war. Our host here, Colonel Lang, has stated many times that stupidity and incompetence usually trump malice as an explanation for similar tragedies. I believe that too. Have you ever been fired on by friendly troops or aircraft? I have and I was wearing an American uniform at the time..


In reply to PeteM 08 October 2016 at 10:57 PM

In case you haven't noticed the Russian government under Putin consistently warns potential attackers not to attack. They do so using reasonable and restrained language rather than the bombast preferred by the US and UK governments.

On every occasion since Putin came to power where the Russian government has warned that it will resort to military force it has done so.

As to this:

"Putin may not like this coming change in policy and action but he is getting an early warning and has time to prepare his forces to be mostly out of harms way when this new reality is acted upon."

Was the echo of "We're an empire now, and when we act, we create our own reality" deliberate or unconscious? Either way you're not dealing with a middling Middle-Eastern power hollowed out first by war with Iran and then by a decade of sanctions.

Then there's this ... I'm sorry to be harsh ... blatantly nonsensical statement:

"a loose cannon such as Assad's tail wagging the dog"

Well you're entitled of course to your opinion, but did you really think that anyone here would fall for it?

All of the evidence* shows that in the Syrian-Russian partnership that Russia is very much the senior partner. A clear demonstration of this was their treatment of Assad and the way in which they publicly forced him to their will during his last visit to Moscow.

*By evidence I mean both the words and the deeds of the two governments.

robt willmann

Yesterday, Saturday, 8 October, the UN Security Council met and two resolutions about Syria were offered, one by France and Spain (obviously on behalf of the U.S.), and the other by Russia. Since it looked in advance as if neither was going to pass, and it was just more make work, Samantha Power, the U.S. UN person, was not there, and David Pressman attended.

"The French and Spanish text that would have had the Council demand an immediate halt to all aerial bombardments and military flights over the city of Aleppo received 11 affirmative votes, two abstentions (Angola and China), and two negative votes (Russian Federation and Venezuela)."

"The Russian Federation’s text, by which the Council would have urged an immediate cessation of hostilities, particularly in Aleppo, received a vote of 4 in favour (China, Egypt, Russian Federation, Venezuela) to 9 against (France, Japan, Malaysia, New Zealand, Senegal, Spain, Ukraine, United Kingdom, United States), with 2 abstentions (Angola and Uruguay)."

"That draft resolution [by Russia] would have demanded that all parties prevent material and financial support from reaching groups associated with Al-Qaida, Islamic State in Iraq and the Levant (ISIL/Da’esh) or Jabhat al-Nusrah."


The U.S. policy remains the same: to overthrow the government of Syria.

English Outsider

Corrected link - apologies



Half a billion here, a hundred million there. Soon we'll be talking real money!


I never understood why the Republicans tried to filibuster his nomination as SecDef and then would never work with him in Congress

It wasn’t generic Republicans. It was the Israeli proxies that populate our think-tanks and advise this President and Sec State/Def. They did the same with Chas Freeman to make sure he never got on the NSC. If these blighters cause WWIII, and bombs mar or destroy this country, you’re going to see anti-semitism among the hoi polloi in this country the likes of which will make Hitler’s Germany seem an interesting garden party. The only reason we’ve gone after Libya, Egypt, Syria, Iraq, Iran for a quarter of a century is because these proxies have pushed for it since 1991. They created Islamophobia as the targeted enemy, as Leon Hadar, former Jerusalem Post editor, detailed in an August 1992 CATO paper. Hadar is sarcastic about them, refers to it as the creation of the Green Menace.


Thanks, BF, I guess I wouldn't paid attention to BH's allusions without your feedback. All I recall media-wise were the odd night vision imagery (media reports) and vaguely that it was the first time I paid attention to "war drums", or accompanying narratives.


Babak Makkinejad

Physicists are arrogant; that was what I meant.

mike allen

Meanwhile in Yemen, the White House has condemned the Saudi airstrike on a Houthi funeral wake, where 155 mourners were killed and hundreds more wounded.

US National Security Council Spokesman Ned Price stated: "In light of this and other recent incidents, we have initiated an immediate review of our already significantly reduced support to the Saudi-led coalition and are prepared to adjust our support so as to better align with US principles, values and interests, including achieving an immediate and durable end to Yemen's tragic conflict".

Let's hope they mean it and reduce support to the Saud's to zero.


As if on cue, Phil Weiss published this on Mondoweiss:

‘NYT’ says Bush I’s opposition to Israeli settlements cost him his job

As Weiss notes, "Soon the Times will let it be known that the Israel lobby helped start the Iraq war.”

Jeffrey Goldberg, traditionally The Atlantic stenographer for Netanyahu, published this over a week ago. According to Weiss (over the past year), millennial Jews aren’t buying their parents’ unconditional allegiance to Israeli interests over America’s. Is Goldberg jumping ship to stay relevant?
The Unbearable Smallness of Benjamin Netanyahu

Two other Weiss articles in the last two days that address Israeli meddling in our foreign policy:
‘Attack, attack, attack’ — Leaked emails show panicked Netanyahu rallying Clinton and US Jews against BDS

Emails show Clinton crafted BDS letter for pro-Israel donors, as counter to her support for Iran deal

mike allen

Proxies or not they were still Republicans. And the main reasons were GOP vengeance on Hagel for voting against the surge and supporting Obama in the election.


"He was a postdoctoral fellow research associate in theoretical physics at Rockefeller University from 1979 to 1980 and a research fellow at the MIT Center for International Studies from 1982 to 1984."

one year as a physics postdoc then straight into what in the olden days was known as The Spookiary (though maybe MIT CIS has changed???).

his CV seems odd. Tinselly - not as tinselly as the BHO's constitutional scholar packaging, but still lots of bright sparklies.

mike allen

BabelFish -

I concur it would be a tough go. Let us hope it never comes to that.

As much as I have criticized the USAF for blue on blue airstrikes, you would think I am totally anti Air Force. Not true. I knew a Wild Weasel pilot years ago. I am sure he is long retired now. But his breed was and still is special. They made SEAD what it is today. They did have some well publicized failures both in Nam and in Serbia. But they learned from those mistakes. If anyone can pull off the "tough go", it is them.

Chris Chuba

Mike Allen, I was not trying to put words in your mouth, I just wanted clarification. Fars News posted a surprisingly objective and skeptical article on whether or not Russian air defenses can target U.S. F-22's and B-2's

I think that the U.S. believe we can master even the best of Russian air defenses based on the defense and foreign policy articles that I've read. Given this as a premise, I'd say that the Russians have brass balls because they just put all of their chips on the table.

If we do decide to conquer Syrian airspace I can picture the following scenario.
1. We first fire a dozen or so Tomahawk cruise missiles at well known Syrian army locations to see if the Russians defend Assad. We can play the outrage card if the Russians defend a war criminal and also see how the U.S.public responds.

2. If we choose to go all in, the only way we can beat their air defenses would be to do what we always do. First destroy the air defenses with our stealth aircraft. This of course would necessarily result in the death of U.S. and/or Russian personnel. Now who would favor such a lunatic decision?

IMO a foreign policy establishment that believes that U.S. technology will soundly defeat Russian junk and that the Russians will only go nuclear for an attack on their homeland. We'd teach those Russkies a lesson. A foreign policy establishment that has the ear of a sympathetic President.

David Habakkuk

Imagine, b, Castellio,

While Evelyn Waugh is a writer about whom I have, to put it mildly, mixed feelings, I more and more think that ‘Decline and Fall’, ‘Scoop’, and ‘Black Mischief’ are keys to understanding modern politics.

The headline in the ‘MailOnline’ report of this Pentagon contract read:

‘PR firm set up by Margaret Thatcher’s spin doctor ran a “top-secret” £416m propaganda operation during Iraq war writing soap operas and tracking al-Qaeda terrorists using fake jihad films.’’

(See http://www.dailymail.co.uk/news/article-3818482/PR-firm-set-Margaret-Thatcher-s-spin-doctor-ran-secret-416m-propaganda-operation-Iraq-war-writing-soap-operas-tracking-al-Qaeda-terrorists-using-fake-jihad-films.html .)

All this gets complex, in an ironical kind of way. There were reasons why Tim Bell’s ‘propaganda’ worked in Britain in the late ‘Seventies and ‘Eighties.

It has to be recognised that the Thatcherites were right about some crucially important things, among them the destructiveness of trade union power and state industrial intervention in Britain.

Another important element was the victory in the Falklands – in which Thatcher’s gamble paid off, perhaps largely because of the snobberies of Argentinian fighter pilots.

It is foolish to deny the ‘up sides’ of the Thatcherites. At the moment, however, it is the ‘downsides’ which are more significant. Among them:

1. A propensity to corruption. The Saudis and their agents (think Wafic Said), who are very good at corrupting people, could see that Mark Thatcher was his mother’s ‘Achilles heel’ – and made a beeline for him.

2. They are very ‘provincial’ people, with very limited understanding of worlds beyond their own ‘goldfish bowl’. In that sense, ironically, a critical fact about them is their lack of roots in an older ‘imperial’ British culture.

So Tim Bell was central to the British involvement with Berezovsky. The notion that anyone who thought that he and Khodorkovsky had a cat’s chance in hell of riding back to power in Russia could make ‘propaganda videos’ which would have any useful impact on people in the Middle East really is pure ‘Black Mischief’.

3. They are locked in a romanticised version of the Second World War.

Accordingly, they have an instinctive ‘Germanophobia’ which reflects a complete lack of any serious attempt to grasp the complexities of German history, before, during, and after the Third Reich.

Their instinctive ‘Russophobia’ used to be mitigated by the belief that, as it were, the Cold War was an effective structure of ‘dual containment’.

So, ironically, the Russian retreat from the Cold War made them more, rather than less, Russophobic.

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