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09 November 2016

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kao_hsien_chih

One thing that amazed me while watching the election coverage was when the NBC news people brought in Richard Engel to talk about foreign policy implications. While the other NBC news people were, well, being snooty in the usual way, Engel was positively calling ballistic, claiming that "the generals" are practically planning a coup if Trump takes office (his words were that they are "studying the Constitution.")

I'm not quite sold on Trump as a "peace candidate" as some others here, but I do accept that Trump has right general ideas, broadly speaking, about both the world and the US domestic situation. Do I have reservations? Heck yes, but I am happy to give him all the goodwill that he deserves as the new president and hopeful that his big ideas might lead to something.

LeaNder

Actually, Jake Tapper, the election night dancing man, called them that today.

I wish I was enough of an insider to understand your allusion.

But yes, pretty hard to explain to someone that after all these years finally got interested in US elections evenings--for us early morning hours, a lot longer this time--why the anti-Russia memes by Clinton during the debate made me so furious, I erupted into anger like a volcano at that point.

Beyond that, not really a surprise. I was well prepared on your blog.

Jack

Sir

In your opinion is there good evidence that the Russians hacked Podesta's and the DNC's emails? My Democrat friends have told me that some 7 agencies in our government came to that conclusion.

We know the media will be mocking Trump throughout his presidency. And for right now the Bear is the boogeyman. We'll know soon enough if Trump was serious that he wants a good relationship with the Russians. I don't know anything about Gen. Flynn. He seems to have backed Trump early and got a shoutout last night. Is he sane or the same neocon mindset?

asx

We have to stop getting involved in the long running Russian civil war. The Russian Empire, its successor the Soviet Union and then present day Russia have always had a complicated and even hateful relationship with their Jewish populatation. Pogroms/exiles during the days of the Czar, explulsions and forced relocations during Stalin's reign, and the reconquista of Russian national resources from the oligarchs by Putin are all part of this long civil war. The affected party sees that only the United States has the means to stand up to Russia, and dedicates itself to the cause of permanent conflict with Russia.

This conflict makes no sense to Americans with any other ancestry. At the end of the day, Russians hopefully love their children, have a history of contribution to literature, music, fine arts and science. Definitely more than the Saudis and the Gulfies, who are well loved in the swamp.

Should Americans spend their time and energy into using their country as a vessel to address all their historic grievances? Given we have peoples who can trace their origin to every other place on earth, is this not a recipe for endless war? Or do only some groups have this privelege?

On a different take, we can model most of our allies as corporations where we have different levels of stake holding. Is Qatar a real country or just a shell corporation to which we can sell arms and profit from its natural resources? The corporate dividends are reinvested in the swamp in the form of think tanks, lobbyists, paid speeches and outright gifts. And these corporate interests are best served by confrontation with Russia as seen in Syria and elsewhere.

We have no problem with hating Russians. It is very easy given all the conditioning from the Cold war days when the threat was real. Just give us real and relevant reasons where our interests are threatened now.

We can all be a bit thankful today that the people with no college education did not feel threatened by Russia.

turcopolier

jack

Ask your Democrat friends what the evidence is? Is it behind the "green door?" pl

doug

Russia does threaten our ability to complete the transition of the Middle East states (aside from Israel) to Sunni religious domination. Presumably to counter Iranian Shia influence. The idea, I suppose, was to produce more stability in the region, protect large arms markets that don't know how to use the arms effectively, and provide a stable path for the petroleum needs of Europe.

How else to explain the demonization of Assad who is the leader of the most pluralistic country in the region? So we instigated insurrection and criticize him for aggressively fighting back for survival. What country would not do the same?

So Russia comes along and spoils, or at least makes much more expensive our grand plans.

The question we should be asking ourselves is whether such a grand plan was a good idea in the first place since the results to date rather suggest our plan was one of the more boneheaded notions to come down the pike in some time. I have serious doubts that, even without Russian intervention on behalf of the Syrian government, we would like the results.

turcopolier

LeaNder

Tapper is a CNN anchor who was ferociously ant-Trump throughout the campaign and who last night saw the light within about an hour of the polls closing and became a lot more accommodating to the idea of Trump. Today he us trying to backpedal to save himself in the eyes of the Borg. pl

turcopolier

khc

"claiming that "the generals" are practically planning a coup if Trump takes office (his words were that they are "studying the Constitution" This is a very dangerous thing for Engel or you to say. Do you have a citation? (tape).

turcopolier

khc

I am the principal "some other." What is the evidence for Trump not being a peace candidate? As opposed to Hillary he specifically expresses his desire for good relations with foreign country. She just wanted to discipline them. Ah, it feel so good to use the past tense in writing of her. pl

turcopolier

khc

I found it. http://www.nbcnews.com/video/engel-world-reaction-to-a-trump-win-is-absolutely-catastrophic-804415555930 No one in the US armed forces is obliged to carry out an illegal order. Nor were they ever. Engel is grand standing. pl

BillWade

I don't think the Russians have the same fascination with LGB, whatever, rights as the Clintonistas and Obamaites have, that partly makes them enemies, much like the "deplorables" here.

LeaNder

I'm not quite sold on Trump as a "peace candidate"

i am with you on that. There seemed to be a lot of contradiction and confrontational mood on a meta-layer in his foreign policy speech below the talking points.

If we leave out Russia for a while, Iran?

Earthrise

I always cringe when I think of the slogan "The war to end all wars", used to buck up the home front during WWI. Obviously the People were getting sick of feeding their children into the war machine, and were in need of a new cause to fight for. This was also always my impression of the US Civil War; that they tacked on the moral crusade to free the slaves after the war machine started to run dry. The war to end all wars meme always seemed twisted and evil to me, especially considering what happened only a generation later.

But late one night before Remembrance Day it fell into place, what the meme truly meant. Our ancestors cheered when war broke out in 1914, they were off on an overseas adventure that would be all over by Christmas. That enthusiastic lust for war bled out into the mud of Flanders, and the West bears deep scars of white marble in every town and city. But this wasn't enough to embed the lesson, so we did it again in 1939, only worse.

The cynical "last war" did not eventuate in 1918, or 1945; the elites only gained from the wars, while we paid the price. But late one night on Remembrance Day eve it came to me. Maybe it means we will never again enthusiastically cheer for war, that we know now exactly what it means, and who will pay the cost. WWI was that inhumane, that evil that it has forever changed our image of war. Yesterday the American people voted not to launch WWIII. Without "The war to end all wars", we would be at war with Russia already. And while that slogan was meant to give succour to grieving Mothers, it may echo down the ages, and those Mothers may have sacrificed their sons for something after all.

This to me is the meaning of "Lest we Forget"; never to do it again.

RIP Edward, Thomas & Hurtle Potter, who died in the broken ground before Mouquet Farm Sept 3-4 1916. Your family will never forget. We owe our peace to you.

kao_hsien_chih

Col,

I wonder if I misheard/mischaracterized what Engel was saying--it being late and all. Still, his claim that generals are "studying the Constitution," coupled with the kind of animated attitude with which he was ranting, got me wondering what he could possibly mean by them, as I was fairly certain about military personnel having obligation not to obey illegal orders being hardly new.

With regards Trump's "peace candidate" status, I am fairly confident that he will pull back from the dangerous stances in Syria and Eastern Europe. But I keep worrying that he might blunder into something that could blow up badly elsewhere (Iran and Southeast Asia for example). Not so much about his "intent" as much as his ability to manage down a potential crisis. This is, admittedly, an order of magnitude different from someone who is wilfully interested in instigating a crisis for trivial reasons.

turcopolier

LeaNder

So far as I know you have no basis for accusing Trump of war mongering. You don't like his style. Neither do I. pl

The Twisted Genius

Jack,

There is good open source evidence that Russian hackers are responsible for breaking into Podesta's and the DNC's systems. Those hackers have been watched and studied for several years hitting a wide variety of targets. That's Russian hackers, not the Russian government. I have no idea what the evidence for that connection might be or whether it's just an inference.

I spent years watching and studying Russian patriotic hackers and Chinese hacking groups. You get to know them, even if you don't know their names and faces. After a while you can see through all the digital maskirovka. What is much more difficult is to prove governmental direction and/or control. I did just that through "unwitting elicitation" over an extended period. Russian and Chinese intelligence and cyber agencies do have relationships with some of these patriotic hacker groups. Not all of them. Not all the time. The relationship is sometimes specific and sometimes quite general. This relationship is something very foreign to U.S. intelligence and cyber agencies. We just can't wrap our minds around something like this.

Let's say the Russian government did guide or sanction the theft and release of these emails by Russian hackers. I don't feel it's that egregious an act. It was more like whistleblowing or exposing the truth. Yes it was damaging to the Clinton campaign, but it certainly wasn't tampering with our election in my opinion.

kooshy

Colonel I think he said the generals are thinking to leave resign, but what he said sounded like a mutiny in armed forces. IMO he is out of it and was trying to scare the viewers.

turcopolier

kooshy

Refusal to obey an illegal order is not "mutiny" in the US armed forces but those who do that should expect to defend themselves at a court-martial. pl

Anna

"My Democrat friends have told me that some 7 agencies in our government ..."
Most likely that you friends were mentioning 17 agencies, at least that was the number that Clinton was telling to the public. The above text answers your Q: "This was never conclusively proved and all the supposedly corroborating statements from US officials contained get-out clauses."

LeaNder

Thanks.

JohnH

A couple thought on why Russia is being hyped as the enemy:

First, great powers need 'existential' enemies. In the US' case, so far this century we have had Al Qaeda, Iraq, Iran, ISIS and now Russia. Having a bogeyman entertains and distracts people from real problems. It also justifies bloated defense budgets.

Second, Clinton the candidate needed a bogeyman, particularly given the fact that she could articulate no good reason why people should for her. And, given the need for a bogeyman, the bigger the bogeyman the better, logically leading her to conflate of her opponent with the national bogeyman du jour.

Just ridiculous!

F-35

Do you know where the richest four counties in the USA are? Not in Silicon Valley or Hollywood. Not in Seattle where 4 out of 10 world's richest people live. Not even in NYC. They are all located in Virginia and Maryland, around Pentagon, CIA and NSA. So where is the money coming from??? It's the defense and intelligence budgets, large portion of which is simply stolen and used to finance the ritzy lifestyle of Beltway plutocrats. That's why US Armed Forces keep withering away despite spending more than next 10 powers combined.

Of course, money has to come in every year, and the only way to ensure that happens is to have a powerful designated enemy. Russia is perfect for that role. If you keep provoking it - which is what America is doing - sooner or later it will become a real one. That's starting to happen.
Of course, Russia is not an inevitable enemy of the US. Competitor, maybe, but not an avowed adversary. Making it into one is simply part of the scam perpetrated on the American people, whose patriotic impulses are easily exploited and used against them.

kooshy

Colonel I also don't think that will ever happen, and I couldn't understand what was the relevance or necessity of that kind of talk in middle of exciting results coming in last night.

shaun

and Ed Markey should read this occasionally, but he won't.

kao_hsien_chih

The main reason I'm not sold on Trump is something that is probably from most people: I think Trump is basically Barak Obama in a different set of clothes, politically speaking. Both are people of considerable ability who think way too highly of themselves with little or no experience in politics. Both have relied on "style" and PR gimmicks to create an image around themselves that they have used to inspire "hope in change" among their followers without much justification beyond "trust me" attitude. Granted, their styles are very different and their followers are, at least superficially, quite different (although some recent and more nuanced number crunching has pointed out that the working class whites made up significant portion of Obama's support base and many of these voters also voted for Trump, especially in the key swing states that Trump carried by relatively narrow margins--Iowa, Ohio, Michigan, Pennsyvania, and Wisconsin.)

For me, personally, I could never really trust Obama and what I thought was his gimmicry, and I'm equally skeptical about Trump and his. I can say with certainty that Obama's narcissism has led to some fiascos: on US domestic scene, his self-image as the grand compromiser who could somehow make everyone happy led to the less than ideal Obamacare and got drawn into the dangerous mess in Libya for example. On the other hand, he did show notable restraint in some difficult situations--like the Iran and Cuba deals and not starting a shooting war over Ukraine or Syria. So glass half full, I suppose. Am I justified in expecting at least as much out of Trump, who I think, at least, has right big ideas unlike others inside the Beltway? I keep telling myself that I should, that he is at least an improvement over HRC. I do have some trouble convincing myself, though, that Trump is really trustworthy.

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