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11 November 2016

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kooshy

Colonel, nevertheless good news is good news and maybe the yesterday's meeting in the WH (Trump said at time difficult) showed who is the new sharif in town.

Degringolade

Well then:

One has to wonder what constraints and harnesses were laid upon a young, inexperienced neighborhood organizer and constitutional law professor working in Chicago to be chosen and groomed for first the Senate and then the presidency.

I have always tended to think of Obama as the modern day Constantine Porphyrogenitus; he sits in the throne but the regents held sway. Maybe this last little bit of reason coming from him is his coming to the rational conclusion "what are they going to do, fire me?"

Dante Alighieri

Yes time will tell, but mark me, Colonel: President Trump's policy in the ME will be hugely disappointing, above all to those who voted for him hoping he would counter the historic US subservience to Israel. I consider that as a given. Putting it sarcastically, if Netanyahu puked on the pulpit before Congress, your representatives would stand in line to get a taste and call it cuisine extraordinaire. I see no way for Trump to change that.

kao_hsien_chih

Wow. This was quick. This change, I can believe in, and I don't need know-it-all's in Europe telling us that with their shiny prizes. Great first step towards a saner foreign policy, if followed through.

BuddhistHarmony

That is welcome news, no more support for the theocratic Wahhabist jihadist rebels.. very likely also under a Trump admin, the US will ally with Russia with an airstrikes/drone strikes to go after the theocratic Wahhabist jihadist rebels

doug

It's been clear that Obama has, for the last year or so, been restraining the more impulsive desires of the Borg re Syria. I also noticed the first mention Trump made of what was discussed in the meeting with Obama was foreign policy. Not a surprise at all.

F-35

LOL. The scumbag doesn't want to be remembered as Al-Qaeda's best protector and most generous benefactor.
I doubt this ruse will work. It's too late. Obama's name will live in infamy forever.

Edward

I think Obama is afraid of being upstaged by Trump. He is afraid President Trump will defeat ISIS and Al Qaeda in short order. This will raise questions about what he has been doing for the past eight years, so he wants to cover his behind. Mr. Obama realizes the U.S. public will not be filled with joy if it figures out who the U.S. has been supporting in Syria.

Haralambos

Col. Lang,
My humble take is that, having appointed HRC as Secretary of State and campaigned for her run now that she is gone from the scene, he is trying to distance himself from these failures. It is too little too late.

Will

The Ziocons will be all over him in no time.... Netanyahu and his ministers are already jubilating.... they seem to say that they have him by his crotchets..... and are saying publicly: goodbye pâlies state in the west bank.... they will proceed with a transfer asap....

El Sid

Gosh! That young Donald sure works fast:

http://www.moonofalabama.org/2016/11/nusra-on-the-run-trump-induces-first-major-policy-change-on-syria.html

"The first significant step of the new administration comes while Trump is not even in offices. Obama, selfishly concerned with his historic legacy, suddenly makes a 180 degree turn and starts to implement Trump polices. "

apenultimate

Damn. Well that seems like good news if true.

Although I'm on the left side of things (the actual left--not Democratic), the one very positive thing I see coming from a Trump presidency is not having a shooting war with Russia. I think my kids won't need to worry about that, at least.

Mark Kolmar

Sounds to me like Obama decided it would be worse if al-Nusra provides the margin that topples Assad, than if Assad remains. The article also says in so many words that many of the fighters are involved with al-Nusra out of expediency, survival, and a lack of better options. If that category of "moderate rebel" affiliated with al-Nusra is made up of ordinary Syrians who chose to fight rather than leave or switch, it offers the possibility that they can regroup and find different affiliates. I don't know whether their numbers merely would weaken the capacity (relative to Assad) of both non-ISIS radicals and anti-Assad moderates, and if this ultimately strengthens moderates, outside the shadow of the radicals, to shape some political solution in the future.

Will

ya reckon HRC being out of the way gave Obama some cojones?

"NassimNicholasTaleb ‏@nntaleb
Why did Obama turn on AlQaeda now? Because Hillary is out of the way?
Very strange.NassimNicholasTaleb added,
‏@EHSANI
It is technically over. Armed groups cannot survive without #Alqaeda #Nusra #JFS Why did we need to wait this long?"

b

I believe, and write so, that it is not simple coincidence that this policy and the accompanying Treasury designation of the renamed Nusra comes after Trump was elected and on the very same day he visits the White House to "throw out the black man." (Isn't he nasty?)

There hasn't been much Pentagon action in Idleb yet. Two or three drone strikes in over a month. Given that the CIA likely knows quite well how and where the Nusra bigwigs are reachable that is still minimal activity.

Trump will change the policy on Syria. Obama is changing it now to provide continuity. Thus he saves (at least partly) his own legacy. Brennan and Ash Carter are no longer able to stop that. Their time is over.

I wonder how much the CIA will try to sabotage this new policy.

BillWade

I'll wager that Obama had two plans on his desk, one for a Clinton win and one for a Trump win. Thank God Trump won.

turcopolier

b

If "on the very same day he visits the White House to "throw out the black man."" is not a quotation from the president elect you owe him an apology. pl

gowithit

Trump's promise to Israel to back intentions making Jerusalem their capitol seems a BIG ass kiss for Netanyahu! Likely to rile Muslims all over the mideast and here as well. Pence will likely pull along his Israeli loving Christians to push Trump along the Israeli agenda.

Will2.718

i see there's another Will, so I'm changing to Will2.718 (in honor of Euler)

Will2.718

now known as Will.2718

smoke

What of the 6,000+ troops scheduled to deploy to Poland and the Baltic states in January? Will they go?

And why are there bases in Germany, if troops have to deploy from the U.S.? Could this be a first step to establishing a permanent base in Poland?

Pitch Pole

How is this different from what Obama's done all along? Despite having the blood thirsty harpies shrieking for more blood and the neo-liberal/con cabals pressuring him, Obama didn't get us any deeper in any of the shit-piles into which his predecessor dragged the nation. We didn't appreciably expand our footprints in Afghan, Iraq, or open up new fronts in Syria or Ukraine (aside from verbal assaults). That's pretty good, particularly given his predecessor's abysmal record and a whole industry in DC braying for more blood and profit.

Agree with Dante entirely on Israel and Trump - he and the republicans will be dutifully on their knees for the zionists. As for the over all middle east, his willingness to do business with Russia against the liver eaters might be a refreshing change. Trump won't give a crap about Assad's authoritarianism as long as he, the russians and the US pile the extremist bodies broad and deep... Of course, that relative good could be massively offset by what might happen with Iran. Time will tell...

-Pitch

English Outsider

Colonel,

I've been listening to the BBC. Unwise, but it's the only news service available when I drive in of a morning And looking at other European news outlets. Is this reaction too long for your comments section:-

For years now we Europeans have been watching our governments enthusiastically hunting with the Neo-con administration in Washington. We have been the lesser wolves in the pack, backing up when needed, sometimes dashing off to hunt our own prey – though only after assent given - sometimes hanging back, even, it has sometimes seemed recently, urging the pack leader on when the pack leader would rather not.

We’ve been good pack members and it’s been a pretty effective pack. If you judge by the kill rate. Now, suddenly, there’s a check. All over Europe our politicians sense what could be a different signal from the pack leader. Whatever the vulpine equivalent may be of “I’m not sure we ought to be doing this anymore”, if that does prove to be the message then the pack’s going to be all abroad and leaderless. Our politicians will be left hanging in the air and desperately in need of a U-turn. Desperately in need of some policies that work, too, and devising those has never been their strong suit.

I have seldom been as conscious of the inadequacies of our politicians and of our political classes as at this time of momentous change. The European response to Trump’s election has been so paltry and inconsequential that I’m ashamed of inhabiting the same continent.

It was a rough and often vicious election campaign, but in Washington both sides are now taking the line that it’s time to put it all behind them. May be that’s just pretence, I wouldn’t know, but at least the proper noises have been made on that side of the Atlantic. Not here. I see the European media, and ours, taking up the worst of the mud that was slung during the election and throwing it at Trump anew. The consensus of the bien pensants and the politicians alike is that no less a figure than the President-elect of the United States is racist, economically illiterate, vindictive, and a buffoon. Plus just about anything else that can be fished out of the dregs of that American campaign – homophobic, populist (how did that get to be an insult?), misogynistic, anti-Semitic, the lot. It’s an object lesson of the worst sort: how to use the arts of spin and PR to take a normal if outsize personality and turn him into some sort of cartoon monster.

That’s the story the European elites are giving us and judging from my own experience it’s a story that’s being swallowed hook line and sinker by masses of people both here and in continental Europe. The universities are in deep mourning. Friends abroad lower their voices when they speak of the disaster. A correspondent, when I mentioned that I thought it was about time we in England looked more exactly at what Trump’s policy goals were, hunted out on the internet and sent us a link to Hitler’s first speech to the Reichstag when he became Chancellor. No covering note, but we were expected to deduce the connection. I think we did.

Snowflake time. How can we blame them? It’s all they get to hear from every media outlet.

But what foolish nonsense. Trump is in truth the first major politician in the West to analyse and seek solutions for the economic and social malaise his and our countries are suffering from. He’s not the first, but he’s by far the most effective critic of the legalised corruption that presses so heavily on government in so many Western countries. But that’s not the worst of it for our political elites. Trump’s major crime is that he has rejected that odd symbiosis that has emerged in recent years. That odd alliance between the mainstream left and the neo-con cronies. An alliance that accommodates such extremes that one rubs one’s eyes and wonders; for it is no unusual occurrence to meet a progressive who becomes agitated by the use of incorrect nomenclature when referring to an immigrant from this or that country, yet remains unruffled when we bomb the country the immigrant comes from into ruin.

And foolish nonsense, doubly foolish, for us in England. What are we throwing at the American President-elect and through him at his country? What is the material that our media and so many of our politicians are now using to run down Trump? Those dregs of that election campaign, those slurs and innuendos that emerged from that campaign, that served or didn’t serve their purpose and are now best forgotten. That’s what we’re now throwing at the only truly reliable ally we have.

In those circumstances the questions that are now agitating the American public – what will Trump do now, will he conquer the Beltway or will it conquer him, how many of his pledges will he be able to hold to? – are for us secondary. There’s another question the English politician should be worrying about. If the wolf pack “Special Relationship” is over, as we must hope it is, what is the relationship that will replace it? That question is going to take some working on, and that work will be no easier if our politicians and media keep running their own campaign of vitriol against the choice America has made.

The continental Europeans will doubtless fail on that question of what the new relationship with America is to be. I hope we don’t.


Mark Logan

Will,

I strongly suspect the existing policy would have remained in place if Clinton had prevailed. It's the correct thing for a departing President to do, I suppose, to not commit his successor to a policy with which he disagrees during his last days. Does it indicate Obama does not have a strong opinion of his own on the matter, at least not anymore?

johnf

"Adviser says Trump won’t rip up Iran deal, signals he may not move embassy

Appearing to walk back statements made by president-elect and other advisers, Walid Phares says nuclear pact will be ‘renegotiated,’ US mission will only be moved to Jerusalem under ‘consensus,’ brokering Israeli-Palestinian peace deal will be top priority."

http://www.timesofisrael.com/adviser-says-trump-wont-rip-up-iran-deal-signals-he-may-not-move-embassy/

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