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27 November 2017

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turcopolier

Bill herschel
Why did you include veterans benefits in your tirade? pl

turcopolier

Bandolero
The US should stop thinking of Turkey as an ally. That era is over. A gulf based US presence is likely to continue for some time. pl

turcopolier

willybilly


you know very well that the Lebanese have never liked any refugees considering them to be a threat to the peculiar entity that is Lebanon. Palestinian refugees in large numbers were in Lebanon for many years and only a handful were ever given Lebanese citizenship. pl

turcopolier

lemur

1. The SDF/YPG are actual indigenous movements with whom the US has cooperated. Our obligations to them as old comrades should be limited to helping them reconcile with the Syrian state. 2. A fit of Israeli madness is possible but I think it unlikely because the IDF has a clear idea of ho badly the war against Hizbullah would go. 3. The collective inertia or resistance of the federal bureaucracy disintegrates in the face of a presidential order. The notion of non-compliance is wrong. All within the bureaucracy understand that if they are detected in non-compliance, they are finished. The Borg is the foreign policy establishment (media,government employees, academics, etc.) as a collective. The notion of a Deep State requires belief in a conspiracy to control the state from within the bureaucracy. pl

Will.2718

Of course March 8th will oppose the Syrian refugees forever remaining, but March 14th will always try? what else can they do? About time the Palestinians became naturalized for that matter.

U overgeneralize. it was president Franjieh that invited the Syrians in to save the Christians, though they overstayed. many lebanese especially those that favor their Aramaic roots, and in particular, the greek orthodox, have strong attachments to Syria. Damascus and Antioch (now in Turkey) are very important to Christians. The Druze span both countries, so do the Shia. In K. Saliba's book, House of Many Mansions, he maintains, that the country of Lebanon was a Maronite invention. But the idea has has taken root after all these years. A smaller Lebanon centered around Mount Lebanon would have been tighter demographically, but perhaps not economically viable?

The SSNP is active in both Lebanon and Syria. Its idea is simpler ideologically than the Baath party- Syria as the home of the people found there w/o the "Arab," & religious baggage that cause problems w/ the Kurds, Turcomans, Armenians, Yazidis, & other minorities. A Fertile Crescent Common Market will not be allowed to emerge- it is that dreaded "Shiite Crescent" to Israel & Saudi Barbaria/Gulfies. Maybe it will come in by a "Silk Road" backdoor?
https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Syrian_Social_Nationalist_Party#Political_tenets

I think that the imminence of an Islamic State (whether Brotherhood, Daesh, or Al-Qaeda) replacing a Secular Multi-Confessional Syrian entity has opened Lebanese eyes to the importance of a stable Syria to Lebanese security. The next iteration would be better off, IMHO, just being the "Republic of Syria."

turcopolier

Bill Hersdhel

The idea that limited war between the US and Russia could hve been fought in Syria is absurd. You would have to be an arch neocon to think that. Are you an arch neocon? pl

Peter AU

In looking through you tube for earlier video of Trump, I ran onto this.
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=lWA5pOmSDgQ

An interview of Scott Adams where he gives his take on how Trump uses twitter and his persona to draw peoples attention to where he wants it.
Cartoonists and satirists have to have the ability to home in on character traits, and I found his take on Trump interesting.

Willybilly

You’re spot on on all counts.

Willybilly

Pat, it’s not an issue of liking or not liking refugees, if you had 50% of your own population as refugees from South America, you’d have a civil war the very next day.... it’s not the case in Lebanon nowadays and refugees here are more or less tolerated. But the crux of the matter in Lebanon is that demography, consensual democracy and the culture of the country as well as the constitution demands that refugees do not overstay their welcome.

turcopolier

willybilly

A typically condescending reply to an ajnabi who cannot possibly be clever enough to comprehend Lebanese wonderfulness. Thanks for confirming the level of Lebanese unwillingness to assimilate refugees. pl

turcopolier

Sid Finster

The attempts of bureaucrats to persude their political masters to do what they want is not "decision making power." i used to enjoy "Yes Minister" and "Yes Prime minister" because i was doing the same thing as Sir Humphrey or whatever his name was, but the minister could have fired Humphrey at any time. The same is true here if you have someone with as much will as Trump in charge. pl

turcopolier

Sid Finster

Trump only knows what he is told" That is not true. He distrusts what he is told and gathers his own information from a wide variety of sources. pl

turcopolier

Sid Finster

No. The boss can at anytime tell the "power behind the throne" to shut up and go sit down. This is especially true if the boss is president of the US. You must be talking about some other government. UK? pl

turcopolier

Sid Finster

"Kelly has restricted what Trump is allowed to see and read" Kelly may have gotten control of what comes through the door, but that is nothing like control of Trump's input of information. If Kelly tried to control that he would quickly be gone. pl

rjj

but not inappropriate.

WJ

On this whole big topic--Syria/Iran/Libya--Shi'a and or Arab political nationalism--versus Israel, US, and Sunni Wahhabism, I was somewhat surprised to find, reading up on the past few decades of our involvement in the region, this quote uttered by Saddam Hussein of all people in 1990 at the Arab League just before his invasion of Kuwait:

He threatened force against Kuwait and the UAE, saying: "The policies of some Arab rulers are American ... They are inspired by America to undermine Arab interests and security."

I found it striking because, whatever you think of Saddam, his analysi of what the UAE and Kuwait and (behind them) Saudi Arabia were up to in 1990 is not dissimilar to what has more recently been voiced by Iran about the same countries. It's the same old game in many ways, isn't it?

turcopolier

Sid Finster

Absolute nonsense. You are merely argumentative. I suspect you are a disruptive troll. pl

turcopolier

WJ

Yes, we are not a shining city on a hill. In fact we are just another country driven by our interests or internal political pressures. BTW Saddam was quite willing to have our help when he really needed it and hoped to be our major non-Israeli ally after the Iran-Iraq War. pl

Bill Herschel

I regretted it. In fact, there are not enough veteran's benefits. Nowhere near enough. There will be no peace dividend in ours or our children's lifetimes in veteran's benefits.

And in terms of tirades, the most interesting question is why is there unanimous support in our government for spending $600bn a year on "defense". That is a psychological question. Unless you assume that everyone on earth hates us and is out to get us. They don't and they aren't.

Yes, tirades are pointless, and we are all, "boats against the current, borne back ceaselessly into the past."

Bill Herschel

No.

turcopolier

All

Tell me who you think are the trolls now commenting on the blog and which type you think they are. pl

Bill Herschel

Here's the answer to my question.

The only way to interpret the U.S.'s actions is to say that our national interest was not at stake in Syria. Nor, by extension, was it at stake anywhere in the ME or Afghanistan. We have simply been playing games with people's lives. Our own and those of the nations we have invaded. The Russians called our bluff.

That is not a tirade. It is the inescapable logic of what has been going on. And the reasons for it, as I have stated, are contained in the past and will never go away. That's who we are. Takes a lot of getting used to.

David Habakkuk

Sid Finster,

If you think ‘Yes Minister’ had any connection whatsoever with how British government actually worked when it was made – early in Lady Thatcher’s time in office – you are living in la-la-land. Precisely what she was doing at the time was successfully pushing through the ‘Thatcher Revolution’ in the face of a bureaucracy she and her associates deeply distrusted.

Sometimes the distrust was well warranted. However, as has become clear, in many ways the outcome was that we were tossed out of a socialist frying pan into a market fundamentalist fire. The horror stories from people who were present at the time about the willingness of she and her associates to disregard reasonable objections to dogmatic free-market recommendations are legion.

Funny as it was, ‘Yes Minister’ may have played a non-negligible role in undermining the capacity of civil servants to provide impartial advice, as they used quite often to do in the old days – rather than telling ministers what they want to hear.

In this area as in others, the processes of degeneration were continued and intensified by Tony Blair. As befitting someone whose interest in politics derived from reading Isaac Deutscher’s biography of Trotsky, he combined a culture of ‘permanent revolution’ in the public services, with obsessive micro-management, based upon an absolute disinterest in the opinion of anyone, either inside the bureaucracy or outside, who had any detailed practical knowledge of anything.

To this, he added the notion that the true purpose of policy was to produce eye-catching headlines.

The problems were well summarised in an interview given a decade ago by Sir Christopher Foster, an economist who had advised both Tory and Labour governments, and who then chaired a group called the ‘Better Government Initiative.’

(See http://www.telegraph.co.uk/news/uknews/1570357/Christopher-Foster-Why-Britain-is-run-badly.html .)

Far from a system run by the likes of Sir Humphrey, as Sir Christopher noted, we now had one in which civil servants were ‘not expected to analyse problems and produce intelligible policy,’ but rather ‘ministers come up with an idea and expect civil servants just to do it.’

The culmination of this damning – but absolutely accurate – account of how contemporary British government worked was the suggestion that Blair was ‘the worst Prime Minister since Lord North’, as he had ‘lost us a form of government that creaked and groaned but worked reasonably well.'

As Sir Christopher notes, the ‘ultimate example’ of this style of government was the decision to take us to war in Iraq. Imagine what had happened had Sir Humphrey actually been in charge – instead of weaselly, shifty and evasive strategies been used to involve us in a disastrous war, they would have been deployed to keep us out of it.

luxetveritas

Way off topic, but significant, so here goes
Did you know that Binney predicted the Tet offensive in 1967?
Also the USSR invasion of Czechoslovakia in 1968?
There is a new documentary about Binney just out, it's called
"A Good American".
Story about it here:
https://consortiumnews.com/2017/11/28/the-struggles-of-a-good-american/

ex-PFC Chuck
" . . and gathers his own information from a wide variety of sources."

Do I assume correctly that you base this on what you consider reliable and well connected sources? If so this differs from the impression that a lot of people had, including me, that Kelly and McMaster pretty much control what Trump sees.

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