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Monday, August 26, 2013

Democrats on the Road to Damascus

In the course of my adult life, especially in the State Department, I became aware of an interesting phenomenon when it comes to foreign affairs. Democrats prefer and advocate for U.S. intervention, including messy, bloody, military intervention, in places where there is little or, preferably, no US national interest at stake, e.g., Vietnam, Libya, ex-Yugoslavia. Find a place where there are US interests at risk--e.g., Panama, Central America, Iran, Cuba--they go into pacifist-anti-imperialist-defender-of-the-peoples-of-the-Third-World mode. Also curiously, as we saw most spectacularly in Vietnam, once the US does go in, they quickly begin to doubt the wisdom of the move, and even turn against the US intervention. They know that once we do intervene, even if it was in a place of no or limited importance before, the act of intervening creates US national interests, e.g., the need to show that the US cannot be defeated, that we mean what we say, etc. Once such interests are created, the liberals, "summer soldiers" if there ever were, become very critical of the intervention, and actively work to sabotage the US effort.

We are on the verge of another of those moments.

I have written before that our policy in the Middle East under the Obama misadministration makes no sense (for example, here, here, here, here, and here, to name just a few posts). Our intervention in Libya was counterproductive to our national interests in Libya and the region; our support for the Muslim Brotherhood in Egypt is an outrage on the scale of Carter's Shah of Iran disaster; and our pressuring Israel to deal with and make concessions to the phony Palestinians is criminal.

From all the press it seems that this misadministration is gearing up for some ill-thought-out, half-baked, direct intervention in Syria on behalf of "rebels" who are nothing more than Al Qaeda affiliates. I wrote before that Obama seeks,
to repeat his disastrous Libya adventure in even more dangerous and complex Syria. Remember the Benghazi massacre? Wait until you see the jihadi loons who will take over Syria! Now, you might reasonably ask, what about Assad? As was his father, he is a pencil-necked murdering swine. We all agree on that. As did his father, he runs a repressive, minority-ruled, Iranian-backed regime. Whom are we arming to replace him? Even more murderous pencil-necked swine, that's who. As we did in Libya, we want to replace a nasty piece of work who, nevertheless, can act rationally and with whom we can deal, with lunatic AQ-allied, apocalyptic jihadi fanatics who want a Muslim caliphate or death and will slaughter indiscriminately in pursuit of either goal. 
If you want a clue on dealing with Arab states, don't look to the State Department or the NSC--especially under Susan "It's YouTube's fault" Rice. Look to the Israelis. For them it is literally a matter of life or death who runs the corrupt Arab regimes in the neighborhood. The Israelis detest the Assad regime and have fought a continuous war with it since 1970. They also detested Arafat, and any number of other Arab dictators. They, however, were and are very cautious about promoting regime change. Despite numerous opportunities, for example, they never killed Arafat; they dropped people all around him, but never him. Who would replace him? Nobody knew, so better stick with the disgusting but inept known devil than risk getting someone or something much worse.
Mark my words, if our policy "succeeds," that is to say, it leads to the downfall of Assad, we soon will enter a world of hurt. Assad will be replaced by extremist jihadi psychopaths who will turn on us in a flash. If we don't "succeed," and we just wound the bear, what's left of our reputation is gone, leaving us with one bloody-minded, revenge seeking pencil-necked dictator--backed by Iran and Russia--gunning for us and our interests. Some choice, eh?

If we go into Syria, one positive thing I would hope for is US liberals and lefty Europeans shutting up about Iraq and our intervention there. You cannot support intervening in Syria and oppose intervening in Iraq. Well, not if you are a logical, thinking person, but then we are talking about American liberals and their loony European lefty allies, so . . . never mind.  Whatever the flaws in our Iraqi policy, we had many more valid reasons to go into Iraq than we do to go into Syria; for liberals, however, that does not matter. Obama wants and, apparently, will have his war.

WLA

37 comments:

  1. I don't think Obama actually wants his war, but he has painted himself into a corner and Cameron is pressing him. Imagine how wobbly you have to be to be pressed by Cameron.

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  2. I suspect that Obama is hoping, and probably expecting, that the Syrians will slow-roll the UN team, delaying them repeatedly and ensuring their findings are inconclusive. Even if something comes of it, being UN inspectors, he will likely refer the matter the Security Council, which is the same as dead-ending it anyway. Dragged out long enough, the pressure on him to act will fade and he'll be able to let things slide. I really don't think he wants to do anything, but he did paint himself into a corner like the amateur he is.

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    1. Well, that would be a repeat of the script we have seen acted out over and over again by the Obamalamadingdong regime. It's always "leading from behind". Not solving the problem IS solving the problem, eventually. Head-in-the-sand is our current foreign policy. It's an ugly situation no matter how you look at it. Looks like end times really ARE around the corner. Pray for mercy.


      Liberty Grace's Grandma

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  3. Welleran:"Dragged out long enough, the pressure on him to act will fade and he'll be able to let things slide."
    I think your right, reminds me of Clinton and the Apaches in Bosnia that were never used. But events of his own making may be overtaking him.
    Diplomad: I hate waving the "bloody shirt", but you are right on. If O goes in and really stirs it up then runs who's going to have to deal with it first hand and clean it up, Israel of course. Then here at home it will be the non dems fault. Christ this is a bad movie that won't go away.

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  4. The correct response for the President is to state that neither side holds US interests at heart and therefore we will not waste US military or financial resources on opponents of those interests. Our response post victory for either side will be based solely on US interests and not political or humanitarian pressure. Of course too many people won’t make money on that response so it's a non starter.

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    1. I don't like this policy, it reminds me too much of "Jimmy Carter and Iran".
      I think the President has a duty to pick 'the best' side of such conflicts, even if the choice ends of being "the least of two evils".
      Whether this merits involvement, I dunno, but if we're going to do it, I don't think we should half-ass it.
      - reader #1482

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    2. We should decide what or whom we support no one else should. To pick the "best side" when neither are in our interest would seem to be by definition weakness. The side we should pick is OUR side. And we should let all know it's our decision to support those who support us and only those that support us.

      While it may look similar to Iran I don't believe it's the same. We should have supported the Shah. We already had influence. In Syria we have little influence with Assad and we are enemies of the rebels and the rebels are enemies of the civilized world.

      I do agree though whatever we do should not be half assed. Unfortunately that hasn't happened since WWII.

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  5. I have heard too many rumors of Valerie Jarrett intervening in presidential decisions -- or non-decisions -- to ignore them. Now contemplate for just a moment the Iranian-born Jarrett looking at the situation in Syria and not having a strong opinion on it. I would guess she would favor the Iranian side, which means to support Assad.

    Then introduce the Saudis and the Turks, who support the other side and who have Obama's ear.

    Now isn't that just a fancy dilemma? Jarrett telling Obama not to intervene and the Saudis and Turks telling him to go ahead and bomb the command and control infrastructure. And all the while Putin is stirring the pot, urging Obama to stay out.

    To whom can Obama turn for disinterested advice? Reggie Love? Malia and Sasha? Hmmm. A man with no core beliefs except to collectivize the USA, a senior advisor with roots in one side of the debate, an incompetent SecState, a feckless Congress, foreign interests who support US military intervention to the last man, and now the UK Prime Minister urging standoff bombing. Not to mention a domestic press that has lost all credibility.

    It's enough to drive a man right to the golf course.

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    1. F:
      I have a art performance piece "The Angry Golfer", people tell me the realism is fantastic.

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    2. Bingo, so well put. (clowns to the left....and jokers to the right)

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  6. As a man with two sons of military age--and one a young husband and father--I have begun to yell, "Hell, no, we won't go!"

    I am utterly appalled at the idea of intervening in Syria on the side of the rebellion. True, the Assad regime is odious. The Ba'ath Party was modeled on the Fascist parties of interwar Europe, and became a close collaborator with the Communist Bloc in the Cold War. It is harsh on its dissenters, and it ended the millennia-old history of the Jews in the lands between upper Mesopotamia and the Med. But the rebels are led by Qaida and Muslim Brotherhood adherents, the very same people who brought us 9/11! They've also begun the cleansing of millennia-old Christian communities in the areas the ontrol, and this means killing people, driving people out of their homes, and raping women. How insane is our administration, and how comatose are our Congressional watchdogs when we're thinking of throwing our weight behind either odious side in this conflict? And I echo Mr. Amselem's question about what our pressing national interest is in that area.

    I strongly suspect that Chris Stevens and the others were killed while preparing for talks with Turkey about sub rosa arming of the Syrian rebels. This was bad enough.

    And, dear Democratic friends, relatives, and neighbors: why aren't you skeptical about reports of chemical weapons in Syria? Don't you see that your champion the O is taking you for a ride, and he doesn't even have the excuse that Assad has been arming people out to kill us?

    I've already written to my Representative and Senators, but have gotten no reply. I am angry and disgusted. We Americans--with few exceptions, such as our esteemed blog host--are being taken for a nation of sheep all over again. Worse yet, while the Far Eastern monarchs and anti-Communist republics of the 1950's and '60's at least shared with us a well-grounded fear and mistrust of Communism, I don't see anything that the Muslim Brotherhood and Qaida sympathizers and fighters in Syria share with us.

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  7. What happens if we kill bunch of Russians by accident?

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    1. Pity. That would be just too bad.

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    2. If we kill a bunch of Russians by accident, it'll be something like when we killed a bunch of Chinese diplomats by accident in Serbia.

      Part of me is just cynical enough to believe that the Billary bombed the Chinese Embassy in Belgrade on purpose. I remember the eagerness the Billary's 1996 campaign sought Chinese support. China was due for another round of anti-regime dissent, and needed to call in a favor to help stop it. The Billary obliged by giving the Chinese man-in-the-street something else to get mad about.

      BTW, I remember just after leaving Guangzhou and having gotten some Kudos cables while there about religious repression, Jim Sasser, Baay-ig Bay-ill Clinton's political appointee ambassador, went before the Senate and revealed he knew nothing about the persecution of Christians or any other human rights issue in China. I guess the Billary thought an old friend needed a good chance to make a few business contacts and make the money to fill Democratic political coffers.

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  8. "Democrats prefer and advocate for U.S. intervention, including messy, bloody, military intervention, in places where there is little or, preferably, no US national interest at stake,..."

    This is similar to something I read elsewhere: that liberal internationalists love the fatuous "Responsibility to Protect" doctrine specifically because it isn't tainted by national self-interest. They can then feel good about themselves, since they're taking action in a "noble cause."

    Nice to know our foreign policy is at the service of liberal self-esteem. :/

    RE: Syria. Two years ago, I'd have argued for intervention, largely because of the blow Assad's fall would deal to Hizbullah and it's master, Iran. Now, with the opposition being dominated by AQ affiliates, I have no frakking idea what we should do there. And neither do our "leaders."

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    1. I have come to the conclusion the best policy towards the Mideast in particular and Islam on a whole is one of quarantine:

      No trade
      No Immigration
      No foreign aid.
      No nation building.

      Should a nation (or group) commit an act of terrorism, we would kill their leadership and utterly devastate their infrastructure. Then we would leave. Our military would basically be used to perform punitive expeditions.

      This would require us to first expand our energy resources (i.e. open up the Eastern Seaboard to drilling, fast track Gen IV nuclear plant approvals) and abandon green energy fantasies.

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    2. I think I love you. you forgot the kill every muslum on earth ,though. every single last one. man,woman,and especially child

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  9. The road to Damascus --- Great title. It is also the title to a book by John Ringo and Linda Evans - A wonderful book that shows the result of progressive government...

    Be sure to check out Ringo's "The Last Centurion" too....

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  10. What of the arguement that unless the user of chemical weapons in punished militarily, the use of chemical weapons will increase and spread? The US does have a role as a world leader (despite the Obama administration's attempt to neuter us) and if we're not leading, then we're following.

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    1. chemical weapons are not immoral when used on muslims

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    2. Someone will inevitably use chemical weapons--especially those who yell most loudly against their use. The responsibility of the US government is to support research on how to protect our people and environment from such attacks.

      We tried a nuclear non-proliferation regime. It didn't work. We tried sanctions on all sorts of baddies and not-so-baddies. They didn't work. All these sorts of things end up with a Democratic admin--you know, the people who denigrated Dubya Bush for taking out Sadam Hussein, partly over concerns about the development of chemical weapons (Which are also WMD)--talking loudly and carrying no stick.

      But, do we really want to invest our sons' lives and our hard-earned treasure in places where we don't have a pressing interest?

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  11. Superb post Sir.

    "Phineas" above observes: RE: Syria. Two years ago, I'd have argued for intervention, largely because of the blow Assad's fall would deal to Hizbullah and it's master, Iran.

    To which I'd only say, Two years ago Syria was a different world:

    http://www.nationalreview.com/campaign-spot/356791/remember-when-assad-was-described-reformer-jim-geraghty

    Arkie

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  12. It's not difficult.

    Jefferson summed up the noninterventionist foreign policy position perfectly in his 1801 inaugural address: "Peace, commerce, and honest friendship with all nations – entangling alliances with none."

    It's not your job to be the world's policeman, besides you cannot afford it.

    However, since Obumbler, Jarrett and Cameron's wife will have the final say, prepare for another Libya-like fiasco.

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  13. No one should want to be the world's policeman. It's a lousy beat.

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  14. It would have been nice if this type of thought were in operation before the Iraq 2 war.

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    1. The Iraq 2 war came about because we didn't finish Iraq 1. The intel from George Tenet, a Dem appointee, and every intel service was that Saddam had nukes and was willing to use them. The Prez really had little option. Iraq, in theory, presented a major threat to us and our allies. Syria does not.

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    2. Yes, and he went to Congress for a full debate and vote in which many of these democrats voted yes.

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    3. I'd not normally add to our host's observings - but there's something else:

      (I suppose I should own up pre-shock & awe, to putting my name on stuff out in the print-world expressing doubt but, once in ...)

      Saddam practically made what happened inevitable - all on his own mind - while he was "spoofing" the Iranians he could've, quite easily, "invited" some body of neutrals (not UN, afterall, who believes anything they say ... perhaps even us [US] 'cause again afterall, even a ME ruling looney should've been able to recognize we [US] were just itching to make a demonstration.

      Having Saddam's own (front-row seat) view of our [US] "no-fly" - coupled with No doubt the US will protect the Kurds! - only an idiot bent on self-destruction would tempt us.

      (And we [US] knew Saddam was no idiot. Stark "Looney" for sure - but, not an idiot.)

      How were we [we] to know there were guys like Bremer who Chalabi had the ear of - nevermind Curveball?

      But again ... once in ...

      Arkie

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    4. Thought to add (pre-emption) I got "out" during the Clinton years.

      Of course admittedly ... I sign off the way I do 'cause I knew it'd be (likely) better being judged at the very least, having a reasonable expectation of some scruples.

      Can't say it's helped much though.

      Arkie

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  15. Engrave this Quote, Silence in the face of evil is itself evil: God will not hold us guiltless. Not to speak is to speak. Not to act is to act.
    D. Bonheiffer

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    1. Might as well etch this one too (perhaps crudely paraphrased):

      We are friends with all those who are equally Friends of Liberty, We are the Guardians only, of Our own.

      Tom Jefferson (I'll check it. It's pretty close I think tho')

      Arkie

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    2. *Tom wrote, "We are the friends of liberty everywhere, but the guarrantors of only our own."

      It was John Q who made the closer of what I just placed - using "Guardians" ...

      (I'll begin my 100 lines now.)

      Ark

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  16. I posted that quotation above not that I want us to act militarily. However, there are other ways to act. Ideas?

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    1. Pfft, utter nonsense.

      You already have had Shrillary and Kerry flapping their gums for several years, it got you and everybody else absolutely nowhere, except a few good men killed. If you are saying Shrill and Johnny come lately are incompetent then we have agreement. The answer is to admit Obumbler has been made to look a fool, admit it and shrug your shoulders, not the USA's problem, let the madmen kill each other, they all say they love death, who are we to keep them from their destiny?

      God is not going to judge us on this one, the madmen (I include Obumbler) believe in Mohammed. It would be awfully poor manners to go imposing your God's solutions on them.

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  17. YOU have sic(6) readers....wow....American Schools are really improving ! ! !

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