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Sunday, September 15, 2013

Barry Obama in "Peace in Our Time!" A Neville Chamberlain Production in Association with Cagey Bee Lubyanka Cheka Pictures--Produced, Written, and Directed by Tsar Vlad

Soon we will test the validity of Abraham Lincoln's optimistic, "You can fool all the people some of the time, and some of the people all the time, but you cannot fool all the people all the time."

I refer, of course, to the "deal" hashed out in the last couple of days between the US and Russia on Syrian chemical weapons. There is a bewildering blizzard of press accounts on it, most probably wrong, so I see no point in trying to look into the "details" of the text. We can, however, glean the general ideas that guide the "deal" and the "deal makers."

First, however, a general observation. This "deal," and the manner in which Russia maneuvered, is an object lesson in the importance of leadership. As in sports where a team of very talented individual players can get outplayed by a team of middling individual talents led by a strong coach, so it is in international relations. To use Nathan Bedford Forest's great word, it is not necessarily the side with the "mostest" that will win. Putin and Lavrov showed themselves strong, committed leaders who used their ostensibly weaker team to outplay in every way the lumbering, blubbering Obama and Kerry.

That said, what is the main purpose of the "deal"? The Obama misadministration wants of course, to have us all forget the horrible manner in which the misadministration handled the matter with its "red lines" that weren't "red lines" except when they were the world's "red lines" requiring an unbelievably small, limited duration American military effort, if the Congress approved, although it didn't need to, and, well, just never mind, don't approve it for now. The misadministration wants Syria out of the headlines and on the back-burner when the 2014 Congressional mid-terms roll around. Let me correct that, as with Benghazi, the misadministration wants whatever is said about the issue to be far from the truth, confusing, irrelevant, and not in any way the misadministration's fault. In fact, I can already see the misadministration gradually changing the narrative; it will soon appear--mark these words--that Obama-Kerry avoided a war that the Republicans wanted. Obama was JFK in the Missile Crisis--not at the Bay of Pigs.  McCain, so slavishly loyal to Obama's mishandling of the affair, will be left out to hang as a warmonger.

The Russians? The "deal," as I noted before (here and here, for example) makes Russia, a nation much weaker than the USA, the Big Man in the Middle East. Putin and Lavrov are the "go to" team for "resolving" intractable problems. The ease with which Russia outplayed the US is noticed in the Middle East and elsewhere. The deal has bought time for Russia's--and Iran's--man in Damascus, Assad, to appear reasonable and cooperative, without being either--you watch--while the opposition to him, already a very problematic bunch, gets more and more negative publicity and loses international support. The atrocities of the opposition, which appear considerable, will be pinned on the US and the West. The inept handling of Syria by the US side, makes it that much harder for the US to play hardball with the Iranians, and Russia is taking advantage of that. Russia is positioning itself to be the "solver" of the Iranian problem, while Team Obama busies itself with ever less credible rattling of its sabers.

The "deal" will be, I promise you, a multinational mess that will require seemingly endless discussions and travel and drafts of this and that protocol with this and that amendment. To get a hint of what's coming, let's see what my old friend Foreign Minister Lavrov has to say. He stated over the weekend,
"Any violations of procedures ... would be looked at by the Security Council and if they are approved, the Security Council would take the required measures, concrete measures . . .. Nothing is said about the use of force or about any automatic sanctions. All violations should be approved by the Security Council."
There you go. That's the whole thing in a nice tight bundle. The game is in the hands of the UNSC which will decide what is a violation and what measures to take if there is a violation. Obama and Kerry would, therefore, have to go it alone, again, if they want to punish Assad. Think they have the stomach for another round of this game? After badmouthing the UNSC and the UN, the Obama people have turned the game over to the UNSC and the UN. Think of Haile Selassie at the League of Nations, trying to get that body to act after Mussolini used chemical weapons in Ethiopia--worked well, eh?

Well, I''ll bet I know who's feeling a little sheepish right about now: How about two GOP Senators by the names of McCain and Graham? They went out of their way to identify not only with the dodgy opposition to the thug Assad, but with the Obama misadministration's mishandling of the Syria "crisis." It seems, nevertheless, that even these two can learn, and they declared in a joint statement,
"This agreement does nothing to resolve the real problem in Syria, which is the underlying conflict that has killed 110,000 people, driven millions from their homes, destabilized our friends and allies in the region, emboldened Iran and its terrorist proxies, and become a safe haven for thousands of Al-Qaeda affiliated extremists . . .

We cannot imagine a worse signal to send to Iran as it continues its push for a nuclear weapon," said Graham and McCain, who was the Republicans' nominee for president in 2008.

Assad will use the months and months afforded to him to delay and deceive the world using every trick in Saddam Hussein's playbook. It requires a willful suspension of disbelief to see this agreement as anything other than the start of a diplomatic blind alley, and the Obama Administration is being led into it by Bashar Assad and (Russian President) Vladimir Putin."
Thanks, guys, but a bit late, don't you think?

As I noted, watch as the narrative becomes that Obama saved us from a war that the GOP wanted.

33 comments:

  1. Diplomad, I guess you're saying, in the end, there's no way we're going to avoid WWIII?

    I honestly thought we avoided touching off WWIII with the current resolution with Syria. Now, it sounds like WWIII is only delayed.

    That's depressing, to say the least.

    Well, at least we got some "breathing room."

    -Blake

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    1. No, we've completely avoided WW III.

      The Syrian government will dither and drag their feet and give an incomplete list of weapons to the UN and any careful vetting by the UN will be seriously limited by the shooting war that's taking place all over the countryside. Violations by the Assad regime will have to be presented to the UN Security Council, and Russia will happily find fault with any prosecution case against Assad calling for military strikes against the regime.

      And from this point forward, there's much less chance that Obama will take the personal risk of authorizing a strike completely on his own in defiance of the UN and international law (where there's no provision for military action taken against violators of the ban against chemical weapons - maybe there should be a provision for that, but there is not).

      Here's my own spin: from the outset, in any small country where there are two sides involved in a civil war and decent arms and money are being provided to both sides, it's a good idea to bet on the side with the most people. In this case, that would be the Sunni's. As long as the Saudis and Qataris and the US provide a solid amount of support to the rebels, they will win, eventually. Maybe not in this warring season - winter is coming - but the next one, anyway. Ultimately, Assad loses.

      Sadly, that will not be an improvement in the security situation over there for either the US or for Israel. It will be a sizable loss for the Iranians and their Hezbollah minions, but the situation on-the-ground in what will become the failed nation states of Syria and Lebanon will end up being so readily exploited by Islamic radicals of all strips that we may end up wishing we had an Assad back in power, someday . . . . .

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  2. God it is so depressing...!

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  3. Elections have consequences. But hey, we get free shiny things! Some of us do anyway...

    Forward!

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Those free shiny things are called "Obama Phones".

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    2. Correction, that is FORWAR not forward.

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  4. The title rocks.

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  5. No, WW III has not been avoided, On the other hand, THIS Syria will not be WW III.

    But eventually, there will be a WW III.
    Not next week, next month, or next year.
    But eventually, 20, 50, a 100 years from now, there will be a WW III.
    As depressing as it is... It's human nature.
    There has been a war going on somewhere continuously for all of human history. Twice we have had wars large enough to envelope most of the world's nations and have been called World Wars. Eventually there will be another.

    Also of note for all the chicken littles out there screaming their heads off about this or that being WW III, History will judge in hindsight whether any give war was WW III or not.

    Neither WW I, nor WW II were called by those names until either after, or near the end of the war in question. Never when or before it started.

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    1. Supposedly, WW I was called "the Great War" initially, and later on was of course briefly labelled "the war to end all wars". A rather unsound concept, but that's Woodrow Wilson for you.

      Of course, that was before we developed a need to number the world wars.

      I personally doubt that we'll have another world war - a world war would likely intensify into a total war, and that's almost too ugly to contemplate. Not to mention but most developed nations aren't going to have populations willing to go to war over much of anything, the way demographics are progressing.

      Delete
  6. "Peace is that brief glorious moment in history when everybody stands around reloading" said by somebody.

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  7. I thoroughly enjoyed this piece, sir!

    J. D. Longstreet

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  8. After watching the Sunday talk shows, I absolutely agree, Mr. Diplomad, that very soon the Syria narrative will become "Obama good; GOP bad." The effort is already in play.

    But I think things are worse than you suggest. I believe the inside game here is really about co-opting American resources to pay for the expansion of Russian power.

    My theory is that the first four years of Obama administration foreign policy in the Middle East was intended to destabilize the region. The objective was to create power vacuums into which Russia could insert itself.

    That's where we are today.

    Going forward I expect to see the U.S. begin shoveling massive amounts of humanitarian aid to Egypt, Libya, Syria, and Iraq. There will be all kinds of "feel good" explanations for it, but the real effect will be to allow selected elements within those nations to buy arms from Russia and otherwise develop stronger economic ties with our old enemy.

    Maybe I'm wearing my tinfoil hat too tightly, but if the removal of chemical weapons under "good cop" Putin appears to go smoothly, watch for "bad cop" Obama to become rehabilitated as a giver of life (and treasure) to that part of the non-American world.

    John-onymous

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  9. On the bright side, Obama accomplished the same outcome in Syria as he was able to achieve in Iraq and Afghanistan.

    Obama surrendered before the hot war instead of after it. See, he is gaining efficiency.

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  10. Team O has indeed made Volodya Vladimirovich look good. The combination of tough talk and dithering (after strategic advantages in post-Sadam Iraq were surrendered) guaranteed that the USA would emerge from this crisis with a big, fat cheese omelette on its face. But don't hold your breath expecting the MSM to note an Obama failure over this; or Kerry's amateur hour performances.

    But proliferation is something we need to seriously consider. It isn't as if there have been no uses of WMD, for Soviet proxies have gotten away with their use, as in Nasser's use of gas against the Yemeni royalists in the 1960's and the Pathet Lao-Vietnamese use of Yellow Rain against Hmong holdouts in 1981. Sadam Hussein also used gas against the Kurds.

    Proliferation is something that cannot be contained easily. Numerous states or movements facing existential threats while having strong technological skills are prime suspects for developing WMD. Israel is a prime example, and Taiwan could very well have something very nasty hidden in the marble cave in the Zhongyang Shanmai. The latter also has the incentive of guessing that it discovered the true worth of American security guarantees when Carter was POTUS. Nuclear fission has been understood by many physicists for a very long time; while any country that can make pesticides can also make nerve gas.

    But I have yet to see an American administration or politician squarely face this issue, and propose a workable policy. Mr. Amselem, have you, in your many years at State (far more than mine), heard this discussed at all?

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    Replies
    1. Your comment Kepha, put me in mind of a decade old post:

      http://www.wired.com/science/discoveries/news/2003/10/60662

      Ark

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  11. I have no sympathy for the Republicans they deserve all that is coming to them. Same as I have no sympathy for the UK and France, who look incredibly dumb supporting the african king trying to overthrow a legitimate government.

    The only group I supported in this whole hellacious mess were the fighting men and women of the USA military. It is reported today that 75% of the military did NOT support military action in Syria. Stop and consider that, 75% were opposed to their commander-in-chiefs proposed action, were we about to witness a mutiny? Even the congressional black caucus (surely one of the biggest collections of dumbasses on the planet) was reportedly heavily against action, and therefore in complete disagreement with the african king. The usual Democratic suspects that can be relied upon to spout against any military action are completely silenced, too embarrassed to speak for king barry. The african king and a couple dozen of his sycophants who wanted war are completely isolated. Sure they will spin like crazy but the stain from this will not wash out, add in NSA spying, african-kingcare, and this sucker is going down. Everybody is against kingbarry EXCEPT the Republican party-spit.

    All the same, it is a very strange world we live in when the Russian president has to do the work that Republican senators disdain.

    Oh, and if kingbarry had the slightest problem with Iran he could have supported the student uprising that lasted the better part of a month after the rigged elections in 2009, but as we now know kingbarry only supports riots against selected tyrants, those tyrants deserving support are muslims. So, better luck next time Iranians, not the right kind of democracy for kingbarry.



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    1. As I understand it the British House of Commons voted against interference in Syria so why have you "no sympathy for the UK"? It would appear that they also wanted no truck with a Syrian intervention despite their Prime Minister's wishes. Our newly elected [conservative] PM has ruled us out of any adventure describing the Syrian conflict as "Baddies -v- Baddies" and none of our business. The Russians are giving your current administration a Master Class in playing the "Great Game". Instead of golfing and holidaying your President could likely profit from reading Rudyard Kipling. A lot of people outside the US look hopefully to adults taking charge there again.

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    2. I too, am glad that President Obama did not have the opportunity to foolishly risk the lives of our military. I guess I have Vlad Putan to thank for that.

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    3. David, I do not live in the USA, so this is definitely not "my administration.....your president". I am an ex-brit, now Canadian.

      You have correctly described the UK's actions as those of their hen-pecked, deluded, prime minister. However, I believe my comment stands-I have no sympathy for his (his wife's and the foreign minister's) hasty judgement, -they look stupid and all too ready to rely on allies to do the heavy lifting, the USA and Australia should recognize that trait. Unfortunately, like the african-king's actions, these have consequences for their country's lasting reputation, hence I wrote UK.

      Congratulations on your country throwing out the socialist debating-society radicals now you have a reality-based government. Perhaps one day the USA can achieve a similar result.

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  12. Sen. Harkin takes the first step down that narrative road.

    “This happened because of the strength, the wisdom, the courage of President Obama; this guy right here, Vice President Joe Biden; and our great secretary of state, John Kerry,” Harkin said. “He reached this agreement with the international community to secure [Syria’s chemical weapons and] dismantle them by 2014.”

    Said Harkin: “We didn’t lose one American life. That’s leadership, folks. That’s leadership.”

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    1. Harkin and his ilk are preaching to the "Peace in our time" crowd. The world got the right read on Obama's retreat. Most American's no longer trust what this President says and most are tuning him out. His own troops in Congress are even less loyal to him. Little Barry will get still smaller.

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  13. ...most are tuning him out.

    I think Whitewall, that observation looks to be right.

    Good post Diplomad Sir.

    Arkie

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    1. Leading from behind also allows you to retreat from in front.

      Delete
    2. I'll be borrowing that if you don't mi ..., well, I'll be taking that. Thanks.

      Ark

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  14. Obama's conduct has been unworthy of a sitting President. But there is a silver lining. As we all know Obama never takes a dump until he's analyzed the political benefits to himself. His disgrace by Putin could break the wall of silence that has protected him from all manner of domestic scandals from Fast and Furious to the IRS harassment of his political foes during the 2012 election. It's just possible people that have been afraid of him now decide it's in their best interests to tell Congressional investigators their stories.

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    1. Nice thought, but won't happen. First, it requires the ability to understand foreign policy and the ability to think. Second, he'll spin this as a victory and if you read comments from the LIV fools on the blogs that are discussing this (Dip doesn't count, you have to be able to think to read it) they're lining up praising his genius.

      GOP wanted war, Obama foxed Vlad/Assad into an agreement to rid CW and not a shot fired! If only GWB had been that smart and not gotten us involved in a unilateral action in Iraq. Blah, blah, blah.

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  15. The Navy Yard shooting this morning will be causing the Obama Spin machine to overheat, especially after its turdish output over the past week. The reassignment of job duties narrative could allow the admin to spin it as sequester-caused instead of leaning on the "irritating youtube video" story. What they'll want to develop is 1) budget cutbacks set off a 2) unstable veteran(s) who was enabled by 3) lax gun laws allowing 4) detachable magazine capable black firearms and motivated in part by this time of 5) great division when people dare disagree with the president's policies. I can only hope that the "break the wall of silence" comment above is accurate and that the MSM will be henseforth, reluctant to be a willing partner in the manufacture and distribution of Obama's bullshit.

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  16. syd, goes without saying Obama will politize this tragedy and try to turn it to his political advantage. So goes Obama, so goes the media too.

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  17. 'watch as the narrative becomes that Obama saved us from a war that the GOP wanted'

    That is a standard leftoid tactic to control the narrative after they've been found out telling blatant porkies (porkies=pork pies=lies), it requires the support of the pliant Greek Chorus that is the left-leaning media to keep pushing it along. To be sure we cynics and sceptics can see through the BS but the huge majority out there in TV land believe what they're told by the lefty talking heads. They take it at face value and burrow any deeper for facts or alternative POVs. That is why blogs like this and many others have to punch on and reach more people.

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    1. and don't burrow any deeper

      My bad.

      Delete
  18. Can I have my Texan Cowboy back? I don't much are for this Rodeo Clown that replaced him.

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  19. And so it came to pass, yea:
    http://www.dailykos.com/story/2013/09/22/1240528/-Aha-That-s-Why-They-Were-So-Desperate-to-Get-Us-Into-Syria

    ReplyDelete