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Tuesday, December 25, 2018

Merry Christmas and Syria

Flying in the face of Political Correctness and risking offending thousands of cultures and sub-cultures and people who shop at Whole Foods, I wish one and all a Merry Christmas! There, if that doesn't prove I have guts, nothing will.

Christmas, of course, evokes the Middle East.

That little corner of the world has played an outsized, amazing, totally awesome role in the development not just of Western Civilization but of Global Civilization. We all have grown up thinking about the Middle East's good stuff, but also spent many thoughts worrying about how the next world war would start there, the next nuclear apocalypse, etc. We have seen almost non-stop warfare in the Middle East and its environs, and out of that region, of course, has emerged the jihadi challenge which we in the West continue to face some 1400 years after the establishment of Islam.

This is just a humble little blog of opinion so I am not going to provide a history of the past 2000 years in the Middle East. I, however, was struck by the uproar over President Trump's announcement that we are finished or will be finished soon with our military presence in Syria. (Note: For now, let me put aside the issue of Afghanistan which the President also has indicated he will be reviewing.)

Let's state the obvious: None of us knows the details of President Trump's proposal for our new posture re Syria. None of the pundits and other bien pensants prattling on about it knows those details or what exactly the President has or has not worked out in terms of a deal with Russia, Turkey, the Saudis, the Kurds, Israel or anybody else. So we cannot really comment on President Trump's new approach to Syria because we don't know what it is. What we can discuss is the issue of whether we should have a presence in Syria and whether our presence there has, so far, done us good. That's what I will briefly discuss.

I have written a large number of posts (go here, for example) which discuss our involvement in Syria, another muddled Obama foreign policy legacy. You will see that my principal concern about our involvement in Syria was that nobody seemed to know its purpose. What was the end-game? From what I could discern our Syrian "war" under Obama seemed to involve a lot of blather about fighting ISIS without really fighting ISIS--our President declared them the "JV team," let's not forget--and we had some weird White House declarations about "red lines" when it came to the Assad regime, "red lines" which the White House promptly ignored when Assad crossed them. There was sloppy bipartisan rhetoric about getting rid of Assad; the late John McCain seemed to like posing with "Syrian rebels," and pushing to have them get our support. It seemed we wanted a repeat of the Libya fiasco or the almost equal fiasco in Egypt when we pushed for the Islamist thugs of the Muslim Brotherhood to take power there--that was prevented only by swift action by the Egyptian military which ignored Hillary's advice. Anyhow, I have written lots about all that, and I shan't repeat it.

I made my recommendation back in 2016 on our Syrian adventure, and said our policy should involve taking note of the Israeli position on Assad,
I have stressed more than once that when dealing with Syria's Assad one should look at the Israelis. If anybody has a right and a reason to detest the Assad family dictatorship the Israelis do; they, despite having the ability to do so, have never sought to knock out the Assads. They know that in the Arab world the devil you know often times proves much less worse than the one you don't. Keep that in mind.
Furthermore, I wrote that our policy should,
o Back the Israelis, of course, but also support the Kurds; help them establish their own homeland in territory that is now Syria and Iraq. They are the last major group in the Middle East without their own country. They deserve one. We can and should tell the Turks to get stuffed. Now, of course, the Kurds are Muslims, but even El Cid made alliances with Muslim princes to get rid of other Muslim princes. 
o We must continue to seek energy independence, so that the Middle East becomes increasingly less important to us. 
o Stop importing that war and terrorism to our shores via our currently insane politically correct immigration and refugee policies. 
o Smash ISIS to drive home to jihadis around the world, that Islamic war against the West leads only to their defeat (here, here).
With the advent of President Trump, it appears  our policy in Syria became somewhat better defined and went along roughly the lines I recommended. In particular, I note, yet again, that our growing energy independence makes the Middle East increasingly less important to us. It turns out, we can drill our way to energy independence despite what the progs have told us for years and years.

President Trump did take a much harder line on ISIS, and thousands of ISIS lunatics have been turned into glass in the desert sands. He also sent Russia and Assad some harsh messages when, for example, our forces turned a large group of pro-Assad forces and Russian "mercenaries" into dust. OK, but was our policy working? I don't know. It seems that ISIS lost a lot of ground and personnel in both Syria and Iraq and have been much less active in  Europe and elsewhere since President Trump went after their Syrian and Iraqi redoubts. So maybe we have "won" and it's time to leave; I would have to see the intel to be certain. I assume President Trump has seen it, is satisfied that our primary redefined mission to smash ISIS has been sufficiently achieved, and does not want to see a mission creep that will involve us in Somalia-style "nation-building." Are we leaving the Kurds in the lurch? I don't know, although it would seem so. I recognize, of course, that my soft spot for the Kurds is not sufficient reason to continue to put our people's lives at risk and to get us involved in some distant ethnic/civil war.

So, in the end, I give a qualified "yes" to President Trump's apparent decision to begin to wind down our involvement in Syria--if, in fact, that is what we are seeing. I will have to await further details to go beyond that.

I, however, must laugh at the Dems and other lefties now so concerned about our national security that they insist we stay in Syria. These are the same people who won't let us defend our own borders, or let us take effective measures to keep ISIS out of the USA, but want us hanging around in Syria presumably promoting "democracy" among people who have no clue what that is all about. They so hate Trump that they would prefer to support a war in a place far removed from our key national interests. Yes, let's have a Libya repeat by all means . . .

Merry Christmas, once again.

18 comments:

  1. Astute.

    I does beg the question about the Dems and there intransinets about wars. Torn between orange man bad and war bad. Least it got the caravan out of the news.

    I am interested in the Guatemalan children that are dying. was the plan to get terminally ill children over the boarder to over whelm our health care or showing how they would have been better under some socialist crap.

    Get some pop corn as 2019 is going to be a wild ride.

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  2. A Merry Christmas and hopes for a prosperous and Happy New Year to the DiploFam and all 7 other DiploFollowers.

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  3. I'd merely add, as a sort of suggestion, and borrowing from history a single example - back in December of 1941 it wasn't the President declared war it was the other way around, Congress declared war. And besides justifiably so it was also rightfully so as that's the way our Constitution demands it.

    Now there's 435 give or take of which any one could, if he or she thinks it so hot an idea to seek war on any particular people on nation all that person would have to do is bring such desire to the attention of the leadership in either chamber of the Congress and then get a debate going.

    From all the indignant noises I'm at least hearing emanating from the halls of Congress and the, hitherto "Give Peace a Chance" crowd on cable tv I should think that heck, for all I know Congress could in a day or so round up enough votes to declare war on, not just the usual suspects of the Middle East but the whole world if that's so important.

    So, take it away Mister, Miss Congressperson - your move.

    JK

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    1. ... "all I know Congress could in a day or so round up enough votes to declare war on, not just the usual suspects of the Middle East but the whole world if that's so important. So, take it away Mister, Miss Congressperson - your move."-JK

      Heysuse Maria! Let the sleeping dogs lie JK! No sense reminding the 'rats n' rinos of their Constitutional prerogatives! Just keep telling them that Congress proposes and the CinC disposes of our foreign enemies, by any and all means necessary, including diplomatic compresses and "Art of the Deal" sleight of hand! Worked well for Dubya, he even had a Congressional Choir singing 'God Bless America' on the Capitol steps... surely The Donald could arrange a patriotic sing-along about our allies, the Arabs & Kurds!? That is, after the Pol'Cats come back from their Winter hiatus on the Border line, war weary from their whimpering, simpering, shutdown exposed tweets and twitters. . .
      On Watch~~~
      "Let's Roll"

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    2. You may well be OW, being sarcastic and if, that's the case disregard the following.

      My guess is, the last thing any Congresscritter wants to do is have his or her name in the Congressional Record as being an "Aye" on any war vote whatsoever. Recall the many variations of, "Well, I was for it before I was against it - which I am now - and if any of you folks out there considering voting for my opponent remember this well - s/he too was for it; yet any of you ever remember hearing a peep outta her/him about evolving like I have?"

      Congress folks OW, are largely spineless when it comes to having their names associated with anything that might wind up being erected in veterans parks with other people's names on the monuments.

      JK

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    3. "Congress folks OW, are largely spineless..."
      Yes I know JK, that's why they sing Patriotic Songs
      off key! No sarc, just an observation... Happy New Year, just in case I don't see your byline before then!
      On Watch~~~

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  4. While I mostly agree with you, Sr. Diplomad, it gives me serious pause that Gen. Mattis resigned as defense secretary over the Syria decision.

    Mattis has always appeared to be a steady, thoughtful strategist with a sterling reputation. Now maybe that’s always been a false portrayal (in which case quite a large number of people across the spectrum have been hoodwinked). But if it’s accurate, then his words deserve special weight.

    Perhaps the president gave them that weight, but decided otherwise anyway. The president, of course, has the final say.

    In time the pullout may lead to a disaster of some sort. But the Law of Unintended Consequences occasionally yields a favorable outcome, too.

    I hope it does in this case.

    Here’s the crazy thing: Syria is in Europe’s back yard. The war sent a million refugees to Europe. So why doesn’t Europe feel obliged to take military and humanitarian steps to end the conflict and relieve the suffering? It shouldn’t even be up to the United States.

    But naturally, Europe being Europe, it Just Doesn’t Care. Climate change, which hasn’t killed a single person, is a bigger concern to the Euros, just as it was to Obama.

    I’m rambling now. Time to call it a night.

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    1. SYRIAN WOMEN TO EUROPEAN GOVERNMENTS: Kick our men out and send them home — we need them!

      The link is in Swedish so the 'paste' function is too iffy.

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    2. And HarryBro,

      It's not as if even Mattis himself wasn't aware of, the possibility existed as far back as six months ago, that a Syrian pullout was being actively considered:

      "Furthermore, President Trump’s basic instinct in Syria remains to declare victory over ISIS and withdraw U.S. forces as soon as practical. In early April, the President openly declared his intent to bring U.S. troops back home within months: “I want to get out, I want to bring the troops back home, I want to start rebuilding our nation.” In his White House address making a case for the most recent round of missile strikes, the President reiterated the temporary nature of the U.S. commitment in Syria noting that “America does not seek an indefinite presence in Syria . . . [and] we look forward to the day when we can bring our warriors home.” His subsequent declaration of “mission accomplished” suggests that a U.S. withdrawal from Syria could come sooner rather than later."

      https://ssi.armywarcollege.edu/index.cfm/articles/After-The-Smoke-Clears-in-Syria/2018/05/18

      JK

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    3. Expect our 'Old Soldier', Gen. Mattis just wants/needs to 'fade away' before the next political season in the swamp kicks off! He's got medical issues, the stress of another campaign won't make him any stronger -- he's not a politician either! Time to write his memoirs, and retire from active duty! Hand Salute, Mattis Departing!
      On Watch~~~
      "Let's Roll"

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  5. Can we cede all out armaments in Syria to the Kurds ... like Obama gave our Iraq arms to ISIS? (Pardon, ISIL ... isn't it nice to stop hearing that term?) Yes, it might piss off Erdogan ... but we could blame logistic problems. Then they Kurds might just have a chance.

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    1. I doubt the Kurds would give them back unless we threatened violence against them for it. They're certainly accounted for as a loss already.
      Kurds are going to need everything they've got to avoid being marched to a death camp in ninevah by an *assortment* of enemies in the area.

      - reader #1482

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  6. Wictor's take on it makes the most sense to me. https://quodverum.com/2018/12/357/the-method-behind-trump-s-madness-.html

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  7. Trump is probably right. Our recent policies in the ME have yielded virtually nothing. Indeed, I see our Syrian presence as a reminder of an O-era policy that seemed to be done without thinking, and which seemed to be support for Qaida allies.

    As for the Kurds, there's an Assyrian lady working in one of our nearby grocery stores who says they're the most treacherous people on the face of the earth (next to the Pakistanis?)...

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    1. It's hard to know when part of the goal of a middle east policy is an absence of terrorism within US borders. Efficacy of such a policy is impossible to prove in terms of causality. (ie, have there been no serious attacks in the US *because* of middle east policy of *in spite of* it?)

      With that analysis being kind of impossible, we mostly have to rely on some basic logic and such. Keep the bad guys off-balance.

      We can find other ways to apply pressure, but at least Bush and Trump seem to have been trying to take an 'all measures' approach.

      "That's not an effective tactic!!"
      "Ineffective with probability one?"
      "Not quite, but pretty much."
      "Non-zero is our standard... so we're keeping it."

      - reader #1482

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  8. 100% agree with your recommendations DiploMad. Western Europe is now awash with the latest Jihad of unrelenting Islamic invasion and demographic destruction of our civilisation. The USA needs to remove all the Islamists asap. Whole towns in your dear country have been taken over by them just like cities in Europe.. they are essentially ungovernable and are no longer part of the USA. Until the US authorities come to that realisation the cancer grows. Yes watch Israel. And yes I think Trump has done the right thing. The louder the socialists howl the stronger is my conviction.

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