Policy discussions


Are not included in my three month ban.  What I am trying to halt  is the bitter partisan nastiness.  pl

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35 Responses to Policy discussions

  1. Enrico Malatesta says:

    PL – am new to this site in the last 4 months, have only posted just to make sure I could use the Comment feature properly.
    If possible, in the interest of getting up to speed, is there an assembled list of Archive posts that could serve as an SST primer?
    I appreciate the selfless contribution you make to help the general population understand Military matters in an age where very few USAer’s have any such experience.

  2. turcopolier says:

    Enrico Malatesta
    Ehere is an archive search tool on the right side of the page pl

  3. J says:

    I hope you’re feeling better. Nothing worse than the winter blu-gufus as I call it, others refer to it as the winter crud.
    On another note, I wonder how POTUS Trump and new OSD Matthis will approach military retired medical costs.
    Something that has been bothering me is the software upgrades low man bids awards let in on Air Force 1. IMO our POTUS’s flying personnel need to take a close look to make sure that there are no ‘glitches’ in the low bid software that could affect safety of flight.
    Again I hope you’re feeling better.

  4. kooshy says:

    FYI, if you haven’t seen yet, would welcome comments from regular Brit commentator of this fine site, weather if this is true or not. If true after Aleppo, Astaneh, Trump things are changing fast.
    “Britain has accepted that Syrian President Bashar al-Assad should be allowed to run for re-election in the event of a peace deal in Syria, UK Foreign Secretary Boris Johnson has said, a major shift in British policy which London had pursued since the beginning of the conflict that Assad must go.”

  5. Origin says:

    What is the building in the photo?

  6. Jack says:

    This seems to be a significant change in policy from the past several decades.
    “And in a decisive break with the Blair and Cameron eras, the Prime Minister said the days of the UK using military force to ‘remake sovereign countries in our own image’ were finished.
    Speaking to a gathering of top Republicans, she laid out a new set of rules which will see the UK intervene only when the ‘threat is real’ and it is in our own interests.”
    May, however seems like a product of the groupthink and may be enunciating policy ideas closer to Trump as she works on a bilateral relationship with the US to bolster her Brexit negotiations. I was also struck by Fillon’s speech in Germany recently. If these new policies being sounded out become reality what will all the regime change supporters do?

  7. Gordon Wilson says:

    Well Colonel, starving to death eating rabbits, or starving to death eating potatoes really is a moot point isn’t it?

    A researcher named Ronald Hamilton had written a paper arguing that McCandless had, in fact, been killed by the wild potato seeds, but not because of any “toxic alkaloids.” Rather, Hamilton argued, McCandless’s meager diet and malnutrition in the wilderness had made him susceptible to a rare but brutal affliction called “lathyrism” that gradually paralyzes its victims. Lathryrism occurs primarily in malnourished young men, and it is caused by the ingestion of an amino acid that was first discovered in the seeds of wild grass peas.

    Welcome to the information bubbles. We old nuts have our value, don’t we?

  8. Old Microbiologist says:

    It is difficult to be objective these days for many people. In general, I am finding that conservatives are more willing to debate compared to liberals and less prone to get nasty or permanently unfriend people. The opposite seems to be the case with the liberals who now seem so miserable they just refuse to be friends anymore and will not listen to any logic whatsoever. I have friends who are physically sick over Trump’s election and rant over perceived problems. I don’t recall anywhere that Trump has declared war on LGBT or is planning to control women’s rights in any way at all. It is funny as I don’t recall any of my conservative friends getting sick over Obama’s election or his clear abuses of power. Now the shoe is on the other foot and they can’t handle it and the flames are being fanned by people like Soros who refuse to believe in a multipolar world. I find myself chuckling over legislative changes that are now backfiring such as a simple majority for political appointees. Every one of Trump’s appointees will make it as they only need a 51% vote for confirmation. Is this Trump’s fault? I don’t think so. The arguments over torture are fallacious as no one was prosecuted for doing it therefore it must be okay. The increased use of Gitmo is another. It was Obama who agreed to improve and expand the facilities so Trump is only making use of what Obama did. A lot of the things Trump is doing are clearly designed to please the Republicans in power in Congress and I believe it is all part of a grand deal Trump is going after. He will reverse all sanctions (done under Executive Orders) for Russia and back us away from escalating things in Europe towards the ultimate war. The price is abortion funding. No big deal and certainly not a surprise. He will veto whatever Bill McCain/Graham put in place about permanent sanctions and he will have the numbers to back himself up. The neocons and neoliberals are now finding there is very little they can do except try and whip up a popular support to try and overthrow Trump. I believe the economic numbers (if things go without some kind of internal revolution or heavy manipulation of the market) will improve as Keynesian economics are a complete failure. If son, then he will gain more popularity and when people wake up and realize things are actually better then the power will have shifted completely. Just my opinion but time will tell.

  9. Stu Wood says:

    An interesting article from a British author titled “How Dangerous Is Putin” takes a realistic look at Russia and our relations with that country. I especially liked the phrase “a man with no purse can wage no fight”. I would be interested in your opinion on the piece.

  10. turcopolier says:

    that is the Athenaeum, originally a commercial bank, now an art center. pl

  11. The Beaver says:

    @ Jack
    Fillon is a good “bud” of Putin – at least there is mutual respect and he agrees with Putin’s views wrt Syria.
    However, I consider May to be someone who wants to have her cake and eat it too.
    May also pointed to the need to “reduce Iran’s malign influence in the Middle East” as a key foreign policy priority, saying Britain would “support our allies in the Gulf States to push back against Iran’s aggressive efforts to build an arc of influence from Tehran through to the Mediterranean”. That appeared to be a significant strengthening of language since Britain reopened diplomatic relations with Tehran in 2015.

  12. eakens says:

    That article is laughable. Russia’s actions in Syria smack of desperation? I would not rely on such foolish articles. They have interests just like ours.

  13. ISL says:

    Old Microbiologist,
    The only different viewpoint I have is the economy. There was no sign of improvement in the economy when the Fed did its first interest rise in a very long time – I think we will see an engineered recession. However, there is a presidential philosophy that since the business cycle is not dead, its better if it happens early in the new administration. So I think the Fed’s anti-trump economic policy is likely to help in 4 years.
    (In fairness you did say “heavy manipulation” but I take that as a given as that is what the fed does!)
    On Topic: The increased partisanship in the society is, I think, a result of economic concentration with the uber rich of different factions able now to enlarge their quarrels into the public sphere (thinking of the robber baron period and yellow journalism. Factionalism kills intelligent debate and discourse, which SST provides.
    I would like to register my thanks to all SST participants (and our host) who further intelligent debate and discourse.

  14. Gordon Wilson says:

    I’m your Huckleberry OM. I have to admit to being quite weary of debating conservatives, or liberals for that matter, because on the internet all things are made new every day, and so the repetition eventually wears one out.
    No one that I’m aware of is thinking that Trumps appointments won’t get confirmed, only that the opposition to them should be united and steadfast. Whether this is tit for tat, or based on principled opposition is a matter of motivation, not expectations.
    I will point out that divide and conquer, whether by the neo-cons in the ME, or neo-liberals here at home are designed to inspire horizontal violence instead of vertical, and I am of the opinion that as long as policy is viewed through partisan lens’ then there is no basis for debate or discussions as each side has only the facts necessary to making its’ own points, whereas in any debate one should be able to argue the side that they oppose as well if not better than the opponent. I find this to be becoming as rare as the gold of Ophir in our political discussions.
    As to the use of torture, anyone who advocates for it should put themselves first in line to receive it. One cannot condone it because no one was prosecuted for doing so and it is now, therefore, alright. It produces nothing worthwhile as far as intelligence goes, and is repugnant to both our religious and political ideals.
    As for things escalating into the ultimate war in Europe one need only ask themselves what the worst case scenario would be of such an event. A couple of waffleheaded neo-cons may think a limited nuclear war is winnable, but then they haven’t exactly been fonts of wisdom or insight since I have been paying attention to foreign affairs. Russia is in no position to go toe to toe with the United States, nor in my opinion, is a coalition of adversarial states in such a position. Anyone that thinks that geography will somehow save them in such an event should drink another Budweiser and think about it some more.
    I don’t see any wide spread effort anywhere for the overthrow of Trump and would be interested in your sourcing for that assertion which in my opinion is ludicrous on its face. In spite of what the wisdom of the various masses may be, most Americans are loyal to the Constitution. One can only shudder at what lunacy the partisans would come up with to replace it, especially considering that in spite of all of its’ flaws, there are no men of political stature and insight of equal to that of the founding fathers, or the elegance of their republic in any modern political party of institution.
    As for Keynesian economics I am compelled to ask you to define your terms.

  15. The Beaver says:

    FYI: Victoria Nuland was asked to leave her post (been replaced by the Ambassador to Armenia) and she gave her letter of resignation.

  16. FourthAndLong says:

    This article (linked below) arrived for my attention this morning. It purports to be a professionally (Psychiatrist MD) authored sketch of a psychological profile of President Putin of the Russian Federation, by a man who worked for the US embassy in Moscow of late.
    Does not reek at all of the “two-bit thug” meme so frequent in popular presentations. Worth a look IMHO.
    On another note I see that our deal-maker-in-chief is bandying about ideas of safe zones to be established in Syria. Push back has been immediate, with the usual bravura that any such constructs would amount to “an act of war” or “no-fly-zones” or “WW III” and risk US combat with the Russians. I don’t necessarily see how that follows.
    Trump very possibly may sincerely mean it as an adjunct to his program of limiting immigration to the US for the time being. Hopefully humane corrals over there, not here, with the idea of promoting a rebuilding of Syria entity.
    If so it positively illustrates his merits as a negotiator — in this case having thought through the very challenging tasks he has set himself, the nation and the world at large. Vividly debated, scorned and discussed by all manner of people in the US media, and at Press.tv.
    Foreign Minister of the UK Boris Johnson has been making reasonable noises concurrent with PM May’s visit yesterday.
    Time may tell.

  17. Babak Makkinejad says:

    He was a disgrace and a fool.
    I do feel sorry for his parents who have to live with that self-inflicted catastrophe.

  18. Babak Makkinejad says:

    That is my sense of it too; there is no willingness to strategically settle with Iran – perhaps because of the magnitude of equities sunk into containing Iran by her antagonists over the last few decades.
    I think Trump will follow in the footsteps of Bush II when it comes to the Middle East.

  19. Babak Makkinejad says:

    May be he is trying to frighten others in order to get a deal.
    If he wanted to limit immigration to US he would have tried to settle the various wars among Muslims in which US has sunk equities.

  20. marc b. says:

    the increased partisanship, imo, is the result of income inequality, the insistence of the dems/liberals of elevating identity politics over economic interests, and the general neo-lib project of transforming citizens into consumers. (if i see another TV commercial equating the choice of one phone plan over another with political activism, i will vomit.)

  21. Babak Makkinejad says:

    There is a war in Somalia with not much of a purse.
    More broadly, underestimating Russia because she is not a great economic power and predicating an aggressive political strategy on that belief is suicidal.
    “Russians are down but not out.” Nixon observed.
    “They will be back.”; he added.
    “We need to treat them with respect.”; he ended.

  22. Babak Makkinejad says:

    Boris Johnson is a buffoon; his class and his expensive education has gotten into his head. Ask David Habakkuk.

  23. rjj says:

    WRT BJ’s buffoonery: are you sure it is not just Euromongrel calculation + guile?? I suspect he’s Pimperneling it up (Brits might spell that Pimpernelling).
    What is his class, btw?

  24. FourthAndLong says:

    Article at above link cites DebkaFile as reporting a three part partition of Syria agreed upon by Russia, US and Turkey.
    US region supposedly all territory east of the Euphrates river.
    Maybe b knows something about this.

  25. AK says:

    Stu Wood,
    Statements like this are indicative the selective historic memory or outright denial of history displayed by people like Harvey. “It is only a matter of time before jihadists begin to seek vengeance against Russia, rather than the West.”
    Jihadists have been active in Russia for quite some time now:
    https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Beslan_school_siege – “The crisis began when a group of armed Islamic Groups, mostly Ingush and Chechen, occupied School Number One (SNO)… At least 330 hostages were killed, including 186 children, with a significant number of people injured and reported missing.”
    https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Moscow_theater_hostage_crisis – “The Moscow theater hostage crisis …involved 850 hostages and ended with the death of at least 170 people. The attackers, led by Movsar Barayev, claimed allegiance to the Islamist militant separatist movement in Chechnya. They demanded the withdrawal of Russian forces from Chechnya and an end to the Second Chechen War.”
    https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Budyonnovsk_hospital_hostage_crisis – “According to official figures, 129 civilians were killed and 415 were injured in the entire event (of whom 18 later died of their wounds). This includes at least 105 hostage fatalities. However, according to an independent estimate 166 hostages were killed and 541 injured in the special forces attack on the hospital. At least 11 Russian police officers and 14 soldiers were killed.”
    https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/1999_Russian_apartment_bombings – “The 1999 Russian apartment bombings were a series of attacks carried out on four apartment blocks in the Russian cities of Buynaksk, Moscow, and Volgodonsk in September 1999 that killed 293 people and injured more than 1000 and spread a wave of fear across the country.”
    The list goes on. Multiple bombings of the Moscow metro, airport bombings, train bombings, raids on government facilities, and of course, the mid-flight bombing of a Russian passenger aircraft in October 2015. The Russians have a very keen sense of the pain of war and the cost of domestic terror. They also have a keen sense of who is committing these acts. Given that the rebel groups in Syria are heavily populated with jihadist fighters from the North Caucasus, it makes absolute strategic sense that Russia would happily help the Syrian government liquidate them expeditiously, rather than let them return to commit more of these acts. If the United States were subject to a similar history of such atrocities from these people, you can be sure we’d have turned the whole place into glass by now. It’s a familiar and long-standing hypocrisy on our part to preach as we do.

  26. FourthAndLong says:

    Dunno. Wild rumors though at DEBKAfile concerning tripartite division of Syria in the works. Russia, Turkey, USA, with Iran and Hezbollah kicked out. Be surprised if so.

  27. The Beaver says:

    @ Babak
    God forbid Eliot Abrams becomes the #2 at Foggy Bottom.

  28. different clue says:

    A co-worker of mine has long called it the creeping crud, in homage to its long-lastingness and unwillingness to finally and conclusively cure and be gone.
    Many years ago where I work, there was a mostly-infants-and-toddlers’ virus disease racing around the children’s hospital division of the grand hospital. Some of it spread to the grown-ups.I had cold-like/ sore-throat-like symptoms and debility for about 9 weeks before it finally ebbed away.
    Its nice when its gone.

  29. different clue says:

    Babak Makkinejad,
    The Mainstream Republicans would certainly like to force Trump’s feet into the Bush II footsteps. I read in today’s paper where some senior Republican Senators are “warning” President Trump against “removing sanctions against Russia” until Russia “corrects the behavior which caused the sanctions to be imposed to begin with.”
    Two key Republican Senators said they will seek legislation locking in the sanctions as a matter of Law. Those Senators were Portman and McCain. The Clintonite Democrats will certainly support such legislation.
    The Senate remains a seething mass of Clintonites and McCainiacs. Trump should regard the Senate as Enemy Territory, but he should certainly give no hint that he regards it as such.
    ( I will again offer the conditional if-this/ then-that prediction that if the Mainstream Republicans in the House vote to impeach Trump, that the House Clintonites will all support it. And that the McCainiac and Clintonite Senators will all vote to convict. (In that scenario, if Senator Sanders can resist the overwhelming Clintonite pressure to vote to convict, and if Sanders can vote NOT to convict, then Sanders will have laid the base for a genuine alt.left to emerge. I hope Sanders has some people reading these threads).

  30. different clue says:

    Old Microbiologist,
    I have had the same feeling here in Michigan. We have a big Art Fair every July here, and there is always a Political Booths section.
    Ever since Obama, I have discovered the Democrats to be unpleasant and nasty to talk to. And even worse, they have been deeply boring.
    They have willingly reduced themselves to “phone-tree answering machines” for Obama. I get the same few answers no matter how many buttons I push.
    Whereas the Republicans have been personally interesting to talk to. They have fun and I have fun.

  31. Lochearn says:

    Colonel Lang, I want to thank you and your colleagues for all you do to inform us, and it pains me that you feel you have to shut down your valuable work. I see the same level of nastiness over on b.’s site.
    I have friends and family who are typically left liberal and I think it was 14 to one against me at Christmas, all of them screaming about how bad Trump is. It was quite upsetting. Having just done a late-in-life PHD about the relations between corporations and the financial sector with specific reference to manufacturing, and which involved talking to a lot of CEOs and Financial Directors and fund managers, I guess I have changed and they haven’t.

  32. Cold War Zoomie says:

    Of all the sturm und drang the last week, Trump’s vague policy approach with China has me the most worried. My biggest question is how much economic pain can their people and leadership endure if we have a trade war? It’s been simmering in the background unresolved.

  33. Cee says:

    Find an old article Chechen American Friends.

  34. Cee says:

    Some people have been detained at my airport. Another in NY who was an Iraqi translator
    The origin of the new ban, extreme vetting or whatever you want to call it.
    From Mint Press
    Here’s how it began.
    The bill is modeled off of legislation introduced in the Senate by Dianne Feinstein (D-CA) and Jeff Flake (R-AZ) which would bar individuals who have travelled to Iraq or Syria since the start of the Syrian civil war in March 2011 from coming to the United States under the Visa Waiver Program.
    The effort to close certain loopholes in the program gained momentum in the aftermath of the Paris attacks, and the subsequent effort by House Republicans – prodded on by most of the GOP Presidential candidates – to pass legislation to block the U.S. from accepting Syrian refugees.
    That legislation passed the House and, alarmingly to some senior Democrats, attracted almost fifty House Democrats who crossed lines to support it. Concerned that the political pressure was too great to hold off that bill from passing into law above the President’s veto, thanks in no small part to toxic rhetoric from the likes of Donald Trump, some lawmakers calculated that they could dampen the appetite for xenophobic retribution by pursuing restrictions on the Visa Waiver Program.

  35. Cee says:

    This has bothered me all morning since reading your post.
    Here is the article
    THIS is a movie that has haunted me for years pertaining to the topic.
    3 Days in September.

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