The end is in sight in Syria

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Editorial comment:

IMO there is a private understanding among DJT /Putin/Iran and Bashar Assad as to the desired outcome in Syria.:

  1. It is reported that the State Department and DoD were "blindsided" by Trump's instruction for them to stop supplying the SDF/YPG with arms and munitions.  This fits with information reaching me from the field that CENTCOM has been ordered to cease kinetic air operations west of the Euphrates River
  2. The head of SDF/YPG has now indicated willingness to accept integration into the SAA in a post war federated Syria.
  3. Avigdor Lieberman the Israeli Minister of Defense has now stated that there are no Iranian combat units in Syria only advisors, logistic people and trainers, and that Israeli concern is for a future Iranian presence.  That is a marked softening of previous Israeli positions.
  4. The Astana process and a constitutional and legislative conference in Damascus seem to be making progress.
  5. Putin and Assad met last week in Sochi for a "come to poppa" style meeting at which understandings were reached.
  6. HTS and IS are busy chopping each other up in the giant Idlib pocket.  A clean up there can be expected once the mopping up between Deir al-Zor and Al-Qaim is completed. 
  7. The Turks are reduced to muttering their usual snarls about what they expect or do not expect from people like Trump.  In this case Erdogan hints darkly at yet more ill will if the Trump allows the Kurds to be further armed.  I don't think Trump cares at all about the Kurds and no much about Turkey.  Why should he?
  8. Syrian refugees are returning in large numbers from exile.

IMO the DEAL will include autonomy for the Syrian Kurds within a re-united Syria.  There will be a new constitution that will modernize a number of outdated restrictions as to inclusiveness in Syrian government.  There will then be internationally supervised national elections in which Bashar Assad will be re-elected by an electorate that includes refugees in Jordan, Turkey and Europe.  pl

 

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172 Responses to The end is in sight in Syria

  1. outthere says:

    Agree with all points in your outline.
    BUT, I do not think USA has yet conceded the oilfields east of Euphrates, which it now occupies with SDF/YPG.
    Do you really think USA/SDF/YPG cede that area as part of a deal about “integration into SAA”?
    Of course I am all for reconciliation.

  2. turcopolier says:

    outthere
    So, you think the US wants to steal Syria’s small oil deposits and that DJT would let a grand deal go down the drain over that? pl

  3. turcopolier says:

    Sif finster
    You do not understand how the US government works at the top. All these people will do what the president orders them to do. pl

  4. Harry says:

    In my worthless opinion, such a deal would vindicate the American electoral college’s choice. A lot of people will be better off, even if the Saudis and some Israelis are unhappy.

  5. Will.2718 says:

    An interesting tidbit that came out somewhere in the Hariri resign-unresign drama- the matter of Syrian refugees in Lebanon. They must be mostly Sunni. The Lebanese Sunna apparently don’t want them to return home citing it’s yet unsafe for them. Whereas the others say that is just a pretext because they want their dwindling numbers bolstered.
    Another consideration sometimes cited is that the overseas Syrian vote is easier to influence or bribe w/ petrodollars.

  6. outthere says:

    that is the question
    it will be the proof of any hope for Trump success

  7. Willybilly says:

    Pat, erratum… “ by an electorate that includes refugees in Jordan, Lebanon, Turkey and Europe… ( Lebanon has close to two million Syrian refugees…) thanks!

  8. ISL says:

    Dear Colonel,
    Also, China has indicated that Syria is part of the Belt Road Initiative, implying Chinese investments will flow (over which the US has no control).
    I revise upwards the Trump Foreign Policy – accepting a fait accompli is not something the US has done in a while… our modus operandi has been sabotage sabotage sabotage when we lose.
    Perhaps surrounding himself with neocons to disarm them, and then ignoring them was the plan. Of course they will have their knives out.

  9. dilbert dogbert says:

    Or remembering Honor Duty Country and quitting or resigning.

  10. turcopolier says:

    linconite
    Thie is not a parliamentary system. The president’s direction always prevails when he chooses to make it clear. pl

  11. turcopolier says:

    dilbert dogbert
    You can only resign once. Once they do that they are gone. What do you think threy are going to do, stage a coup? Ridiculous. pl

  12. turcopolier says:

    ISL
    Adviser are just advisers. They are his creatures. pl

  13. blue peacock says:

    Col. Lang
    A positive outcome after all the destruction. It looks like Putin’s military intervention checkmated Obama and the neocons.
    Trump may be smarter than all the NeverTrumpers believe. He sure outsmarted Hillary, the MSM and the establishment of both parties in the election.

  14. jpb says:

    Check the VVP-DJT body language at 3:30 in Da Nang: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Zs0LKyA9Y_Q&t=258s
    Check DJT twitter feed on Erdogan phone call:
    Donald J. Trump‏Verified account
    @realDonaldTrump
    Nov 24
    More
    Will be speaking to President Recep Tayyip Erdogan of Turkey this morning about bringing peace to the mess that I inherited in the Middle East. I will get it all done, but what a mistake, in lives and dollars (6 trillion), to be there in the first place!
    DJT told Erdogan the USA will stop delivery of heavy weapons to the YPG. It appears DJT is stepping down Mideast conflict with SCO alliance of Russia,
    China, and Iran. DJT is a reality based high IQ capitalist who would naturally prefer business, to suicidal conflict with determined capable adversaries.
    “What a mistake to be there in the first place!” I appreciate PL’s comment that the US government follows the president’s orders. He must have certain guarantees to risk his family and fortune to undertake an effort to “Make America Great Again”. Perhaps, this explains the presence of ‘The Generals’ in his staff.

  15. I agree with your outline of the final deal, but your 2nd point is not as rosy as it appears in some accounts. This story stems from an interview given by Riad Darar,co-chairman of the Syrian Democratic Council, to Rudaw TV. Darar clarified his initial comments after many thought he said the YPG/SDF would integrate with the SAA under a federated Syria. He later specified that the YPG/SDF would be part of a New Syrian Army separate from the “regime army” as part of a new federated Syria. I think the Rojava Kurds want an independent Rojava with an independent foreign policy and defense force only loosely connected with Damascus. That’s overly optimistic and totally unrealistic.
    I bet CENTCOM is pushing that position among the YPG/SDF leadership. That’s as dumb as the day is long. My fervent desire is that every Green Beret in Syria, every swinging dick one of them, is quietly preparing their Kurdish and Arab counterpart in the YPG/SDF for the demobilization phase and an integration into the SAA. Trump’s instructions should bolster that course of action.
    I also agree that Trump doesn’t give a damn about the Kurds or Turks. I don’t think he gives a damn about the Iranians, Israelis or Russians either. Nor does he care about the flyover America of his base. He cares only for himself and his brand. This total lack of ideological compass is a good thing, as opposed to his apparent total lack of a moral compass. Nothing would bolster Trump’s brand and his ego more than to have a prosperous nation at peace with the world on his watch. Ideologies only get in the way of that.

  16. turcopolier says:

    TTG
    IMO there is zero chance of an independent Syria Kurdish state. IMO CENTCOM will be brought heel if they get in the way of a deal. A fired and retired general is not in the least beyond Trump’s reach. I am told that here is consternation in CENTCOM at the way they have been reined in. pl

  17. turcopolier says:

    Willybilly
    I don’t get your point. you think that Syrians in exile in Lebanon would not vote for Assad? If you think that I would say that you have been deluded by the propaganda narrative. The Baathist government always had many Sunni supporters and the SAA is mostly Sunni. pl

  18. GeneO says:

    The Syrian Kurds and the YPG have always been willing to accept Assad and integration into a Syria with Damascus leadership as long as they had some degree of local control. The Syriac militias of the SDF and the Shammar Arab tribal militias will accept the same. As for the other Arab Militias in the SDF and the Turkmen militias, they do not have much choice other than to accept.
    And for the oil, look to Rosneft or other Russian oil companies to work with the Damascus on rebuilding the oilfields and putting them back into production.

  19. Beige Barbaria says:

    Col. Lang:
    I hope your estimation is correct and peace in Syria will come to pass and refugees can go home.

  20. turcopolier says:

    Willybilly
    Ah, I see, you buy the “b” line that Trump can be removed by the generals and the striped pants crowd at State. You don’t know anything about the US government. “b” wishes to believe that our constitution is a farce and that we are a banana republic. He hates the US. Are you an American? pl

  21. turcopolier says:

    james
    Attempted subterfuge is unimportant. Successful subterfuge is dangerous. When Trump orders them to do something, they will do it. You have read too many cheap novels and have watched too many half-assed movies. pl

  22. sillybill says:

    I wonder who would run against Assad in the election? I would presume that anyone from the rebel/jihadi groups would be ineligible since they took up arms against the gov. Who has the name recognition and reputation to be a credible opponent?

  23. Annem says:

    The only person I believe could challenge Assad for the presidency at this point is Soheil Hassan. He’s got the charisma and is a national hero. He is an insider with the people that really call the shots within the regime. I honestly don’t think that Putin is as wedded to Assad as he wants the regime to endure and maintain stability; no Iraq type state collapse. Getting rid of Assad would also allow all the “opposition” that made that a precondition for any reconciliation to participate in this scenario. Also, there are just too many Syrians from all parts of the society that suffered terribly under the Assad family over the past decades. It’s hard to imagine that things would remain stable for very long and could lead to a military coup. Better that the regime shave off the very top layer like the Egyptians did by sacrificing Mubarak and his buddies, making it easy to reclaim power after the MBs blew it.
    Meanwhile, Mattis et al seem not to have gotten the memo about Trump’s deal since they continue to talk about a base in north eastern Syria to stop Iran’s bad intentions whatever they are.

  24. Charles Michael says:

    The Russian military intervention was certainly timely and very effective
    but one must not forget to give its due to the diplomatic skills of the Russians ‘talking to everybody) and their constant creative but principled reactions, showing restrain and strength.

  25. ISL says:

    Dear Colonel,
    True, which always made me wonder whether it was just extreme narcissism that underlie Obama’s drinking the koolaid, as opposed to a weak personality. It so often seemed he just didnt give a damn.

  26. Dubhaltach says:

    In reply to Will.2718 27 November 2017 at 11:51 AM
    > The Lebanese Sunna apparently don’t want them to return home citing it’s yet unsafe for them. Whereas the others say that is just a pretext because they want their dwindling numbers bolstered.
    I very much doubt both statements. I did a lot of my growing up in Lebanon and Syrians were both despised and hated. That hasn’t changed. As to boosting the numbers while it’s true that you can acquire Lebanese citizenship by naturalisation the reality is that the process is fraught with bureacratic traps and essentially is only available if you’re rich.
    Lots and lots of luck trying to change that situation in the current political climate in Lebanon.

  27. Fred says:

    Harry,
    How about the choice of all those voters who sent those electors to the electoral college?

  28. Dubhaltach says:

    In reply to turcopolier 27 November 2017 at 01:17 PM
    Sir, Only Syrians resident in Syria are allowed the vote.
    I’m open to correction on this but so far as I know this whole refugees voting talk came about because President Assad did make some remarks that he might be consider allowing Syrians who were refugees to vote in future plebisicites but there’s been nothing either heard about or done about this since.
    A politician blue-skying and making throw away remarks! Oh how shocking!

  29. I believe the Colonel’s assessment is correct.
    However, with regard to Israel’s “softening position”, Bibi just repeated his threat to strike in Syria if Iran builds any bases there.
    To my understanding, Iran is already building or has built a missile factory somewhere close to the Russian air base in Syria, presumably to fall under the Russian AA umbrella. Although those missiles will putatively be for the Syrian military, my guess is a number will end up in Hizballah hands in Lebanon.
    And given the Israeli agitation for US action against Hizballah, I think any “softening” of the Israeli position is just acceptance of the fact that the original plan to take out Syria first has fallen apart. They still want Hizballah – the main threat – taken out and want the US to help them do it.
    Trump may have decided to go along with leaving Assad in power, but his anti-Iran stance means he’s likely to go along with an Israeli attack on Hizballah. The Syria crisis was never anything but a way station to that end, and an Iran war, anyway.

  30. Peter AU says:

    I notices articles in AMN and Muraselon about the Kurds/SDF announcing something along these lines. Trump allowing Centcom to do their thing over the last six months or so just a play to create leverage to negotiate a good position for the Kurds, allowing the US to then pull out?

  31. Trump may not be the greatest POTUS, but he is, hands down the best this century.

  32. turcopolier says:

    richardstevenhack
    A softening of position does not mean a change of heart. I didn’t say it did. Israel is not going to attack Lebanon any time soon. they are deterred. pl

  33. turcopolier says:

    dubhaltach
    According to this wiki refugees voted in the presidential election of 2014. https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Syrian_presidential_election,_2014 pl

  34. turcopolier says:

    Annem
    IMO. he does not tell them what his intentions are. pl

  35. jsn says:

    If one is to believe David Talbot’s biography of Allen Dulles, “The Devil’s Chessboard”, there is a long history of treasonous insubordination at the top of the CIA.
    It began with Allen and John Dulles pursuing the interests of Krupp and I G Farben in the lead up to the war and carrying those business interests with them into the war time OSS up to and including Allen Dulles attempt to execute a separate peace with the Nazis in direct contravention to orders from the President. It’s a fantastic story in every sense and paints a very dark picture of the CIA.
    I claim no real expertise here, just critical thinking, and the story as told in the book maps over historical reality as I’ve come to understand it pretty well. I don’t believe for a moment the generals will try to remove Trump, but it won’t surprise me at all to see the CIA try again to force his hand and/or undermine his efforts.

  36. Bill Herschel says:

    I have a single question that is a follow-on to my belief that your analysis is correct on all points, a belief based in no small part on the tenor of your remarks, namely that they are based on hard incontrovertible knowledge.
    My question. The whole thing seems to come down to the fact that Russia was never challenged in the air. The Turks ambushed two Russian fighters, apparantly with the direct and crucial aid of the U.S who knew the Russian’s flight plan. But that was that. After that, nada. The Russians flew thousands of sorties and successfully turned the tide of battle in favor of the SAA.
    Now, there are a great many possible explanations for that kind of dominance, the great majority of which I have absolutely no knowledge of or even the ability to conjecture about. But it’s damned interesting.
    When was the last time the U.S. yielded complete air superiority to another nation in a war zone that it was very heavily implicated in? I would say, never. WWII? Korea? Vietnam? The Iraq’s? There are no examples.
    What is more, the U.S. wasn’t the only air power in the region. The Israeli air force, by its own admission perhaps the best air force in the world, was right next door. What did they do? Nada.
    And let’s look at Afghanistan. In the Russian Afghan war, the Russians were being successful with helicopters. Next minute, stingers show up and no more helicopters. So it’s not like the U.S. is afraid to participate in the shooting down of Russian aircraft.
    What happened this time? The U.S. had an overwhelming advantage in numbers. Why did it not just wipe the Russian air force off the face of the map? I have no idea.

  37. Frank says:

    Trump’s over-riding take on the Middle East is that it has cost the US six trillion dollars and counting. In his view, that has to stop. Little else matters.

  38. Will.2718 says:

    Ya gotta read b/n the lines bro. at one time Aoun was fiercely anti Assad, ditto Jumblatt. things have changed for one and are starting to change for the other. As far as Gaga and his ilk, it depends on who wrote their last check?
    “Aoun told the envoys there were areas of Syria not currently at war and areas where calm has returned, a media office spokesman said.

    “The return of displaced to stable and low-tension areas must be carried out without attaching it to reaching a political solution,” the president’s Twitter account said, describing what Aoun said in the meeting.
    …………
    Lebanese Prime Minister Saad al-Hariri has said there can be no forced return to Syria. The U.N’s refugee agency has said it does not yet conducive.”
    http://www.businessinsider.com/r-lebanon-president-calls-for-return-of-syrian-refugees-from-lebanon-2017-10nsider conditions in Syria conducive for safe refugee returns.”
    yet hundred of thousands have already returned to Aleppo.
    For sure, the point that refugee vote can be manipulated by petrodollars easier out of country is obvious. But Assad won the last refugee vote in Lebanon anyway, though the antis skewed the results by their boycott.
    https://www.theguardian.com/world/2014/may/28/syrians-lebaanon-vote-assad-embassies-refugees-boycott

  39. Walrus says:

    If we are not careful, the Borg is going to create the meme that “Trump stabbed us in the back”. “Our operations in Syria were going really well. However President Trump withdrew American support of our plucky allies just as victory was within our grasp”.
    I expect to read something in the MSM like this soon.
    “Someone” needs to pre-empt this by writing an epitaph for our middle east policy now.

  40. JohnB says:

    Annem
    Assad will win any election in Syria. But i would expect the new constitution will include term limits for the Presidency. Plus I don’t think Assad has any dynastic ambition but he probably has the job for say ten years. In the short term only Assad is able to unite the majority of Syrians together, he is the glue that holds everything together.
    Your right many Syrians did suffer under Assad family but the majority have always supported him. When I was in Syria in 2008. It was told to me that 25% of the population hated him about 30% worshiped the Assad family
    and the rest saw him as the best option to provide them with security and best protector of the multi-confessional state
    I would hazard a guess that Assad is even more popular now then he was back then. However. there will always be a significant minority of the population who want a Sunni dominated MB style state.

  41. Keith Harbaugh says:

    For comparison, here’s what some people are telling WaPo is going to happen:
    “U.S. moves toward open-ended presence in Syria after Islamic State is routed”
    by Karen DeYong and Liz Sly, 2017-11-22
    https://www.washingtonpost.com/world/national-security/us-moves-toward-open-ended-presence-in-syria-after-islamic-state-is-routed/2017/11/22/1cd36c92-ce13-11e7-a1a3-0d1e45a6de3d_story.html

    The Trump administration is expanding its goals in Syria beyond routing the Islamic State
    to include a political settlement of the country’s civil war,
    a daunting and potentially open-ended commitment
    that could draw the United States into conflict with both Syria and Iran.

    U.S. officials say they plan to maintain a U.S. troop presence in northern Syria —
    where the Americans have trained and assisted the SDF against the Islamic State —
    and establish new local governance, apart from the Assad government, in those areas.

    The Islamic State’s original expansion was enabled by the vacuum of authority left by the Syrian civil war, [an] official said.
    “That vacuum was created by the lack of a legitimate political process,” and the militant group, or its successors, will fill it again if the “political aspect” is not resolved.
    Asked last week how long U.S. troops would stay in Syria,
    Defense Secretary Jim Mattis said:
    “We’re not just going to walk away right now”
    before a political settlement is reached between Assad and the Syrian opposition.
    “We’re going to make sure we set the conditions for a diplomatic solution. . . .
    Not just, you know, fight the military part of it
    and then say good luck on the rest of it.”

    Sure sounds like SecDef Mattis is not in favor of a pullout.
    Note the perceived need for “we” to set conditions for a political settlement.
    Sure sounds like you’re right, Colonel, about the (unfortunate) views of some of the generals.

  42. VietnamVet says:

    Colonel
    I pray that you are correct. I am far more pessimistic. In many ways, today is similar to the first wave of globalization during the Gilded Age that ended in World War I with Germany defeated but not conquered. The second wave is wrecking the Mid-lands in the West.
    https://www.theautomaticearth.com/2017/11/the-end-of-dreams-and-the-saving-of-appearances/
    I agree with Walrus. If this withdrawal is framed as a surrender to Russia; cosmopolitans, military contractors and Israel-firsters will say that Donald Trump stabbed America in the back. If the economy continues its decline, inequality increases, and politics deadlocks; the USA will replay the rise of a Tyrant just like the Weimer Republic in Germany between the World Wars.

  43. GeneO says:

    Why would Assad incorporate the SDF into the SAA? Then he would have to arm them. Better to let them be, and consider them to be similar to those militias under the umbrella of the NDF.
    Riad Darar is Arab, not Kurdish. He is from Deir ez-Zor, not sure what tribal affiliation. He claims to be independent and not part of any of the different political parties that are members of the SDC. He spent five years in a Damascus prison, was released in 2010 and has spent most of the past seven years in Germany. He has a blog but it is in Arabic.

  44. Sylvia 1 says:

    Maybe it wasn’t possible to do without suffering unacceptable losses? Perhaps this vaulted “air superiority” isn’t there?

  45. turcopolier says:

    VV
    You are a bit boring in your everlasting pessimism. pl

  46. different clue says:

    Bill Herschel,
    Russia has the atom bombs and the multiple ways to deliver them to deter any rival government from trying to destroy Russian freedom of air action in a situation very important to Russia.
    Maybe ten thousand big and little atom bombs is all the reason needed.

  47. Babak Makkinejad says:

    I am cosmopolitan.

  48. Fred says:

    Walrus,
    Why worry about a meme when we’ve already had more than one assassination attempts on elected Republicans.

  49. The Porkchop Express says:

    You should never discount the complete idiocy of Hariri and the M14 coalition, either.

  50. Lemur says:

    I have three thoughts and questions based on the conversation in this entry so far:
    1. I notice there’s a lot of anti-Trump types in the comments sections of places like the Washington Post excoriating Trump for his ‘betrayal’ of the Kurds first in Iraq and now in Syria. There seems to be a meme in circulation that the US ‘owes’ the Kurds in general a debt. What is your view on these alleged moral obligations to the Kurds, Col.?
    2. I agree that Israel is deterred from an objective perspective, but from my parsing of Israeli media from the centre left to the hard right (both comments and articles), I’m picking up on a certain unhinged quality in the discourse. I’m unsure if we will always be able to presume Israel is a ‘rational actor.’ As Israel loses strategic clout in the region, will the self-image of the Israeli elite be able to handle Russo-Iranic constraints? In particular I’ve noticed the emergence of a ‘stab-in-the-back myth’, beginning with Obama’s Iran Deal and developing into Trump’s “indifference” to “Israeli concerns.”
    Israel would not be the first country to start a war it was bound to lose (Napoleonic France, Nazi Germany).
    3. While the President is the president, the various government bureaucracies must have developed entrenched habits. If State, for instance, has lost its Arabists, then it will probably have to be constantly course corrected like a one eyed horse if US policy moves in favour of Arabs. Or they will obey but not comply. Combine these behavours with a media apparatus plugged into elite consensus and a president can be constrained prior to matters of law. Perhaps a shorter way of framing this question is ‘how does “the borg” differ from spurious conceptions of a ‘”deep state”?’
    thanks

  51. Willybilly says:

    Will. 2718 is spot on. Taking at face value what Lebanese officials say is quite treacherous… suffice it to say that having two million or more refugees is not an easy situation, but apart from petty and other crimes, refugees are tolerated most everywhere, but all Lebanese would like to see them go back home soon. Half of Lebanon’s population are foreigners nowadays, mostly refugees …. the issues relating to changes in sectarian demography are no longer relevant now.

  52. Bandolero says:

    PL
    Most worthy of discussion I find this statement:
    “I don’t think Trump cares at all about the Kurds and no much about Turkey.”
    I agree with that, but I think it will be interesting to see how this plays out. IMO, there is a major deal between Russia, Turkey and Iran regarding Syria, that’s going to shape the region.
    I suspect Turkey may leave NATO and may push US troops out of the region at will. I don’t think that would be a bad thing. What do you think about that possibility?

  53. Willybilly says:

    Very very true…

  54. Willybilly says:

    I didn’t say that, you got me wrong…. and yes I agree with your point here. All I said is that you forgot to mention Lebanon and it’s two million of those refugees.

  55. Lemur says:

    History is cyclical. It’s best to drop the whig narrative that justifies the present zeitgeist and adopt the tragic view of history.

  56. Peter AU says:

    It has been interest watching US military hubris disappear in the last few years. Vaunted world leading kinetic tech started to disappear with the appearance of Kalibre missiles and then S-400 and upgrade S-300 systems.
    Not to worry, US was world leader in cyber warfare and this was still something that could be bragged about…. until Shadow Brokers displayed NSA hacking tools on the open net for all to see.
    The Trump ordered cruise missile attack on the Syrian airbase was an interesting piece of choreography.
    It both made Trump look presidential to the neo-cons, and allowed the Russians to show their prowess at taking down tomahawks. A large number simply disappeared before reaching land, though the wreckage of one was photographed at Tartus. A little more wind taken out of neo-con sails.

  57. Bill Herschel says:

    If you look at numbers, the air superiority is there. Even if for whatever reason the Russians were able to put up a good fight, I am under the impression that by sheer numbers alone, they would have been ultimately obliterated by the U.S. And what would Russia do after that defeat? Start WWIII with nuclear weapons? A nation that has seen on its own soil what 10,000,000 deaths during wartime looks like? I doubt it very much.
    And then there’s Crimea. The U.S. has launched the greatest propaganda campaign in the history of the world following Russia’s annexation of Crimea, and it certainly has put special forces in Ukraine. But what has come of it? Nothing. What goal has the U.S. achieved in Ukraine? What military tour de force has it accomplished?
    What’s going on? I don’t know, but convincing the “average man” in the West that Vlaidimir Putin is a close relative of Satan is looking less and less like a victory. And I don’t think and hope that Donald Trump whatever his faults may be is the man to suddenly say that he has had enough and it’s bombs away over Moscow.
    Is it equivalent to hating America to say that spending a trillion dollars a year (including Veteran’s benefits) for all this is looking more and more stupid? I think Donald Trump knows when he is not getting his money’s worth. At least I hope it’s that way.

  58. Eric Newhill says:

    VV,
    The economy is doing reasonably well and if a decent tax reform is passed, it will really pick up. Business views Trump very favorably. He has already eliminated a number of pain in the ass Obama era regulations and sent other positive signals. US businesses are sitting on relative huge amounts of cash. A pro-business Trump can get them to begin investing again and having that investment be in the USA.
    Ignore the reflex to wonkishly debate the minutia of the tax reform or indulge in “it will help the rich get richer” reflex. Markets have a large, important and often overlooked psychological component. Trump is doing all the right things in that regard. The rich will get richer and the less well-off will have more employment opportunities. Win/Win for all. If he can get some immigration controls in place, that will help reduce labor supply, particularly in the lower skilled labor markets, which will further boost the prosperity of the lower income quartile. Things are going to be just fine in that regard.
    Let the elites and zionists say what they will about the impending victory in Syria. They are talking to themselves. No one else really cares. Trump was elected partly on making friends with Russia, destroying ISIS and avoiding wars in third world piss holes. Trump’s base has a favorable view of Russia. His base will love him for what is happening and the leftists, as much as they hate Trump, are anti-war.

  59. Peter AU says:

    From what I can make of it, Syria government before US intervention, armed the Kurds as best they could, so they could defend against the jihadists. Kurds, before the Obama/neo-con US moved in, were the genuine moderate opposition.

  60. Dubhaltach says:

    I stand corrected – there’s also this report from the Guardian: Syrians in Lebanon battle crowds to vote for Bashar al-Assad | World news | The Guardian

  61. Dubhaltach says:

    HOw does any of what you’ve said alter the fact that Syrians are both hated and despised throughout broad swathes of Lebanese society.
    How does any of what you’ve said alter the fact that there are no circumstances whatsoever under which the Christian bloc and the Shi’i bloc are going to permit the balance in the country to be altered in favour of Sunni muslims.
    Not going to happen.

  62. GeneO says:

    Erdogan is going for an open-ended, enduring presence in Syria. He has established Posta ve Telgraf Teşkilatı post offices in Jarabuls, al-Bab and al-Rai in northern Aleppo.
    https://twitter.com/Acemal71/status/934542140662796288
    Note they have both the FSA flag and the Turkish flags side by side. Wouldn’t want those ‘Syrian’ liberators in Aleppo cut off from their care packages from Mom and Dad back in Ankara.

  63. EEngineer says:

    At that point it is no longer a proxy war and there is no way to hide the fact that it is naked aggression.

  64. Peter AU says:

    I am beginning to get the impression (from reading his book and observing his actions) that Trump is like a professional fighter. Working his way up from opponent to opponent until he gets to face the best. The neo-con establishment is the ultimate opponent. This will be an interesting bout.
    The other thing, if what he wrote in 1987 is anything to go by, is that for Trump, delivering a product that has been promised is very important. The customer, in this case, is the section of the US public that he promised to deliver a product to.

  65. Kutte says:

    So DJT made a grand deal? Not bad for a “buffoon”, dont you think?

  66. LG says:

    So true. This is a time for celebration. What we have to understand is that cosmopolitans, military contractors and Israel-firsters threw at Syria all they could and even then it didn’t stick. There are no plan Bs or Cs.

  67. confusedponderer says:

    VV,
    the Gilded Age that ended in World War I with Germany defeated but not conquered
    The ‘not conquered‘ bit is a remarkable statement. That’s amusing me, in its own absurd way. Now, what are you talking about exactly? Please elaborate.
    Even when I’m in a more generous mood, I wouldn’t call, say, british troops being stationed in and marching in Cologne, or, while at it, french troops stationed in the Ruhrgebiet as exactly ‘not conquered‘.
    http://n450v.alamy.com/450v/bjw9n6/british-troops-marching-in-cologne-germany-1918-1926-bjw9n6.jpg
    To me what’s to be seen on the pic looks like allied, likely british, troops in Cologne. The ‘Dom’ in the background makes that rather clear. How ‘not conquered‘.
    Now, please just tell me how ‘not conquered‘ it is to have foreign troops marching your streets and living in your town’s barracks, formerly housing german troops.
    Just as a reminder, iirc the first BAOR, British Army of the Rhine, was set up after 1918 to implement the occupation of the Rhineland.
    https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Allied_occupation_of_the_Rhineland
    You may want to argue that ‘occupation is not conquering’ or something like that, but then I’ll tell you that you’re kidding yourself.

  68. Wondook says:

    Walrus & VietnamVet, I have followed your contributions for at least two years, and have seldom found a reason to disagree with you. Given I mostly completely agreed with your posts, it is the more difficult for me to disagree now. The allegory of the “stab in the back” worked towards the emergence of totalitarianism in Germany the context of an existential defeat such as the first world war and the German revolutions and foreign occupations (Italy in Innsbruck, France in the Ruhr) that followed. While the analogy of a return to economic conditions as they were in the “gilded age” before the 1914-18 war is certainly correct, I fail to see how Americans could see a withdrawal from one among the crazier of the Middle East adventures as a critical defeat of their country.

  69. I hope it doesn’t disturb the sequence of this thread but the emphasis at present seems to be on whether Trump is being resisted by his Administration, or parts of it.
    Changing the policy direction of a huge and complex bureaucracy, and many in that bureaucracy attached to or used to the policies of the previous Administration, is one thing. But surely the main pressure on Trump must be electoral. He will wish to be re-elected and he will wish to see politicians elected who will not frustrate his policy aims.
    The main battle therefore must be for public opinion, which is inevitably a struggle with those who can influence the means of shaping public opinion.
    I came across a piece of journalism which I believe gives some insight into the world of those who are in a position to do that. Soros-land, I suppose one could call it – those who have integrated their business activities with this or that political cause and thus can both further their business or commercial activities and buy influence and the means of influencing others.
    It’s superficial journalism but maybe that’s appropriate for describing the world of chancers and hustlers that, I believe, may have more influence on the workings of our democracies than any number of possibly recalcitrant officials:
    https://www.newyorker.com/magazine/2010/05/10/the-influencer
    It is such people as these who can shape the way we think and therefore the way we vote. It’s not a conspiracy – just a bunch of hustlers doing their thing – but unless a reforming politician can find a way round such people and the electoral influence they can exert he is their prisoner.

  70. traducteur says:

    I doubt the Zios will launch another war of aggression against Lebanon. Cowards and incompetents that they are, they must be aware that Hizballah would whip them again. Going in against men who can fight is quite different from shooting schoolchildren or carpet-bombing defenceless villages.

  71. turcopolier says:

    traducteur
    Absolument. pl

  72. per says:

    Trump seems to have long held convictions that the US should cooperate with Russia in Syria to defeat ISIS and then get out. He has held that the problem is radical islam and that the opposition might be worse than Assad. Long conversations on Syria with Putin probably reinforces these views of Trump. Also, for long, Trump has wanted to make a deal with the great man. On the other side, there is the Obama view that peace cannot be achieved as long as Assad stays in power. Will people in the White House be able to convince Trump that Trump was wrong and Obama was right?
    Then there is the question of timing. When the shooting stops, time is on Assad’s side. Refugees start to return. It will become ever more clear that Assad has the majority of the population behind him. In Sochi, the Syria-based, reasonable opposition will hammer out a new modern constitution, while the Saudi-based, islamist opposition will continue to obstruct in Geneva. Countries like Syria, Lebanon, Irak are increasingly coming to their own. Americans will increasingly be seen as spoilers and guests that have stayed their welcome, not only in Syria, but also in Irak. There will possibly be anti-American demonstrations, liberal Syrians on television saying that USA is hindering the development of Syria. The illegality of the American presence, constantly reminded of. Eventually, the Americans will have to leave Syria with their tail behind their legs.
    So there is a window of opportunity. By accepting the agreements reached in the upcoming Sochi negotiations and have the UN endorse them, Trump can make the deal of the century. Will he grasp the opportunity?

  73. turcopolier says:

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

  74. turcopolier says:

    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

  75. turcopolier says:

    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

  76. turcopolier says:

    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

  77. Will.2718 says:

    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.”

  78. turcopolier says:

    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

  79. Peter AU says:

    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.

  80. Willybilly says:

    You’re spot on on all counts.

  81. Willybilly says:

    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.

  82. turcopolier says:

    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

  83. turcopolier says:

    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

  84. turcopolier says:

    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

  85. turcopolier says:

    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

  86. turcopolier says:

    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

  87. rjj says:

    but not inappropriate.

  88. WJ says:

    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?

  89. turcopolier says:

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

  90. turcopolier says:

    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

  91. Bill Herschel says:

    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.”

  92. Bill Herschel says:

    No.

  93. turcopolier says:

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

  94. Bill Herschel says:

    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.

  95. 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.

  96. luxetveritas says:

    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/

  97. ex-PFC Chuck says:

    ” . . 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.

  98. jsn says:

    It appears that Oswald was trained in ultra-high altitude radar while in the army, just before “defecting” to the USSR at just the moment Eisenhower was trying to de-escalate with Khrushchev. At that same coincidence prone moment, John Dulles, in a clear act of insubordination, continued U-2 flights Eisenhower had ordered stopped.
    The Russians shot one down and lost trust in Eisenhower: Ike was furious but boxed out of acting on it by the Red Scare.
    Latter, Oswald manages to get a passport home just by walking into an embassy, no questions asked and conveniently meets a bunch of Allen Dulles contacts and former neighbors when he lands in Dallas.
    Can’t say I blame the Donald for cleaning house at State.

  99. Harry says:

    My opinion remains as worthless, but in the net and according to the aggregation methods outlined in the American Constitution the election reflects their will, so i thank them. I understand that California took a different view in aggregate but luckily for the people of syria their votes are weighted by their electoral college representation.

  100. Dan Pizza Guy says:

    What’s you take on the U.S. attack on the SAA at Deir Ezzor in 2016 shortly after Kerry made the deal with Russia to work together? Am I being too much of a cynic? I assumed either Ash Carter was trying to kill the deal, or Obama and Kerry never intended to actually go through with the deal in good faith?
    Was the attack an accident as the U.S. govt and media portrayed it? Given some of the statements from Pentagon officials before the deal saying they could not see a possibility of working with Russia in Syria, i figured the attack was the “deep state” or the “borg” trying to impose their own policy. I’m not one to trust the NYTimes, but I do remember Ash Carter making statements in opposition to the deal: https://www.nytimes.com/2016/09/14/world/middleeast/syria-john-kerry.html
    I just assumed at that point “the borg” decided that any deal of the sort was too much of a threat to the regime change efforts that had already been funded to the tune of many dollars and to the new cold war spending, and “accidentally” bombing the SAA at Deir Ez Zor was a gambit to prevent any new detente or cooperation with Russia?

  101. turcopolier says:

    Pizza Gut\y
    Look in the archive. pl

  102. turcopolier says:

    JSN
    Oswald was a nobody in the marines. Are you a troll? pl

  103. turcopolier says:

    ex-pfc chuck
    How did you get that idea? From the MSM? As an example have you not noticed that he watches television news all day long. Have you missed the fact that he goes out to rub elbows with people a lot. He is not in any way a hostage possessed by his staff. pl

  104. Fred says:

    Harry,
    Then you should take your opion elesewhere.

  105. Kooshy says:

    Colonel, in my understanding in past forty years 2 major events have caused first a national unity and integration among Iran and Iranians, and the second major event (war) sealed the unity of Iranians with a wide majority of western Asian minorities inclouding Shia Arabs based on common security needs for all these communities, a natural alliance. The first event that sealed the national unity to Iran was Iran and Iraq war and the one that unified the Iranians with Shia Arabs and moderate Sunnis and other minority religions of Western Asia was the war in Syria and emergence of ISIS both this events was a win against overall Neocon’ plans for greater ME. Both this events in Iran and the region are now viewed as an AMERICAN inspired plan to preserve Israel and American hegemony, it may take generations to change and wipe off this felling from the region’ streets. Who thought this will not end at US’ expense? And at what cost to US’ long term national interests ? And why 200 million
    Western Asians are less beneficial to US’ national interests and security, then those of 6 million Eastern Europeans. We need a national wake up.

  106. Dubhaltach says:

    In reply to The Porkchop Express 27 November 2017 at 09:28 PM
    Oh indeed but that being said I’m still going to go with my personal experience of the country and my continued close contacts with the place and the people who live there over the kind of glib assertions above.

  107. GeneO says:

    Peter –
    I agree they have always been the moderate opposition. But Bashar only once gave them arms (or claimed to), and that was in 2015 a year after the US intervention to help the YPG repel Daesh from Kobani. They were allies of the SAA during the lifting of the siege of Aleppo.

  108. turcopolier says:

    kooshy
    If Iranians think the US caused Saddam to invade Iran they are paranoid. Nothing like that happened. pl

  109. capcharlie says:

    that movie about Binney was released in 2015, can be viewed here:
    http://123netflix.com/watch/Nx4L6Kxz-a-good-american.html

  110. turcopolier says:

    willybilly
    Your (Lebanese) attitude toward refugees was no different when there were only Palestinian refugees in your country. pl

  111. VietnamVet says:

    Colonel, CP and Wondook,
    I hope my prophecy does not come true but, right now, one Bitcoin equals 9955.00 US Dollars.
    Corporate Media, Israel-Firsters, Exxon-Mobil, Military Contractors and Globalists will not idly stand-by as America withdraws from the Middle East. Together with Brexit, the European rightward turn, the dwindling middle-class; a western bankruptcy is due because of quantitative easing and tax cuts for the rich. America will be forced to withdraw from Europe. This will be as traumatic as Germany’s defeat in WWI. Backstabbing will rip North America’s democracy apart. Only a Tyrant will keep the states united.

  112. Kooshy says:

    Colonel, during Iran Iraq war I remember majority of educated Iranians, including the western educated and even some LA type expatriates, knew that US policy on Iran is a regime change, a reversal of the revolution. At that time, if I remember correctly the question on Iranian’ mind was not why US is seeking regime change, but the real question was, at what cost to Iran and Iranians, is US willing to bring this change to Iran, the focus of question was, why US is ( internationally, polticly )protecting a brutal decorator in Iraq against every Iranian village and town for her desired regime change end result. That strategic policy mistake IMO, tarnished the US image in Iran for long time to come more than the 53 coup. Like this exact same situation, as is now going on with regard to Yemen. Do the US policy planers know what would be the US relations with Yemen if the Hutties win this war, at the western gate of Indian Ocean? And agin, this same people in this region are asking why US/west at what cost to the region and her image polticly protected, dictatorial regimes in Saudi,
    Qatar and Turkey when they were founding and arming this savage head choppers,
    and liver eaters. IMO we the US were fooled, and US made an strategic mistake,
    we should have condemned and sanctioned those countries who financed and armed the terrorist
    in Syria and Iraq, but we just condemned the terrorist and not thier enablers. That tarnished our image for long time to come at a great long term cost to no one’ benfit.

  113. Kooshy says:

    Colonel, sorry sir I didn’t mean Iranians think US asked Saddam to invade Iran, but they do question why US polticly protected him in U.N., on Sea with his oil, and shared military info with him, against Iranians? did that benefited US,? IMO that policy was a damaging long term policy mistake. Saddam invaded another country, and is now gone, US image in the region and Iran is been damaged with pro US educated Iranians, at the US’ long term strategic cost.

  114. turcopolier says:

    kooshy
    We supported Iraq because the Gulf Arabs asked us to do so. In the context of the Iranian revolution the Arab request and our assistance to Iraq were understandable. pl

  115. FkDahl says:

    Britain removed the blockade of German ports in summer 1919 – causing an unknown but significant number of civilian German deaths. A war crime for sure, but the victor writes the history

  116. FkDahl says:

    A bit off topic, but where does the salafist terrorists who attacked the Sufi mosque in Egypt have their home perch, their bases or training camps? Do they have significant indigenous support from the more radical parts of the Muslim Brotherhood? Allied jihadists left over from the Libya debacle? Support from across the pond aka the Red Sea from Saudi Arabia?

  117. Adrestia says:

    Interesting exercise.
    Quick and dirty so suspected trolls who are not, should not be offended when I’m wrong. Catholics can break a thick candle on my back and communists a hammer and sicle as Giovannino Guareschi stated.
    https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Giovannino_Guareschi
    A “Troll hunter” button to inform the moderator of a possible troll could be a nice feature on a forum. Also for a forum reader to close troll-remarks from a page to avoid wasting time reading these.
    Not easy to determine at a glance. Putting everything in a database to assist with analyzing (eg comparing with other posts etc) would help. IMO a few indicators can be:
    * unknown poster
    * name of poster
    * type of argumenting (structure, grammar etc)
    Exclusions for being a troll can be:
    * posters who are really knowledgeable on the subjects in their reply (although these may oppose one’s own opinions)
    * real emotions in the postings
    * correcting one’s positions when wrong (eg Dubhaltach)
    I never dug into the type of trolls out there so I used the list from
    https://www.lifewire.com/types-of-internet-trolls-3485894
    What I miss in that list but who are also present on this blog are (professional) propagandists who are trying to influence opinions. If there is a better way to categorize trolls I would be obliged.
    Sid Finster
    show-off, know-it-all or blabbermouth troll / or disruptive
    jsn
    persistent debate
    Harry
    odd poster. not sure what to think of it
    Joseph Moroco
    off topic
    confusedponderer (but this could be my own prejudice)
    grammar and spellcheck or exaggeration

  118. ex-PFC Chuck says:

    Probably was MSM pollution. SWMBO watches the BBC and NBC evening news programs religiously and, although I usually retreat to my cave at such times, that’s not always possible or politic.

  119. Will.2718 says:

    The Escalation Ladder: I imagine Jack Kennedy having a bull session w/ his buddies during the Cuban Missile Crisis. If we do this, then they do that. Like a chess game- trying to think several moves ahead and see where it leads.
    Have not seen much about the US/Russ Escalation ladder except at the https://thesaker.is/
    He maintains the Kalibre Cruise Missiles change everything. He says the escalator would no longer involve tactical nukes right away. The Kalibres have great range and the US carriers are retaliatory, sitting ducks, or so he says.
    And air superiority is a big question? For sure, the US imposed a lower altitude NFZ over Albukamal/Abukamal, and the Russ had to use hi altitude bombers instead of close air support. And what about the S400’s? The Israelis are able to lob missiles into Syria. Either the Russians don’t care or the trajectories or geometry just not right? There’s a lot of buzz that WW2 radar frequencies can detect Stealth, though not precisely enough for targeting. But there are other systems- infrared, optical. Is the F22 vulnerable? A bird of beauty but needs a lot of maintenance. Then there’s the Israeli F-35 that was grounded for a while after an aerial encounter with what they said was a “bird?” Then there’s all the buzz about the Russ “Zircon” hypersonic (Mach 8) missile?
    And Russia is slightly more than the population of Mexico? Obama called it a “gas station” with a second rate GNP?
    http://www.unz.com/tsaker/war-with-russia-two-great-american-myths/
    Don’t understand all the Russia hate. They are not trying to get Alaska or the Russian river back. We are no longer ideological competitors (except the US elites push the LGBTQ agenda stuff & they are culturally resistant to it). We do not compete for natural resources. It appears they want to sell their hydrocarbons to the Europeans and have tighter economic bonds with them and US policy is dead set against that. Is it mainly business competition trying to sell arms? The Chinese are greater trade competitors, aren’t they? In the words of Rodney King: Why can’t everybody get along? As many have said in this forum, we won the Cold War and are screwing up the Peace.
    “nominibus imperium; atque, ubi solitudinem faciunt, pacem appellant.” Tacitus

  120. turcopolier says:

    Adrestia
    “Troll Hunter.” Great Norwegian film. pl

  121. Eric Newhill says:

    Dr Puck = professional borg agent, IMO

  122. capcharlie says:

    “I imagine Jack Kennedy having a bull session w/ his buddies during the Cuban Missile Crisis. If we do this, then they do that. Like a chess game- trying to think several moves ahead and see where it leads.”
    suggestion: read William R Polk
    he was there with JFK during the crisis, and afterwards he set up war games about nuclear conflict, which all had the same result
    http://www.williampolk.com/

  123. The Porkchop Express says:

    That’s fair. Though, the Lebanese in Akkar and Tripoli are a little more sympathetic to the Syrians. Not culturally. They still crack jokes about them and treat them generally in an undignified manner but the idea of more Sunnis than Shi’a is definitely something that appeals to them on a base level, not a political one.

  124. confusedponderer says:

    FkDahl,
    there even is a special name for what the Britsh blockade did to German civilians, “Steckrübenwinter”, or ‘turnip winter’.
    For the duration of World War I, Germany was constantly under threat of starvation due to the success of the British Naval blockade. Whatever meager rations remained were sent to the troops fighting the war, so the civilian population faced the brunt of the famine. The winter of 1916–1917, later known as the “Turnip Winter”, marked one of the harshest years in wartime Germany. Poor autumn weather led to an equally poor potato harvest and much of the produce that was shipped to German cities rotted. Germany’s massive military recruitment played a direct role in this, as all areas of the economy suffered from lack of manpower, including agriculture.[1] The loss of the potato crop forced the German population to subsist on turnips as an alternative.
    Traditionally used as animal feed, the root vegetable was virtually the only food available throughout the winter of 1917. Malnourishment and illness claimed thousands of lives, mainly those of civilians, and wounded soldiers who had returned to the home front. A distinct example of the conditions at home in Germany was the spike in female mortality, which when compared to pre-war rates, increased by 11.5% in 1916 and 30% in 1917.[2] This rate increased due to malnutrition and disease that was commonplace amongst the German populace. The famine and hardship of the Turnip Winter severely affected the morale within Germany, revealing to the Germans just how hard-pressed the nation-state had become under the duress of the war.

    https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Turnip_Winter
    That said, in the high moors of the ‘Hohes Venn’ in Belgium there are areas that still cannot safely visited even now, since there WW-I ammo has not been recovered and/or defused since 1918.
    And that, what, about a hundred years after that war? It gives an indication what a hell place the battlefields of WW-I must have been.
    Likely, one of the next books I’ll read is about Colonel Bruchmüller, who greatly influenced the development of modern artillery tactics.
    https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Georg_Bruchm%C3%BCller
    I am also still searching for a descent book on the siege of Przemyśl, a severe defeat in which Austria lost to Russia 86,000 dead and 117,000 captured (including wounded) soldiers – commented, somwhat understated, in Austria’s military museum as ‘a hard time for all’.
    https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Siege_of_Przemy%C5%9Bl

  125. Nakib Ahmed says:

    Dear Colonel,
    I request you to write some articles beyond this blog. I find your comments lucid, crisp, seasoned and insightful. How about a full length op ed on a topic of your interest in a mainstream newspaper. May be your best writings are yet to be penned.
    Thank you for your service to humanity, where truth still resonates. Cheers.

  126. Adrestia says:

    Couldn’t resist the name. I thought you’d like it 😉

  127. If I may add a note to the above comment, the writer of the above piece linked to may not be superficial. She makes her points by juxtaposition and inference rather than by formally stating a direct connection. By the time she has finished the piece the back and forth connection between gaining political influence and making advantageous commercial deals is clear.
    And this could not be more explicit:-
    “At a conference last fall in Israel, Saban described his formula. His “three ways to be influential in American politics,” he said, were: make donations to political parties, establish think tanks, and control media outlets.”

  128. confusedponderer says:

    Adrestia,
    oh please, one may agree or disagree with me and like or dislike what I type – fine, or not fine. Presumably what it is depends on the readers preferences or point of view.
    But a troll? Seriously? IMO that’s rather insulting.
    When I read two days or so ago a post asserting that Germany was not conquered after WW-I I asked the poster and myself why then there were foreign troops stationed in Germany after the war and how that was not a conquest.
    Was that an exaggeration? Hardly. It’s about getting history right, and in this particular case, it is incidentally part of the history of the city I live in.
    Incidentally I pass my city’s cathedral, the Dom, every day. Now, just as incidentally, I have seen pictures of a british Mark IV or Mark V tank, accompanied by foreign troops in front of Cologne’s cathedral, the Dom. See for yourself.
    http://www.alamy.de/stockfoto-britische-panzer-am-kolner-dom-1919-149411421.html
    Whatever you may or may not think about that I don’t care. It doesn’t matter.
    What matters is this: The question is what did the tanks and these troops do in Cologne in 1919, after WW-I, and why and how was that presence not a conquest?
    And why again was the british army sent here called ‘BOAR’ (British Army of the Rhine)? To my best knowledge the Rhine is not a river in Great Britain. So why did they name an army that way then? And how was their presence not a conquest?
    IMO it is quite remarklable to speak of ‘non conquesting‘ in light of the presence of such foreign troops (belgians, frence and british) in Germany after WW-I.
    IMO, when these ‘guests’ came with tanks, uniforms and rifles, they likely didn’t come as tourists, or for seeking nice girls or our descent ‘Kölsch’ beer.
    So, how do you ‘not do a conquest’ when you have foreign troops occupying parts of a defeated country that just lost a war? That’s an interesting question that deserves an answer IMO.

  129. Will.2718 says:

    thnx- i had forgotten about Polk. great reading. there is a lot to learn from the tapes and transcripts of the Cuban Missile Crisis discussions. Books have been written about the foretelling, gambits, the way the discussions were conducted. Some good samples.
    “”JFK: Why does he put these in there though?
    Bundy: Soviet-controlled nuclear warheads [of the kind?] . . .
    JFK: That’s right, but what is the advantage of that? It’s just as if we suddenly began to put a major number of MRBMs in Turkey. Now that’d be goddam dangerous, I would think.
    Bundy?: Well, we did, Mr. President.””
    http://microsites.jfklibrary.org/cmc/oct16/doc3.html
    Kennedy declines Curtis LeMay’s gambit. Why we didn’t glow in the dark in October 1962:
    “A skeptical JFK interrupted to ask, “What do you think their reprisal would be” if we attacked Cuba? There would be no reprisal, LeMay asserted without missing a beat, as long as Kennedy told Khrushchev again: “If they make a move [in Berlin], we’re gonna fight.” He added, “Now, I don’t think this changes the Berlin situation at all, except you’ve got to make one more statement on it.”
    The general moved in for the verbal kill: “So, I see no other solution. This uh . . . uh . . . blockade and . . . and political action I see leading into war. I don’t see any other solution for it. It will lead right into war. This is almost as bad as the appeasement at Munich. I just don’t see any other solution except direct military interv . . . intervention, right now.”
    The Joint Chiefs of Staff must have held their collective breath. LeMay had gone well beyond merely giving advice or even disagreeing with the commander-in-chief. He had taken their generation’s ultimate metaphor for cowardice, the 1938 appeasement of Hitler at Munich, and flung it in the president’s face. Everyone at the table knew that JFK’s father, Joseph P. Kennedy, had been a supporter of appeasement as ambassador to England between 1938 and 1940. President Kennedy, in a remarkable display of sang-froid, refused to take the bait; he said nothing.”
    maybe the above came from Polk. i’ve lost the source

  130. Adrestia says:

    But a troll? Seriously? IMO that’s rather insulting
    Not meant as such. I mentioned my own prejudice and as an exclusion ‘real emotions’. Have you noticed that you are the only one responding?
    The exercise was finding possible trolls using the typelist mentioned in the post. You do have characteristics in the post that are similar to behavior of a type.
    If you really are insulted. In the next few months I’m coming to Cologne and my blood will probably flow when sparring full-contact at a German martial arts school where I will be guest-training. Hope that is penitence enough, otherwise we can meet up at the Devil’s Dom and I buy you a candle to break 😉

  131. different clue says:

    Sid Finster,
    The R + 6 won’t give up so easily either. And now that the R + 6 appears to have won some solid victories upon which further victories may be built, the Borg will find “not giving up so easily” to be an ever more futile gesture.
    Perhaps the R + 6 might begin referring to themselves as the COLA (stands for Coalition Of Lawful Authority). That would be a further move in the public mind-space brain war. ” Things go better with COLA.”

  132. different clue says:

    English Outsider,
    I voted “for” Trump in order to vote aGAINST Clinton. There are large parts of Trump’s domestic agenda which I never supported but merely accepted as part of the pain necessary to defeat the Clinton and begin a process of purging and burning the malignant clintonoma and all its metastases out of the Democratic Party. If I come to think that the Clintonites have had their power and influence degraded too much to ever launch a comeback within the Democratic Party, then I will feel free to begin voting for no-Clinto Democrats if they support what I support.
    If the next Presidential election features a radioactive toxic-waste Clintonite ( or Obamazoid )on the Democratic side yet again, then I will vote for Trump yet again. If the Dems nominate a safely mediocre nothing, I will feel the Prez-level DemParty has been declintaminated enough that I can vote for some Third Party candidate.

  133. different clue says:

    David Habakkuk,
    I have always thought that a major goal of Margaret Thatcher was to exterminate the industrial trade unions in Britain. I think she reasoned that if the only way to exterminate the industrial trade unions in Britain was to exterminate the industries which employed the working members of those unions; then achieving the goal of no-more-unions would be worth the price of having no-more-industry.
    Am I wrong to think so?

  134. different clue says:

    Bandolero,
    If it leads to America cancelling its membership in NATO and evacuating all its military personnel from Europe, then that would leave Europe free to create its own NEATO, if Europe wants to.
    And that would be a good thing.

  135. different clue says:

    VietnamVet,
    I will quibble with a very narrow and single-item part of your comment. I believe bitcoin is scam and a hustle and its rise in price is just a bubble. Of course the only proof of that would be if it pops. Unless it pops I can only say that “its a bubble” is just my opinion.
    I would say this: if bitcoin pops, then every dollar everyone has in bitcoins at the moment of their popping will disappear. But if bitcoin pops, every sardine inside my cans of canned sardines will still be right there inside the cans. And since I put some of my few spare dollars into cans of sardines ( when they came on special sale) rather than into bitcoins, I don’t care if bitcoin pops.

  136. different clue says:

    Will.2718,
    A way to understand the Russia-hate might be to carefully study who fostered it and who keeps pushing it today. Then one can try to work out why they diddit and why they still do it.
    I speculate that some of it is just an inertial carryover from the conflict with USSR-based Communism. Some people conflated USSR with “Russia” and culturized-ethnified their opposition to Communism. When USSR collapsed, they lost their beloved enemy and have been bereft ever since. Now that Putin can be hatefulized and evilized, they can feel they have a new beloved enemy to fill the hole of bereavement left when the USSR went away.
    Then there are the ethnic grudgeholders. Out of many, I will just refer to one . . . in case it gets somewhat forgotten about. And that would be the antirussianitic racist antirussianite Zbigniew Brzezinski. He carried his hatred to the point of seeking the destruction of the not-USSR-anymore Russian Federation.
    And all the Clintonites hate Russia for “stealing the election” from their Great Dear Leader Clinton. And all the millions of Jonestown Clintists in the field . . . all those millions upon millions of Pink Kitty Caps . . . share this hatred for Russia and Putin for depriving their Precioussss the One’s rightful victory in the election.
    So that’s a lot of long-lasting Russia-hatred right there.

  137. different clue says:

    Nakib Ahmed,
    Colonel Lang has done that very thing at times in the past. Here is a wikipedia article with some links to such beyond-the-blog articles which already exist, and also titles of some others which may be websearched.
    https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/W._Patrick_Lang

  138. GeneO says:

    cp-
    American troops also did occupation duty in Germany in 1919. My grandfather Clarence was there before he shipped home. Not sure where exactly, but somewhere on the Rhine.
    I am a bit of a kibitzer. As boys in the 1950s, my brother and I used to be known in the neighborhood as Heckle and Jeckle the old movie magpies. I have tried to tone it down in respect of my SWMBO’s wishes. But it sometimes still pops out. So perhaps I fit the profile that our troll hunter uses?
    An old retort or quip from the 1950s comes to mind when speaking of trolls. “It takes one to know one” So perhaps Adrestia has a touch of the troll in his own psyche?

  139. WJ says:

    From that Middle East Monitor piece:
    “More than half a million people are believed to have been killed since 2011, the vast majority by the Assad government and allied forces. The regime has also used chemical weapons against civilians and prevented aid from reaching those affected on the ground.”
    Always helpful when the ideology behind a publication is so crudely and blatantly expressed.

  140. confusedponderer says:

    Adrestia,
    well, happy time in Cologne.
    I propose to visit the cathedral, and, while there, to also visit the Roman-Germanian museum. The latter has lots of interesting art and especially a beautiful mosaic from roman times, which was found when building a bunker during WW-II.
    https://de.wikipedia.org/wiki/R%C3%B6misch-Germanisches_Museum#/media/File:Dionysosmosaik.JPG
    Also, I made a mistake in my post above, and that was that I asked whether the ‘armed tourists’ came for Cologne to get Kölsch.
    Well, that’s impossible because Kölsch was only ‘invented’ in the 1960s. When the guests were here Kölsch simply didn’t exist. Before that there was a lot of beer in town, but nothing specific ‘colognian’.

  141. Different Clue – I believe it goes deeper than the corruption of any one particular politician. I believe it’s part and parcel of modern machine politics. Here, from the crony press itself, I found the best account of how central it now is:-
    https://www.newyorker.com/magazine/2008/07/21/making-it
    As the article indicates we can forget about the Bilderbergers. Forget about this or that grand plan for our downfall worked out behind closed doors by some faceless and omnipotent “they”. If we want to know what’s really changed politics we need only look at everyday things – TV, social media, and the fact that there’s a deal more money swirling around at the top than there used to be. The NYT article spells it out. It spells out how the street-wise machine politician – the example used is President Obama but it could have been anybody – now gets power. And what he or she does with it.
    First, the NYT article describes how the old way of getting votes failed –
    “Gradually, Chicago caught up with the rest of the country and media-driven politics eclipsed machine-driven politics. “It became increasingly difficult to get into homes and apartments to talk about candidates,” Rose said. “High-rises were tough if not impossible to crack, and other parts of the city had become too dangerous to walk around in for hours at a time. And people didn’t want to answer their doors. Thus the increasing dependence on TV, radio, direct mail, phone-banking, robocalls, et cetera—all things that cost a hell of a lot more money than patronage workers, who were themselves in decline, anyway, because of anti-patronage court rulings.” Instead of a large army of ward heelers dragging people to the polls, candidates needed a small army of donors to pay for commercials. Money replaced bodies as the currency of Chicago politics. This new system became known as “pinstripe patronage,” because the key to winning was not rewarding voters with jobs but rewarding donors with government contracts.”
    “Money replaced bodies as the currency of – politics.” Trump himself, or Sanders, couldn’t have put it better. Direct large political donation had always been important, maybe to a greater extent than most of us realised in the past, but now it was the central key.
    “At the time, Obama was growing closer to Tony Rezko, who eventually turned pinstripe patronage into an extremely lucrative way of life. Rezko’s rise in Illinois was intertwined with Obama’s. Like Abner Mikva and Judson Miner, he had tried to recruit Obama to work for him. Chicago had been at the forefront of an urban policy to lure developers into low-income neighborhoods with tax credits, and Rezko was an early beneficiary of the program. Miner’s law firm was eager to do the legal work on the tax-credit deals, which seemed consistent with the firm’s over-all civil-rights mission. A residual benefit was that the new developers became major donors to aldermen, state senators, and other South Side politicians who represented the poor neighborhoods in which Rezko and others operated.”
    “A residual benefit.” One hell of a residue. As Trump said, with that outrageous habit he has of letting the cat out of the bag, the developers give the politicians money. The politicians give the developers building permits.
    Then it becomes merely a question of who can get the most money in –
    ““Then he just laid out an economic analysis. It becomes about money, because he knew that if people knew his story they would view him as a better candidate than anybody else he thought might be in the field. And so he said, ‘Therefore, if you raise five million dollars, I have a fifty-per-cent chance of winning. If you raise seven million dollars, I have a seventy-per-cent chance of winning. If you raise ten million dollars, I guarantee victory.””
    That’s it. When it gets to donors at the national level it’s not so much the property developers who are centre stage but the big corporations looking for legislative easements, or the other interest groups looking to push their case. All grist to the mill, wherever the money comes from, and all now central to the job of winning in politics.
    That, in a nutshell, is how our democracy, never that thriving a growth but it was all there was, gave up on us and became just another part of the money-go-round.

  142. J says:

    I wonder how China is going to fare in Syria now they’re sending in Chinese PLA to fight alongside Syrian Forces. This will be the first actual combat that Chinese forces have faced since Korea if I’m not mistaken. Should be interesting. Syria has been good for both honing Russian war-fighting capabilities even more, plus providing a test bed for Russian weapons systems and their developments.
    On the other hand our U.S. forces haven’t had a break since WWII, as it seems that D.C. has come up with one excuse or another to use and misuse U.S war fighting skills and test out new weapons systems.

  143. Fred says:

    Adrestia,
    Confusedponderer has been commenting here for a number of years.

  144. Bandolero says:

    PL
    Thank you for your reply. I don’t disagree here. Looks like interesting times ahead.

  145. Bandolero says:

    different clue
    Well, yes, there seem to be a lot of good developments in the making.

  146. fanto says:

    James,
    similar thought came to me – ´obedient towards the president´ – does that mean that Americans are getting more like Germans, obedient to the `Führer`? Not a pleasant thought, I hope not. Obedient to money – sounds more likely. The president is not a Führer, but money which controls the Congress, “the best Congress money can buy” – I did not invent this phrase.

  147. Colonel – in the comment above that you were kind enough to print I mistakenly referred to the New Yorker as the NYT. Apologies for the error.

  148. Tel says:

    I agree that it appears that Erdogan will make some small gains here and no doubt will be gleeful at his own cleverness in a way that is insufferable to justice loving people.
    In the bigger picture, the turcpolier is quite correct… I doubt that Trump cares, he is looking inward with his MAGA philosophy. Putin probably worries about the next gaz pipeline, or how much gold he is stacking, or what to do with the Chechens who come home from Syria. Assad will do what he is told to do. The border will form in some natural way, or it won’t, but that’s what happens in the Middle East, no one is every happy with how it turns out.

  149. confusedponderer says:

    GeneO,
    thanks for the hint.
    I checked and I saw that the US were occupying, err, not-conquesting, parts of the Eifel area down to Koblenz, having troops in Bitburg (which had a big US air base till 1994).
    These are Bitburg F15 flying over the Moselle river.
    https://s-media-cache-ak0.pinimg.com/originals/6c/81/4f/6c814fa9978d0b40e55fb6ef0fd95dc5.jpg
    US then also had troops in the big, old prussian fortress of Ehrenbreitstein.
    https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Ehrenbreitstein_Fortress
    When the US left the fortress in 1923 they were replaced by the french. It is IMO amusing and telling that the French liked to portray the “peaceful nature” of the occupation of the ‘demilitarised part of Germany’.
    Well, so to speak, demilitarised it only was of german military. Anyway, when I did my military service in Koblenz and then there were again german soldiers stationed in Ehrenbreitstein. The fortress is an impressive place.

  150. LeaNder says:

    Eric Newhill, may I?
    Although yes, “‘Dr’ Puck” as aka is somewhat weird. Might even have something reflected in it. I surely do have my own chain of associations connected to it.
    *******
    By the way, did you ever watched the Don Camillo and Peppone series? Must have been one of the absolute highlights in movie history for me as kid on TV. Strictly might have been the whole family.
    *******
    but more seriously, I could understand some of your professional concerns versus the interfering commentariat around here, on the other hand? In hindsight I wonder. Would they classify as trolls?
    Not that I would want to get rid of you or Dr. Puck, quite the opposite really.

  151. FkDahl says:

    For the US remake: I can see the colonel making an appearance as a grizzled old veteran of troll hunts from all across the world….

  152. turcopolier says:

    FK Dahl
    This would a role reminiscent of the appearance of the White Hunter in “The Ghost and the Darkness?” I couldn’t have Masai followers so I’ll take a band of hunters and trappers from West Virginia. (“Mountain Monsters” reference). pl

  153. Eric Newhill says:

    LeaNder,
    I begin to feel guilty and mean for renouncing Dr Puck as a troll.
    He/She is useful in presenting a more clever than usual leftist perspective.
    I assumed the AKA was related to Shakespear’s Mid Summer Night’s Dream.

  154. Thomas says:

    Fred,
    Our friend passed away and this one showed up about a year later. Still hasn’t posted that picture of the Solar Clock in a Cologne Cathedral he promised. Ah, cyber infiltrators these days, they just can’t get their ducks in a row.

  155. Martin Oline says:

    I watched ‘Troll Hunter’ with my granddaughter a couple years ago. I was concerned at the time that something gory might unexpectedly happen but it never did. I was told later that I should be sure that there is always an adult in the room when I’m with her. I suppose the Hallmark channel would be okay…

  156. different clue says:

    J,
    I can’t remember exactly when, but I believe I remember reading/ hearing that China did some against Vietnam sometime during the Pol Pot period. I remember reading that Vietnamese forces fought back very hard. I don’t remember whether China “won” that engagement. If they did, the Vietnamese must have made them pay a Finnish Price for it.
    ( Of course if this is all mistaken fake memory, I expect I will be corrected).

  157. different clue says:

    dogear,
    Wouldn’t it be interesting if somebody could exert electronic control from a distance against one of those missiles and get it to do that very thing? Leaving precisely zero traces and raising no suspicions, of course.
    “Plunkum me one more time, and it be your last plunkum.

  158. turcopolier says:

    Martin Oline
    Was this the director’s cut? pl

  159. J says:

    Wait for a new launch, then manipulate the destination with new data where it lands in the young leader’s lap (literally).

  160. Martin Oline says:

    I don’t know. The offering on Netflix, which I watched, has about the same run time as the movie referred to on Wikipedia (103 min. vrs 104 min.).

  161. Thomas says:

    different clue,
    You are correct. they fought a minor border war in 79 where the Chinese had their azzes handed to them by the combat experienced Vietnam troops. It woke them up to the fact that practicality far outweighs ideology and change was needed all around which Deng proceeded to do.

  162. ritzl says:

    Agree Harry. The electoral college is there for a reason. It is and was a specific remedy/prophylactic for a “tyranny of the majority.” It works. Without it national policy would be solely and forever determined by NY and CA. No attempt would be, or would need to be, made to merge the interests of a very large and diverse country.
    Your opinion is not worthless. Just the opposite.

  163. ritzl says:

    It’s also reasonable to infer that the US wants bases in Syria for whatever use it may put them in the future. That region is a current gap in the anti-Iran ring of coverage. That seems to me to be a broadly-shared US national security consensus.
    You’re right though, it’s probably (almost certainly) not completely about the oil except as a funding mechanism to preserve permission to stay by supporting Kurdish separatist tendencies.

  164. David Habakkuk,
    Your comment was such a useful corrective to the “Sir Humphrey” way of looking at Government. We all watched the programme or read the book and thought we were the enlightened. Maybe we were, to a superficial extent, but “Sir Humphrey” wasn’t the whole of it. And the greater part we therefore missed.
    I have one quibble – this notion that Blair was “the worst Prime Minister since Lord North”. That’s unfair. He may have mislaid the odd colony but there were at least some who thought North a man of principle.

  165. GeneO says:

    Thomas –
    Some western sources say PAVN troops outperformed the PLA in battle.
    But both sides claimed victory. The Chinese claim was bolstered by the fact that the Viets ceded bits of territory at Nam Quan Pass and Ban Gioc Falls. Viet claim of victory was supported by their continued occupation of Cambodia, which was why the Chinese invaded Vietnam in the first place in order to get them to withdraw from Khmer Rouge territory.
    Casualties were probably about the same on both sides.

  166. Bandolero says:

    All
    Is Israel afraid of another bird strike?
    As most of us likely remember, a couple of weeks ago Israel said one of IAF brand new F-35 jets was damaged by a bid strike. However, some people were off the opinion that Israel’s claim of a bird strike was likely masking a hit of the Syrian Air Defense. See here eg South Front:
    https://southfront.org/israel-hiding-state-art-f-35-warplane-hit-syrian-s-200-missile-reports/
    Yesterday night Israel attacked Syria again, but, according to SANA, this time the Israelis used ground-to-ground missiles. (SANA claimed two of them were intercepted.)
    http://sana.sy/en/?p=119924
    To me it looks a bit like as if Israel is afraid of another bird strike.
    If true that the Israelis used missiles instead of jets I find it a very interesting development, suggesting that the era of total Israeli air superiority in the region may have just ended.

  167. charly says:

    They fought since then against India, Vietnam and had some not so minor altercations with the USSR. They beat India, lost tactically against Vietnam (but won strategically because USSR showed to be an unreliable ally)
    ps. Also some issues with Birma, Hainan was only captured in 1950, China and Taiwan fought for many small islands, China also captured some South Vietnam occupied islands and in the last decade they become an important supplier of blue helmets.

  168. Thomas says:

    “But both sides claimed victory.”
    Nothing new under the sun.

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