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« Tony Blare | Main | Way out, on a limb, in a corner, in the dark »

August 30, 2013


Peter G

That is a reasonable expectation. Libya is a better model than anything else. there is no reason for the US to provide a leading role on this and every reason to expect the wealthy and extremely well armed Arab states to wish to do something about what is essentially Arab on Arab violence that contravenes the most absolute of Koranic tenets. assuming anyone can muster the courage to put troops into a potential free fire zone where nerve agents are scattered about.


So what to do about it besides adopting their cause as our own?

It’s clear now that for all the howls of protest from the same people about Iraq, they regarded it as an unfortunate hiccup in a system that works out well for them and which they want kept going.

If we don't keep it going who else can? Europe doesn't have the money for more armed forces and trying and failing to solve their financial woes is using up all their political oxygen. The Gulf states mostly buy high end weapons from us to be polite; they've seen what armies did to decadent monarchs in neighboring countries, so they don’t even train enough people to actually use them to defend themselves from external threats (which is how we got drawn in in 1990-91). China’s not interested plus to the extent you can believe their economic statistics they've got domestic troubles of their own coming up, as do most of the other emerging regional powers. The rest of Asia is so afraid of China’s growth that, yes, they want us to get more involved in their neighborhood as a counterbalance. Japan is willing to rearm, but that would scare the neighborhood even more than China has. And the UN was born toothless due to all those Security Council vetoes.

Telling everybody they’re on their own is tempting, but that would probably be even more damaging diplomatically than Iraq ever was. You generally don't repair your alliances by breaking them.

Maybe the pseudo-collective system is just unsustainable and is going to collapse sooner or later, but when it does it won’t be pretty. And nobody except perhaps a Paul is going to voluntarily let it happen on their watch.


What's the right, the moral, the possible course? Damned if I know.

Jim Wright at Stonekettle Station takes a long hard look at the do something/do nothing morass, and what he has to say can't be summarized. Go, go read it:

Peter G

I took your advice and read the article you suggested Janicket. It as certainly an interesting read although I found it somewhat confused. Hardly surprising since the whole situation is nothing but confused.


And I think that the confusion is indeed Jim's main point, Peter -- the whole situation is a morass of confusion and there is no clear path that doesn't lead to a pit of Hell. In the end, one chooses which path should be taken based on one's core morality, knowing all the while that it's probably going to wind up FUBAR. But at least one should have some knowledge of the situation before spouting off with "solutions" -- at least be able to find the hellhole on the map.

Trust me, Jim Wright is a man of strong opinions and doesn't hesitate to express them -- witness what he said about Bradley Manning: -- (wherein you'll learn something about his background) and I gotta tell you, that he's as confused as I am (though far more articulate and knowledgeable) depresses the crap out of me.

Ansel M.

Janicket: Although I'm a bit late in posting this, I just wanted you to know that I really appreciate your reference to the "stonekettle, red-lines" link. It's the best, most comprehensive piece I've seen written about the current Syria conundrum.


Thanks. I heartily recommend a voyage through the archives there; the man is always a helluva read and makes you think -- even when you'd really rather not.

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