August 31, 2013
How Obama could deal with Syria. Play the long game and make Assad do it. Invasion seems pointless. Everyone appears to be at war with everyone else – want to join in? Get the chemical weapons out of the equation
President Obama drew a red line in the sand and to maintain any dignity he has to make good his threat. That is yesterday’s thinking. The need to retaliate for the use of chemical weapons by someone in Syria points to one thing. Syria has illegal weapons and he needs to be made to get rid of them. Not by invasion, that is too expensive. Not by trying to blow Damascus into the ground – you would kill large numbers of civilians, too.
But by negotiation. Imagine this?
President O: President Assad, you are guilty of possessing chemical weapons and they are being used. We suggest that you have lost control of your weapons and are therefore now a danger to the world. You have to now stop your war and we have to destroy your weapons or the world will force my hand and we will have to hunt you down. Your crimes against humanity are well documented, both before and largely since the war.
President A: We will never hand over our weapons. If you attack us, we will defend ourselves.
President O: We have heard that one before, and look what our generals did to Saddam. Now we have nothing against the good people of Syria. We have a problem with you harbouring and allowing or using deadly gas against any people. We can destroy them safely and if you hand them over now, we will do it for no charge and help the new Government rebuild.
President A: I will never agree to this.
President O: Then I would not stand so close to the window, Bashar. [CLICK!]
Twenty years ago, that would be pure paranoid conspiracy. Today, that is probably how this will pan out. Bombing Damascus would simply be sad. It is not the fault of the inhabitants. Destroy Syrian air=power – now if that was achieved then more chemical weapon attacks would be a significant risk. The only strategy is to force the most influential actor in this, Assad, to rid Syria of Chemical Weapons so when he inevitably faces trial for his crimes against humanity, there would be something positive in the balance.
October 5, 2009
Army chief warns of prospect of failure in Afghanistan.
When the chief of the army starts a claim for more pay with dire warnings of losing a war in Afghanistan it takes away some edge from the argument he is making. Losing in Afghanistan is a worse result than underpaid soldiers, certainly.
Full article on DT: Predicting Future Politics
July 9, 2008
and how to avoid it
Is the world falling into some kind of recession? That is when growth starts to subside and things economically suck, but if one understands it right, then what it is seen as is the loss of confidence based on property ownership – a line of credit was generally loosened up for billions of home owners, a culture of being able to borrow against one’s mortgage increased leveraging and the profits were handsome so the banks continued to go further.
The tragedies that underlie sub-prime + the oil hunger – a direct consequence of the Iraq war + lack of real progress with the nuclear question = potential for another Depression. It is not just that bills will not get paid, it is that assets will lose their value, nobody will buy things and prices will start to fall. If that fall accelerates – the potential for severe economic storms becomes more likely.
The authority carried by Security Council decree against a country, especially one of its nuclear capable members, may help guide us from disaster. The only thing that makes “nuclear weapons” necessary is other nuclear weapons. What real point is there in having nuclear weapons? To conquer any chance of threat in case of unpredictable behaviour. After all humans have their finger on the button. The USSR had Breshnev. America has Bush. Both caused recession.
Both also fought with Afghanistan. Not that fighting Afghanistan has been the problem for America – but because they did not provide their full ferocity to win the war in Afghanistan with commitment, they still are at war with malign forces.
Sorry, Osama bin Laden, it is hard to admire a person who promotes the death of innocents. It was not bin Laden that alerted the world to George Bush’s America. Osama bin Laden is not doing the work of God. It is not definite that he is not working for his homeland.
Neither is the US military incursion into Iraq, although by doing that and by not wiping out the Taleban, and at the same time efforts to quell appear to be fanning the flames of nuclear trouble with Iran, well – one can only imagine the end game.
The Office of President is not being attacked by Congress because it is “at war”. That is all keeping Bush and Cheney in office till February 2009.
To bring charges against Bush or Cheney would require that they depart office or end the state of war, and a pardon from their successor, whomever wins is all it takes to bury this sad chapter.
But the extraction of trillions of dollars from the US economy by chiefly OPEC countries, well. How many trillions has Saudi directly cost the US?
I think that the high oil prices are a direct result of the US uncovering its own lack of ruthlessness in war allowing a relatively degraded enemy to survive. Now the Arab nations smell nuclear technology within reach, and the confidence they now have in bargaining power seems the new reality.
Is the international recession in fact a deliberate plot to vacuum wealth out of US hands and into the hands of Arabia? The underlying economic war is far more serious because of sub-prime and the loss of confidence and money from a system growing on increasingly thin vapour.
A belief that the source of economic difficulties are “asset related” but providing free housing to the poor has been found to be an unsustainable activity of the US Government – is another way to put it.
It appears to be the problem, but it is the oil shock that will change economies the world over. Unless Bush can win his wars real soon now, and instantly restore confidence in the unassailability of the USA, the rest of the world will not start trembling has they now have been given the lever it needs to even the economic stakes.
Perhaps the only way to stop the spread of the Taleban cult or the Al Qaeda insanity is for taxes to increase for the wealthy, the US to pay its debts and stop living so ridiculously beyond its means.
March 2, 2008
The real cost of the Iraqi misadventure to the people of the USA has been calculated by a Nobel winning economist at over three trillion dollars.