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Post 0

Friday, April 7 - 2:12pmSanction this postReply
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Trump's decision to take action against Assad in Syria surprised me. Supposedly the "rebels" are just part of the Islamic terrorist network. There is so much disinformation on this conflict that I am challenged to tell one evil from the other.

 

Meanwhile, the rumor mill has it that this is really all about carving a path from the huge natural gas resource under Syrian soil to whichever external federation -- EU or Russia -- manages to gain control of the respective pathway.

 

What thoughts have forum dwellers here on this topic?



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Post 1

Friday, April 7 - 2:54pmSanction this postReply
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Here is my guess...  and it is just a guess.  There are many countries in the world who are concerned about how America will act on the international stage.  Some see themselves as our allies - at least to some tiny degree, and other don't like us much, and a few are out outright enemy. 

 

Imagine a large pack of dogs millng about sniffing each other, some growling, some with their hackles up, and most just watching.  Then one of the alpha dogs comes over.  Now, if this is the Obama dog, the rest of the pack already knows that he isn't going to demand territory or bite, and those who are his pack mates know that he also might not protect them (Doesn't matter if countries liked, and admired Obama the man, or his politics, they knew that his passions were mostly just in the area of domestic policies, with limited exceptions - like climate change). 

 

Now the Trump dog has trotted out to where the pack is.  The whole pack has stopped moving and are looking at him.  Will he bite?  Or, even bark?  What is the relationship between what he says and what he does?  There are so many nations that are ruled by as primitive a set of emotions as a pack of dogs.  When they say that the Middle Eastern culture is one that respects strength, they aren't just kidding.  Until one of them is quite sure you won't even hesitate to bite, and bite hard, they won't stop looking to see what way they can take advantage of you, or, at the least, simply ignore you no matter what you say.

 

My guess is that Trump's advisors wanted him to use this very limited military force, and to not announce it ahead of time, and to not warn the Russians, and to do it quickly.  And the purpose was not so much to deter Syria from using chemical weapons as it was to tell China, North Korea, Russia, Iran, and other nations that this dog may choose to bite, may be a bit unpredictable and doesn't hesitate.  Each new president gets tested.  I think his advisors chose a way to have some control over the test and get it over with.  The bombs hit that airport just as Trump was finishing dinner with the Communist Chinese dictator... that's a nice psychological lead-in to their talks today.

 

I don't believe that the evil in Syria rose to the level of compelling us to act.  We've seen evil every bit as bad, again and again, around the world.  And this makes me think that Trump's advisors have some other motives (plural) in play that relate to more than his being tested, but to establishing some precedent in the area where he is going to have go after ISIS.  He can't just work with others to eliminate them in Iraq and leave them to fester in Syria.  He has to show some disdain for Russia's presence in Syria or they will become bullies and get in the way in Syria.  He also doesn't want to do do the whole thing of getting rid of ISIS and then maintaining peace in the Middle East and do it all on our dime, and with the lives of our soldiers - he needs the Arab nations to join in.  Notice that three Arab leaders visited the president in this same week that ends with the bombing in Syria.  It will be good if Iran decides to be quiet for a while and see how crazy this new president is... that will help while we organize an allied block to remove ISIS.  Iran could cause huge problems in Iraq with their 100,000 plus troops in country.  They need a reason to play it safer and wait for a better time rather than think that they can be bold and seize some part of Iraq which they could have done if Obama were still in office.

 

He knows that getting rid of ISIS is just the first step.  The second has to be stable governments in charge of the area and strong enough to kill new terrorists that try to get started.  He isn't into nation building or making a crusade of transplanting democracy.  So, I think he wants to find stable, Arab partners, who can be the strong men that will oversee the territories reclaimed.  I have no idea if this is what his people are thinking, but it would make more sense than the alternatives.

 

North Korea and Iran are the biggest problems out there that will have to be dealt with.  Having those two at least slow down - for a while, and during that while, more rational nations can decide that lining up in a coalition with America might be okay in this post-Obama period... well, that gives us a bit of time, and a direction.   (At this point I don't see anything that would give a good shot at a real fix for those two problems and they are huge.)

 

Those are the thoughts that come to mind.



Post 2

Saturday, April 8 - 5:53amSanction this postReply
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The conspiracy theorists would have us believe that the sarin attack was a "false flag" by McCain and the CIA to lure us into WWIII with Russia for the sake of the globalist agenda of a post-war one world government.

 

Shaking my head in disbelief ...



Post 3

Saturday, April 8 - 9:33amSanction this postReply
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Conspiracy theories appear to have a psychological pull all their own



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Post 4

Saturday, April 8 - 9:38amSanction this postReply
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Conspiracy theory would have all of us common pawns equally uninformed and misinformed, but from different sources.  Swear by Glenn Beck or Huffington Post, the New York Times or Washington Times, we are all just being distracted and entertained while the Davos Summit, the G-7, the Council on Foreign Relations, the Illuminati, Opus Dei, or the Martians actually direct world affairs.  For the past year, I have been working for a military plans group.  My experience is that nothing goes as planned. Why does software have bugs? You think someone is controlling the world? We should be so lucky...  That said, given that computer programmers have user groups that set standards, it would be surprising if the people who own the bonds of nation states did not know each other socially.  

 

As for Syria, my information sources include the US Naval Institute (private, open). While President Trump is said not to have communicated directly with President Putin, the US military in the Syrian theater did advise the Russian military in the Syrian theater ahead of the strike. It is called "Deconfliction." You tell your friends what you are up to so that no one gets hurt.  (Also, the Russians suspended that deconfliction agreement because of the attack; so apparently, we are no longer friends.) (For a bit of humor on deconfliction, 2 mins and 22 secs on YouTube here: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=g39xIewgGaM )

 

As for Dr. Bashar al-Assad, I believe that he is a prisoner in his own palace and the military runs the country.  Read his biography. He was an ophthalmogist, a surgeon in a children's hospital in London. His brother was supposed to become the president of Syria, but he was killed in a car wreck.  The father, Hafez al-Assad was an Alawite, not a Sunni or Shia Muslim. He modernized and liberalized the economy, which encurred the wrath of the Muslim Brotherhood. A Marxist, the senior al-Assad followed a known theory (refused by Lenin) that a feudal society must become capitalist before it can become socialist. That is why Hafez al-Assad opened up the economy of Syria to (nominal) free trade.

 

Mass media claims that this is the worst disaster since World War II

John Kerry quoted on CBS  January 31, 2016   http://www.cbsnews.com/news/kerry-syria-conflict-the-worst-since-world-war-ii/

Al Jazeera last month here http://www.aljazeera.com/indepth/features/2017/03/syria-war-worst-man-disaster-world-war-ii-170315054907704.html

The Independent (UK) about the same time here http://www.independent.co.uk/news/world/middle-east/syria-civil-war-six-years-anniversary-bashar-al-assad-aleppo-manjid-siege-second-world-war-ii-a7631871.html

 

Note that a common phrase is "the oppressive regime of Bashar al-Assad."  That was the impetus for protests in Damascus and Aleppo, the Syrian outburst of "Arab Spring."  I believe that "Arab Spring" was not a spontaneous Facebook and Twitter uprising of westernized democrats, but was intended to destabilize the Arab-Islamic region. Who orchestrated it and why raises all the issues from my first paragraph above.  

In any case, it was not the worst suffering since World War II.  No one cares about Africa.  The Second Congo War nominally ran from August 1998 to June 2003, but in fact is still on-going, as is much violence in Africa, much of it state-sponsored or carried out by those who want to be the state. So, the wars continue there while we wring our hands over something else.   Second Congo War - https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Second_Congo_War  

 

To answer Luke's question: nothing. We, the people of the United States, have no interest in any of those conflicts, not in the Middle East, not in Africa.  President Washington's Farewell Address should be posted in every city hall in America.

"I have already intimated to you the danger of parties in the State, with particular reference to the founding of them on geographical discriminations. Let me now take a more comprehensive view, and warn you in the most solemn manner against the baneful effects of the spirit of party generally.

[...]

It serves always to distract the public councils and enfeeble the public administration. It agitates the community with ill-founded jealousies and false alarms, kindles the animosity of one part against another, foments occasionally riot and insurrection. It opens the door to foreign influence and corruption, which finds a facilitated access to the government itself through the channels of party passions. Thus the policy and the will of one country are subjected to the policy and will of another."

 

"The great rule of conduct for us in regard to foreign nations is in extending our commercial relations, to have with them as little political connection as possible.

[...]

So far as we have already formed engagements, let them be fulfilled with perfect good faith. Here let us stop. Europe has a set of primary interests which to us have none; or a very remote relation.

[...]

Why quit our own to stand upon foreign ground? Why, by interweaving our destiny with that of any part of Europe, entangle our peace and prosperity in the toils of European ambition, rivalship, interest, humor or caprice?

It is our true policy to steer clear of permanent alliances with any portion of the foreign world... "

http://avalon.law.yale.edu/18th_century/washing.asp

 

 

(Edited by Michael E. Marotta on 4/08, 9:41am)



Post 5

Saturday, April 8 - 11:17amSanction this postReply
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We have an abiding national interest in stopping Islamic fundamentalism. We didn't ask for it, but they are at war with us.  If we do nothing, things will continue to get worse.  It is a war that has an ideological base and isn't convieniently located in a single nation - but that doesn't mean it isn't a serious threat.  We know that it is only a matter of time till their use of technology results in massive American deaths.  And, the reaction to 911 has changed our world. 

 

But what, if anything, to do about that huge mess in Syria...?  One chain of reasoning goes like this: Because ISIS has its beginning of a Caliphate, it inspires and gives life to international Jihadi.  You can't stop the growth of Islamic fundamentalism without stopping ISIS.  You can't end ISIS while they are still in Syria.  Without presenting a very strong face towards Putin and Assad, you can't achieve anything in Syria.  To achieve desirable goals in Syria it would be best if there were some kind of coalition of peaceful Arab nations - a kind of Arab Nato and that would seem to be the way the US could start moving out of the middle east while leaving behind something that might work.  Seems like a very difficult, maybe impossible pipe dream, but I don't see ANY good alternatives being offered.  Lots of critics but few ideas - just carping.  I do know that the Obama years did nothing to help, a great deal to hurt, and represent a kind of nuanced set of excuses that locked us into helplessness.

 

Trump isn't saying what his long term plans are.  I don't believe that it was the images of dead babies that caused him to take that action.  I think that he does have some kind of long term plan.  But I don't think he will reveal it, and I have no idea how detailed it is or what the principles are that it rests on.



Post 6

Sunday, April 9 - 4:32amSanction this postReply
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America Last?



Post 7

Sunday, April 9 - 11:37amSanction this postReply
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From the article: 

"Donald Trump campaigned on a promise of no more wars of choice: no military interventions to liberate other countries, to intervene in so-called “humanitarian” crusades, to force regime change, to coercively spread democracy, or to take sides in other people’s wars or civil wars.  In summation, our military would be used only in the defense of our own country or our closest allies."

I agree with the article... BUT, can we ignore the fact that Islamists are at war with us?  If not, can we leave ISIS in Syria as a safe haven to work from?  If not, can we treat Syria as if it were a soveriegn nation and not a battle field, and can we act as if upsetting the Russians about Syria takes precedence over dealing with ISIS? 

 

And, what is Trump's real plan?  Is he trying to liberate Syria.  I don't think so.  Is his main purpose humanitarian?  I don't think so.  Is he trying for regime change (because this is a 'bad' regime)?  I don't think so.  Is his motive to spread democracy?  I don't think so.  I suspect that his motive is to 'make room' in Syria (establish a precedent) to go after ISIS and get a working coalition with some stable Arab nations.  That's just a guess on my part.  The big problem is that we really don't know what Trump's real plan is, and I don't think he is going to tell us.  It could be sensible, or it could be totally stupid.

 

I onle see two rational choices:

1.) Get out of the middle east all together and announce to the world that we will no longer send any troops or aid or anything there, but we will declare war and then destroy any nation that harbors any terrorists that attack our country.   (This assumes either that we are not defacto in a state of war now, and that the threat of future terrorists acts is not significant on an national level, or that leaving the middle east will cause Islamists to not launch any significant future attacks)

2.) Try to kill most of the ISIS warriors and destroy their organizations, help put together an Arab coalition to rule the current failed states in the middle east so that we can get out, and lead a long term campaign against anyone or any organizations that provide economic aid or support to Islamists and work to combat that ideology.  (The major assumptions here are that this has any chance of working, that our legal system would support this plan, and that there is a rational justification for this kind of plan).

 

I don't think either of those choices are going to work out well.  But I can't think of any others that make sense.

 

Objectivism calls for the government to engage in protective use of force for self-defense, and for retaliatory use of force against those that violate individual rights.  Terrorists, and their supporters are certainly in the category of rights-violators.  But policies specifying how to go after them and how to protect against them are not obvious or self-evident.

 

In a number of areas we are in a strange position.  The progressives have, for decades, worked to make a regulatory state (it may be immoral, but much of it is legal under the laws they have passed).  Now what if a president used illegal (but moral) means of repealing those regulations?  If Trump begins to act outside of the law, we have a kind of totalitarianism.  If his acts are needed to protect liberty, is it still dictatorial?  The best of both worlds is simple: Change the bad laws, then legally repeal the regulations.  If we are under attack, then ask the House for a declaration for war.  But what if the House is a bunch of potted plants that don't do anything but pontificate on partisan talking points and raise reelection funds from special interests?  We are in a strange position and with an unknown president - but the threats from terrorists abroad and progressives at home are both real.  The progressives are declaring a kind of coup.  They have declared that the sitting president is not the legitimate president and advocate selective civil disobedience and now they are saying that the new Supreme Court justice is not legitimate either.



Post 8

Sunday, April 9 - 6:21pmSanction this postReply
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Donald Psyop Trump: Soon We’ll Know For Sure by "John Galt" on 09 November 2016

 

"Time will tell, soon. If it becomes clear Trump is a globalist puppet, it will demoralize so many of his supporters, and make so many fall into cognitive dissonance, that hope for positive change will have been effectively crushed in America for the foreseeable future."



Post 9

Sunday, April 9 - 12:16amSanction this postReply
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I think Trump is a weak man, despite his bluster and swagger. He lacks a moral anchor, because he is anti-intellectual. His moral outlook is incoherent, and so he goes with his feelings.

 

He wanted to make peace with Russia, which I regarded as sane. When he became president, he was immediately subjected to unrelenting attacks by the establishment, including its false narrative about Trump consorting with Putin. Since trump is a weak man, he wanted desperately to change the Trump-Russia narrative spun by his enemies, so he could survive as president (and avoid jail on trumped up charges when the Dems take over the Senate or Congress.)

 

Meanwhile, in Syria, the gas tragedy is a false flag event, probably an accidental bombing of a depot in territory controlled by the insurgents, where both gas and other munitions were stored. There is good evidence that this was the case. Go to Zerohedge. 

 

The CIA and other intelligence agencies are not staffed by gods descended from Mt Olympus. They are run  by bureaucrats who want very badly to bomb Syria and Iran. After all, they're political operators who did not accidentally wander into those agencies; they made careers there, because they like wielding power. They're proper war hawks, as evidenced by the fact that 1) They all, 17 agencies, signed off on the idea that Russia "hacked" the DNC and Podesta emails (despite denials by Russia and Wikileaks, and cogent analysis from people like John McGafee, who says the charges of Russian hacking are crazy). Despite the fact that they offered no evidence, only their "assessments". 2) They all want to overturn Trump--see 1 above--because he wanted to back away from foreign wars in the Middle East and elsewhere. "Dangerous". 3) They have been trying to nail Trump in any way possible, except that retired CIA and other intelligence operatives do  not like the ongoing campign of lies, so they go public with analysis that disputes the official intelligence findings, not in the big press, but alternative media. Mainstream press ignores them, for obvious reasons. There is no other outlet for their staements and arguments about all this, except zerohedge and infowars, etc. 4) It does not make sense that the Syrian governmenmt would purposefully use gas weapons, because they have been winning, pushing back the rebels; and a peace accord was about to be implemented, to Assad's advantage. Assad is a bad character, but he can calculate: Using gas would invoke outrage from the United States, as it did before (when he was set up by rebels hoping to incitre American involvement in tossing out Assad.) 5) Trump is capable of discerning all this, but chose to go with the Correct Narrative, to get the establishment to back off and let him be a happy important president. It is working; they've won the foreign policy contest for power and control. 



Post 10

Sunday, April 9 - 7:04pmSanction this postReply
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It is a good sign that the article acknowledges that we simply don't know at this point who Trump really is.  We know that his rhetoric was so vague and bizarre that it doesn't reflect who he really is (whoever that is).  We know that HE is the probably the driving force (not Reince Priebus, Steve Bannon, Jarod Kushner, or any of the others... because he changes them out over time.  He had three different campaign managers.  Trump's ideas are the ones that drive things and we just don't know what they are.

 

And the article has a good idea in finding items/events in the future that will stand as markers to who he really is.  But the article takes a group of markers that wouldn't really tell us anything.

 

For example:  What if Hillary and her cronies walk free from their crimes.  Well, they should be locked up, but would the failure to lock them up mean Trump is in bed with them, or that he sympathizes with them, or that he serves the same principles they have?  No.  It might mean that he has decided to relegate them to the past and not expend political capital pursuing them.  And it isn't a question of what would be right.  It is just pointing out that this, like many of the items mentioned, are not good markers to judge Trump by.

 

He is going after ISIS.  He has made no bones about that.  If he isn't just talk when it comes to that, I'd expect that he'd hire hawks.  If you were going after ISIS why would you hire peaceniks?  Better to ask: Does we see him pursue nation building as events unfold, or take on a world policeman role, or engage in humanitarian military actions around the globe, etc.?  We don't know yet.  At this point all we can do is criticize or support his intent to go after ISIS and wait to see if he does, and see what else he does with the military.

 

I don't care if he supports (or fails to support) this or that backer (like Sheldon Adelson) - I just want him to do what a president should do, and no more.  That is hoping for too much, but I'd like to see THAT as the direction he goes (with Obama the direction was NOT doing what he should and instead doing lots of stuff he shouldn't)

 

This whole article is written from a Trump is a Globalist puppet point of view and there would have to be some evidence before going so far down that road.

 

Doesn't it strking anyone strange that the article says, "If he stays true to his statist-nationalist campaign-self, he’d re-monetize gold, and confiscate all foreign bullion at the NY Fed as 'an appreciation fee for the great service we’ve been providing the world'."  Give me a break.  That is supposed to be serious political analysis?

 

What will be good markers are not these made-up globalist puppet markers, but a long list of actual actions.  It takes quite a few to discern a wide range of underlying principles from a man who doesn't speak in political principles like we do.  I'd like to see each of his executive actions summarized down to a few sentences and look at the list of those - that should help.  We saw that he was supporting an ObamaCare lite bill, but what will be the final result when the legislative flurry in the health care area ends in say 6 to 10 months?  Free market or a different kind of entitlement?  I'm deeply pleased that the Supreme Court doesn't have another progressive on board.  That is a good marker.



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Post 11

Monday, April 10 - 7:44pmSanction this postReply
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"Assad is a bad character, but he can calculate: Using gas would invoke outrage from the United States, as it did before (when he was set up by rebels hoping to incitre American involvement in tossing out Assad."

 

As Michael Marotta said, Assad (an Alawite) is an Ophthalmologist and was not groomed to replace his father (who sent troops to Iraq I to fight on our side). His succession was approved (overwhelmingly) in a plebiscite in 2000. He won a multi-party election in 2014 and his party won a majority in Syria's parliament in April of last year. He has always said he would step down if he lost an election.

 

Assad's wife (a Sunni) is British and highly educated with degrees in computer science and French literature. She has worked as an investment banker and had been accepted in an MBA program at Harvard before marrying Assad. The Assads could live comfortably in many countries as both speak several languages. Assad does not fit the mold of a dictator clinging to power as advocates for his ouster claim.  Were the Assads to step down under pressure and go into exile, not only would that be seen as abandoning his supporters (many of whom would be massacred), but there is every reason to believe the carnage would get worse and the Assads would still be blamed for it.

 

In 2014, ISIS captured an old sarin facility in Iraq.  It is 'safe' to conclude that at least some of the insurgents do have access to CWs.  I think the Russians have a good case for saying this was a conventional warhead dropped on a weapons facility that included CWs and this is a rush to judgement.  Using CWs when you are winning with legal weapons makes no sense.



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Post 12

Tuesday, April 11 - 7:24amSanction this postReply
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Breitbart News comment sections are going nuts over this, contending that Trump is most likely being blackmailed into attacking Syria.

 

I really hope we don't invade, and that this gets resolved peacefully.

 

If not, here comes WWIII, and this time, we lose.

 

We live in interesting times.

 

(Edited by Luke Setzer on 4/11, 7:25am)



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Post 13

Tuesday, April 11 - 10:24amSanction this postReply
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Nuts going nuts...  that is what I see in the comments section of nearly all political forums. 

 

I love the Internet, but you couldn't have invented a more efficient mechanism for giving voice to the absolute nuttiest among us.



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