Friday, October 30, 2015

President Obama's decision to send in 50 Commandos to assist in the training of forces to fight Assad and ISIS, is reminiscent of 1950, when President Truman authorized sending 35 troops identified as a  Military Assistance Advisory Group Saigon or MAAGS into Vietnam.  The 35 soon escalated to 342 by 1954, and were joined by 350 more in June, 1956.  Now I'm not saying that this will occur, but Washington ought not make the same mistake. Remember, the military commanders come with special brains which prohibit thinking about decreasing the size of their command, be it 50 Commandos or 550,000 American soldiers as in Vietnam by 1966.
So the message is clear Mr. President. Do not let Putin's play, and it is a play, drag you into doing something that you have said "no" to in the past. If you are going to commit America to stopping ISIS, use President Clinton's approach to Srebenica against the Serbs. Bomb ISIS 24/7 until the barbarian threat is eliminated.

 I agree, this is not a nice solution, but ISIS has shown a total disregard for those who fail to follow its precepts and not only does ISIS disregard the norms of war, it also destroys the past, not unlike the burning of the books as done by the Chin dynasty in China and by Nazi Germany.
If Washington is going to take action, then take serious action. 

Wednesday, October 21, 2015

The Washington-Moscow agreement on reducing the possibility of accidental aerial combat between the two  has only one purpose: to look responsible to the public. How can American support to the rebels not conflict with Russia's support of Assad's government. Assad needs a rebel defeat, and Washington needs a regime change. The agreement was nothing but window dressing for a limited conflict between two super powers. Follow up the agreement with the recent visit of Assad to Moscow for reassurance that he will continue to rule Syria. America's hands are tied in this relationship.
Washington is supporting a rebel army including some elements sworn to destroy America against a legitimate government. This harkins back to the days when the CIA led overthrows of legitimate governments in Iran and Guatemala.
The best outcome for Washington is to accept the fact that Assad will survive due to Moscow's support which will continue since she wants to maintain access to her only Mediterranean naval base, Tartus.Instead, make an agreement with Russia to work together to destroy ISIS. Once done, Washington can try a new tactic to deal with a Russian controlled Syria. And there may be room to negotiate since Russia's control of Syria will bleed Moscow's coffers of more rubles than she can afford.

Thursday, October 8, 2015

The Obama Administration needs to accept the fact that Assad will remain in power. By supporting the rebels against Assad, means that Washington is confronting Moscow directly, not simply as surrogates. An accidental shooting down of either side's planes will produce reactions far in excess of what is needed. The Donald Trumps of the world would have us prepare for war, of course his kids would be exempt, since they are too important to be fodder in combat. Others can do that. The Dick Cheney model.

Looking at history, relations between Syria  and America are slim to none. Only with the Arab Spring did Assad's dictatorship catch the eye of Washington. As civil war broke out, the Assad regime crushed the rebels' initial efforts, and continued to punish the Syrian people. Obama announced in  August, 2011, in concert with representatives from France, the United Kingdom and Germany that "for the sake of the Syrian people, the time has come for President Assad to step aside." And with that, outside of sending a limited amount of weapons and materials, the Obama administration has done nothing noteworthy. In contrast, Syria's long time ally, Moscow, has begun to openly support Assad by killing rebels, and as a balance  attacks ISIS forces. This serves as a sop to Washington, but also indicates that Russia is willing to help America destroy ISIS.

At this point, the White House should end its efforts to overthrow Assad, since that will not happen with Moscow's intrusion, and join  Russia to destroy ISIS, which is a far greater threat to world civilization. Were Washington to join forces with Moscow, other NATO countries would step up to the plate, and in the process eliminate a possible Russian-Turkish confrontation due to Moscow's flights over Turkish territory. As said before, the ball is in Obama's court, and no one seems to know how to hit it back, not even the level headed presidential candidates.

Friday, October 2, 2015

Netanyahu still beats a dead horse.

Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu is still beating a dead horse, the Iran nuclear plan accepted by all of the Security Council countries and Germany as well as the European Union. He describes Iran as central to supplying weapons to each and every terrorist organization, including those supporting Palestinians. In this indictment, he ignores the fact that his principal and really only ally, the United States, leads the world in arms sales and cannot control the end user. Netanyahu rests much of his international influence on the holocaust, the attempted genocide of the Jewish people. While horrible, and inexcusable, the memory does not last forever in the world. No more than Stalin’s post World War II slaughter of over 20 million Russians, fearing those who had been to Western Europe would return with political ideas antithetical to Communism. No one, except those involved, remember these events, and they carry less and less weight as the years go on. Old memories do not prevent new massacres—just look at events in Africa and the Middle East. Without minimizing the significance of the holocaust, it is only a constant memory for Israelis. The slaughter of the American Indians is only a constant memory for the Indians, not for the vast majority of Americans. Netanyahu’s constant bickering and efforts to interfere with America’s foreign policy, as well as being critical of the wishes of  the principle nations in the world, has resulted in Tel Aviv becoming more isolated than ever before. Not because she is a Jewish state, but because she plays poorly with other countries.

Friday, September 25, 2015

Syria, Russia and the United States. The media loves to have tension and conflict, and since relations between Putin and Obama are strained, at best, any event which highlights the tension and helps sell media products is front page news. What has to be considered is that 69 years ago on February 10, 1946,Syria and the USSR signed a secret agreement whereby Moscow wold give Damascus diplomatic, political and military help to bring the new country (just freed from French control) into the international arena. Four years later, the two countries signed a non-aggression pact, and the USSR began to supply Syria with weapons. In 1971 the two countries agreed that Moscow could use the Syrian port of Tartus to support her naval fleet in the Mediterranean Sea.Relations have continued to improve under the current president, Bashar Al Assad, who succeeded his father in 2000. Moscow has invested heavily in Syria's infrastructure especially in gas and oil production.
The "Arab Spring" in Syria began shortly after Mubarak's fall in Egypt in February, 2011. Thousands of students took to the streets to oust the Assad government, which was renowned for its cruelty. America stood by and did little. Washington was afraid that were Assad ousted, there would be no government and Syria would become a bastion for terrorists. Or,if the Syrian government moved toward a precipice, Tehran would come to its aid, and America could end up with a war against Iran, not a war the White House wanted. Obama also feared that if Assad continued to lose power, he would encourage Hezbollah and Hamas to be more confrontational with Israel, again an alternative the White House wanted to avoid. 
Since Obama was unwilling to commit to America leading a movement for change in Syria, the White House looked to the United Nations Security Council for help. However, Russia, threatened to veto any UN measure restricting Assad's regime. Russia's continued support in the UN undermined America's effort at regime change in Damascus. 
The rapid development and expansion of ISIS, the Islamic State of Iraq and Syria, brought the radical Islamic movement in Syria, thereby threatening the Assad regime. Moscow has no desire to see a Syria controlled by ISIS and has begun to send in troops, men and money to bolster the Assad regime. Washington is caught. She had been supplying weapons to forces opposing Assad for the past three years. But the White House also wants to put an end to the ISIS efforts to have a Syrian-Iraqi caliphate. While both Putin and Obama are opposed to ISIS, and both realize that the solution is to aid the Syrian army's efforts to destroy ISIS, the end game is the problem. Moscow has a leg up on dealing with 
Syria, her near 70 year relationship, while America has historically little to do with the entire Middle East except to think of her as a oil well, and to try to limit Soviet and later Russian influence in the area. Now the question is: will the White House accept an Assad Syrian government as the price to pay for working with Russia to destroy ISIS. For once ISIS is defeated, Assad will have sufficient military supplies to destroy the American supported rebels. The ball is in Obama's court.

Putin-Obama meeting
I think this is a brilliant play by Putin. If Obama meets him, there is an implicit acceptance of Russia's seizure of the Crimea, and the eastern part of Ukraine. Putin's offer to work with Obama to destroy ISIS is perfect. If we say yes, and between the two countries were are successful, which we should be, when the smoke clears, Assad is still in control of Syria unless Obama can make a deal that following the destruction of ISIS, Assad is replaced by a strong government representative of the people. This is a "wish". The problem is what becomes of the rebels that Washington is supporting to reduce or remove Assad from office.
On the other hand, let say that Obama refuses to meet with Putin, this will not prevent Putin from sending more troops and supplies into Syria to eliminate ISIS--it would be a big commitment, but the prize would be Assad in power, and Syria as a Moscow satellite.
Anybody have alternative ideas? send comments to me at

Friday, September 4, 2015

America’s foreign policy since 1945 has evolved from containing Communism in the post-war period, to looking to Russia and China as partners in maintaining a world safe from terror and nuclear war. During this evolution, each administration addressed problems without concern for successors, and at times without regard for policies established by predecessors. Each administration brought to the Oval Office, the goals of its political party, an awareness of public opinion, and the president’s own agenda.
Throughout this period, America often compromised her moral image of being the “Citty upon a hill.” The resurrection of old powers such as China, the recovery of the Soviet Union from near destruction during the Great War, an Arab world demanding recognition as a world player,  European enlargement through NATO and the European Union, have all forced Washington at various times to compromise her values, and sacrifice morality for world dominance. She was willing to overthrow legitimate leftist governments, and to orchestrate the assassination of  troublesome heads of state including Trujillo in the Dominican Republic, Allende in Chile,  Diem in Vietnam,  Lumumba in the Congo, and a failed attempt on Castro in Cuba. Her actions in Vietnam defy morality, from the deadly defoliant Agent Orange, to blanket bombing of cities, to the slaughter of civilians who harbored VC guerillas; all of this done in the name of preventing a “domino” progression of Communism. Her indifference to Muslim beliefs permitted her to humiliate prisoners at Abu Ghraib prison, and to arrest and imprison others without trial. She redefined the definition of prisoners-of-war, thereby prohibiting them from receiving the protection of the Geneva Convention. The list goes on, but in spite of her indiscretions, the world continues to look to America for leadership. In the 1990s, a new image emerged from the White House, America was the “indispensable nation” needed to maintain world order. When Obama arrived in the White House he wanted to alter that image, but much of the world had become accustomed to Washington’s oversight, and saw no other nation capable of being the world’s policeman. While Washington might be “conflicted” in trying to live up to her moral image, she is still the “go to guy” when world order is threatened.