America’s war aims

Let me begin where I last ended:

Just exactly what are America’s war aims in Syria? And how will I be able to tell when those war aims have been achieved? Here the issue is stated in the way I think of it and the kind of questions that need to be answered before sending the military into conflict:

The outstanding politico-military lesson is an old one: that one clarify one’s aim before one embarks upon a military operation; ruthlessly and objectively dissect and analyse where it will lead, what is to be gained from it, and what one will be faced with when it is over.

So the conclusions I have come to reading the comments to the previous post, which I found very helpful, and from others are these.

1) The missiles had virtually nothing to do with the use of poison gas on civilians. Useful as a focus and explanation, but not in any way the actual reason.

2) The actions have almost nothing to do with Syria itself. The Syrian conflict remains as it was. ISIS is getting pounded and will eventually be ground into dust. That’s what the Russians are doing and will continue to do. What happens to Assad is of no real concern to anyone.

3) The actual point was the restoration of American red lines as something others should start paying attention to. There are other issues everywhere, with North Korea, Iran and the South China Sea high on the list. When the United States now says they have a view on something, others are going to start paying attention. Obama has gone and a the defence of Western values is now back on the agenda.

4) Beyond the actual conflict, this is a statement in defence of Western values and our way of life. Trump is not just focusing on military matters and international conflicts but our freedoms and its political system. He is saying don’t mess with us, and dare I say it, because with all our flaws, we have the only way of life that can allow different peoples from different cultures with different backgrounds to live together in peace. But first you have to accept our rules, and if you don’t like them then find somewhere else to live. And that goes for the UN as well, whose hypocrisies are now anathema.

5) Strangely, this might well have been an action that has potentially cemented an American alliance with the Russians. This was never going to lead to World War III. But beyond that we may be heading to an American-Russian foreign policy condominium which would be a very good outcome. Who can tell on that one, but our interests there and elsewhere are often closely aligned. Because of the American left and its media enablers this confrontation in Syria may well have been the sole means to bring such an outcome into reality. Why not be an optimist?

Let me give the last word to Tom Cotton, who is destined to succeed Donald Trump in 2024.

The world now sees that President Trump does not share his predecessor’s reluctance to use force. And that’s why nations across the world have rallied to our side, while Russia and Iran are among the few to have condemned the attack.

The threat of the use of force — and its actual use when necessary — is an essential foundation for effective diplomacy. Mr. Obama’s lack of credibility is one reason the United States watched in isolation as Russia and Iran took the lead at recent Syrian peace conferences. It’s also why Iran got the better of us in the nuclear negotiations and North Korea has defied us for years.

With our credibility restored, the United States can get back on offense around the world. In Syria, Mr. Assad knows that we have many more Tomahawk missiles than he has airfields. So do his supporters in Moscow and Tehran.

You will notice if you read the article, other than a passing reference at the start to poison gas in Syria, the rest is about the re-establishment of American power. And there is nothing sentimental about that.

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100 Responses to America’s war aims

  1. Nicely put, Mister Kates.
    Something along the lines of what I was thinking.
    The Child Bride was asking about the whole thing last night and I finished up saying that I would not be surprised to see a US/Russia co operation agreement in the medium future.

  2. stackja

    Russia seeing USA as an ally?

  3. mh

    Let me give the last word to Tom Cotton, who is destined to succeed Donald Trump in 2024.

    Steve, you need a Bex and a lie down.

  4. I also like how Trump did it while he was hosting China’s leader.

  5. Pat Heuvel

    Excellent comment Mr Kates. But you will note there are no relevant photos of Mr Putin: I’ll wager his fingers are crossed behind his back. He has to say what he said to maintain face. Off the record, I would guess he would be saying something else entirely.

    Pat

  6. MD

    But why should the US care in the least what happens in Syria, Iran, Korea or the South China Sea. With energy independence the US can focus on fixing problems at home. That’s what Trump was elected to do. Read about the worrying direction in which the EPA issue is trending. Let’s hope Trump doesn’t abandon his domestic agenda and fall back on the usual position of failed governments of creating a distraction overseas.

    It took only three months to see that the Abbott government was going to be a dud (actually it was obvious beforehand). Are we going to see the same with Trump? If so, the war is lost. The Left have won.

    http://www.breitbart.com/big-government/2017/04/02/delingpole-epas-scott-pruitt-gets-eaten-alive-by-fox/

  7. I Am the Walras, Equilibrate and Price Take

    How’s that ‘defence of western values’ playing out in Yemen, Steve?

    Back to the drawing board please.

  8. Habib

    Spot on. When the first Tomahawk dropped in, the message was “Iran, you Chicom pricks, you with the bad haircut keeping a really fucked-up brain warm, and even you, Ivan, pull your fucking pointy heads in, or you’re next. Now please go and fuck yourselves very much. And by the way, next Frogfoot that does a low pass over one of our ships in the Black Sea had better be carrying shitloads of chaff and flares”.

  9. Habib

    What western values in Yemen? A flyblown shithole with no redeeming features, populated with atavistic loons who see girlfreinds where we see mint sauce. Like Somalia, seal the borders, and send in ammo.

  10. jupes

    Spot on.

    What Habib said.

    Dunno what happened to you yesterday Steve, but it’s good to see you are thinking rationally again.

  11. Dr Fred Lenin

    An understanding between the USA and Russia would be a formidable deterrent to globalist u.n. communist world domination that and the collapse of the German EU dictatorship . The EU is an extesion of the old DDR Stasi state ,a hangover of the dinosaur marxist theories ,where it is back to the past for your future ,bit like the SA dinosaur alp/green/zylophone maggots .they should be shot at dawn the lot of them ,cleanse the world of soros globslist fascism .

  12. Tel

    How’s that ‘defence of western values’ playing out in Yemen, Steve?

    They are mostly in defense of Wild Western value, like in the movies… you know shoot shit up and say “Yi Ha” a few times.

  13. jupes

    How’s that ‘defence of western values’ playing out in Yemen, Steve?

    Who gives a fuck?

  14. Myrddin Seren

    ISIS is getting pounded and will eventually be ground into dust. That’s what the Russians are doing and will continue to do.

    Other than maybe the odd bombing run over Raqqa and aircraft and special forces helping to recover Palmyra ( for the second time ), the Russians are mostly focused on helping the regime re-open and keep open the corridor between Damascus and Aleppo. Plus push the Al Qaeda franchisees and their associates away from the Alawite heartland in Latakia – where the main Russian naval and air bases are.

    If you refer to the linked map, it will be noted that the hard yards of trying to encircle and cut off Raqqa are being done by the Kurds, with US support.

    It is a LOT more complex. The Turks have been trying to carve out a Turkmen beach head in northern Syria to buffer against the Kurds and the regime ( both hated ). And taken some bad hits from ISIS in the process.

    The actions have almost nothing to do with Syria itself.

    Certainly an arguably good point from this remove.

    The Syrian conflict remains as it was.

    And will likely continue for the foreseeable future until the flow of money and weapons to one or more of the major factions dries up and enough fighting-age males have been killed ( David Goldman’s Thirty Years’ War analogy ).

    Syria is a bankrupt, ruined failed state – Somalia on the Med.

    It will defacto or recognisably be partitioned in to areas of influence. Or another brutal dictator has to amass sufficient force to crush the other factions and maintain the Sykes-Picot borders some how.

    Syria will be a running sore of terrorism, crime and assorted ills on Europe’s door step for decades ( it is a miracle that some awful pandemic hasn’t erupted in Syria already – given the collapse of water, sewerage, power and medical services ).

  15. mh

    One of the criticisms made of Trump supporters is they see what they want to see in Trump. There is some truth to that, but it equally goes to Trump’s critics.

    Isolationist, protectionist, ‘trickle-down economics’ – these terms were used by lazy thinkers.

  16. Tel

    After this, Trump will be in line for a Nobel Peace Prize.

  17. danger mouse

    Now Steve gets it.

  18. Jo Smyth

    Back on track Mr Kates. The West is back in the lead. BTW, please explain why you think Tom Cotton is the next man for the job.

  19. MD

    Donnie, you need to get focused on the real issues real fast. Time and control are slipping away:

    https://wattsupwiththat.com/2017/04/08/off-to-a-bumbling-start-at-interior/

    Some extracts:

    … the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service (FWS) advised that “The rusty patched bumblebee is likely to be present in scattered locations that cover only 0.1% of the species’ historical range.” Thus, government agencies need only be consulted or issue a permit for developers to “take” (disturb, harm or kill) the bees in these limited areas.

    … no one knows where that 0.1% area might be …

    That’s partly because the Obama FWS issued the endangered species designation without developing any protocols for actually identifying the ground-dwelling bee’s nesting sites.

    The decision gives eco-obstructionists another powerful weapon against projects they oppose.

    … waiting in the obstructionist wings, right behind the rusty patched bumblebee, are two more bumblebee species whose potential habitats spread across 40 states.

    Put together, we’re talking about nearly half of the United States!

    This is the Pandora’s box that Secretary Zinke’s Department of the Interior has unleashed, by failing to keep a lid on the FWS actions or review the Obama Administration’s politically motivated, hurry-up designation.

    … the same Obama USFWS has given wind turbine companies permits to kill hundreds of bald and golden eagles – and thousands of raptors, other birds and bats, many of them threatened or endangered – every year for the next 30 years.

    Trump urgently needs to turn his attention to the enemy within.

  20. Perfidious Albino

    Glad to see, like Paul Joseph Watson, you’ve finished ‘flouncing’ Steve, welcome back…

  21. RobK

    It’s hopefully all part of the MAGA package Steve.
    I was chatting way to myself on the previous thread:

    “Trump and Mad Dog have got this.”
    I expect you are right. It has the added benefit of raising troop morale to be deployed in a meaningful way rather than drifting about the Mediterranean armed to the teeth whilst playing cards. It adds some purpose to the US military expenditure and will ultimately reassure the folks back home to have confidence in their government.

  22. struth

    You will sleep better tonight Steve.

    Cheers.

    PS, you weren’t half as bad as some of the panty wetters commenting.

  23. Roger

    In Syria, Mr. Assad knows that we have many more Tomahawk missiles than he has airfields. So do his supporters in Moscow and Tehran.

    So do al-Qaeda and ISIS.

    I’m sure they’d love to see more Syrian airfields blown up given they are presently on the backfoot.

    Wasn’t Trump’s goal in Syria to grind IS into the dust?

  24. candy

    A group of US warships is headed to the Western Pacific Ocean near Korea, a US defence official has told the media.

    Is there a war aim?

  25. zaphod

    “Regime change in Syria is one of the top priorities of Donald Trump’s administration, US United Nations ambassador Nikki Haley says, doubling down on comments made by Secretary of State Rex Tillerson last week.” …. Here we go again……..

  26. egg_

    Is there a war aim?

    ‘Gunboat diplomacy’, more likely.

  27. Wasn’t Trump’s goal in Syria to grind IS into the dust?

    Erasing the caliphate even though essential won’t kill the movement or the ideology. They will go underground and focus all attention on soft targets. It’s going to get real ugly.

  28. zaphod

    “If I become president, the era of nation building will be brought to a very swift and decisive end,” Trump vowed, adding it’s time to “chart a new course.” ~ Trump 2016

  29. Erasing the caliphate even though essential won’t kill the movement or the ideology.

    Meanwhile, across the border in Turkey Erdogan is quietly establishing a real Caliphate with a secure homeland and a proper political structure.

    The “fun” hasn’t even started yet.

  30. Roger

    Regime change in Syria is one of the top priorities of Donald Trump’s administration, US United Nations ambassador Nikki Haley says…

    That’s a real change – and Haley is rising in influence far quicker than anyone expected her too. Trump may have been sending a signal in Syria – well and good, negotiations are best undertaken from a position of strength. But I shudder to think that under his presidency it’s going to be business as usual for the neo-con state department. I suspect those who voted him into power would feel likewise; it is they, after all, who have to pay for wars with their blood and gold and he campaigned on reducing foreign military adventurism. Let’s hope he’s receiving sage advice from someone, since Bannon appears to be on the way out.

  31. Oh come on

    I’m not convinced that bringing about regime change in Syria is a good idea, unless it’s a regime we have installed and can control. Otherwise it’s better the devil we know, and that’s Assad. The Arabs evidently need a stern and cruel daddy to dominate them, otherwise they start massacring each other and demanding we take them in as refugees. ME countries would be far better off under the thumbs of relatively secular military dictatorships such as that of Egypt. We need to identify, bolster and defend the al-Sisi figures and their regimes. No more compassionate conservatives wanting to arm and train “the people” to overthrow their governments (ie Lindsay Graham and John McCain need to take a hike with their ambitions for Syria). No more neo-con nation building or starry-eyed Arab Spring idealism (it was a terrible idea to topple Gaddafi and allow a Muslim Brotherhood candidate to win an Egyptian election. In fact, an Egyptian election was a terrible idea!). The ME is a place where hard hearts and unsentimental strategic calculations are necessary.

  32. Leo G

    After this, Trump will be in line for a Nobel Peace Prize.

    Aren’t Nobel Peace Prizes only given to a president beforehand?

  33. Tel

    Aren’t Nobel Peace Prizes only given to a president beforehand?

    Ahhh but you see CNN only just now declared Trump “Presidential” so they couldn’t give it any earlier.

  34. Defender of the faith

    Kates: as usual the alternate view has more cred. Trump promised America First and specifically ruled out value statements. However his security team is good and have won out over the gasbags of rhetoric like Bannon.

  35. Irreversible

    “This was never going to lead to World War III. But beyond that we may be heading to an American-Russian foreign policy condominium which would be a very good outcome. Who can tell on that one, but our interests there and elsewhere are often closely aligned.”
    Breathtaking idiocy.

  36. Roger

    ME countries would be far better off under the thumbs of relatively secular military dictatorships such as that of Egypt.

    Trump should ditch the neo-con regime changers and adopt an updated version of the Kirkpatrick Doctrine to replace Obama’s ill conceived Arab Spring. Heck, I thought that’s what he promised to do! As unsavoury as they may be, characters like Hussein, Mubarak & Assad keep a lid on Islamic radicalism. Just let them know where the line is drawn and take a long spoon when you sup with them.

  37. egg_

    Trump should ditch the neo-con regime changers and adopt an updated version of the Kirkpatrick Doctrine to replace Obama’s ill conceived Arab Spring. Heck, I thought that’s what he promised to do! As unsavoury as they may be, characters like Hussein, Mubarak & Assad keep a lid on Islamic radicalism. Just let them know where the line is drawn and take a long spoon when you sup with them.

    +1

    Give up the ‘World Police’ doctrine FFS.

  38. RobK

    ” After this, Trump will be in line for a Nobel Peace Prize.”
    I don’t think assertive hawks are eligible for Nobel (dove) Peace Prize, despite (more probably because of) Alfred’s enabling industrial chemistry providing the big stick in diplomacy.

  39. testpattern

    ‘After this, Trump will be in line for a Nobel Peace Prize.’

    Not bloody likely. If he’d really cared for the kids the first thing he’d have done would have been to direct their evacuation to a hospital ship and then to the US to get the best treatment available. He doesn’t fool anyone in the aid community. Obama was no better.

    ‘Assad keep a lid on islamic radicalism’

    Ffs the prick fomented it. He actively encouraged terrorism so he had a pretext to take action. And he just made it worse.

  40. Oh come on

    The Shiite and Sunni extremist regimes and movements in the ME are irredeemable. That means Iran is irredeemable. There will be no reconciliation with them. They would never allow it, and we ought not seek it. Assad’s Syria is an Iranian proxy. It is, I suppose, not impossible that Assad could be rehabilitated and brought into the Western tent, which would require him to sever his ties with Iran. If this can be achieved, then, sure, let the House of Assad continue to rule Syria. But if it can’t – and I think it most likely it cannot, as Iran has been backing Assad for a long time and I can’t see Assad letting go of that relationship lightly, particularly with Iran’s other trump card in the Arab world, Hezbollah, who would be breathing down his neck if it appeared as though he was going to jump ship – then Assad must ultimately go. Not because we’re interested in democratising Syria or any such nonsense. No, we need to apply a zero-sum, Cold War-style mentality to the ME. Our objective should be to move Syria from the Iranian column into ours.

  41. Confused Old Misfit

    Where is Lester Bowles Pearson when you need him?

  42. Who can tell on that one, but our interests there
    and elsewhere are often closely aligned.”

    Breathtaking idiocy.

    Irreversible, in case you haven’t noticed, the old Soviet Union and the Cold War ended over a quarter of a century ago. With regards to each other, politically and diplomatically Russia and America are at the same point Australia and Japan were at in 1970, when the Pilbara was being opened up.

    Time you moved into the 21st century son.

  43. sdfc

    There’s no comparison between Russia and Japan. Russia is an expansionist
    Japan hasn’t been since 1945.

  44. Roger

    Our objective should be to move Syria from the Iranian column into ours.

    Sure; but you won’t achieve that by bombing them.

  45. Vicki

    Much more clear headed, Steve.

    Putin and Trump are both realists. It may look like Trump overreach, and the Russians are responding in words and redirection of their warship. But I doubt if there will be any escalation.

    I repeat what I said earlier – Medvedev is no Putin.

  46. Roger

    Heh:

    John McCain arguing for a no-fly zone in Syria and training the FSA.

    He actually wants a war with Russia over a sandpit.

  47. RobK

    ” Japan hasn’t been since 1945.”

    There were specific constitutional arrangements in place to try to insure that remained the case.

  48. Roger

    I repeat what I said earlier – Medvedev is no Putin.

    He’s Putin’s puppet, for heaven’s sake.

  49. .

    So roger, were you for the Iraq War?

  50. Give up the ‘World Police’ doctrine FFS.

    Actually the US can’t. It is the US Navy that keeps trade routes open on the high seas, has been for a long time and will be for a long time.

    Australia is also entirely dependent on this doctrine for its survival.

  51. Roger

    So roger, were you for the Iraq War?

    How do you think I learned my lesson, dot?

  52. RobK

    I agree Vicky. I think the two leaders can and will make headway on mutual interests. If they can make it a threesome, including China, that could give some hope for an optimistic outlook.

  53. Roger

    It is the US Navy that keeps trade routes open on the high seas, has been for a long time and will be for a long time.

    Which obviously serves the American interest directly.

    That’s another matter from foreign military interventionism of dubious justification and value.

  54. Rob MW

    Obama has gone and a the defence of Western values is now back on the agenda.

    Therein is the problem. Particularly from the left there are so many versions of ‘Western values’ that the word ‘values’ has no value or meaning whatsoever. Obama’s and the regressive left meaning of western values is the complete undermining and destruction of Western civilization and free market and free will democracies. There are evil stakeholders in the subjective version and meaning of ‘values’ which should not be confused with a constitutional ‘way of life’.

  55. Roger

    Particularly from the left there are so many versions of ‘Western values’ that the word ‘values’ has no value or meaning whatsoever.

    Good observation, Rob

    We should speak more readily of virtues over values.

    Virtues are less susceptible to manipulation or redefinition in the service of an ideology that is alien to Western civilisation.

  56. testpattern

    Nice little trick by the russian military saying that just 23 of the 59 missiles reached a target. So the rest went where? Count the holes. Go for it conspiracy nuts

    http://eng.mil.ru/en/news_page/country/[email protected]

  57. .

    Trump bombed a Russian ally and Russia did nothing. Enforcing a no fly zone for the Syrian Air Force won’t do anything either, the Russians are doing most of the damage against ISIS anyway.

  58. egg_

    It is the US Navy that keeps trade routes open on the high seas, has been for a long time and will be for a long time.

    Totally ineffective against Somali pirates.
    Regardless, stay out of the ME slag heap FFS.

  59. There’s no comparison between Russia and Japan.

    Nobody was comparing Russia to Japan. The comparison was of time past – water under the bridge. The Soviet Union has been dead for over 25 years, and yet there are people here who still view all international politics through the lens of “reds under the beds”.

    As for Russia being “expansionist”, where?

  60. Roger

    Enforcing a no fly zone for the Syrian Air Force won’t do anything either, the Russians are doing most of the damage against ISIS anyway.

    Exactly!

  61. Roger

    As for Russia being “expansionist”, where?

    Oh, I don’t know…the Crimea?

  62. sdfc

    Russia has pretty much always been expansionist. It’s the nature of the beast and no different under Putin’s criminal regime.

  63. Oh, I don’t know…the Crimea?

    The Crimea is and always was part of Russia.
    The population is 90% plus Russian.
    In a referendum the people voted 96% in favour of remaining part of Russia.

    Boris Yeltsin unilaterally declared The Crimea as part of the Ukraine, for no better reason than to demonstrate he could change world maps.

  64. Russia has pretty much always been expansionist.

    I repeat – where?

  65. sdfc

    As others have said here already Crimea, Ukraine currently. Do I really need to go into their historical expansionism? That would be tedious.

  66. testpattern

    What r american war aims? Here is a Russian perspective. 127pp but well worth the time.

    ‘Turkey and Iran both have their own separate circumstances that make them vulnerable to colour revolution threats but the prime factor linking the two is the U.S supreme goal of integrating the regime change movement with a Kurdish affiliated unconventional war.’

    A colour revolution field manual and how to counter it.

    http://orientalreview.org/wp-content/uploads/2015/08/AK-Hybrid-Wars-updated.pdf

  67. Do I really need to go into their historical expansionism?

    No, because my observation was specifically about Russia following the collapse of the Soviet Union over twenty five years ago. My comment was aimed at people who insist the Cold War is still the primary relationship between Russia and America today.

    What happened prior to the disintegration of the Soviet Union is irrelevant to the current conversation. Far from being “expansionist”, Russia under Putin has been going in the other direction, locking wannabe countries out, like Abkhazia, Ossetia, and Eastern Ukraine. I suspect Crimea will get short shrift too, once Russia has finished relocating the military bases at Sevastopol.

  68. Roger

    Russia has pretty much always been expansionist.

    I repeat – where?

    Let’s revisit this question when Russian troops march into Estonia, Lithuania or Latvia.

  69. Tel

    I suspect Crimea will get short shrift too, once Russia has finished relocating the military bases at Sevastopol.

    If you think Russians are ever going to relocate Sevastopol then you really should read those history books.

    Way too much Russian blood already spent over that, and they are not going to give it up without one heck of a fight.

  70. .

    Because NATO countries are free and Russia is not – why the fuck should we care, Rob?

    Who do you think has thousands of nuclear missiles still deployed against the USA?

  71. Rob MW

    I agree Dot. Better to have EU expansionism than Russian expansionism however, not being inclined to be moronic, I would say, just guessing, that old Vlad disagrees about which expansionism is best for his country. Of course all these NATO countries that are socialistic free is a bit of a bent cucumber to deal with.

  72. If you think Russians are ever going to relocate Sevastopol then you really should read those history books.

    Not going to argue history with you, Tel, but to all intent and purpose the naval base at Sevastopol has already been relocated to near Novorossiysk. All that’s left at Sevastopol are some crumbling soviet-era troop ships and frigates. All the new stuff is now on Russian mainland turf.

  73. Mike

    Lol, don’t like it go live somewhere else? What, so the us can make up trumped up charges, and bomb that place to for its plunder?

    Wake the fuck up, America has no values. The mass media is duping the public at washingtons behest. The rest of the world isn’t as naive As americas corporate slave citizenry, they know how we operate in the Middle East. We e been preparing and pushing and manipulating the people of Syria into this war, knowing full well it would lead to an entire regional collapse, we knew the revolution would be cooped by the terrorist dogs leashed to Saudi (where do you think all that rucking money we give Saudi goes?. , we know Saudi supplies the rebels with its own stock of chemical weapons, and we know that the sarin attack from 2013 was a plot by turkey, as it was leaked and all over the fucking European and Turkish news.

    Know why americas media kept silent? Because they needed to keep the corporate cogs ready to rationalize the imvasion they’ve been salivating over for and working towards for 15 fucking years as an act of justicice, or a necessary act of posturing.

    What a load of horse shit. Follow the fucking money,this has always been about the billion dollar energy industry, the gas line we have miserably failed in consreucting before Russia saw to theirs, and most importantly, without an annual useless war, how would the weapons and war industry continue to turn a big profit? How would the banks make their billions lending money to reconstruct after the west has ripped one of the oldest and historically rich cities in the world? How would the energy sector continue to suppress renewable energy without constantly finding new stockpiles to plunder from countries intentionally forced to underdevelop?

    I hate this fucking country. I hate that my fellow Americans are mostly too ignorant and naive to understand that they are commodified husks to this corporate owned sociopathic refuge of a government. All it takes is an hour of searching Wikileaks to have the truth of our intentions, and half a fucking spine not to be just another useless idiot complicit in murder.

  74. Harald

    Here’s further* anecdotal evidence that there will be no escalation, but instead Russia’s got the message, knows it has no response, and will have to accept the new standards now set by the Americans:

    “Russia’s support for Assad is not unconditional.”: Kremlin spokesman.

    (*)Further – since the first and most important indication was the lack of retaliatory military response thus far.

  75. Mark A

    memoryvault
    #2350201, posted on April 9, 2017 at 8:01 pm

    Boris Yeltsin unilaterally declared The Crimea as part of the Ukraine, for no better reason than to demonstrate he could change world maps.

    Sorry MV, it was the Ukrainian Nikita Khrushchev who did that.
    But you and everyone stating that the Crimea belongs to Russia is right.

  76. Because NATO countries are free and Russia is not – why the fuck should we care, Rob?

    I think we are stretching the meaning of the words “free” & “not”.

  77. Rob MW

    Not only that Zippy but that ugly sister History has a bit to say as well. The US’s reaction to the Russkies putting nukes 90 miles off the coast of Miami forced the US to sponsor the invasion of Cuba at the bay of pigs. As usual direct and factual equivalence is conveniently overlooked depending on the socialistic definition of ‘free’.

  78. Zulu Kilo Two Alpha

    The medical procedures shown by the “White Helmets” were found to be fake when examined by real doctors.

    This is what I’m trying to understand – the treatment for sarin gas poisoning is an injection of atropine, into the thigh muscle.

  79. .

    Rob MW
    #2350278, posted on April 9, 2017 at 8:37 pm
    I agree Dot. Better to have EU expansionism than Russian expansionism however, not being inclined to be moronic, I would say, just guessing, that old Vlad disagrees about which expansionism is best for his country. Of course all these NATO countries that are socialistic free is a bit of a bent cucumber to deal with.

    Russia is run by an ex KGB thug and murderer.

  80. .

    Zippy The Triumphant
    #2350389, posted on April 9, 2017 at 10:16 pm
    Because NATO countries are free and Russia is not – why the fuck should we care, Rob?

    I think we are stretching the meaning of the words “free” & “not”.

    Putin has murdered over 80 journalists.

    May?
    Merkel?
    Hollande?
    Gentiloni?

  81. Sorry MV, it was the Ukrainian Nikita Khrushchev who did that.

    Thanks Mark. Always happy to be corrected. I was just guessing without checking.

  82. Rob MW

    Yes dot you are right however one person not wanting nukes in his backyard, regardless of whether that person is a despot or not, is hardly equivalent to millions of people living in the same backyard who also don’t want NATO nukes up against their backdoor.

    The EU purposely destabilised countries outside of its own autocratic region for reasons of expansion. Regardless of whether there’s a despot in charge, expecting Russia not to react is truly naive.

  83. Yohan

    Putin has murdered over 80 journalists.

    I think the actual stat is something like 58 journalists murdered in Russia since Putin took power. But in the 1990’s it was 96 journalists murdered.

    So that means Boris Yeltsin murdered more journalists than Putin, in a far shorter time, correct ?

  84. Yohan

    I’m pointing out the stupidity of attributing every murdered journalist to Putin. No doubt he does kill some, but most of the time they are local reporters digging up corruption and Russian mob bosses have them killed.

  85. Neville

    Unlike mh (above, early), I agree with you Steve. Shall we say: ‘you heard it here first … ‘? “… Tom Cotton, who is destined to succeed Donald Trump in 2024 …”

  86. JonSan

    The US’s reaction to the Russkies putting nukes 90 miles off the coast of Miami forced the US to sponsor the invasion of Cuba at the bay of pigs.

    You got your chronology a little wrong there: Bay of Pigs came first, then came the Cuban missile crisis…

  87. alexnoaholdmate

    Not only that Zippy but that ugly sister History has a bit to say as well. The US’s reaction to the Russkies putting nukes 90 miles off the coast of Miami forced the US to sponsor the invasion of Cuba at the bay of pigs. As usual direct and factual equivalence is conveniently overlooked depending on the socialistic definition of ‘free’.

    The Bay of Pigs – which would have worked, if Kennedy had any balls – came before the Russians started shipping missiles to Castro.

  88. E.J.

    Why does nobody actually listen to the people of Syria..and to any other refugees where their homes & lives are destroyed by radical terrorists..
    http://www.michaelsmithnews.com/2017/04/2013-syrian-gas-attack-survivor-thanks-trump-cnn-host-slapped-down-when-she-goes-pro-clinton.html#comments

  89. Cynic of Ayr

    Pleased to see that Steve “got it.”
    To those who don’t think intervention in enemic (enemic? New word. Means a county that is an enemy, or displays enemy like attitudes) is a good thing, recall that it is better to wage war on the enemy’s soil, than on your own. Put it another way, stop the bastards before they get here, not after they get here. Australian Government and do-gooders are woefully guilty of the latter idea.
    Also, why is it OK to kill our enemies on their soil, but as soon as they get here and wage war, they get different treatment? On their own soil, we risk, and pay, our weapon carriers to kill them on sight, preferably sooner, but once they’re in Australia, we pay hoards of slimy, greasy lawyers a fortune to either get them off, or get them a slap.
    “Oh he’s just misunderstood, yer Honor. Had a bad life in his toilet of a country. Raping and killing and beheading is considered sport there.”
    Trumps message of determination and force, must be shown locally, as well as overseas. And Sarah Two-Dads, that moronic, hateful Di Natale,and all like them, need slapping across the face until they either come to more patriotic thinking, or depart for their beloved foreign lands. Preferably the latter.

  90. Rob MW

    You got your chronology a little wrong there: Bay of Pigs came first, then came the Cuban missile crisis…

    The point being ?? Oh….. I know……the different being the US did it because they are more morally righteous when it comes to eliminating leftist values……..oh wait !!

    Maybe, just maybe, the Russian population doesn’t want EU leftist values…….oh wait, that would be wrong on the Ruskies part because the leftist values are the current morally righteous system. FMD.

  91. .

    Russia doesn’t want Polish or Czech capitalism?

    The Russian population doesn’t get any say. Ask a Russian how their “elections” work.

  92. Defender of the faith

    Memory vault: in case you hadn’t noticed Russia is a failed state run by kleptocrats whose methods of political control include murder and rampant nationalism. There is no way the US military would want to join with them in anything at all.
    The Syrian situation is an extension of the unravelling that began with the either the Iraq war or the toppling of Rafsanjani. Plenty of other options. It’s part proxy sectarian and part geopolitical. With a big dose of tribal/ethnic complexity on top. It won’t end simply or easily. It might become the fuse for bigger trouble. Either way there has to be a large dose of Arab involvement which is hard to imagine.

  93. pbw

    I just noticed a story from the 7th.

    Philippine President Rodrigo Duterte orders troops to South China Sea reefs (probably paywalled.)

    This from the day after the Syria attack.

  94. PB

    Good assessment Steve, and well articulated. Time will tell, but I think you are pretty on it here (Yinon notwithstanding).

  95. Tel

    I hate this fucking country. I hate that my fellow Americans are mostly too ignorant and naive to understand that they are commodified husks to this corporate owned sociopathic refuge of a government. All it takes is an hour of searching Wikileaks to have the truth of our intentions, and half a fucking spine not to be just another useless idiot complicit in murder.

    I blame the school system.

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