Tag Archives: obama foreign policy

Syria, St. Paul And Of Mice And Men

Damascus is a really old city.  It has been there since recorded time from the Biblical ages.  Christians are familiar with the story of St. Paul.  He was on his way to Damascus to punish Christians as he had been doing in his role of Roman bureaucrat and a true Jew who viewed them as heretics.   Then came the epiphany on the road to Damascus when he literally saw the light and heard the voice of God and his life was transformed.  He bought a word of hope and peace as the Gospel to the world that is followed today by billions.   Can we expect such good news (no pun intended) from the US’s tortured and perhaps militant (?)  journey to Damascus today?

One major factor we overlook in our current slap stick foreign policy efforts is that from the Syrian and Assad perspective this is a fight to the death.  The loser will be at the mercy of the winner.  It is winner take all and one can see the way Muslims treat one another in their internecine wars.    The Shia, Alawites and Christians will be killed or enslaved at best if they lose this battle.  Such dreadful outcomes focuses the mind and stiffens the spine even in the face of difficult odds.  We can’t credibly promise love, peace and prosperity for them if they lose this battle and they know it.

Its geography is diverse as is its people.  From desert lands to the mighty Euphrates to the north and the mountainous regions in its southwest.  The entire land like Damascus is filled with nooks and crannies to hide WMD.  Because of the way we have handled the situation they have already had three weeks to disperse and re-arrange their armaments including those WMD.  You can assume that only the  most trusted troops would be involved in such a process.   Damascus alone would provide endless small buildings off alley ways to stash the WMD.   They have been doing that.  Never assume your enemy is a fool; what they are capable of doing they will likely do.   But for the mental exercise let’s assume that somehow there is an agreement to get the WMD and have it destroyed.

First there will be the interminable delays.  They news today is already that the Syrians supported by the Russkies wants at least 30 days to merely hand over an inventory of the WMD on hand.   But assume we get the deal for real people to come and look and locate in a reasonable time.  How many will it take?  If there are 20 locations you have to assume at least 3/4 inspectors per location.   They can fly in fairly safely and even get transport to a school or hotel or wherever there is relative security.  Speaking of which who is going to provide the actual, day-to-day security for those inspectors.  No doubt they will want some outside force and not be dependent on Syrian troops for that job.   How many foreign security troops will Syria allow into their country during the Civil War?  They could rightfully suspect they might be spies transmitting data back to the CIA or similar organization.   But assume we get by that hurdle also and some limited number of foreign troops are allowed as escorts to protect the inspectors.

Will the Syrians blindfold them en route to locations?  I mean what if the deal falls apart only a few days after the process is started.  You think the Syrians will allow those inspectors to take back home the exact locations of their WMD?  They sure won’t allow them to wear Google glass hardware or Zillow cams.

After they locate the WMD it has to be secured.  Locked under seal.  It is inconceivable that it could be destroyed in place.   How will it be transported?  Who supplies those trucks and workers to load all that bad stuff?   I doubt the Syrians will donate trucks during the civil war when they need them to move troops, ammo and logistics to their own troops.  In all likelihood if the US estimates are remotely close you are talking about lots of trucks.  Who will provide the security for the convoys to move those trucks and exactly where will they be taken?  You ever thought about one of those trucks being taken out with an RPG?  Either side could have a lone wolf who decides that would be just a dandy idea.   One assumes the neighboring countries will not touch this transportation and storage situation with a ten foot pole.  Israel would probably help out but, but, but, try selling that idea in a Muslim country.

Of course there is the obvious advantage to Assad of having those inspectors in-country during the Civil War.   First, those facilities and nearby areas will never be targeted by the US for fear of collateral damage.  Secondly, he has some built-in hostages that he can disperse where he likes and again protect those areas from any US military strike.   If he delays, hides stuff even without trying to conceal the effort, the fact is that there will never be any military strike against him as long as they are there.   History is replete with “guests” being in fact nothing but hostages to their hosts.  Read any history and you see.

Yeah, we have satellites and drones and all that sophisticated gear to detect and attempt to locate the WMD and keep up with the inspectors.  But Assad will not let the inspectors wear tracking devices unless it suits his purposes.  And all that sophisticated gear is not full proof.  It can’t see everything and night vision and all that heat sensitive sensors still have limitations.   We simply can’t keep up with all the Assad troops in Syria 24/7.   It will be impossible to verify we got it all.  Maybe we get 90% but is that really making us safe?  That ten per cent with the Tsarnaev brothers in Boston is not a vision we should welcome.

The only way this would work effectively is to destroy the opponent militarily so that you can work your will without interference.  But getting it that war is a terrible idea.  The US interest are not threatened and those Muslims should solve their own problems by the sword since that is their choice.  We aren’t making them fight and kill each other.  The solution is for them to find.  Indecision and vacillation are the marks of the tepid and weak and seen as so by the world.

“Fish or cut bait”  http://www.olcranky.wordpress.com


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2 Cents Worth On Life Its Ownself

Let’s go right to work.  At these prices I can’t afford to spend time lingering….

All those that are surprised that Putin favors BO to win the election hold up your hands.  You do recall BO’s captured comments by the open mike when he told old Med that Vladimir should just be patient until the election and then BO would have more “flexibility dealing with Russia.  Of course Vladimir wants someone in the White House he can rollover.   In the meantime the Russkies don’t help with Iran or Syria or, well, where exactly are they being supportive?

Don’t take my scepticism for much weight regarding the whole issue of man-made global warming but you are encouraged to read the letter to the WSJ about three weeks ago on that topic.  We are constantly bombarded with the idea that the science is established that such a phenomenon exist.  That letter is by three very distinguished scientist and some at those elite Eastern schools.  They decry the lack of scientific purity in the research on the subject and posit that the subject has become captive to conclusions before data analysis.  Indeed the entire “green” movement has become its own industry.  The last thing they would want is for the world to solve the problem.  Then they would have nothing to do and frankly those cushy jobs with institutes, foundations and charities supporting the green agenda would disappear.  Their raison d’etre would be gone.

A footnote to the above topic.  You note that just in the last week the battle has begun over the huge solar panel projects planned for the deserts of the West.  That big project in California has already drawn opposition by three green groups talking about the environmental damage such a large solar array will have on the area.  Interestingly they also take the position that there is no evidence to support the notion that solar energy would improve the environment.  One of their arguments is that working the desert earth would release more methane and other harmful elements into the atmosphere than would be eliminated by the solar project.  These aren’t right-wing Tea Party types opposing the project.  Ah, ain’t watching the human play fascinating.  Wonder if we are in Act III yet.

We note that Biden has only given 2% of his income for charities.   Guess he couldn’t afford more with the expense of his hair transplants and all that dental and orthodontic work.

Bush was the epitome of evil for keeping all those poor terrorists in Gitmo but BO is still works on water and calms the seas even though he has followed the same policy for nigh on 4 years.  Don’t believe for a minute he needs some kind of Congressional approval for closing it down.  He is commander-in-chief and can order the military to do whatever he wants with those prisoners whether we like it or not.  He could release them tomorrow or send them to any other of our military bases around the world if he really wanted that.

Well, we have the announcement from Europe that the ECB will save the day a la our own Fed by printing up more Euros to support the Spanish, Italians, our Greek friends and assorted others.   They say they will do it in s “sterilized” fashion.  By that they mean that they won’t be printing more money and increasing the size of their balance sheet.  Allegedly they will sell other assets to make the new purchases.  But you let me know if you have seen an explanation of exactly how that will work and what assets they will redeem to buy the new bonds to support the Euro.  Those minor details have not been reported yet in the WSJ or Financial Times or any of the business news channels.  Conclusion–they are hiding the ball and will in fact just print more money.  After all if they didn’t then they wouldn’t accomplish what they view as they mission in this crisis.   Of course we hoi polloi just aren’t sophisticated enough to understand high finance right and they sure don’t want to trust us with plain language or simple truths.    I really believe that you could take an Italian or French politician and stick them into our Democrat party and you wouldn’t notice any change.

I am NOT a birther person.  Don’t hyperventilate.  But all that discussion did cause a new look at the Constitution.  Under the 20th amendment it would seem that if there is a serious question regarding the qualifications to be President and those are timely raised that an “elected” President would be denied his office and the Vice President would take the office at least until his qualifications were proved or removed.  Just read the amendment for yourself, it is pretty plain.   The presumptive President has to be “qualified” to assume office.

Just a word to the wise and those who want to make informed investment decisions–keep a constant eye on the Baltic Dry Index.  It monitors the shipping of hard goods and basic commodities.  Four years or so ago it was at 11,000, now it is at 675.  It is down over 60% just year to date.  Iron ore which is a fundamental item for all economies is down over 30% this year in shipments.  China ain’t buying much at all and has ample inventories.   Thus Australia is beginning to slow down significantly because it supplies the bulk of iron ore and coal to China.  No one else around the world is picking up the slack, not in South America or anywhere else.  Steel, lots of steel, is necessary for any thriving economy.  Until that Baltic Dry Index starts moving up big time the world economy will continue to languish.  All the other headlines are interesting and should be watched because monetary policy can help or screw things up badly, but bottom line you need that steel production to go up or we are just treading water at best.

You think Clint wasn’t a big hit at the Republican convention?  Well, the next week Smith and Wesson stock shot up about 15%.   He made their day.

“Newspapers nowadays use facts merely as the raw material of propaganda.   By suppression, or alteration, or overemphasis , or by the trick of false perspective, or by scare headlines and editorial comment, the “facts” are made to convey exactly the particular idea which the newspaper desires to suggest to its readers”.  P. Gibbs, English novelist, 1944.  http://www.olcranky.wordpress.com

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