Should America/NATO support Syrian resistance the way it did in Libya?

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Re: Should America/NATO support Syrian resistance the way it did in Libya?

Post by halfwise on Tue Sep 10, 2013 11:05 pm

Exactly, Dave. It was well done, and as both Obama and Kerry have said the threat of force must remain until the weapons are secured. My guess is it was half planned: force something to happen (anything was better than the whole lot of nothing going on) then grab hold of the best option that gets flushed out of the woods.

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Re: Should America/NATO support Syrian resistance the way it did in Libya?

Post by Eldorion on Tue Sep 10, 2013 11:07 pm

Fair point, guys.  I'm not convinced that it was planned since I'm not sure anyone expected the extent of the backlash against military intervention both domestically and around the world.  Either way, I'm glad to see a diplomatic resolution looking more likely now. Smile
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Re: Should America/NATO support Syrian resistance the way it did in Libya?

Post by bungobaggins on Wed Sep 11, 2013 2:29 am

Make of this what you will.


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Re: Should America/NATO support Syrian resistance the way it did in Libya?

Post by Eldorion on Wed Sep 11, 2013 4:38 am

A respectable attempt to explain his opinion, but jesus christ at some of the doublethink present.

"We are not the world's policeman."

Then a few minutes later...

"We are the anchor of global security."  "That's what makes America exceptional."

This line made me roll my eyes too:

"What kind of world will we live if the United States of America sees a dictator brazenly violate international law with posion gas, and we choose to look the other way?"

I don't know, but I'm pretty sure it will be a better world than one in which we choose to give that dictator more gas.  Oh wait.

***

Anyway, there do seem to be fewer doubts now about whether Assad or the rebels were behind the attack, but that doesn't remove questions about whether or not the rebels are really people we want to support.  I appreciate Obama saying that he wouldn't put troops on the ground or otherwise escalate American involvement beyond a limited strike, but he also goes out of his way to note that he has the authority to order military action without asking Congress first (which is true), so him simply promising not to do it shouldn't be enough.
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Re: Should America/NATO support Syrian resistance the way it did in Libya?

Post by halfwise on Wed Sep 11, 2013 1:44 pm

It can be hard to tell the difference between doublethink and subtlety, but Obama is a pragmatist who always works with reality (often to the dismay of his supporters), and doublethink requires actively denying the truth in order to obtain psychological objectives.

The difference between a policeman and an "anchor of global security" is that the police take it upon themselves to be the sole agents that uphold all of the law (at least in theory), as opposed to being the tool the world turns to when practical because it's simply the biggest tool in the box.  And America will pick and choose what is in it's best interest to act upon.

Too me what was most interesting was his implicit acceptance that poison gas is not worse than bombs , otherwise he wouldn't have stressed that the importance was that any prohibition must be upheld or we lose all prohibitions.  He did try to tug on the heartstrings a bit, as expected when trying to sway the public, but it wasn't the basis of his logical argument.

"I appreciate Obama saying that he wouldn't put troops on the ground or otherwise escalate American involvement beyond a limited strike, but he also goes out of his way to note that he has the authority to order military action without asking Congress first (which is true), so him simply promising not to do it shouldn't be enough."

Sorry, I don't see what point you are trying to make.  He has to maintain the threat to Syria, yet since the threat to the USA is not imminent he's keeping political cover by going to congress,  and coincidentally providing time for non-military solutions to work themselves out.  I'm pretty sure it wasn't a deliberate delaying tactic, but I am sure he's happy to let it act as one.  If you want double-think this is the closest that he came, a very deliberate psychological ploy which I think he stumbled into and has proceeded to make use of.

Who did Syria get the gas from?

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Re: Should America/NATO support Syrian resistance the way it did in Libya?

Post by Eldorion on Wed Sep 11, 2013 4:09 pm

halfwise wrote:The difference between a policeman and an "anchor of global security" is that the police take it upon themselves to be the sole agents that uphold all of the law (at least in theory), as opposed to being the tool the world turns to when practical because it's simply the biggest tool in the box.  And America will pick and choose what is in it's best interest to act upon.
America has always picked and chosen which atrocities and/or foreign political changes we want to get involved in.  The phrase "global policeman" doesn't mean that America's role is exactly the same as real police.  It's not like I expected Obama to openly embrace that phrase, particularly since it's usually used by anti-imperialists, but for him to go on about American exceptionalism just a few minutes afterwards smacks of hypocrisy.  Especially since the world is not turning to America over Syria; this is very much something we are trying to "take upon ourselves".

Sorry, I don't see what point you are trying to make.
Mainly that Secretary of State John Kerry told Congress just a week ago that American boots on the ground was still an option in the event that the situation in Syria got significantly worse at some point after an airstrike.  Obama might very well not want ground troops involved at this point, but that doesn't mean he won't change his mind in the future.  And according to his speech last night, if he does change his mind, he doesn't have to ask Congress before taking action (which, again, is legally true).

http://www.thenation.com/blog/176021/live-updates-weak-case-intervention-congress#
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Re: Should America/NATO support Syrian resistance the way it did in Libya?

Post by halfwise on Wed Sep 11, 2013 4:49 pm

Once again, no matter how lightweight it is to pay attention to the analysis of comics, I must respectfully turn the stage over to Jon Stewart:

http://www.thewrap.com/daily-show-john-kerry-just-mr-magooed-his-way-into-diplomacy/

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Re: Should America/NATO support Syrian resistance the way it did in Libya?

Post by David H on Wed Sep 11, 2013 4:53 pm

This reminds me in some ways of a 1970's and 80's style of diplomacy in which there's public sabre-rattling on both sides while at the same time the diplomats are working around the clock behind the scenes. It's an idiom Putin knows well.
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Re: Should America/NATO support Syrian resistance the way it did in Libya?

Post by halfwise on Wed Sep 11, 2013 5:17 pm

I think Jon Stewart made the case that this was not the original intent. After Kerry mentioned the option that Syria could avoid strikes by completely turning over chemical weapons, the State Department immediately clarified that it was a purely rhetorical statement. maybe it was extremely clever reverse psychology, but I tend to doubt it.

Jumping on it and keeping up the pressure is still a good move.

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Re: Should America/NATO support Syrian resistance the way it did in Libya?

Post by Eldorion on Wed Sep 11, 2013 5:28 pm

Whether it was planned or not (and like I said before I don't think the Kerry comment was part of some genius master plan, though it would be very impressive if it was), I certainly hope that the Obama Administration and everyone else involves follows through on this and avoids military action. No doubt about that.
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Re: Should America/NATO support Syrian resistance the way it did in Libya?

Post by David H on Wed Sep 11, 2013 5:38 pm

It may have been serendipitous, but it's also exactly the way a good negotiator puts out a test balloon to see the reaction while making no commitment. Every good diplomat is always looking for tiny little openings, and knows how to open a door just a crack. Personally I think Kerry is seasoned enough to be able to channel his spontaneity.

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Re: Should America/NATO support Syrian resistance the way it did in Libya?

Post by Pettytyrant101 on Wed Sep 11, 2013 5:47 pm

So all we need now is for Syria to agree to an international plan to allow the destruction of their chemical weapons cheers 
-cough-cough- except Syria, Russia, France and America all have different plans they want, America will have to persuade the rebels, made up partly of people who hate them, to have a cease fire and Russia will have to convince Assad to call a cease fire too, then the UN Inspectors can go in to a country in the middle of a civil war and start digging out the weapons, then they have to collect them all up, then take them and away destroy them, and the cease fire has to hold at all times to let them do it.
Yeah, this will work.....

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Re: Should America/NATO support Syrian resistance the way it did in Libya?

Post by halfwise on Wed Sep 11, 2013 6:15 pm

I sincerely doubt the weapons are stored in any of the hot zones. They will be in secure locations. Hell, if Charley Rose can get in and out (he said they never felt a need to put on bullet proof vests) I'm sure a band of inspectors can get in and out.

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Re: Should America/NATO support Syrian resistance the way it did in Libya?

Post by Pettytyrant101 on Wed Sep 11, 2013 7:35 pm

The negotiations could take weeks just to get a deal, implementation will probably take months (we have an example of this from Iraq preinvasion of how long this process takes and that wasnt a warzone.
In the meantime Assad's brother leads his troop on his killing spree (estimated 100,000 dead so far and more every day, millions displaced).
By the time all the 'diplomacy' has run its course Assad will be in a undefeatable position, the Rebels defeated or so reduced as to leave only a moping up exercise, Russian investments in the Syrian economy secured, and the prospect of a pipeline into Europe through Syria means mainland Europe increasingly relying on energy from Syria on one side, and Russia on the other.
Bad guys win.
Obama had painted himself into a corner no one else wanted to stand in with him, and Russia have taken advantage of that by offering him a get out, but at a huge cost.
That's my take on the state of play right now.

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Re: Should America/NATO support Syrian resistance the way it did in Libya?

Post by Eldorion on Wed Sep 11, 2013 7:37 pm

Is there any solution to the Syria issue that doesn't result in "bad guys" winning? There don't seem to be a lot of good guys involved in the civil war.
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Re: Should America/NATO support Syrian resistance the way it did in Libya?

Post by Pettytyrant101 on Wed Sep 11, 2013 7:38 pm

Probably not, but thats no excuse to play the game so badly and just hand the bad guys the win.

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Re: Should America/NATO support Syrian resistance the way it did in Libya?

Post by Eldorion on Wed Sep 11, 2013 7:44 pm

I'm not really sure what you think Obama should have done differently at this stage.  I was under the impression from your earlier posts that you didn't approve of his "red line" rhetoric and the idea of military strikes.
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Re: Should America/NATO support Syrian resistance the way it did in Libya?

Post by Pettytyrant101 on Wed Sep 11, 2013 8:00 pm

I didnt and dont approve of his red line, it was a bad move. He said it without first checking with his allies it was their red line too, he said it with no plan or idea of how he was going to enforce such a red line, and with no possible way to predict under what circumstances it might occur.
Obama in my view has played this from a political standpoint like a rank amateur from the start and his opponents, not even through their own guile but through his mistakes, have been handed the upper hand and a great hand of cards to play with a very good chance of walking away with everything they want.

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Re: Should America/NATO support Syrian resistance the way it did in Libya?

Post by David H on Wed Sep 11, 2013 8:13 pm

I agree that Obama probably got out in front of everybody with his redline statement. but as this has played out, it's become increasingly clear to me that the chemical warfare issue is as much a proxy for the Middle East nuclear issue as it is an issue in its own right. Whatever happens here and now will have a direct bearing on Israel, Iran and the wannabees and how we all talk to eachother.
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Re: Should America/NATO support Syrian resistance the way it did in Libya?

Post by halfwise on Wed Sep 11, 2013 8:55 pm

Pettytyrant101 wrote:I didnt and dont approve of his red line, it was a bad move. He said it without first checking with his allies it was their red line too, he said it with no plan or idea of how he was going to enforce such a red line, and with no possible way to predict under what circumstances it might occur.
Obama in my view has played this from a political standpoint like a rank amateur from the start and his opponents, not even through their own guile but through his mistakes, have been handed the upper hand and a great hand of cards to play with a very good chance of walking away with everything they want.
He may not have played a good leader from the beginning, but I don't see how the opponents are walking away with everything. Syria is losing it's chemical weapons, Russia may be the peace broker, but it's at the instigation of the USA. It happens to be a winning situation for everyone, even if it was blundered into.

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Re: Should America/NATO support Syrian resistance the way it did in Libya?

Post by Pettytyrant101 on Wed Sep 11, 2013 9:11 pm

Russia can replace any weapons losses at a later date when the world is looking else where, thats like giving up a pawn in chess right now.
Russia has a fortune invested in Syrian energy and large arms deals, it wants the Assad regime to remain in place, which will happen because the process initiated by the Russians off the back of a Kerry fumble, will delay everything long enough for Assad to deal with the rebels with brutal force.
I don't see how thats good for America, Russia is stronger, appears in the world stage as the peace broker, keeps all its interests in the area intact and a regime hostile to the US is further embedded in Syria with no one left with any chance of opposing it. Where's the win?

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Re: Should America/NATO support Syrian resistance the way it did in Libya?

Post by Eldorion on Wed Sep 11, 2013 9:33 pm

Most reports I've seen said that Assad is already winning the war in Syria, and Obama has been very clear so far that his goal for a bombing campaign would not be to tip the balance of the war against Assad.  America has been giving support to the Syrian rebels but no one in the US government has said that the US military should be directly involved in order to overthrow Assad.  It's all been about the moral imperative to stop the use of chemical weapons and about backing up American credibility after the "red line" comments.

As for the win, it's really just that the American people get to avoid being involved in another war because Obama was handed a diplomatic out by Putin. I don't really care if it makes Obama look better or worse, I think it's clear that as you say he has handled this poorly from the beginning, but I'm glad that America isn't going to have another war.
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Re: Should America/NATO support Syrian resistance the way it did in Libya?

Post by Pettytyrant101 on Wed Sep 11, 2013 9:41 pm

But that's the point- way back at the start of this mess it was supposed to be part of the Arab Spring, you know moderate good guys overthrowing the evil dictator, with us in the background cheering them on and giving them the tools to do the job with.
Now apparently its really all about getting some easily replaced chemical weapons and a treaty with a man who wont stick to it anyway, leaving the rebels to be massacred by the very dictator we were earlier cheering them on to rebel against. And this is the price being paid to get Obama out of a political embarrassment of his own making.
It looks politically inept and morally bankrupt to me.

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Re: Should America/NATO support Syrian resistance the way it did in Libya?

Post by Eldorion on Wed Sep 11, 2013 9:44 pm

The idea of the Arab Spring being about "moderate good guys overthrowing the evil dictator" was a nice thought, but unfortunately reality on the ground both in Syria and countries where dictators were actually overthrown is a lot more complicated. There's plenty of evidence that if Assad is overthrown, the people who establish a new government would be just as anti-American. Except they'd also probably be Islamists and thus we wouldn't have Putin to rein them in when things got too heated. And the whole country would be more chaotic and violent for longer, which are ideal conditions for the growth and continuation of terrorism (see also: Iraq after Saddam Hussein).
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Re: Should America/NATO support Syrian resistance the way it did in Libya?

Post by halfwise on Wed Sep 11, 2013 9:48 pm

Nobody likes Assad, but nobody likes the alternatives either.  Most likely after a long bloodbath it would be an islamist takeover.  Except for Libya, America and Europe have stayed out of the Arab Spring, avoiding ownership and hoping for the best.  Help to opposition forces has largely been on the token scale.

EDIT: cross post with Eldo, saying basically the same thing.

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