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Author Topic: US warships near Syrian waters  (Read 9011 times)

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Offline Cyrano Johnson

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Re: US warships near Syrian waters
« Reply #25 on: August 27, 2013, 05:35:16 PM »
Hmmm... the plot thickens...

Putin has made it his agenda since being re-elected to piss off the US at every chance he's gotten, especially if it means screwing over his own people.

Putin is hardly my favourite head of state either right now but I don't think this is a fair assessment. He's been consistent in pursuing distinctively Russian strategic interests, and where those diverged with NATO it was frankly -- especially with the Iraq War -- not Russia's fault.

Offline Callie Del Noire

Re: US warships near Syrian waters
« Reply #26 on: August 27, 2013, 07:42:32 PM »
Hmmm... the plot thickens...

Putin is hardly my favourite head of state either right now but I don't think this is a fair assessment. He's been consistent in pursuing distinctively Russian strategic interests, and where those diverged with NATO it was frankly -- especially with the Iraq War -- not Russia's fault.

Well there was some concern that some groups within the rebels would do it to ensure 'their' side won. I don't doubt that some fo the groups would gleefully do just what was being put out. But till the full investigation is done, I wouldn't say ANY side in this terrible conflict was above using them.

Offline sleepingferret

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Re: US warships near Syrian waters
« Reply #27 on: August 27, 2013, 08:17:19 PM »
It seems to me that any of our so called allies.... or even the UN which to me seems to only stick its nose into other countries business (even our own...but we won't go there), but then doesn't really "bite back".

Oh no, it's big bad America that does all the nasty stuff.  We the People of the United States of America, shall be the Earth Police Force!  Go America!

So first "food for thought", what would happen if the United States decided to not get involved in some of the "hot spots" of the world that we have?  (Exclude Afghanistan, because after 9/11...that one was going to happen, and terrorism is not to be tolerated).  But why should we be involving ourselves in other countries politics?  If they want to kill each off, because they don't like their president...um, pull our people out, severe ties with them and that should be that.  If after the "fires die down" we still agree with the policies of that country then we can go back and discuss things with them.  But why do we need to involve our military with foreign governments?  If they aren't threatening to harm our allies. threatening the use of nuclear weapons which does affect the world, or threatening us...why are we involving ourselves in other peoples business?

Now, I'm not heartless... but why are we always the ones "stepping up to plate"?  If we pulled all of our troops home, again excluding any involved in places like Afghanistan.  What would the rest of world do?  If the President told the rest of our allies, "It's your turn to defend the world."  What would happen?

(Nevermind who the President is, nevermind who the rest of national leaders of our allied nations may be)... What do you seriously think would happen?

Now, as for the topic at hand... I find the use of chemical/biological weaponry appalling...and to use such weapons on civilians?  Some action has to be taken to end this, and while I am "tired" of such actions always being lead by the US (or in many cases solely taken by the US); if the military assets are there, then use them.  I won't support sending troops and having an extended group campaign in Syria.  But if we have to bombard them or even use a few planned covert ground strikes to end the conflict, fine so be it

Offline Callie Del Noire

Re: US warships near Syrian waters
« Reply #28 on: August 27, 2013, 08:25:41 PM »

So first "food for thought", what would happen if the United States decided to not get involved in some of the "hot spots" of the world that we have?  (Exclude Afghanistan, because after 9/11...that one was going to happen, and terrorism is not to be tolerated).  But why should we be involving ourselves in other countries politics?  If they want to kill each off, because they don't like their president...um, pull our people out, severe ties with them and that should be that.  If after the "fires die down" we still agree with the policies of that country then we can go back and discuss things with them.  But why do we need to involve our military with foreign governments?  If they aren't threatening to harm our allies. threatening the use of nuclear weapons which does affect the world, or threatening us...why are we involving ourselves in other peoples business?

Now, I'm not heartless... but why are we always the ones "stepping up to plate"?  If we pulled all of our troops home, again excluding any involved in places like Afghanistan.  What would the rest of world do?  If the President told the rest of our allies, "It's your turn to defend the world."  What would happen?

(Nevermind who the President is, nevermind who the rest of national leaders of our allied nations may be)... What do you seriously think would happen?


We did that once.

It was called the first half of World War 1. The Germans offered a chunk of our country to Mexico, along with funding and weapons, if we took exception to them sinking OUR ships when they resumed unrestricted submarine warfare.  Granted the disclosure of this was via British Intelligence but they were seriously considering it.

Offline sleepingferret

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Re: US warships near Syrian waters
« Reply #29 on: August 27, 2013, 08:31:23 PM »
That was then and the world had a different "structure" shall we say.  But if the world were to go to back to war... it'd be basically the Middle East versus everyone else. (or whatever)

The point being is that we are still essentially the world's police force, for lack of a better term.  And seem to be at the very least, the "leader"...if not the sole acting nation when it comes to dealing with issues like these.  Be it Syria or what about Egypt?  Who is watching over the troubles in Egypt right now for another example?  The US.

Where is Germany, where is Russia, where is Great Britain?  Where are their military forces to help with such things?
« Last Edit: August 27, 2013, 08:35:19 PM by sleepingferret »

Offline Oniya

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Re: US warships near Syrian waters
« Reply #30 on: August 27, 2013, 08:35:39 PM »
Wasn't that essentially how WWII rolled out?  True, the countries of the Middle East that are hostile to the US (and I do believe that they would form an alliance at least as stable as the one between the Axis Nations) aren't as far apart as Germany, Italy, and Japan, but as far as land-mass, we're talking about the same rough proportion.

We tried to stay out of that one, too - until the 'sleeping giant' was awakened.

Offline Valthazar

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Re: US warships near Syrian waters
« Reply #31 on: August 27, 2013, 08:40:54 PM »
I agree with sleepingferret.

People are struggling big time in the US - unable to feed their kids, pay their bills, and find jobs.  And yet, we send relief teams to every other place in the world, except small-town America.  Even many charities and 'doctors-without-borders' completely ignore our problems, and send their money and efforts overseas. 

Why don't we consider the radical concept of taking care of Americans first, and then the rest of the world?  Getting involved in the middle east only provokes our enemies even more.

Offline Callie Del Noire

Re: US warships near Syrian waters
« Reply #32 on: August 27, 2013, 08:52:52 PM »
Do we need to invest more in ourselves. Yes, most assuredly.

Will hiding our heads in the sand and ignoring everything elsewhere do any good? No.

For one, just look at how China has moved on various African nations in the last 2 decades. They are primary providers in markets that won't be viable for another decade. BUT when you do NOT do anything, you don't get folks trading with you, coming to you to buy airliners, give you 'developmental tech' deals, purchase your guns, tanks, cars, or whatever.

It's more than being there to help keep the peace, it's doing things to help out to build our industry and maintain good trade partners. If you don't help out.. they don't BUY from you. If we were to wash our hands of the Gulf states and the rest of the middle east, what would happen. Would the radical Islamic elements stop hating us? No. Will they stop bombing our embassies and allies? Doubtful.

Will they sell and buy from others? Definitely.

Why? Because while the guy on the street there might hate us today.. it's our goods they buy, it's to us they sell. Because we help their governments.

We go total isolationist.. someone else will do that.

Offline sleepingferret

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Re: US warships near Syrian waters
« Reply #33 on: August 27, 2013, 08:57:52 PM »
It was indeed how WWII started...

And had the Japanese not bombed Pearl Harbor, it is still a topic that is still debated today as to how much longer WWII would have lasted because the US would have still dragged its feet about getting directly involved in the war.  If it even ever did... or if because the US never did, whether Hitler would have won and how much different the world would be today.

I certainly don't want another incident like that... and I'm hoping both our country and the rest of the world learned from history as it should have.  However, it still comes back to where are our allies in all of this?  Does Britain not have warships?  Why can't they be the ones to act in situations like this?

Why must it be the US?  Is there some worldwide "mafia" code I'm unaware of, that the US laid down to the other countries?  And does such code state that they shall not act without consent of the US or that the US shall always be the first to lead the charge?
« Last Edit: August 27, 2013, 08:59:29 PM by sleepingferret »

Offline Callie Del Noire

Re: US warships near Syrian waters
« Reply #34 on: August 27, 2013, 09:11:32 PM »
It was indeed how WWII started...

And had the Japanese not bombed Pearl Harbor, it is still a topic that is still debated today as to how much longer WWII would have lasted because the US would have still dragged its feet about getting directly involved in the war.  If it even ever did... or if because the US never did, whether Hitler would have won and how much different the world would be today.

I certainly don't want another incident like that... and I'm hoping both our country and the rest of the world learned from history as it should have.  However, it still comes back to where are our allies in all of this?  Does Britain not have warships?  Why can't they be the ones to act in situations like this?

Why must it be the US?  Is there some worldwide "mafia" code I'm unaware of, that the US laid down to the other countries?  And does such code state that they shall not act without consent of the US or that the US shall always be the first to lead the charge?

Where are our allies? Waiting for us to come talk to them. We shat on them fairly heavily under the administration of the last Presidency. We demanded.. not asked.. demanded their aid and then INSISTED that we do the 'nation building' after we toppled the government. We used our influence and then pushed them out the door and let corporate 'goodies' go to US companies.

We treated everyone we dealt with in Iraq badly. It was always OUR way, not the highway.

To them..that's the attitude of master to serf. Not allies. Simply put.. they want their pound of (political) flesh. We used our standing and prestige badly to pursue a man who, while a jumped up brigand, didn't have anything that he was accused of having. Then our president stood by while 'good deal' no-bid contracts were given out to any company that had a US office as HQ.

Our allies aren't servants. They are allies. We stepped on them. Badly. Heavy highhandedly. That isn't how you treat equals. And the EU.. definitely our equal. Japan.. our ally for DECADES. The list goes on. We've lost a standing and even 10+ years after the lies got us involved in Iraq, institutional memory remains. We lied to them. We denigrated their sources and intel. We didn't bother to treat them as peers in planning, implementation and such. Do you blame them for not wanting to try that road again?

I dealt with a LOT of EU miltary members in the last 10 years of my time in service. They liked us, the service members, respected our professionalism. Didn't care for our leadership that much, because our leaders didn't RESPECT them.

Offline Kythia

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Re: US warships near Syrian waters
« Reply #35 on: August 27, 2013, 09:21:19 PM »
Where is Germany
Within NATO territory as their constitution forbids the deployment of the German armed forces outside of NATO territory
Quote
where is Russia
Protecting Russian interests.  I'll return to that in a second.
Quote
where is Great Britain?
In Iraq, Afghanistan, Libya, etc. 

The US isn't policing the world out of boredom or the goodness of its heart.  The US is policing the world because it fits with US interests.  Take Iraq.  In 2000 Iraq started selling oil in Euros instead of dollars - if that took off then it would be a major hit to the US.  There's a reason it's Iran that's started the Oil Bourse.  Following the invasion, the US returned the price to dollars.

I'm not saying there was absolutely no humanitarian goals at all, but never forget that in order to maintain US hegemony the US must maintain US hegemony.  They have the most powerful military the world has ever seen and US military might is a major factor in world politics.  I don't blame the US in the slightest for using it to maintain their power and quite frankly I think the world is better that they do. 

But US citizens can't feel hard done to that it happens.  If it didn't, the US wouldn't enjoy anything like the prestige it does now.  If they sat back and said "someone else sort it out" then someone - the EU, Russia, China, whoever - would do so.  And then the loud voice that the US has on the world stage would be replaced by a new loud voice.

Offline Neysha

Re: US warships near Syrian waters
« Reply #36 on: August 27, 2013, 10:13:27 PM »
Don't need to return to total isolationism, just not involve ourselves in the current Syrian conflict without good reason.

And the gassing of civilians under dubious circumstances certainly doesn't count, well in my humble opinion.

What interests does the US (or other possible intervening nations) have when it comes to direct military action in Syria and will it outweigh the probable risks and costs?

What would the objectives be of our campaign?

What does victory, or at the very least, our exit plan, look like in this case?

The UK Parliament at the very least is going to debate and vote on this Thursday. Will Obama bring Congress out of recess to debate and vote on whether the US should actually engage itself in this conflict? I hope so. I want to see where our government stands in totality, just like they did with the votes on Afghanistan and Iraq. I know Obama has the authority to engage in military operations if he wishes and he's done it before with Libya, (and supposed UN sanction which won't happen here) but I'd like to see at least a veneer of Congressional legitimacy given to it before we start launching cruise missiles.
« Last Edit: August 27, 2013, 10:16:01 PM by Neysha »

Offline Valthazar

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Re: US warships near Syrian waters
« Reply #37 on: August 27, 2013, 10:17:37 PM »
I am not denying that there are a lot of benefits for the US in getting involved with foreign matters. 

But at what point does the US acknowledge that we can't afford to pursue more advanced intelligence operations or that we can't afford to get involved with foreign matters - even if it is to our benefit? 

It used to be that we had a budget, and that we allocated our military spending based on what revenue was coming in, and other expenses.  The US still has a budget, but because almost all our military spending comes from debt, the amount distributed to these operations is largely based on estimated figures - with no repayment strategy in place.

The US is basically spending money it doesn't have, without any indication that it plans to pay off its full debt anytime in the future.
« Last Edit: August 27, 2013, 10:19:00 PM by ValthazarElite »

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Re: US warships near Syrian waters
« Reply #38 on: August 27, 2013, 10:34:07 PM »
I'm certainly not arguing for you to go charging in to Syria.  That's a terrible idea.  Just saying that the US's role as world police isn't entirely - or frankly mostly - one that has been thrust upon it.

Offline Oniya

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Re: US warships near Syrian waters
« Reply #39 on: August 27, 2013, 10:41:16 PM »
Interesting bit of history:  Whenever we've tried to pay off the national debt, it's sent us into a recession, if not a full-blown depression.  The longest series of budgetary surpluses (which peaked with a 1.15 billion surplus in 1927) was broken by FDR spending money to get us out of the Great Depression.  The most recent surplus was in 2001 - what's the economy been doing since then?  (Hear that flushing noise?)  Yeah.

Data source:  http://www.whitehouse.gov/omb/budget/Historicals/

Offline Valthazar

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Re: US warships near Syrian waters
« Reply #40 on: August 27, 2013, 10:57:54 PM »
Interesting bit of history:  Whenever we've tried to pay off the national debt, it's sent us into a recession, if not a full-blown depression.  The longest series of budgetary surpluses (which peaked with a 1.15 billion surplus in 1927) was broken by FDR spending money to get us out of the Great Depression.  The most recent surplus was in 2001 - what's the economy been doing since then?  (Hear that flushing noise?)  Yeah.

Data source:  http://www.whitehouse.gov/omb/budget/Historicals/

The economic recession we are seeing now, has more to do with banks giving out housing loans to people who should not have qualified for them.  The recession we are seeing now has more to do with that, than with any preexisting surplus.

The idea of spending money to get out of a recession/depression is definitely one school of thought.  But in relation to today, it doesn't take into account the huge amount of consumer debt that citizens now have.  I don't think people realize how tough the future looks for the US.  We can fight against terrorism all we want, but our downfall is ultimately going to come from within. 

Like others have said, all these wars are very relevant, of course, for optimal positioning of the US for future decades.  But at what cost?  In the grand scheme of the health of the US right now, these issues are merely distractions for what really matters.

Offline Oniya

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Re: US warships near Syrian waters
« Reply #41 on: August 27, 2013, 11:15:53 PM »
The budgetary stuff was actually a separate issue from the war issue, and was posted primarily in response to your comment that we 'have no plans of paying down the debt any time soon'.  If we try to pay down the national debt, we are taking money out of the economy.  (We can't just 'print more' because then the value of the dollar goes down, there's hyperinflation, and people end up stealing shopping carts and leaving the pile of Confederate dollars I mean Reichsmarks, erm dollar bills behind.)  When we take money out of the economy, people have less to spend.  Under the theory of supply and demand, this should cause deflation, but during the adjustment period, people would stop buying things, which causes jobs to go away, which causes less liquidity, and people taking pay cuts just to stay employed.

If we can take less of the brunt of this war, by putting our national ego aside and letting the UK (for example) take the reins, I'm all for that. 

Offline Valthazar

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Re: US warships near Syrian waters
« Reply #42 on: August 27, 2013, 11:41:09 PM »
We are already taking lots of money out of the economy though, like how taxes have increased on wealthier Americans.  Although taxes have technically decreased on middle-class Americans, the government is still getting revenue in other ways from the middle-class, such as federal student loans.  I know people who are literally handing over their entire month's paycheck in student loan payments to the government.  This is not only an obscene profit being made by the government, but is sucking a ton of money out of the economy.  Despite all this, however, the debt is increasing.  Thus, the real issue is government spending.

As far as my perspective on solving the national debt, it would be to drastically reduce government expenditures in foreign affairs - while retaining and supporting social safety nets like medicare, medicaid, and social security.  When government expenditures are reduced, ideally they would reduce taxation and other forms of profit-generating endeavors - a.k.a loans (which I realize will never happen, unfortunately).  Our economy is literally on life-support, with businesses currently getting revenues largely from consumers using credit cards, and living paycheck-to-paycheck.  Another huge expenditure, let alone a war, could be the tipping point.

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Re: US warships near Syrian waters
« Reply #43 on: August 27, 2013, 11:44:20 PM »
Um. "Money going to government" and "money removed from the economy" are two wildly different things - the government tends to reinvest large amounts of money in the nation, through things like subsidies, public works, and employee salaries.

What Oniya's talking about is money that's just gone - that America will simply never see again.

Offline Valthazar

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Re: US warships near Syrian waters
« Reply #44 on: August 28, 2013, 12:01:24 AM »
Um. "Money going to government" and "money removed from the economy" are two wildly different things - the government tends to reinvest large amounts of money in the nation, through things like subsidies, public works, and employee salaries.

What Oniya's talking about is money that's just gone - that America will simply never see again.

Most of our debt is owed to ourselves ( to the Federal Reserve, to state governments, social security fund, FDIC, etc.)  so "paying down the national debt" is in many ways, "taking money out of the economy" and also, "money going to the government."  Money circulating in the private economy is ultimately being siphoned to the government to pay debts on themselves.  For example, Bush Sr. borrowed money from social security to pay interest on existing government debts.  Thus, current taxation revenue to pay off the debt is 'disappearing' in the sense that the previously extracted funds need not have been used to help Americans (could have been used for wars, foreign aid, etc.).  So in many ways, money is disappearing from the economy.

I know in an ideal world, that the government would be committed to reinvesting large amounts of money in the nation, and improving infrastructure, but this is not what is currently occurring.  Education budgets are getting cut, our roads/highways need improvements (and many states are now choosing to take over the burden), and social security has basically been robbed.

I would say the really troubling aspect is that our future money truly is disappearing, in that we are actually considering funding wars in other countries that won't benefit most Americans in meaningful ways.
« Last Edit: August 28, 2013, 12:02:51 AM by ValthazarElite »

Online Dashenka

Re: US warships near Syrian waters
« Reply #45 on: August 28, 2013, 03:31:14 AM »
Where is Germany, where is Russia, where is Great Britain?  Where are their military forces to help with such things?

Minding their own business. The US wants to be seen as the world leader, your previous presidential candidate said that. He wanted the US to be the world power. Well go ahead. Invade Syria. Kill hundreds of innocent people for the greater good of freedom and then leave the people to fend for themselves. Like the US did in Iraq. Very peaceful place indeed.

Overthrowing Assad is one but getting peace back is a completely different thing and the EU and Russia and China understand that. The US obviously hasn't learned from Afghanistan and Iraq if they decide to intervene in Syria.

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Re: US warships near Syrian waters
« Reply #46 on: August 28, 2013, 10:19:12 AM »
Actually Iraq seems to be sliding back into civil war, so it makes sense for the U.S. to try to gain some measure of control in Syria and, of course, to counter some of the support Hezbollah has there - and which could grow a lot stronger if Assad should be toppled in a chaotic way.

Offline Callie Del Noire

Re: US warships near Syrian waters
« Reply #47 on: August 28, 2013, 10:22:49 AM »
We are already taking lots of money out of the economy though, like how taxes have increased on wealthier Americans.  Although taxes have technically decreased on middle-class Americans, the government is still getting revenue in other ways from the middle-class, such as federal student loans.  I know people who are literally handing over their entire month's paycheck in student loan payments to the government.  This is not only an obscene profit being made by the government, but is sucking a ton of money out of the economy.  Despite all this, however, the debt is increasing.  Thus, the real issue is government spending.

As far as my perspective on solving the national debt, it would be to drastically reduce government expenditures in foreign affairs - while retaining and supporting social safety nets like medicare, medicaid, and social security.  When government expenditures are reduced, ideally they would reduce taxation and other forms of profit-generating endeavors - a.k.a loans (which I realize will never happen, unfortunately).  Our economy is literally on life-support, with businesses currently getting revenues largely from consumers using credit cards, and living paycheck-to-paycheck.  Another huge expenditure, let alone a war, could be the tipping point.

The wealthy are paying more? No offense but the top 10% pay less now than anytime in over a century. Do they pay a large portion of the tax burden. Yes. Do they pay more (individually) than they did in the last oh.. 40 years? No. Reagan/Bush 1/1st Clinton tax rates were higher and the economy was much more healthy. Middle class pay has not gone up as much. And if you're unfortunate enough to be a lower class (or lower middle) you get even less. In the time that, for example, the guys running Hostess ran their company into the ground one worker with decades of time with the company lost almost half her base pay and ALL her retirement working for hostess. While the 'owners' and 'administrators' got raises and looted the company pension fund.

That is neither here nor there in the issue being discussed in THIS thread.

The issue here is.. how much 'splatter' Syria will have on their neighbors if someone doesn't get involved and force all the factors. Even Iran has worries (they are mobilizing their forces and missile defenses. Don't think that is ENTIRELY for us getting involved.) That is the one thing anyone can agree on, if this conflict spreads beyond it's borders OR some of the weapons Syria has slips out of the country and into some 'sponsor-groups' hands would be bad. Can you imagine how bad a truck load of Sarin could be in the hands of Al Queada? Or some other radical associated group? Or a bunch of Kurds who decide that after a century of atrocities that they are going to 'return' the favor. In any of the areas they were beaten on. (Fun fact.. WE supplied Saddam with gas tech back in the 80s. Which he used on the Kurds)

All this crap we getting racked over the coals for? (Aside from Bush II's stupid moves in Iraq) are fall out, directly or indirectly, for our lack of follow up in the 70s/80s. Both Bin Laden's merry band of psychos and the Taliban are a direct result of the US not following up with promises and leaving allies in the region high and dry after 'mission complete' equaled driving the Soviets out of Afghanistan. If we had followed the suggestions of men like Charlie Wilson and finished what we started THEN, and built infrastructure and a democracy in Afghanistan, would the Taliban have come to power? Would we been able to defuse Bin Laden and other mahjadeen and avoided needless bloodshed in the decades since?

America is lazy, diplomatically speaking, and we created a lot of the problems we are currently suffering from. If we, and by that I mean the US AND it's allies, don't resolve this problem in Syria soon, there will be issues. Not all of them will be good for the region or the US.  Will our actions, or more likely given our renewed isolationistic outlook lack of action, come back to bite us in the ass? I think it will. How? I'm not sure.

Offline Deamonbane

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Re: US warships near Syrian waters
« Reply #48 on: August 28, 2013, 11:13:25 AM »
Hmmm well, so far as I can tell...  This press coverage on the Syrian War is a little one-sided. My knowledge on the past of Assad is a little weak, so forgive me for that, but as far as I can tell, all we hear on the news is how horrible Assad is and how terrible he is handling the war. Fact of the matter is that it is a war, and there be atrocities on both sides, and it seems that so many people are harping so heavily on how bad Assad is, and we are all kinda turning a blind eye to the rebels evils because, well, damn! They is fighting the evil dictator. People kept saying how Assad was firing on civilians, I kept on thinking that it is something of a low blow for the Rebels to hide themselves among the civilians, using them as cover, and when the government shot down a couple civilians, all they had to do was put up some coverage on how the evil government shot down civilians and Bam! Overnight, international public opinion is on your side. Kinda like what happened in Lybia, as in, everyone was desperate to intercede while there was an evil dictator on the throne, but now that it is only multiple factions fighting over who should be the next dictator, now our consciences are clean.

Smart move, but gives me no respect for these guys. Again, I am rather out of touch with the news these days, but so far as I can tell, the only footage of the usage of chemical agents is a grouping of neatly arranged children's bodies. So... a large number of children died, according to footage shot by the rebels. To me, that could mean anything from Assad is a monster to the rebels being monsters. They could have accidentally hit a building that they thought was full of gov soldiers but was in fact full of children, and decided to put it to a good cause.

I don't know. I am really a little in the dark as to how they 'know' that it was Assad. But I do know that the US rushed into shit before invading Iraq for just about the same reason and," Oops, we found no weapons of mass destruction, but damn, look at all this unused OIL!" Just think that the US should be a bit more cautious in the future over what Middle Eastern shit they get their hands in. Or this, and the countless others will come back and bite them in the rear.

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Re: US warships near Syrian waters
« Reply #49 on: August 28, 2013, 11:41:08 AM »
Look:

Obama is not, repeat, not going to invade Syria.

I will bet every one of my dozens and dozens of dollars on this. Invasion is just not on the table. Period. There was a reason he spent several years extricating the US from Iraq, there was a reason he renounced the permanent base the neocon hawks had invaded in order to build there, there is a reason that -- after making a show of "surging" in Afghanistan -- he's pulling out of there by next year.  Like or dislike him, people should have worked out by now that Obama is smarter than the average bear (or Bush). He isn't invading any further Middle Eastern countries anytime soon.

As for why they're contemplating strikes (which will probably happen, and will probably not be effective):

1. The US invested enormously in the past century in gaining its world-hegemon status. Economically, it clearly cannot afford to lose that status or lightly throw it over -- a big part of the reason China is propping up the greenback is in part because it doesn't want to lose American markets, and it also doesn't want to have to spend its own resources on world policing -- and being the hegemon means that other states expect one to actively enforce order. So it becomes a very sticky thing, when something like this captures global attention, to try staying out of it.

2. Maybe more importantly, domestic politics traditionally dictate that the party that allows itself to "look weak" abroad will be pasted at the polls. I actually don't know if this political calculus really holds anymore (it seems that opinions about which party is "weak" and which one is "crazy" have largely calcified into two major voting blocs with very little give in them, with a no-man's land of "independents" between who near as I can tell seem to vote based on bird signs), but at the very least, anyone in the White House who refrains completely from saber-rattling -- and especially in a prominent incident like this -- is taking a considerable political risk.

(There is of course the related point that there are certain "sacred cows" of American political and military tradition that seem to be impervious to inconvenient facts. Using airstrikes to compel people to do or not do things, for instance, has almost never worked anywhere. The lone exception, Clinton in Kosovo, only worked because the strikes were carried out against Serbian units whose supply lines back to their "home turf" could be disrupted. Syria is nothing like this, but of course the "example of Kosovo" is duly being dragged into the light despite its being completely inapplicable. Airstrikes may be ineffectual in the practical sense: but they are a great way to be seen to be Doing Something without taking catastrophic risks.)

(EDIT: I agree with Daemonbane above that the emergent narrative of Assad as the Evil Emprah is a bit ridiculous. This goes back to the equally canned narrative of the "Arab Spring" -- I wonder how many people remember the "Prague Spring" this rhetoric was meant to evoke -- and to when hand-wringing about Assad "attacking his own people" was based on the rebels being peaceful protesters, a ship which has rather sailed at this point.)
« Last Edit: August 28, 2013, 12:10:02 PM by Cyrano Johnson »