Closing Thought–11Apr17

The Future Is Education!

I have been calling for some sort of free college education for our citizens…..I have always believed that education was the key to a great society….shame not many see it that way…..

I recently read a plan in the state of Rhode Island that I approve of and should be the same in all 50 states.

Rhode Island Governor Gina M. Raimondo plans today to propose that the state offer two tuition-free years for full-time students in public higher education.

Students at the Community College of Rhode Island would pay no tuition while earning an associate degree. For state residents who start at Rhode Island College or the University of Rhode Island, their junior and senior years would be tuition-free. There is no income limit, although the public system in Rhode Island serves many more low-income students than wealthy students.

Source: Rhode Island governor proposes two free years of public higher education

A capital idea!

3 Russian Theories About Syria

Everyone that is watching this play out is wondering just what was the real reason for the US strike at the Syrian airfield…..

I do a lot of research and I found a site that Russia has and there 3 theories on why the US hit the Syrian airfield…..(keep in mind I SAID Russian theories…not mine)….

1. “There’s a new sheriff in town.” The attacks reflect the promise US President Donald Trump campaigned on: the return of a “strong leader.” The impetus for the attack may have been domestic, international or both. If it was the former, then it’s mostly about impressing the domestic constituency, fixing failing ratings, winning points with Congress and distancing himself from the image of the “Kremlin candidate.” If the impetus was about his international posturing, he had to send a clear message to America’s foes and allies: Please the Israelis, satisfy the Gulf, alert Iranians, warn North Koreans and strip Russians of the perception that they run the show.

2. “The tail wags the dog.” In this hypothetical, the Syria strikes weren’t Trump’s decision. He might have been simply cornered by public pressure, as well as by Democrats and Republicans, to take action against Syrian President Bashar al-Assad. He might have been tricked into believing that Assad alone was to blame for the gas attack, just after Trump had said he wasn’t opposed to the Syrian president remaining in power. In this narrative, the forced departure of Steven Bannon from the National Security Council signals a shift in the administration’s policy, and the Syria strikes were one result.

Another approach to this second narrative says the gas attacks were perpetrated by a “losing party” in Syria — whether this party is the United States or regional players. The behavior of Israel and Turkey in this respect is remarkable. Israel has long sought the destruction of the Syrian chemical arsenal. Turkey’s influence in Syria is fading, so it has quickly shifted from supporting the peace process with Russia and Iran to supporting the US military operation.

3. “The art of the deal.” The military strikes might not have been coordinated with Moscow, but there was some kind of an agreement via military or intelligence channels that the action would be taken for political reasons that would sit well with the White House and the Kremlin. Those supporting this third narrative point to the rather courteous nature of the bilateral communication before the attack. The Department of Defense says the United States warned Russia ahead of the strike “to minimize risk to Russian or Syrian personnel.” Syria’s armed forces were also warned and “took precautions in more than one military point, including in the Shayrat air base.”

Only 23 of the 59 cruise missiles launched actually hit their targets, which Moscow says indicates that the United States never really intended to inflict serious damage. As a result, the strikes destroyed only one equipment depot, a training building, six MiG-23 aircraft in repair hangars and a radar station, while the runway, taxiways and Syrian air force aircraft in parking areas remained intact.

Does anyone see the validity to these theories?
My question is……23 out of 59?  Where the Hell did those other missile wind up?  A smart bomb my ass!

On Syria–Please Enlighten Us

Since the attack by the US on a Syrian airbase we are hearing that Assad must go…..not something new but it has gotten a bit louder after his unwise alleged use of chemical weapons.

Hell “Assad must go” has been a slogan for 25+ years and yet he is still there and still in charge

While I agree that he must go…..but how do people see this occurring?

It has been a rallying cry for decades….first his father and now the son….words do not get it done.  How would the world accomplish this feat?

Invasion?  Now there is a great idea (sarcasm) yet another country that we invade as part of our humanitarian nation building….and it has worked so well in Iraq….why not try it again? (Again sarcasm)

I know….I know…..how about a negotiated settlement of hostilities.  Hahahaha!

Now that the laughter has subsided….let’s look at negotiations…

Negotiations work well in most situations….labor strikes, boycotts, things along those lines….but when we deal with situations that involve religious freedoms, human freedoms or the future of an entire society a mutual agreement is not in the cards.  And especially when there are multiple players all wanting something different.  These will only provide a shift in the power base not a peaceful transition.

Syria?  Who are the major players for the vacuum of power?

Some say that there are 1000 oppositions groups in Syria with about 100,000 fighters….but there are major groups fighting for control….and BBC has been kind enough to make the list a bit easier……

Source: Guide to the Syrian rebels – BBC News

As one can see there are more rebel groups than hairs on one’s head and all want the same thing….POWER!

With further US backing the rebels will win but only to fall into Anarchy as the many political factions find themselves no longer united against a common enemy. A revolutionary government will probable exist for a short time during which the new government will try to root out all opposition under the cover of “seeking out those still loyal to the old government.   But this Government will also fall to a Islamic fundamentalist government due to presser from the surrounding nations and terrorist groups like al-Qaeda who will use the social and political turmoil of the short lived Revolutionary Government to set up a strong foot holed in Syria.

The chant of “regime change” grows louder….but is it truly the best idea?

The use of chemical weapons against civilians in Idlib, Syria, was an abhorrent gesture of disregard for human life, and the perpetrators deserve to be brought to justice. However, the attack—repugnant as it was—has not in any way changed the strategic calculus on the ground in Syria. Ramping up intervention in Syria beyond Thursday night’s cruise missile strikes remains a terrible idea, as further action will be very costly, could saddle the United States with the futile task of rebuilding another ravaged Middle Eastern country, and will leave the people of Syria worse off.

Source: Regime Change in Syria? | RealClearDefense

As I pointed out during the recent “Arab Spring”…..there will be little progress toward democracy in the countries that are suffering with the protests.

Even the Trump cronies cannot agree on Syria……and what is next…….

President Trump’s decision to bomb Syria this week “was really one of the president’s finest hours,” says US ambassador to the UN Nikki Haley, speaking with CNN‘s State of the Union. “He wanted to know exactly what the facts and evidence was. He wanted to know what the options were, what the risks were, and the political strategy and solution side of it. After all of that he made a very, you know, strong decision,” she adds, per the Hill. Saying that “if he needs to do more, he’ll do more,” Haley indicated that regime change was on the table. “If you look at his actions, if you look at the situation, it’s going to be hard to see a government that’s peaceful and stable with (Bashar al-Assad). Regime change is something that we think is going to happen because all of the parties are going to see that Assad is not the leader that needs to be taking place for Syria.” Elsewhere on the Sunday dial:

  • Secretary of State Rex Tillerson wants to first reduce the ISIS threat, then “I think we can turn our attention directly to stabilizing the situation in Syria.”
  • National Security Adviser HR McMaster had tough words for Russia’s complicity, per the Hill: “Russia should ask themselves, ‘What are we doing here? Why are we supporting this murderous regime that is committing mass murder of its own population and using the most heinous weapons available?'”
  • Tillerson also weighed in on what he sees as China’s understanding of the growing threat in North Korea, per Politico: “I think there’s a shared view and no disagreement as to how dangerous the situation has become. And I think even China is beginning to recognize that this presents a threat to even to China’s interests as well.”

Why?

Easy answer is that there is little to no experienced politicians with democratic chops.  Without that experience the country will revert back to an authoritarian process.

So far I have been correct.

But back to the topic.

“Assad must go”!  Good one!  But who will replace him at the top of the power pyramid?

The one that sticks out in my mind is the Free Syrian Army leader, Gen. Salim Idris……his rhetoric is what the world wants to hear but I doubt if it is accurate.

Why?

He is a military man and they only know one way to control.

If Washington has an idea of how to replace Assad then please enlighten us.

Syria is the perfect example of how slogans and one liners will not solve the problem….makes good sound bites but that is all it is…..hot air.

Airstrike Fall-Out

I know not everybody has the resources or the inclination to look for all the opinions on the US airstrike on the Syrian airfield….I thought I would give my readers the sources to check if they were interested….most of these are from the MSM…..there will be others.  Sorry some are for subscription sites but if you follow them you can read the opinions……

A lot to take in but worth the effort……more to come……

Officials in the Trump administration on Sunday demanded that Russia stop supporting the Syrian government or face a further deterioration in its relations with the United States. – Washington Post

The Trump administration said its focus in Syria is the defeat of Islamic State, not pushing President Bashar al-Assad from power. Secretary of State Rex Tillerson and national security adviser H.R. McMaster, in separate interviews on Sunday, said the administration’s decision last week to strike an Assad regime airfield wasn’t a sign that the U.S. is now focused on toppling the Syrian leader. – Wall Street Journal (subscription required)

More than 80 civilians were killed in what Western analysts called a sarin attack by Syrian forces — a chilling demonstration that the agreement did not succeed. In recent days, former aides have lamented what they considered one of the worst moments of the Obama presidency and privately conceded that his legacy would suffer. – New York Times

With President Xi Jinping safely out of the United States and no longer President Trump’s guest, China’s state-run media on Saturday was free to denounce the missile strike on Syria, which the American president told Mr. Xi about while they were finishing dinner. – New York Times

For Syrians who have withstood years of unbridled assault and deprivation by the forces of President Bashar al-Assad, the American missile strike on a military airfield served as a short-term adrenaline shot of vengeful satisfaction, tinged with cynicism and fear. – New York Times

In the wake of President Trump’s strike on a Syrian airfield in retaliation for deadly chemical weapons attacks, U.S. lawmakers want the commander-in-chief to spell out his broader strategy in Syria, and soon. – Defense News

Senior Trump administration officials did not disclose to lawmakers any long-term plans for dealing with Syrian strongman Bashar Assad or the years-old conflict in his country, further complicating President Donald Trump’s relationship with Congress. – Roll Call

Sen. Marco Rubio stepped up his criticisms of U.S. Secretary of State Rex Tillerson on Sunday, saying that the nation’s top diplomat is espousing a Syria policy that might be doomed to failure. – Politico

A former Obama official acknowledged Sunday that the U.S. “always knew” an agreement with Syrian President Bashar Assad did not clear all chemical weapons out of Syria, despite the fact that the administration touted the deal as an unequivocal success at the time – Washington Examiner

Joint Russia-Iranian forces operating in Syria warned the Trump administration over the weekend that further American strikes on the war-torn country will unleash a “lethal response,” according to official statements aimed at ratcheting up tension with the United States following a string of fresh airstrikes on Syrian strongholds. – Washington Free Beacon

Josh Rogin reports: President Trump’s decision to take limited military strikes against a Syrian military base Thursday is a potential game-changer for Syria, but only if the Trump administration follows through with a strategy to increase the pressure on Bashar al-Assad’s regime and its partners, according to the lead negotiator for the Syrian opposition. – Washington Post

Interview: US missile strikes on a Syrian air base from where a deadly chemical weapons attack is believed to have been launched send a clear message that the United States is now “directly engaged” in addressing the mass homicide perpetrated by Syrian President Bashar al-Assad’s regime, said Frederic C. Hof, director of the Atlantic Council’s Rafik Hariri Center for the Middle East. – Atlantic Council

Editorial: The administration should, meanwhile, make another effort to draw Russia and Syria’s neighbors into a negotiation on the country’s future, using the new leverage provided by Mr. Trump’s demonstrated willingness to use force. It should seek bipartisan congressional support, including the authorization of military force in the event of further atrocities — even if the White House has, as we believe, the constitutional leeway to act without it. Mr. Trump has created an opportunity for the United States, and for his presidency, in Syria. Its ultimate value will depend on how well he follows up. – Washington Post

Editorial: When the Bush Administration failed to find the weapons of mass destruction that Saddam Hussein was thought to have, opponents used the intelligence failure to discredit the war in Iraq and call George W. Bush a liar. Will there be any even remotely similar accounting after the Obama Administration’s intelligence failure in Syria, where Bashar Assad has used chemical weapons we were told he didn’t have? – Wall Street Journal (subscription required)

Editorial: The larger point for Mr. Trump to recognize is that he is being tested. The world—friend and foe—is watching to see how he responds to Mr. Assad’s war crime. His quick air strike on the evening he was having dinner with Chinese President Xi Jinping makes clear that the Obama era is over. If he now follows with action to protect Syrian civilians and construct an anti-Assad coalition, he may find that new strategic possibilities open up to enhance U.S. interests and make the Middle East more stable. – Wall Street Journal (subscription required)

FPI Board Member Robert Kagan writes: Let’s hope that the Trump administration is prepared for the next move. If it is, then there is a real chance of reversing the course of global retreat that Obama began. A strong U.S. response in Syria would make it clear to the likes of Putin, Xi Jinping, Ayatollah Ali Khamenei and Kim Jong Un that the days of American passivity are over. – Washington Post

FPI Executive Director Christopher J. Griffin writes: By overturning entrenched assumptions about the war, Trump’s airstrikes have opened the way toward a complete rethinking of the policy he inherited from his predecessor – one which until yesterday, he openly embraced. The great unknown is whether President Trump has either clear outcomes in mind for Syria or a strategy to achieve them. If the president is considering a sustained set of airstrikes, it would be preferable from him to request from Congress a formal authorization for the use of military force. – Foreign Policy Initiative

Frederick Kagan writes: Stopping Assad’s barbarity is as central to defeating ISIS as any direct military action against the group. The U.S. must work to dampen the flames of sectarian war in Syria by pressing extremists on both sides — ISIS and Al Qaeda among the Sunni; Assad and his Iranian allies among the Alawites. Only when the extremists are marginalized and moderates re-empowered can we hope to end the serious threat to America’s security now emanating from Syria. Trump’s actions offer some hope of accomplishing that aim. – New York Daily News

James Rubin writes: While the limited missile strike was a commendable and overdue response to the use of chemical weapons and to countless other war crimes perpetrated by the regime in Damascus, the public performance of President Trump and his team throughout this tragic episode hardly inspires confidence. On the contrary, the administration demonstrated a dangerous degree of incoherence and inconsistency. – New York Times

Peter Feaver writes: Candidate Trump repeatedly promised that he would not simply conduct American foreign policy in the way Obama did. By punishing Assad for his brazen violation of international law and basic human decency, Trump took a significant step forward in fulfilling that campaign promise. But Trump also promised that his approach would produce more lasting success than Obama’s. Whether he fulfills that promise will depend on what comes next, not on what happened Thursday. – Foreign Policy’s Elephants in the Room

Danielle Pletka writes: Let us hope that in the days to come, the new President and his national security team will make clear that the Trump administration has a strategy to defeat our enemies and to renew the American people’s support for decisive US leadership that will keep us safe, begin to end terror’s scourge, start the resolution of the refugee problem and turn around the weakness of the last eight years. Let us hope. – CNN

Thomas Donnelly writes: Whatever the president’s motivation, there’s a good case to be made that, at least in regard to the Middle East, a coherent approach is emerging from the administration. This represents both a reversal from the Iran-first gambit of the Obama years and a reaffirmation of the traditional U.S. strategy that held sway from Jimmy Carter in 1979 through George W. Bush in 2009. – The Weekly Standard

Walter Russell Mead writes: Mr. Trump has passed his first test, but more difficult ones are yet to come. If he is to succeed—and every American and friend of world peace must pray that he does—he will need a team in the White House that commands his full confidence. The extraordinary talents now in charge at the State Department, the Defense Department and the National Security Council need to staff up and surround themselves with the best the country can offer. There is no job in the world more difficult than the U.S. presidency. President Trump will need all the help he can get. – Wall Street Journal (subscription required)

Eli Lake writes: If Trump can hasten the collapse of Assad’s foul dictatorship, or at least end his ability to gas his own people, this White House may end up earning strange new respect of the liberal internationalists so disappointed by Obama’s careful inaction. You know who I mean — people like Samantha Power. – Bloomberg View

Jennifer Cafarella and Genevieve Cassagrande write: The U.S strike against an Assad regime base in northern Syria on April 6, 2017 opened the door to a reorientation of American strategy in the Middle East. President Trump’s action could reset the terms of America’s confrontation of other hostile states, such as North Korea. President Trump may be shifting away from a narrow focus on the Islamic State of Iraq and al Sham (ISIS) as the strategic priority in Syria and toward a new approach. – Institute for the Study of War

Brian Katulis writes: [N]ow that the United States has taken action, it should take robust steps to ensure that these strikes, which come at a time of operational and tactical military escalations in Iraq and Yemen, are nested in a wider regional strategy that places a high premium on working closely with our partners in the region to prevent a wider escalation. This requires an investment in diplomatic tools — which Trump has proposed undercutting in his budget — and it requires an integrated strategy to make sure that America is not just adding fuel to a fire that has led to the collapse of states across the region. – Foreign Policy’s Shadow Government

Ilan Goldenberg and Nicholas Heras writes: If the United States is to turn the limited tactical strikes in Syria into a real strategic gain, the Trump team will have to change its approach, and focus not only on winning the war but also on winning the peace. – Washington Post

Colin Kahl writes: As the afterglow and applause of the missile strikes fade, finding a way to advance American interests in Syria while avoiding a war with Russia is the urgent task at hand. After all, sinking into a Syrian quagmire would be bad enough. World War III would be far worse. – Washington Post

AS you can see there is a wealth of opinions….everybody has one…..hopefully this will help my readers educate themselves and form a learned opinion…..and then join in the conversation.

This escalation is too important to ignore.

Lil Kim Makes The News….(Or Assassinate….Assassinate Dance To The Music)

Since the Trump ordered attack on Syria the world haws gone mad…..some with atta boys and others with condemnation…..but the loudest so far has been that of Lil Kim in North Korea…..

He so enjoys flaunting his search for nukes and a deliver system and the recent Syrian attack has him thumping his chest like a sex crazed primate….

President Trump may be considering putting American nuclear missiles in South Korea—or even assassinating Kim Jong-un. Military and intelligence officials tell NBC News the National Security Council has presented Trump with options on responding to North Korea’s refusal to curtail its nuclear program. The options all represent big changes in US foreign policy. The US removed its nukes from South Korea 25 years ago; putting them back would be the first time US nuclear weapons were located overseas since the Cold War. Another option—apart from the assassination of North Korea’s leader—is sneaking special forces into North Korea to sabotage its nuclear program and abilities.

The options would be considered if China doesn’t successfully put more pressure on North Korea. And one intelligence official tells NBC he doesn’t see a diplomatic solution forthcoming. Trump has vowed to keep building defenses against North Korea, prompting a North Korean ambassador to threaten the “most ruthless blow” if the country is provoked, News.com.au reports. “We have the readiness and ability to counter any challenge from the US,” Kim Hyong-Jun says. Meanwhile, South Korean officials say North Korea appears ready to unveil a new intercontinental ballistic missile during a huge military parade planned for April 15, according to UPI.

The Kim clan has been a thorn in Washington’s ass for decades….from grandfather to father to son…..lots of bravado and speeches.

There is a wealth of opinions on how to handle this situation….most are from fucking amateurs that would not know a solution if it bit them on the Johnson.

There is a wealth of “options” flying around the heads of the Trump-ites……

Ongoing reports about President Trump seeking “options” for handling North Korea suggest that, with the administration having already declared diplomacy a “failure,” all options amount to some massive US escalation on the Korean Peninsula.

…..reports were emerging that one of the big “options” being advanced was for the United States to start deploying nuclear weapons into South Korea, a move which would both confront North Korea, and doubtless be seen as a massive provocation by nearby China.

But there’s always an escalation beyond every escalation, and US intelligence chiefs appear to have settled heavily on one, pushing the idea that the United States should just outright assassinate North Korean leader Kim Jong-un, and also kill a number of other senior leaders.

(antiwar.com)

Assassinate?  How about that how has that played in the past?

The peak of outrage against government-sponsored assassination was the mid-1970s, when the Senate Select Committee to Study Governmental Operations — better known as the Church committee — spent more than 60 days questioning 75 witnesses about C.I.A. plots of the late 1950s and early 1960s. Back in the darkest days of the cold war, the agency had devoted significant resources and creativity to devising unhappy ends for unsavory or inconvenient foreign leaders. Among those listed for assassination were Patrice Lumumba of the Congo, Ngo Dinh Diem of South Vietnam, Rafael Trujillo of the Dominican Republic and, most famously, Fidel Castro of Cuba, who survived no fewer than eight C.I.A. assassination plots. The senators on the committee were intent on divining the full extent of the government’s role in these plots. How much direct authority, for example, did Presidents Dwight Eisenhower and John Kennedy exert over them? The committee’s conclusions were vague at best. The truth was that neither president would have allowed his hand to show in such affairs.

Let’s say we assassinate Kim….what would follow in North Korea?

We may not like the little turd in charge but it might be a good idea to take a long look that the consequences from this action.

Is It WMD All Over Again?

Remember back in the Dark Ages, 2003, and the hunt for those non-existent WMDs in Iraq?

And then last week we had the horrible attack by Assad (still not a proven line) with Chemical weapons on his own people….and suddenly we have similar dialog as we did back in 2003…..

What does this mean?  All the rhetoric seems to lean toward more involvement than just airstrikes…..could it be?

It’s WMD all over again. Why don’t you see it?

Actually knowing something, remembering history or having experience of the world is becoming a disadvantage. How much easier it would be to join in with the flow of opinion about Syria, to listen happily to, and read contentedly, media reports on the subject.

As it is, I feel something close to a physical pain as I do this.

Today’s frenzy over alleged use of poison gas in Syria is the 2017 version of Anthony Blair’s WMD in Iraq. Why can you not see it? Did you think they would do it in exactly the same way again? You are being assailed through your em

Source: It’s WMD all over again. Why don’t you see it? – Mail Online – Peter Hitchens blog

Americans need to pay attention or we could be off on more adventurism that will cost lives and the destruction of everything.