Closing Thought–23Oct19

The very last time that I voted for a winner in a presidential election was Jimmy Carter…..I liked his stands on foreign policy and the environment….but that is not why I am writing.

In the last couple of months Pres, Carter has taken a couple of falls…first a hip replacement and then recently a black eye and 14 stitches on his forehead……and he has fallen again in his home in Plains…..

Former US president Jimmy Carter has a fractured pelvis but remains in good spirits following his second fall in just over two weeks. The 39th president has been hospitalized after a fall at his home in Plains, Ga., reports the AP. Carter Center spokeswoman Deanne Congileo described the fracture as minor. Her statement said the 95-year-old is in good spirits at Phoebe Sumter Medical Center and is looking forward to recovering at home.

This is the third time Carter has fallen in recent months. He first fell in the spring and required hip replacement surgery. Carter fell again this month and despite receiving 14 stitches, traveled the next day to Nashville, Tenn., to rally volunteers and help build a Habitat for Humanity home. Carter is the oldest living former president in US history. He and 92-year-old Rosalynn recently became the longest married first couple, surpassing George and Barbara Bush, with more than 73 years of marriage

He, Carter, is a living treasure and should consider retiring from all his duties with the exception of his Sunday School class…..and the other hand he may need t keep busy for he thinks he will expire if he becomes idle…..then please get some live in help for him so that he does not have the falling episodes as often.

We cannot afford to lose the last statesman to hold the office of president…..

I Read, I Wrote, You Know

“Lego Ergo Scribo”

Does Anyone Remember Benghazi?

All the news of the back and forth of the newest Congressional Hearing…..Does anyone recall the Benghazi Hearings?

I know it is a lifetime ago in news years but it was a big deal….I remember the partisanship that flowed from that hearing…the vile accusations and of course the hypocrisy……

News has come out that some of the so-called evidence was doctored (I have only one source)……

Below is a reminder of just insidious leading Republicans became in their pursuit of doing everything possible to derail presumed Democratic Presidential Nominee Hillary Clinton’s chances of winning the 2016 election.

Take for instance the bombshell revelation that the Central Intelligence Agency reached out to Democrats serving on the Select Committee on Benghazi on Saturday, October 17, 2015 to confirm that Chairman Trey Gowdy (R-SC) had altered documents provided to the committee by Hillary Clinton.

CIA Confirms: Trey Gowdy Altered Documents To Frame Hillary Clinton

The article is well sourced….and I will be checking for other sources of this information.

I was always against these hearings because they were a “witch hunt” (a popular term these days)….I was opposed because I thought they were asking the wrong questions….they should have asked why the ambassador went to a dangerous area for a meeting with such a small security force?

That was the question that needed an answer….but instead a game was played at the expense of the ambassador’s family.

That was pathetic, sad and extremely tacky.

I appears the the GOP was guilty of the very same things they accuse the Dems of doing…..maybe they should stop pointing fingers and do their job with integrity…I know a lot to ask be at least try.

I Read, I Wrote, You Know

“Lego Ergo Scribo”

Is Hyper-Capitalism Dead?

Is the “Witch Is Dead”?

Do you know what an “Objectivist” is?

Objectivism holds that there is no greater moral goal than achieving happiness. But one cannot achieve happiness by wish or whim. Fundamentally, it requires rational respect for the facts of reality, including the facts about our human nature and needs. Happiness requires that one live by objective principles, including moral integrity and respect for the rights of others. Politically, Objectivists advocate laissez-faire capitalism. Under capitalism, a strictly limited government protects each person’s rights to life, liberty, and property and forbids that anyone initiate force against anyone else. The heroes of Objectivism are achievers who build businesses, invent technologies, and create art and ideas, depending on their own talents and on trade with other independent people to reach their goals.

Politicians like Rand Paul (that is Rand not Rue) and ex Speaker Ryan were followers of the head honcho of this philosophy Ayn Rand….but in today’s society it looks as if the meth head may be losing her hold on the young…..

Eight rules governed the original Ayn Rand clubs that proliferated across college campuses in the 1960s, as they sought to seed Objectivism—Rand’s philosophical glorification of laissez-faire capitalism and heroic individualism—in the minds of impressionable youth. And of these eight, only two rules could ever be mentioned publicly: 1) Ayn Rand is the greatest human being who has ever lived, and2) her novel Atlas Shrugged is the greatest human achievement in the history of the world.

Objectivism has a serious youth problem, and the conference’s organizers were quite aware of it. They offered a discount rate for those under 30, a talent show, and extracurricular activities like “late night jams.” It made me wonder: Is Rand’s hyper-capitalist philosophy—which has influenced some of the most powerful political and economic giants of recent history, from Ronald Reagan and Alan Greenspan to Mark Cuban and Steve Jobs—running out of juice? There was only one way to find out. I would have to attend the conference’s various panels on the virtue of selfishness, the evils of regulation, and the greatness of capitalism’s dark patron saint, and try to fraternize with the next class of Paul Ryans in the making. So I went into the Objectivist sanctums of Cleveland, sporting an Ayn Rand tote bag outfitted with an “I ❤ fossil fuels” pin, to gauge the reach of Rand’s cult of unbridled capitalism on today’s political scene.

The young seem to be leaning Left these days…..and that will not change as long as economic injustice is running rampant…..change that and it is possible that Rand’s (Ayn not Paul) could once again be popular…look at the new popularity of Orwell’s “1984”….any thing is possible.

I Read, I Wrote, You Know

“Lego Ergo Scribo”

ISIS–The Sleeping Lion

ISIS that barbaric bunch that had their caliphate destroyed under their feet has been on the run for almost a year….I have been writing that this group is NOT defeated but merely napping….

With Turkey’s push into Northern Syria the chance of the resurgence of ISIS is better than good….

The Islamic State (ISIS) has not made a comeback in Iraq or Syria – yet. The jihadist group survives as a deadly insurgency in both countries, but one that, compared to its earlier iterations, is weak and geographically circumscribed. Local conditions, particularly in Iraq, have militated against its return. Yet both Iraq and Syria face internal dangers and external threats, most imminently Turkish intervention in Syria’s north east, that could destabilise both countries. If internal instability or external shock interferes with counter-ISIS efforts in either country, the organisation seems likely to attempt a return. Preventing its resurgence requires continued local efforts to combat the group and stabilise the situation, even as all sides engaged in counter-ISIS efforts – local and international – need to avert disruptive new conflicts among themselves, whatever their differences.

AS with any war there seems to always be conflicting news reports coming from the region…..for instance the intel gathering that is need to keep ISIS in the cross hairs….

The rapid withdrawal of American troops from Syria is stoking the concerns of Congress and former U.S. defense officials who warn the limited American presence and abandonment of an ally will stymie intelligence collection efforts.

Human intelligence networks driven by U.S.-backed Syrian Democratic Forces may all but collapse following President Donald Trump’s decision to withdraw U.S. forces from Syria ahead of a Turkish assault to drive out the Kurdish-led militia.

And limited troop presence in the war torn region coupled with a congested airspace over northern Syria could hamper U.S. air collection assets and loitering surveillance times over suspected ISIS targets.

I read that and thought to myself….:what they gonna shut down the satellites?”

Then I got another story about the capabilities of intel gathering…..

U.S. intelligence aircraft will continue flying missions over northeast Syria to monitor the situation there even as American ground forces withdraw from the area, a senior defense official said Friday.

This comes amid reports of continued fighting in the region despite a 120-hour “ceasefire” agreed to on Thursday by Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan and U.S. Vice President Mike Pence. Practically speaking, the deal gives formerly U.S.-backed Kurds less than five days to leave a 20-mile border zone of which Turkey has taken armed control.

In a separate briefing, U.S. Defense Secretary Mark Esper told reporters that the “ceasefire” would not be enforced by U.S. ground troops.

The intel gathering will continue and ISIS will remain in the cross hairs.

I Read, I Wrote, You Know

“Lego Ergo Scribo”

“East Of Suez” Moment For The US

Endless wars…..countless civilian casualties…..a feckless foreign policy……all point to the US losing its influence in the Middle East.

US foreign policy nerds are seeing a change in the policies of the US towards the region of the Middle East….

President Trump’s abrupt withdrawal of all U.S. troops in northeastern Syria brings to mind Great Britain’s 1968 retreat “East of Suez.” It marked an inflection point, a final abandoning of empire given London’s limited financial resources, lapsed political will and heightened anti-colonial hostility. 

The United Kingdom came to terms with a diminished global role from positions “East of Suez” – i.e., beyond the Suez Canal – and left it to America be the guarantor of the post-World War II international order.

Is the U.S. approaching its own “East of Suez” moment? In the U.S. case, the result is not a consequence of decline per se, but of radically altered U.S. domestic political circumstances (e.g., “America First”) and deepened multi-layered conflict in the region. For better or worse, President Trump’s determination to reduce troops deployed overseas, from Afghanistan to Syria, is part of an effort to make good on campaign pledges. Explaining his troop reductions in northeast Syria, Trump reiterated this imperative: “I campaigned on the fact that I was going to bring our soldiers home.”

Trump’s decision to remove US troops from Northern Syria has many pundits and analysts asking…..”what are the options for the US in the Middle East?

The U.S. decision to suddenly leave Syria has been excoriated as a betrayal yet also received some praise for ending the relationship with the Syrian Democratic Forces, which Turkey accuses of being linked to the Kurdistan Workers Party. That means the U.S. decision to leave Syria can be viewed through the lens of reversing an Obama-era policy of working with the Syrian Democratic Forces (SDF) instead of the Syrian rebels. But if anyone thought the United States was pivoting toward opposing the Assad regime and Iran, that isn’t the case. Assad, Iran, Russia and Turkey are swooping in to grab the spoils.

It’s no use arguing over what might have been in eastern Syria. The war is over and the United States has to decide what its role is after Syria. This could become a key point in U.S. foreign-policy history—the bookend to George H. W. Bush’s “new world order” where America eschews its role as global hegemon, or global policeman, as it has sometimes been seen. This could also be a domino effect, causing the United States to lose more influence in Turkey, in Iraq, and potentially the Gulf as well.

Does not appear that our options are anything to be optimistic about…..

Trump’s capitulation to Erdogan on Syria does mkake the region more secure…no it will open up the possibility of more wars popping up….

The crisis has long been brewing. For years, Turkey has wanted to create a buffer zone inside Syria, both for its security and to resettle the more than two million refugees who crossed the border to flee Syria’s eight-year civil war. Even more, Erdoğan has wanted to wipe out the Kurdish militia in Syria which he views as a threat because of its ties to a Kurdish movement in Turkey. Kurds are the largest minority in Turkey and a large voting bloc; a militant faction has sought autonomy or an independent Kurdistan that would unite Kurds across Turkey, Syria, Iraq, and Iran. The United States held off Erdoğan as long as it needed Syria’s feisty Kurds to fight ISIS on the ground, with backup from American air power. All the other U.S.-backed rebel groups failed, disintegrated, or turned into warlords.

That’s right….a creation of more wars in the Middle East……

The complexity of the crisis can create cognitive dissonance. What if I desperately wish to end our endless wars but I also care about the fate of Kurdish and other Syrian civilians? What if I wish U.S. hadn’t invaded these countries in the first place but I now worry that Trump’s recklessness will make matters worse?

There is a coherent strategy that can cut this Gordian knot, but it involves imagining a new U.S. foreign policy based on diplomacy and humanitarian initiatives.

Further Reading: 

Smoke Signals in the Next Middle East War

I do not foresee any change in the standing on war in the region….if anything I think it could get worse until the US finds its foreign policy compass and steps in to make diplomacy the rule of the day….not the bullets.

I Read, I Wrote, You Know

“Lego Ergo Scribo”