Confusion Is Their Business

I have written a couple of posts about the situation in Syria and their civil war…..reporting is difficult because it is so damn confusing that few want to try and explain…(read my last post on this subject)…..

Source: And You Think That The Syrian Conflict Is Confusing – In Saner Thought

The big news, at least for now, is that there is a big armed push to attack the ISIS capital city of Raqqa in Syria….there is a combo of Kurds and Arabs teaming up to give those bastards in Raqqa the what you for……

A US-backed alliance of Kurdish-Arab fighters has started to clear ISIS fighters from the area north of Raqqa, the jihadists’ de facto capital, a US official confirmed Tuesday.

“The SDF (Syrian Democratic Forces) have begun operations to clear the northern countryside, so this is putting pressure on Raqqa,” Baghdad-based US military spokesman Colonel Steve Warren said.

The US military will conduct air strikes in support of the “several thousand” SDF forces, some of whom have been trained and equipped by the United States.

Source: Kurdish-Arab Alliance Starts Operation Against Islamic State in Raqqa | World Affairs Journal

The coalition is an attempt to make this armed conflict something for everybody……and the media has done an excellent job passing on the propaganda that the government wants the American people to have……but there is  problem….not all is as that want it to appear…..

Though they have, throughout US involvement in the Syrian War, been America’s go-to ally, the Kurdish YPG hasn’t had the rosiest of track records. Several times throughout the war, when offensives have put them in control of Sunni Arab territory, they have engaged in ethnic cleansing, killing Arabs they see as “pro-ISIS” and burning entire villages worth of homes.

This is informing the almost exclusively Sunni Arab population of the ISIS capital city of Raqqa as the YPG launches a major offensive just north of the city, and according to locals, is prompting many civilians to join the ISIS effort to defend the city.

I am sure the US does not intended this to be a recruitment program, right?

Well this clears up the situation in Syria, right?

Feel informed now?

“Cowgirl” Diplomacy!

Back a couple years ago we had what some termed “Cowboy Diplomacy”……that was the so-called diplomacy of GW Bush…the shoot first and worry about the consequences later  style of  “diplomacy”…….and those days are about to return….and from an unlikely (in some peoples mid) source.

I have been trying to get my readers to see where Clinton will be if and when she is elected president…..especially in the area of foreign policy.  I have said that she is a devout hawk and our international entanglements will only get deeper and a lot worse….few listen…but I soldier on…….

America’s mainstream media, ever attracted to the splashy rather than the serious, has a new topic to occupy the time until Election Day: President Trump. What will he do first? How will he translate his hazy “America First” theme into policy? Who will be in his inner circle? (Specifically, will he appoint people who really know something about foreign affairs?) There’s just so much room for playful speculation about Donald Trump that something important has been lost sight of: He’s going to lose – big time, as Trump would say.

So let’s get real: We need to be thinking about another Clinton presidency. Granted, it’s early, but then again, we already know a good deal about Hillary Clinton’s perspectives on the world, the advisers she relies on, and the policies she advocated while secretary of state. We also know she is not going to simply carry on where Barack Obama left off. In fact, on some important foreign-policy matters, we may look back nostalgically on Obama’s record.

Source: Cowgirl Diplomacy? Foreign Policy Under Hillary Clinton – Antiwar.com Original by — Antiwar.com

But Hell do not take my word for it……meet the Hawks that are swooning all over Clinton…..

A running list of military interventionists who have declared preference for the long-hated Democrat

With the op-ed declaration in Wednesday’s New York Times by former Bush foreign policy hand Eliot A. Cohen that “On foreign policy, Hillary Clinton is far better” than Donald Trump, the list of Hawks for Hillary has officially become too large for handy memorization. So to keep a running tab, as well as highlight some common themes within the genre, here’s a handy guide to your conservative (or conservative-friendly) military interventionists who would rather vote for Hillary Clinton than the Republican nominee.

These are by no means the only righties in the #NeverTrump club, as this post of mine from last fall details, and their critiques of the presumptive GOP nominee mirror several of my own. But the rise of this cadre is at least a half-fulfillment of a prediction I made in 2013 and again in 2015: that neocons-for-Hillary would become a thing.

Without further ado, here are some members of Hillary’s unusual (if predictable) new fanclub. Please leave other nominees in the comments:

Source: Meet the Hawks for Hillary! – Hit & Run : Reason.com

There is only so much I can do to help people realize that she will be a disaster in the realm of foreign relations and that our military will be asked to do more and more…..until there is little left for the rest of the world to claim.

Do you really want another Bush policy running our foreign policy?

If so then please vote for Hillary

Me?  I have bigger and better things to do.

Sykes-Picot Turns 100

History is a cruel teacher……some even say she is a BITCH!

This month is the 100 years anniversary of the Sykes-Picot Agreement……and some point to this document and the dividing up of the Middle East as the reason that the region is ion such turmoil for so many years…..

A century after the Sykes-Picot Agreement carved up the Ottoman Empire, it is still the root cause of much of the region’s strife.

Source: How the Curse of Sykes-Picot Still Haunts the Middle East – The New Yorker

As usual I feel compelled to offer up a little historical perspective in my small attempt to try and help people understand the turmoil in the Middle East…..

To mark the 100th anniversary of the Sykes-Picot Agreement, we’ve got a package with an explanatory article about the secret accord (below) . . .

The Sykes-Picot accord was conceived at a high point in Britain and France’s imperial power. Hammered out in the midst of the first world war in anticipation of an Entente victory (the Russian Empire, France and the United Kingdom) over the Central Powers (Germany, Austria-Hungary, the Ottoman Empire and Bulgaria), it was concerned with distributing the territorial spoils of Ottoman defeat.

France and Britain, along with most other European powers, had been convinced of the inevitable demise of the Ottoman Empire for decades. The image of the Ottomans as the “sick man of Europe” was one of the defining images of 19th-century diplomacy.

Source: 100th Anniversary: What did the Sykes-Picot Agreement mean for the Middle East? | Informed Comment

At the end of WW1 the victors set about re-drawing the lines in the Middle East….they were dividing up the old Ottoman Empire for colonial aspirations…

When the map changed….so did the world……

Source: Sykes-Picot: The map that spawned a century of resentment – BBC News

The Arabs felt betrayed by the UK……their promises of an Arab kingdom free from foreign dominance was squished….and the hard feelings have been there for a century……but why the lingering hatred?

The borders of the Middle East were drawn during World War I by a Briton, Mark Sykes, and a Frenchman, Francois Picot.

The two diplomats’ pencils divided the map of one of the most volatile regions in the world into states that cut through ethnic and religious communities.

Later dubbed the Sykes-Picot treaty, the secret agreement was signed by Paris and London on May 16, 1916, to become the basis on which the Levant region was shaped for years to come.

A century on, the Middle East continues to bear the consequences of the treaty, and many Arabs across the region continue to blame the subsequent violence in the Middle East, from the occupation of Palestine to the rise of the Islamic State of Iraq and the Levant (ISIL), on the Sykes-Picot treaty.

In this piece, we revisit the circumstances that led to the signing of this critical agreement and the events that unfolded afterwards.

Source: A century on: Why Arabs resent Sykes-Picot

to this day, many blame the Sykes-Picot Agreement for all the problems in the Middle East….but there is one group that sees history a bit differently….Council on Foreign Relations (CFR)…….they have offered up an opposing look at Sykes-Picot…..I would expect them to do so….I mean they were part and parcel to the dividing and why would they admit they screwed up…..

Sometime in the 100 years since the Sykes-Picot agreement was signed, invoking its “end” became a thing among commentators, journalists, and analysts of the Middle East. Responsibility for the cliché might belong to the Independent’s Patrick Cockburn, who in June 2013 wrote an essay in the London Review of Books arguing that the agreement, which was one of the first attempts to reorder the Middle East after the Ottoman Empire’s demise, was itself in the process of dying. Since then, the meme has spread far and wide: A quick Google search reveals more than 8,600 mentions of the phrase “the end of Sykes-Picot” over the last three years.

The failure of the Sykes-Picot agreement is now part of the received wisdom about the contemporary Middle East. And it is not hard to understand why. Four states in the Middle East are failing — Syria, Iraq, Yemen, and Libya. If there is a historic shift in the region, the logic goes, then clearly the diplomatic settlements that produced the boundaries of the Levant must be crumbling. History seems to have taken its revenge on Mark Sykes and his French counterpart, François Georges-Picot, who hammered out the agreement that bears their name.

View full text of article.

I apologize….for these tools want you to become a subscriber and may not allow you access to the piece…..but if you would like to try please feel free to do so….

But if that one did not work out….I found an article in the UK’s The Telgraph along those same lines…..

Exactly a century ago, an Englishman and a Frenchman unrolled a map of the Middle East and drew an improbably straight line across the desert. With one pen-stroke, Sir Mark Sykes and François Georges-Picot created the modern states of the region and carelessly lit the fuse of a thousand conflicts that blaze even today.

By drawing a line from contemporary Iraq to the Mediterranean, they ignored explosive ethnic and religious divides. In this way, Britain and France carved up the Middle East after the First World War, jointly committing the original sin that lurks behind today’s tragedies.

So runs the folklore version of the Sykes-Picot agreement, whose centenary falls on Monday. This critique has gained such power that it has entered popular culture, largely because of David Lean’s epic Lawrence of Arabia.

Source: A century on, don’t blame Sykes-Picot for the Middle East’s troubles

And finally a good debate piece on the Agreement………

Source: A century on: What remains of Sykes-Picot – AJE News

I know it is a lot to take in and the Agreement has some many aspects that ity can be confusing….but maybe the fact that so many Americans are dying in the region would make it worth the read and a bit of understanding…..

Now you have both sides of the story……you may chose which ever of the fairy tales you care to believe……there are two sides to every situation…..I could not find a non-interested party to take the side of the US and the UK in this……

Class dismissed!

How the World Ends

For eons man has been predicting the end of the world…..and with the advent of social media now everyone that can type can have their say as to just when the fateful will arrive……in the last week I read at least three separate predictions…one was because of transgender stuff….the other was refugees and finally there is the one I like best…..Clinton will bring about the end of the world as we know it….

And then while surfing around news sites I found this one on Unz Review……the author is Philip Giraldi…who is a notorious skeptic of social media…..

Baiting Russia is not good policy

Last week I attended a foreign policy conference in Washington that featured a number of prominent academics and former government officials who have been highly critical of the way the Bush and Obama Administrations have interacted with the rest of the world. Professor John Mearsheimer of the University of Chicago was on a panel and was asked what, in his opinion, has been the most notable foreign policy success and the most significant failure in the past twenty-five years. The success was hard to identify and there was some suggestion that it might be the balancing of relationships in strategically vital Northeast Asia, which “we have not yet screwed up.” If I had been on the panel I would have suggested the Iran nuclear agreement as a plus.

As for the leading foreign policy failure there was an easy answer, “Iraq” which was on everyone in the room’s lips, but Mearsheimer urged one not to be so hasty. In reality the Iraq disaster has killed hundreds of thousands, has cost trillions of dollars and has unleashed serious problems for the Mideast region in general while allowing the rise of ISIS, but in “realistic foreign policy terms” it has not been a catastrophic event for the United States, which had hardly been seriously injured by it apart from financially and in terms of reputation.

Source: How the World Ends – The Unz Review

I found it an interesting read…..but I would like to hear what my readers have to say about it…..

Trump’s Five Questions on US Foreign Policy

Are you sitting down?  This post could be a shock to your system…….

I have been a critic of Donald Trump as a candidate for the highest office in the land…..I also have defended him on some of his foreign policy statements much to the chagrin of some of my friends….

As a student of foreign policy and especially of conflict management Mr. Trump has made a few statements that need to be taken seriously…..his statements have made a lot of sense and need to be addressed by the other candidate….

Along with his self-congratulatory bombast, Donald Trump has offered a rare critique of Official Washington’s “group think” about foreign policy, including the wisdom of NATO expansion and the value of endless war, notes John V. Walsh.

“Only Donald Trump (among the Presidential candidates) has said anything meaningful and critical of U.S. foreign policy.” No, that is not Reince Priebus, chair of the RNC, speaking up in favor of the presumptive Republican nominee. It is Stephen F. Cohen, Emeritus Professor of Russian History at Princeton and NYU, a contributing editor for The Nation, that most liberal of political journals.

Cohen tells us here that: “Trump’s questions are fundamental and urgent, but instead of engaging them, his opponents (including President Obama) and the media dismiss the issues he raises about foreign policy as ignorant and dangerous. Some even charge that his statements are like ‘Christmas in the Kremlin’ and that he is ‘the Kremlin’s Candidate’ — thereby, further shutting off the debate we so urgently need.” (Cohen’s comment about the lack of a meaningful critique of U.S. foreign policy also covers the statements of Sen. Bernie Sanders.)

Source: Trump’s Five Questions on US Foreign Policy – Consortiumnews

It is time for the “presumptive” candidate for the Left to start addressing the foreign policy of this country…..as it is she looks like a neocon in progressive clothing…..maybe now she will be forced to take a “real” stand.

Please this is NOT an endorsement of Donald Trump’s candidacy….it is just a statement of fact that he has said some things that make a lot of sense….they may not necessarily become policy if he is elected…..but it does give one something to think about….that is if anyone does that sort of thing anymore.

 Vietnam Offers a Roadmap for the Mideast

In my studies of conflicts (war if you will) I have always looked for alternate policies that would help remove the US from its massive troop build-ups and its interventions…..

We need a new plan for the Middle East……a re-think if you will….

The request by a U.S. Army captain to a federal court for a declaratory judgment about his constitutional duties regarding going to war is the latest reminder of the unsatisfactory situation in which the United States is engaged in military operations in multiple overseas locales without any authorization other than a couple of outdated and obsolete Congressional resolutions whose relevance is questionable at best.

Of the many ways in which the U.S. Congress has fallen down on the job, this is one of the more important ones. There are several reasons that Congress should take up without further delay the question of an authorization for the use of military force (AUMF). Getting out of the legal netherworld in which current U.S. military operations exist is one of those reasons.

Source: A Need to Rethink Mideast Wars – Consortiumnews

Is there a way of approaching the Middle East that does not involve intervention and war?  I found an op-ed that I rather like…..and I believe it could work….if only our leaders would try……

Just recently the US president has offered support to an old enemy….Vietnam….and that agreement could be a template to be used in the Middle East…..like it or not.

As President Barack Obama’s visit to Vietnam and the lifting of the arms embargo to that country represents his “pivot to Asia,” his simultaneous killing of Mullah Akhtar Muhammad Mansour, the Taliban leader in Pakistan, and the U.S.-backed Iraqi Prime Minister Haider al-Abadi’s announcement of an assault to free Fallujah in Iraq illustrate why the […]

Source: Trajectory of US Policy in Vietnam Offers a Roadmap for the Mideast – Antiwar.com Original by — Antiwar.com

There is no argument that we need to find people that can think outside the box that the M-IC has constructed…..armed conflict only makes their business more and more profitable……and afterall that is the American Way, right?

Our Military Needs to Defend the Country, Not Undermine American Security

I am one of those people that thinks starting wars around the globe is NOT defending the country…..as a matter of fact it is making things worse….at least to our security.

The last couple of presidents have spent a lot of resources and treasure attacking others in different parts of the world….and NO where has it made this country any safer from attack.

But it seems that the presidents cannot stop themselves….they feel the necessity to push those damn buttons to the point that everyone is either “for” us or “against” us……

And yet the American people are oddly silent on the use of military force…..as if they think it is a bloodless sport…..this election will be one where the world will come to the brink….yet again.

As President Obama visits still-communist Vietnam, a former American rival, in his “pivot to Asia” to recruit more countries to shelter against a rising China, the trip only serves to illustrate the global American Empire’s overextension. At the same time, he is opening missile defenses in Europe, quadrupling U.S. military spending there, and deploying more […]

Source: Our Military Needs to Defend the Country, Not Undermine American Security – Antiwar.com Original by — Antiwar.com

Americans need to pull their heads from the sand…..they need to ask….what are American soldiers dying for?