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Trump lacks moral courage - where have our 'moral' politicians got us? He lacks physical courage - evidence? He fights as a coward fights - he fights to win. Current political environment is war by other means. No tenacity or purpose - he's stuck to his guns so far No self reflection - possibly correct there. No integrity - depends where you look. mixed record no self pride/adversity- we don't know because he hasn't been in adversity bravery against the odds - he has taken them on, faced fierce opposition. school yard bully - politics isn't school, and Trump for all his faults has a will to power that the basic b***h Republican lacks. I believe Trump has a number of good ideas/qualities (less confrontational foreign policy, pragmatic, somewhat anti-oligarch, independence from the powers that be, restore manufacturing base, reign in immigration to stop balkanization). If he has to wage total rhetorical war in the face of entrenched opposition to basic common sense policies, then so be it. Trump is a result of a declining socio-political order. The formless strongman who arise in an a phase of dissolution. IMO, blaming a the contingency that Trump is which offers at least some hope of 'a return to normalcy' threatens the relatively good with the perfect. He's not the saviour. But he's what we've got.
I wanted to believe in a Turkish pivot, but I plumbed for calling it a curve instead because it was the product of exigency, not choice. In other words, if those exigent circumstances receded, or were perceived to have done so, and/or ideological hubris achieved a sort of organic breakout; then Turkey would snap straight back to the course the sultan originally had her on. The one alternative explanation is this is a bone that will be thrown to the (Islamist) masses every now and then while cooperation with Russia proceeds covertly. IDK.
Reports of SAA counter attack in Aleppo. "Russian Defence Ministry claims that 800 rebels were killed and that 14 tanks, 10 armoured vehicles and 60 cars/pickups equipped with heavy guns were destroyed during these past two days in Aleppo." Those losses sound unsustainable to me.
Toggle Commented Aug 1, 2016 on Syria - 30 July 2016 at Sic Semper Tyrannis
Interesting. That's some good context. I'd append this point though. We've heard these overtures before. Obama was supposed to be about peace and stability...but in many ways he's been worse than Bush. When push comes to shove, will she stand by those principles? I don't trust those sentiments coming from anyone other than a real outsider candidate, like Trump.
Domestic front: - Continue Obamarism (status quo adjusted marginally for a coalition of groups who commonly oppose the historical socio-political US orientation). - Manage fallout from an election framed by both sides (and possibly accurately in many instances) as an apocalyptic struggle. Carl Schmitt distinguished "politics" (first order bickering within shared parameters) with "the political" (fundamental disposition of the political order). Since this election in part has breached that second order question, we could see a permanent decline in the level of political and civil order. I'll just leave this here: Foreign Affairs Basic goal is to retrench the Davos Global Empire aka the 'liberal world order'. 1. Enforce the Saudi/Israeli ME line of policy fanatically (Fellow harpy hawk Theresa May will help out). Massive support for anti Houthi rebels in Yemen, Kurds in Syria (as the FSA 'rebels' make for increasingly convincing propaganda, and they may be greatly declined by the time she takes office). 2. Incite 'allies' in the Pacific against China. 3. Attempt to tighten flagging EU support for sanctions against Russia. Kiev receives a fresh tranche of war cash under the guise of 'aid', enabling renewed attacks in the Donbass with the hope it will drag Russia directly into the conflict. This will serve three goals (a) turn Donbass into a mini Afghanistan for Russia. (b) Distract Russian attention from Syria. (c) Ensure a permanent coldwar, thus preventing rapprochement between Germany and Russia for years.
Article here with a gloomier take on the Russian intervention as it currently stands: Unsure whether the claims about the military potential of Russia's Syria contingent are accurate. Encircling Aleppo was a big deal. Also, how is it that Iran is short of manpower? Does he mean capacity for a long range deployment? Anyway, the author's essential point is that faced with a hostile West/GCC and numerically insufficient SAA, Russia will have to enter ground combat itself or pull the plug on the military operation. However, this may be a false dichotomy. The status quo can be maintained, or gradually amended in Assad's favour by a grinding down of the terrorists. If Turkey continues curving away from the neo-ottoman policy, the latter is a distinct possibility. I recall the Col. mentioned at one juncture the advisability of a Russian ground deployment too.
Toggle Commented Aug 1, 2016 on Syria - 30 July 2016 at Sic Semper Tyrannis
Huntington described Turkey as a torn country. The fact the military was illiberally tasked to guarantee liberality was telling. Suggests the founders of that tradition determined an active and concerted force would be necessary to restrain the tendencies of the Ottoman/Islamic substratum. Same applies to Germany and Russia. They are not naturally liberal countries. But we project Anglo developmental and historiographical 'understandings' onto these peoples.
Rebels reporting they have mobilized over 5,000 dismemberment enthusiasts for East Aleppo assault. Boasting govt perimeter will crack presently. They're burning tyres everywhere to try and block visibility for warplanes. Nonetheless, I expect we shall see a spike in SAAF and RuAF sortie generation. I get the impression of desperation from the rebel side, but I also recall loyalists units in the eastern part of Aleppo lost ground when they came under pressure before the renewed tiger force backed offensive to the north.
Toggle Commented Jul 31, 2016 on Syria - 30 July 2016 at Sic Semper Tyrannis
Picking up on what Ghostship said, Prof Stephen Cohen said his sources had told him Obama was very concerned about his 'legacy' and hence wanted to resolve Syria peacefully. No doubt he's being opposed by various vested interests. The end result is a sort of splintered US foreign policy which the sitting president attempts to present as an internally consistent whole. In reality, the whole may or may not be unified behind the overtures of the part. So when the Russia led coalition considers the possible spectre of a hawkish Clinton presidency, and the inscrutability of US diplomatic assurances, the imperative is to irreversibly align the facts on the ground in Assad's favour before November.
Toggle Commented Jul 31, 2016 on Syria - 30 July 2016 at Sic Semper Tyrannis
It seems from my New Zealand perspective (having watched a few of Trump's speeches) that he has linked foreign policy to domestic issues along the lines of direct interest (as opposed to neocon/liberal interventionist democracy messianism). So while Americans may know or care about locating Estonia on a map, many on the left and right are concluding foreign wars and posturing are no good for anyone. Also, it seems to me the issue is not 'how' (after all, what are technocrats for but figuring out method) so much as it is all about political will. Aristotle noted competency was entangled with the ends to which one directed it. Collapse that distinction and you collapse the basic rationale for democracy.
I'd read that article. Agree mostly. However, I'd make a couple of observations. 1. The sultan doesn't WANT to terminate the head-chopper support operation. Exigent circumstances are forcing his hand, which includes Russian pressure. So Turkey is curving rather than pivoting. Thus the conference, where no doubt Putin will make some points abundantly clear to his counterpart, will be part of a graduated process. 2. Explaining the pivot to the Islamized masses that threw themselves in front of the tanks for Sultan and Allah may be difficult. Could lead to implementation problems.
Toggle Commented Jul 29, 2016 on End game in Aleppo at Sic Semper Tyrannis
Yes I'm anticipating a major Turkish pivot after the Putin Erdogan summit next month. The basic conundrum the Sultan faces (thanks to foreign policy adventurism) is choosing between neo-ottoman ambitions and Kurdish separatism/irredentism. Since the latter is existential to Turkey's territorial integrity, eventually he has to abandon the former. Without Russia and Iran supporting Assad reigning in the YPG, he'll be facing a de facto independent Kurdish state on his Syrian border.
Toggle Commented Jul 28, 2016 on End game in Aleppo at Sic Semper Tyrannis
What's the military imperative now? Lay siege and wait (France and Britain are howling for an end to the siege already) or continue the attack? Once the siege is resolved favourably, is a huge rollback in the Idlib province a matter of time or wishful thinking? If it were me I'd immediately consolidate my hold on the city for its symbolic value, and to prevent nasty surprises like a massive terrorist assault to reopen the Corstello Highway.
Toggle Commented Jul 28, 2016 on End game in Aleppo at Sic Semper Tyrannis
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Jul 28, 2016