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Thursday, October 27, 2016

“To jaw-jaw is always better than to war-war.”

–Winston Churchill, June 26, 1954

Before you make the mistake of taking President Obama’s most strident critics regarding the Syrian deal too seriously, ponder this: With few exceptions, those calling the Russian-American agreement to eliminate Bashar al-Assad’s nerve gas arsenal a capitulation, a sellout, and a shameful retreat also think bombing Damascus wouldn’t have been nearly enough.

Nothing short of a boots-on American invasion of Syria would have satisfied these jokers. Prominent among them is Senator John McCain (R-AZ), who views the diplomatic breakthrough as “an act of provocative weakness on America’s part.”

McCain, who has vigorously supported all nine of the nation’s last three wars on about 316 TV talk shows, is never happy unless the U.S. is attacking somebody. Only violent solutions strike him as realistic. That’s probably the single biggest reason he never became president.

Then there’s Eliot A. Cohen, founding father of the Project for a New American Century, a now-defunct Washington pressure group whose messianic schemes for a U.S. empire stretching from the Mediterranean to Afghanistan inspired the Iraq War. Featuring such luminaries as Dick Cheney, Donald Rumsfeld and Paul Wolfowitz, to these geniuses, overthrowing Saddam Hussein was only the beginning. Next on their agenda was Iran, in case you wonder why the mad ayatollahs have been tinkering with nukes.

So anyway, just as President Obama was getting ready to ask Congress to endorse a punitive strike against Syrian chemical weapon sites, Cohen published a Washington Post column scolding Americans for their cowardice. The families of the war dead, he allowed, were entitled to their sorrow.

“But for the great mass of the American public,” he wrote “for their leaders and the elites who shape public opinion, ‘war-weariness’ is unearned cant, unworthy of a serious nation and dangerous in a violent world…Americans can change the channel if they find the images too disturbing.”

Got that citizens? Shut up, pay your taxes and avert your eyes.

Next the Obama administration pulled a large Russian rabbit out of its hat, leaving the neocons feeling foolish. For all the hugger-mugger about “red lines” and the White House’s odd decision to position a naval task force within striking range of Damascus before deciding to ask congressional permission, the end result was nevertheless remarkable.

Clumsy? Definitely. But it’s not a Bruce Willis movie; it’s a foreign policy.

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Copyright 2013 The National Memo
  • disqus_ivSI3ByGmh

    Yep. Here was the case where President Obama allowed the NeoCons to paint themselves into a corner (far Right, of course), by allowing them to rant and sputter about Congressional privilege, American Exceptionalism, etc., all the while waiting for the UN Inspection team to come up with a report causing the Russians to put their Rubles where their collective mouths were.

  • Eleanore Whitaker

    Our president is a master strategist. I am reminded of an analogy that so befits our President. Two men walk into a casino. One is a novice gambler. The other, a card counter pro. They sit down at the table. The novice tries desperately to out bet the card counter unaware of the card counter’s powerful ability to read cards at the speed of light. Sound familiar?

  • roguerunners


  • itsfun

    First, lets keep out of Syria completely. They do not pose a direct threat to the US.
    We are not the cops of the world. Where did we get the right to tell other countries how to live or govern?

    Lets see: Obama set a red line, then he didn’t set a red line. Then he didn’t have to go to congress for approval, then he was going to congress for approval, then he said never mind. This is a example of great leadership? The person has made the US the laughing stock of the world. We have absolutely no other country willing to go along with us.

    • TheSkalawag

      Part A looks like a line of reasonable thought.

      Part B looks like the kind of reasoning that permeates through out the massively confused republican party.

      • itsfun

        Part B is about Obama making the US look foolish, not “neocons” Even though people like McCain have done many things to make the US look foolish to.

        • TheSkalawag

          I would say only in your mind but you have proven that you have lost what little bit you may have had.

    • lechtenberg

      It appears Russia is willing to go along with us.
      No matter what President Obama does the haters find fault.
      I wonder which of you would have thought he did the “right thing” if he had bombed Syria…..two of you maybe?

      • itsfun

        The second part is about Obama and his flip flopping on things and making the US look foolish. I do have to say that McCain has done things to make the US look foolish too. Just proves that neither the Democrats or Republicans have a lock on nitwits.

        • Elisabeth Gordon

          …the only people that look foolish are those that don’t understand that we just dodged a VERY large bullet…..

        • You are the one who looks foolish itsfun – don’t you know that leadership is about changing standpoints with changes in the situation, NOT acting as if threats were promises of this action.

          The world may have a poor opinion of America at the moment, but not of any leader who can keep the lunatic right out of office.

          • itsfun

            Come on; you know he didn’t have one darn thing to do with the solution. It was given to him. His flip flopping is making him look more like John Kerry every day

          • Obama’s threats brought the Russians into the frame. What you dismiss as flip flopping you would call negotiating if it was your man in the White House. Are you so pathetic a man (if that’s what you are) that you cannot credit a Democrat with effective action, or at least withhold judgement until the episode has played out?

          • itsfun

            I don’t agree, I think a question from a lady reporter to John Kerry about options available got the whole ball rolling. She should get the peace prize.

          • Oh Yes! How silly of me – a lady reporter initiated the action, not the threat of air strikes from the US…

        • Sand_Cat

          People like you do far more to make the US look foolish than Obama ever could.

        • Lisztman

          In other words, itsfun, you do not believe for a moment, or will not even consider, that President Obama knew all along exactly what he was doing? Keeping the pressure of possible military attack on Syria and President Assad, in order to get him to move? To use President Putin, with or without his knowledge (my bet would be that he was in on all this), and the traditional Russo-Syrian bonds, to get Mr. Assad to join the 21st century?

          My guess is that Mr. Obama (and, perhaps, his advisors) is a strategist. A chess player. Who knew, pretty closely, exactly how this was expected to play out. Critics be damned. We don’t care what Charles Krauthammer or Cal Thomas have to say. They don’t run the country; they don’t have to deal with political fallout; and they certainly don’t have any foreign policy credentials worth talking about.

          Dr. Krauthammer (M.D.) is a notable essayist and speechwriter, and has an undergraduate degree in political science, none of which qualifies him as a foreign-policy expert. Mr. Thomas may be an experienced armchair observer — but that hardly qualifies him, either. I find very little in the right-wing critics that bespeaks of intimate knowledge of the machinations of foreign policy.

          Before you start mumbling about Mr. Obama’s direction, or apparent lack of same, in working the Syria situation, give him credit for having apparently resolved the situation for the future without simply bombing the hell out of someone.

          • I enjoyed your response to itsfun, but you realise that this individual seems incapable of much rational thought, much less changing his ‘mind’. I find myself somewhat ignorant of the extent to which US foreign policy is decided by the visible leaders, but maybe we can hope that America can continue (start?)to control excessive dictators like Assad if a trend towards humanitarian governance is established. It worries me that Assad could be replaced by fundamentalists.

    • gmccpa

      Only in the confines of the RW media does all this matter. In reality, to the rest of the world, Obama is a HUGE improvement over our previous President. And they are not laughing. And the rest of the world does not want to ‘go along with us’ based on the Iraq war. Try to connect the dots.

      Meantime, the the RW does not know what it wants. Except to blame Obama for the outcome….whatever it is. Good or bad..blame Obama.

      • itsfun

        Is that kinda like Obama and the left wing blaming George Bush for everything?

        • gmccpa

          Bush presided over the worst economic collapse since the Great depression. Started two wars. One based on a total lie….which caused the death of thousands of American military.
          Bush is literally a convicted war criminal in other countries. An American ex president that cannot freely travel the world in fear of being arrested. And you think Obama is the one that makes us a laughing stock?

          As for blame. He is not blamed nearly enough.

          • itsfun

            Isn’t Obama the one that wants to help the same terrorists that hijacked American planes and ran them into the twin towers? Aren’t these the people that eat the hearts and livers of their enemies? He wants to help cannibals. I wonder if he would like to sit down to a dinner of liver and onions with them?

          • Help to, or alignment with ‘terrorists’, dictators, and so on, should not be judged on the immediate insult to our sensitivities, but on the long-term intentions of the helpers – whoever they are.

            If Islam stands for a permanent subjugation of women, homosexuals, unbelievers, to name but a few important groups, then it is a long-term enemy of humanity. Can Assad be ‘nice’ and democratic, if faced with an armed opposition tending towards a violent imposition of sharia law, for example?

            The issues are not as simple as itsfun seems to think.

          • itsfun

            Aren’t you describing exactly what the terrorists Obama wants to support believe in?

          • Try and use words accurately, that is THINK itsfun. The armed opposition to Assad are not terrorists, they are fighters, on their own soil, trying to change things. They are also fighting among themselves apparently. Where Islam is their cause, I am not with them; Obama may be with them for as long as they are against Assad, when Assad goes you will see another scenario unfold. You don’t expect anyone who really knows, to explain to us, do you?

          • itsfun

            You can label them anything you want. Many many people and I consider them to be terrorists. You can support all the cannibals you wish. Obama has no damn idea who he is with or what he is with. His level of incompetence is higher than our national debt.

          • To be polite, the actual meanings of words is agreed by conventional usage – not what you and a few others think. To be frank, you are an ignorant person.

          • Lisztman

            No, itsfun. You have no idea who or what Obama is with. Unless you have some sort of special security clearance that puts you in with the powers in Washington who are trying to sort out what is going on in Syria, Iran, Gaza, the Sinai, Lebanon, and the rest of the Middle East.

            Which cannibals are those? I’ve seen no reports of cannibalism coming out of the Middle East. Please provide a source.

            Obama wants, what? To help Al-Qaeda? You mean the same group that used to be led by Osama bin Laden? Or are you referring to the targets of drones, the use of which, for some unfathomable reason, is criticized by the same right-wing nutjobs who claim that Obama is helping the drones’ targets.

            In short, itsfun, you yourself sound like one of those right-wing nutjobs. You listen to Fox “News” and parrot it. Particularly dangerous when you do not understand the difference between “News” and “Opinion” — which distinction Fox fails, miserably, to make in its broadcasts. You listen to Glenn Beck and Rush Limbaugh and the like — and parrot whatever it is they say. Go out to Google and read a bunch of links under, say, “Syria Al Qaeda” — not just the known right-wing sites that will give you exactly what you want to hear. You haven’t a clue how to obtain reliable information on a topic from an unbiased source.

          • Thanks Lisztman – pity itsfun can’t be reached.

    • Jim Myers

      Actually, I think it was his predecessor who made a laughing stock out of America.

      The world may have a large portion who hate us, but most of the world at least accepts us as being more positive than negative.

      • itsfun

        I think they both have done it. George Bush did have the approval of the UN and Congress though.

        • charleo1

          Do you think George Bush getting the approval of the UN,
          and Congress, had anything to do with not having a George
          W. Bush preceding his Presidency? Think about it.

          • itsfun


        • Sand_Cat

          When did George W Bush get the approval of the UN?

        • Lisztman

          President Bush (Jr) received that approval only because he made a case for all those WMD that were never found. Had he not resorted to lying (or, at best, lackadaisical analysis of data of dubious merit), he never would have obtained that support.

    • Elisabeth Gordon

      ITSFUN – you are dead wrong…it’s called diplomacy, or a cat and mouse game, or Chess as Fern put it….call it what you want, but cooler heads prevailed and we DO not have boots on the ground….if America was a laughing stock, it was when the Bushes jumped in to every freakin alley fight on the planet with little or no provocation….read up and try to comprehend. Oh, and while you’re at it thank whatever diety you believe in that Romney wasn’t elected….

      • itsfun

        George Bush had the UN support and the support of the US Congress. Obama had NO support except from RINOS. What wars has Obama gotten us out of? Right now it is the Obama and McCain types that will get boots on the ground and us into another war. Iran will be next. We need to support Israel and get our people the hell out of there. We need to develop our own energy policy and use our resources. Some body in this country is making a lot of money from foreign oil, and its just not the oil companies. I would like to know who the 344 lobbyist are that have gotten into see the White House Administration the last 3 months. That may give us some interesting answers. They can’t be there for a tour.

        • Landsende

          GWB had the support of the UN and Congress only after he lied about WMD’s. Cheney met secretly with top oil executives to discuss “oil policy” but refused to reveal what was discussed and shortly thereafter gas prices started going up. As for the lobbyist you mention most of them are former politicians and staffers that have access to all members of Congress, the White House and the Supreme Court. Unless you have lots of money and connections you would not have the same access, but as long as voters continue to vote for these career politicians that can be bought nothing will change.

        • kurtsteinbach

          Actually, the UN voted “No,” on the use of force in Iraq. Congress passed a resolution, not a declaration of war. The oil companies are the ones getting rich off of foreign oil, along with lobbyists and there Rethugnicon shills. Turn off Fox Noise, Rush Limpballs, Glenn Beck, Alex Jones, and stop reading mail from the Koch Brothers.

          • itsfun

            never said there was a declaration of war, We haven’t had a declaration of war since world war ll. More than just oil companies are making money on foreign oil. Maybe even foreigners are getting rich. My guess is a few politicians are getting their share too. Should one just listen to MSNBC only? I like to listen to as many opinions as I can, then try to find the truth, usually somewhere in the middle.

    • 788eddie

      itsfun: Please read the above commentary for your education (it’s very obvious that you need some).

  • JDavidS

    Jesus, what an unholy alliance… Cohen, Cheney, Rumsfeld, Wolfowitz, Krauthammer. All ready to beat the war drums. And why? Because not one of these asshole war-hawks has to put his ass on the line. They’re quite willing to put someone elses’ husbands’, sons’ fathers’, mothers’ or sisters’ ass on the line…just not theirs’. Pretty easy for these neocon turds to be armchair generals…nobody will be shooting at them.

  • Edna Rivera

    Let’s get our priorities right first ,
    health care , jobs , finances ,
    and the healing our nation !
    Peace begins with us !
    Rebuild our country& stable our economy. !
    Peace with in us will set us free!

  • Sally Sue

    Yitzchak, the western christian world can not solve the problems of the middle east. History proves our involvement only makes matters worse. If you want peace on your “street”, then the people living on must learn to just get along.

  • commserver

    Not to be a spoiler, but, there are problems going forward.

    Russia is putting up many obstacles to enforcement at the UN.