1. What’s the exit strategy? Is anyone discussing what that is? How do we get out? It’s simple to get in. Getting out is the hard part.
2. What are our political goals in Iraq in re: IS(IS)? What do we hope to achieve? And in what time frame? Will our means achieve the ends?
3. These are just some questions that President Hopey-McKill-List™ did not answer last night. He didn’t even come close to answering.
Color me curious.
I wonder if outgoing UN High Commissioner for Human Rights, Navi Pillay who gave her final speech this week to the UN Security Council would have made more impact if she had held James’ head in front of them. I’ll return to Ms Pillay below. I find I grieve for James and his family is several ways. As a fellow Catholic, as a photo-journalist unlucky twice, and as a metaphor for the ongoing senseless barbarity that never ceases.
From Gregory Djerejian, the last remaining realist in foreign policy circles:
In an orgy of public preening, the Iraq ‘Class of ’03’ flooded print and television media post Mosul’s capture by ISIS forces in Iraq last week. If one had hoped for the merest dose of humility given the calamitous missteps this hearty band of adventurers had presided over, manifold disappointment was instead in the offing.
As they say, read the rest, here.
Following The Koch Supremes’ (The Koch Enterprise’s Band) latest decision on campaign funding, Americans for Prosperity have announced a new neo-libertarian platform for their new acquisition, The House of Representatives.
The announcement includes recognition by America for Prosperity that based on Modern Monetary Theory, Government is the true source of wealth, and taxes are social programs.
Pax Americana continues to crumble before our eyes. The belief that the United States has a divinely-inspired obligation to police the entire world has always been most strongly held among Americans themselves; some of the beneficiaries of this largesse, such as the Vietnamese and most recently the Iraqis, never quite showed the gratitude America felt it had earned by bringing them liberty, freedom, justice, and a Starbucks Grandé Mocha every morning on their way to work. Of course, it takes a lot of effort to keep Americans invested in the Pax Americana dream, especially since to make the dream mean anything the U.S. has to have “boots on the ground” in strange places that seem to have little to do with American security. Read More
It seems I was wrong: Obama (and Putin) apparently do want a deal:
Top diplomats meeting here on the Ukraine crisis Thursday agreed that all parties, including separatists and their Russian backers, would stop violent and provocative acts, and that all illegal groups would be disarmed.
Secretary of State John F. Kerry said those steps must begin within days to be taken seriously, and President Obama was openly skeptical of Russian intentions.
The potential diplomatic breakthrough, which Russian Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov referred to as “a compromise, of sorts,” came after nearly seven hours of negotiations among Lavrov, Kerry, Ukrainian Foreign Minister Andrii Deshchytsia and European Union foreign policy chief Catherine Ashton.
This is genuinely good news. The Nelson Reports’ reaction is after the jump for those inclined. One note: wouldn’t it be interesting if at some point in the near future people start talking of Finlandizing the Ukraine? While that’s not an optimal long term solution it sure as hell beats a civil war in the Ukraine.
Today’s Nelson Report lays bare the utter absurdity of the word “terrorism.” It is now virtually meaningless, but still powerful enough to conjure up atavistic emotions in people. We live in a bizarre world.
SUMMARY: The Ukraine crisis is bubbling along with what looks like the US still trying the threat of really deep economic sanctions in hopes of persuading Russia’s Putin not to complete the military take-over of Eastern Ukraine which seems to be underway.
At State today, the briefing danced around efforts to get the US to declare the Russian troops “terrorists” and to agree that the situation now is a “civil war”, but Jen Psaki did say while that Pres. Obama is looking at a full menu of new sanctions, nothing will be announced before Thursday.
Russian troops are terrorists? What useful purpose would that serve? The obsession the media has with this word is mind-boggling. Nelson continues: Read More
I just don’t even know what to say or where to begin any more on this issue. It’s like an alternate universe any semblance of foreign policy prudence no longer exists. And to be frank: this is a dangerous place to be. Complacency kills.
Returning weapons according to RT.com and Putin calling Obama. It’s all about sanctions and credit cards.
NYT – Iran is building a nonworking mock-up of an American nuclear-powered aircraft carrier that United States officials say may be intended to be blown up for propaganda value.
Intelligence analysts studying satellite photos of Iranian military installations first noticed the vessel rising from the Gachin shipyard, near Bandar Abbas on the Persian Gulf, last summer. The ship has the same distinctive shape and style of the Navy’s Nimitz-class carriers, as well as the Nimitz’s number 68 neatly painted in white near the bow. Mock aircraft can be seen on the flight deck.
The State Department on Tuesday announced the official closing of the Syrian Embassy in Washington and said that Syrian diplomats there and in consulates elsewhere in the United States must leave by the end of this month.
Daniel Rubinstein, the Obama administration’s special envoy for Syria, tied the decision to this week’s three-year anniversary of the beginning of the Syrian upheaval.
“In consideration of the atrocities [Syrian President Bashar al-Assad’s] regime has committed against the Syrian people, we have determined it is unacceptable for individuals appointed by that regime to conduct diplomatic or consular operations in the United States,” Mr Rubinstein said in a statement.
What country has a lower birthrate than London or Paris? Answer after the break. Read More
What levers of power will Washington and the EU agree to in punishing Russia for formally annexing the Crimea? Will they induce real pain? Or will they enact face saving measures and then go on with business as usual? Is this the end game for Putin and the West? Or is this just the opening gambit? What powers or levers can Putin utilize to fight back against the EU and Washington?
And where is the Ukraine in all this?
Genuine questions that I do not have the answers to.
It’s a serious question. When is it okay to partition a nation? Was it right for the US and NATO to shave Kosovo off of Serbia? Was it right for Russia to shave off Ossetia and Abkhazia? It is right for Israel to flout international law and steal the West Bank? Was it right for a Armenia to pretty much steal Nagorno-Karabakh? Or how about Libya? Is it okay to partition Libya?
From where I sit, it seems to be okay when the West is doing the partitioning, but when anyone else is involved, it is not okay.
Something to ponder.