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Heckuva Job
What Erdogan’s Pivot to Putin Means
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  • rheddles

    Wow. Wonder how the penultimate paragraph would have read if not written by someone who voted for 0bama twice.

    • Kev

      I’m not a fan of American president by any means, but even I would vote for Obama when the alternatives were McCain and Romney. US military would now be stuck fighting wars from Lybia to Iran if any of these dolts won.

      • rheddles

        Didn’t realize we weren’t involved in combat in Libya and Iran and that McCain & Romney promising to get us in. In any case, good non-sequitur.

        • Kev

          Unless you’re talking about economic and cyberwarfare, no, the US has not been at war with Iran. McCain and Romney would change that.

          • rheddles

            The US has been at war with Iran since 1979. Just not effectively. On either side.

      • Gary Hemminger

        This comment is a perfect example of the it’s either do nothing or all out war. Is there no middle ground? Is the world purely black and white? Democrats think Republicans are dangerous and visa-versa. I wish the far left and far right would go somewhere and play their little games and let the reasonable people who don’t share their whacko ideologies run the country and take reasonable decisions to address problems. The answer to illegal immigration is not a wall or open borders or sanctuary cities or deporting all illegal aliens. These are black and white answers to problems that are gray. When will we get leaders that don’t think in black and white? Answer: when the people stop thinking in black and white. Kev is an example of black and white thinking.

        • Akaky

          There was once, but covert operations acquired a bad name during the 1970’s. When a CIA guy knows that the politicians will sacrifice him in a heartbeat when an operation goes bad, it tends to make the CIA guy a bit skittish about sticking his neck out.

      • Terenc Blakely

        A nice strawman with nothing to back it up but Leftist talking points. How exactly has ‘smart’ diplomacy eased the tensions in the Middle East? I’m sure an Iran with nukes is no big deal to you, right? As long as the nukes just take out Israel and brown people in that region you probably don’t give a damn.

    • Gary Hemminger

      Voting for Obama doesn’t mean you can’t criticize. I think this criticism is aimed more at our media folks who completely let Obama off the hook for his ineptitude. If they had been more forthright about pointing it out, perhaps Obama would have actually done something.

      Between doing nothing and all out war, there is a middle ground. But not to Democrats (do nothing) and Republicans (all out war, or now…do nothing as well). The world is not black and white. What is really frightening is to actually see and hear what our supposed elite say to each other. They are completely out of touch and I think they are perfect political representatives, because the people they represent are as hateful and ignorant as they. The far left loonies and the far right whacko’s represent their constituents perfectly.

  • JR

    Barack Hussein Obama. Barack Hussein Obama, everybody!!!

  • Anthony

    “If there is a quagmire, it really isn’t Russia that faces the greatest problems. Russia really doesn’t need a favorable outcome in Syria or a stable Middle East. The result may well be a legacy where the next President inherits the combined legacies of both Iraq and Syria, and the new Great Game moves Central and South Asia to the Middle East. The unfortunate fact is that the Bear doesn’t have to chase the United States off the stage.” (Anthony Cordesman)

  • jeburke

    Yes, US policy has been incoherent. But WRM owes it to his readers to explain just how the US could have avoided “abandoning Syrian Sunnis” when the armed Sunni opposition was — and is — dominated by ISIS and al Nusra (al Qaeda).

    • thinkingthinker

      He does. And the answer probably is that when Assad starting dumping poison gas the US should have intervened as planned (demolishing Assads air power, and setting up a no fly zone). This would be in 2013. Now at that point, the FSA was already deteriorating and becoming morphed with Nusra, but one could argue that at that point a US intervention could have stopped that bleed. Who knows what would have happened, but perhaps with a US no fly zone set up after that, Assad dead and gone, the US could have concentrated on hitting ISIS and Nusra in Syria while something like an Afghanistan situation developed. (ie, nominal US allies in control of major cities, with countryside controlled by Islamists).
      It certainly wouldn’t be perfect, but there probably wouldn’t have been the massive exodus of refugees that is destabilizing Europe (our allies), and Syria would not be under the control of Iran, and nobody would be talking about a Russian US conflagration involving nuclear weapons being even remotely possible.

      I think though it is unfair to blame this president as responsible entirely. Obama’s actions reflect both the isolationism and nihilism (ie “who cares what happens over there”) that arose across the country after 2008, and which were also present during the 1930, early 1940s when the great depression resulted in the same isolationism towards events in Europe. Its just history rhyming.

  • Jacksonian_Libertarian

    “Obama is the Worst President in American History”.

    • Fat_Man

      I still think that James Buchanan gives him a run for his money on that score, but he has certainly shredded the Post Civil War category.

      • f1b0nacc1

        Of course Obama may end up leaving a similar legacy….

        • Andrew Allison

          May? From race relations to politicizing the Executive Branch to ACA to foreign policy it’s a done deal! I’m with JL.

          • f1b0nacc1

            Buchanan left us the Civil War, and (depending upon who you want to believe) took steps before his departure to ensure that the Confederates would have a good chance at winning. That is a very, very high bar…
            With that said, you and JL may be correct on this one, though I hope not.

          • Andrew Allison

            Although the the death and destruction which this President has sown in the greater Middle East is distant, perhaps you’ll change your mind when Iran gets the bomb and, inevitably, one of its surrogates uses it; or when a few dozen more policemen and women get killed by Black terrorists, or you get cross about the ACA’s cost to general taxpayer (for example, my wife’s premium increased 31% for 2017 but because the subsidy is based on the cost of a silver policy, her assistance increased sufficiently to halve her net premium). Let’s not even get into the implications of the corruption of the DoJ, etc. As an aside, although I’m not intimately familiar with US history, it seems to me that the Civil War was inevitable. I’d be interested in your views.

          • f1b0nacc1

            The physical and economic damage from the American Civil war was almost incalculable by today’s standard (quite literally, a limited nuclear exchange where an entire segment of the country was destroyed is about the standard we are discussing), and the civil destruction was almost as great. The damage to our governing principles (Lincoln, who remains my idol as a man of character and principle, was responsible for destroying the founder’s dream of limited government and ushering in the beginning of the centralization and unlimited scope that we have today) was almost as great, and the social consequences need little description. By any of those measures, Obama has failed miserably to exceed Buchanan’s incompetence, though I wonder sometimes if it is not for lack of effort. Perhaps he is incompetent at incompetency? (grin)

            Regarding the Civil War, I believe that some sort of conflict was inevitable (the decisive battle between the central government and the states had to occur, and the declining power of the South could not help but try to reverse its trajectory when faced with the rise of the North), but just as slavery was not the cause of the war, but the dynamic that made war inevitable, Buchanan made war inevitable when it might have otherwise been a crisis. The South might have been dealt with anytime in the 1850s short of war, but Buchanan’s glaring incompetence left few other options open by the time that Lincoln became president. The real irony is that by the time the South decided to act, it was far too late, their fate was sealed.

          • Andrew Allison

            Very instructive. Thank you!

          • f1b0nacc1

            You are most welcome….

          • Terenc Blakely

            Another way of putting it is that the dynamic that made the Civil war inevitable was the clash of two increasingly incompatible cultures. Sounds kind of familiar doesn’t it?

          • f1b0nacc1

            Perhaps, but I suspect that it was more nakedly political than cultural. The South had been the dominant political entity in the US since the beginning, but its power was waning as the industrial revolution and the first waves of immigration favored the North at its expense. Yes, there was certainly a major cultural factor, but the political and economic aspects of the dynamic strike me as more significant.

          • Terenc Blakely

            Perhaps, but I think culture is the dominant feature in such wars. If you can’t stand the lifestyle of your enemy, it’s a lot easier going to war with them.

          • f1b0nacc1

            Indeed, and that is part of my point. The North didn’t hate the South, that is abundantly clear in the writings of the soldiers and most civilians of the time on both sides. There were fireaters in the South and rabid abolitionists in the North, but both of these groups were relatively small, and their influence is wildly exaggerated. No doubt they were influential in their own way, but that influence didn’t extend to creating a massive hatred of their opponents, but rather their opponent’s actions. The North primarily fought to restore the Union, slavery didn’t become a predominant issue until 1863, and possibly even later, while the South fought to ‘go their own way’…slavery was never a truly crucial issue for the overwhelming part of the populace that didn’t own slaves.

            None of this should be taken to excuse the great evil of slavery, or to suggest that slavery was irrelevant, but the idea that America had split into two irreconcileable parts that hated each other simply isn’t supported by everything we know of the period.

  • Angel Martin

    i think the focus on the final fall of Aleppo misses the point of the demographic changes inside Syria. The FT reports that half the Syrian pop. has been displaced. And the NYT previously estimated that there were 6 mil internally displaced persons in Syria, and there are 4 million Syrian refugees in Turkey, and 1.5 mil more refugees in each of Lebanon and Jordan.

    Assad and Putin have dramatically changed the demographic facts on the ground in Syria. The gov’t controlled areas in Syria now contain far fewer Sunnis than they did before the civil war started.

    • (((kingschitz)))

      It’s not just been depopulation but also repopulation—Iran has been moving Shias into the abandoned portions of Syria.

  • ljgude

    Second coming of Abraham Lincoln? Surely you jest. He was depicted on the cover of Time as the second coming of FDR complete with cigarette in holder at that Jaunty Rooseveltian angle. There were cries of “We are all socialists, now!” But Lincoln I don’t recall. Lightworker, The One, lowerer of the oceans – all implying he was as close to a savior as you could get. I said at the time that he filled a Bobby Kennedy sized hole in the American psyche, but I was wrong. They went to whole enchilada with the O man and sold his as The Savior. Once you admit that to yourself it becomes obvious why Republican voters have served us up the Antichrist this year.

  • Guest

    Obama took his eye off the ball when it came to America’s foreign and national defense policies so he would be free to transform America domestically.

  • Proud Skeptic

    If I recall correctly, Turkey has a 100% record of picking the wrong side over the last century or so.

    • Terenc Blakely

      Well last century they committed genocide against the Armenians so they probably want to scratch that itch again with the Kurds.

  • lhfry

    What Obama and his ilk fail to realize is that the best, if not the only, way to keep the peace is to prepare (constantly) for war. This has been proven over and over again throughout history. Obama has forfeited everything achieved by prior American (and British, mostly) leaders designed to prevent war.

  • afhack62

    No need to sugar-coat Obama’s many humanitarian disasters in the Middle East. It will take decades fix them, if they’re ever fixed. Tens of thousands have died as a result of his decision to leave Iraq–a decision of deliberate malice or breathtaking incompetence (much of Obama’s decision-making is often one or the other). Ignoring Iranian protestors in 2009; destabilizing Egypt on behalf of the MB; Syria…please, let’s not go there anymore; the pointless attack on Libya engineered by his partner in foreign policy crime, Hillary Clinton. The list goes on and on and Misfire has generously shared his incompetence with other parts of the world. (And who knows what else he was talked out of in the nick of time.) That this fool still has the nerve to do his narcissistic gig in public says it all bout him.

  • gabrielsyme

    While Assad’s tactics have been brutal, they certainly are far short of genocide. Instead, it has been the Sunni rebels who have intimated desires for genocide from the beginning of the conflict. There are millions of Sunnis living at peace in government-controlled areas of Syria, and Assad has made efforts to maintain some support in the Sunni community, nothing like a genocide.

  • charlesrwilliams

    Because of Obama’s mismanagement in the Middle East we have no constructive role to play in Syria proper. It is best to focus on driving ISIS out of Iraq and offering humanitarian relief to Syrian refugees in Jordan, Lebanon, and Turkey.

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