Friday, October 02, 2015

Putin & Syria: So?

Reason magazine knocks it out of the park again with a look at Russia's interest in Syria. A good case made that it really shouldn't concern us. About the only thing I disagree with is the second to last paragraph:

"Obama's critics portray him as weak and lost in the face of the bold Russian challenge. But the truth is he's engaged in geopolitical jujitsu, using the opponent's strengths against him. He's avoiding risks that carry no commensurate rewards. "

I don't think Obama is weak, but I'm not happy with the saber rattling I've heard from the U.S. government. I have a hard time believing he's being strategic with "geopolitical jujitsu". He seems to just be playing the the tough guy card as is often the U.S. role. 

In fairness, though, recent news reports of U.S./Russian dialogue don't sound quite as bad as they did earlier on.


At 2:57 PM, Blogger MOLA:42 said...

I guess it depends on how you care to look at the situation.

The U.S. Government (and most Syrians) want Assad out. The Russians want Assad to stay and continue to do the magic he has been doing for the Syrian people ever since his daddy kicked the bucket.

We train opposition fighters to take on ISIS and if they happen to take a few pot shots at the Syrian Government, it doesn't break our hearts. We also directly bomb IS and Al Qaeda targets. We leave Syrian Army/Rebel conflict zones alone.

On the other hand Russian jets have bombed everything the Syrian Government requests them to hit. The Russians claim they don't have the intelligence presence on the ground the US has and thus trusts the Syrian Army to tell them where they need to drop the bombs (Oh! Was that an elementary school? Darn!).

So far (I haven't seen today's BBC map) Russia has bombed anyone but ISIS and Al Qaeda.

If that seems like good news to you then fine.

What the situation is developing into is two superpowers working to cross purposes and eventually shooting at each other. Who do you wish to back off?

If all that the US is doing in Syria is saber-rattling then I guess it should be the US; right?

If it sucks being a Syrian now... just wait a couple of months.

At 3:36 PM, Blogger MOLA:42 said...

In the interests of being fair as possible... Today's BBC bombing map does show the Russians hit two targets in ISIS controlled territory. That among another half dozen targets elsewhere.

To add to the amusement factor, the Russians claim that so far the west has been "Fake bombing ISIS. We're going to bomb them for real."

Again, I don't want to seem like I pick and choose my information. It's bad all over.

At 7:45 AM, Blogger Fred Mangels said...

From what I've read recently- keeping in mind much of what we read is what the powers that be want us to read- the supposed U.S. trained rebels are a mere handful. Some of them have given their weapons to AQ/ISIS. Within the last couple days I read something to the effect of the Pentagon saying they've stopped supplying those groups.

I tend to think non- U.S. media is the best way to get info on such things. British papers, oddly enough, being one of the better ones although The Telegraph seems to have come out recently in opposition to Russian involvement, at least from the way their headlines have been reading.

Anti- is a good digest of such news from sources all over. Yes, their editorials tend to be anti-war, but the stories are mostly just regular stories compiled from around the world. In fact, anti- was where I first read of 9/11, weeks before it happened, although I didn't realize it at the time.

At 1:39 PM, Blogger MOLA:42 said...

As I said, it's bad all over.

I don't know what the ultimate solution is. On the one hand we (the West, starring the United States of America) created ISIS (unintentionally of course, but still...) so we bear some responsibility for the solution.

On the other hand, we seem incapable of doing anything about Middle East problems except try to bomb them out of existence. We can all see how effective that's been.

As for our "training" programs with forces acceptable to the West... All I can say is we know how to pick them, train them then watch them run. Having utterly failed with the Iraqi Army we have taken our act out on the road in Syria with amazingly consistent results (choose, train, run...repeat).

It's not that I think the West has a handle on the problem and the Russians are messing with it out of malice or mischief.

It's just everyone feels the need to prove they have balls and millions of Syrians are paying for it. Putin's adding to the misery helps no one but Putin.

While in the long run military action provides no solutions... what are we to do NOW?

I don't know.

I like using the BBC for comparison purposes with American media. Not that the BBC is completely void of bias or error but for the most part I think their news gathering is superior to what we have here.

That and it gives a new perspective when politicians are complaining about biased American Media. Unless one cares to go down the World-Wide Conspiracy route.

At 2:41 PM, Blogger Fred Mangels said...

Russia and Syria have been allies for decades. I'd say that gives Russia more of a place in this fight than us. Just as we might have more of a place in supporting any of our allies. Should Russia tell us to stay out of the squabble over islands between China and Japan? Not saying we should intervene militarily in that, but same sort of thing as far as allies are concerned.

As far as media goes, I shudder to think what we'd know now if not for the internet. Like everyone else I took what I read on the news decades ago for granted. With the internet you can hear different sides.

I remember watching CNN during Gulf War 1 and sucking up all the coverage hook, line and sinker. The footage of all the Iraqis surrendering and such giving the picture of a cakewalk, which it pretty much was.

Like that one quote from some GI saying, "We're having a tough time finding anyone to fight". I've heard from some since then that have said "to hell they didn't fight". The only coverage we saw was whatever the military and others wanted us (and the Iraqis) to see to use as propaganda.

And, yes, they watch CNN over there, too.

Back to biased media, I think it's more they're lazy. CNN being among the worst. They just report whatever government and the military tell them and expect everyone to suck it up.

At least now we've got access to any number of sources for news and, yes, I generally just go along with whatever I read, too. Except in things like this where I know there are elements within the country that want war and power, thus why we always come up with one excuse or another to bomb someone.

And never mind selective reporting being done on any number of issues, only reporting what they feel is appropriate depending on what they want to support.

To be fair, at least government isn't shutting down alternative news and opinion like Reason magazine, at least not yet. No big deal for the War Party with that, though, since most people still get their news from the mainstream media on nightly news and the established newspapers that pretty much report what they're given by the powers that be.

At 2:52 PM, Blogger Fred Mangels said...

To be fair (aren't I always?) I give the government and military credit for not being as bad as some- even myself, sometimes- accuse them of.

That weapons of mass destruction thing in Iraq, for instance. If the gov and military was bad as some think, I would think it wouldn't have taken much to fool everyone into thinking they'd found them.

All they would have had to do was use creative photography and make it look as if they'd found a big cache of chemical warheads. No need to actually build a phony chemical dump. Just phony pictures with some phony soldiers looking on. Myself and everybody else would have sucked it right in.

It's to their credit they didn't exactly try that, but maybe because if it leaked out backlash would have been overwhelming?

The media did try to hype other things. Finding an Iraqi fighter jet buried in the ground, for instance. Even if true, so what? As if a buried jet is a threat to anyone. Lots of stuff like that reported, much of which I believed at the time. But even then I'd like to think I read between the lines on a lot of it.

At 2:58 PM, Blogger MOLA:42 said...

You don't have a "Like" button so I'll put one here...


At 3:11 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

I followed Reason for a few years, until this past year. Ever since their big fight with the Feds, Reason & CATO both have been off kilter somehow, with leanings they never before would have taken.
I'm enjoying the conversation here though.

At 5:30 PM, Blogger Fred Mangels said...

"You don't have a "Like" button so I'll put one here..."

Aw, shucks. :-)

Now that you mention it, I wonder if it's possible to add a Like button here?


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