The Devolution Of A Superpower & The End Of The American Century Part II: Levantine Edition

Earlier today MSNBC’s Ali Velshi interviewed Ronen Bergman, the Senior National Security Correspondent for Yedioth Ahronot. Bergman book on Israel’s assassination program has just been published, but the interview never actually got to the book. Rather, it was all about the Israeli Vs Syrian and Iranian fighting over the weekend. The discussion was illuminating, alarming, and discouraging (click across to see the video as it won’t embed).

Bergman is reporting that Israel was preparing a full scale operation against the Syrian military, the Iranian Quds Force, and Hezbullah on Saturday in response to the drone incursion and the downing of the IAF F-16I. The operation was called off when Prime Minister Netanyahu got an angry phone call from Russian President Vladimir Putin telling him to stand down as this operation would put Russian military assets and personnel in Syria at risk. Bergman’s conclusion is that the US has now ceded its role in the Middle East to Russia. And that Putin may not have the region’s well being, let alone stability in mind, as he pursues his own agenda. Bergman also reported that when the Israelis went to the US and asked for them to get involved the American responses were a combination of less than reassuring to non responsive. As a result the Israelis, specifically Netanyahu, have concluded that the US is now disinterested and not willing to be engaged at the national and regional strategic level. Therefore the Israelis will make their own determinations about what to do, when to do it, and how to do it without concern for what the US may or may not want.

Bergman’s reporting should be shocking. And not just to national security and foreign policy hawks. There is a legitimate discussion to be had about the US’s role in the world, or in specific regions of it, and how better to balance other states involvement in the 21st Century global system. Essentially a long overdue discussion about what the global system should be, how it should be organized, who should guarantee a basic level of security within it, and who should be the rule maker or rule makers, as the post World War II and post Cold War international orders break down and need to be replaced. These discussions require intelligence, forethought and foresight, nuance, reason, the ability to negotiate in good faith and communicate across cultures to balance competing interests. From long established powers like the US to emerging powers like China to smaller, but regionally significant powers.

What Bergman describes as happening in the Middle East, as well as in other parts of the world, is not this. Rather it is simply an abandonment, a discarding with little to no thought, let alone apparent planning, for what comes next. This is not a recipe for success. It is a recipe for failure. It is a recipe for upheaval, discord, and ultimately more war, more death, and more destruction. It is both the devolution and the dissolution of a superpower as that superpower, the US, abrogates and abandons the responsibilities it has assumed over the past 70 years and the end of the American Century. This is not the result of being eclipsed by the next, rising hegemon. It is not the result of natural disaster or economic collapse. It is solely the result of a President that has no clear strategy or policy beyond “I will be treated fairly or else”. This is the true Trump Doctrine: I will be treated fairly or else. And only I, President Trump, can ensure that America will be treated fairly or else. Unfortunately for the US, for its allies, its partners, for the people that depend on it, Russia, China, Iran, the DPRK, and a whole host of other state and non-state actors don’t really care if the President or the US is treated fairly. And increasingly they don’t seem to be worrying too much about the or else.

Open thread.

169 replies
  1. 1
    TenguPhule says:

    The discussion was illuminating, alarming, and discouraging

    So Basically Balloon Juice with less trolling?

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  2. 2
    TenguPhule says:

    The operation was called off when Prime Minister Netanyahu got an angry phone call from Russian President Vladimir Putin telling him to stand down as this operation would put Russian military assets and personnel in Syria at risk.

    Well now we know who wears the big boy pants in this relationship.

    /smh

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  3. 3
    M31 says:

    These discussions require intelligence, forethought and foresight, nuance, reason, the ability to negotiate in good faith and communicate across cultures to balance competing interests.

    If you had to come up with the list of things the current Trump-helmed GOP is absolutely incapable of doing in any way, shape, or form, this would be the list.

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  4. 4
    TenguPhule says:

    Essentially a long overdue discussion about what the global system should be, how it should be organized, who should guarantee a basic level of security within it, and who should be the rule maker or rule makers, as the post World War II and post Cold War international orders break down and need to be replaced. These discussions require intelligence, forethought and foresight, nuance, reason, the ability to negotiate in good faith and communicate across cultures to balance competing interests.

    So we’re basically fucked as a country.

    ReplyReply
  5. 5
    Mary G says:

    Plus Putin talked to Twitler on the phone yesterday, then hosted Abbas in Moscow, pretty much telling him America sends its regards. So we’re just ceding the region to Russia. That’ll work out just great.

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  6. 6
    Yutsano says:

    But her e-mails…

    ReplyReply
  7. 7
    Adam L Silverman says:

    @TenguPhule: And phuwur tie poes!

    ReplyReply
  8. 8
    Adam L Silverman says:

    @M31: Unfortunately.

    ReplyReply
  9. 9
    geg6 says:

    Good job, Bibi. This what sucking up always comes to with the Dolt. He has no loyalty and expects simpering loyalty in return. Fuck.

    ReplyReply
  10. 10
    kindness says:

    Karma for Netanyahu really. The man did everything he could to slime Obama and then to elect Trump.

    ReplyReply
  11. 11
    Adam L Silverman says:

    @TenguPhule: Also, unfortunately.

    ReplyReply
  12. 12
    TenguPhule says:

    @Adam L Silverman: Have you gotten your New Zealand passport in the mail yet?

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  13. 13
    Cermet says:

    Netanyahu can eat shit and his toad followers as well. One good thing came out of the rumps ass and Netanyahu and his toads can enjoy the shit sandwich they help to serve up on all of us. At this point, hope putin the snake helps the locals to continue to serve those asswipes more shit sandwiches. The damage they helped to inflict upon the US is bad enough.

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  14. 14
    Adam L Silverman says:

    @Mary G: He did quickly offer condolences for the plane crash.

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  15. 15
    Mathguy says:

    Thanks for the daily reminder of how much I despise the shitgibbon. The eight and ninth circles of hell are too good for him, his spawn and the scum around him.

    ReplyReply
  16. 16
    Adam L Silverman says:

    @TenguPhule: No. I don’t qualify: no hobbit in my ancestry.

    And I didn’t get the fellowship I applied for in Australia either.

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  17. 17
    TenguPhule says:

    Philippines President Rodrigo Duterte last week told soldiers to shoot female rebels in their genitals, the latest in a series of violent, misogynistic remarks.

    Addressing a group of former communist rebels on Wednesday (Feb 7), Duterte, who served as a city mayor before becoming president, appeared to encourage the Armed Forces of the Philippines (AFP) to target women in conflict.

    “Tell the soldiers. ‘There’s a new order coming from the mayor. We won’t kill you. We will just shoot your vagina,'” he said.”If there is no vagina, it would be useless,” he continued, appearing to imply that women are useless without their genitals, according to local media reports.

    Duterte has made headlines for “joking” about the rape of a kidnapped Australian, lamenting he hadn’t been first, and for telling troops to rape women in conflict. He often shares his unsolicited opinions on the sexual attractiveness of various women, particularly female politicians who question his policies, in an apparent effort to demean, shame and silence them.

    And Trump is taking lessons from this guy……

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  18. 18
    Adam L Silverman says:

    @Mathguy: Tell us how you really feel.

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  19. 19
    Villago Delenda Est says:

    Unless Donald Trump personally profits from some relationship with a foreign country (“treated fairly”) he is utterly uninterested. He is making this country a pariah for as long as he is nominally in charge, even if he isn’t actually in charge, if the default is “meh” as it seems to be now.

    The rest of the world is on its own. Russia, China, and Iran will fill the power vacuum as they see fit, and the US will be left out of the loop.

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  20. 20
    Dave says:

    Interesting times; to some degree this has been inevitable set in place when we took the exact opposite path we should have. Trump will make of course ensure this process is played out as stupidly as possibly. The really insidious thing is that sort of failure often generates the sort of fear that benefits the people that are responsible for the situation. Design flaw in humanity.

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  21. 21
    Cacti says:

    Therefore the Israelis will make their own determinations about what to do, when to do it, and how to do it without concern for what the US may or may not want.

    Which is different from the past 7-decades in what respect?

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  22. 22
    TenguPhule says:

    @Adam L Silverman:

    And I didn’t get the fellowship I applied for in Australia either.

    I see what you did there.

    ReplyReply
  23. 23
    🌎 🇺🇸 Goku (aka The Hope of the Universe) 🗳 🌷 says:

    Adam. This is pure fantasy, but would Putin be the kind of person who would fold like a cheap suit if confronted with a superpowered person? Meaning, if that person threatened Putin (and other leaders) with a display of power, would he tow the line?

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  24. 24
    TenguPhule says:

    @Cacti:

    Which is different from the past 7-decades in what respect?

    We had veto authority over them. For the most part. Bush II pissed a lot of that away. Trump has ended it for good.

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  25. 25
    Yutsano says:

    @Mary G: What I find interesting here is that not too long ago Israel would have told Russia to just suck it and do whatever they wanted. Granted they would only d this because Uncle Sam would have backed them up. Now with the new regime it’s up to Bibi to decide what he wants to risk and where now that he doesn’t necessarily have the US behind him now. Israel might be re-thinking a lot of matters with an unreliable US ally.

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  26. 26
    Mike in NC says:

    Trump has both authoritarian and isolationist impulses, and Miller makes him worse. There’s no way, either, to get him to actually read the daily briefing put together by the Intelligence community. Eventually we’ll stumble into a new war.

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  27. 27
    TenguPhule says:

    @Villago Delenda Est:

    Russia, China, and Iran will fill the power vacuum as they see fit

    And of them all I’d only trust Iran not to do something incredibly stupid to its neighbors.

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  28. 28
    B.B.A. says:

    Wasn’t Netanyahu supposed to be indicted? Not that it fucking matters, his replacement is sure to be even more of a genocidal maniac…

    ReplyReply
  29. 29
    TenguPhule says:

    @Mike in NC:

    Eventually we’ll stumble into a new war.

    Given events in Syria, we may have already.

    ReplyReply
  30. 30
    Citizen Alan says:

    @🌎 🇺🇸 Goku (aka The Hope of the Universe) 🗳 🌷:

    Adam. This is pure fantasy, but would Putin be the kind of person who would fold like a cheap suit if confronted with a superpowered person? Meaning, if that person threatened Putin (and other leaders) with a display of power, would he tow the line?

    “Oh Superman where are you now?
    When everything’s gone wrong somehow!”

    ReplyReply
  31. 31
    Cacti says:

    @TenguPhule:

    Therefore the Israelis will make their own determinations about what to do, when to do it, and how to do it without concern for what the US may or may not want.

    So where was that veto authority with the USS Liberty and Jonathan Pollard?

    ReplyReply
  32. 32
    Adam L Silverman says:

    @TenguPhule: We have a link for this:
    http://preparedgunowners.com/2.....n-the-dck/

    ReplyReply
  33. 33
    Davebo says:

    @Adam L Silverman: Those Aussies are picky about work visas.

    ReplyReply
  34. 34

    @Citizen Alan:
    An eerily applicable song.

    ReplyReply
  35. 35
    Mathguy says:

    @Adam L Silverman: What depresses me about all of this is the conversation I would have with my 80 year old parents about this (assuming I was ever stupid enough to broach the subject), with them cheering the idiot’s every non move and letting the whole place burn, thinking that there would be no consequences for the US, because Fox and Rush told them so. Subtlety and nuance isn’t their thing, along with the other 62 million MAGAts.

    ReplyReply
  36. 36
    coin operated says:

    @Cacti:

    Which is different from the past 7-decades in what respect?

    This.

    ReplyReply
  37. 37
    Davebo says:

    @Adam L Silverman: Good Grief!

    They put way too much thought into this stuff.

    ReplyReply
  38. 38
    bystander says:

    That’s two feelgood threads of the year and it’s what? like February…

    ReplyReply
  39. 39
    PJ says:

    @TenguPhule: I only know what I read on the internets, but I get the impression that Russia will (or can) only invest in relatively low-budget operations, like the war in eastern Ukraine, or the cyberwar against NATO members, while China is mostly using business and financial aid to influence countries outside of their traditional sphere. China’s reputation/dignity is important to it, and Putin doesn’t want to look like a loser, but other than that, they aren’t risking a whole lot. Given the US’ abdication of influence in the region and globally, why not see what they can get for themselves out of the chaos?

    ReplyReply
  40. 40
    Cacti says:

    Bibi has always been ready to fight Iran down to the last American.

    ReplyReply
  41. 41
    Adam L Silverman says:

    @Cacti: Amazingly enough, we have actually restrained them before. It is part of the reason they did not attack Iran during the Obama Administration.

    ReplyReply
  42. 42
    Jager says:

    I just finished Martin Gilbert’s “Road to Victory” the book covers the period from December ’41 to the end of WWII in April of ’45. It’s an almost day by day account of Churchill, Roosevelt and Stalin’s interaction and communication during the war. While I read the book off and on over the last few weeks, I was struck by the amount of work, the long days, the meetings, the summits and the incredible amount of detailed thought and activity the Big Three put in over the period covered by the book. Not only did the leaders work their tails off, the diplomats, the civilian staff and the military staffs burned the candle at both ends. Roosevelt and Churchill were discussing the end game in early 1942, they were discussing how they would handle the demobilization and post war economy of the world long before victory was in sight. Reading this book while all the chaos is going on with trump and his administration has been a real eye opener. I can’t imagine, trump working from 7 in the morning until well past midnight 7 days a week for 4 years. Churchill and FDR exchanged thousands of detailed messages on every aspect of the war, in short they worked their asses off and still had the time to hire the “best people”. and more to the point they listened to them. After a late dinner and extended conversation one weekend with diplomatic folks and Ike and other military folks, Churchill took his “box” to bed, read and answered 148 telegrams, he finished at 4am. Wouldn’t happen with djt would it?

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  43. 43
    mai naem mobile says:

    This is the end result of 30 years of the GOP not wanting to pay the bills and Americans falling for their line of tax cut BS and stupid military adventures We would have more flexibility if we weren’t in so much debt to the Chinese. Reagan/Dubbya and Dolt45.
    OT, anybody read the McConnell/Chao offshore tax story in the Intercept. Wonder if Putin is holding something like that over McConnell’s head?

    ReplyReply
  44. 44
    Adam L Silverman says:

    @🌎 🇺🇸 Goku (aka The Hope of the Universe) 🗳 🌷: I honestly don’t know. Since no one has yet decided to/tried to pop him in the nose, so to speak, it is unclear how he would respond.

    ReplyReply
  45. 45
    Adam L Silverman says:

    @B.B.A.: Pretty much every member of his coalition is more extreme than he is.

    ReplyReply
  46. 46
    NotMax says:

    Welcome to the United States of Hruska.

    ReplyReply
  47. 47
    GregB says:

    @Adam L Silverman:

    The same thing during the first Gulf War when Saddam was lobbing scuds willy nilly at Israel.

    ReplyReply
  48. 48
    Nicole says:

    @🌎 🇺🇸 Goku (aka The Hope of the Universe) 🗳 🌷:

    This is pure fantasy, but would Putin be the kind of person who would fold like a cheap suit if confronted with a superpowered person?

    No. Putin is the real deal. I don’t mean that as a good thing.

    A history book I recorded some years ago (I freelance recording textbooks) discussed how geography and climate and topography of a land shapes the character of the people who live there. Russia has a very tough climate, and is surrounded by other nations that have invaded it over the centuries. America, on the other hand, has a relatively mild climate over quite a bit of its terrain and is quite isolated. Which one do you think will breed real strongmen and which will breed pretenders?

    And Russia’s really never not been autocratic. They went from the tsar to Stalin in less than a generation.

    ReplyReply
  49. 49
    japa21 says:

    The operation was called off when Prime Minister Netanyahu got an angry phone call from Russian President Vladimir Putin telling him to stand down as this operation would put Russian military assets and personnel in Syria at risk.

    Probably a stupid question (something I am well know for, specially in this realm) but I would assume Israel was being very secretive about its plans. Sounds like Putin had a good grasp on what was planned.

    So one of two things happened.

    1. Putin has his own people in the Israeli government.
    2. Israel approached Washington to keep them informed and someone (name probably rhymes with frump) cues in Putin.

    Oh, and the stupid question is, are either of these likely to be the case?

    ReplyReply
  50. 50
    Adam L Silverman says:

    @Davebo: My understanding was that it would have been handled should they have hired a non Aussie for the position.

    ReplyReply
  51. 51
    Adam L Silverman says:

    @Mathguy: I’m sorry.

    ReplyReply
  52. 52
    TenguPhule says:

    @Adam L Silverman: Or intervene in the first Gulf War.

    ReplyReply
  53. 53
    Roger Moore says:

    @TenguPhule:

    And of them all I’d only trust Iran not to do something incredibly stupid to its neighbors.

    It’s amazing how a large nuclear arsenal can convince leaders they are incapable of making mistakes.

    ReplyReply
  54. 54
    Adam L Silverman says:

    @japa21: No, Bergman goes on to describe that there is a hard wired, secure land line between IDF HQ in Tel Aviv and Russia’s Op Center in Syria to deconflict tactical operations. Apparently, that channel was used to deconflict and as soon as it was reported up to the national level Putin was informed, got on the phone, and told Bibi who was in charge.

    ReplyReply
  55. 55
    --bd says:

    At CNN.com – red banner headline – “Justice Ruth Bader Ginsburg”…(mind immediately races to OH F%CK!)…”speaks about her 25 years serving on the Supreme Court.” Goddamit, CNN!

    ReplyReply
  56. 56
    japa21 says:

    @Adam L Silverman: Thanks.

    ReplyReply
  57. 57
    Roger Moore says:

    @Adam L Silverman:

    Amazingly enough, we have actually restrained them before. It is part of the reason they did not attack Iran during the Obama Administration.

    I don’t think that was a result of us reasoning with them, though. They needed our help to strike Iran, so we had an effective veto by refusing to provide it. I doubt we would have been able to talk them down if they had wanted to attack a country that was closer.

    ReplyReply
  58. 58
    Mary G says:

    @Yutsano: They also remind me of a teenager testing his boundaries. The more Bibi gets away with the more he will do. It will distract from his corruption charges nicely if he’s fighting Iran/Syria/name the country.

    ReplyReply
  59. 59
    TenguPhule says:

    @Roger Moore:

    It’s amazing how a large nuclear arsenal can convince leaders they are incapable of making mistakes.

    Not only that, Iran AFAIK doesn’t have delusions of world domination. They’re realistic about their goals.

    ReplyReply
  60. 60
    piratedan says:

    makes me wonder quite a bit what the new world order will look like…

    I can see a bunch of areas that could get really tricky…

    Does Japan arm itself again since the US umbrella has essentially been left in the closet?
    How do India, Japan and South Korea feel about China?
    Do Russia and China still agree to keep a leery eye on each other?
    With the “failure” of western democracy, does China go the Putin route when the latest cadre die off?
    Does Israel go expansionist?
    Does Europe decide that they need to be a focused bloc or do they splinter?
    Do we see Australia, India, Iran take steps forward into the limelight or do France and Germany attempt to exert themselves in the waning days of America?
    If/when Trump goes, how do we rebuild what was lost? Is it even possible?

    ReplyReply
  61. 61
    🌎 🇺🇸 Goku (aka Baka Amerikahito) 🗳 🌷 says:

    @Nicole: Not even after being given a flight through the skies of Moscow by his lapels?

    “Listen, Vladie, this world is mine now and you’re going to stop trying to destroy it or I’m going to drop you, capiche?”

    ReplyReply
  62. 62
    Yutsano says:

    @Roger Moore:

    They needed our help to strike Iran, so we had an effective veto by refusing to provide it.

    That’s always been our biggest chip over them. Other than the actions against the Arab armies, for Israel to go to anything larger requires them to have their big brother America behind them. It was a tool all past Presidents used on them. The fact that Bibi went to Uncle Vlad is a very serious sea change and one that will hurt our interests there for a long time to come.

    ReplyReply
  63. 63
    oldster says:

    Great. Just f-ing Great.

    Instead of Making America Great Again, Trump has made us into the Hermit Kingdom.

    ReplyReply
  64. 64
    TenguPhule says:

    @piratedan:

    Does Israel go expansionist?

    No. They’re not completely insane.

    ReplyReply
  65. 65
    gene108 says:

    @Mathguy:

    Subtlety and nuance isn’t their thing, along with the other 62 million MAGAts.

    Subtlety and nuance are for sissies and losers and not red blooded American men. / Every Trump supporter

    ReplyReply
  66. 66
    TenguPhule says:

    @oldster:

    Trump has made us into the Hermit Kingdom.

    Gnome kingdom. Small enough to drown in a bathtub.

    ReplyReply
  67. 67
    TenguPhule says:

    @japa21:

    Oh, and the stupid question is, are either of these likely to be the case?

    Smart money is on both.

    ReplyReply
  68. 68
    Waratah says:

    @Adam L Silverman: Keep trying you will love Australia. Even if you will be in the outback you will have time off for fun.

    ReplyReply
  69. 69
    Yutsano says:

    @TenguPhule: You don’t think they’d make a play for Judea and Samaria and take big chunks out of Syria and Jordan if they could?

    ReplyReply
  70. 70
    TenguPhule says:

    @Yutsano:

    You don’t think they’d make a play for Judea and Samaria and take big chunks out of Syria and Jordan if they could?

    Their current logistics won’t support it. They’ve seen what happens when you can’t control the region, you get a bad case of ISIS infestation. They want client states and allies, not more headaches.

    ReplyReply
  71. 71
    TenguPhule says:

    @Waratah:

    Keep trying you will love Australia.

    Where everything is trying to kill you. Except for some of the sheep.

    ReplyReply
  72. 72
    Adam L Silverman says:

    @japa21: De nada. I’m sorry we couldn’t get the video to embed. So you could see the whole four minutes or so.

    Alain spent almost a half hour trying to work behind the scenes to get the video to embed. Apparently MSNBC is using a non secure code, so WP won’t accept it. Nothing he can do.

    ReplyReply
  73. 73
    debbie says:

    Aaron David Miller was interviewed on NPR this morning and was appalled that Tillerson’s current trip to the Mideast won’t include a stop in Israel.

    ReplyReply
  74. 74
    🌎 🇺🇸 Goku (aka The Hope of the Universe) 🗳 🌷 says:

    Hey, Adam, could you do me a solid and get the new nym out of moderation? Thanks.

    ReplyReply
  75. 75
    Mike J says:

    Trump wants the US to have all the perqs and respect of a superpower and none of the responsibilities. It’s the way Trump does everything.

    ReplyReply
  76. 76
    Adam L Silverman says:

    @Roger Moore: Most likely.

    ReplyReply
  77. 77
    Adam L Silverman says:

    @piratedan: No way to go back. Only option is through.

    ReplyReply
  78. 78
    TenguPhule says:

    @TenguPhule: Sorry, thought you were talking about Iran.

    Israel doesn’t have the manpower or support structure to support military expansion. And starting a war for territory would be a non-starter for obvious reasons.

    ReplyReply
  79. 79
    TenguPhule says:

    @Adam L Silverman:

    Only option is through.

    With a rubber drill named Pence.

    I want a do-over.

    ReplyReply
  80. 80
    Adam L Silverman says:

    @Waratah: You didn’t need to convince me. I was a very good fit for part of the job description, but not as good a fit for another significant part. It was worth taking the time to apply for.

    ReplyReply
  81. 81
    laura says:

    President Bumblefuck, simultaneously withdrawing from the world stage, statesmanship and engagement all the while dand in we build up our military. The stupid party seems fine with that so long as billionaires can light their cigars with our future.
    All because a black man had the nerve to be twice elected, thus enflaming white, “christian” Americans.
    Well played economically uncertain americans of this once great nation. Well played.

    ReplyReply
  82. 82
    Adam L Silverman says:

    @TenguPhule: I’m from Florida. Everything here – the old people, the snow birds, the wildlife, the tourists, the transplants, the other natives – are all trying to kill me.

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  83. 83
    kattails says:

    When the Orange Monster came out about wanting his military parade a few days back, retired Major General Paul Eaton came out vehemently against the idea. It reminded me of seeing this gentleman several years ago, during Hillary’s first primary campaign. He was going around the country on his own (near as I could tell, not a campaign staffer) to promote her as the candidate most thoroughly familiar with the complexities of the mideast situation. He spoke at the local library with only 5 people in attendance– should have been 50 or more. He was harsh in his criticism of the Bush admin and their handling of the issues. Would love to hear his current take.

    And now your post, Adam, thanks, but damn. It made me hang my head and cry with shame at the miserable state we’ve been dragged into and the vision that has been lost. I was born in 1951 and this is not the country I grew up in. For the stuff we’ve thankfully moved on from, like horrible ethnic jokes, is this the price we have to pay? To forfeit any sense of national responsibility and dedication to a decent world order? That doesn’t make any sense. Sorry, sorry, I’ll pull myself around.

    ReplyReply
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  85. 85
    Humdog says:

    How many think tanks figured this is how the American ‘Century’ ends? Many would have guessed a return to isolationism, but a simple abdication? Stunning.

    ReplyReply
  86. 86
    Niles says:

    After the 8-year debacle that included turning Libya into a failed state like Somalia, installing the Muslim Brotherhood in Egypt, secretly supplying the Syrian rebels who became ISIS and allowing Iran to develop nukes, nobody on the left should be saying diddley-squat.

    ReplyReply
  87. 87
    Brachiator says:

    Bergman also reported that when the Israelis went to the US and asked for them to get involved the American responses were a combination of less than reassuring to non responsive. As a result the Israelis, specifically Netanyahu, have concluded that the US is now disinterested and not willing to be engaged at the national and regional strategic level. Therefore the Israelis will make their own determinations about what to do, when to do it, and how to do it without concern for what the US may or may not want.

    Seems to me that Sheldon Adelson and friends are no longer getting their money’s worth by supporting the GOP if they expect to see the continuation of a strong pro-Israel policy.

    ReplyReply
  88. 88
    Jay says:

    @TenguPhule:

    Some of them are.

    I’m rereading Catastrophy again.

    I am always struck how in the aftermath of the Austro-Prussian War, and the Balkan Wars, the AustroHungarian Empire believed that “colonizing” the Balkans was the key to the AustroHungarian Empires “future”.

    This was a deeply corrupt Empire, in which the Hungarian side was in a defacto “war” against Austrian primacy, that had a fantasy belief in it’s military prowess, illusions about the effectiveness of “military” solutions, and relied on incredible brutality to keep the dozens of minority populations subdued.

    And they thought that the “solution” to their economic and political future was to partition Serbia, conquour most of the Balkans, adding tens of millions of new hostile minorities, which would have to be brutally supressed, to their Empire.

    ReplyReply
  89. 89
    Cheryl Rofer says:

    Let me look at this from a slightly different viewpoint. I don’t disagree with any of the facts in Adam’s post, and Bergmann is a good reporter. I’ll add a few more facts.

    Israel is sliding into an apartheid theocracy. The United States hasn’t been able to stop that.

    Syria is a mess that will take decades to rebuild. Putin is attached to Assad at the hip. So is Iran.

    Iran and Saudi Arabia are fighting proxy wars in Syria and Yemen. Russia would like to sell nuclear reactors to KSA, possibly to Iran, although previous dealings in that area have gone badly. A deal with Turkey on a couple of nuclear reactors just fell through. Saudi Arabia and Russia have always been at odds over oil sales.

    It does indeed look like Russia is taking over the US role in the Middle East: dealing with clients who won’t listen, stumbling through relationships with both sides of wars, getting young men killed. And that last is very unpopular at home. Graves are unmarked and there are no or minimal observances for the families.

    Is it sustainable? Hard to say. Afghanistan was one of the proximate causes of the breakup of the Soviet Union. But the US sustained a messy and conflicting role, with even more casualties, for a long time. So I won’t make any predictions.

    Is it a bad thing for the US just to stop participating in difficult areas? Yes. As Adam says, it’s likely to lead to even more fighting, like between the Palestinians and Israelis, although it will be to Russia’s benefit to damp things like that down if they can.

    What are Russia’s goals for the area? Hard to say. They want Assad as an ally for his Mediterranean ports, and Iran not to provoke trouble on Russia’s southern border. That would include continuing to observe the nuclear deal so Iran doesn’t get nuclear weapons. I tend to doubt that Russia has further goals outside of extending its influence. Insofar as that includes religious conservatism, there may be commonalities with Iran’s mullahs and Israel’s haredim, but that sounds potentially like a pretty contentious partnership.

    Can the US get things back together again after Trump, assuming we get a competent president who reconstructs the State Department? I think so. The US is still the economically and militarily strongest nation in the world. Even if we had stayed involved to the same degree, there would have to have been changes.

    We are leaving some troops (20,000, I think?) in Syria. That’s not enough to do much good, but enough to get us into trouble. The Trumpies haven’t thought that out. It’s probably their way of staying in the game even though they don’t have a strategy. The possibility of conflict with Russia via those troops worries me.

    ReplyReply
  90. 90
    Roger Moore says:

    @TenguPhule:

    Not only that, Iran AFAIK doesn’t have delusions of world domination. They’re realistic about their goals.

    I don’t think those are separate issues. I don’t know to what extent having nukes encourages a desire for global domination and how much a desire for global domination encourages acquisition of nukes, but there’s a relationship there.

    ReplyReply
  91. 91
    🌎 🇺🇸 Goku (aka Baka Amerikahito) 🗳 🌷 says:

    @Adam L Silverman:

    It was worth taking the time to apply for.

    It usually always is for a job.

    ReplyReply
  92. 92

    @TenguPhule:
    Bibi wants genocide, the wiping out of every Arab and Muslim. He views them as inherently evil and existential enemies of the Jewish people. His policies have all been pushing as far towards that as he thinks he can get away with.

    Trust me. I have known too many Jews for whom this is all obviously true and necessary. I have known too many Jews who are on the liberal side who worry this might be how the world works in practical terms, even if they don’t buy the inherent evil part. I had it fed to me for decades.

    ReplyReply
  93. 93
    Adam L Silverman says:

    @kattails: MG Eaton is very, very sharp. He, LTG Hertzler (who was 1AD Commander when I was assigned to the 2BCT/1AD), and a number of other retirees (GEN Dempsey) have been quite vocal about opposing this stuff.

    Every contact I have in the military does not want, in any way, shape, or form a parade. And the do not want is a combination of waste of resources, sends the wrong symbol to authoritarians, absolutely stupid idea.

    ReplyReply
  94. 94
    PJ says:

    @Niles: For some reason, I thought Fancy Bear would be more subtle with their spoof accounts.

    ReplyReply
  95. 95
    NotMax says:

    Have seen scattered mention of Russian personnel in close proximity to the Golan Heights. Adam, any comment on that? Don’t believe even Assad is reckless enough to open another active front there, for the time being, more that it’s a calculated disincentive intended to temper Netanyahu’s knee jerk hawkishness.

    ReplyReply
  96. 96
    Pete Downunder says:

    @Adam L Silverman:
    “[Australia] has more things that will kill you than anywhere else. Of the world’s ten most poisonous snakes, all are Australian. Five of its creatures – the funnel web spider, box jellyfish, blue-ringed octopus, paralysis tick, and stonefish – are the most lethal of their type in the world. This is a country where even the fluffiest of caterpillars can lay you out with a toxic nip, where seashells will not just sting you but actually sometimes go for you. … If you are not stung or pronged to death in some unexpected manner, you may be fatally chomped by sharks or crocodiles, or carried helplessly out to sea by irresistible currents, or left to stagger to an unhappy death in the baking outback. It’s a tough place.”
    ― Bill Bryson, In a Sunburned Country

    That said it’s a great place. One way to get a visa is to marry an Aussie. Worked for me.

    ReplyReply
  97. 97
    zhena gogolia says:

    @–bd:

    That happened to me in the lobby of a hotel in DC last weekend.

    ReplyReply
  98. 98
    Adam L Silverman says:

    @kattails: As to your second paragraph: there has never been a period of time in the US where progress was made that wasn’t met by an immediate pushback – successful or not. The difference is this is 2017, not 1951 or 1964 or even 1981. I have been pleasantly surprised with the civil society response to what has been going on for the past 12 and a 1/2 months. There are going to be losses and let downs along the way. For instance, it is unlikely we’re going to get a DACA fix. And that’s unfortunate and terrible and bad. But the line will be held against shredding the US immigration system and going back to the immigration laws of the 1920s. Until/unless the Democrats retake the majorities in the House and the Senate, and as many state legislatures and as many governor’s mansions as possible too, holding the line is what has to be done.

    ReplyReply
  99. 99
    NotMax says:

    @Niles

    Past time to lay off the Tide pods.

    ReplyReply
  100. 100
    Jim, Foolish Literalist says:

    @Cheryl Rofer: aren’t there significant risks of blowback for Putin, too? I think Chechnya is one of ISIS’s prime recruiting grounds?

    ReplyReply
  101. 101
    GregB says:

    @Adam L Silverman:

    Winning!

    P.S. Jared is a miracle worker. Peace has broken out all over the region.

    ReplyReply
  102. 102
    Mandalay says:

    @Cheryl Rofer:

    Israel is sliding into an apartheid theocracy. The United States hasn’t been able to stop that.

    The United States hasn’t even tried. For all the comments on this thread about recent events, the Administration remains absurdly supportive of Israel, and even more fiercely against the Palestinians.

    ReplyReply
  103. 103
    Brachiator says:

    @Cheryl Rofer:

    Can the US get things back together again after Trump, assuming we get a competent president who reconstructs the State Department? I think so. The US is still the economically and militarily strongest nation in the world. Even if we had stayed involved to the same degree, there would have to have been changes.

    One of the guests on a recent Phileas Club podcast made the following points about China.

    China is the number 2 economy in the world.
    About 60 percent of the world’s population is in Asian countries
    China is building a new Silk Road (including ocean lanes) from China to Africa
    China perceives that the US has been in slow decline since the Bush years

    Russia will be a regional power, but not a global superpower

    Neither the US nor Europe is necessary to China’s long term ambitions

    ReplyReply
  104. 104
    Mandalay says:

    @Cheryl Rofer:

    Israel is sliding into an apartheid theocracy. The United States hasn’t been able to stop that.

    The United States hasn’t even tried. For all the comments on this thread about recent events, the Administration remains absurdly supportive of Israel, and even more fiercely against the Palestinians.

    ReplyReply
  105. 105
    🌎 🇺🇸 Goku (aka Baka Amerikahito) 🗳 🌷 says:

    @Adam L Silverman:
    This seems monumentally stupid on Palestine’s part. Trump won’t be President forever.

    ReplyReply
  106. 106
    Adam L Silverman says:

    @Cheryl Rofer: We have, based on news reporting, 2,000 troops in Syria doing train, advise, and assist.

    Bergman was clear in the article that Putin’s goals in the region are not that Russia replace the US, rather it is Russia gets what it wants/needs while being the strongest power involved in the region.

    ReplyReply
  107. 107
    Brachiator says:

    @Adam L Silverman:

    Russian President Vladimir Putin told Palestinian leader Mahmoud Abbas that Trump had authorized the Russian leader to speak on his behalf

    OK. I am stunned.

    Is any of this getting covered in US media? Was the release of immigration and budget plans intended to distract from what has been happening in Syria?

    I haven’t seen such capitulation since Charles II secretly sold out English interests to France.

    ReplyReply
  108. 108
    Adam L Silverman says:

    @NotMax: All I’ve seen is that the Russians are in proximity to where the Israelis were targeting at the end of last week. Of course the Russians are also claiming they pulled out almost all their actual military. Hence the reporter of Russian contractor deaths I linked to yesterday.

    ReplyReply
  109. 109
    The Thin Black Duke says:

    @Brachiator: So, by putting Trump into the White House, Putin handed the keys of global domination to China. Maybe Putin isn’t as smart as he thinks he is, huh?

    ReplyReply
  110. 110
    Cheryl Rofer says:

    @Jim, Foolish Literalist: One of Putin’s biggest fears is that Russia will spin apart as the Soviet Union did. It contains many languages, many religions, many viewpoints on nationalism. Chechnya is one of the more vocal regions about independence, and yes, Chechens are represented on both sides in Syria. The return of the dead is another sore point. There are not enough to spark the same sort of resistance that Afghanistan did, but it is one more factor.

    A presence in the Middle East will not be without cost for Russia. Whether that cost will be too much remains to be seen.

    ReplyReply
  111. 111
    Adam L Silverman says:

    @Pete Downunder: Let me know when they are all concealed carrying and are legally allowed to stand their ground where stand your ground is written to an astoundingly stupid standard of subjective fear.

    ReplyReply
  112. 112
    Jay says:

    @Jim, Foolish Literalist:

    The Chechen Diaspora is a big recruiting ground for ISIS, also the SFA, also the Ukraine Militia’s.

    Chechnia, not so much.

    ReplyReply
  113. 113
    Adam L Silverman says:

    @Pete Downunder: More seriously: I am aware of the reality.

    I was quite interested in the job. Partially because of what the job was and partially because of where the job was. I did not get it. It is what it is.

    ReplyReply
  114. 114
    Adam L Silverman says:

    @GregB: @🌎 🇺🇸 Goku (aka Baka Amerikahito) 🗳 🌷: @Brachiator: Actually I pulled that comment. When I read the article it didn’t line up with the tweet.

    ReplyReply
  115. 115
    Cheryl Rofer says:

    @Mandalay:

    the Administration remains absurdly supportive of Israel, and even more fiercely against the Palestinians.

    I agree that recent US administrations have not done as much as they might have to move Israel in another direction. But when I look at the rise of the rightwing conservative religious there, I wonder if a more active stand would have made a difference.

    ReplyReply
  116. 116
    Cheryl Rofer says:

    @Adam L Silverman: Thanks. I thought 20,000 sounded like too many. Unfortunately, my comments about their danger still stand.

    ReplyReply
  117. 117
    Adam L Silverman says:

    @Jim, Foolish Literalist: The paradox of ISIS and the Syrian Civil War is that their are Chechens fighting on both sides. 2,000 hardened Chechen Islamic extremists travelled to the caliphate in 2014 and became the ISIS shock troops. Far more experienced fighters than most of what ISIS had at the time. Then Putin had his ally Kadyrov send a bunch of Chechens to fight alongside the Russian military in Syria against ISIS.

    ReplyReply
  118. 118

    @piratedan: India has had one open shooting war with China in 1962, in which India lost badly, plus there have been border skirmishes. India is wary and has been wary of China’s territorial ambitions.

    ReplyReply
  119. 119
    Mary G says:

    @Adam L Silverman: I worry about a young child, pretty woman, old lady, whatever, armed with a suicide vest getting past security and blowing a good number of those troops up. When you can’t tell the players because there’s no program, it happens.

    Then I worry about the nutjobs who will want to crack down even more on our civil liberties using it as an excuse, and crying for Twitler to use a small nuke in the desert somewhere just to teach somebody a lesson, which will kill throngs of innocent poor people, whose relatives will become dedicated to revenge terrorism for generations, and on and on.

    ReplyReply
  120. 120
    Mnemosyne says:

    @Frankensteinbeck:

    The (few) Jewish Trump voters I know of are all people who want to start a genocidal war against Muslims, and think that Trump will give it to them.

    I really, really hope they’re wrong.

    ReplyReply
  121. 121
    PPCLI says:

    This is the true Trump Doctrine: I will be treated fairly or else. And only I, President Trump, can ensure that America will be treated fairly or else.

    True, but only in the sense that when a four-year old says “it’s not fair!!!” they mean “you didn’t give me everything I want.”
    Trump has no interest in, or conception of fairness. He wants everyone to give him all their stuff, and when they don’t, it’s a horrible affront.

    ReplyReply
  122. 122
    Adam L Silverman says:

    @Cheryl Rofer: No argument there.

    ReplyReply
  123. 123
    TenguPhule says:

    @Adam L Silverman:

    I’m from Florida. Everything here – the old people, the snow birds, the wildlife, the tourists, the transplants, the other natives – are all trying to kill me.

    Australia is worse.

    ReplyReply
  124. 124
    debbie says:

    @Mnemosyne:

    My family members who voted for Trump very definitely do not want that.

    ReplyReply
  125. 125
    Adam L Silverman says:

    @Mary G: These are Special Operations Forces. Embedded with the Syrian Kurds and some Syrian Arabs they’re training. Part of the way this works is the locals you’re working with can tell the players apart. So they contribute to the security that way. Our SOF bubbas are very good at doing this type of work. Does it mean that something couldn’t happen? No.

    ReplyReply
  126. 126
  127. 127
    TenguPhule says:

    @Mandalay:

    the Administration remains absurdly supportive of Israel, and even more fiercely against the Palestinians.

    To be fair, the Palestinians worst enemy has consistently been themselves.

    ReplyReply
  128. 128
    Adam L Silverman says:

    @PPCLI: Correct.

    ReplyReply
  129. 129
    debbie says:

    @Adam L Silverman:

    I love that “provoker” is now considered a positive.

    ReplyReply
  130. 130
    Adam L Silverman says:

    @debbie: It may be the nicest thing one can say about the Rage Furby.

    ReplyReply
  131. 131
    Brachiator says:

    @The Thin Black Duke: Putin is first among competing oligarchs, but China has a stronger central government, and is better at controlling local leaders and oligarchs. Some think that this gives China a clear advantage.

    ReplyReply
  132. 132
    TenguPhule says:

    @Brachiator:

    Some think that this gives China a clear advantage.

    China’s problem is that they’re arrogant AF and have a real sore spot about their military losses to other nations in the past.

    Not a good combination to be cruising in the Southern China Sea.

    ReplyReply
  133. 133
    Mnemosyne says:

    @debbie:

    Then why did they vote for Trump? I honestly don’t know any Jewish person who voted for Trump who isn’t Islamophobic, so I’d be curious to know how they reconciled being Jewish and voting for an anti-Semite.

    (Note: I am not Jewish, but I have friends and relatives-by-marriage who are.)

    ReplyReply
  134. 134
    Mandalay says:

    @TenguPhule:

    To be fair, the Palestinians worst enemy has consistently been themselves.

    A cute sound bite which is as ignorant as it is wrong. Take a look at these numbers and then explain to us how the worst enemy of the Palestinians is the Palestinians, not the Israelis.

    ReplyReply
  135. 135
    TenguPhule says:

    @Mandalay:

    Take a look at these numbers and then explain to us how the worst enemy of the Palestinians is the Palestinians, not the Israelis.

    The Palestinians helped put into positions of power the worst features of the Israeli hard right and shit their own international reputation into shreds so that nobody is willing to risk any international credibility on their cause any more, they’ve become an excuse that can and will be thrown away by the other national players once their usefulness as cats paws is over.

    I stand by my words.

    ReplyReply
  136. 136
    Ohio Mom says:

    @Mnemosyne: As I’ve mentioned many times before, I’m Jewish, and although I try not to have anything to do with them, I do know my share of Jewish Trump supporters.

    I don’t think I would say they are afraid of, or out to get all Muslims; nobody cares that there is a mosque on the Cincinnati suburbs, or that there are Muslims all over the world, in countries most us are only dimly aware of (we’re Americans after all, geography isn’t our strong suit).

    But Palestinians, oh boy, them they abhor. In fact, I know plenty of otherwise liberal Jews who have nothing but distain for Palestinians.

    Once an acquaintance asked what it would take to make me join a synagogue. I said l’d like to join one that observed Rachel Cory’s yartzeit. She laughed and agreed I was never going to find a congregation that suited me.

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  137. 137
    Matt McIrvin says:

    @TenguPhule: I see a lot of Americans who to this day assume that if Iran ever gets a nuclear weapon, they will immediately commit mass suicide by nuking Israel. It’s an article of faith.

    ReplyReply
  138. 138
    Adam L Silverman says:

    @Matt McIrvin: On the part of the delusional Americans, not the Iranians.

    ReplyReply
  139. 139
    LosGatosCA says:

    Therefore the Israelis will make their own determinations about what to do, when to do it, and how to do it without concern for what the US may or may not want.

    I’m thinking this has been common knowledge since the Suez Crisis.

    Not to mention the spy ship they bombed in the six day war.

    ReplyReply
  140. 140
    Matt McIrvin says:

    @Adam L Silverman:

    I have been pleasantly surprised with the civil society response to what has been going on for the past 12 and a 1/2 months.

    The left and center have been generally doing well… but the right is actually radicalizing. Republicans are committed to Trumpism in a way that they weren’t a year ago. Trump’s approval numbers are rising, largely because of that.

    My concern is that ultimately we can’t live in the same country. That maybe 40% of the US population are gradually transforming themselves into monsters, and that at some point down the line, maybe in an even more fascist administration after Trump, they’ll get around to killing the rest of us in earnest. (And the rest of the world will see the flood of American refugees, consider our past behavior and national character, and quite justifiably say, nope.)

    ReplyReply
  141. 141
    eemom says:

    @TenguPhule:

    You have my considerable respect for being one of the few commenters on this blog who doesn’t devolve into knee jerk Israel bashing on threads like this one.

    @Mnemosyne:

    The (few) Jewish Trump voters I know of are all people who want to start a genocidal war against Muslims, and think that Trump will give it to them.

    Wouldn’t bother to argue with this as phrased — the Jewish Trump voters YOU KNOW — but your subsequent comments make it clear that, per your usual MO, what you really have in mind is arguing for non sequitors that make no sense:

    Then why did they vote for Trump? I honestly don’t know any Jewish person who voted for Trump who isn’t Islamophobic, so I’d be curious to know how they reconciled being Jewish and voting for an anti-Semite.

    ReplyReply
  142. 142
    debbie says:

    @Mnemosyne:

    Tax cuts.

    ReplyReply
  143. 143
    Adam L Silverman says:

    @Matt McIrvin:

    and that at some point down the line, maybe in an even more fascist administration after Trump, they’ll get around to killing the rest of us in earnest.

    They can try. They won’t like the response.

    ReplyReply
  144. 144
    Barry says:

    @TenguPhule: “Well now we know who wears the big boy pants in this relationship.”

    I think that Israel hasn’t had to fight anybody who could fight back for pushing 40(?) years now. I don’t think that they’d have the stomach for a real fight with real *Israeli* casualties.

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  145. 145
    debbie says:

    @debbie:

    Also, while they do support Israel, they also support two states. Not having spoken to them, I don’t know what they’re thinking about moving the embassy to Jerusalem.

    ReplyReply
  146. 146
    SiubhanDuinne says:

    @Pete Downunder:

    ― Bill Bryson, In a Sunburned Country

    I have the great majority of Bryson’s books on my iPad Kindle app — he’s always enjoyable and usually informative, and I love being able to just dip in and read a few pages or a chapter any time I wish — but for some reason I never downloaded this one (though I read it years ago in dead tree). Must remedy that omission.

    ReplyReply
  147. 147
    Mandalay says:

    @TenguPhule:

    The Palestinians helped put into positions of power the worst features of the Israeli hard right and shit their own international reputation into shreds so that nobody is willing to risk any international credibility on their cause any more

    The exact opposite is true. World wide support for the Palestinian cause is growing over time, not decreasing, particularly in Europe. Perhaps you are seeing things through a US prism where the strength of support for Israel from politicians has soared over the past 25 years to the extent that it is close to impossible to get elected to Congress if you support the Palestinian cause.

    ReplyReply
  148. 148
    El Caganer says:

    @Barry: Hezbollah gave them a handful in 2006, although I think Israel could have prevailed if the stakes had been higher.

    ReplyReply
  149. 149
    Jay says:

    @PPCLI:

    Does PPCLI = Princess Patricia’s Canadian Light Infantry?

    ReplyReply
  150. 150
    WaterGirl says:

    Adam, did you delete a comment of yours? Because there were a couple of replies that quoted something you had apparently said, but the links don’t work and a search for a phrase in both quotes came back with nothing.

    ReplyReply
  151. 151
    Adam L Silverman says:

    @WaterGirl: Yes I did. When I read the actual article at Haaretz it did not reflect the hyperbolic language in the tweet. I did put a comment to that effect in response to those three or four comments.

    ReplyReply
  152. 152
    Brachiator says:

    @TenguPhule:

    China’s problem is that they’re arrogant AF and have a real sore spot about their military losses to other nations in the past.

    One person’s arrogance is another person’s confidence.

    The sore spot with respect to past losses or even conflict with other nations could be a problem. There are news stories about India and China waging a proxy war in the Maldives. China wants to flex its muscle.

    I don’t see anyone, not even the US, seriously challenging China in the South China Sea..Not because we couldn’t; we just don’t have any interest there worth fighting over.

    ReplyReply
  153. 153
    Another Scott says:

    @Cheryl Rofer: Well said. I have a similar view.

    Reuters – Obama December 2016 press conference:

    “Unless we were all in and willing to take over Syria, we were going to have problems,” Obama told a news conference, noting that it would have required “putting large numbers of U.S. troops on the ground, uninvited, without any international law mandate.”

    Yup. He was right.

    Putin’s going to find the same problems. But he may not care as long as Assad stays in power and the Russian military has its naval port and air bases. He’ll let Assad’s military, his allies, and the jihadists duke it out for the next 50 years as long as they leave the Russian bases alone.

    Maybe.

    It’s a mess, and is going to remain one as long as the big regional powers think that fighting is the best approach (keeps the domestic rubes distracted, among other things), and as long as the UN and similar organizations have no interest in trying to end the fighting.

    Cheers,
    Scott.

    ReplyReply
  154. 154
    Mike in DC says:

    @Brachiator:
    Nature abhors a vaccuum. To the extent China’s moves are seen as aggressive and threatening, other countries in the region will tend to gravitate towards supporting each other in an attempt to contain such aggression. Japan and Vietnam, e.g., may have a rapprochement with regard to the SCS.

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  155. 155
    WaterGirl says:

    @Adam L Silverman: I particularly noticed it in #107 and a comment shortly after that. I didn’t see the comment you added – I bet you did that in response to people I have pied. Otherwise it would have been clear. thanks.

    ReplyReply
  156. 156
    Adam L Silverman says:

    @WaterGirl: No worries. Check out comment 114 to be precise.

    ReplyReply
  157. 157
    Ken B says:

    @TenguPhule:
    SOME of the sheep?

    ReplyReply
  158. 158
    WaterGirl says:

    @Adam L Silverman: I don’t have either of them pied, so your explanation of the pulled comment was right in front of me and I missed it. Time for bed!

    ReplyReply
  159. 159
    TenguPhule says:

    @eemom: I had friends in Israel. This is personal.

    ReplyReply
  160. 160
    TenguPhule says:

    @Mandalay:

    World wide support for the Palestinian cause is growing over time, not decreasing, particularly in Europe.

    Only among the fringe groups. Actual Governments do not actually give a shit anymore, its all lip service now.

    Palestinians blew up their chances when they launched the campaign of suicide bombings and kept right on going into complete monsters. Yeah, the international community still reflexively abhors Israel and the current rightwing regime breaking it, but they like the Palestinians at this point no better.
    Only the opportunity to use the Palestinians as a tool is what keeps the other Mideast powers nominally on their side.

    But if push comes to shove, the Sunni regimes would dump the Palestinians like garbage if the alternative is Iran ascendant.

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  161. 161
    burnspbesq says:

    @Frankensteinbeck:

    Bibi wants genocide, the wiping out of every Arab and Muslim. He views them as inherently evil and existential enemies of the Jewish people.

    It’s at least partially personal. It’s worth remembering that the only Israeli fatality at Entebbe was Bibi’s brother. Bibi was excused from going on the raid because of Israeli Army policy of not putting brothers in harm’s way on a single mission. Make of that what you will.

    ReplyReply
  162. 162
    Ksmiami says:

    @Frankensteinbeck: then the Israel experiment needs to be shut down. If you become a Nazi maybe your cause isn’t worth it…

    ReplyReply
  163. 163
    Brachiator says:

    @Adam L Silverman:

    Actually I pulled that comment. When I read the article it didn’t line up with the tweet.

    Noted.

    Thank you.

    ReplyReply
  164. 164
  165. 165
    eemom says:

    @Ksmiami:

    And right on cue, in the darkness of a dead thread, the uncloaked antiSemitism emerges from the woodwork like the cockroach it is.

    ReplyReply
  166. 166
    Jack the Second says:

    @🌎 🇺🇸 Goku (aka Baka Amerikahito) 🗳 🌷:
    I think if a physical god descended on the world and issued his first commandment, “Thou shalt not wage war, anyone commanding another to kill shall be killed in turn”, I don’t think she could get away with out following through at least twice, once on the leader of a powerful country, to show both willingness to follow through and that no one is above their reach, and once on a small-time warlord, to show no one is under his radar.

    It could take two bigwigs, one from the axis of evil and one from a “good” country, to show they’ll brook no justifications.

    ReplyReply
  167. 167
    J R in WV says:

    @🌎 🇺🇸 Goku (aka The Hope of the Universe) 🗳 🌷:

    Grammar pedant here. Where you say “would he tow the line?” The proper word is toe, as in stepping up to a line one is expected to stand with one’s toes on, as in to start a race or stand at attention in a formation. Towing a line is something horses on canal paths did.

    ReplyReply
  168. 168
    J R in WV says:

    @Niles:

    Russian-Troll, you speak better American than most Russian trolls. Congratulations on your language skills, too bad they don’t appear to apply to your international relations, geo-political skills. Idiot.

    ReplyReply
  169. 169
    Mom Says I*m Handsome says:

    [pedantry]

    “disinterested” = neutral
    “uninterested” = uninterested

    [/pedantry]

    ReplyReply

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