Wednesday, September 11, 2013

A win for Obama...?

Looks like it.

After bringing this country to the brink of a Dubya-sized disaster, our president now gets to gloat and smirk and smirk and gloat. Well, let him. And if his die-hard admirers do some smirking and gloating of their own, fine. All that matters, at least in the very short run, is that we are not "saving" Syrians by dropping bombs on them.

I agree with Joan Walsh:
For so many pundits, it seems, the surprise Russian diplomacy that postponed the president’s planned use of force has to be explained by one thing or the other – it was either Obama’s threat of force, or else citizen antiwar outrage; the president’s brilliant 11th dimensional chess diplomacy (to diehard Obama zealots) or his typical Keystone Kops bungling (to Obama haters). We won’t know the truth for many years, but whatever the cause, the pause in the momentum toward a military conflict is welcome.

Personally I think one of the most important factors in the surprising events of the last few days was the president going to Congress. Since antiwar public opinion forced the president to do that, I give a lot of credit to antiwar public opinion. And since it was the president who decided to go to Congress, when he believes he didn’t have to, I give him credit, too. I guess it’s clear I think the search for credit and blame is useless right now, as well as divisive.
Blessedly, Obama didn't make any reference to the anniversary of you-know-what. This was not the time to play that card.

The key factor mentioned by Walsh is that bit about going to Congress. A Republican neo-con would have simply flung bombs (no doubt to resounding media applause). There's a good argument to be made for the idea that Obama was being pushed toward a war he did not want. Going to Congress was his way of stalling for time.

Obama must have understood that an "unbelievably small" military strike against Syria could have spiraled into a horrifying war. I honestly do not believe he wanted that outcome. So the question is: Who can push a president into an unwanted war?

I like what this blogger (previously unknown to me) has to say:
As the daughter of a cold war warrior — I never would have imagined in my wildest dreams that I would be hoping and rooting for a Russian despot to out maneuver a USA despot — and I never thought Americans would ever elect despot Presidents. I was raised to believe that everything about the USSR was evil — and there was a whole lot of evidence — the gulags, imprisoning political prisoners, spying on all citizens etc etc.

Yet with Assad’s willingness to say — yes he could give up his chemical weapons — and Russia ready to assist — lives may have been saved.

It is ironic that the Syrian rebels are against the deal — as is Israel’s leaders.

The points go to Putin — 0bama — it’s still a wait and see.
S Brennan

Good news, perhaps...Obama's 3rd major war might be averted. Apparently, Vladimir Putin threw our naked emperor a fig leaf to wear. Reporters at the scene report; that although the scene was comical...nobody was laughing.
Not sure it's a win politically speaking. There are articles left and right (emphasis on left) that are denigrating his 15 minute speech and his case for his war stance. LA Times, The Atlantic, even the Post was putting down his larger outlook.

But we'll let the Hopium huffers crow in lieu of any eminent bombing...

I'm in the 'I don't care who put the brakes on this.' I'm just relieved POTUS stepped back. He surprised me when he went to Congress. Certainly, the 'imperial' presidency has been well established. I had the sickening feeling that if the Senate came through, Obama would immediately give the signal for bombs away. Restoring US credibility is a terrible reason to start war. Given the part of the world we're talking about it could easily have been the match that ignited a global catastrophe.

I agree with Walsh. The anti-war people got their shit together and bellowed loud and clear. and other progressive groups finally said No! to Barack Obama and the Neocons taunting him. It's one of the few times that high-powered lobbyists and war-mongers didn't get their way.

If Putin gets the credit? So be it. We get to live and fight another day and if Assad actually gives up his CWs that's a good thing. So is stepping back from the abyss. Barack Obama managed to do that. So he gets some points from me.

I think it's just a delay, weeks, maybe months.
It seems that violence on this scale, war, always needs agreement from the public. So now "something" will happen so everyone can get behind the effort.
Averting most likely a broader war, AND, dismantling chemical weapons - even laying the ground work for other to follow: It is indeed disturbing to think that it is Putin who may have put the PEACE back into the Nobel Peace Prize.
There's a part of me that wonders to what info the SoS is privy. Both John Kerry and Hillary, both of whom I admire (or certainly did anyway) seem to have gone nutso. Maybe there really is some deep, dark secret info that must never be uttered they are aware of that they believe justifies the otherwise unjustifiable stances they have taken, not only with regards to Syria, but other matters as well.

sure, potus stepped back, lol.. and they continue to supply endless weapons to fuel the fire too.. what part of this diplomatic bullshit is so hard for folks to see?
There's a part of me that wonders to what info the SoS is privy. Both John Kerry and Hillary [...] seem to have gone nutso. Maybe there really is some deep, dark secret info that must never be uttered they are aware of that they believe justifies the otherwise unjustifiable stances they have taken, not only with regards to Syria, but other matters as well.

It's just come out that the NSA shares raw data with Israel. 'Nuff said.

I don't think Obama has covered himself with any kind of glory on this, whatever happens next.

I'm just glad that by some quirks (of fate?) we've ended up where we should properly have been at the start of it - practicing a bit of diplomacy.
The US is insisting that any UN involvement in the removal of chemical weapons from Syria must involve "Chapter 7" provisions of the UN Charter. That is, in any UN declaration there would be a military response if Syria's actions were deemed to be inadequate. Russia is resisting such a provision.

So there it is, exposed. The removal of chemical weapons from Syria is now to be subject to an even brighter -- UN sponsored -- red line. Rather than being a US move towards a reduction in hostilities and a possible negotiated peace it is a wonderful opportunity to raise any scare, any unreasonable accusation against Syria of non-compliance, all then with the UN having tagged its name to a US sponsored war document. And, of course, any Syrian insurgents, Israelis, Saudis or the CIA who want the US to commence military attacks upon Syria merely have to stage a small false-flag chemical scare to have the world panicked into action.

This is why this is not the commencement of peace in Syria. The US is now in a stronger political position than ever to pursue its original agenda of Western-backed regime change.
zwisch -- may I call you zwisch? -- you may be right.

But against all that is the fact that Obama's heart doesn't seem to be in this war. Putin doesn't want it. Congress doesn't want it. Half the Republican party and half the Dems don't want it. The people don't want it.

Pam Geller doesn't want it! I keep coming back to that. It's a symbol, a watershed, a...something.
If you want a cogent account of how the Syrian war may tie in with pipeline politics, read this article:

The Saudis are almost certainly in it, in part, for a pipeline running from Qatar (the other major rebel backer) through Syria to Europe. The alternate pipeline, the one Assad picked, still in the works, runs from Russia, through Iran, to Syria.

The AFP reported in August that Bandar Bush told Putin a new Syrian government would be in "Saudi hands" and would route pipelines according to Saudi interests.

We're talking multibillion-dollar pipelines through which will flow billions of dollars worth of gas. It's serious business. And since the Saudis are a quasi-totalitarian royal theocracy, democracy and freedom can't possibly be their motive in Syria. The pipeline plays into it.

So does the Sunni-Shiite war that spread from Iraq to consume the region.

A prescient Seymour Hersh article, written more than five years ago, shows the still little-discussed in intended consequences of the Iraq war which are still playing out. The fall of Saddam's Sunni regime opened the floodgates of Shiite Iranian influence. Hersh shows how the Bush administration then threw in its lot with a Bandar-marshaled Sunni front that linked hands with Israel, against the emerging Shiite Crescent of Iran, Syria, Hezbollah, and increasingly Iraq.

Hersh quotes anonymous officials comparing Bush's clandestine paramilitary and financial support for the emerging Sunni bloc to the Iran-contra operation. We still don't know what that support exactly was; unlike Iran-contra, it was never exposed. And the officials warned that the new secret policy would empower Sunni extremists, including those tied to al-Qaeda.

Today, we reap what we sowed: a regional sectarian war, in which we have now openly sided with the Sunnis, including al-Qaeda.

Heightening the drama is Russia's backing for the Shiite Crescent, whose arc their pipeline would trace. It's a game of Risk. It's become an almost beautiful geopolitical construction, if it weren't so ominous.
A development...(zwish is fine)...

There is a Senate resolution being put together. It wants the UN to make a finding that the Syrian government was responsible for the August 21st chemical weapons attack. Syria would never agree to such a UN resolution. And Russia has already said it would veto the resolution.

"The United Nations would be asked to pass a resolution saying that the Syrian government used chemical weapons; the United Nations would also be required go in and remove all of Syria's chemical weapons by a certain date; and, finally, if the first two points are not met, U.S. military force would be authorized for use in Syria. The specifics of that authorization were still being negotiated as of Tuesday morning."

Let's see how Obama responds to that proposal.
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