Monday, September 02, 2013

Obama's Syrian Fait Accompli

From a purely International Game Theory perspective, Obama's new stance is brilliant.  And from a purely Domestic Political perspective, Obama's new stance is brilliant.  Which is not to say I approve, but it is brilliant.
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First let me say...  I don't believe delaying the airstrikes or missile strikes will make much difference on the ground.  We aren't going to affect regime change by strikes;  we are simply going to give the heads up you can't use chemical weapons - AND tell the Iranians we aren't afraid to act.  Delaying a few days or even weeks won't change that.  It isn't our war, and we are just trying to limit the playing field.
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Now for the brilliance.
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First let's go internationally.  The world depends on America to do the dirty work - like hit Assad for Chemical Weapons attacks.  Or jump in when our allies attack Libya.  Or keep the Persian Gulf open.  And we do it.  They get to complain about American adventurism, AND get to cut their military budgets because America does all these things.  It is an exchange for rhetoric that we mainly ignore and they know we ignore.  They get to save money on defense, make tell their constituents that they can't do anything about America - and we get a free hand to do what we want as long as we protect them.
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But in this case, we (the US) expected the Arab League to agree with punishing Assad - they have indicated they would.  But then they voted that the International Community should stay out of it.  It gave them the political cover internally in their own countries - but expected us to act anyway.  The fact that Obama has even delayed has freaked the Arab League the hell out.  Yesterday, less than a week after voting that no action should occur, they went 180 and voted to DEMAND International Action (LINK).
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As for the UK, while the people are weary of action - the world is still a scary place and much of the British press is pushing for US strikes. (See Economist cover this week at right.)
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Much of the International noise you hear about America being weak, or untrustworthy, or wishy-washy is a result of the International Community's consequences if we really do not act.
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The International Community expects America to act.  And then it gets to condemn those actions.
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IF America really doesn't act, and does let Syria get away with Chemical Weapon attacks - then the deal breaks down.  Everyone has to spend more money on defense.  So you hear International calls that the USA cannot be trusted, can't stand up - it's kind of bullshit.  We are expected to act in a theater which we have no interest in, aside from the humanitarian interest the entire world should care about, because that is the defacto deal the world has had since 1946.
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As for real people - as opposed to State or National actors - most of them (us) honestly do question America's assurances of Chemical Weapon use.  Thank you George W. Bush and your merry band of neocon liars and numskulls that paraded bullshit about Iraq and called it caviar.   The world is a less honest and safe place because of you.  Donald Rumsfeld (the arch-liar of Iraq) of all people has questioned the attack - while telling Obama he didn't do a good enough job of lying (LINK) - thanks but -- shut the hell up dipshit.
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In US internal politics, well if you don't live here you don't know how juicy and satisfying this has been for me.
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Republicans of all stripes lined up to complain about Obama's actions.
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..Rand Paul and other 2016 Republican Candidates (yes, we have them already) are lined up that Obama shouldn't act (LINK).
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...John McCain and other Republican Senators that are not running for President are saying he should have acted already.  And they may vote no just because he came to them too late (LINK).
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....Peter King - a ranking House Republican on the Foreign Relations Committees - is annoyed because Obama came to Congress at all.  He thinks it weakens the President (LINK).
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Liberal Democrats were all over Obama about acting without authorization (LINK), because - despite what Fox News would have you believe - Liberal Democrats are constantly annoyed with President Obama and wanted to blast him.
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In going to Congress, Obama has agreed that he should get Congressional Support.  Which infuriates everyone.  It is much easier to complain you weren't consulted - than actually have to decide to act or not act when Syria is gas'ing innocent children.
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Personally, I feel that the assholes in Congress should possibly cut their vacation short for a vote - but apparently it is easier to bitch than come back from vacation to vote for most of them.  (Although I do applaud the 80 - 100 Representatives that came back from vacation early to get the security briefings that were offered up.)
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I think the strategy's brilliance is in direct relation to how much shit Obama is getting for it from all sides.  And he is getting a shit storm from everywhere.

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