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  1. #1
    Kizmet is offline Moderator
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    Assad/Syria thread

    I was merging the two threads and somehow managed to delete them both - sorry. Feel free to recreate if you like.
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  2. #2
    heirophant is online now Registered User
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    I worry about this attack.

    1. I worry that it's a victory of moralizing emotion over dispassionate intelligence. Assad launched a gas attack. Gas attacks are bad. Bad people have to be made to suffer. So blast away at Assad's military.

    2. I worry about turning ourselves into the rebels' air force. I'm not convinced that the US should be fighting on the side of what are mostly radical hard-line Islamists.

    3. I worry that if Assad is weakened too much, that his government might fall. The obvious problem then would be what would replace Assad, if anything. If nothing replaces him, Syria would devolve into a failed state where individual localities are ruled by militias and warlords fighting each other in a crazy Mad Max style war of all-against-all. That would destabilize everything around Syria and the entire Middle East. It would also be hell on Earth for Syrians.

    If one of the stronger rebel militias manages to achieve hegemony over its rivals and the entire country (how?), then given who the strongest rebel militias are, we will likely be faced with a radical Islamist Syria intent on establishing strict shariah and driving all of the non-Sunnis out of the country. (Islamic State lite.) Non-Sunnis in Syria total millions of people and some of their communities have lived there since late antiquity.

    So, the US needs to tread very carefully. If it is so morally aroused by chemical weapons, then it arguably needs to send Assad a message that he can't ignore. But it can't weaken him so much so that his government collapses and the country implodes.
    Last edited by heirophant; 04-07-2017 at 10:39 AM.

  3. #3
    SteveFoerster is offline Resident Gadfly
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    Quote Originally Posted by heirophant View Post
    3. I worry that if Assad is weakened too much, that his government might fall. The obvious problem then would be what would replace Assad, if anything. If nothing replaces him, Syria would devolve into a failed state where individual localities are ruled by militias and warlords fighting each other in a crazy Mad Max style war of all-against-all. That would destabilize everything around Syria and the entire Middle East. It would also be hell on Earth for Syrians.

    If one of the stronger rebel militias manages to achieve hegemony over its rivals and the entire country (how?), then given who the strongest rebel militias are, we will likely be faced with a radical Islamist Syria intent on establishing strict shariah and driving all of the non-Sunnis out of the country. (Islamic State lite.) Non-Sunnis in Syria total millions of people and some of their communities have lived there since late antiquity.

    So, the US needs to tread very carefully. If it is so morally aroused by chemical weapons, then it arguably needs to send Assad a message that he can't ignore. But it can't weaken him so much so that his government collapses and the country implodes.
    It's as if no one in Washington understands that doing this same idiotic interventionism in Iraq is how the world ended up with ISIS.
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  4. #4
    heirophant is online now Registered User
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    Quote Originally Posted by SteveFoerster View Post
    It's as if no one in Washington understands that doing this same idiotic interventionism in Iraq is how the world ended up with ISIS.
    It worked out really well in Libya too, where Hillary, Obama, David Cameron and the French helped various local militias take down Qaddafi with no real thought to what would replace him.

    We cheered the 'Arab Spring' taking down the pro-Western dictator in Yemen, plunging that country into continuing civil war.

    I think that one of the lessons to be drawn from all of this is that tyrants aren't the worst thing that can happen to many of these countries. Anarchy and Islamist fanaticism can be worse.

    What's more, there might not be any local "good-guys" for us to cheer for. (We tend to treat these things like sporting events.) So we might find ourselves having to cheer for what are in effect "less-bad guys".
    Last edited by heirophant; 04-07-2017 at 11:46 AM.

  5. #5
    SteveFoerster is offline Resident Gadfly
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    Quote Originally Posted by heirophant View Post
    pro-Western dictator
    That you can rightfully use this phrase is a condemnation of the foreign policy of Western countries.
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  6. #6
    jhp
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    I pray this is demonstration of willingness but not wantonness. I hope that it is sufficient enough for other belligerents to note, this is not last years' president.
    But, if I have to go, I go again.

  7. #7
    decimon is offline Registered User
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    Quote Originally Posted by SteveFoerster View Post
    It's as if no one in Washington understands that doing this same idiotic interventionism in Iraq is how the world ended up with ISIS.

    Islamic State, in one form or another, is as old as the Koran.

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  9. #8
    Kizmet is offline Moderator
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    No one wants another war. No one wants another ISIS. But how do you just stand by and watch innocent civilians get gassed to death?
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  10. #9
    Bruce is offline Moderator
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    Quote Originally Posted by Kizmet View Post
    But how do you just stand by and watch innocent civilians get gassed to death?
    Therein lies the rub for the anti-Trump crowd; they're blinded by their hatred for him, to the point I've seen people on Facebook mocking him for the Syria missile strike. I don't know how those people can look at themselves in the mirror.

    As for the strike itself, I think it sent the message that there's someone with a backbone in the White House again, and it wasn't intended solely for al-Assad. I think that the lunatic in North Korea got the message, loud and clear, as well.
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  11. #10
    Kizmet is offline Moderator
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    I think there are legitimate questions about what happens next. What if this, what if that, but unless the US is going to pursue a strict isolationist policy then we need to be prepared to act in some way. I don't like Trump (that's not the same as hate) but I'm glad he did something.
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  12. #11
    Stanislav is offline Registered User
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    Quote Originally Posted by Bruce View Post
    Therein lies the rub for the anti-Trump crowd; they're blinded by their hatred for him, to the point I've seen people on Facebook mocking him for the Syria missile strike. I don't know how those people can look at themselves in the mirror.
    There is a contingent to the left that opposes any military intervention, period. These are the same people who bashed Hillary Clinton as "hawk" and a "neoconservative". I'm not one of these, but they are merely being consistent.
    On the other hand, there is a similar contingent on the right, and they are vocally unhappy right now. Mostly because up until a week ago Trump was their vocal leader, the missile strike is a complete 180 in his Syria policy.

    Quote Originally Posted by Bruce View Post
    As for the strike itself, I think it sent the message that there's someone with a backbone in the White House again, and it wasn't intended solely for al-Assad. I think that the lunatic in North Korea got the message, loud and clear, as well.
    There`s no way to assess the strike until a coherent policy emerges. It could be a good start; I`d prefer they would target the damn runway though. And put pressure on Russia.
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    jhp
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    Some relevant pictures of the target.

  14. #13
    03310151 is offline Registered User
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    What a difference a few days makes, I wonder now is Trump still literally Hitler since he pissed off Putin/Russia by bombing Syria?


    Maybe Trump has improved his standing to only figuratively Hitler.
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  15. #14
    decimon is offline Registered User
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    Quote Originally Posted by 03310151 View Post
    What a difference a few days makes, I wonder now is Trump still literally Hitler since he pissed off Putin/Russia by bombing Syria?

    We've been bombing Syria. In that regard, Trump has been following through on what Obama started.

    This focused missile strike on the airport was to show what we could and would do under certain circumstances.

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    TomE is offline Registered User
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    Tillerson is drawing a line in the sand: Russia needs to pick Assad+Iran or support U.S. interests in the area.

    Tillerson draws line in the sand over Russia's support of Assad regime - ABC News

  18. #16
    Stanislav is offline Registered User
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    Quote Originally Posted by 03310151 View Post
    What a difference a few days makes, I wonder now is Trump still literally Hitler since he pissed off Putin/Russia by bombing Syria?


    Maybe Trump has improved his standing to only figuratively Hitler.
    Well, strangely enough, major military action tends to crowd out other coverage.

    As to being "literally Hitler": mercifully enough, Trump never had this kind of discipline. I mean, what kind of a bar for the high office is it? Literally any person taken at random from the phone book would be "not literally Hitler". Trump's just a grumpy old man pandering to the worst in the electorate.
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