Trump, ISIS, and Russia

 

I wanted to highlight some comments from the debate that really baffled me:

Trump: I think it would be great if we got along with Russia because we could fight ISIS together, as an example. But I don’t know Putin.

Is he unaware that the US has been trying, frantically, to get Russia to “fight ISIS together” — and that this has been the result?

U.S.-Russia relations fell to a new post-Cold War low Monday as the Obama administration abandoned efforts to cooperate with Russia on ending the Syrian civil war and forming a common front against terrorists there, and Moscow suspended a landmark nuclear agreement.

Trump continued:

But I notice, anytime anything wrong happens, they like to say the Russians are — she doesn’t know if it’s the Russians doing the hacking. Maybe there is no hacking. But they always blame Russia. And the reason they blame Russia because they think they’re trying to tarnish me with Russia. I know nothing about Russia. I know — I know about Russia, but I know nothing about the inner workings of Russia. I don’t deal there. I have no businesses there. I have no loans from Russia. …

Russia attacked the United States. Trump was apparently extensively briefed about this. Why would he intimate that this is all made up? Does he really believe that? Do you think he really believes it? If not, why is he saying it?

But if you look at Russia, just take a look at Russia, and look at what they did this week, where I agree, she wasn’t there, but possibly she’s consulted. We sign a peace treaty.

A peace treaty? Does he mean the ceasefire?

Everyone’s all excited. Well, what Russia did with Assad and, by the way, with Iran, who you made very powerful with the dumbest deal perhaps I’ve ever seen in the history of deal-making, the Iran deal, with the $150 billion, with the $1.7 billion in cash, which is enough to fill up this room.

But look at that deal. Iran now and Russia are now against us.

What deal? Does he think the deal caused Russia and Iran to become hostile to the United States? What is he talking about?

So she wants to fight. She wants to fight for rebels. There’s only one problem. You don’t even know who the rebels are. So what’s the purpose?

The only one who doesn’t seem to know who the actors here are is Trump.

RADDATZ: Mr. Trump, Mr. Trump, your two minutes is up.

TRUMP: And one thing I have to say.

RADDATZ: Your two minutes is up.

TRUMP: I don’t like Assad at all, but Assad is killing ISIS. Russia is killing ISIS. And Iran is killing ISIS. And those three have now lined up because of our weak foreign policy.

Frankly, we’d be better off with the guy who didn’t know what Aleppo was. Trump either believes something nonsensical, or he knows what he’s saying is rubbish and he’s trying deliberately to mislead the American people about who our adversaries are and the seriousness of the threat. None of these parties is “killing ISIS.” Russia’s campaign has barely dented ISIS. ISIS’s territorial losses have mostly come at the hands of Kurdish militias backed by a US-led coalition. Russia rarely even targets ISIS in Syria. Unless you live in a universe of skepticism so profound that the only sources you believe are Russian propaganda outlets, you’d know this. This paper is one of almost infinitely many reports and analyses from groups across the political spectrum to report that no, Russia’s not killing ISIS:

Initial Russian Defense Ministry combat reports claimed that ISIS was the only target. Yet analysis of open source and social media intelligence (OSSMINT) quickly revealed that the ministry’s claims were deceptive, and that the Russian strikes were not primarily targeting ISIS. Subsequent research also revealed evidence of the use of cluster munitions and bombs that destroyed civilian targets.

OSSMINT analysis further reveals that Putin’s claim that Russia was “able to radically change the situation in fighting international terrorism” does not match the reality on the ground. The almost six months of Russian air strikes caused only peripheral damage to ISIS: Their positions at the end of the campaign were little altered from those at the start. The strikes also had a limited effect on the al-Qaeda-linked Nusra Front, which launched an attack on more moderate forces just days before Putin announced: mission accomplished.

In fact, the main beneficiary of the Russian air strikes was Syrian President Bashar al-Assad, whose forces were able to retake key areas in and around Latakia and Aleppo. The main losers were the more moderate rebels against Assad, including those backed by the West.

The hallmark of the Russian campaign was disinformation. It accompanied the launch of the campaign; it covered the targets chosen and the weapons used to strike them; it masked the real purpose of the campaign, and the strategic effect that it achieved.

In the words of the study’s authors,

Putin’s policy was to distract, deceive, and destroy. The buildup to the Russian air strikes distracted Western and Russian attention from Putin’s Ukrainian operations and the buildup of his forces in Syria. The official campaign reports deceived the world about the mission’s true targets and goals. The operation destroyed the capabilities of the only credible non-jihadist alternative to Assad’s regime, including those elements directly backed by the West. This fits a pattern of behavior already played out in Ukraine. It can be used as a template to predict, examine, and judge his future actions.

Or here’s a report from the Institute for the Study of War:

Key Takeaway:  Russia’s involvement in Syria is facilitating ISIS’s territorial gains, while also strengthening Assad. Russia is supporting the Syrian regime’s offensives in Latakia, the al-Ghab Plain, and northern Hama. Russia also intensified strikes on rebel-held northwestern Aleppo, likely to set conditions for an imminent Russian-Iranian-Syrian regime offensive in the area. U.S. defense officials and local Syrian activists reported the arrival of hundreds of Iranian Revolutionary Guard Corps (IRGC)-Quds Force fighters and other Iranian proxy forces in Aleppo over the past few days. Russian strikes largely concentrated along the rebel-held supply route leading to the besieged regime enclaves of Nubl and Zahraa northwest of Aleppo City. If the regime can link with these enclaves, they will successfully sever the rebel-held supply route from Aleppo City to the Turkish border. Simultaneous regime offensives in both Hama and Aleppo Provinces will likely fix rebel forces along multiple fronts and prevent them from reinforcing their positions across northwestern Syria, resulting in a loss of terrain for the Syrian opposition.

ISIS is benefiting from Russia’s strikes on the Syrian opposition. On October 9, ISIS advanced 10 kilometers against rebels in northeastern Aleppo, the largest advance by ISIS in the province since August 2015. ISIS continued to conduct probing attacks against rebels northeast of Aleppo City from October 10-14. The Syrian regime and ISIS have historically leveraged one another’s offensives in order to advance against rebel forces in the northern Aleppo countryside. Both ISIS and the regime will likely capitalize on the effects of Russian airstrikes on rebels. Russian airstrikes have thus far failed to deter ISIS from launching new offensives and rather have facilitated ISIS’s seizure of new terrain. 

Someone — probably many people — has explained this to Donald Trump. But he’s either chosen not to believe it, or he’s consciously lying about it. Why? If he wins the election, he’ll have to do something about this situation. How is he going to explain that no, we can’t cooperate with Russia to kill ISIS, because Russia doesn’t share our objectives?

RADDATZ: Mr. Trump, let me repeat the question. If you were president…

(LAUGHTER)

… what would you do about Syria and the humanitarian crisis in Aleppo? And I want to remind you what your running mate said. He said provocations by Russia need to be met with American strength and that if Russia continues to be involved in air strikes along with the Syrian government forces of Assad, the United States of America should be prepared to use military force to strike the military targets of the Assad regime.

TRUMP: OK. He and I haven’t spoken, and I disagree. I disagree.

RADDATZ: You disagree with your running mate?

Why does he disagree with his running mate about this very fundamental issue of national security? Does he really believe that Assad is fighting ISIS?

TRUMP: I think you have to knock out ISIS. Right now, Syria is fighting ISIS. We have people that want to fight both at the same time. But Syria is no longer Syria. Syria is Russia and it’s Iran, who she made strong and Kerry and Obama made into a very powerful nation and a very rich nation, very, very quickly, very, very quickly.

Here we have something, maybe, like an argument — that we’re hamstrung and unable to maneuver without assuming apocalyptic risk, given Russia’s involvement in Syria. But if that’s so, how does he propose we “get ISIS?”

I believe we have to get ISIS. We have to worry about ISIS before we can get too much more involved. She had a chance to do something with Syria. They had a chance. And that was the line. And she didn’t.

RADDATZ: What do you think will happen if Aleppo falls?

TRUMP: I think Aleppo is a disaster, humanitarian-wise.

RADDATZ: What do you think will happen if it falls?

TRUMP: I think that it basically has fallen. OK? It basically has fallen.

Does this sentence make sense to anyone? Is he saying, “It will fall and we can’t do anything about it?”

Is it plausible that Trump is getting his news from Russian disinformation sources? If not, why does he sound like it? Can you put any spin on these comments that isn’t sinister? If he’s saying these things for a crude electoral purpose, why does he think it will help him to sound like Sputnik News? 

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  1. I Walton Member
    I Walton
    @IWalton
    • He’s ignorant but also almost pathologically inarticulate..  He seldom makes any sense on anything.  He really doesn’t use the right words even when he may have some understanding, probably because he has no background in these matters,  doesn’t read and is too old to stuff all the briefings into his head.  The questions are whether he’ll listen to the professionals when the time to do so arrives,  exercise judgement, use common sense, learn.  I recommend Paul Rahe’s comment to Peter on what changed his mind on Hillary.  Who is more dangerous is the most important question.  He thinks it’s Hillary.  So do I, but that’s because I don’t take much of what Trump says seriously but take Hillary and the state of the nation very seriously.
    • #1
  2. genferei Member
    genferei
    @genferei

    Charity in interpreting the words and thoughts of others is unavoidable in another direction as well: just as we must maximize agreement, or risk not making sense of what the alien is talking about, so we must maximize self-consistency we attribute to him, on pain of not understanding him.

    Davidson, Donald, 1984, Inquiries into Truth and Interpretation, Oxford: Oxford University Press, at 27.

    • #2
  3. Zafar Member
    Zafar
    @Zafar

    Is it a stab at being Not Hillary?

    His comments don’t make sense to me – perhaps there’s a Trump supporter who can explain them.

    • #3
  4. Valiuth Inactive
    Valiuth
    @Valiuth

    @iwalton: You fear Hillary because you take her seriously, but not Trump because you think he is unserious? How is putting an unserious person in the most serious job in the world not a prelude to disaster?

    Thanks for the piece Claire. In my review of the debate I pointed to his quote about not knowing anything about Russia as finally answering the question I’ve always had about Trump on this issue, which is “Is he stupid or evil?” I think now that he is just stupid. He is a useful idiot. This may make him honest, but it should not make anyone more comfortable or enthusiastic about him being president. He has had over a year and a half to get to know Russia and Putin. He has chosen not to. He has chosen not to become informed on the nature of one of America’s great geopolitical antagonists. This is a man who grew up in the Cold War. One would think just through osmosis he would have picked up something about Russia. In all honesty his Russia comments would be the biggest scandal, rather then his grabby hands, and threats to jail Hillary. But, I have come to the conclusion that the American people do not take Syria, Ukraine, Russia, Iran, and even ISIS seriously. They generally think things are bad but are unwilling to give them anymore thought than they do a Budweiser Super Bowl commercial.

    • #4
  5. David Carroll Thatcher
    David Carroll
    @DavidCarroll

    Claire Berlinski, Ed.:I wanted to highlight some comments from the debate that really baffled me:

    Trump: I think it would be great if we got along with Russia because we could fight ISIS together, as an example. But I don’t know Putin.

    Is he unaware that the US has been trying, frantically, to get Russia to “fight ISIS together” — and that this has been the result?

    The problem, Claire is that you know too much.  Donald Trump is a political outsider and typical of them, his information on foreign affairs is limited.  He is also not schooled in the correct terminology…yet.  IF elected he will hire advisors who have the knowledge.  Will he listen?  Who knows?  That said, I have a number of comments on the post, although I may be even more ignorant that Trump about the facts on the ground.

    I don’t think he respects the competence of the Obama administration.  Neither do I.  I saw Trump’s compliment of Putin as a “strong leader” as being the same as his compliment of Hillary as being a “fighter.”  It was a safe compliment. It was not an expression of love, but recognition of fact. I suspect that, unlike the Obama administration who insults Putin publicly at every opportunity, Trump believes by complimenting the adversary, he  improves the atmosphere to begin negotiations.

     

    • #5
  6. David Carroll Thatcher
    David Carroll
    @DavidCarroll

    Claire Berlinski, Ed.:A peace treaty? Does he mean the ceasefire?

    I don’t expect Donald Trump, at this point, to be fully versed in the terms of art.

     

    • #6
  7. David Carroll Thatcher
    David Carroll
    @DavidCarroll

    Claire Berlinski, Ed.:

    Everyone’s all excited. Well, what Russia did with Assad and, by the way, with Iran, who you made very powerful with the dumbest deal perhaps I’ve ever seen in the history of deal-making, the Iran deal, with the $150 billion, with the $1.7 billion in cash, which is enough to fill up this room.

    But look at that deal. Iran now and Russia are now against us.

    What deal? Does he think the deal caused Russia and Iran to become hostile to the United States? What is he talking about?

    I don’t take that statement as a belief that there is cause and effect.  I understand him to be saying that with Iran and Russia both against us, giving Iran bundles of money worked against the best interests of the United States.

     

    • #7
  8. Casey Inactive
    Casey
    @Casey

    Claire Berlinski, Ed.: why is he saying it?

    To win the debate.

    I think your confusion stems from the peculiarity of your circle. It seems the people you know follow current events closely, consider them thoroughly, and debate them fairly. They consider and present their ideas in an orderly fashion. I’m jealous of this because, other than you, I’ve never met anyone like that.

    If you enter into a bar argument in this manner you’d get crushed. To win a bar argument you need to be aggressive and unpredictable, be slippery about where you stand, and get the other guy to be specific. Once he gets specific you hammer him. Push deeper and deeper. Twist him up. Confuse him. Get him to contradict himself. Make him defend something he’s not really saying.

    There’s a reason I don’t go to bars anymore and a reason I don’t watch these debates.

    • #8
  9. David Carroll Thatcher
    David Carroll
    @DavidCarroll

    Claire Berlinski, Ed.:

    TRUMP: I don’t like Assad at all, but Assad is killing ISIS. Russia is killing ISIS. And Iran is killing ISIS. And those three have now lined up because of our weak foreign policy.

    Frankly, we’d be better off with the guy who didn’t know what Aleppo was. Trump either believes something nonsensical, or he knows what he’s saying is rubbish and he’s trying deliberately to mislead the American people about who our adversaries are and the seriousness of the threat. None of these parties is “killing ISIS.” Russia’s campaign has barely dented ISIS. … This paper is one of almost infinitely many reports and analyses from groups across the political spectrum to report that no, Russia’s not killing ISIS:

    Initial Russian Defense Ministry combat reports claimed that ISIS was the only target. Yet analysis of open source and social media intelligence (OSSMINT) quickly revealed that the ministry’s claims were deceptive, and that the Russian strikes were not primarily targeting ISIS. Subsequent research also revealed evidence of the use of cluster munitions and bombs that destroyed civilian targets. [Emphasis added.]

    I understood “killing” to mean “shooting at.”  “Not primarily targeting” means there was targeting of ISIS.

     

     

     

    • #9
  10. Publius Inactive
    Publius
    @Publius

    David Carroll: Donald Trump is a political outsider and typical of them, his information on foreign affairs is limited.

    There are legions of Americans who are political outsiders and have immensely more knowledge of foreign affairs than Donald Trump.  @claire, for example.

    • #10
  11. Xennady Member
    Xennady
    @

    Russia attacked the United States?

    Wait, what? Shouldn’t we have noticed this?

    Way back when I was a seventeen year old enlistee in the US Navy I figured I’d notice such an attack, because I’d either be shredded, roasted, or drowned, courtesy of a Soviet anti-ship missile.

    But no, because now it turns out that “attack” means that that Russia has potentially turned its decades-old meddling in American politics against the left.

    Before now, Russian meddling was just yummy. Ted Kennedy even begged for more of it, to help defeat the terrible bete noire of Ronald Reagan.

    Now, since that may have changed, suddenly it’s awful. Kittens are mewling in terror, because Russia has switched sides to go against the blessedness of Hillary, who promises to send Americans to die to overthrow the Assad regime, which no one in America cares about.

    Seriously. No one cares about Assad. Or Aleppo. Or Syrians. Or foreigners.

    Know why?

    Because they’re foreigners– and Americans have endured rather too long a stretch when no one in the supposed American government seems to care about Americans.

    That’s a problem, I think. Especially for the people in America- or elsewhere- agonizing about the lack of American concern about foreigners.

    Key concept: Foreign.

    As in, not American. As in, not our responsibility.

    Not.

    • #11
  12. David Carroll Thatcher
    David Carroll
    @DavidCarroll

    Claire Berlinski, Ed.:Here we have something, maybe, like an argument — that we’re hamstrung and unable to maneuver without assuming apocalyptic risk, given Russia’s involvement in Syria. But if that’s so, how does he propose we “get ISIS?”

    I believe we have to get ISIS. We have to worry about ISIS before we can get too much more involved. She had a chance to do something with Syria. They had a chance. And that was the line. And she didn’t.

    RADDATZ: What do you think will happen if Aleppo falls?

    TRUMP: I think Aleppo is a disaster, humanitarian-wise.

    RADDATZ: What do you think will happen if it falls?

    TRUMP: I think that it basically has fallen. OK? It basically has fallen.

    Is it plausible that Trump is getting his news from Russian disinformation sources? If not, why does he sound like it? Can you put any spin on these comments that isn’t sinister? If he’s saying these things for a crude electoral purpose, why does he think it will help him to sound like Sputnik News?

    Foreign policy almost never decides elections.  The outsider is always at a severe disadvantage.  After an election, the candidate gets real and experienced advisors, who may or may not be any good.  Certainly, whatever advisors the Obama-Clinton-Kerry government had were either ignored or not very good.   Will Trump be any better?  Could he be worse?

     

    • #12
  13. Claire Berlinski, Ed. Editor
    Claire Berlinski, Ed.
    @Claire

    Valiuth: In all honesty his Russia comments would be the biggest scandal, rather then his grabby hands, and threats to jail Hillary

    Yes, I think so too. I’m so puzzled by this election. I used to have pretty reliable intuitions about what would matter to other Americans and what would and wouldn’t be viewed as scandalous. Somewhere along the way I missed some big cultural change. I mean, to a Cold War kid, this is just unreal — it’s the plot of our Cold War nightmares!

    • #13
  14. David Carroll Thatcher
    David Carroll
    @DavidCarroll

    Publius:

    David Carroll: Donald Trump is a political outsider and typical of them, his information on foreign affairs is limited.

    There are legions of Americans who are political outsiders and have immensely more knowledge of foreign affairs than Donald Trump. @claire, for example.

    As a professional  commentator, I don’t see Claire as a political outsider.

    • #14
  15. genferei Member
    genferei
    @genferei

    Claire Berlinski, Ed.: None of these parties is “killing ISIS.”

    Well, they are all killing members of ISIS. Is it their main mission focus? No. But, then, is the destruction of ISIS the sole mission focus of anyone in Syria?

    By the way, what do you think Raddatz meant by Aleppo falling? To the rebels? To the government forces? Since they both occupy the city, and have done so since 2012, what does ‘falling’ mean?

    • #15
  16. Fake John/Jane Galt Coolidge
    Fake John/Jane Galt
    @FakeJohnJaneGalt

    Xennady:Seriously. No one cares about Assad. Or Aleppo. Or Syrians. Or foreigners.

    Know why?

    Because they’re foreigners– and Americans have endured rather too long a stretch when no one in the supposed American government seems to care about Americans.

    That’s a problem, I think. Especially for the people in America- or elsewhere- agonizing about the lack of American concern about foreigners.

    Key concept: Foreign.

    As in, not American. As in, not our responsibility.

    Not.

    BINGO….

    • #16
  17. livingthehighlife Inactive
    livingthehighlife
    @livingthehighlife

    Claire Berlinski, Ed.: Trump: I think it would be great if we got along with Russia because we could fight ISIS together, as an example. But I don’t know Putin.

    I don’t have the time or inclination to dig through previous debate comments, but didn’t Trump at one point brag about knowing Putin?  Seems I remember something like during the primary debates.

     

    • #17
  18. Front Seat Cat Member
    Front Seat Cat
    @FrontSeatCat

    David Carroll:

    Publius:

    David Carroll: Donald Trump is a political outsider and typical of them, his information on foreign affairs is limited.

    There are legions of Americans who are political outsiders and have immensely more knowledge of foreign affairs than Donald Trump. @claire, for example.

    As a professional commentator, I don’t see Claire as a political outsider.

    David – given your choice are you voting for him? Or not voting – or writing in Claire B. on the ticket? Quite frankly, I may do that because I am very disturbed by all of it. PS – many of those running like Rubio, Fiorina, Cruz were well-spoken and knowledgeable on this issue so there is no excuse that we didn’t have acceptable candidates.

    • #18
  19. David Carroll Thatcher
    David Carroll
    @DavidCarroll

    I am a never Hillary reluctant Trump voter in Ohio.

    I will say I was cheered by the presidential demeanor displayed with the president of Mexico.

    As for Russian and ISIS, those are extraordinarily difficult problems.  Trump’s approach may be no better than the Obama-Clinton-Kerry strategies, but it can’t be much worse.

    • #19
  20. livingthehighlife Inactive
    livingthehighlife
    @livingthehighlife

    @claire, did you see the reports that Russia has moved ballistic missiles to Kaliningrad?  Thoughts?  (Sorry to hijack, but it’s Putin related.

    http://www.bbc.com/news/world-europe-37597075

    • #20
  21. Ontheleftcoast Member
    Ontheleftcoast
    @Ontheleftcoast

    Claire Berlinski, Ed.: Is he unaware that the US has been trying, frantically, to get Russia to “fight ISIS together”

    These negotiations, right?

    The negotiation would be to end Syria’s brutal civil war and set up a transitional government. To get there, Kerry would have the U.S. share intelligence with Russia to target airstrikes against an al-Qaida affiliate called The Nusra Front. In exchange, Russia would prevail on its ally, the regime of Bashar al-Assad, to stop bombing moderate rebel groups and civilians.”

    And:

    TheUS DoD reserved the right to refuse to share the intelligence as required by the plan, and we’re arming al-Nusra and other jihadi organizations in rebel held Aleppo and nearby regions, using Turkey to send them sophisticated NATO weapons and then telling the Russians that if they attacked the Turkish convoys the US would attack Russian forces under NATO’s mutual aid provisions.

    And:  “The alliance between the FSA and Jund al-Aqsa in Hama is particularly noteworthy, since the State Department designated Jund al-Aqsa a terrorist organization…” two weeks ago.

     

    And during the frantic trying we (Congress, Hillary, the NYT and WaPo) have been pushing for a no-fly zone, and then the Chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff testified that an effective no-fly zone “would require us to go to war against Syria and Russia.”

    That was capped with an actual US bombing raid on Syrian forces.

    That trying?

     

    • #21
  22. Valiuth Inactive
    Valiuth
    @Valiuth

    Fake John/Jane Galt:

    Xennady:Seriously. No one cares about Assad. Or Aleppo. Or Syrians. Or foreigners.

    Know why?

    Because they’re foreigners– and Americans have endured rather too long a stretch when no one in the supposed American government seems to care about Americans.

    That’s a problem, I think. Especially for the people in America- or elsewhere- agonizing about the lack of American concern about foreigners.

    Key concept: Foreign.

    As in, not American. As in, not our responsibility.

    Not.

    BINGO….

    An understandable shortsightedness, but not an excusable one. The problems in the world have away of becoming our problem. We are no longer a minor nation on the fringes of the civilized world. We are smack dab in the middle of it all, and to think that if we stick our heads in the sand and start singing The Star Spangled Banner it will all pass us by is monstrous stupidity.

    • #22
  23. James Gawron Thatcher
    James Gawron
    @JamesGawron

    Zafar:Is it a stab at being Not Hillary?

    His comments don’t make sense to me – perhaps there’s a Trump supporter who can explain them.

    Zafar,

    The Trump word salad was to win the debate. Just as the release of the video was to win the debate for the other side. Now let’s step back a bit. Obama-Clinton-Kerry have produced the Arab Spring, the Russian Reset, Libya, the Syrian Red Line, ISIS in Iraq-Syria, the Iran Deal, Chinese Artificial Islands, and a massive reduction in American Defense Spending.

    Foreign policy can’t get any worse than this. I guess the only way I can explain it to you is that you are just going to be forced to take a gamble on Trump. About 26 years ago, I was forced to take a gamble on a B-movie actor as President. I closed my eyes and pulled the lever for him (they had levers then). It worked out fine.

    Life isn’t simple.

    Regards,

    Jim

    • #23
  24. Ontheleftcoast Member
    Ontheleftcoast
    @Ontheleftcoast

    Valiuth: We are smack dab in the middle of it all, and to think that if we stick our heads in the sand and start singing The Star Spangled Banner it will all pass us by is monstrous stupidity.

    We are… and we are also working hard to become less consequential.

    Decades of strategic choices and resulting procurement plans have made our ability to protect Japan and Taiwan look shakier by the day.

    We’re supporting Turkey (whose intelligence service’s relations with Islamic State are increasingly resembling the Pakistani’s ITI’s relations with the Taliban, al Qaeda and people like Lashkare e-Taiba, the folks that brought us the Mumbai massacre.)

    We’ve let Iran (Assad’s patron and Russia’s sort-of ally,) out of the sanctions box.

    We then gave Iran billions in cash, hundreds of billions all told, which effectively restarted their ballistic missile program and gave them the wherewithal to support jihadis around the world – and the very Assad regime we want to overthrow.

    But, just maybe, the Saudis have finally seen the handwriting on the wall and are reconsidering their decades of support for jihadi terror. Since fear of Iran is what seems to have prompted this, ah, come to Jesus moment, maybe Obama’s promotion of Iran as a regional hegemon to balance the Saudis is paying off after all. Great idea, except for the (unintended, of course) consequences.

     

    • #24
  25. Viator Inactive
    Viator
    @Viator

    I am sure all the Ricochetti will be able to straighten this one out:

    https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/List_of_armed_groups_in_the_Syrian_Civil_War

    Notice the US is not fighting on ISIS’s side but is allied with current and former al-Qaeda affiliates.

    Russia was never ever going to give up it’s warm water Mediterranean port, Tartus,  in Syria.

    A more useful sorting might be those who constitute Sunni forces and those who constitute Shia forces.

    Great sums of money are at work buying, selling, and renting allegiances on a shifting basis.

    The Wikipedia list is incomplete since it doesn’t show the soverign support provided to ISIS. The Sunni nations at the bottom of the other lists should be also listed under ISIS.

    The Shia (Russian, Assad, Iran) side also includes most of the middle eastern minorities who are rightly scared to death of the various Sunni Islamists.

    The Kurds are split and taking sides as their various factions see their self interest.

    What is the US’s rationale for entering Islam’s thirty years war? What is the US’s rationale for entering a shooting war with Russia? Who is going to fight that war with the Russians? Pajama boy and the millennial Democrats? They don’t even like guns and don’t know which end of a gun is which. No, Pajama boy and his ilk will instantly become the new antiwar movement.

     

     

     

     

    • #25
  26. Mike LaRoche Inactive
    Mike LaRoche
    @MikeLaRoche

    Xennady:Russia attacked the United States?

    Wait, what? Shouldn’t we have noticed this?

    Way back when I was a seventeen year old enlistee in the US Navy I figured I’d notice such an attack, because I’d either be shredded, roasted, or drowned, courtesy of a Soviet anti-ship missile.

    But no, because now it turns out that “attack” means that that Russia has potentially turned its decades-old meddling in American politics against the left.

    Before now, Russian meddling was just yummy. Ted Kennedy even begged for more of it, to help defeat the terrible bete noire of Ronald Reagan.

    Now, since that may have changed, suddenly it’s awful. Kittens are mewling in terror, because Russia has switched sides to go against the blessedness of Hillary, who promises to send Americans to die to overthrow the Assad regime, which no one in America cares about.

    Seriously. No one cares about Assad. Or Aleppo. Or Syrians. Or foreigners.

    Know why?

    Because they’re foreigners– and Americans have endured rather too long a stretch when no one in the supposed American government seems to care about Americans.

    That’s a problem, I think. Especially for the people in America- or elsewhere- agonizing about the lack of American concern about foreigners.

    Key concept: Foreign.

    As in, not American. As in, not our responsibility.

    Not.

    Amen.

    • #26
  27. Mike LaRoche Inactive
    Mike LaRoche
    @MikeLaRoche

    Valiuth:

    Fake John/Jane Galt:

    Xennady:Seriously. No one cares about Assad. Or Aleppo. Or Syrians. Or foreigners.

    Know why?

    Because they’re foreigners– and Americans have endured rather too long a stretch when no one in the supposed American government seems to care about Americans.

    That’s a problem, I think. Especially for the people in America- or elsewhere- agonizing about the lack of American concern about foreigners.

    Key concept: Foreign.

    As in, not American. As in, not our responsibility.

    Not.

    BINGO….

    An understandable shortsightedness, but not an excusable one. The problems in the world have away of becoming our problem. We are no longer a minor nation on the fringes of the civilized world. We are smack dab in the middle of it all, and to think that if we stick our heads in the sand and start singing The Star Spangled Banner it will all pass us by is monstrous stupidity.

    As Steve Sailer says: invade the world, invite the world.

    I’ll pass.

    • #27
  28. Admiral janeway Inactive
    Admiral janeway
    @Admiral janeway

    David Carroll:

    Claire Berlinski, Ed.:A peace treaty? Does he mean the ceasefire?

    I don’t expect Donald Trump, at this point, to be fully versed in the terms of art.

    At this point, he is a 70 year old man who is running for president for the second time.

    Did he spend the intervening years preparing? Nope.

    He does not read articles that are not about him, listen to or remember the security briefings he has had, or  have any interest in anything that is not about him.

    • #28
  29. The Question Inactive
    The Question
    @TheQuestion

    I have a Facebook friend who is very pro-Trump.  He is also a very big fan of Putin.  Putin has been good for Russia in pretty much every way possible, he tells me.  He tells me that neoconservatives are Trotskyites, and that’s what National Review is now.  He tells me that Ted Cruz and Marco Rubio never wanted to stop Obama, because they fight against Trump (their endorsements came too late, I guess).  Anyone who opposes Trump is not really conservative.  Anyone who doesn’t support this guy who is primarily advised by his kids, who couldn’t vote for him because they are registered Democrats, is not really a Republican.  Anyway, my bat guano crazy friend has persuaded me as of last night to become #NeverTrump.  I thought about voting for Trump to stop Hillary, but I am not going any further down the insane rabbit hole of Trumpism.  We need to put this insanity behind us, fight to save the House and Senate, and get a better presidential candidate in 2020.

    • #29
  30. Brian Watt Member
    Brian Watt
    @BrianWatt

    In watching Trump discussing all of this, I may have adopted this expression:

    scottstrangelove

    • #30

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