AEI Middle East expert Ken Pollack rejoins the Remnant to attempt to make sense of Trump’s decision with the Kurds and other aspects of U.S. policy of late.

Shownotes

Go to The Dispatch 

The last Ken Pollack episode

Ken Pollack 

LA Times column on Trump winging it

On the Trump cult of personality 

Unthinkable – Ken Pollack

OTATrade.com/DINGO

TheDispatch.com – manifesto 

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There are 14 comments.

  1. JuliaBlaschke Coolidge

    Pollack is completely wrong about Iran. He has it backwards. The hardliners wanted the deal because they had Obama begging for it and giving them everything they wanted and they had no interest in holding to the terms.

    • #1
    • October 17, 2019, at 3:14 PM PST
    • 1 like
  2. TerryS Member

    I found this quote on Pollack’s Wikipedia page.It comes from a book he wrote promoting an invasion of Iraq back in 2002: “. . . the only prudent and realistic course of action left to the United States is to mount a full-scale invasion of Iraq to smash the Iraqi armed forces, depose Saddam’s regime, and rid the country of weapons of mass destruction.” Pollack predicted, “It is unimaginable that the United States would have to contribute hundreds of billions of dollars and highly unlikely that we would have to contribute even tens of billions of dollars.” Likewise, he wrote, “we should not exaggerate the danger of casualties among American troops. U.S. forces in Bosnia have not suffered a single casualty from hostile action because they have become so attentive and skillful at force protection.”

    Okay, then! I wish Goldberg had asked Pollack about this quote, I am afraid that since the election of Trump, Mr. Goldberg is at his least interesting when his topic is Trump.

    • #2
    • October 17, 2019, at 5:23 PM PST
    • 1 like
  3. kedavis Member

    It sounds like Trump is getting all the blame for cutting the Gordian knot that Obama tied in the first place. Mr Pollack’s theory-spinning about how it could have been done “sensibly” may sound nice, but relies entirely too much on everyone else following their commitments.

    • #3
    • October 17, 2019, at 7:54 PM PST
    • Like
  4. kedavis Member

    One reason why “Iranian moderates” is a joke, is that the only “moderates” that exist are the ones the hard-liners ALLOW to exist. i.e., allow to LIVE. NOTHING happens in Iran if the hard-liners don’t want it to.

    • #4
    • October 17, 2019, at 8:07 PM PST
    • 1 like
  5. Bishop Wash Member

    Does this discussion get into the different Kurdish factions and how this group in Syria is different from the one in Iraq? A lot of pundits are treating them as one monolithic group, to include Jonah last week. 

    • #5
    • October 17, 2019, at 8:21 PM PST
    • 1 like
  6. The Cloaked Gaijin Member

    kedavis (View Comment):

    One reason why “Iranian moderates” is a joke, is that the only “moderates” that exist are the ones the hard-liners ALLOW to exist. i.e., allow to LIVE. NOTHING happens in Iran if the hard-liners don’t want it to.

    The “Iranian moderates” phrase goes all the way back to the Reagan administration and Iran-Contra and when Vice President Bush was running for president.

    A lot has changed in 30 years but apparently not that.

    • #6
    • October 17, 2019, at 8:29 PM PST
    • Like
  7. kedavis Member

    Bishop Wash (View Comment):

    Does this discussion get into the different Kurdish factions and how this group in Syria is different from the one in Iraq? A lot of pundits are treating them as one monolithic group, to include Jonah last week.

    They didn’t really get into the backgrounds of any of the Kurds.

    • #7
    • October 17, 2019, at 9:25 PM PST
    • 1 like
  8. kedavis Member

    The Cloaked Gaijin (View Comment):

    kedavis (View Comment):

    One reason why “Iranian moderates” is a joke, is that the only “moderates” that exist are the ones the hard-liners ALLOW to exist. i.e., allow to LIVE. NOTHING happens in Iran if the hard-liners don’t want it to.

    The “Iranian moderates” phrase goes all the way back to the Reagan administration and Iran-Contra and when Vice President Bush was running for president.

    A lot has changed in 30 years but apparently not that.

    40 years from the “revolution” and the Iran Hostage Crisis that thankfully got Carter out of the White House.

    “Moderates” can’t even appear on “election ballots” in Iran unless the hard-liners allow it.

    • #8
    • October 17, 2019, at 9:29 PM PST
    • Like
  9. Bishop Wash Member

    kedavis (View Comment):

    Bishop Wash (View Comment):

    Does this discussion get into the different Kurdish factions and how this group in Syria is different from the one in Iraq? A lot of pundits are treating them as one monolithic group, to include Jonah last week.

    They didn’t really get into the backgrounds of any of the Kurds.

    Seems like an important piece of the discussion. 

    • #9
    • October 18, 2019, at 5:38 AM PST
    • 2 likes
  10. Joe D. Lincoln

    I think Jonah needs to have someone with whom he disagrees with on these podcasts. I find some of his arguments fairly convincing but then I’ll read something that seems to contradict him that I also find fairly convincing. If I am really to be convinced one way or the other I need a debate among people who disagree.

    I consider myself a conservative, and am sympathetic to free trade policies. However, I am also sympathetic to the idea that we have allowed unfair competition to reduce jobs for manufacturing in America. I am further sympathetic to the idea that we should want to protect those jobs. On China, I think even though the trade tensions are harmful to the economy, if we can drive supply into Malaysia, Vietnam, elsewhere… and out of China that would be a win even if the jobs don’t come back to the USA.

    Similarly on foreign policy, I think the idea that we need to stand by our allies to be compelling. However, we have a gigantic deficit, and military spending is not trivial. I think we need to scale the military back if only so we can build it up when we need to. I also in general don’t think America should be involved in so many wars. I believe the 2003 Iraq War was an unbelievably bad mistake and this screw up with the Kurds in Syria cannot possibly compare to that mistake.

    • #10
    • October 18, 2019, at 2:06 PM PST
    • Like
  11. Architectus Member

    JuliaBlaschke (View Comment):

    Pollack is completely wrong about Iran. He has it backwards. The hardliners wanted the deal because they had Obama begging for it and giving them everything they wanted and they had no interest in holding to the terms.

    True. The most (unintentionally) funny line from Pollack, paraphrased: “The hardliners were afraid that after the agreement, the Americans would pull out and Iran would be left holding the bag, and be forced to still comply with the agreement.”

    Ha! They were left holding the enormousness bags full of cash in multiple national currencies that Obama shipped over on pallets in a cargo plane. And does Pollack really believe that the Iranians had any intention of complying with the terms of the agreement, even for a moment? Seriously? 

    • #11
    • October 20, 2019, at 9:44 AM PST
    • Like
  12. kedavis Member

    Architectus (View Comment):

    JuliaBlaschke (View Comment):

    Pollack is completely wrong about Iran. He has it backwards. The hardliners wanted the deal because they had Obama begging for it and giving them everything they wanted and they had no interest in holding to the terms.

    True. The most (unintentionally) funny line from Pollack, paraphrased: “The hardliners were afraid that after the agreement, the Americans would pull out and Iran would be left holding the bag, and be forced to still comply with the agreement.”

    Ha! They were left holding the enormousness bags full of cash in multiple national currencies that Obama shipped over on pallets in a cargo plane. And does Pollack really believe that the Iranians had any intention of complying with the terms of the agreement, even for a moment? Seriously?

    There’s an easy joke to be made, but I don’t.

    • #12
    • October 20, 2019, at 9:46 PM PST
    • Like
  13. Barry Jones Thatcher

    Do these guys read? The troops going to Saudi Arabia will be there to train them on the Patriot missile systems they bought. When they are trained, the troops will leave – or at least that is my understanding. I guess there is no point in allowing the facts to influence a full on “Trump is an idiot” rant.

    • #13
    • October 21, 2019, at 11:08 AM PST
    • Like
  14. kedavis Member

    Maybe they only read The Dispatch.

    • #14
    • October 21, 2019, at 1:35 PM PST
    • Like