What will the Western cow do?

Assad’s troops are – one year on from the ineffective Trump cruise missile attacks – again using chemical warfare and consequently bringing on some form of western attack. What will it be?  Well we can guess that it will be more effective because the last attack was not meant to be effective and Trump has been insulted when he was talking about going home!


  1. Trump has no choice other than to do something more this time.

The HIRISE cow was obviously not interesting in stopping Assad’s mob from doing this kind of attack and we ought to assume that the main players rather than attempt to block it, accept this latest build up of chemical actions (there had been a steady build up over a few smaller attacks) as some necessary cost of doing business. After all didn’t HIRISE accept the price last year and didn’t it all blow over and they continue to make substantial gains ever since? The whole world saw that the attacks were ineffective and at least most of the world have been able to admit that the counter revolutionary HIRISE cow has made those gains in the intervening period.

The Assad policy of building rubblestan and sending refugees north in the tens of thousands are the policies that have been there all along.  HIRISE has enabled that war to continue. The territory opportunistically re-controlled in the last year -as Daesh was destroyed by the US led cow – absolutely against the will of that western cow – has been substantial and the control manpower has been found and the ‘ethnic’ clearing systematic in some areas but not along the Euphrates.  Sufficient HIRISE troops to hold the current footprint that they have established ARE on the ground provided they don’t go up against a Western US led cow.  The HIRISE are weakest along the Euphrates and ought never have been permitted to occupy this territory in the first place.  But Trump was not then interested in the punch up that he has now become interested in.

2. Now even just because of the explicit Russian threat there will be more than just cruise missiles and the attacks will unfold over some time rather than the short sharp and useless stunt of last year.  I also note that even more A10’s were the other day sent to Incirlik and McCain is clear  https://www.nbcnews.com/video/mccain-calls-for-us-airpower-in-syria-43835971887 but that was 6 years ago.

3. The longer this goes on and the closer to their so called ‘vital interests’ this is seen to come the more sure we can be that the Russians will either shoot something down or hit some launch site or it will be humiliated as unable to stand up to the US/West.  Obviously it is therefore now in a lose, lose situation so how will it choose to lose least is the question that Trumps advisor’s must consider? There is no good option.

The context of all this is that Putin’s audacity has continued to the point where the West has even had a chemical attack carried out in Britain. In order to achieve what? was the question that people were pondering before they apparently shrugged and moved on.  (North Korea’s dictator carried out a spectacular poisoning against a 1/2 brother and got away with it.) Trump recently indicated the US led cow had done the job and he was wanting to go home! That was not a possible choice at this stage so we can ask why, but because it is Trump it becomes imponderable.  The point is this problem of Vlad and his HIRISE mates is worse now than last year and it was bad then.

4. It follows that the world is now caught in a spiral where nobody planned to be.  The West led by Trump is going to strike – that is for sure – and if the Russians hit back directly the US will escalate.  It would therefore be better for the US/West to attack the other members of the HIRISE cow and hope the Russians don’t get silly or that if they do they fail on every occasion.  I can hope but can’t see how they will.

I conclude that in the McCain context of a fightback position being adopted by the Donald something like the opportunity to drive the enemy back across the Euphrates where the US killed a couple of hundred Russian ‘contractors’ recently and thus start the attacks on the Iranians must be a big temptation.


8 Responses to “What will the Western cow do?”

  1. 1 patrickm

    This Steve is US interests spelt out as clear as you could want.

    It’s Time to Use American Airpower in Syria
    By John McCain
    March 5, 2012

    After a year of bloodshed, the crisis in Syria has reached a decisive moment. It is estimated that more than 7,500 lives have been lost. The United Nations has declared that Syrian security forces are guilty of crimes against humanity, including the indiscriminate shelling of civilians, the execution of defectors, and the widespread torture of prisoners. Bashar Al-Assad is now doing to Homs what his father did to Hama. Aerial photographs procured by Human Rights Watch show a city that has been laid to waste by Assad’s tanks and artillery. A British photographer who was wounded and evacuated from the city described it as “a medieval siege and slaughter.” The kinds of mass atrocities that NATO intervened in Libya to prevent in Benghazi are now a reality in Homs. Indeed, Syria today is the scene of some of the worst state-sponsored violence since Milosevic’s war crimes in the Balkans, or Russia’s annihilation of the Chechen city of Grozny.

    What is all the more astonishing is that Assad’s killing spree has continued despite severe and escalating international pressure against him. His regime is almost completely isolated. It has been expelled from the Arab League, rebuked by the United Nations General Assembly, excoriated by the U.N. Human Rights Council, and abandoned by nearly every country that once maintained diplomatic relations with it. At the same time, Assad’s regime is facing a punishing array of economic sanctions by the United States, the European Union, the Arab League, and others—measures that have targeted the assets of Assad and his henchmen, cut off the Central Bank and other financial institutions, grounded Syria’s cargo flights, and restricted the regime’s ability to sell oil. This has been an impressive international effort, and the Administration deserves a lot of credit for helping to orchestrate it.

    The problem is, the bloodletting continues. Despite a year’s worth of diplomacy backed by sanctions, Assad and his top lieutenants show no signs of giving up and taking the path into foreign exile. To the contrary, they appear to be accelerating their fight to the finish. And they are doing so with the shameless support of foreign governments, especially in Russia, China, and Iran. A steady supply of weapons, ammunition, and other assistance is flowing to Assad from Moscow and Tehran, and as The Washington Post reported yesterday, Iranian military and intelligence operatives are likely active in Syria, helping to direct and sharpen the regime’s brutality. The Security Council is totally shut down as an avenue for increased pressure, and the recently convened Friends of Syria contact group, while a good step in principle, produced mostly rhetoric but precious little action when it met last month in Tunisia. Unfortunately, with each passing day, the international response to Assad’s atrocities is being overtaken by events on the ground in Syria.

    Some countries are finally beginning to acknowledge this reality, as well as its implications. Saudi Arabia and Qatar are calling for arming opposition forces in Syria. The newly-elected Kuwaiti parliament has called on their government to do the same. Last week, the Supreme Allied Commander of NATO, Admiral James Stavridis, testified to the Senate Armed Services Committee that providing arms to opposition forces in Syria could help them shift the balance of power against Assad. Most importantly, Syrians themselves are increasingly calling for international military involvement. The opposition Syrian National Council recently announced that it is establishing a military bureau to channel weapons and other assistance to the Free Syrian Army and armed groups inside the country. Other members of the Council are demanding a more robust intervention.

    To be sure, there are legitimate questions about the efficacy of military options in Syria, and equally legitimate concerns about their risks and uncertainties. It is understandable that the Administration is reluctant to move beyond diplomacy and sanctions. Unfortunately, this policy is increasingly disconnected from the dire conditions on the ground in Syria, which has become a full-blown state of armed conflict. In the face of this new reality, the Administration’s approach to Syria is starting to look more like a hope than a strategy. So, too, does their continued insistence that Assad’s fall is “inevitable.” Tell that to the people of Homs. Tell that to the people of Idlib, or Hama, or the other cities that Assad’s forces are now moving against. Nothing in this world is pre-determined. And claims about the inevitability of events can often be a convenient way to abdicate responsibility.

    But even if we do assume that Assad will ultimately fall, that may still take a really long time. In recent testimony to the Senate Armed Services Committee, the Director of National Intelligence, James Clapper, said that if the status quo persists, Assad could hang on for months, possibly longer. And that was before Homs fell. So just to be clear: Even under the best-case scenario for the current policy, the cost of success will likely be months of continued bloodshed and thousands of additional lives lost. Is this morally acceptable to us? I believe it should not be.

    In addition to the moral and humanitarian interests at stake in Syria, what is just as compelling, if not more so, are the strategic and geopolitical interests. Put simply, the United States has a clear national security interest in stopping the violence in Syria and forcing Assad to leave power. In this way, Syria is very different than Libya: The stakes are far higher, both for America and some of our closest allies.

    This regime in Syria serves as the main forward operating base of the Iranian regime in the heart of the Arab world. It has supported Palestinian terrorist groups and funneled arms of all kinds, including tens of thousands of rockets, to Hezbollah in Lebanon. It remains a committed enemy of Israel. It has large stockpiles of chemical weapons and materials and has sought to develop a nuclear weapons capability. It was the primary gateway for the countless foreign fighters who infiltrated into Iraq and killed our troops. Assad and his lieutenants have the blood of hundreds of Americans on their hands. Many in Washington fear that what comes after Assad might be worse. How could it be any worse than this?

    The end of the Assad regime would sever Hezbollah’s lifeline to Iran, eliminate a long-standing threat to Israel, bolster Lebanon’s sovereignty and independence, and inflict a strategic defeat on the Iranian regime. It would be a geopolitical success of the first order. More than all of the compelling moral and humanitarian reasons, this is why Assad cannot be allowed to succeed and remain in power: We have a clear national security interest in his defeat. And that alone should incline us to tolerate a large degree of risk in order to see that this goal is achieved.

    Increasingly, the question for U.S. policy is not whether foreign forces will intervene militarily in Syria. We can be confident that Syria’s neighbors will do so eventually, if they have not already. Some kind of intervention will happen, with us or without us. So the real question for U.S. policy is whether we will participate in this next phase of the conflict in Syria, and thereby increase our ability to shape an outcome that is beneficial to the Syrian people, and to us. I believe we must.

    The President has characterized the prevention of mass atrocities as, quote, “a core national security interest.” He has made it the objective of the United States that the killing in Syria must stop, and that Assad must go. He has committed the prestige and credibility of our nation to that goal, and it is the right goal. However, it is not clear that the present policy can succeed. If Assad manages to cling to power—or even if he manages to sustain his slaughter for months to come, with all of the human and geopolitical costs that entails—it would be a strategic and moral defeat for the United States. We cannot, we must not, allow this to happen.

    For this reason, the time has come for a new policy. As we continue to isolate Assad diplomatically and economically, we should work with our closest friends and allies to support opposition groups inside Syria, both political and military, to help them organize themselves into a more cohesive and effective force that can put an end to the bloodshed and force Assad and his loyalists to leave power. Rather than closing off the prospects for some kind of a negotiated transition that is acceptable to the Syrian opposition, foreign military intervention is now the necessary factor to reinforce this option. Assad needs to know that he will not win.

    What opposition groups in Syria need most urgently is relief from Assad’s tank and artillery sieges in the many cities that are still contested. Homs is lost for now, but Idlib, and Hama, and Qusayr, and Deraa, and other cities in Syria could still be saved. But time is running out. Assad’s forces are on the march. Providing military assistance to the Free Syrian Army and other opposition groups is necessary, but at this late hour, that alone will not be sufficient to stop the slaughter and save innocent lives. The only realistic way to do so is with foreign airpower.

    Therefore, at the request of the Syrian National Council, the Free Syrian Army, and Local Coordinating Committees inside the country, the United States should lead an international effort to protect key population centers in Syria, especially in the north, through airstrikes on Assad’s forces. To be clear: This will require the United States to suppress enemy air defenses in at least part of the country.

    The ultimate goal of airstrikes should be to establish and defend safe havens in Syria, especially in the north, in which opposition forces can organize and plan their political and military activities against Assad. These safe havens could serve as platforms for the delivery of humanitarian and military assistance—including weapons and ammunition, body armor and other personal protective equipment, tactical intelligence, secure communications equipment, food and water, and medical supplies. These safe havens could also help the Free Syrian Army and other armed groups in Syria to train and organize themselves into more cohesive and effective military forces, likely with the assistance of foreign partners.

    The benefit for the United States in helping to lead this effort directly is that it would allow us to better empower those Syrian groups that share our interests—those groups that reject Al Qaeda and the Iranian regime, and commit to the goal of an inclusive democratic transition, as called for by the Syrian National Council. If we stand on the sidelines, others will try to pick winners, and this will not always be to our liking or in our interest. This does that mean the United States should go it alone. We should not. We should seek the active involvement of key Arab partners such as Saudi Arabia, U.A.E., Jordan, and Qatar—and willing allies in the E.U. and NATO, the most important of which in this case is Turkey.

    There will be no U.N. Security Council mandate for such an operation. Russia and China took that option off the table long ago. But let’s not forget: NATO took military action to save Kosovo in 1999 without formal U.N. authorization. There is no reason why the Arab League, or NATO, or a leading coalition within the Friends of Syria contact group, or all of them speaking in unison, could not provide a similar international mandate for military measures to save Syria today.

    Could such a mandate be gotten? I believe it could be. Foreign capitals across the world are looking to the United States to lead, especially now that the situation in Syria has become an armed conflict. But what they see is an Administration still hedging its bets—on the one hand, insisting that Assad’s fall is inevitable, but on the other, unwilling even to threaten more assertive actions that could make it so.

    The rhetoric out of NATO has been much more self-defeating. Far from making it clear to Assad that all options are on the table, key alliance leaders are going out of their way to publicly take options off the table. Last week, the Secretary General of NATO, Anders Fogh Rasmussen, said that the alliance has not even discussed the possibility of NATO action in Syria—saying, quote, “I don’t envision such a role for the alliance.” The following day, the Supreme Allied Commander, Admiral James Stavridis, testified to the Senate Armed Services Committee that NATO has done no contingency planning—none—for potential military operations in Syria.

    That is not how NATO approached Bosnia. Or Kosovo. Or Libya. Is it now the policy of NATO—or the United States, for that matter—to tell the perpetrators of mass atrocities, in Syria or elsewhere, that they can go on killing innocent civilians by the hundreds or thousands, and the greatest alliance in history will not even bother to conduct any planning about how we might stop them? Is that NATO’s policy now? Is that our policy? Because that is the practical effect of this kind of rhetoric. It gives Assad and his foreign allies a green light for greater brutality.

    Not surprisingly, many countries, especially Syria’s neighbors, are also hedging their bets on the outcome in Syria. They think Assad will go, but they are not yet prepared to put all of their chips on that bet—even less so now that Assad’s forces have broken Homs and seem to be gaining momentum. There is only one nation that can alter this dynamic, and that is us. The President must state unequivocally that under no circumstances will Assad be allowed to finish what he has started, that there is no future in which Assad and his lieutenants will remain in control of Syria, and that the United States is prepared to use the full weight of our airpower to make it so. It is only when we have clearly and completely committed ourselves that we can expect other countries to do the same. Only then would we see what is really possible in winning international support to stop the killing in Syria.

    Are there dangers, and risks, and uncertainties in this approach? Absolutely. There are no ideal options in Syria. All of them contain significant risk. Many people will be quick to raise concerns about the course of action I am proposing. Many of these concerns have merit, but none so much that they should keep us from acting.

    For example, we continue to hear it said that we should not assist the opposition in Syria militarily because we don’t know who these people are. Secretary of State Hillary Clinton repeated this argument just last week, adding that we could end up helping Al Qaeda or Hamas. It is possible the Administration does not know much about the armed opposition in Syria, but how much effort have they really made to find out—to meet and engage these people directly? Not much, it appears.

    Instead, much of the best information we have about the armed resistance in Syria is thanks to courageous journalists, some of whom have given their lives to tell the story of the Syrian people. One of those journalists is a reporter working for Al Jazeera named Nir Rosen, who spent months in the country, including much time with the armed opposition. Here is how he describes them in a recent interview:

    The regime and its supporters describe the opposition, especially the armed opposition, as Salafis, Jihadists, Muslim Brotherhood supporters, al-Qaeda and terrorists. This is not true, but it’s worth noting that all the fighters I met … were Sunni Muslims, and most were pious. They fight for a multitude of reasons: for their friends, for their neighborhoods, for their villages, for their province, for revenge, for self-defense, for dignity, for their brethren in other parts of the country who are also fighting. They do not read religious literature or listen to sermons. Their views on Islam are consistent with the general attitudes of Syrian Sunni society, which is conservative and religious.

    Because there are many small groups in the armed opposition, it is difficult to describe their ideology in general terms. The Salafi and Muslim Brotherhood ideologies are not important in Syria and do not play a significant role in the revolution. But most Syrian Sunnis taking part in the uprising are themselves devout.

    He could just as well have been describing average citizens in Egypt, or Libya, or Tunisia, or other nations in the region. So we should be a little more careful before we embrace the Assad regime’s propaganda about the opposition in Syria. We certainly should not let these misconceptions cause us to keep the armed resistance in Syria at arms length, because that is just self-defeating. And I can assure you that Al Qaeda is not pursuing the same policy. They are eager to try to hijack the Syrian revolution, just as they have tried to hijack the Arab Spring movements in Egypt, and Tunisia, and Libya, and elsewhere. They are trying, but so far, they are failing. The people of these countries are broadly rejecting everything Al Qaeda stands for. They are not eager to trade secular tyranny for theocratic tyranny.

    The other reason Al Qaeda is failing in Tunisia, and Egypt, and Libya is because the community of nations, especially the United States, has supported them. We are giving them a better alternative. The surest way for Al Qaeda to gain a foothold in Syria is for us to turn our backs on those brave Syrians who are fighting to defend themselves. After all, Sunni Iraqis were willing to ally with Al Qaeda when they felt desperate enough. But when America gave them a better alternative, they turned their guns on Al Qaeda. Why should it be different in Syria?

    Another objection to providing military assistance to the Syrian opposition is that the conflict has become a sectarian civil war, and our intervention would enable the Sunni majority to take a bloody and indiscriminate revenge against the Alawite minority. This is a serious and legitimate concern, and it is only growing worse the longer the conflict goes on. As we saw in Iraq, or Lebanon before it, time favors the hard-liners in a conflict like this. The suffering of Sunnis at the hands of Assad only stokes the temptation for revenge, which in turn only deepens fears among the Alawites, and strengthens their incentive to keep fighting. For this reason alone, it is all the more compelling to find a way to end the bloodshed as soon as possible.

    Furthermore, the risks of sectarian conflict will exist in Syria whether we get more involved or not. And we will at least have some ability to try to mitigate these risks if we work to assist the armed opposition now. That will at least help us to know them better, and to establish some trust and exercise some influence with them, because we took their side when they needed it most. We should not overstate the potential influence we could gain with opposition groups inside Syria, but it will only diminish the longer we wait to offer them meaningful support. And what we can say for certain is that we will have no influence whatsoever with these people if they feel we abandoned them. This is a real moral dilemma, but we cannot allow the opposition in Syria to be crushed at present while we worry about the future.

    We also hear it said, including by the Administration, that we should not contribute to the militarization of the conflict. If only Russia and Iran shared that sentiment. Instead, they are shamelessly fueling Assad’s killing machine. We need to deal with reality as it is, not as we wish it to be—and the reality in Syria today is largely a one-sided fight where the aggressors are not lacking for military means and zeal.

    Indeed, Assad appears to be fully committed to crushing the opposition at all costs. Iran and Russia appear to be fully committed to helping him do it. The many Syrians who have taken up arms to defend themselves and their communities appear to be fully committed to acquiring the necessary weapons to resist Assad. And leading Arab states appear increasingly committed to providing those weapons. The only ones who seem overly concerned about a militarization of the conflict are the United States and some of our allies. The time has come to ask a different question: Who do we want to win in Syria—our friends or our enemies?

    There are always plenty of reasons not to do something, and we can list them clearly in the case of Syria. We know the opposition is divided. We know the armed resistance inside the country lacks cohesion or command and control. We know that some elements of the opposition may sympathize with violent extremist ideologies or harbor dark thoughts of sectarian revenge. We know that many of Syria’s immediate neighbors remain cautious about taking overly provocative actions that could undermine Assad. And we know the American people are weary of conflict—justifiably so—and would rather focus on domestic problems.

    These are realities, but while we are compelled to acknowledge them, we are not condemned to accept them forever. With resolve, principled leadership, and wise policy, we can shape better realities. That is what the Syrian people have done.

    By no rational calculation should this uprising against Assad still be going on. The Syrian people are outmatched. They are outgunned. They are lacking for food, and water, and other basic needs. They are confronting a regime whose disregard for human dignity and capacity for sheer savagery is limitless. For an entire year, the Syrian people have faced death, and those unspeakable things worse than death, and still they have not given up. Still they take to the streets to protest peacefully for justice. Still they carry on their fight. And they do so on behalf of many of the same universal values we share, and many of the same interests as well.

    These people are our allies. They want many of the same things we do. They have expanded the boundaries of what everyone thought was possible in Syria. They have earned our respect, and now they need our support to finish what they started. The Syrian people deserve to succeed, and shame on us if we fail to help them.

    John McCain is a Republican Senator from Arizona. This text is a speech he delivered on the Senate floor and agreed to publish as a TNR article.

  2. 2 Steve Owens

    1 You do realise that this piece by McCain is 6 years old and terribly out of date.
    2 He’s calling for intervention to stop Iran gaining influence in Syria. Im afraid that not only has the horse bolted but the hinges on the gate have rusted and fallen off.
    3 People are being slaughtered in Syria and McCain wants to project this crime against humanity as somehow being against US interests but clearly no more so than the slaughter in Rwanda or Grozny these slaughters happened with seemingly no effect on US interests.
    US interests are much more concrete
    Six years ago I supported the creation of safe havens and I still think that reducing the Syrian airforce to garbage would be a good thing but I think that arguing that it would be in US interests is a joke. Since McCain wrote this piece 2 US administrations have had the chance to review their position on Syria and neither have concluded that the US should intervene either on the grounds of humanity or the grounds of self interest.

  3. 3 Steve Owens
  4. 4 patrickm

    I think you are correct that for the moment ‘done and dusted virtue signalling complete’ is almost the case.

    But as shown above you have not grasped how bad Obama opportunism and Trump opportunism are at accepting the price to be paid for western interests and the world is not the better for both of their failures. At least we have seen how the French and British NOW insisted on being involved in a military strike! You might like to consider their actions given Russian activities across the globe (take your pick why they might be wanting to send stronger messages because they clearly are wanting to do so).

    The sanctions against Russia that the west is about to put in place is also to be welcomed. Obviously from my POV not anywhere near enough but no territory will be handed back to Assad or any HIRISE and the Syrian people will attack them again when they get half a chance and they will.

    The old form of rule is no longer even possible and this gigantic human effort has now created a new region where revolution is spreading and everyone is required to take a stand.

    Self evidently for 60 years administration after administration got US interests dead wrong. The left view of the world was correct. The realists policies across all these years created or else sustained this region wide (really almost global wide) disaster! That is why the US imperialists are so hated and it took years for some liberals to even grasp that they actually had to unite with them to fight against ISIS types! There is a reason that Chomsky and the other organ grinders can recite the litany of US horror policies. There is a well known litany. Genuine US interests even of just the owning-class / ruling-class were not served by those policies that cause the US to be so hated (now even when on the side of the angels). These feeble attempts to return to the old policies are demonstrating that the changes are absolutely required! They are not able to return to the policies and when they try it just gets worse. US and western interests under Obama’s leadership went right down the toilet! Trump is only very marginally better and only on a very, very few issues. We really are in some uncharted waters.

    A genuine left vision must re-emerge from the intellectual swamp that has fuckwits like the Oz greens mistaken for anything to do with leftists. Look at the gutter pseudo-leftists that took to the streets to object to the western attacks against Assad’s chem buildings! Don’t tell me these gutter crawlers have ever understood what the struggle for democracy requires.

    Your position is that the revolutionary war has been lost. I can’t see this.

    My position is that Turkey and the US now have big footprints in a former united country that had a tyrants troops going where they wanted when they wanted and killing democrats at will! Now they can’t do that without the help of HIRISE and the region has an interest in resisting massive refugee flows that must be sustained by the tyranny. Assad bombs because he must not because he wants to. The masses who flee the HIRISE want to go to West Europe and not Iran or Russia or Shia militia rich regions of Iraq nor Lebanon or Egypt. This HIRISE tiger is ultimately a paper tiger. Turkey is bringing these masses back to their own country and they have the good sense to be coming back armed!

    The question is will the Turkish footprint get handed back to Assad? Do democrats have an interest in seeing the HIRISE rot and the Turkish state hold together and return to the democratic progress that they were on under the leadership of Erdogan? I even think that Rouhani can obviously be seen to be involved in a struggle as is the new leader in the KSA and their struggles are important.

    Will the US bug out of the ‘Kurdish’ region or will it 1st protect the Kurds at least east of the Euphrates and then will they protect the coming revolutionary struggles that spreads along the Euphrates? Raqqa and this river land are not Kurdish and Kurds that were 10% were as often as not living in the major cities of Damascus and Aleppo. Have a good look at the maps. The Kurdish issue involves Turkey. It is almost totally a Turkish Kurd issue. Assad has played a Kurd hand for years as has our HIRISE tiger. The Turks called their bluff. The Russians are not bombing the Turks. Ultimately the Turkish footprint is going to produce a democratic enclave where the FSA regroup and gain strength.

    Remember just how hated the Iranian ruling thugs are so perhaps when ‘it’ comes (and another revolution will) they will get away with what Assad has shown as a way forward for tyranny. But he was losing and required a HIRISE tiger to save him. Who will be in a position to save the hated tyrants in Iran that can’t even not share power at this stage!

    The actual revolution has been with the Russian intervention of 2.5 years standing set dramatically back but it is in no sense back to the start.

  5. 5 Steve Owens

    “Self evidently for 60 years administration after administration got US interests dead wrong….”
    Pat this is ahistoric nonsense. For 60 years the US was competing with Moscow for global domination. Starting in 1945 Moscow was in good shape with communism and revolutionary nationalism presenting Washington with an existential crisis.
    Washington did exactly what was in their interests they supported dictators and interfered with elections to favor the pro Washington candidates, they staged coups. (Do you think that the election of an anti communist Polish pope was an accident?)
    Yes all this caused some anti US blowback but the main game was world domination and the US won. US corporate and military interests dominate the globe while what is left of communism write each other nasty notes on the internet.

  6. 6 patrickm

    While it’s obvious various forces do what they think is in their interests a historical perspective ought to reveal much more than what these mere mortals knew or thought when taking their decisions. http://foreignpolicy.com/2011/12/15/the-bend-of-history/ Shurely outcomes over even a few decades reveal the wisdom of the various policy ‘investments’ and from my perspective virtually all of the great events of the 20th century were a series of disasters for the owning classes entering upon these projects. The new kept coming.

    Despite the trendy view https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Francis_Fukuyama#Neoconservatism ‘Neoconservatives: believed that history can be pushed along with the right application of power and will. Leninism was a tragedy in its Bolshevik version, and it has returned as farce when practiced by the United States. Neoconservatism, as both a political symbol and a body of thought, has evolved into something I can no longer support.’ that then backed Obama I say look how that turned out! Containment?!? I think the later century world of superpower contention that we grew up in is now long gone and that a lastsuperpower is now well down histories economic and political slippery dip. http://www.bbc.co.uk/programmes/p0278cgw.

    From 1945 to 2005 is the sixty years and that makes 1975 the halfway point of the period. Even the idiot pseudoleftists out defending Assad against current Western ‘Imperialists’ just the other day would concede these few years is hardly as ambitious as a 1,000 year Reich. Policy is more like a decade by decade scramble to stay ahead of the curve. From my perspective that actual observable curve is that ‘nations want liberation countries want independence and the people want revolution’. In the case of Vietnam ‘Direct U.S. military involvement ended on 15 August 1973. The capture of Saigon by the North Vietnamese Army in April 1975 marked the end of the war’ 21 months later. The Philippines lasted just over a decade longer. ‘On February 25, 1986, Corazon Aquino was inaugurated as president, a victory officially recognized by the U.S. That same day Marcos fled the country for permanent asylum in Hawaii, ending twenty years of autocratic rule.’ Look how the current Philippines treats the west and the US. The Iranian coup held for only 26 years! (Even East Germany lasted 41 years). How can any of these short term projects really be said to have done the US owning class good? Didn’t Nixon going to China do far more good for them than their former policies? The older policies had turned to mush and the social fascists were still threatening the world with war but how did funding Al Qaeda help anything? The US had to face up to their stupidity of being great pals with the Pakistan swamp and not just over the Bangladesh slaughter either; they are still facing up to this problem.

    Rabid anti communism is not the same thing as ‘the main game was world domination’. Obviously they were spectacularly anti democratic where they believed that democracy would lead to the election of communists and that worked a spectacular treat for them in Asia, not. It has been a long time since their drawn out defeat in indochina and then onwards to the end of the Marcos dictatorship. We were about to turn 30 at that time and I don’t know about you but I’m now about to turn 62! I don’t recall these years as good for US ruling class interests. The mighty USA had all those ‘gigantic’ international victories backing ratbags and invading mighty Grenada and Panama and even telling the British to give up on the Falklands! Where are the Generals now? Portugal, Spain, Greece,Turkey, South Korea, Taiwan progress almost everywhere in the US sphere. Where is the Pinochet regime? How long did that well know US ruling elite backed crime last? These temporary victories for US realists were historically feeble. Then another decade after Marcos and South Africa topples over etc etc. I can’t see that the realist policies did anything much past ‘lifting a rock only to drop it on one’s own foot’ as Mao reminded us.

    ‘Moscow’ was not in good shape in 1945 after such an exhaustive effort to defeat the fascism that the vicious appeasers had built up and sent against the revolutionary USSR. The Appeasers policies had backfired on them but the revolutionary USSR was now an exhausted revolution where the very best of the masses were often the first of the Nazi shot / world capitalist sent casualties! Just as the ruling classes had come off second best from WW1 they did again in WW2. The promethean style policies the world’s leading ruling elites followed in the 20 short years between the wars ended in another disaster for them but the price was paid by the worlds working peoples. Just like in Syria now. Nowhere near as good an outcome by comparison to the 2003 war to liberate the people of Iraq and obviously so.

    But still at WW2’s end the revolutionary USSR was held in high esteem by the working peoples of the world. That societies revolutionary status came to a full stop when the old flawed revolutionary died in early 1953 (even if some more impressive results like sputnik still flowed through from the seeds that were already planted). In 1945 it was able to support more revolution and did so with very mixed results till it fully turned into its opposite under Stalin’s successors.

    The US owning class had huge opportunities before them as a result of having massively expanded when virtually everyone else had been smashed in WW2 but they made most of their huge gains in all the countries of Western Europe and Japan, Germany and Italy where they assisted in economic and social development. They gained in countries like Australia, NZ and were in a dominant competitive position in almost all of the world to gain markets for their high quality goods and capital. Capitalism boomed and they rose right along with it.

    They overspent on their military and got nothing but long term problems for themselves as a result of the major anti democratic policies they pursued. Eisenhower was correct in warning the US people of where the unwise military / industrial complex would drag them. The anti democrats caused grief in Greece and Turkey; did nothing to bring Franco to book; opposed the Chinese revolution; fought in Korea and installed a gangster regime in the south; organised a coup in Iran that got them only a couple of decades of not much from that country; backed zionism pissing off most of the world and placing an Albatros right round their own necks; went along with South Africa pissing off virtually that whole great continent and a mighty chunk of their own people and then there are all the western hemisphere interventions to annoy the chicano types. Great work!

    As for popes well https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Pope_John_Paul_I 33 days for the last of the Italians and then opportunity knocked hard for Catholic expansionism! But anyway by the time the Catholic Cardinals ‘mysteriously’ chose a Polish Pope in October 1978 the police state USSR had long ago needed to be fought by anyone even vaguely progressive. The conservative catholics of Poland played the same role in starting the swamp draining in that swamp as are the Islamists in the MENA. The CIA and conspiracy theories are not required.

    Naturally the western voices not explaining to the world that the East European police states were intolerable were found in the western pseudoleft and they were the idiots that wanted fascism in Portugal not replaced by a typical west european capitalism but with precisely the same police state setup. No one bought it of course. Exactly the isolated gutter crawlers that took to the streets again just the other day to defend Assad from British, French and US attacks bemoan the actual progress.

    As the Suez crisis showed the US was even then still a mixed bag capable of pushing back against the decrepit old style imperialisms. You ought not confuse what and where they were making the actual progress from and what was holding them back from more rapid progress. The policies of the world’s leading capitalist countries (with all those monarchies still in tact mind) were catastrophic to produce WW1 and then 20yrs later (without all those monarchies!) WW2. So owning class / ruling class leaderships both old and new have form in choosing policies that come back to sweep them into history’s dustbin.

    A solid point to reflect on is that Condi speaking for the GWB administration believed that the policies had not from their POV achieved desirable results and that the US was now taking a different direction. McCain would have taken a different course to Obama, and I guess even Obama would have done it differently if he could look back!

    The ‘US corporate and military interests dominate the globe’ line makes no sense at all! The US owning class are now and have been for decades in a very competitive global environment. I don’t even see a huge amount of US product or capital dominating where ½ a century ago it set up the largest factory under one roof in the southern hemisphere. Just how long ago did the Japanese take that then failing plant over? So long ago now that the plant has been closed by the Japanese for what; a decade?

    Just watching Trump deal with the Japanese PM over cars flooding into the US. The US does not dominate the world like it did in the 1950’s. Hell that is a lifetime ago!!

    “If you have democracy, people will vote for washing machines. They love them!” Rosling said. Rosling’s mother pointed out the final evidence of the washing machine’s power. Since she didn’t have to wash Rosling’s family’s clothes by hand, she had time to go to the library. She had time to read to Rosling His mother also borrowed books for herself. She learned English. “Thank you, industrialisation. Thank you, steel mill. And thank you, chemical processing industry that gave us time to read books,” Rosling said.’

    I love that attack on green thinking!

    Incidentally do you think Putin going into Georgia was a wise move? Do you think his policies will prove to be counter productive in some sort of long term sense? The Russians are now locked into a gangster politics that IMV has nothing going for it in a ‘long’ term perspective.

    Steve in your view what political leadership across the western world (or across the globe if you prefer) is currently worthy of the name? IMV the direct ending of the failed Obama leadership is not dealing with that failed style liberalism and everyone are a long way from mission accomplished in dealing with fascism and gangsterism that is out of the box and producing the well known pictures on our TV screens of lines of refugees driven out of their various homes and countries. It seems clear to me that refugees are a symptom and when a policy is producing them the sickness can’t be fixed by just opening borders.

    Countries like Turkey are obliged to accept the refugees as Erdogan is doing but that can’t be the end of the issue or the fascists will have won. Country shopping after that first step is then going to rob the people of the original country of their best and brightest with the get up and go to leave ‘it’ all behind and make a new life for themselves in Norway or whatever. Mao had policies on internal refugees because he was intent on fixing problems by making revolution and massively raising living standards

    https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=usdJgEwMinM maybe your on par with the chimps as well! Start the world and find out.

  7. 7 Steve Owens

    Pat you counter my argument with stuff about Fukuyama. Do you think that I support the ideas of Fukuyama?
    You describe the USSR post Stalin as a police state (Police state is a term denoting a government that exercises power arbitrarily through the power of the police force. Originally the term designated a state regulated by a civil administration, but since the beginning of the 20th century, the term has “taken on an emotional and derogatory meaning” by describing an undesirable state of living characterized by the overbearing presence of the civil authorities.[1]

    The inhabitants of a police state may experience restrictions on their mobility, or on their freedom to express or communicate political or other views, which are subject to police monitoring or enforcement. Political control may be exerted by means of a secret police force that operates outside the boundaries normally imposed by a constitutional state.)
    Was not the USSR before the death of Stalin a police state? Is this not just the case of you condemning a police state you dont like while praising a police state that you do like?
    ‘nations want liberation countries want independence and the people want revolution’. God that must have sounded revolutionary in the 60’s but nations are a human concept, nations cant want anything, countries are a human concept and have no ability to have wants, people want revolution now that is at least possible but honestly when was the last time you came across a “normal” person who expressed revolutionary sentiments they just dont exist outside of really really small revolutionary circles.
    Making cars as a measure of where a society is. Well that made lots of sense in 1958 and in 1968. By 1978 it was losing its power as a measure by 2008 it was nonsense and by 2018 using car manufacturing as a measure of world industrial dominance well it just doesnt cut it, things change.
    I love the Rosling stuff I remember when I first started to post his clips here was that 6 or 8 years ago my memory not what it was.

  8. 8 steve owens

    Here’s what the western COW is doing and good on them

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