Saturday, May 5, 2018

Evidence-free diplomacy.

“I believe there was a chemical attack. We are looking for the actual evidence,” the secretary told lawmakers on Thursday.[1]
~ James Mattis, U.S. Secretary of Defense.

That was Gen. Mattis’s statement on April 12, 2018. Two days later, France, Britain, and the U.S. bombed Syria because of its alleged responsibility for the highly-debatable chemical weapons attack in Douma. Some new YouTube videos must have been uploaded to put any USG doubts to rest.

To give Mattis his due, I am reasonably certain that his likely hesitancy (informed by personal combat experience) about charging off half cocked was overridden by the president’s eagerness to “do something.” Would that the old witticism were now in everyone’s mind: “Don’t just do something. Stand there!

Onward into the Deep Woods where there are many monsters.

[1] "Mattis: Still no evidence on Syria chemical attack, but I believe there was one ." By RT, 4/12/18.


HoundOfDoom said...

At this point, I'm certain that no one in the US Government ever believed that there was a chemical attack. However, bombing Syria served several useful purposes for this administration, among them helping the Norks to the negotiating table. Our treatment of Syria remains a concern, though. I'm sure it's coincidence that the Sauds want to control the territory so they can better move oil to Europe. The Israelis are no friends of Assad either, but I wonder if they have really thought through what a post Assad Syria would look like, and how much more of an enemy it would be. At this point, only one thing is clear. The ME is a mess, and will continue to be one, regardless of our involvement. Honestly, were it up to me, I'd pull us back to Israel, remove the Palis, and let the Chinese and Russians beak their teeth on the rest. Also would support a independent Kurdistan (let THEM draw the borders, not us), an a live and let live alliance with SA and Egypt. Iraq was and is a disaster except for the arms suppliers, and Iran can be contained with orbital nukes as a Damoclean (I made a word) disincentive over their heads.

Col. B. Bunny said...

Clearly, Trump and May have undertaken major initiatives on zero forensic evidence. One hundred years after the end of the first massive bloodletting of the last century, I'm inclined to ask meekly for all leaders everywhere to take a deep breath and go back to acting on hard evidence and only in accordance with the U.N. Charter. As "inconvenient" as the Charter's provisions are they are "it" for now, sorta kinda like the "Iran deal" that Mr. Trump is hell bent on bailing from. I thought it was, like, a deal about which Mr. Trump wrote a whole book. Who knew "deals" could be artfully negotiated and closed and then tossed. Something I missed in contract law, I guess.

Possible true about the Norks though I wonder if they were under the impression that the U.S. ISN'T a dangerous loose cannon from a lot of prior evidence like you know what. (Is there a safe loose cannon?)

I'm not a big fan of the oil/gas pipeline explanation for anything taking place in the M.E. The Saudi's don't need a pipeline to move oil, the present tanker-based system being more than adequate to have made them fabulously wealth over the decades. Ditto Qatar. It invested in plants to liquefy natural gas and ship it by impressive ships and has more money than it knows what to do with. Investing in jihadis waging war in Syria is a sure indicator of having a lot of spare cash to play with.

There is also the question of Israel's need for water, which I understand is great. One or more of its forays into Lebanon may have been designed to gain access to water but I only saw this idea mentioned in passing in recent reading somewhere on the internet (SOTI).

Clearly, Israel pursued of policy of destabilization but that is a failed strategy as Iran is supporting Iraq and Syria and Russia has clearly placed its thumb on the scale in Syria. Israel's and America's current hysteria over Iran seems to be to be contrived and I'm hoping that others see the same contrived arguments.

Israel is thus left to contemplate different and very serious realities suggested by their defeat in Lebanon in 2006 and the current introduction into Syria of ever more capable air defense systems. I calculated that an S-300 missile launched from Damascus, say, would reach the IAF base 85 miles away in 1.2 minutes. Israel has to know that its days of aerial dominance are over and that conventional ground forces well led and dug in can be a match for IDF armor and infantry. Capable ATGMs can be supplied to Arab forces by the Russians just as the very effective ATGMs were supplied to anti-Assad infantry by the U.S.

Israel is an artificial state that cannot survive without an expensive military AND massive financial and other support from the U.S. It is beyond me why the U.S. should have such an artificial and expensive relationship to this foreign country in the M.E. It benefits us not at all but distorts our foreign policy enormously. I care as much for Israel as I do for Romania or Zanzibar.

An economic spasm in the U.S. -- inevitable I think -- will generate ripples that will reach many a distant shore. I doubt Americans have any inkling about what waves are about to break on our shores as a result of reckless military adventure around the world ($32M/hour) and profligate and delusional fiscal and social policies. America has squandered all moral authority with its regime change garbage, lies about its objectives in Syria, and lawless behavior in the international arena. That a birdbrain like Nikki Haley is our ambassador to the U.N. says it all. America is exhausted and confused.