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Author Topic: Both the left and the right agree. Our Mid East policy is pretty bad Back to Topics
airfresh

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Message Posted: Jul 18, 2013 1:21:50 PM

Two columnists in two different papers today. One on the left the other on the right are saying the same thing. And neither of these guys is on the fringes. They're both moderates.

From the right:

“There is a sense you can count less on America,”

""Many Israeli political figures share a concern: That America has also become reactive. That it is focused on disrupting short-term threats rather than developing long-term strategies. And that American politics has turned inward toward domestic concerns. “There is a sense you can count less on America,” according to Meridor, “that it is weaker, or has chosen not to act, or that events are out of control, or a combination.”

"The Obama administration, according to Meridor, “tried a different approach, with resets and accommodations. But is America today more loved, respected or more feared? With sorrow, it is not.” American passivity and confusion have left a trail of missed opportunities. During the Iranian Green Revolution of 2009, the administration remained fixed on a strategy of regime engagement. In 2011, it hesitated in supporting Syria’s civil uprising. Since 2011, it managed to convince every side in Egypt that America has betrayed them.""

From the left:

One of the worst recurring features of U.S. foreign policy is a process that might bluntly be described as “seduction and abandonment.” Now it’s happening in Syria.

""Imagine for the moment that you are a Syrian rebel fighter who has been risking his life for two years in the hope that Obama was sincere about helping a moderate opposition prevail not just against Assad but against the jihadists who want to run the country. Now, you learn that Washington is having second thoughts. What would you think about America’s behavior?

Let me quote from a message sent by one opposition member: “I am about to quit, as long as there is no light in the end of the tunnel from the U.S. government. At least if I quit, I will feel that I am not part of this silly act we are in.” A second opposition leader wrote simply to a senior American official: “I can’t find the right words to describe this situation other than very sad.”

An angry statement came this week from Gen. Salim Idriss, the head of the moderate Free Syrian Army. After Britain, like the U.S., backed away from supplying weapons, he told the Daily Telegraph newspaper: “The West promises and promises. This is a joke now. ... What are our friends in the West waiting for? For Iran and Hezbollah to kill all the Syrian people?""

Leading from behind is a contradiction in terms. Or maybe just impossible.
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airfresh
Champion Author Massachusetts

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Message Posted: Nov 12, 2013 11:19:17 AM

That's one way of looking at it btc. If you wish to divert the conversation away from Syria. World issues happen on each presidents watch. Syria has been part of Mr Obama's tenure from early on. He's the Pres and he's made some very disturbing decisions that only he has ownership of.

His moving line in the sand. His unwillingness to back up his commitments allowed the line to be moved and moved and moved until he backed himself into a corner where he was willing to grab any way out. Putin and Assad deftly saw that and offered him a way out that would insure they have no consequences. Pretty smart guys. But we look like... well I don't want to be any more disrespectful then I have.

Mr Obama is the one who allowed the shift away from Assad and his brutal regime. And from what I've witnessed it was a total miscalculation based not on what was best for all but what was best for the Pres. As far as presidents go...doing what's best for ones own image rather then what's best usually results in neither.
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btc1
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Message Posted: Nov 12, 2013 10:58:22 AM

With the wars we have fought in Afghanistan then invading Iraq, is there any wonder we are in trouble with our policy in the Mid-East?!!
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airfresh
Champion Author Massachusetts

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Message Posted: Nov 12, 2013 10:45:41 AM

"It isn't that they can't see the solution. It is that they can't see the problem" G.K. Chesterton
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airfresh
Champion Author Massachusetts

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Message Posted: Nov 12, 2013 10:23:32 AM

Our policy in Syria just gets worse and worse with each passing day and each additional child dying of starvation or disease due to lacking basic medical needs.

I've been pretty respectful of the president personally. I've certainly criticized a policy or program I believed was wrong ill conceived or just unnecessary. But I've also given him credit and even posted a couple topics over the past few years either defending him or praising him for making the right decision.

But his handling of the Syrian issue has allowed Russia, Iran and Syria to play him for a fool. As I write this... they are all deftly delaying any and all movement on inspections of chemical weapons... each of the allies are free to supply Assad with any and all conventional weapons he needs to continue to kill his opposition in as brutal a way as possible...and they continue to do so. And there is now zero nada nyet pressure on Assad to change his behavior or be changed.

What little world focus there is now is on "inspections".

As I said in my OP... leading from behind is impossible. An oxymoron... a contradiction in terms. And Syria is an example for the results.

Is it chemical weapons that are the problem? Or is it a cruel and inhumane leader who thinks nothing of killing his own people with any means at his disposal? Let's say any and all chemical weapons at his disposal are eliminated. Would that save one life?

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no1doc
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Message Posted: Nov 11, 2013 9:23:36 AM

America’s previously unchallenged hegemony in the Middle East is in free fall.

from link: "Twelve years after the U.S. invaded Afghanistan to topple the Taliban and a decade after the misguided invasion of Iraq -- both designed to consolidate and expand America’s regional clout by removing adversaries -- Washington’s actual standing in country after country, including its chief allies in the region, has never been weaker. Though President Obama can order raids virtually anywhere using Special Operations forces, and though he can strike willy-nilly in targeted killing actions by calling in the Predator and Reaper drones, he has become the Rodney Dangerfield of the Middle East. Not only does no one there respect the United States, but no one really fears it, either -- and increasingly, no one pays it any mind at all."
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AC-302
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Message Posted: Sep 21, 2013 9:44:45 AM

I have to say, and again, I take ZERO joy in it, but on the world stage, Obama has been a bumbling fool. He goes on a tour overseas to basically say "America is arrogant; America sucks", and even bows to the King of Saudi Arabia. (I have to believe that this comes from his days of studying at the madrassa in Jakarta - Indonesia is the largest Muslim country, by the way).

Anyway, Obama's inept foreign policy is making the US look weak and indecisive - and we are both, particularly in the mid-East. His weakness makes him and America LESS able to use our influence to further goodness and democracy in the world, not more so.
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no1doc
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Message Posted: Sep 19, 2013 2:32:28 PM

Obama: I Meant to Do That
....
from the link:
"In his ABC interview, the president repeatedly said that his goal is to do something about chemical weapons: “And what I’ve said consistently throughout is that the chemical-weapons issue is a problem. I want that problem dealt with.

“That’s my goal,” he declared. “And if that goal is achieved, then it sounds to me like we did something right.”

That is a huge bait-and-switch.

Until the August 21 chemical-weapons attack in the Damascus suburbs, the administration was not primarily concerned with chemical weapons. It was concerned with doing whatever it could — short of intervening militarily — to see to it that Syrian president Bashar Assad would either step down or be forced out. In 2011, Obama said: “For the sake of the Syrian people, the time has come for President Assad to step aside.” And, a year later: “I have indicated repeatedly that President al-Assad has lost legitimacy, that he needs to step down.” And in May, at a news conference with the Turkish prime minister: “We both agree that Assad needs to go. . . . That is the only way we’re going to resolve this crisis. And we’re going to keep working for a Syria that is free from Assad’s tyranny.”

That goal is now dead. The new Putin-Obama compact is a boon to Assad in that it brings him into the so-called international community, which America has spent the last two years trying to kick him out of. This “represents an astonishing victory for the Assad regime,” writes Bloomberg’s Jeffrey Goldberg"
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airfresh
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Message Posted: Sep 18, 2013 8:44:40 AM

This guy is a liberal's liberal

Even in an article where he shows his disdain for Obama he shows his hatred of Bush as well.

"It’s not difficult to pick winners and losers here. Clearly, Russia is a winner — the deal-maker, the guarantor, the U.N. Security Council member packin’ a veto. Israel wins in the short run if Syria actually disposes of its WMDs. The long run, though, is a different story. Israel’s preoccupation is Iran and its presumed effort to make a nuclear weapon. If this happens, that’s another Obama red line — possibly another chance to wobble. But the Syrian people are the sure losers. The United States, the Russians and the Assad regime have a deal. WMDs must go. The killing by other means can continue.

As for everyone else, we’re all losers. Because of Obama’s fecklessness — abetted by a Congress that has turned darkly isolationist — the world is now a less safe place. The policeman has proved to be a bumbler. He is unschooled in foreign policy. Rogues and killers have taken the measure of him. He is smaller than first appeared.

An Obama forced to act like Bush is ironic, but no fun. They both got into their fixes by adhering to false policies. Bush had a red line for WMDs that didn’t exist. Obama, in the end, didn’t have one for WMDs that did. "

Like I said this guy is no conservative or repub. He's a dyed in the wool liberal. I really have to repeat what he wrote here because it reflects what I've seeing...."The policeman has proved to be a bumbler. He is unschooled in foreign policy. Rogues and killers have taken the measure of him. He is smaller than first appeared."

Read the article. There's even some hate Bush stuff in there that will make people on the left all warm and fuzzy.
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AC-302
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Message Posted: Sep 17, 2013 11:51:20 PM

Worryfree said: "It got a bit better last night. Diplomacy before bombs is good."

--Unfortunately, it was due to Vlad Putin, not due to Obama. And I take ZERO joy in saying that Obama's foreign policies have been a failure. After all, that means that AMERICA is failing at influencing the world in a positive fashion, and that's not good for any of us, left, right nor center. Now, Obama's tomfoolery has actually made Vlad Putin the hero here - and once again, I lament having to say that. However, Syria has been a client state of Russia/FSU for probably 60 years. Syria cannot exist without Russian support.
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NothingNew
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Message Posted: Sep 17, 2013 10:17:06 PM

Our entire Middle East policy has been based on the old John Wayne approach to the world. The Middle East has been fed up with this for thirty years. Americans being fed up is a new phenomena. And about time.

Since WWII, we have been the policemen, judge, jury and executioner to the world. We go in with guns blazing, and then make excuses after the failures. The only "success" we claim is giving Kosovo to some Albanians who wanted a "homeland". While Serbia had a whipping due after Bosnia, we didn't attend that ceremony. Something about Clinton and Lewinsky. Instead, we took a part of traditional Serbia, and gave it to the Albanians who had occupied the area. Success, right?

I have news for you; that was NOT a success. The Albanians already had a homeland. It is spelled A-L_B-A-N-I-A.

Bang bang, John Wayne.

Not ONE success that we can brag about in over sixty years. But we sure have spilled a LOT of American blood in our failures. Not to mention the people who occupied the lands we "policed".

Maybe it's time Americans got fed up. The rest of the world sure is.
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mudtoe
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Message Posted: Sep 17, 2013 12:08:32 PM

airfresh: "I can't say I disagree with him on that point."


Certainly Putin is the hands down winner in this whole fiasco, as is Assad. The hands down loser is Obama, and unfortunately the prestige of the United States goes down with him.


mudtoe
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airfresh
Champion Author Massachusetts

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Message Posted: Sep 17, 2013 10:28:44 AM

Interesting take on Syria

"The recent op-ed article by Putin in The New York Times introduces the Putin Doctrine, which shrewdly calls for the peaceful resolution of conflicts and opposes any outside intervention in civil wars without the U.N. Security Council’s approval. It presents Russia as the guardian angel of international law and order."

" Yet, in reality, it is Russia, which has enabled Bashar Assad to butcher more than 100,000 Syrian citizens by supplying Syria with lethal weapons and other military equipment to suppress the uprising. Without Russia’s active support, the Assad ruling family would have been long gone."

"The United States has yet to determine what are its core national interests in Syria and the Middle East as a whole. The events of the last two weeks demonstrate clearly that the administration is confused and lacks a clear direction."

"Putin perceives Obama’s United States as an inward looking, dithering and confused nation, unable to determine its true interests and role in the world."

I can't say I disagree with him on that point.
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worryfree
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Message Posted: Sep 11, 2013 11:11:19 AM

It got a bit better last night. Diplomacy before bombs is good.
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Grizdad
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Message Posted: Sep 11, 2013 6:18:29 AM

No doubt!
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kiatoindos
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Message Posted: Sep 9, 2013 2:56:51 PM

Not just the mid east our entire foreign policy is a joke!
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AC-302
Champion Author Los Angeles

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Message Posted: Sep 8, 2013 5:58:04 PM

jayrad1957 said: "Agreed. It is very easy to make campaign promises. Most campaigners are not "in the know" of our countries secrets. When they take office and find what reality is really like, it can be very difficult to change positions and not look like " a chump". I am glad I am not in their shoes."

--And you bring up a very good point. Another such promise - Obama was going to close Guantanamo Bay. And to an extent, he has partially done so. However, it isn't completely closed yet, nor will it be. I think after he got elected the first time, the Joint Chiefs sat him down and explained the war, it's objective and the need to house battlefield terrorists not on US soil. But you are right in that he spoke on the campaign trail before he had ALL of the facts, and later spoke to the people helping to call the shots. And he probably could have spoke to them before-hand as Senator, but apparently did not.
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ZennieWA
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Message Posted: Sep 8, 2013 3:02:38 PM

Do we even have a mid east policy or do we just wing it daily depending on who is complaining loudest?
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mudtoe
Champion Author Cincinnati

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Message Posted: Sep 8, 2013 2:35:20 PM

EZ: "--Except, in Obama's case of the "red line" comment in August 2012 during a campaign stop, he had been president for 3.5 years, and I would certainly hope to have at least some grasp on our country's secrets."



Ouch!! That one left a mark!


mudtoe
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EZExit
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Message Posted: Sep 8, 2013 1:38:40 PM

Jayrad: <<<"It is very easy to make campaign promises. Most campaigners are not "in the know" of our countries secrets.">>>

--Except, in Obama's case of the "red line" comment in August 2012 during a campaign stop, he had been president for 3.5 years, and I would certainly hope to have at least some grasp on our country's secrets.
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jayrad1957
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Message Posted: Sep 8, 2013 1:35:29 PM

"When you make statements during a campaign, statements set for a world stage, and then run away from those statements after the election and fail to act on your "position", you'll always look like a chump."

Agreed. It is very easy to make campaign promises. Most campaigners are not "in the know" of our countries secrets. When they take office and find what reality is really like, it can be very difficult to change positions and not look like " a chump". I am glad I am not in their shoes.
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EZExit
Champion Author Phoenix

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Message Posted: Sep 8, 2013 1:16:15 PM

I'll say one thing in regards to Washington's current bungling of Mid East foreign policy, we are now finding unlikely bedfellows all over the place. Cats are sleeping with dogs, hell is freezing over, and democrats joining forces with republicans fighting or supporting some sort of military action.

When you make statements during a campaign, statements set for a world stage, and then run away from those statements after the election and fail to act on your "position", you'll always look like a chump.
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AC-302
Champion Author Los Angeles

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Message Posted: Sep 7, 2013 11:23:43 AM

I think I agree that our mid-East policy leaves much to be desired. You have ONE staunch ally in the mid-East, and that would be Israel. While "our eternal friends, the Saudis" my have a royal family who likes us, the majority of their radical element citizens detest us. The only thing that keeps us together is oil. And I think that Saudi Arabia tolerates Israel only because the other radical Arab thug regimes are actually DANGEROUS to Saudi Arabia, where Israel poses no threat and has no expansionist dreams of any kind. But getting back to the point, we have one staunch ally, whom Obama and his lib Dems tend to "beat on", rather than taking an even-handed approach. And I get it. The Lib Dems have a tendency to "like" the underdog. I get that it's fashionable to tout the Palestinians as these poor, oppressed, underdog people in need of lifting up. And that's great, but the Dems aren't willing to look at the morality of their cause. When one does look at the morality of the Palestinian cause, the the Palestinian leaders, their positions are indefensible. I wonder if one were to substitute the words "American" or "black" into some of the statements that the Palestinians make, if the lib dems would find them palatable? I think they would not.
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no1doc
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Message Posted: Sep 7, 2013 9:24:16 AM

If It Wasn’t Syria, It Would Have Been Something Else

Victor Davis Hanson makes a number of valid points in this link:

"Obama thinks in an untrained manner and for all the talk of erudition and education seems bored and distracted—and it shows up in the most critical moments. Had he wished to stop authoritarians, prevent bloodshed and near genocide, and foster true reform in the Middle East, there were plenty of prior, but now blown occasions: a) the “good” war in Afghanistan could have earned his full attention; b) the “bad” Iraq War was won and needed only a residual force to monitor the Maliki government and protect Iraq airspace and ensure quiet; c) the green revolution in Iran was in need of moral support; d) Qaddafi could have been continually pressured for further reform rather than bombed into oblivion; e) postwar Libya needed U.S. leadership to ensure that “lead from behind” did not lead to the present version of Somalia and the disaster in Benghazi; e) long ago, the president could have either kept quiet about Syria or acted on his threats when Assad was tottering and the resistance was less Islamist; f) he could have warned the one vote/one time Muslim Brotherhood early on not to do what everyone in the world knew it would surely do; g) he need not have issued tough serial deadlines to Iran that we have not really enforced and probably have no intention of enforcing.

Instead, Obama relied on his rhetoric and talked loosely, sloppily and inconsistently from crisis to crisis, the only common denominator being that he always took the path of least resistance and thus did nothing concretely to match his cadences. Usually to the degree he made a decision, he made things worse with empty, first-person bombast."

Summation: More strategy, less rhetoric.

[Edited by: no1doc at 9/7/2013 9:26:14 AM EST]
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e_jeepin
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Message Posted: Sep 5, 2013 1:09:28 PM

"Our policies suck because our leaders suck. Cause and effect 101."

Yep, a reckless controlling party and an opposition party hiding under their desks.

Has America ever experienced this horrible combination before? Even Democrats pushed back at Carter -- not today -- total tag-alongs.

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no1doc
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Message Posted: Sep 5, 2013 12:19:54 PM

"Is it possible that it might possibly not reflect well on the MSM's fearless... uh... feckless leader?"
....
Give that man a cigar.

"In a time of universal deceit, telling the truth is a revolutionary act." George Orwell
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airfresh
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Message Posted: Sep 5, 2013 9:01:15 AM

<<<Libya has plunged unnoticed into its worst political and economic crisis since the defeat of Gaddafi">>>

And why is it going unnoticed?

Is it possible that it might possibly not reflect well on the MSM's fearless... uh... feckless leader?

No need to answer.
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no1doc
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Message Posted: Sep 5, 2013 7:13:09 AM

the Independent: "Special report: We all thought Libya had moved on – it has, but into lawlessness and ruin.

Libya has plunged unnoticed into its worst political and economic crisis since the defeat of Gaddafi"
....

How Did Obama's Last Middle East Adventure Go?

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mudtoe
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Message Posted: Sep 4, 2013 8:26:30 PM

Our policies suck because our leaders suck. Cause and effect 101.



mudtoe
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worryfree
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Message Posted: Sep 4, 2013 8:03:07 PM

Solomon would not be able to come up with a rational and effective Mideast policy. That area makes a hornet's nest seem tame. I wish we could move Israel somewhere safe...
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no1doc
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Message Posted: Sep 4, 2013 10:34:16 AM

"So who is laughing loudest at us? Russia or Iran? Does it matter?"
...
I'd go with Iran. Although Putin might have chucked when he addressed the president as a Nobel Peace Prize laureate.

“I would like to address Obama as a Nobel Peace Prize laureate: Before using force in Syria, it would be good to think about future casualties,”

“Russia is urging you to think twice before making a decision on an operation in Syria,”

[Edited by: no1doc at 9/4/2013 10:34:53 AM EST]
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teacher_tim
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Message Posted: Sep 4, 2013 10:09:44 AM

So who is laughing loudest at us? Russia or Iran? Does it matter?

We can settle all this by having Hillary go over and meet with both sides. She'll be ready to solve it with, "What difference does it make now?"
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no1doc
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Message Posted: Sep 4, 2013 10:01:42 AM

Skepticism Runs High On Capitol Hill After Classified Syria Briefing

From a DEM,“I’m still very skeptical about the President’s proposal. It is not clear to me that we know what the result of this attack would be, or whether it will be effective,” said Democratic Rep. Jim Himes, who serves on the House intelligence committee. “And in that room, there’s a lot of memories of another time when the president’s people came in and said they had slam-dunk intelligence and that’s not an episode most members ever want to repeat.”

From a GOP,“It is a broad document and given the specificity with the president has been speaking on this, it is a little difficult to reconcile what he’s asked for with the document that is now before us,” said GOP Rep. Scott Rigell, who led more than hundred members of Congress to sign a letter asking the President to seek a congressional vote before striking Syria.



[Edited by: no1doc at 9/4/2013 10:03:13 AM EST]
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airfresh
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Message Posted: Jul 19, 2013 3:46:59 PM

Actually the first article was about the mid east in general.

And my topic is about our lack of leadership as it pertains to the middle east.

But if you'd like to discuss Egypt did the Obama administration support Morsi? Did he support Morsi stepping down? Was he in favor of the opposition? Was he not?
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NE Guy
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Message Posted: Jul 19, 2013 3:20:07 PM

<There is no good guy here.>

You seem to have missed the fact that I was speaking about Syria, which is what the two articles you posted pertained to.

No matter. We can move over to Egypt if you like.
Seems if anything, Egypt’s ‘Revolution’ betrayed itself.How Egypt's 'revolution' betrayed itself.

Report shows that most Egyptians oppose Morsi's removal

Sounds like the Egyptians prefer the old ways after all.
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airfresh
Champion Author Massachusetts

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Message Posted: Jul 19, 2013 10:05:40 AM

<<<There is no good guy here.>>>

To quote one of the articles on the Obama administration...""Since 2011, it managed to convince every side in Egypt that America has betrayed them.""

Let's just try and play all sides against each other and let it implode and see what we end up with. Yeah that will win friends and influence people. Isn't that what the stated goal of the administration is? Make people like us? Hate to break it to them... even that it ain't working.
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PopcornPirate
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Message Posted: Jul 19, 2013 9:06:05 AM

Stay out of other sovereign countries affairs.
We got to stop being the police force for the world
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NE Guy
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Message Posted: Jul 18, 2013 8:03:00 PM

>Leadership doesn't mean going to war NE. Quite the opposite.<

I thought the same way 10 years ago. And we are not at war in Syria currently. I am quite fine with that.

>Not sure sitting on the sidelines accomplishes anything positive. Or worse... making promises and drawing lines in the sand that you have no intention of backing up or following through on.<

Don't really see any horse worth backing in Syria. The ruling minority Alawites, who are receiving funding from the Iranian Shia and support from the Lebanese Hezbollah, versus the majority Sunni protesters, who are receiving funding from Saudi Arabia, training from Jordan and support from Al Queda.
And not one side likes America's biggest ally, Israel.

There is no good guy here.

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airfresh
Champion Author Massachusetts

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Message Posted: Jul 18, 2013 6:41:04 PM

Leadership doesn't mean going to war NE. Quite the opposite.

Not sure sitting on the sidelines accomplishes anything positive. Or worse... making promises and drawing lines in the sand that you have no intention of backing up or following through on.
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NE Guy
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Message Posted: Jul 18, 2013 4:58:38 PM

How about we consistently stay out of the affairs of other countries that have no love or use for us, unless it's money and weapons.

In the end, all we would be doing is helping the next oppressive regime who will resent the US and stab us in the back.

History is repeating itself again and again.
Have we learned nothing?
Are Americans addicted to war?
How many more foreign civil wars will we involve ourselves in?

The middle east is a hopeless region full of backwards tribal people who will never stop killing each other and resent the U.S. for being there.
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