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  • $206 Mn. to Hate Groups to Promote anti-Muslim Sentiment
    • Thanks for this important story which will probably be ignored by practically everyone else.

  • Pyrrhic Victory? As Iraq rolls back Daesh, can it stay together as a Country?
    • What we have seen since WWII and the independence of so many former colonies is that while the new countries usually make no sense from an ethnic, social or even economic basis, re-alignment is fraught with such difficulties that the governing elites don't dare try and take the necessary moves to re-combine with other areas to make up logical states. Enough nationalism has been created within the boundaries drawn up by colonial powers that no one wants to give up any territory. Look at Nigeria and their civil war, for example. I think the best hope may be a federation/confederation where the local areas have a lot of autonomy, similar to Scotland in the UK

    • Problem with an independent Kurdistan is Turkey. They are deathly afraid of such a situation and abhor the idea of a Kurdistan anywhere that could attract the Kurds in Turkey to fight to join their fellow Kurds. It might be more destabilizing than a sullen, non-independent Kurdistan.

  • The end of the Beginning: The Fall of ISIL in Fallujah
    • ISIS/ISIL made a large strategic mistake by setting up a caliphate with a set territory and government. What they did was to establish themselves as a target. They were going to be defeated eventually unless the Iraqi government had collapsed. As long as that didn't happen, their defeat was inevitable; it was only a matter of time. The biggest mistake a rebellion or insurgency can make is to go too soon to regular military actions instead of guerrilla war. The leaders of ISIS were unrealistic and didn't study the lessons of history.

    • You are much too optimistic. An insurgency does not need all the financing that setting up and running a government with territory does. An insurgency can be done on the cheap. There are many historical examples of this. The key is the effectiveness and legitimacy of the Iraqi government. If they continue to discriminate against Sunnis, the chances of insurgency remain high.

  • Obama: Hating on Muslim-Americans makes you an ally of ISIL, & Unamerican
    • The war in the Middle East and terrorism are very complex issues. The President is not there to explain all the complexities, which 98% of the people either don't care about or couldn't understand. He has to simplify things in order to expose the dangerous aspects of Trump's policies. The criticisms in the article and many of the posts here are rather nit picking and don't understand how political speeches are supposed to work. This was a good political speech. It was not meant to be a tutorial on these complex subjects. Read some of the speeches of FDR before WWII, for example. His genius was in simplifying complex issues in order to mobilize the US populace, not explain all the ins and outs of international relations.

  • Welcome to the Party, America! 11 Muslim women who have been PM or President
    • Graduate of Yale Law School, Legal Aid attorney, staff member of a congressional committee, elected and re-elected US senator, Secretary of State. Compare this to some recent candidates like George W. Bush who was nothing before trading in on his name to become governor of Texas, Donald Trump, even Obama who was a senator for a shorter time than Clinton. When her husband ran for and won his first public office as Arkansas Attorney General, it can be argued that Hillary was just as qualified as he was to hold the position. If Hillary Clinton were a man, this would not be an issue.

  • Obama in Hiroshima, Memorial Day and the Iran Deal
    • The threat came not from Iran, but from the US attacking Iran and creating more chaos and instability in the region. That is the threat reduced by Obama. If Trump is elected then all bets are off.

  • Egyptians "shocked" at Lieberman Appointment, note Barak's accusation of "fascism" in Tel Aviv
    • You think this is bad, as bad as Clinton is, imagine Trump, who is now in Sheldon Adelson's pocket, as President while Netanyahu goes further rightward. We live in perilous times.

  • Can Iran sue the US for Coup & supporting Saddam in Iran-Iraq War?
    • One small correction. From what I have read, the 1953 coup was a joint effort with British intelligence, so they should include the UK in their law, too. British Petroleum was a major player in Iran and Great Britain had more of an interest in Iran than the US from WWII until they decided to withdraw from east of Suez in 1968. I believe it was Nixon who really got us closely involved with the Shah..

  • Trump's Politics of Whiteness and the CIA tip that Jailed Nelson Mandela
    • Well, I guess I'd like to point out that US foreign policy has often changed according to the administration. For example, in the 20's in Latin America, it was all about dollar diplomacy, intervention and banana republics. FDR tried to change things with his good neighbor policy and he was largely successful. Then in the 50's and afterward, everything was focused on the anti-communist struggle, as we perceived it. You could have mentioned many other times when the US intervened because of concerns about communism, or even without that concern (Dominican Republic, 1965). However, historically, the US has also been very anti-colonial and that was a major disagreement between FDR and Churchill. As regards South Africa, it was a very conservative/liberal split as to what US policy should be. I remember arguing with a conservative back in the mid-60's about whether Mandela was a communist and in one of Thomas Frank's books he has a section on how the belief that the ANC was communist was a major tenet of conservative doctrine, which was opposed by liberals. In sum, there have been a number of zigs and zags in US foreign policy, so I tend to hesitate to use broad generalizations. As for the teaching of international relations, I was taught in the mid-60's by a European who focused on realism vs. idealism in foreign policy, so I don't think the charge of racism applied to my course work. The other major professor in the subject at my school was a Korean, so I doubt he was racist. I can't think of any professor in the field I ran into who would come close to fitting that bill and that includes professors in comparative government and area studies. Also, an interesting side note is that in the book Shock Doctrine, Naomi Klein relates how while Mandela was negotiating a turn over of the political reins from the Apartheid government, one of his chief lieutenants was basically giving away the store regarding the economy because he was unwittingly out manoeuvered.

  • Top 3 Signs Bill Clinton didn't kill himself to "give" the Palestinians a State
    • Good comments on this thread. You need to go back to the Balfour Declaration in 1917 and then the awarding of the mandate to Great Britain by the League of Nations. The US wasn't even a member of the League and had no interest in the area in the pre-WWII era. Also, when Israel claimed its independence and President Truman recognized it, it was against the recommendation of the State Department. In fact, the State Department was pretty anti-semitic in the first half of the 20th Century.

    • My thought upon reading that was they are stateless because their state was taken away from them.

  • I Blame the US Media for Donald Trump
    • The member companies of the media are businesses. Their main goal is to make money. If they made money by showing Latinas or anyone else as wonderful people, they would do that. I kind of get tired of the "blame someone else syndrome" as the cause for a problem. The problem boils down to an uninformed and ignorant populace. Too many of them are fed pap, because that is what they want to see. They don't want to think, analyze, do research, or find out the facts. Most Americans know more about the Kardashians than the Supreme Court. With the internet, there is no excuse for not finding out what is true and what isn't. When I was in college, there were a lot of classes available about Latin America. We had a Latin american Studies program. Anyone who wanted to, could take those classes or have that major. I took about 3 different classes, including a graduate seminar. Now you can find a lot of this information on line. Even before that you could find books in the library and read them for free. The problem isn't the media, it's the lazy public and the uninformed voters. The media are a reflection of that, not its cause.

  • The Pundits suddenly saying Trump could win in Nov.? No. Just, No
    • Trump is also driving up registration among Latino and other minority groups who will probably turn out in record numbers. The possible increase there is likely more than with white males, since they register and vote at high levels anyway. And spare us the apocalyptic babble. It's often the sign of a fear monger.

    • When you take Trump's unfavorability rating among women and minorities, Clinton is close to 50% of the vote without a single white male. Women make up 53% of the electorate and Trump has a 70% negative rating with women--that's 37% of the vote right there. I have been predicting for a month or so that Clinton will win by 10 to 12 percentage points and get around 350 electoral votes. It actually could get worse in the electoral college, but campaigns and candidates make a difference and you can't predict future events. But, with Trump seemingly intent on picking a fight with Paul Ryan, the most popular office holder in the GOP, it's almost as if he is sabotaging his own campaign.

  • Al-Qaeda Everywhere: US support for Oppressive Gov't's made Bin Laden's Killing Moot
    • I will defer to your knowledge of the Egyptian military. However, while US influence is critical in Central America, I don't believe it has done much to moderate regimes in South America. Specifically, both Brazil and Argentina had pretty brutal dictatorships during and after Carter's presidency. I remember during the 1960's when the US would not recognize military governments that took over by coups and there was a foreign policy debate as to whether it made sense. It proved to be totally useless in changing the incidence of coups or the behavior of the governments that followed. The governments that have arisen over the last 20 to 30 years, I believe, are more a reflection of the general political development of those countries and US policies have had little to do with those outcomes. I think your ideas have the possibility of encouraging the meddling of the US into the internal politics of countries when we should be encouraging the opposite. We can encourage positive steps, but I think anything else just invites blow back. We couldn't control the Afghan or Iraqi governments when we had a huge presence in those countries. There is a lesson there.

    • There is a lot to address here, but I will pick three points. First, the local government must be seen by the populace to be both legitimate and effective. If that happens, an insurgency cannot succeed. When the government is neither, insurgencies have an easy time with it. Castro never had more than maybe 100 followers when the Batista regime just fell apart. Second, Professor Cole says that the US either hasn't had the knowledge or the desire to promote social justice. He then cites Egypt as an example. Do you really think that the Egyptian generals would change their policies even if the US withdrew all of its aid? That certainly hasn't worked in the past with other regimes, it just makes them more intransigent. The US has been urging the Iraqi government to be more inclusive of Sunnis for years, but they have ignored us. Any change there will be because of Sadr and his supporters internally. Nationalism, nationalism, nationalism. I will keep repeating it until it is recognized. The US is very limited in what it can do to force regimes to change. Additionally any change will take considerable time. Look at the history of all democracies. I can't think of many that were smooth transitions from autocracy or dictatorship to democracy. It's usually a slow and messy process. Building functioning institutions takes time. Finally, decapitating leadership is not a cure all. However, it can degrade an organization. It depends on the organization. Experience shows that it is not leaders so much who are important, but technical specialists in many cases. Two examples from war time. The Stalin purges of the late 30's absolutely decimated the top officer class of the Soviet Army. Then when the Soviet Army had trouble beating Finland, everyone assumed that the loss of leadership meant the army was very ineffective. It turned out not to be the case. When given the chance and the opportunity, especially to learn from actual experience, those who had been lower level officers like majors and lieutenant colonels rose through the ranks to take on top positions and provide the needed leadership. In the Pacific War at one famous battle of carrier groups the US shot down over 300 Japanese planes, which decimated their air force. What was crucial, was not the loss of the planes, but the loss of the pilots. Japan never recovered from that. Probably the most important German for their war effort was Albert Speer, Minister of Armaments. In 1943, under intense allied bombing, he actually significantly increased German war output. So, it is those with a special skill who are probably most important.

  • The End of American Iraq: Poor Shiites invade Parliament over corrupt Spoils System
    • Thought I would add that the book Wealth and Democracy by Kevin Phillips details how the rentier class and rentier economies have destroyed once economically powerful countries. It is a path the US has been on for 30+ years, especially aggravated by, guess who, George W. Bush, under whose administration 60,000 factories went out of business and money trading exploded as a portion of the economy.

    • Another thing you could mention is how the Bush Administration practiced the spoils system within the Bremer Administration. Having read a number of books on the US presence there, I'm not sure which one details this the best, but it might be Imperial Life in the Emerald City. Basically, Americans sent to Iraq to help in the Bremer government were specifically hired for their partisan and ideological purity. In fact, if you had knowledge about the Middle East, they didn't want you. They preferred young ideologues who knew nothing about the Middle East, much less Iraq. For example, for the Iraq health system they brought in some guy from the U.S. Middle West whose big issue was anti-smoking. Not exactly a big issue when hospitals have been destroyed and basic care is lacking. A top economic appointment thought the most important thing for Iraq's economy was to set up a stock exchange. The failure of the Bremer Provisional Government was legendary and set the stage for future failure by leaving a legacy of spoils, mismanagement and near total incompetence.

    • I have read that this is a particular problem in the DOJ and may be one reason they have been so slow to prosecute Wall St. criminals.

  • Syria: As fierce Fighting reignites, Aleppo on brink of 'Humanitarian Disaster'
    • I live in the real world. It's not what should be done, but what can be done. What is the point of continuing the war against Assad if you can't win? To draw a parallel, always dangerous, when Nixon took office in 1969 he said he had a plan to end the Vietnam War. It turned out his plan was escalation and it did not succeed in bringing the North Vietnamese to their knees like Nixon and Kissinger hoped. So, four years later they worked out a peace deal that we now know he could have gotten four years earlier. Tens of thousand of people died in the interim, and for what? The only way Assad is going is if a coalition of nations invade the country and sides with his enemies. Not going to happen. Especially since many of his enemies are as odious as he is.

    • Bashir Assad is a dictator and war criminal. However, the balance of forces seem to be such that he cannot be defeated. The carnage has become so bad that I think an end to the civil war is required, even if that means leaving Assad in power. I believe this is the position the US and the West should take.

  • Trump's Foreign Policy is just GOP Boilerplate, only more Confused
    • You could take everything Trump knows about foreign policy, put it in a thimble, and have room left over for all his knowledge of domestic policy.

    • Under UN supervision 600 metric tons of chemical agents used for making poison gas were destroyed from Syrian stockpiles. There have been no reported uses of poison gas in Syria since. Wikipedia has a thorough article on the use of this gas. I am not aware of anyone who said Turkey was behind it. Human Rights Watch, not affiliated with any government, placed the blame on the Syrian government. Only Seymour Hersh seems to think it was a false flag operation. The evidence is murky, but most evidence points to the Syrian government. I find it quite strange how people are so quick to blame the US for all the problems in the area, even to go to the extreme of seeming to support a war criminal like Assad. I am finding ideologues of the left as unrealistic as ideologues of the right. One says the US can do no wrong, the other says that the US is to blame for everything that goes wrong. Nuance be damned.

  • Winning in Losing: How Sanders pushed Clinton to the Left
    • Not even Bernie could accomplish much if the House remains in Republican control. This is the reality. A reality most Bernie supporters don't want to acknowledge.

    • The left wing ideologues here show that they are as immune to facts and porpotionality as right wing ideologues. Anyone who lumps Clinton together with Republican neo-cons is politically blind. Keep at it Professor Cole. Some of us are able to make distinctions.

    • Bernie Sanders would have to win about 80% of the California vote and sweep the other states in order to win. Do you even know how delegates are apportioned in California? Do you know that there is a large pro-Hillary block of minority voters in California? Do you know that Hillary beat Obama by 10 percentage points in California in 2008? Do you know anything?

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    • Liberalism used in this context is not the same as current US liberalism. Liberalism in early 20th Century Europe meant what we consider today to be conservative economics. If you actually studied history and the history of Europe in the 20's and 30's and studied the rise of fascism in both Germany and Italy, you would realize that fascism was a right wing phenomenon. People who supported fascism in other countries were conservatives. People who supported it in the US were conservatives like Henry Ford. Sigh, so little understanding. Right wingers like to say Obama is a fascist because the Nazi Party's actual title was National Socialist and since Obama is a socialist, that makes him a fascist. Doesn't anybody study history and political theory anymore?

    • I find it hard to argue against opinions stated without any supporting evidence. That is what you think, but it doesn't make it so. Your prescription is basically burn down the village in order to save it. I suggest you read an article in today's Vox which gives a nuanced analysis of her foreign policy. Left wing ideologues seem to be as incapable of nuance as right wing ideologues. I'm curious, are there any Bernie supporters out there who have actually worked in government and/or studied political science? They all seem idealistic to the point of delusional. They don't live in the real world. There is a reason almost all Democratic office holders have supported Clinton and not Sanders. They realize what can and can't be done. Was Bill Clinton a disaster in foreign policy? No. Hillary Clinton won't be either. Trump would be a disaster. He knows almost nothing and understands even less.

    • Boy, can't believe these comments here. Bernie supporters hate Clinton as much as the right wing. Like most Bernie supporters, they seem to be extremely naive about politics and the political system. Politics is the art of the possible. Compromise is necessary. In case you haven't noticed, right wing Republicans control both houses of Congress and about two thirds of state government. The population is not mostly progressive; it is still a little to the right of center and slowly changing to a little left of center. Of course Clinton will move to the center after the nomination because she will want to attract the many moderate Republicans and independents who are turned off by Trump. By doing that she will win by about 10 to 12 percentage points and win about 350 electoral voters. How she governs will be almost totally determined by the makeup of Congress. Clinton was a strong liberal before most of Bernie's supporters were even born. The health care plan she developed in 1993 is more to the left than the adopted Affordable Care Act. The right wing can't stand her because they know she is a real liberal and they fear she will be successful. The right wing, for example, hate the ACA, not because they think it is a bad bill (it is mostly a Republican plan), but because they fear it will be successful and will promote the idea that government can make your lives better. Let's not forget what it will mean if Clinton loses. Trump is a racist, xenophobic, misogynist who thinks we should ban Muslims, is as pro-Israel as Clinton, wants to encourage nuclear proliferation, admires Putin, favors torture and the killing of the families of terrorists, encourages his supporters to beat up protesters, thinks Americans already make too much in wages, wants to lower taxes on the rich, wouldn't hesitate about using nuclear weapons in Europe, is incredibly ignorant about many issues and revels in insults. You want to take a chance at this man becoming president? What is wrong with you people?

  • Reinventing Saudi Arabia after Oil: The Prince's $2 Trillion Gamble
  • ISIL Endgame: Obama to send 250 more US Troops into Syria
    • A report over the weekend described talks between the President and King Salman of SA as clearing the air. That means they argued a lot. The Saudis are unhappy with Obama because of the Iran deal and he has made it clear he's not too pleased with them. The Saudis have threatened retaliation over a 9/11 bill in Congress, relations are at a low point right now. It is an election year. Obama knows that if the Republicans take the White House they will undo almost everything he has done. This is to give cover to the right flank of the Democratic nominee, IMHO. It's politics. There have been many books written on how internal politics influence foreign policy. He will be able to make plenty of money if he wants to and won't need any from any foreign power. A memoir will bring him probably at least $5 million. No president in the last 100 years has died in poverty.

    • I've been saying from the beginning we should stay out of Syria. If Obama wants to fight ISIS, he should do more to help Iraq take Mosul, even if that means allowing more Iranian support.

    • While I oppose this move, the last time Obama asked for Congressional direction on Syria, they didn't want to touch it with a 10 foot pole. Also, he submitted a renewal of the Authorization to Use Force Resolution over a year ago and Congress doesn't want to even debate that. I think this is all political. The Republicans don't want to do anything in Congress because then they have to make a decision and either support the President or don't support him and then open themselves up the the charge that they aren't willing to fight ISIS. I suspect Obama is doing this so that before the election he can further degrade ISIS and, more importantly, degrade the GOP arguments that he's not doing enough to fight ISIS. The Republicans want to not take a stand one way or another and then complain that Obama is weak on terrorism.

  • US finally acknowledging al-Qaeda factor in breakdown of Ceasefire
    • Don't confuse US policy under Bush with all US policy since WWII. The US did not become strongly pro-Israel until the 1967 War. Our support has waxed and waned depending on the president. In Egypt, for example, we opposed Nasser, supported Sadat, accepted/supported Mubarak, did not oppose his overthrow, gave lukewarm support to Morisi and now reluctantly accept the generals. In Iran we supported the Shah and initially tried to maintain relations with the Ayatollah until the students took over the embassy. Now we are basically accepting their dominance in the Persian Gulf. The US is a status quo power and we prefer democracies, but have learned to live with dictatorships. You need to look at the whole of history and view our involvement in broader, more general terms in context of the world system. We pretty much let Great Britain take the lead in the Middle East until the 1956 invasion and then took over the lead because of our fear of communist influence gaining a foothold. Before the fall of the USSR, anti-communism was the overriding concern of US policy and colored everything we did. And you also need to consider the internal political context. I feel certain that Obama would like to be more even handed vis a vis Israel--Palestine, but the Congress would overturn anything significant he would try in that regard. In short, I urge people to be wary of sweeping generalizations.

    • Even getting all the correct information doesn't really help when it comes to Syria. It is such a morass, can anyone say definitively what the best US policy is? For me, it is to stay out and not get involved. The only side that seems halfway morally acceptable is basically a small splinter group that often has to ally with some odious group.

  • After Paris COP21: Top 6 Green Energy good News Stories Today
  • Prince's Islamophilia as a Problem: "It's fun to be in Islamic Countries"
    • In general, the political and social views of celebrities and sports stars can and should be ignored. While there are always exceptions, most are focused and knowledgeable about their craft and generally ignorant about the rest of the real world. We are talking about a dead musician who deserves respect for his music. Who cares what he thought about Islam? Professor col;e, certainly you can find better things to write about than this. You have had good stuff on the environment in the past and there have been recent developments there you could write about. For example, Great Barrier Reef dying off, recent study finding that the CO2 level is at the highest level in at least 65 million years, climate change will most affect the West Coast fisheries, and so on.

  • What GOP New Yorkers just voted for: Torture, Syria Intervention, murder of innocents
    • You do realize, don't you, that Assad is guilty of war crimes? I find it interesting that people hate Hillary Clinton so much that they resort to saying things like she is responsible for the civil wars in Libya and Syria and Assad and Quadaffi were really good leaders. Everything would have been hunky dory if only Hillary Clinton hadn't intervened and started those wars. Maybe I'm exaggerating a little on this last part, but not much. Elsewhere today I read that Clinton is also responsible for the troubles in the Ukraine. Amazing how this one woman could be the most powerful person in the world, causing multiple wars all over the place.

    • I am rather dumbfounded that there are readers who support your view. Donald Trump may be the most unprepared major candidate in foreign policy of anyone in my lifetime and I'm 70. He makes George Bush look good and is about as knowledgeable as Sarah Palin. They say that even a blind squirrel can eventually find a nut. As far as Trump finding a good foreign policy, I would put my money on the blind squirrel finding a nut first.

    • Hillary does not support any of the policies listed in this article. Anyone who thinks that Clinton is as bad as the Republicans isn't playing with a full deck or is terribly uninformed. As for Diana Johnstone, from Wikipedia, "After the 2003 publication of her Fools' Crusade: Yugoslavia, Nato, and Western Delusions, Johnstone became the centre of controversy over her claim in the book that there is "no evidence whatsoever" that the Srebrenica massacre of Bosnian Muslims was genocidal,[2] and that only 199 Bosnian Muslims had been killed.[3][4] " A historian is quoted as saying it was an extremely poor book. I think that speaks to her credibility.

    • The Republican Party went off the rails some time ago. Cruz's policies aren't a whole lot better than those of Trump's. It would be more accurate to call them less odious than better than Trump. Anyway, nationwide, Trump's negative rating among the total populace is around 2/3, his positive rating around 30%. So, about 30% of Americans are racist, xenophobic and have no compunction about torture or murder of people in other countries. And they live among us.

  • 6 Policies Obama wants Saudi Arabia to Change
    • There is a classic (and true) story about a fire in a girl's dormitory at an all girl's school. Officials wouldn't let the girls leave the building unless they had their hijab on.

  • Top 7 Reasons Israel must give back the Occupied Golan to Syria
    • When it comes to national territory and borders, issues such as that count for little to nothing. Americans are very nationalistic yet consistently underestimate the power of nationalism elsewhere.

    • I would add a reason #8. If Israel were serious about peace, they would follow the example set by the Israel-Egypt peace treaty in which the Sinai peninsula was returned to Egypt and demilitarized. This also normalized relations between the two countries in 1979, a condition that has continued for almost 40 years now. But, Netanyahu is obviously not interested in peace and it is obvious for all to see, except for the most die hard Israel supporters.

  • The Bernie Sanders Miracle: American Crowd in Brooklyn Cheers Palestinian Dignity
    • I thought some other facts should be mentioned about Palestine and the Jews. Before Israel was created as n independent state, in both the 30's and 40's there were numerous terrorist acts committed. Most were directed at British authorities, some at the local population and almost all perpetrated by Zionists. In 1948 members of the notorious Stern gag assassinated the UN mediator Count Bernadotte. It was the Jews who introduced terrorism as a political tactic in Palestine. And, as recounted in Robert Fisk's book Pity the Nation he recounts how the Mossad were the first to use a car bomb as a form of assassination/terror (he found Israeli markings on bomb parts after the explosion).

    • According to s British study cited in the book The Arab Israeli Dilemma by Khouri, in 1919 at the time of the Versailles Treaty, there were more Christians than Jews in Palestine (74 k to 58 k) while Arab Muslims made up about 80% of the population (568k). In short, Jews comprised about 8% of the total population. The Jewish population didn't start increasing significantly until 1930, probably due at least in large part, to the depression in the US and Europe.

  • Syria: Is al-Qaeda rising as ISIL is rolled Back? Is the US de facto Allied with it?
  • If ISIL falls before November, how will it affect the US Election?
    • The Republicans are very good on pivoting. Remember how it was all Benghazi, Benghazi all the time? Well, after all the investigations and inquiries turned up nothing, then they trumped up the email "scandal" and convinced their followers that Clinton is going to prison. So, they will make up some other scare even if Daesh/ISIS is crushed. The economy and any terror attacks will probably be more important.

  • Is Hillary Clinton responsible for rise of ISIL, as Bernie's Campaign Manager Alleged?
    • The piece you cite reads like a political hit piece and is mostly all opinions with very few facts. I find it interesting that on the one hand Hillary and the US will get blasted for supporting someone like Mubarak and then get blasted for not supporting someone like Quadaffi. Especially in Libya, this completely ignores the history of this made up country, riven by tribal conflicts, lack of political and social development and a megalomaniac who ran the country as a personal fiefdom for over 30 years. It assumes that it was a stable well functioning society that would have been just fine except for our meddling.

    • Ideologues on the right and left share an unrealistic opinion of the omnipotence of the US and seem to ignore local conditions and the strength of nationalism. Some countries and societies are dysfunctional and will be that way no matter what we do or don't do. Somalia, Libya and Syria are good examples. Many other countries could end up that way.

    • Hillary Clinton was born in 1947 and in 1973 she earned her J.D. at Yale and then worked as a congressional legal aide. She then went to Arkansas and married Bill in 1975. To say she had ample opportunity to go to West Point is really kind of ridiculous. You expect someone who has a law degree and is married to go to West Point? Or a woman who is getting a law degree to enlist in the early 70's. This is the kind of non-analytical thinking I can't stand.

    • Something else I thought I would add. Some of these arguments are so shallow, I think it is equivalent to saying that it was the Clintons that were responsible for the war in Bosnia and it was US foreign policy that was responsible for the murder of 20,000 at Srbenicia.

    • I have often criticized Professor Cole in the past. This time I must support his view. The Bernie supporters are out in force, it seems. Yes, Secretary Clinton is too hawkish. It is one big reason I supported Obama in 2008. But to assign all this blame on her shows a lack of understanding of how the US government or the world works. For example, according to some posters here, apparently there would have been no civil war in Libya without Clinton. The US, which has supplied billions to Saudi Arabia for at least 40 years, wouldn't have sold more weapons without Secretary Clinton. So many of these complaints would have you believe that it is only because of Secretary Clinton that certain events happened. What absolute hogwash. First, as Secretary of State, Secretary Clinton was in charge of administering the department and providing advice to the President. Many other people offer advice to the President and it is the PRESIDENT who makes all major foreign policy decisions. Many actions taken, like aid to Saudi Arabia or to Israel, are continuations of policies that have been in place for decades and have strong constituencies in Congress. And, as a Democratic senator, she had no influence whatsoever on actions taken by the Bush administration. Jeff Weaver, whom I have seen numerous times and have little respect for, seems to have a habit of making sweeping charges that are way overblown. This is one of them. For the record, I prefer Bernie Sanders foreign policy views much more than Clinton's, but I consider myself an analytical realist and I find that too many of the Sanders supporters are ideologues who are not analytical.

    • I really dislike it when people distort history to try and prove their point. There was already a civil war going on in Libya. It was a result of the widespread uprising throughout the Middle East and the internal situation within Libya. How can any sane analysis put the blame for that war on Clinton. It was due to Quadaffi being a despot for over 30 years and refusing to give up any power. The chaos after was due to the complete lack of civil or political institutions to take over the government because the prior government was dependent on the will of one man who relied on a cult of personality. People on the right seem to think the US has a right and duty and the ability to right wrongs whenever and wherever we want. People on the left seem to think that US intervention is responsible for all ills, as if wars wouldn't happen if we weren't mixing in other's business. Both sides are wrong. The widespread tumult in the Middle East is a result of many long time forces, including colonialism, the Versailles Treaty, lack of development, and despots who care about only themselves. At times US actions worsened the effects of these trends, at other times not. To say it is all the US fault, and more specifically that of one Secretary of State shows a complete lack of understanding of the history, development and politics in third world countries.

    • As a long time progressive who has worked in government and on numerous campaigns, be careful about claiming that all progressives fail to do any work. There are people who claim to be progressives who are unrealistic ideologues. And then there are progressives who know what needs to be done, know how hard it is to do, and try to do it anyway. So, be careful with your generalizations.

  • Are Sanders' Criticisms of Israeli Occupation Policies unprecedented in a Presidential Campaign?
    • A minor issue, but not part of the Constitution. Treaties, according to the Constitution, when signed are considered "law of the land.:" That means they have the force of law in the US. There has been a court case, however, where Congress passed a law that conflicted with a treaty provision and the SCOTUS ruled that the law passed by Congress took precedence over the treaty provision. If I remember my international law correctly, the case involved migrating Canadian geese. The other issue is that to violate a treaty without cause is a violation of international law.

  • What's at Stake for Israel in al-Sharif Killing: Japanese Officers were Executed for Killing POWs
    • The history of Israeli war crimes is long and sordid. One need read only the books by Robert Fisk to get a good understanding of their perfidy. This is the result of de-humanizing your opponent. Fisk relates how about 35 years ago he heard an Israeli soldier calling Palestinians cockroaches. And, of course, Sharon saw nothing wrong in allowing the massacre of thousands of refugees in Lebanon. Given the influence of AIPAC, I'm pleasantly surprised that there is at least one senator who is willing to call them to account. It may not be now or soon, but eventually Israel will pay for its crimes because they can't control the area forever.

  • 3 Surprising reasons Saudi Arabia may be getting out of the Oil Business
    • In addition to the Bolt, don't forget the Volt which has a gasoline powered generator for when the batteries run out, which is around 45 miles. With the generator, it's range is about 330 miles and then you put more gasoline in to power the generator until you can recharge the batteries. Since about 90% of car trips are less than 50 miles, your effective gas mileage runs to about 98 miles per gallon.

  • Turkey's Erdogan exports Press crackdown to US as his guards manhandle Journalists in DC
    • Those roughed up by the security guards should press charges and they should be arrested for battery. We can't allow that sort of thing to happen. I am usually strongly opposed to military coups, but in this case one may be justified. I think their democracy is in real peril, if it can be called a democracy now. However, Erdogan seems to have been successful in removing the military from politics shortly after first taking power.

  • The Trump Doctrine: End NATO, Patrol Mosques, Nukes for Japan & Allies
    • Shortly after reading this article I went and turned on the news and there was coverage of Trump speaking at a campaign stop. Such ignorance and nonsense. I don't think that either major party has every put forward a nominee for over 100 years who is just so ignorant of basic facts. I heard him say that the US military is the most unprepared it has ever been and then I couldn't bear to watch anymore. I doubt he knows anything about the power of modern armed forces. It hurts my brain just to think about what he says. AAAGGGHHH.

  • How Green Energy is already taking over the World
    • Renewables are better in so many ways. With solar, for example, the energy can be generated at the site of the use, obviating the need for the infrastructure required with a large distribution system--power lines, substations and the like. This makes it extremely attractive for developing countries. The costs of fossil fuels are always understated, too, because of the deleterious health costs that are not factored in by the use of fossil fuels. When you consider the cost of climate change, then the gap in cost between fossil fuels and renewables becomes even larger. It should be a no-brainer, but the huge profits in fossil fuels means they will be fighting long and hard to maintain the prior status quo. The job for citizens is to fight the efforts of the monied fossil fuel interests to try and stop what should be inevitable.

  • Fall of Palmyra: Syrian regime races to take ISIL's 'Berlin' and forestall 'Partition'
    • When Russia announced that it was going to step into Syria to support Assad I wrote here that this would probably swing things Assad's way and he was very likely to retain power. It now looks like he has all the cards. So, what we will have is a return to a status quo ante, only with the Assad government presiding over a wrecked country. Assad will have to concentrate on just rebuilding his country over the next decade or so. The only hope for a more representative government is if his Russian allies push for it as recompense for their past and future support. Not likely. Not all problems in the international sphere are fixable and I strongly suspect this is one of those.

  • 30 Americans die worldwide from Terrorism annually, while 130,000 die by accident
    • I cannot think of any case where terrorism has won a war or caused a governmental system to collapse. Can you? Terrorism is used as a political tool by those lacking political and military power.

    • According to the weather channel, over a period of the last 30 years, an average of 49 Americans are killed within the US by lightning every year. So, you are more likely to be struck by lightning than a terrorist. Fear is the currency of the right wing.

  • How not to talk about Muslims after a Fringe Terrorist Group attacks
    • As an agnostic, I don't have any dog in this fight. All religions have extremists. Even Buddhists have had some recent examples of violence. I also think that any organization that basically relies on belief rather than facts and evidence is suspect when credibility is an issue. In short, all religions are basically based on wishful thinking. Religions reflect humankind in general. There are good practitioners and evil ones and everything in between. And with any large group of people, one should be very careful about generalizing about the whole based on the behavior of a part. It is the broad sweeping generalizations that should be suspect. In the case of Islam, there are those who use this approach for the purposes of political power and this is the problem which Professor Cole addresses.

    • Source please.

    • As usual the Republicans have gone off the deep end in their condemnations. For those who didn't see it, Hillary Clinton gave a speech this afternoon at Stanford. Unlike her horrid pandering at AIPAC, this speech was measured, sensible and reasonable. She condemned the anti-Muslim rhetoric of Trump and Cruz. She unequivocally opposed sending more US troops into the region. It looks like she has decided her best campaign approach is to act statesman-like to present a stark contrast with the shoot from the hip approach of Trump, whose ignorance often seems boundless.

  • Climate Warming Accelerating Carbon Release from Thawing Arctic Soils, Dartmouth Study Finds
    • Also, if the permafrost thaws there is a potential for massive methane release, which could be catastrophic. Another study just came out , as reported today in the Huffington Post, that found that the amount of CO2 in the atmosphere is the highest it has been in 66 million years. These developments are much more important than terrorism in Belgium, but will be largely ignored by the media. As Kurt Vonnegut wrote in Slaughterhouse Five, so it goes.

  • Hillary Clinton goes full Neocon at AIPAC, Demonizes Iran, Palestinians
    • Yes, this article should mention that Trump; said that there should be no light between US policy and Israel. He also called for the US to move its embassy to Jerusalem, which would be a major change in US policy going back decades. Despite his earlier talk, Trump is no better than Clinton. Only Sanders comes close to being reasonable.

  • How Bush-Cheneyism made Mideast in its Image: Wars, WOT, With us or Against Us
    • The fact that the Bush Cheney policies have clearly shown themselves to be abject failures, maybe the worst foreign policy blunders in American history and yet are still embraced by the Republican Party is frightening. I often warn people, to never underestimate the ignorance and stupidity of the American public and the fact that Bush was re-elected in 2004 is all the proof you need of that.

      I have one nitpick here. While I am not even close to being an expert on Turkey, it seems to me that it is a bit rash to blame Bush/Cheney for Erdogan's present policies. It seems to me that Erdogan has been going in this direction and would have gone in this direction regardless of US policies. I think the instability in the region caused by the US has provided him an opening to go the way he wanted, but he would have found a reason to do it anyway even without the US mucking things up. Leopards don't change their spots.

  • If it's Trump versus Clinton, what does it Mean for Iran and ISIL Policy?
    • I have compared Trump to Mussolini. Mussolini was a leftist before he turned to fascism. Policies weren't that important to him. Personal power was his main goal and he chose the policies that seemed the most expedient to achieve that. I think Trump is very like that. However, by adopting the Republican mantle, if he is elected, he will certainly inherit a very right wing Congress and a populace ready to follow him and them wherever they take us. That is likely to be into military adventurism in the Middle East. Dictators like Mussolini use those means to whip up nationalism and domestic support. Remember the Falklands War? It was all ginned up because the junta in Argentina wanted to shift attention from how poorly they were running the country. This is standard stuff.

    • To me it looks pretty likely that Clinton will win the nomination and the presidency. Bernie has moved Clinton pretty substantially to the left in domestic policy. Maybe he can do the same with foreign policy. Certainly the Democratic base does not support any more foreign adventurism.

  • Mystery: Russia & Hizbullah begin withdrawal from Syria
    • Since you brought up history, I think one should also consider that sometimes leaders don't always act rationally and also make mistakes. One of the big mysteries to me for a long time was why North Korea invaded South Korea during a time that Russia was engaged in a walkout of the UN. This allowed the US to get official UN backing for support of the South Koreans and the subsequent defending forces were officially UN forces and included troops from a a number of different nations in addition to the overwhelming US presence. Many, including myself, thought maybe the North Koreans had acted unilaterally. After the fall of the USSR and access to their archives, researchers found out that the invasion was done with Stalin's approval and encouragement. Why it was done while the USSR wasn't in the Security Council to block any resolution is still a mystery as far as I know. A gaffe or? It still makes no sense.

    • I probably won't live to see it, but when the important information comes out about this period, it will be interesting to see what, if any, quid pro quos have been negotiated. Unlike Mr. Witherby, I don't think that Putin operates on the basis of good will, nor often good sense. I have wondered for some time if Russian and Chinese cooperation with the Iran deal, which was crucial, came with some qujid pro quo. Now we are to wonder about Russian involvement and subsequent withdrawal from Syria. Assad seems to be winning, so why withdraw now if your horse is leading the race? Perhaps Russia realizes a negotiated settlement is possible only when neither side thinks it can win. Even then, one wonders what Russia sees as its gain from all of this, or is it just a matter of avoiding being sucked into a quagmire? This is why it will be interesting to find these things out when documents come to light decades ahead.

  • Which Protest-busting Dictator is Trump most Like?
    • Well stated. thank you.

    • She supports the Iran deal. That may be the most important thing that Obama has done in regards to the Middle East. None of the Republicans support it, although Trump's opposition does seem muted. I don't think Clinton would support torture, but Trump, Cruz, and Rubio pretty much do. I have stated before I don't like her foreign policy, but it is nowhere near as bad as the Republicans. You seem so ideological that you can't distinguish nuance or differences.

    • I support all of Bernie's policies, but he has serious political liabilities. He embraces his socialist label and has called for a political revolution. People like most here, I assume, know what he means by this. However, most Americans conflate socialism with communism and when you combine that with revolution, he is very vulnerable to political attack by the billionaires and their super PAC's. I worry that if he is nominated their hate machine will swing the vote to the Republicans. And while some here equate Clinton with the Republicans, that is a serious mistake. I remember when many said there was no difference between Gore and Bush in 2000.

    • I don't know as much about Peron, but Mussolini was a journalist before he entered politics, so one could assume that he could write coherent sentences and form them into logical paragraphs. One would also expect that his prose was not as rumbling and pointless as that of Trump. Other than that, I think the Mussolini parallel is best.

  • GOP debate Civil? Candidates urged torture, child-murder, backing bloody Dictatorships
    • I don't want to get into a long philosophical discussion on this, but it sounds like your disagreement with me is semantic. When the Congress passes a law, like the one setting up the EPA and gives it the power to regulate pollution, but leaves out a lot of detail, the administration has a lot of leeway in determining what is a pollutant and how to regulate it. As modern life has gotten more complicated, this has become more and more common, in part because Congress cannot foresee all eventualities. Maybe you don't call this type of activity policy making, but it sure looks like it to outsiders. This is why Federal regulations, drawn up by the executive branch, run to thousands of pages. In my career in local government I both wrote laws and regulations and had to enforce them. Even in my little corner of the world you could see how significant interpretation in administration could become.

    • Politics in this country, especially on the right, has gotten surreal. I feel like I'm living in a Dali painting. The latest headline I saw was that Rubio says that the violence at Trump rallies is due to Obama. Sometimes it is enough to make you feel hopeless. If facts, reason, logic and rationality make no difference, what hope is there for us?

    • Just to be clear, the Nazi Party never got more than 33% of the vote. Hitler gained power because the rest of the vote was splintered and Franz von Papen thought Hitler could be controlled and persuaded Hindenburg, the old an dottering president, to allow him to form a government. Kind of like how the GOP is splintering in the face of a minority supported Trump. As for US soldiers, until Malmedy, troops treated Germans fairly civilly. After Malmedy the US often did not take prisoners. The Pacific was different because the Japanese fought to the death and fought in a way considered treacherous-- pretending to surrender and then opening fire, playing dead and then ambushing, etc. It was a true culture clash in the Pacific where both sides didn't understand the other and often hated one another.

    • Since the days of Washington the President has had policy making powers. It comes from the interpretation of how to administer the laws passed by Congress. As regards the military, the Framers intended that there would be no standing army, that in case of invasion the country would be protected by the state militias. Hence the language of the 2nd Amendment. Historian Gary Wills has written about this. Pretty hard to invade another country with state militias. However, even in the early 1800's, the urge to invade was there and filibusters were conducted by a number of Americans in order to try and take over small countries to the south. And, in the War of 1812 a goal of the US was to annex Canada to free it from the "yoke of British imperialism", which the Canadians didn't really mind much.

  • Nearly Half of Israeli Jews want to Expel Palestinian-Israelis from Country
    • Jimmy Carter was right when he used the term apartheid. Only now it appears to apply to Arabs living within Israel, as well. Amazing how so many people can be so blind to the consequences of their political decisions--also true of Americans voting for Trump. This can only end disastrously for Israel. Either it will cease being democratic, will no longer be a Jewish state, or will devolve into severe ethnic violence surpassing anything we have seen before.

  • GOP Candidates up ante, Promise 4 Major Ground Wars, murder of Innocents, Large Genitalia
    • Hillary Clinton has embraced the Iran deal, none of the Republicans has. While I don't like Clinton's foreign policy I think some people exaggerate how hawkish she is. She's hawkish, but nowhere near the Republicans.

    • These last couple of Republican debates have to be the lowest point in presidential politics in US history. And in all politics, maybe the only lower point might have been when a southern congressman, whose name escapes me, attacked Charles Sumner with his cane on the floor of Congress and beat him so severely he almost died. Even though I am a liberal Democrat who has nothing to do with these candidates, they make me feel ashamed to be an American. I can only imagine how the rest of the world is viewing this exhibition of bad taste and ignorance with sheer dread and horror.

  • As Coasts Flood, why isn't the Corporate Press asking Candidates about Climate Change?
    • You obviously haven't read much of the denialists. So many have argued that there is no global warming, that the data were cooked, that they aren't taking the fight measurements, that such and such a year was not the hottest year on record, and so on. Another one is that the climate scientists are doing it for the money--in order to get research grants they are manufacturing this fake crisis. I have probably read such arguments hundreds of times.

    • Climate change has gotten so pronounced and obvious that I think even die hard conservatives are close to giving up on their denial and are instead trying to tell us it's not man made. I was glad to see the point made by Professor Cole on possible glaciation, something I learned about a couple of years ago from a TV science show. More than Toronto, the British Isles could also be tremendously affected in a negative way. This is even more important than wars in the Middle East or terrorism, or anything else and it is a sign of the times that candidates aren't even asked about it.

  • Don't be fooled: Lindsey Graham & GOP Establishment just as Crazy as Trump
    • I am talking about the totality of their policies. Yes, libertarians like the Pauls aren't bad on foreign policy, but on domestic policy they are abominable. Chaffee later became a Democrat. there are no more moderates like Chaffee left in the GOP. Albright and others in the Clinton Administration got us involved in Bosnia and probably saved thousands of Muslim lives from ethnic cleansing. Republicans would totally deregulate Wall Street again, stop all progress on climate change and encourage the use of fossil fuels, scrap the treaty with Iran and perhaps start a war with Iran, promote racist and anti-Muslim policies, keep Guantanamo open, use torture again (Trump said he would go way beyond waterboarding) and take away health insurance from about 15 million people. There may be some Democrats who would stop making progress on these issues, but none who would adopt these type of policies favored by almost all Republicans. You really need to educate yourself on how extremely reactionary the Republicans, including Donald Trump, have become.

    • I remember the Clinton administration. Hillary was considered to be to the left of Bill. I think she still is. Is she perfect? No. Is she as good on the issues as Bernie? Not in my mind. But to say that Trump is or would be superior boggles my mind. The worst Democrat is better than the best Republican.

    • Maybe a quibble, but I think you left a zero off the cost of the airplanes and maybe a zero off of the cost of bombs, if they are the real smart bombs. The trillions for the wars in the Middle East wasn't just for the cost of the soldiers.

  • "Tehran is liberated territory" as Pragmatists & Centrists win Iranian Capital & Expert Assembly
    • Bitter Friends, Bosom Enemies: Iran, the U.S., and the Twisted Path to Confrontation by Barbara Slavin is a pretty good book and it goes into this in some depth.

  • Iran Election Results Show that when US rewards Pragmatists, they Win
    • Of course one should be careful in cross national comparisons, but from the beginning I have seen the opening to Iran as likely leading in a way similar to Nixon's opening to Communist China. China is still communist and still has geopolitical ambitions and can occasionally be troubling to its neighbors, but it has become a more stable and moderate participant in international relations and has loosened control over its populace. I see the same thing likely with Iran.

  • Rubio's 7 Fallacies on the Israeli-Palestinian Conflict
    • Trump's ignorance of very basic facts of the US government should be troubling. Anyone who has real knowledge about American government and politics, whether Republican or Democrat, considers him a real buffoon. Even if he weren't probably a racist and a fascist, he would be likely a disaster. Only Cruz would be worse because he is smart and evil. Trump's rhetoric is mainly insults and vague, unrealistic generalities. And he is maybe the most overtly egomaniacal candidate in modern history.

    • Having taught elementary school for a while, I have seen more civil and fact based arguments among 5th graders on the playground than the insult fest that has become common among these candidates. Truly unbelievable how they have totally debased the process.

    • That video of Netanyahu is dynamite, not because it reveals new information, but because we hear him admitting it directly. It should be seen by everyone interested in the Israeli--Palestinian conflict.

  • How the US went Fascist: Mass media Makes excuses for Trump Voters
    • It is not a big jump from an oligarchy run by a small elite to a fascist government. Trump, it seems to me, is a result of 20 to 25 years of right wing media brainwashing people into the view that the government can't do anything right, that no government is better than any government, that all politicians are liars and can't be trusted, and so on. And then when Republicans come into power they show that government doesn't work at all. When Democrats show the opposite, this is ignored or lies are spread (death panels, anyone). You now have a GOP that doesn't trust its own party or party leaders. They don't believe anything but Fox News, so truth does not matter. Trump is the result of all this and is the devil spawn of right wing media who have succeeded in destroying all faith in our major institutions by the Republican base. The only good news is that 59% of the total population views Trump negatively, while 29% views him favorably.

    • You mean back from the majority who voted for Obama twice? GOP talking points are either non-sensical or delusional.

    • You left out the judiciary which has been co-opted and had a major role in bringing this about. From Bush v. Gore, to Citizens United, and so many other cases, when the law has not existed to aid in this coup, they have created law out of whole cloth in order to aid and abet in this effort.

  • George W. Bush, who Mirrored & Inflamed Public passions, attacks Trump for It
    • A war criminal and probably the worst US president in history and yet, more than 50% of Republicans now view him favorably.

    • One thing I tell people is to never underestimate the ignorance of the American people. The support for Donald Trump is a wonderful current example. Before 2003 I doubt one tenth of Americans could have found Iraq on a map, much less tell you anything about it. I think it was Mark Twain who said that wars are God's way of teaching Americans geography.

  • Top 5 Scalia Rulings that helped Progressives
    • I find it interesting how people don't want to speak poorly of the dead, as if their death has turned an a-hole into an angel. He should be recognized for what he was and any good decisions he made were pure happenstance, not due to any positives of his character or ideology. He was a tool of the oligarchs and an unsympathetic ideologue who cared not one whit for the average person or for humanity as a whole. Thanks for bringing a clear headed and realistic appraisal of the man and what he has done.

    • Regarding "Scalia, I am reminded of the old saying that even a blind squirrel will occasionally find a nut. Wow, out of hundreds of cases Scalia managed to rule correctly a few times. He was a legal troglodyte. When the issue of waterboarding was hot, someone asked Scalia if torture didn't violate the 8th Amendment to the Constitution which prohibits cruel and unusual punishment. Scalia said that it didn't because torture wasn't punishment. Say what? And this is a brilliant legal mind? He was nothing more than a mouthpiece for the extreme right wing in American politics and he will not be missed.

  • Despite Syria Cease Fire, Belligerents Plot military Victory
    • When one side believes it is winning in a conflict, they are not likely to agree to a cease fire. Assad and his Russian allies think they are winning and will win, so this is basically a farce and not a serious cease fire.

  • Clinton and Sanders on Mideast War and Kissinger's Legacy (PBS Debate)
    • Kissinger was guilty of many things, of which Senator Sanders mentioned only a few. The overthrow of Allende in Chile and placing of the war criminal Pinochet in his place is an example of a terrible mistake. The peace treaty we signed with North Vietnam was basically the same we could have gotten when Nixon first came into office, but Nixon/Kissinger wanted more war in hopes of a more favorable treaty. Kissinger supported MIRV'in the MX m missile, something he admitted years later was very de-stabilizing. He also has said that he wanted to foster a belief in the Kremlin that Nixon was unhinged and unpredictable, an extremely dangerous game to play, especially given the Russian mindset.Also I think he was wrong to put us so firmly behind Pakistan in their conflict with India and may have looked the other way while Pakistan was developing nuclear weapons. We now know that the Pakistani scientist most responsible for their nuclear weapons development became a rogue peddler of nuclear information, sending important information on developing nuclear weapons to North Korea as well as other states, all for a good payoff of course (he was quite the capitalist. ). Professor Cole you seem to equate realism with amorality. Kissinger claims to be a realist, but he isn't because his analysis of situations is so often wrong. A realistic foreign policy does not have to be amoral. All the wrong decisions Kissinger made were amoral, but their opposite were often moral as well as realistic.

  • Did Bashar al-Assad win New Hampshire? Trump & Sanders Mideast Policies
    • I can predict what the Republicans will do. They will take some video of Sanders saying he is a socialist, combine with some video where he calls for a political revolution, maybe edit out the word political. Then they will show a video of Stalin, or some mobs overthrowing a government or similar and a voice will say, Bernie Sanders wants a socialist revolution. Is that what you want? If not vote for (fill in the bland with the GOP nominee). This will literally scare the bejeezus out of the yahoos that populate much of the country.

  • Israel frets about "Iran as Neighbor" if Aleppo falls & al-Assad Regime Wins
    • How ridiculous. The worst that would happen would be the establishment of the status quo ante bellum. Like US neocons, they peddle and survive on instilling fear in their population.

  • 5 Worst Foreign Policy Moments of GOP New Hampshire Debate
    • While you are correct in that the first use was in Vietnam, I recall seeing the figure of 10% of the bombs dropped in that war were "smart" bombs, 90% weren't. Also, laser guided bombs were hampered by clouds and dust. With GPS and other methods, bomb technology has advanced greatly since 1972 so that a bomb can literally be put through a window in a large multi-story building from 10,000 feet.

    • Perhaps the Jordanians have the good sense to not get involved in a bloody civil war in another country. I think they are to be congratulated for that, not criticized.

    • And let's not forget that the Pershing raids were basically a failure which also had the effect of turning the Mexicans against us, even those who didn't like Villa. The raids did, however, give Patton (I think he was a major then) a chance to brandish his pearl handled revolver. so there is that.

  • Syria Rebels face Collapse as Thousands flee North Aleppo
    • More delusion. When was the last time that diplomacy stopped a civil war? Didn't happen in Nigeria, Spain, the US, Russia/Soviet Union, England, or anywhere else I can think of. In case of warfare, diplomacy works when both sides are exhausted and accept that a stalemate has been reached and their side cannot win. That has never been the case to this point in Syria.

    • Haven't you learned anything from history? I think the last time the US was able to impose its will on another country was the island of Grenada.

    • I expected that with Russian help the Syrian forces would eventually win. Even so, Syria will probably face guerrilla war and terrorism for some time. As I have maintained from the beginning, the best course for the US is to stay completely out. Fortunately our involvement has been relatively limited and late to arrive. There are no winners here and it was unlikely that there would have been once the Assad regime survived the first year and the defections from the army.

  • Syria: The Mother of all Battles for Aleppo is Joined
    • during WWII the US bombed Germany during the day and attempted to hit military targets. A lot of civilians were also killed, but there was no attempt to kill civilians. The British bombed at night and did area bombing, aiming at cities with little to no attempt to hit military targets. That is the difference between indiscriminate and non-indiscriminate bombing. As for Cameron, are you really that dense? He formed his government by allying with the Liberal Democrats under Clegg. Together they had about 60% of the vote; that's a majority where I come from. I doubt either Assad, father or son, has ever had a representative election which comes anywhere close to being democratic.

  • Foreign Policy Winners and Losers in Iowa
    • That just didn't sound possible, so I have tried to do some research. There are almost 1700 precincts, so there had to be way more than 1,402 Democrats voting. I think maybe you are reporting on the number of precincts that had reported in when you last saw it. Unfortunately, after checking about a half dozen different web sites, I have found only the % of precincts won and the number of delegates awarded. I have not been able to find the number of votes actually cast. But, obviously it must have been many more than you report. I saw a picture from one precinct that showed about 40 to 50 Democrats caucusing.

    • Democrats are historically pretty good at governing, but not so good in organizing the party. I think it was Will Rogers who famously said, I don't belong to an organized political party--I'm a Democrat.

  • Exasperated by Netanyahu, France Prepares to Recognize Palestinian State
    • Obama is very politically savvy most of the time. I think it would be best if the French wait until after our November elections when, hopefully, a Democrat wins the White House. Then President Obama can look the other way when these type of resolutions go before the UN and this would not damage the party's election chances. Given the strength of the Israeli lobby, although I feel certain the President wants these resolutions to be approved, he doesn't want to do anything to damage the Democrats chances of winning.

  • Rhetorical Terror: GOP Candidates Pledge War Crimes, Carpet-Bombing, Asian Land Wars
    • It's a little more complicated than that and Hitler never won more than 32% of the vote.

    • It is my understanding that the Whigs were torn apart by the slavery issue. Their policies were not necessarily far out of the mainstream of politics of the time. The current Republican nominees are a radical departure from any candidates from the GOP since about forever. While Bush turned out to be very right wing, he campaigned as a centrist. Only Kasich among this group comes close to being a centrist. This is what I am talking about.

    • Wow, this may be the densest thing (not dense as the slang meaning of dumb, but in crowding a lot of complex ideas together in a long narrative) I've read since I read an article many years ago by sociologist Robert K. Merton. Some of your generalizations need work.

    • Thank you Professor Cole for doing the dirty job of actually listening to this parade of fools and idiots. Whenever I try I can't take it for more than a few minutes or I would be running out of the room screaming. Having followed politics closely since about 1960 and studied it extensively, I cannot think of a time when our country has been so off the rails politically with a major party. It is truly scary that a party nominee will actually come from this group of nincompoops and that millions of people actually support them. If a Republican wins I may have to look into moving to Australia since it is far, far away. Any one of them could do a great job of ruining this country, finishing the job that Bush started. God help us all.

  • Top 5 Ways Putin has won big in Syria and why Europe is embracing him
    • This is one of my favorite websites, so I kind of hate being so contrary at times, but Professor Cole here is guilty of missing the forest by concentrating too much on the trees. The positive or negative effects of foreign policy decisions cannot be discerned after a few months, or even after a few years. Often a decade or more is required before one can see for sure if a certain foreign policy initiative works out well or not. We can rely on historical precedent and look at international trends to make an initial judgment, but foreign policy must be looked at strategically and long term. Was the alliance with Cuba a good thing for the Soviet Union? Well, at first it looked like it because it gave the USSR a chance to tweak the US and provided a base for Soviet ships and then military advisers, and then missiles. However, it eventually turned out to be a millstone, first with the missile crisis and after that the USSR had to send hundreds of millions of dollars every year to keep the Castro regime afloat. Many other examples could be cited. Russia has been allied with Syria for several decades. What benefit has that given them? While they have kept Assad from falling, what comes after that? So, if Assad survives and the rebellion is defeated, you will then have a country that is almost totally prostrate that will requires tens of billions of dollars to reconstruct. Where is that going to come from? They have very little oil or other natural resources. Iran can help some, but will Russia then be required to take on that burden, all for a decent naval base in the Mediterranean? Remember that Russian ships can always be shut out of the Mediterranean during conflict by the Turks at the Dardanelles. I say if the Russians want a Syrian alliance, let them have it; it is of little value to the US or the West.

  • Tahrir 5 Years Later: The Hurdles to Democratization & Arab Youth Revolts
    • With friends like the Saudis, who needs enemies. George W. Bush needed them to bankroll him in business, but ordinary Americans, not so much.

    • Here's how old I am. I think it was 1968 when a book came out (I remember the authors were Textor and Banks) that was the first real accumulation of data on various economic and social factors for, I think, close to 100 countries. So my graduate class in political development was tasked with punching out IBM cards and running regression analyses on two or three of these data sets (there must have been about 50 different variables, so we all picked different combinations) to try and find out any correlation between them. Anyone remember IBM punch cards? This was even before there were computer monitors. I mention this to show that this gives you an idea of how long political scientists have tried using social science to find out the main factors in political development. Professor Cole gives a pretty good summary of the major factors here. The late political scientist Samuel P. Huntington had two excellent contributions to this discussion, in my opinion. One, The Soldier and the State, was a good treatise on the role of the military and what factors were most likely to lead to military interventions, and if memory serves, Political Development in Changing Society. In this latter book he concluded that well developed political parties were the key to developing stable democracies. Ironically our Founding Fathers didn't really foresee political parties, didn't favor them, and in the case of Washington, were actually hostile toward their development. To that I would add professional bureaucracy since that is key to having an effective government. Other social scientists have pointed out the importance of a middle class. It's kind of a truism that you care more about political freedom if you aren't starving, but well fed. The major problems of developing countries, whether in the Middle East or elsewhere, is there is often a serious lack of stable political and social institutions. Thus, when the dictatorship falls, there is often nothing to fill in the breech. The history shows that in all countries democracy when first established rarely remains stable continuously. People tend to forget how strong sectionalism was in the early US. People for a long time identified themselves first by what state they lived in rather than being a US citizen. And then there was that little thing called the Civil War, the effects of which are still felt today. I guess you could say that the failure of democracy to take root is not only unsurprising, it's maybe surprising how widespread democracy has finally become. 50 years ago in South America it was rare. Now it has become, although with hiccups, much more common.

  • No, Gov. Snyder, Flint's water wasn't poisoned by "Government": It was by your Appointee
    • I used to work in city government and am aware of the supremacy of state law. However, this is an altogether difference in nature than what is usually adjudicated regarding the state's legal supremacy. The situations you cite are very old and the law evolves, often to fit the times. The Supreme Court used to rule that because of the supremacy of contracts government could not regulate working conditions. Well, that started changing in the 30's and now the view is completely different. There are other instances where the constitutional interpretation has changed greatly over the years.

    • Just today the news is that a couple of top EPA administrators have been forced to resign. At least there is some accoluntability in the EPA. Will there be any in the Michigan state government? I'm not holding my breath.

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