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Total number of comments: 20 (since 2013-11-28 15:55:15)

Shannon White

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  • Obama's budding Cambodia Policy in Syria
    • I remember another Cambodian hypocrisy: The Reagan admin diplomatically supported the unity government that included the genocidal Khmer Rouge in opposition to the Cambodian government installed by Vietnam. They supplied military materials to the OTHER opposition members with the caveat that they could not give their supplies to the Khmer Rouge. We know how that typically works in practice.

      In the long run, the cold war ended, the US, China, and Vietnam lost interest in Cambodia, and the UN stepped in to broker a peace process. The end result is a democracy-in-name-only with a government, the provenance of which is that originally installed by Vietnam.

      If the US took the Reagan approach to Syria, the US would construct a unity government that included ISIL in opposition to the Baath government. They would arm the opposition with the caveat that ISIL not get any, but, in practice, ISIL would get US weaponry. The hope being that the Assad government would be pushed into negotiations with the opposition that would eventually be a unity government that excludes ISIL. Then the US can fund this new democracy-in-name-only to go after ISIL.

      It would be a disaster for the Syrian people, radicalize many and perhaps lead to a 911-type disaster in the US. On the other hand, if successful would lead to an increase in US influence in the region.

      I'm not saying that's a great approach, I'm just saying it's an approach if the goal is an increase in US influence.

      Another solution may be a grand bargain with Russia, where Ukraine is pressured into giving autonomy to the Russian speaking Eastern regions, and Russia cuts off aid to the Baath regime. They could hand over Snowden, as well. That, too, could force Assad into negotiations. This solution has the downside that US influence is not necessarily increased as Russia gets a hand in the settlement, and countries become wary of looking to get their interests underwritten by US support. But getting Snowden would be a feather-in-the-cap for the current US admin.

      Neither solution is moral or ethical. 'Nuff said.

  • Stop Saying 'If X fired Rockets at U.S.': It's Racist, & assumes we're Colonial
    • What if LA was daily taking rocket fire from Tijuana? A Tijuana separated off from Mexico by US occupied territory. A Tijuana where any resident could be picked up at any time and taken away and put in prison without trial indefinitely at the whim of US authorities. A Tijuana, where US colonists have been settling on land confiscated from native Tijuanans, colonists living with the protection of the US military, not subject to Tijuanan law. A Tijuana, where leaving or arriving by boat is prevented by US authorities. A Tijuana, surrounded by barbed wire, where only subsistence supplies are allowed across by the US authorities, except for those brought in via secret tunnels to Mexico. A Tijuana where US air strikes are used to kill leaders, and suspected militants. And finally, a US where politicians/media pontificate about how deserving Tijuanans are of further depredations because of their rocket attacks.

  • Who are Iraq's Sunni Arabs and What did we Do to them?
  • Second Libyan Upheaval, this Time Against Political Islam, Extremist Militias
    • "The Libyans have an open rather than a closed future now... an open future is generally better than a closed one."

      That's a great statement. I always opposed the US invasion of Iraq, but invasion advocates could throw that statement at me. Iraq has an open future now. I'll have to think on that.

  • Bill Nye Science Guy to Debate GOP Rep Gohmert on Gravity
    • On a side thought, I have wondered why religious literalists have not come out against probability. After all, probability does not take into account the Will of god. The reliability of probability is contrary to the existence of an interventionist god.

  • The American Genocide Against Iraq: 4% of Population Dead as result of US sanctions, wars
    • Note that the authors indicated that the excess deaths is between 48,000 and 751,000 with 95% confidence. Also note that that does not mean that actual deaths is just as likely 400,000 as 48,000. It's a "bell curve" distribution, not a uniform distribution.

      I noticed that both their pre-war and wartime death rates were both significantly less than that calculated by the Lancet study.

  • US Protected Iraq at UN from Iranian Charges of Chemical Weapons Use
    • To quote Cenk Uyger, "it gets worse". Not only did the US do all that, but the CIA and State Department also saught to blame Iran for the Halabja attacks that killed upwards of 5,000 Kurdish civilians: link to Presumably, again, this was done to protect their "ally" Iraq from international censure.

  • Kerry signals US Intervention in Syria, but to What End?
    • It could be that the weak and contradictory reactions to previous gas attacks emboldened the regime to use gas again. Likely the regime was not looking to kill as many civilians as the did.

      That being said, I dread US involvement. For every Kosovo there's an Iraq, an Afghanistan, a Haiti, a Somalia, a Palestine, a Nicaragua, an El Salvador.

  • It's not about Democracy: Top Ten Reasons Washington is Reluctant to cut off Egypt Aid
  • Top 10 Reasons Americans should Dismiss Israel's Netanyahu on Attacking Iran
    • Western media always repeats the same mantra "The Israeli government has never confirmed nor denied that they possess nuclear weapons and will not be the first to introduce nuclear weapons in the Middle East. Except that's not true. PM Olmert, while PM, did, in fact, confirm that Israel possessed nuclear weapons. He later retracted it, but, unless he's stupid or a liar (and he was a bit of both :), what's said is said.

  • Obama should Resist the Clintons & Europe on Syria
    • Hmmm, I didn't even mention the USA, so I'm not sure why you are bringing them into the picture. I guess maybe my oblique "They" may have confused you. And Mr. Cole's article was around the topic of American arming of rebels.

      That being said, I'm advocating that the international community learn from the Latin American successful conflict resolutions and try to apply them to Syria. Latin America is much more peaceful than it was in the 1980s, and I think it would be foolish to ignore how the transition was made.

    • Maybe they could adopt a model from Latin America. In 1992, after a 10 year civil war, the UN brokered a ceasefire in El Salvador. Neither side "won". Part of the peace agreement was a huge reduction in the size of the military, a general disarming of militias and rebels, and UN monitoring of free and fair elections. The UN monitored the agreement for years, and the country never re-entered civil war.

      Around the same time, a similar agreement was brokered successfully in Nicaragua.

      And today, ongoing talks between the Colombian government and rebels focuses on a political settlement rather than on one side destroying the other.

      And think back to 1992. The FMLN and military were fighting dirty up to the day of the ceasefire. It looked impossible. It looked bleak. But it worked.

  • In Race against Carbon Catastrophe, Solar Power is Making Strides
    • If the cost of renewables can be pushed below that of the fossil fuels, then that will create a disincentive to use fossils. At that point, expensive fossil fuel production will cease and cheaper coal and oil production will likely be requiring huge subsidies to stay profitable. At that time, renewable energy funded lobby groups can be relied upon to push for the end to those subsidies as it will be a form of unfair competition that cuts into their profits. Also, at that time, environmental lobby groups will be able to get laws pushed through banning dirty forms of fossil fuel production, as there will be less entrenched political interests backing those forms. Even if those forms of production later become profitable, laws will act as a brake on their use.

      But the key is that renewables need to become cheap and profitable.

  • Are Egyptians voting Ideologically?
    • I always figured the reason they went with the Muslim Brotherhood is to reward the MB for the years of effort they made trying to confront the Mubarak regime, which they did mostly peacefully since the mid-80s. They played the Mubarak election game, putting up with thousands of arrests, and unfair electoral rules. One could argue that it was the complete exclusion of the MB from parliament in 2010 that was the straw that broke the camel's back.

  • Syrian Civil War Kills 160, Spills over onto Lebanon, Turkey; Will US Intervene?
    • I suppose I won't be the first to suggest this, but if the US wanted to intervene, the infringement of the Turkish border would be a good casus belli. Turkey is a NATO member, and NATO members must defend any member state under attack by a non-NATO force. Granted, Turkey must ask for help.

  • Perry talks Crazy about Turkey, but is Par for GOP Course
    • From what I understand, the American system has changed recently to allow unlimited money to support candidates and political positions.

      Sorry to sound apocalyptic, but, in my opinion, allowing unlimited money will fundamentally alter the political landscape of the United States. Discourse will be narrowed to the interests of billionaires. The only MSM public debate will be trivial topics not of interest to billionaires, or debates between billionaires.

      On the bright side, I see real business opportunities in election consulting. With the large amount of money available to influence elections, there are needs for professional campaigners and propagandists to ensure that money is efficiently spent. I predict that by 2015, electioneering companies will be the rising stars of the corporate world, and the last of any independent-minded politicians will be gone.

  • Map of countries US/Israel have bombed or in which US has bases
  • Million-Person Marches and the Army Backs Off
    • Here's a youtube video from Fox:

      link to

      My only point with the video is that the anchor calls the demonstrators, demonstrators, seems to be thoroughly reasonable, and the middle east expert guest seems to be fairly knowledgeable.

      Typically, the "news" part of Fox News is passable. It's the shows hosted by pundits where Fox News gets its reputation for bias.

  • Egypt: Israel's Nukes Destabilizing to Region (Wikileaks)

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