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  • Trump on Syria Chem Attack: Putin responsible for supporting "Animal Assad"
    • I have seen in the past, not just with Syria, where some leftists are so against US policy, especially interventions, that they end up defending ruthless dictators. Many ideologues want to see the world in only black and white and end up with what seems to me to be curious and dubious positions. Unfortunately the world is a messy place and right and wrong are rarely clearly delineated.. I always am reminded of what the journalist/author Robert Fisk once wrote about the Middle East: there is no right and wrong, only different degrees of wrong (I may have the quote a little off, but you get the idea). Or, to put it another way, there are no clean hands in the region. Assad has shown clearly in the past that he will stoop to any depths to hold on to power. At the very beginning he may have been able to work out a peaceful solution that left him in in charge but sharing power, but he chose to meet peaceful demonstrations with gunfire and bloodshed and things have degenerated from there.

    • Yugoslavia was an artificial country held together by Tito. Once he died, the country's instability was pretty much assured. Syria is less riven by factions/ethnicities than Yugoslavia was, but under the Asads it has been run by the Alawites who are a minority in the country. The mismanagement by the Assads, especially during the Arab Spring, is responsible for their troubles, not "outside agitators."

  • Psychopathocracy Matures: Trump asks why CIA did not Massacre family of Militant with Drone
    • Watching Bill Maher last night, he had on Geraldo Rivera. Rivera, while he opposes most Trump policies, was defending Trump, basically because Trump was nice to Rivera over the years. Maher was trying to get Rivera to see that how Trump charms you as an individual should be divorced from his policies and actions as President, a point Rivera wasn't able to accept. I am astounded at this type of moral blindness. Trump shows once again how he is a psychopath and should be condemned by anyone with an ounce of moral fiber. Hurry up Robert Mueller.

  • Trump: "US out of Syria 'Very Soon'"-- Quip or Policy Reversal?
    • What does it say about US policy that a totally ignorant and moronic president has actually got a better approach in off the cuff remarks than his supposed expert advisers? Of course, if Bolton is the last person to talk to Trump about this issue, then Trump will ignore what he said previously and double down in Syria.

  • Trump, McCabe and our Permanent Constitutional Crisis
    • I thought Larry's reply was good, but, on further thought, decided that this requires additional detail. Some extreme leftists have this exaggerated sense of false equivalency. Ask yourself and answer the following questions. Would Clinton have appointed the most incompetent and corrupt cabinet in history? Would she have appointed close advisors like racist Steve Bannon and xenophobic John Kelly and others of similar ilk? Would Clinton have tried to eliminate Obamacare with no substitute, taking away healthcare from tens of millions of Americans? Would Clinton have shrunk the national monuments created by Obama? Would she have tried to seriously damage the environment and taken us out of the Paris Accord? Would she appoint a person openly hostile to consumers to head the CFPB? Would Clinton have pushed through a tax cut to benefit the corporations and top 1% more than any other group? Would Clinton have sought to seriously reduce regulations on all businesses, no matter what the need? Would Clinton have approved of the racists in Charlottesville and sought a Muslim ban? Or try to build a wall? Or done the bidding of the NRA? Or take away protections for DACA recipients? On every major issue, from a liberal or leftist perspective, Clinton was so much better than Trump, that to conflate them is not based in realistic thinking. And while Trump is so awful that he re-election now looks unlikely, so, too, did his election look unlikely. Then there is the question of how much damage will he do before he leaves office and how long will it take to repair that damage.

    • Are you aware of Malcolm Nance? Having been in military intelligence for a while myself, I appreciate his approach. In intelligence you don't need prosecutorial level of proof to arrive at sensible and very likely conclusions. It was obvious to people like him (and me) almost 2 years ago that Trump was clearly compromised. The evidence was all around and has only been constantly confirmed by numerous revelations ever since. There were so many meetings between Trump campaign people and Russian connected people, that there has to have been some level of cooperation. What other plausible explanation exists for such meetings at those times? Now we have further revelations about Cambridge Analytics, who, you must think, had to have provided the targets and ideas for social media posts to Russian trolls. How else did the Russian trolls know what to write and whom to target and who else was using social media for that purpose? From what we know of Trump's IT program, it was pretty barebones personnel wise. All the constituent parts point to one conclusion and that is collusion. Just because Mueller hasn't yet presented solid evidence doesn't mean he doesn't have it or that it doesn't exist.

  • Why is Intel Community Targeting Kushner?
    • Just because this is a convenient place to post, not aimed specifically at you, but I wish people would stop using this term deep state, which has been coined by the alt-right to foster their paranoid fear of government. What they call the deep state is the bureaucracy, which as the great sociologist Max Weber maintained, is one of man's greatest inventions. Like any large organization, there are factions and different interests. In fact, the founders did not want a unitary government, but one that was filled with checks and balances so as to reduce the chances of tyranny. The bureaucracy, for whatever its failings, serves as an important check on possible tyrants. And, unlike officials in the current administration, civil servants not only take an oath to the Constitution, they take that oath seriously and the vast majority put their national service way above any interest in party. And I agree with you about Kushner. Today it has come out that he met with an investment banker talking about a possible job in the administration and lo and behold, not long thereafter the organization that banker worked for extended $184 million in loans to the Kushner company which is having cash flow problems.

    • Oh, please spare us from what sounds like a defense of Kushner. Just because you don't like the people you assume are his accusers (and he seems to have little support outside of Trump and Ivanka), that doesn't mean the charges are without merit. This is the same guy who met with the Russian Ambassador Kislyak to try and set up a back channel communication with the Kremlin. That alone should disqualify him from having anything to do with government, especially foreign policy. And a minority owner of the company? The company is basically him and his father, who, you may have forgotten, has already spent time in prison for illegal campaign contributions, tax evasion, and witness tampering. Kushner only has his job because he's married to Ivanka; he is totally unqualified as well as being a walking influence and blackmail target.

  • The Age of Total War in Syria
    • The pedantic historian in me requires me to correct what you say about killing of civilians. Wars fought in Europe after the 30 Years War generally avoided civilians, almost completely. Battles during the age of knighthood were relatively small affairs, even compared to the times of Rome and even Greece. Even during WWI, civilian deaths were relatively small (beware of estimates that include things like the Armenian genocide and deaths from flu and disease, which probably would have occurred nevertheless) even while the armies were huge. In WWI, civilians, with a few exceptions, were not targeted. In WWII, civilians were often targeted and even used as a strategic target to inhibit the war effort.

    • Those who apparently are trying to whitewash Assad should read a New Yorker article from several years ago. link to newyorker.com Activists, including at least one man who worked for the government and with important documents, have been able to smuggle out thousands of incriminating documents. Also, international organizations like Human Rights Watch have had observers on the ground who have documented numerous cases of war crimes by the regime. As for the failure of the UN, one needs to realize its limitations. There have been many instances where the UN has failed to act and right now there seems to be little that will be done about the massacres of Rohingya Muslims in Myanmar. There must be international consensus for action, and any time two of the 5 members of the Security Council are in disagreement or even one is unwilling to see action taken, the organization is powerless. One can only hope that Assad, who has managed to outdo his father in horrible crimes, will eventually see justice.

  • Turks Threaten al-Assad if he sends Army to Defend Syrian Kurds
    • What a god awful mess. As predicted, Syria has become a wonderful place to avoid. The US is in a position where it may be working with Assad forces or allies to fight against a NATO ally. And why would a Secretary of State go into a meeting with a top foreign leader and not bring his own translator, especially when having contentious talks? That is incredibly stupid.

  • Russian campaign Interference looks like ISIL in Polarizing Techniques
    • The KGB has a long history of trying to affect elections and insert propaganda into a national dialog. They have done this often in the past by doing things like bribing reporters to write false narratives or emphasize pro-Soviet viewpoints. They had done things like having coordinated letter writing on subjects that benefit them. Their approaches could be effective in Third World countries because of limited or lax controls and poor internal communication infrastructure. Those methods rarely would work in a developed country when newspapers and major networks were the main reporters of news. Journalism in this country relies on fact checking and editors insist on this and almost always require more than one source for any story, especially those involving any scandal. The rise of social media has been a game changer. Now anyone or any entity can create a "news" site or news outlet. Speculation can be presented as fact. Propaganda can abound because there are no editors and no filters for misinformation. False information that would have been discounted and never seen the light of day in the past now can be copied and shared with hundreds of thousands in the blink of an eye. Facebook plays a role by feeding people information that their algorithms show is consistent with their beliefs as revealed by their prior interest. This different environment has made Russian interference possible and much more powerful in developed countries than was possible before. So, it is incorrect to say that this is the same thing that has happened in the past. It is different both in volume and in kind.

    • When you read American history, I think the political intelligence of the typical American voter has declined severely. Political rallies in the past were often big events and I think there was more public discourse. The ignorance of the American public, which Professor Cole does not mention here, seems to me to be an important component of Trump's victory. The success of Russian efforts is due largely to the fact that hundreds of thousands, maybe millions, of voters accepted ridiculous claims without bothering to check their accuracy. It is ironic and even seems counter factual, that while we now have limitless information available almost instantly via the internet, many people seem less informed because they only want to reaffirm their already held beliefs and don't want to be bothered with basic research. I have run into very few Trump supporters who are really informed and knowledgeable.

  • Syria: Deir al-Zor attack on US Troops, allies, Shows their Vulnerability
    • I have been saying for at least 2, maybe 3 years, that nothing good can come out of getting involved in Syria. For those new to this site, I will repeat myself. We have no vital interest in Syria. Syria is not important to us. Syria is a total mess and provides no value to a foreign intervenor and will cost probably hundreds of billions to reconstruct over a decade or two. Finally, the situation is untenable, Assad is sure to remain in power, we have no legal justification for being there, and there are so many competing factions that everyone involved has some blood on their hands. As longtime correspondent Robert Fisk once said about the Middle East in general, there is no right and wrong, only different degrees of wrong. While the Kurds will suffer, it is impossible for them to have their own state without causing great disruption to Syria, Turkey, Iraq, and Iran, and at least two of those are our putative allies. None of those states will agree to carving out a separate Kurdistan. The Kurds are not always pure, either, having been involved in morally dodgy activities in the past (see the Armenian genocide). The only smart course for the US is to withdraw from Syria.

  • Top 5 Economic Disappointments of the Trump Regime (so far)
    • Giving more money to the top one tenth of 1%, when they don't need it (when do they need it?) results in speculation. How many homes and cars can they buy? So, since it's money they don't need, it's like Monopoly money for them and they play with it via speculation. The result is boom, followed by a bust. The size of the crash can be reduced by regulators putting checks on the economy. Ooops, guess who is busy doing away with all those checks. Unless we get a new President who has a different philosophy, that means we could be headed toward another big crash.

  • Spying on the Wrong People: The Hypocrisy of the Nunes Memo & FISA
    • I was out of town most of the day , so I've only had a chance to see dissections of the memo and not yet read it myself. However, based on sections I have seen quoted, it is a total farce. I suspected as much as it dealt with a FISA warrant on Carter Page that had nothing to do with the Mueller investigation. Nunes and his minions at Fox News have tried to make out that the warrant was somehow biased, ignoring the fact that Page had actually dealt with Russian spies in the past, at least one of whom was arrested and sent to prison. They were heard on tape talking about using Page (no relation). There are so many things wrong with the memo and the whole right wing attack, it will take a long article to go into all of them. Here is just one vignette. The source material, on which the memo is supposedly based, wasn't even read by Nunes and his staff wrote the memo. Only one Republican representative, Trey Gowdy, actually read the source material. Gowdy is the committee chairman who led the interminable Benghazi investigation, showing himself to be very partisan. And yet, the Nunes memo was apparently too much for him. The day the committee voted to release the memo, Gowdy announced his retirement (he's only in his mid-50's and comes from a safe district) and today he apparently tweeted that he supported the FBI and its agents and completely backed the Mueller investigation. I think that is rather telling when your own guy sabotages your effort.

  • Cherry-Picking Intel, Nunes and the Iraq War Disaster
    • I don't know what campaigns you were watching, but I don't think I have seen any experienced veteran of campaigns say that Trump ran a more energetic and strategic campaign. Like his administration, his campaign was very chaotic with people coming and going and little coordination, poor ground game, etc. He changed campaign managers in the middle of the campaign and then brought in Kellyanne Conway and Steve Bannon the last couple of months. There is no way to tell what effect collusion had, but one particular fake news story, that the Pope endorsed Trump, had over 800,000 shares, half of all the shares in the last couple of weeks of the campaign were fake news, and social media posts by Russian trolls and bots were supposedly viewed by approximately 40 million people. As for finances, taxes, etc., one of the first people hired by Mueller was an expert from the Treasury Dept. who specializes in money laundering and other financial crimes. In the Book Fire and Fury, the author quotes Bannon saying that the key to investigating Trump lies through Manafort and Trump's financial dealings.

    • There is a good book called Rise of the Vulcans, as I remember. It goes into the background and interrelationships between people like Wolfowitz, Condi Rice, and others. Remember that a lot of these people were the founders and most important members of the Project for the New American Century which began pushing for the Iraq War in the mid-90's. They just needed a justification/opportunity. They wrote a position paper for Netanyahu that was so right wing that even he refused to use it.

    • To clarify, they were warned about Curveball by the Germans. Curveball was actually in Germany, talking to German intelligence, but refused to talk to US intelligence. German intelligence thought he was fishy. It later turned out that he was working for Chalabi who wanted to become the next Iraqi leader after the US threw out Hussain. State was skeptical most all of the time. Powell had his doubts, but was given the job of presenting the case to the UN by Cheney's chief of staff. When he looked at the supposed evidence, Powell asked Cheney's staff, Is this all? Remember that Powell had been a top general and head of NSC so he was very familiar with intelligence and probably smelled a rat, but being a retired soldier, did his duty as he saw it.

    • This is all happening because Trump and his supporters are in full panic mode. They know they are in serious trouble, but I doubt they know how extensive that trouble is. What we know about Mueller's investigation is probably equivalent to the tip of an iceberg. Mueller has had experts and time enough to trace all the money aspects and has more than enough to nail Trump on obstruction. Trump is gone and may take a lot of Congressional Republicans with him. Something like 32 Republican representatives have decided to retire, including several committee chairmen. They have seen the writing on the wall.There will be fits and starts, last gasps of resistance by Trump, but eventually all the truth will come out, even if he, Trump, fires Mueller. The only question is when. Will it be before the midterms, or after? I am hoping that the big bombshell lands about mid September and Democrats take back both houses of Congress so impeachment can succeed. With this timeline, Ryan will no longer be in line of secession since a Democrat will probably be Speaker of the House. I think there will be enough evidence to show that Pence is also complicit and he may have to go, too. This whole Administration is rotten to the core (especially at the core) like nothing we have seen before in US history.

  • No, Trump, Ice isn't growing at Poles, and Yes, we are Boiling the Earth
    • I have read that most advisers to Trump reach pretty much the same conclusion. He IS a moron. Further on display here. Worse, he is an ignorant moron. Have we ever had a more ignorant President? Certainly not in the last 130 years, at least.

  • Countering Turkish Propaganda, Pentagon reports 150 ISIL Killed in Airstrikes
    • Historically, damage from air strikes is almost always vastly over stated. One instructive example comes from the
      Battle of Britain. RAF commanders carefully interviewed pilots after air battles and asked their own pilots, for their own intelligence purposes, how many German fighters they could confirm were shot down. They told their pilots they wanted them to count only the ones they actually saw crash. When they compared those numbers with actual numbers from German records obtained after the war, they found that they had over estimated their kills by a factor of 3. In Vietnam, when body count was used as a measure of progress by the US, naturally, they got vastly inflated numbers and they considered anyone killed near a combat area to be a hostile, even if they were women and children. In short, the 150 cited here, is probably a wild guess based on what they figured sounded good. If it were accurate, what are the chances that it would be such a perfectly round number? It would more likely be a number like 143 or 162 or something like that.

  • The worst thing about Year One of Trump: Fascistization of Cable News
    • I think you've nailed it. The Presidency has become the ultimate reality show. Trump had 100% name recognition at the start of the campaign, unheard of for a challenger. Oprah makes an impassioned speech at an awards show and there is a boomlet for her to run. Previous research has shown that much of voting is on the basis of likeability. When people don't know the candidates well, then name recognition becomes crucial. Policy hardly matters anymore. It's enough to make a policy wonk, such as myself, be driven to despair.

  • Russia accuses US of destabilizing Syria with Kurdish-Turkish Clash
    • You list these events in isolation when they need to be put in a time line and within context. For example, at the beginning of the insurrection Assad looked very vulnerable as units of his own army turned against him. Thus a policy that made sense then made no sense later when Assad had Russian backing. As Professor Cole noted at the time, Russian backing with bases and air power completely changed the situation. Also, the power of the Kurds and ISIS waxed and waned over time. The complexities and differing forces will make for a good case study for future foreign policy historians.One thing is certain, getting involved in Syria was a loser from the beginning for the US, especially since it is nowhere near a vital interest. You would think that after Vietnam we would have learned that getting in the middle of a civil war is a bad idea.

    • This is probably a first--we have put ourselves into a position where we may end up being attacked by a NATO ally. US Middle East policy has become as entangled as the famed Gordian Knot. US involvement in Syria has turned into everything I feared and more. There is no way for the US to get out of this without some damage. We can leave and alienate the Kurds, or stay and alienate the Turks and the Russians and put our troops at risk for what? What a mess.

  • Turkey threatens war against US/Kurdish Force in Syria
    • I read an article about a year after the Crimean annexation and even native Russians there were disappointed with the aftermath. If you think that annexation of the Crimea to Russia was an organic operation, you need to read more broadly. While it was widely supported because most Crimeans are native Russians, it happened only because of Russian expansionism favored by Putin. Annexation of Crimea was an illegal act, as is US operations in Syria.

    • As I have maintained for some time, Syria has no strategic value to the US and we should not get involved in Syria at all. Unfortunately, interventionist ideology is transcendent in large areas of the foreign policy and defense policy establishments. Add to that a totally ignorant and incompetent administration and you have the recipe for disaster. And some people here before the election worried that Clinton was too hawkish in the Middle East. She was, but Trump is a total disaster.

  • No Normalization: All the Fascist Highlights Trump still Hits
    • The thing that convinced me that Trump is a fascist was his nomination acceptance speech. In it he listed a number of alleged serious problems in the country and concluded by saying that only he could fix it. He said something similar in his inauguration speech. This is central to fascism--the idea that one man expresses the will of the nation . One man, and only that man, is capable of expressing that will and getting done what needs to be done. One of the revelations of Michael Wolf's book reported today is that one of his aides said that Trump thinks he is the smartest guy in the room and has the right answer, no matter how little he knows about the subject. And this is despite the facts that he rarely reads anything except favorable press clippings, can't handle briefings of any complexity and one person called him semi-literate. I was watching some journalists trying to address the issue of his tweet about the nuclear button and North Korea and they carefully danced around the issue. Somebody needs to come out and say what is obvious--our President is a nut case.

  • America's Biggest Mideast Foreign Policy Challenges in 2018
    • The biggest challenge for the US is getting over the incredibly foolish idea that has gripped our policy makers for decades--that our intervention can achieve an outcome that is favorable to us in a region that isn't important to us.

  • Russia: Permanent Bases planned in Syria to fight Terrorism
    • If Putin wants to have Syria within the Russian sphere of influence, let him have it. As I have been maintaining for years, the Middle East is not a vital national interest of the US, especially with the decline in the importance of oil. We should be withdrawing from the area.

  • How Trump could avoid another $7 trillion bill in Mideast: Back off war with Iran
    • Oh, dear, so much to choose from for our dear leader. War with Iran or war with North Korea? Maybe he will pick North Korea instead of war with Iran. Trump is such a horrible disaster, it is not out of the realm of possibility that we could end up in war with both.

  • Yes, America, there is a Class War, and you Just Lost It
    • Saw tis the other day where someone actually figured it out. If all the wealth in the country were divided equally, every family would have about $660,000 in wealth. The problem is not lack of wealth, but mal-distribution.

  • Saudi Crown Prince splashed $450 mn on Jesus painting
    • From an artistic standpoint, there are something like only 19 DaVinci oil paintings known for sure and several more which might be his. So, this is probably a good investment and likely to go up in value.

      So, a major painting by DaVinci

  • How Trump's Jerusalem Move Just Helped Iran Win the Mideast
    • Thanks so much for this article, Professor Cole. And the neocons and just plan cons (conservatives) still don't get it. I caught John Podhoretz on MSNBC yesterday and he was touting what he said was the remaking of the Middle East because of Trump-'s action and the Israeli--Saudi alliance. Unfortunately, most media in the US are uninformed or misinformed about ME politics and just parrot pro-Israeli claptrap that they probably get from AIPAC talking points. I have also noticed an increasing dearth of academic experts on the various news shows and it is fortunate that we have outlets such as Informed Comment where we can get truly informed and knowledgeable opinion.

  • Another way Trump will get us Killed: to move US embassy in Israel to Jerusalem
    • This decision is so stupid, beyond belief really, that I wonder if Trump is deliberately creating a provocation to foment a "clash of civilizations". In this way he can then seize upon Muslim reaction as a justification for his anti-Muslim bias and actions. This will solidify his support among his racist and xenophobic base and so what, he figures, if it leads to violent unrest and more Americans killed.
      .

  • Climate Emergency: Heat Trapping Gases make largest Jump in recorded history
    • I think the more imminent danger is the thawing of the permafrost. Hydrates are mostly in deep water where rising temperatures are less of a problem. A thawing permafrost has already begun and could release enormous amounts of both methane and CO2 and once started, would be pretty much impossible to stop.

  • Trump's Fascist Weakness Mars Poland Diatribe
    • Notice how many times Trump used the word "will" in his speech. Is it just a coincidence that maybe the most famous propaganda film of all time which extolled Hitler, by Leni Riefenstahl, was called Triumph of the Will? While Trump probably doesn't know enough to realize the significance, I'm sure Bannon does.

  • RIP Internal Combustion gasoline Engine: Volvo Goes Electric
    • You are being unfair to the Volt. While its range is limited to 53 miles this year in battery only, because of its gasoline powered generator, it can go 420 miles on combined battery and a tank of gasoline. For 90% of a person's travel, you will need only the battery power and then it is basically unlimited for long trips, albeit at a lesser mpg. That gives it much more flexibility than the Bolt, Tesla, or other battery only cars. Hydrogen power may supplant modern day batteries anyway.

  • Top 6 Things Trump didn't know about Herat when he barred Girl robotics Scientists from US
    • I'd just like to remind readers that before WWII, some of the greatest scientists in all of history such as Einstein and Szilard, came to the US to escape dictatorships and had outstanding schools like Princeton provide them with succor and research facilities. Imagine what might have been if these men had stayed in Europe and been forced to work on atomic weapons for the Nazis instead of being in the US. The US has so benefited from foreigners coming here to study and then staying and providing invaluable contributions in the sciences. Most every major university has professors who fit this bill. A former roommate of my wife was like that and went on to get a Phd. in microbiology. Who will want to do this as long as this insane clown and his ignorant minions are in the White House?

  • Why it Matters that the World thinks US under Trump is Laughingstock
    • After I wrote this I realized that the phrase "our values of freedom and democracy" is not valid anymore. I'm not ;sure we have either in our own country right now. What i meant was our traditional foreign policy values of promoting freedom and democracy, which of course often gave way to power politics and supporting anti-communist dictatorships.

    • Republicans and especially neocons are incredibly short sighted. They still think that the US can dominate the world and enforce a Pax Americana. That is foolish nonsense. What the US should be doing is preparing for the day when we are no longer the world's top super power. We should be working to set up an international regime that supports and encourages our values of freedom and democracy. This means fostering alliances and working with and through the UN with like minded powers, the exact opposite of what Trump and the neocons prefer. In such an international system, a positive view of US leadership is crucial for success. Go it alone nationalism is doomed to fail given our current and future international environment.

  • Trump accuses Syria of Planning Gas attack as Haley attacks Russia, Iran
    • I'm not sure which gas attack you are referring to, but the original one was extensively investigated and Human Rights Watch had people there on the ground within a day or two. Here's a report that summarizes the UN report.link to bbc.com

  • Green France: Macron bans Fracking and welcomes US renewables Scientists fleeing Trump
    • Further information. Thanks to renewables, California has faced an energy glut during daytime hours. There have been days when the state power authority actually paid Arizona to take excess power from California. Yes, that seems crazy, but under certain circumstances it makes a sort of sense. A big article in today's (6/25) LA Times goes into detail.

    • You don't need to go to France to find a hospitable place for alternative energy scientists and engineers. The state of California is doing a fine job on its own and there are 40 million people in the state, almost as many as in Spain (46 million).

  • Russo-US dog fights over Syria?
    • Your comments reminded me of a major incident before WWII between Japan and the Soviet Union. They engaged in major military actions near Mongolia. A recent book, Nomonhan, 1939, gives the details. What is salient is that an out of control major in the Japanese army in that area basically almost precipitated a war between the two countries because of the failure of the Japanese government to exercise any restraint on the local army forces in the area. I found it astounding how one mid level officer was allowed to act unchecked. Now, do we have a situation in the Middle East where a local commander, even if a general, is in the position to cause a war for the US? A truly frightening thought.

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