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Total number of comments: 21 (since 2013-11-28 16:44:28)


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  • America's Major Challenges in Middle East Policy, 2017
    • It is clear the man has no clue on what it takes to be President. Moreover, many of his core supporters have also no clue what the ME entails and how "really nasty and brutish" the outside world can be.

      Can you please comment on this news story though from within Iran? It seems that society is also fraying from within

      link to

  • Israel's Netanyahu et al. Throw Trump-like Tantrums after UNSC Slam
  • Hard Truth: Aleppo Rebels weren't defeated by Main Force but b/c they alienated Syrians
    • Hogwash
      The regime promised reforms in 2001 and when people came out wondering what it would be they were put in prison.
      The regime responded to protests with extreme brutality and used sectarian tactics to this day to paint all of the rebels as hard core fundamentalists
      The regime had exhausted all its power in 2013 when Assad declared that he did not have enough troops to defend all areas prompting a massive intervention by Iran, HA, and now Russia.
      The relentless and criminal scorched earth policy and the massive human rights abuses are glaring and this attempt to blame the victim is despicable to say the least.
      As for the statistics of the composition of Syrians it is laughable for at the end of the day 60-70% are Sunnis and they are massively disenfranchised
      I lived in Syria and I know that no positions in any area go to Sunnis: as a professor at Damascus University 11/12 fellowship positions were given to non Sunnis in my department and the 12th position was given to a Palestinian insuring that no Sunnis get higher education and that was the policy since the 80's.

      The reality is that the Left has lost its moral compass when it comes to Syria.

  • America's Shameful Record on Syrian Refugees
  • Syria: As al-Qaeda defeats 'moderate' US allies, will US ally with al-Qaeda?
    • Well Professor Cole, this video has made to Al Arabyia of Iraqi troops executing a boy; so the sectarian war is in full swing, and today there are fears of retribution in Tikrit, so go figure.
      Here maybe you would consider sharing with others: link to

  • New Congressional Sanctions on Iran Will Backfire . . . on Congress
    • Once again this is a theocracy that is anathema to the very values and concepts we have with regard to basic human rights. Our founding fathers warned us about any political system run by clergy. The first article of the constitution of Iran stipulates that sovereignty belongs to God not to man.

      Moreover the country is run by an unelected and unaccountable leader that despite his pronouncements on the sin of having nuclear weapons is now using massive killing of civilians in Syria and in which his troops are advising the criminal regime in Syria to kill and starve and bomb and torture and imprison and expel whole towns and villages resulting in a massive population exodus. This exodus is of the same proportion as that of Rwanda and Dr. Cole continues to excuse the depravity and untrustworthiness of the regime in Tehran.

      Not only we need more sanctions but we need to roll back the entire Iranian enterprise in the ME from Beirut to Western Afghanistan. The IRCG has become an institution of graft and corruption and money laundering and the latest scandals in Turkey are but the tip of the iceberg of the effort of this criminal organization to break the sanctions.

      We do not need to go to war and we do not need to fire a single bullet all we need is to help the Iranian people free themselves of the clutches of the clergy running their lives.

      I have asked my two senators and my congressman to toughen the sanctions and to bring the full weight of the Treasury Department not the DOD to bear on this criminal regime.

      Where is the minimum decency about what the regime is doing in Syria? Maybe Dr. Cole should visit Beirut and watch the thousands of Syrian children begging in the streets and the black market in organ transplant flourishing there to remind us of the benign regime in Tehran.

      How about a Sabbatical for the bankrupt academics in Tehran University or better in a Seminary in Qom?

      Please spare us the indignation of sanctions when the regime is barrel bombing the suburbs of Damascus with Iranian weapons and foot soldiers.

  • Top 5 US Government Decisions that put Troops more at Risk than Snowden Did
    • Snowden brought a debate to the surveillance and Abu Ghraib scandal whistle blower brought a debate about torture. Both remain unresolved.

      One issue that the eminent Professor has not brought is why are we inserting ourselves again in a sectarian war in Iraq and delivering weapons to the sectarian Maliki regime?

      Where is the outrage as this will lead to another blow back and is far more endangering to our troops and our nation than this leak gate.

    • No issue here. My question is whether he believes that he will not get a fair trial in the US. If it is the case and he may be right, shouldn't we be discussing the independence of the Judiciary branch as well and its impartiality in this country.

      As for endangering troops, the vast majority of Americans now believe that the Republic is more important than the Empire.

      I am for saving and preserving and strengthening the Republic and we should let go of the Empire but in a orderly way that leaves us immune to the upheavals of the ME first and foremost.

      Pox on all their houses, our Republic is more important. As for Snowden, my only objection is that he is stupid enough to allow Putin to use him in his revived Cold War Propaganda with the US.

      He should have gone to some other country. Russia is not my idea of refuge especially under Putin.

  • Gatesgate: Why Obama was right to Distrust his Generals on Afghanistan
    • Here is another proof of the INCOMPETENCE
      link to

    • He is still incompetent. This post proves my point. He has no strategy and no doctrine on our place in the world. In defining the threats we face and in articulating the way we need to deal with them.

      The Buck Stops at the President's Desk. No amount of pretzel arguments are going to change that.

      Incompetent to the core and we have three more years of incompetence to deal with.

  • Top Ten Things Bob Gates was Wrong about, Some Criminal
    • My points once again:
      1. What is the relevance of the author's character and his former positions to what he wrote about the current administration's handling of foreign affairs?
      2. What is the relevance of the author's supposed desire to make a fortune out of this book to the points he makes about the performance of the current administration?
      3. My reading of the administration's response is that they focused fully on defending Joe Biden and ignored completely the allegations made regarding the President. So I read the administration's response as damage control and deflection of the debate towards the merits of Joe Biden.
      4. To clarify my position
      a) I was and remain against the illegal and immoral invasion of Iraq and against the conduct of the war in Afghanistan from the get go
      b) I agree that we should end these unnecessary wars and stop nation building abroad when we need to do so here first
      c) I agree with the decision not to intervene in Syria and Iraq and in any area where the strategic interests of the US are not threatened in a major way as for example a foreign power blocking the Panama canal for example
      d) At present the Arab Muslim world is going through a huge upheaval that is due to the post colonial inherent instability of these countries' borders and they way they were cobbled up by Britain and France. Any intervention is going to be futile. Especially since they were kept together by the iron fist of autocrats who have long stopped to deliver anything but brutality.
      5. Now to the reality: whether we are independent or not of energy needs we are committed to the safety of energy resources flow and for continued economic prosperity not because we should or that we are exceptional but because no else can do it. The problem is that we cannot do it alone and it is time to bring in others and most importantly the people of the region not their autocrats. Moltke the elder was called the best strategist of his time and he objected vehemently for "he never conducted a retreat".
      6. I do not think the current President is naive; he is simply incompetent. He may be an idea generator but as an executioner of his ideas he is a failure. This is not a reflection of his correctness on social or health issues but he either micromanages or he delegates without follow through. He is simply incompetent and I might add disingenuous. Even his signature legacy the ACA leaves a lot to be desired in its implementation and its real detail.
      7. I do not believe for one minute that a religiously based political system is compatible with democracy. If God legislates then there is no possibility for human progress and discussion of new legislation.
      8. The Islamic Republic of Iran is an anathema to the very idea of the enlightenment that brought us the Constitution. Article one specifies that sovereignty belongs to God not to man. Every article in that constitution refers to the Islamic principles behind it. The structure of government has an unelected leader that is considered infallible. There is no free press and no independent judiciary and the rule of law. And to prove the incompetence of this president he manages to negotiate with a regime that is non accountable and with which we can have no verification of implementation that we can trust.
      So when I read that the Defense Secretary that was awarded the Presidential Medal of Freedom by Obama bring out his version of events I like the scientist that I am will look at the evidence and compare it to other areas of performance and discern without being absolutely certain that this President is incompetent and this is coming from someone that voted for him. Also this "Islamic" republic has Jews and Christians and Zoroastrians and Bahai and Atheists and what have you that have no place really in an "Islamic" republic.

      So my conclusion is that GWB was disastrous and criminal in his response to 9/11 and this one is incompetent in dealing with the mess handed out to him.
      He has shown that he is incapable of conducting the orderly and necessary retreat that the US has to do from these disastrous wars.

      In the executive branch there is no democracy you follow orders and if you think that they are illegal or unethical you resign and inform the public.

      So I repeat the former was a criminal and this one is an incompetent so why the anger.

    • All of those points are well said but I am not sure that they are relevant.

      If what he says about the current administration or that of GWB for that matter is true; so be it. If you say that he is not a trustworthy character because of his past dealings; give us a reason why we should not believe him now.

      I am not defending him or defending the administration; I want to know the relevance of this post to the content of the book.

      He carried out the instructions of his superiors.

      The current administration does not seem to have a strategy of its role in the world. As a matter of fact the President is not interested in world affairs: not interested in Britain or in Europe or in Ukraine or in Russia or in the ME. Perhaps China but even at that with a distant secondary interest.

      He may be right to focus on the US that is not my point; the question is that whether benign neglect is as harmful on the long run as Bull in a China Shop.

  • Spain, Portugal show that 50%, even 70% Power from Renewables is Possible Right now
    • It is time for people to organize to take back their government. Continuing to lament the oil companies and other interests can only be stopped by the people.

      Recommended reading: Why Nations Fail

    • Wind and solar will never be enough unless we have a dramatic change in the way we live.
      I emphasized that in % terms we are nowhere near the Europeans on a per capita basis. There is simply no comparison there. However, I always like to point out that the data presented like any scientific data has to be put in prespective.

      As for taxpayers they will have to foot the bill no question the point I am making is that in the current climate of severe partisanship it will not happen especially with the Tea Party nuts around.

      Now I live in Minnesota and we are slated to have 20% of our energy needs from wind and solar and believe we have the wind and the windchil to prove it.

      North Dakota should do the same for it along with Texas has a high wind "value" and a tax should be levied on the oil fracking to keep the carbon footprint tiny if possible.

      Also it is now clear that China surpassed the US in its carbon emission and therefore omitting to mention that fact also skewes the debate. They are producing so much pollution that they are going to die just as birds that overflew Mexico City at one point would fall off from the sky dead.

      To give you an example of our energy consumption: if we were to burn every tree in North America ( that is the US and Mexico and Canada) it would be sufficient for the energy needs for a mere one week according to one expert ( I am sorry do not remember the reference )

      Capitalism as we know it is incompatible with life on earth. . .

    • The largest producer of wind power according to Wikipedia is .....surprise the US. Of all the states that produce wind power, number one is.... surprise Texas not North Dakota.

      Here is the source

      Spain is the world's third biggest producer of wind power, after the United States and Germany, with an installed capacity of 20,661 megawatts (MW) April 2011 [1], a rise of 1,609 MW for the year.[4][5] More than 11% of Spain's electricity came from wind power in 2008.[5] The largest producer of wind power in Spain is Iberdrola, with 27 percent of capacity, followed by Acciona on 16 percent and Endesa with 10 percent.

      Solar power[edit]Main article: Solar power in Spain
      In 2005 Spain became the first country in Europe to require the installation of photovoltaic electricity generation in new buildings, and the second in the world (after Israel) to require the installation of solar hot water systems.[6] With the construction of the PS10, located near Seville, Spain became the first country to ever have a commercial solar energy power tower.[7]

      Now I understand % wise we are nowhere near the Spaniards but it will also require a total change in the way we live including issues of urban sprawl, of public transportation, and of decreased consumption and more efficient cars.

      Here is the source

      Spain is the world's third biggest producer of wind power, after the United States and Germany, with an installed capacity of 20,661 megawatts (MW) April 2011 [1], a rise of 1,609 MW for the year.[4][5] More than 11% of Spain's electricity came from wind power in 2008.[5] The largest producer of wind power in Spain is Iberdrola, with 27 percent of capacity, followed by Acciona on 16 percent and Endesa with 10 percent.

      Solar power[edit]Main article: Solar power in Spain
      In 2005 Spain became the first country in Europe to require the installation of photovoltaic electricity generation in new buildings, and the second in the world (after Israel) to require the installation of solar hot water systems.[6] With the construction of the PS10, located near Seville, Spain became the first country to ever have a commercial solar energy power tower.[7]

      Bashing the US all the time gets tyring after awhile as if there is nothing good in this country.

      Whiners and Busy Bodies

    • Nuclear is what is needed. There is not two ways about it. As for wind power, show me that it is NOT subsisted by the tax payers and that it is a legitimate economically viable alternative. This is the problem we have to go green but it may have to be at the taxpayers expense and one has to be honest about it otherwise the taxpayers will revolt.

  • Why Obama doesn't want to intervene in Syria
    • I would say the President cannot intervene without congressinal approval. it is the congress that declares war.

      I would say that the air defenses of Syria are no match for NATO unless they are manned by Russians and especially the latest versions.

      I would say that if you advocate non intervention then stick with it even when the whole sale massacres start to happen a la Rwanda.

      I would ask do you still advocate non intervention if the regime were to use chemical weapons massively or if the sect starts getting slaughtered?

      Finally Syria is of no strategic value to the US or to NATO and if it is a concern for Israel and Iran let them duke it out without our input.

      Pox on all of their houses. Keep us out of the worst region on the face of the earth with the worst dictators and with the most bizarre ideologies from Ayathollaism to Wahabism to Zionism to Sectarianism.

  • What Would a Rand Paul Libertarian Foreign Policy Look Like? (Cole @ Truthdig)
    • No one cares about the ME and no one cares about Iraq and in time no one will care about Israel
      I support Rand and Ron Paul: if Israel wants to duke it out with Iran let them duke it out. The US has no bones about this.
      I support the constitution in that executive power has undermined the legislative branch especially when it comes to foreign policy.

      The US influence in the ME is gone and this may in the long run be better for both the US and the ME.

      Until Zionism is defeated and allows for a secular binational state to emerge in Palestine/Israel there will be no peace in the ME.

      Spending 100 billion per year to bring Afghanistan from the 14th to the 15th century is not my foreign policy nor should it be yours.

      Pox on all of their houses the Republic is infinitely more important than the stupid empire

  • How the FCC can take the Money out of Politics- Cole at Truthdig
  • The Dilemma over Syria
    • The rebels are ordinary Syrians defending themselves and defectors who refuse to kill innocent people. The majority of conscripts do not want to participate in the killing machine.
      The people on the ground are eons beyond the exiled opposition.
      Moreover, can we stop the killing machine and send the world press and find out who the rebels are?
      As long as there is regime violence and news blackout there is a fog of war.

  • Syria Veto and the Revenge of the BRICS
    • Finally Juan Cole graces us with some news from Syria. He is inaccurate however when he talks about the revenge of the BRICS for India and South Africa voted in favor of the resolution.
      I would also ask him to post how the conference Islamic Awakening held in Teheran backfired on the organizers for excluding representatives from Syria.
      I would also add that he does not mention the brutality of the clique in power in Syria.

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