Posts Tagged ‘Russia’

They’re going up all around us . . .

Red Flags

. . . and they mean something – something we should take note of, something that should give us pause.

Here are some Red Flags that tell us there’s a problem.

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1. Everyone’s divided, and it’s right down the middle. Virtually everyone – every group, every sub-group (i.e., US Republicans are split; Dems are split), every country, every individual opinion, falls to either side of the debate (any demonstration on any street has lots of either and any side of the debate; multitudes of opinions as to what to do; whether to punish or further prevent Syria or not. We’re all stuck. The US Congress (even after a classified briefing), parliaments and administrations around the world, the White House, Conservatives and Liberals, pundits and wonks, military leaders.

The Red Flag? There is no consensus. Anywhere, on any level.

– – –

2. President Obama’s Red Lines, indecision and inaction. We should hold our president (and those who aspire to that office) to a higher standard. And all too often some, many, respond that it’s not right to do that. He is human after all, just like the rest of us. But we want, and we should want someone who is not ordinary, but extraordinary. Consider the fact that out of roughly 350 million people, only one person rises to the top of the list as our choice. That by definition is extraordinary.

Barack Obama

And really, admit it: if we wanted just an ordinary person, just a regular guy, you could have me. But you don’t want me. I am a regular, ordinary guy. You want someone is extraordinary. I don’t want me, the ordinary; I want extraordinary.

So if we wanted someone who will do what many of us might do; that is, hesitate, be indecisive, hell . . . I can do that.

But we don’t want that. And we shouldn’t. We expect more; we expect our president to step up and be more.

He says he is confident, but President Obama cannot get himself to step up, whatever the decision, to go or not go; rather he has handed the primary decision-making responsibility for that to someone else (Congress). And even that decision – most are divided on.

. . . And I haven’t even brought up the concern over plan and strategy. Well, that is a military matter. Leave it to the experts. It is not something that should be publicly discussed. To purposefully compromise military advantage is insanity. It exposes ineptitude. Oh, never mind. That’s already happened anyway.

The Red Flag? President Obama’s indecisiveness and inaction.

– – –

3. Neighbors are not stepping up. Where is the Arab League? Governments in closer physical proximity to Syria are hesitant; some are nearly silent; some are vocal. But none, and in particular Syria’s immediate neighbors, have said they would step up and handle it “internally”, that is, within the region, say, the Arab League, for example.

The Red Flag? No Arab League. If it’s not important enough to them to step up, then perhaps we shouldn’t, either.

Photo credit Yossi Zamir-Flash90

– – –

4. Israel assumes we’ll take care of it, and expects us to, like it’s our responsibility. President Shimon Peres confidently states he believes the US will in fact attack Syria. Why doesn’t he hold such an apparent, automatic expectation of say, France, or Italy, or Greece, or the UK, or Germany? Why the US? We are, after all, rather removed, physically, relatively speaking, from the region. In contrast to the long list of other countries, why is it the US’ thing to do? Well, we know why.

We are certainly aware of the sensitivity of the fundamental issues between the Jewish State and . . . well, everyone else in the Middle East, and the history and everything else that goes into it. But there are many other possibilities. In my mind, they begin with the Arab league (so-called) and others in the immediate region.

The Red Flag? It’s too easy to expect someone else to take on another’s responsibility.

– – –

5. Russia and China apparently don’t see it. At least they don’t see it the way half the world sees it. Only issuing warning that intervention should not take place is not a solution. It’s not even helpful. Can they not find a way to be actively helpful? When there is joint Russian-Chinese involvement and a solution proposed, we’ll know how important it really is.

The Red Flag? There is no Russian or Chinese leadership
(not that the world has ever been able to count on it) and specifically, no joint Russian-Chinese inspection team on-site.

– – –

6. Timing and Timeline. Is this urgent or not? Two-year’s worth, watching and bloviating from afar. How is it so important now? After all, it seems that 1,400 people killed in a few days is nothing compared to 100,000 over two years, regardless of how they occurred.

As for the US view of the civil war in Syria, apparently as far as the President has been concerned, watching the body count steadily, rapidly rise to 100,000 (by way of mostly conventional means) is not nearly as concerning and immediate as 1% of that total number added via chemical weapons. Apparently some deaths are more equal than others.

Imagine the possibilities if the US or a broad coalition, to include all the regional players had come together in the beginning. Was there any chance at all the death toll could have been much lower? Even a chance?

And recall Obama’s Red Line declaration a year ago, so confident and strong; so forceful and inspiring and humanitarian-like, in those critical months, then weeks, then days leading up to the election. Among all the other miraculous qualities we attributed to him was also his ability to save the world from despotism. Except in this case. And we were convinced. The only thing he saved was his presidency. His Red Lines have turned out to be dotted lines.

The Red Flag? If it’s not so important to respond to the deaths of 100,000, then perhaps 1,400 is no big deal.

AP photo - 130821_angela_merkel_ap_605

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7. Germany: the true Leader from Behind. Angela Merkel stated that action should be taken but that her country will not participate. Before her comments on Sunday, her Foreign Minister had already made it clear: they’re not discussing it and they’ve not been asked. Maybe we should ask them. Or maybe we should handle our foreign policy that way: we only act if we’re asked. Looks like that’s where the Israeli Rule applies: Yes it’s important enough that someone else ought to take care of it.

The Red Flag? If it’s not important enough for Germany, then perhaps it’s not important enough for us . . . or anyone else.

– – –

8. The Final Red Flag: It harkens back to the Gulf War of 1991, the campaign to evict Iraq from Kuwait. An overwhelming military coalition massed against the atrocities of Saddam Hussein and his regime’s terror.

The Telegraph - UK - syria_2129826b

Israel was not involved in any way, shape, or form. But that did not stop Hussein from exposing further and reconfirming to the world his illegitimacy by attacking a country that was not involved. On our firm and reassuring urging, Israel chose restraint and let us handle it. They certainly didn’t have to. But they understood the broader implications and trusted a friend. Such is the case here.

The Syrian government of course, has no legitimate reason to threaten or attack Israel (let alone their own people with chemical weapons). But the fact that they have speaks to a broader, deeper problem. At the very least it further delegitimizes Bashar al Assad. The time for the world to respond to another call for rescue in the Middle East has long passed.

Still, the rest of the world, our president and government included, is hesitant and in disagreement. It may seem these Red Flags contradict each other with respect to what ought to do be done by whom, if at all, and where does responsibility lie. Not so. It all speaks to the profound complexity of the matter.

The Final Red Flag? Syria’s threat to attack Israel.

AP-acquired photo

– – –

Ultimately there is really just a single Red Flag that stands squarely on Syria’s soil. It proclaims something must be done, and it is the blood of 100,000 Syrians that stains it red.

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Mitt Romney

AAH knew he was to be the nominee if not the right nominee a year ago, viewing him through the lenses of pragmatism and realism (see the Mitt Romney segment in our November 2011 article: http://wp.me/pwfad-te). Since then we have gradually come to see him more and more through the lenses of study, philosophy, and values. What we see with clarity, ultimately, is agreement.

And LZ Granderson of CNN is probably trying the Josef Goebbels technique that if you say it enough it will become true: He just published an article yesterday trying to explain why America doesn’t like Romney (http://www.cnn.com/2012/08/14/opinion/granderson-romney-likeability/index.html?hpt=po_r1). Sounds like the title to an article that should have been written a year ago. Well, I like him (Romney, I mean), and I liked him a year ago. I liked him seven years ago. I liked him when I first heard about him – when he was asked to rescue the Winter Olympics in Salt Lake City.  Lots of people like him. Don’t worry, LZ, you’re just mystified, that’s all. And I know what you are hoping for. What you need is a bubble jar with that little plastic wand. Head outside and when you get a bubble worth chasing, attack. I bet it’ll pop and be gone forever.


Paul Ryan

He is everything the Democrats want and need to be and cannot for the life of them figure out how to be. In other words, if the Democrats had a Paul Ryan, he’d be a Republican.

The Romney Presidential Campaign

To quote Coach Norman Dale of the fictitious Indiana high school basketball champ Hickory Huskers, “With Jimmy, we’ve come together, all pistons are firing.” The key difference here is that just like Bobby Plump and the Milan Indians of 1954, the Romney-Ryan ticket is real, and they will win the White House in November.

Barak Obama and the Obama Presidential Campaign

Desperation. The Long Slow Implosion is well underway.

Joe Biden

Hah! OMG.

The Daily Kos ArticleRomney campaign melting down over Joe Biden comment: A ‘new low,’ they say

In his article of from Tuesday, August 14 “Hunter” describes the Romney campaign as melting down and in “total hissyfit mode” over Joe Biden’s “Ya’ll back in chains” verbal car crash. If it weren’t so horrifically out of line, it would be just another over-the-top Bidenism. As it is, it’s the 5,867,384th time he has confirmed he should have never gotten the job in the first place.  Rudy Giuliani is right: Joe Biden just isn’t that bright. One more bit of evidence? “Ya’ll” is not a Delawarian colloquialism.

(Please, please-please, Steve Tally, please publish a new edition of Bland Ambition to include a Joe Biden chapter.)


All you Kos’ers out there: Didja HEAR what he said and HOW he said it?! Consider the fallout if someone from the Romney camp had said it.

And all “Hunter” can write about is how weak are the stomachs and hearts of Romney’s people. As with the remainder of the small universe of Progressive media personalities, including NorMan GoldMan, he devolves into the juvenile tactics of name-calling and berating and generally making fun.

Is this really the best these guys can do? More evidence of the Great Slow Implosion. Yea, like I’m gonna run right out and buy that.

Sticking to (or Sticking it to) the Constitution: Sebelius vs Gowdy or The Administration vs The Constitution

 Ok, I admit am three-and-half months late on addressing this issue, but video of the interchange is worth the re-visit. This would be my fun item if it weren’t so troubling.

Even the most fundamental aspects of our constitutional protections remain in jeopardy even as the most significant presidential election in a generation looms. Here is a refresher on the testimony of Health and Human Services secretary Kathleen Sebelius before a congressional committee and her catastrophic interaction with South Carolina Representative Trey Gowdy during which she revealed herself to be incredibly inept, absolutely unprepared and uninformed of even fundamental provisions of the Constitution. The most troubling part is that she tows the line that deliberately erodes the freedoms we enjoy.

If you haven’t seen it: http://www.letfreedomringblog.com/?p=12843 or http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=5QfRa3SdU0I.

Flabbergasted is the right word.

Syria: Sleeping with the Enemy

Russia is satisfied to see – and support – a Syrian civil war.

Syria has historically been one of Russia’s (and previously the Soviet Union’s) biggest arms customers and if there is any chance the Free Syrian Army prevails in the conflict, they may be very likely to shop elsewhere. The Russians don’t want to lose influence, and they don’t want to lose one of their best customers. It is US, the “greedy” free-market Americans, who are accused of sacrificing all for the almighty dollar. And speaking of the dollar, does anyone actually think the Assad regime is paying the Russians in Dinars or Rubles or even Euros? They maintain this status deliberately, unabashedly unapologetically.

According to the CIA World Factbook, in 2005 Syria spent 5.9% of their GDP on the military. That’s significantly more than their #1 benefactor: Russia committed 2.9%. View those numbers in light of their populations: Russia is six times larger than Syria at well over 138 million people. Syria spends on their military double that of Russia.

And by the way, isn’t it amazingly simple? When these things happening virtually anywhere in the world, regardless of internal factors such as history, culture, religion, present economic or political conditions, outside pressures, it is people everywhere – PEOPLE – saying the same thing: “Set us free”.

Political Media: Who’s Up, Who’s Down

Up: For the combination of both best and most entertaining news commentary programming: AAH recommends a tie between Fox News’ The Five and Special Report with Brett Baier.

Down: The NorMan GoldMan Show. AM radio mouth-piece for and attending the Long, Slow Implosion of the Obama reelection campaign.

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Audrey Williams

Humanitarian. Pianist. Cellist. Teacher. Music Creator. Engineer


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