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Thu Sep 11, 2014, 10:04 AM

Yes, this is all about energy--Syria, Iraq, IS, and the President's Speech.

Yesterday, the President announced his intention to escalate our campaign against the Islamic State (IS) in both Syria and Iraq. The doves of DU, as we all should expect, are outraged. I've seen calls here for complete American isolation and American energy independence. I've also seen anguish over what appears to be a never-ending war against "terror" and expressions of horror that the United States is, once again, engaging in a war of choice against an alleged enemy that has done us no harm.

Frankly, I am sympathetic to all of these arguments, but the truth is rather more complex. This is all about energy, as many DU posters acknowledge and concede. Energy matters. Japan, which has no oil or natural gas resources of its own, gets 80% of its energy from the Middle East. Our allies in Western Europe (the U.K., Germany, France, Italy, Spain, and a lot of other countries) lack sufficient energy reserves of their own to sustain their energy consumption. The United States, for better or for worse, has become the guarantor of the free flow of energy from the Middle East to our allies. We can not fail in this task, for, if we do, our allies' economies will crumble, and our own economy is so intertwined with that of our allies that if we were to allow Russia (the bogeyman, here) to control the price of energy flowing to our allies, our own economy would suffer, and it would suffer dramatically. We insure the free flow of oil and natural gas out of the Middle East. In exchange, the world has agreed to allow energy to be traded in our currency, USD, and this has made us rich and powerful. We must resist any attempt by any nation or power who proposes to trade energy in any other currency. Our ability to fund our national debt is directly tied to the world's trading energy in USD. It would be very stupid for us to become isolationists and only worry about our own energy needs in this environment (as the President fully understands).

So, we must stay involved in the Middle East, and we must insure the flow of energy to our allies. We continue to do so. That's what the conflicts in both the Ukraine and Syria are all about. We initially supported the overthrow of Syria's Assad regime for this very reason. Our European allies asked us to facilitate a pipeline from Northern Iraq (through Syria) to the Mediterranean, so as to relieve the pressure of the Russian monopoly on natural gas flowing to Western Europe. We wanted to oblige, and we began preparing to topple Assad's regime (a Russian and Iranian surrogate state) in order to relieve that pressure and allow the needed pipeline. We probably encouraged Saudi Arabia to support IS for this purpose. Then something strange happened. Cameron, the UK's Prime Minister, took the issue to Parliament, asking Parliament to back a war in Syria against Assad's regime, and the UK's Parliament bucked him. They refused to authorize war, and President Obama was left holding the bag. He backed off from war against Syria, and we did not escalate. In the end, I think this was a good thing, but it embarrassed Obama, and it did not resolve the central problem--Russia's monopoly on energy sales to Western Europe.

Then we chose another route. We pushed for an independent Kurdistan, and we convinced Turkey to allow a pipeline through their country to move energy from Kurdish-controlled Northern Iraq to the Mediterranean. This has worked. The envisioned pipeline is up and working and Europe now has access to Middle-Eastern energy through Turkey. I don't know what we promised the Turks in order to get this concession (probably our refusal to support a populist revolt against Turkey's current regime), but at this point in time even Israel is backing an independent Kurdish state, and the United States is also doing so (in private, at least). Note that when Israel makes a move in the Middle East, it's almost certain that whatever they are doing has the full backing of the government of the United States.

We should all acknowledge that the current conflict in Ukraine is about the same underlying issue (Russia's monopoly on the flow of natural gas to Western Europe). There our initial strategy also failed. We backed a right-wing coup in Ukraine to release the pressure on Russia's energy monopoly (significant natural gas flows through Ukraine to Western Europe), and we have almost created WWIII as a result. The Ukranian conflict has yet to be resolved. I give the President credit for not engaging us in the war in Ukraine (yet), but this conflict could escalate and require our involvement (Goddess forbid). Nevertheless, the Ukraine conflict has now taken a back seat (and we have not become more involved) because the Kurds are now shipping energy resources to Europe though Turkey. Russia's monopoly has been broken, and our allies are pleased about that.

As it stands, we don't need Syria for our pipeline. Turkey is taking care of that for us--so long as we maintain an independent Kurdistan, and that's what the current action against IS is about. IS was threatening the Kurds (they even captured a major dam in Kurdish territory), but IS has been driven away from the dam and is now retreating. SA and its gulf-state allies have withdrawn their support for IS. Now, IS has no rich backers. They have limited funds and are in retreat on all fronts. IS is not a threat to the U.S.

But we're still going to engage in limited military action against them. Why? Because IS has no allies left, and because the drums of war are beating. In order to fend off the constant charge that Democrats are "weak on defense," the President must do something (if for no other reason than to protect our electoral interests in the 2014 mid-terms). We can't look soft. We have to look strong, and the President has decided to project that image.

Can you blame him? Can you blame any politician in a republic or constitutional monarchy for insuring that the price of energy is low? If you were the head of a nation, and you allowed energy prices to double in your country, what would you think would happen? Most likely, you and your party would get voted out of power and you might not see power again in your nation for a generation. European politicians are deeply concerned about Russia's energy monopoly. We, their ally, have tried to help them escape this monopoly. That's what this is all about.

I don't like the fact that it's so easy to gin up support for war in the United States, but I give the President credit for doing something (if only to protect Democrats who are running for office in 2014), while at the same time circumventing Russia's energy monopoly and keeping the United States out of any full-scale, troops-on-the-ground war over this issue.

-Laelth

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Reply Yes, this is all about energy--Syria, Iraq, IS, and the President's Speech. (Original post)
Laelth Sep 2014 OP
CJCRANE Sep 2014 #1
Laelth Sep 2014 #2
CJCRANE Sep 2014 #3
Laelth Sep 2014 #5
CJCRANE Sep 2014 #7
Laelth Sep 2014 #8
CJCRANE Sep 2014 #12
Laelth Sep 2014 #21
CJCRANE Sep 2014 #22
Laelth Sep 2014 #24
CJCRANE Sep 2014 #26
Laelth Sep 2014 #56
leftstreet Sep 2014 #4
grahamhgreen Sep 2014 #39
KoKo Sep 2014 #6
MohRokTah Sep 2014 #9
Laelth Sep 2014 #10
MohRokTah Sep 2014 #11
Laelth Sep 2014 #28
MohRokTah Sep 2014 #29
Laelth Sep 2014 #30
riqster Sep 2014 #16
Laelth Sep 2014 #27
ZombieHorde Sep 2014 #46
Laelth Sep 2014 #50
ZombieHorde Sep 2014 #57
Laelth Sep 2014 #58
Sheri Sep 2014 #13
Laelth Sep 2014 #34
brer cat Sep 2014 #14
Laelth Sep 2014 #15
liberal_at_heart Sep 2014 #17
Laelth Sep 2014 #35
randome Sep 2014 #18
Laelth Sep 2014 #36
randome Sep 2014 #48
Laelth Sep 2014 #55
Maven Sep 2014 #19
Laelth Sep 2014 #20
JEB Sep 2014 #43
RoccoR5955 Sep 2014 #23
Laelth Sep 2014 #51
RoccoR5955 Sep 2014 #53
Laelth Sep 2014 #54
bvar22 Sep 2014 #25
Laelth Sep 2014 #52
former9thward Sep 2014 #31
Laelth Sep 2014 #32
former9thward Sep 2014 #33
locks Sep 2014 #37
grahamhgreen Sep 2014 #38
amandabeech Sep 2014 #40
hueymahl Sep 2014 #41
Laelth Sep 2014 #42
J_J_ Sep 2014 #44
Bongo Prophet Sep 2014 #59
kentuck Sep 2014 #45
ZombieHorde Sep 2014 #47
randome Sep 2014 #49

Response to Laelth (Original post)

Thu Sep 11, 2014, 10:58 AM

1. But what's the point of democracy

if our leaders gang up on another nations based on trumped up charges?

I would prefer that we cooperated with other nations, even our geopolitical rivals.

In fact, that's what Obama promised in his first term.

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Response to CJCRANE (Reply #1)

Thu Sep 11, 2014, 11:04 AM

2. We must defend our allies.

We fight our enemies. To the extent that Russia is threatening our allies by controlling the price of natural gas in Europe (and threatening the stability and security of Europe as a result), we must fight them.

I'm not sure what promise of Obama's you are referring to, but I support the President when he defends our allies' interests. My OP makes it clear why we must do so.

-Laelth

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Response to Laelth (Reply #2)

Thu Sep 11, 2014, 11:09 AM

3. So we're just along for the ride?

I prefer democracy.

Give the people the information and let them decide.

When our leaders lie to us they invariably don't act in our best interests.



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Response to CJCRANE (Reply #3)

Thu Sep 11, 2014, 11:18 AM

5. Nobody's lying here, as far as I can tell.

And yes. We're along for the ride. That's an essential feature of a republic. You vote for representatives, and once they're in office, you're along for the ride. Your next chance to make your opinion known will be in November of this year, and if you don't like how your representatives are representing you, you can vote your representatives out of office. Ultimately, that's about the only power you have in a republic like ours.

We are all, as you say, along for the ride. That said, I am glad that President Obama is captain of our ship. I think he has handled our foreign policy very well during his term in office. I object to his backing of the right-wing coup in the Ukraine, but I am certain that he was under major pressure to do so, and I suspect he regrets his decision on that.

-Laelth

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Response to Laelth (Reply #5)

Thu Sep 11, 2014, 11:32 AM

7. A whole bunch of countries

helped to create this problem in the ME.

Now those same countries are involved in providing the solution.

The rest of the world sees this as absurd and I agree with them.

However we are where we are. Let's tamp down down this mess.

But then we need to be honest with ourselves because we're living in a world of neocon BS and it's going to collapse in on itself at some point.

For example, Scotland is on the verge of seceding from the UK because they can't take these neocon policies of austerity, surveillance and endless war any more. They're not the only ones who are sick of it, they're probably the tip of the iceberg.



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Response to CJCRANE (Reply #7)

Thu Sep 11, 2014, 11:40 AM

8. I see no evidence that "the rest of the world" sees this as absurd.

Quite the contrary. The U.K. (and Germany and France and others) want us to continue to insure the flow of energy from the Middle East, and we will continue to do so, so long as they continue to agree to trade oil and natural gas in USD (which, as I note, keeps us rich).

I am no fan of financial institutions (although I concede that we need them), nor am I a fan of neo-con philosophy. That said, neo-con philosophy has little to do with our current escalation against IS. We're protecting the Kurds who are shipping natural gas to Western Europe through Turkey and, thereby, breaking the Russian monopoly on natural gas in Western Europe. That, in turn, keeps energy prices in Europe low and insures continued prosperity for our allies (and for us--as our economies are intertwined).

-Laelth

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Response to Laelth (Reply #8)

Thu Sep 11, 2014, 12:25 PM

12. That's just a couple of our allies.

What media do you read or watch outside of our western allies?

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Response to CJCRANE (Reply #12)

Thu Sep 11, 2014, 03:56 PM

21. I read or watch whatever gets posted on DU and Discussionist.

I follow links to other news from the posts I see on those sites.

I recall, quite specifically, seeing European politicians' reactions to Russia's near-monopoly on natural gas. They're not pleased about it, and it seems clear to me that our involvement in both Syria and Ukraine has been an attempt to weaken that monopoly. I assume our European allies are happy to have our assistance in breaking this monopoly.

If you know something different, please share.



-Laelth

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Response to Laelth (Reply #21)

Thu Sep 11, 2014, 04:01 PM

22. Our "European allies". Does that include the citizens of said countries

or just a backroom deal.

If this is just about a resource smash and grab I would prefer to be told the truth, not some neocon BS about spreading freedom.

Let's just say our gang is bigger than their gang and we want their stuff.

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Response to CJCRANE (Reply #22)

Thu Sep 11, 2014, 04:18 PM

24. The "citizens" of those countries appear to be opposed to further war.

That's what precipitated part of this crisis. Cameron (in the U.K.) thought he could get authorization from Parliament to wage war in Syria, topple the pro-Russian Assad regime, and get the pipeline that Western Europe needed from Northern Iraq through Syria and to the Mediterranean to break Russia's near-monopoly on natural gas sales to Western Europe. Parliament shocked the P.M. when they bucked him and refused to back a war in Syria.

We got around that problem by pushing for Kurdish independence and a pipeline through Turkey. That has mostly broken Russia's monopoly, and our allies are pleased. All the same, the Kurds have to be protected (so that they can keep shipping their energy resources), and that's why we're taking military action against IS--to protect the Kurds.

I suspect that the average European is about as ignorant as the average American about all of these things. European politicians, however, are quite concerned. If the price of energy were to double in France, we'd likely see a far-right party come to power, and that wouldn't do any of us any good. So, yes. What we're doing in Iraq and Syria is the product of hidden negotiations between politicians that has not been exposed to the populations of the countries involved.

But it's still a good idea.

-Laelth

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Response to Laelth (Reply #24)

Thu Sep 11, 2014, 04:30 PM

26. You make some good points but that's only part of it.

There are much larger hidden agendas involved that perhaps even the politicians involved in the backroom deals don't understand.

Whatever the case, this is not democracy.

The politicians need to answer to their real masters: us.

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Response to CJCRANE (Reply #26)

Sat Sep 13, 2014, 01:11 PM

56. I certainly expect politicians to advance the interests of the people in a republic.

In this case, I think President Obama is doing what he feels is in the best interests of the American people. I have no reason to believe otherwise.

-Laelth

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Response to Laelth (Reply #2)

Thu Sep 11, 2014, 11:16 AM

4. GE, Citibank, GM, Boeing, BP, Tyson Foods, KFC, Procter&Gamble



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Response to leftstreet (Reply #4)

Thu Sep 11, 2014, 11:26 PM

39. wow. that top pic.

 

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Response to CJCRANE (Reply #1)

Thu Sep 11, 2014, 11:26 AM

6. Indeed....Laeth does package it beautifully....But leaves out the ugly parts...

Last edited Thu Sep 11, 2014, 12:45 PM - Edit history (1)



Not criticizing, necessarily...and would love to be hopeful about how neatly this has been navigated to get us through the Mid-terms and make peace for everyone involved while stabilizing Europe and our Dollar at home. That ISIL is now on the run and we have achieved success working with Turkey and Kurdistan to thwart Russia's control over Gas/Oil to Europe by overthrowing the Ukraine Elected Government to start conflict Russia will have to deal with while all becomes "Pleasantville" for the U.S.

When the TPP and other Trade Agreements, written in secret, are signed after the Mid-Terms and our Asia Pivot challenges Russia even more aggressively in the future we should be confident that the Captain of our Ship has done the best he could by us navigating us through the treacherous waters so that USA keeps its 1% Thriving and Comfortable while the 99% slides further into poverty the coming the domestic unrest will assure that our Militarized Police will prevail over the "rebels/separatists" demanding fair wages for work produced. We can maintain strength in the world with our Mighty Military Industrial/Corporate/Media Complex and Wall Street comfortable that there will be no more Upsets in its hold over the world economy for awhile longer.

So perhaps Laeth is correct for awhile things will be fine...and we should be thankful for that.

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Response to Laelth (Original post)

Thu Sep 11, 2014, 11:58 AM

9. But you are spouting reality!

 

Reality has no place when we demand unicorns and rainbows!!!!

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Response to MohRokTah (Reply #9)

Thu Sep 11, 2014, 12:20 PM

10. Essential liberalism, as I have often argued.

Liberalism requires seeing the world as it is, so that we can craft reasonable policy to address the problems we see. I have little interest in adopting a conservative frame that requires me to see the world as I think it should be and then disclaim all responsibility for the state of the world because everyone else isn't doing what I think they should do. That way lies madness, misery, and ruin for us all.

-Laelth

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Response to Laelth (Reply #10)

Thu Sep 11, 2014, 12:25 PM

11. Very well said!

 

Essential liberalism would also take the approach of the long game in order to help the world become what it should be.

A real world example of this can be found in the Affordable Care Act. Single payer is not possible in the US as it is at this time, however, the ACA lays the ground work so that single payer becomes possible at some future date.

It's all about the baby steps in order to move things forward.

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Response to MohRokTah (Reply #11)

Thu Sep 11, 2014, 05:13 PM

28. Quite true.

That said, I am on record opposing the President's handling of the ACA. I was disappointed, to say the least, but I think that President Obama is a much better President now than he was in 2010. Like all of us do, he learned a lot on the job. I am also on record, however, saying that we have to circle the wagons re. the ACA at this point. Our party did it, and we have to own it. Even I will admit that it's better than what we had before.

Thanks for the kind words.



-Laelth

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Response to Laelth (Reply #28)

Thu Sep 11, 2014, 05:23 PM

29. There is no doubt that mistakes were made.

 

I think the place where the Democratic coalition stood in 2009 made a lot of the problems encountered inevitable. Basically, Obama fucked up by trusting his own party, which is how the ACA got so watered down. A viable public option would have been the final nail in the coffin of third party handling of the money and would have resulted in a reduction in total medical costs by 30% within a decade.

As it stands now, we'll be lucky to get a nationwide public option in the next decade.

Still, a baby step is better than no step. Medicare when first implemented sucked. Social Security when first implemented sucked. Both were still better than what was there before.

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Response to MohRokTah (Reply #29)

Thu Sep 11, 2014, 05:27 PM

30. Agreed. Quite fully. n/t

-Laelth

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Response to Laelth (Reply #10)

Thu Sep 11, 2014, 02:27 PM

16. Damn, Laelth, this is perfect:

"Liberalism requires seeing the world as it is, so that we can craft reasonable policy to address the problems we see."

Perfectly put!

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Response to riqster (Reply #16)

Thu Sep 11, 2014, 04:56 PM

27. Thanks. n/t



-Laelth

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Response to Laelth (Reply #10)

Fri Sep 12, 2014, 01:16 PM

46. How well do you think you precieve reality?

Do you think liberals should be atheists? Pro science? Pro vaccines and GMOs?

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Response to ZombieHorde (Reply #46)

Sat Sep 13, 2014, 07:24 AM

50. Interesting question.

I'd rather not make this conversation about me, but here's what I can say in response to your specific questions. I think that people can see and recognize the same facts and then come up with different strategies to address those facts. For this reason, I try to avoid telling people what they "should" do, what they "should" believe, or how they "should" worship.

The key to essential liberalism is seeing the world as it is. The best way to do that is to be perpetually open to new facts--especially when those new facts contradict old facts about which one was once certain but that have now been proven to be incorrect. Essential liberalism is all about being able to change one's mind once new facts come to light. Essential conservatism is all about holding on to old, cherished beliefs, no matter what the facts say. Essential conservatism invites people to close their minds to any new facts because those new facts may threaten old, cherished beliefs.

-Laelth

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Response to Laelth (Reply #50)

Sat Sep 13, 2014, 01:30 PM

57. I really like your version of liberalism. nt

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Response to ZombieHorde (Reply #57)

Sun Sep 14, 2014, 08:55 AM

58. Me too. Thanks. n/t



-Laelth

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Response to Laelth (Original post)

Thu Sep 11, 2014, 12:40 PM

13. well worth the long read. kick.

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Response to Sheri (Reply #13)

Thu Sep 11, 2014, 06:07 PM

34. Thanks for the kind words. n/t

-Laelth

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Response to Laelth (Original post)

Thu Sep 11, 2014, 01:40 PM

14. Excellent, Laelth.

I don't like the situation we are in, but I agree that doing nothing is not an option. I trust PBO to move with caution, and not include US troop on the ground as a solution.

Thanks for taking the time to put this analysis together for us. This is not a time for "sound bites."

K&R

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Response to brer cat (Reply #14)

Thu Sep 11, 2014, 02:16 PM

15. This is a delicate and complicated matter.

I felt that a more thorough treatment was in order because I was discouraged by the general tenor of DU today. PBO has proven to be remarkably cautious. There are a number of things for which one might criticize the President, but recklessness isn't one of them. Once again, I am thrilled to see him respond reasonably and cautiously.

And thanks for the kind words.



-Laelth

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Response to Laelth (Original post)

Thu Sep 11, 2014, 02:37 PM

17. Humans have been killing each other over resources since the beginning of time. Doesn't make it

right.

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Response to liberal_at_heart (Reply #17)

Thu Sep 11, 2014, 06:43 PM

35. No. It doesn't.

I concede that. I suppose the best I can say, here, is that it could have been worse. Obama's not sending in 250K American troops. At the same time, he is defending the Kurds and protecting Democrats running for office in 2014 from the accusation that they are "weak" on terror and national defense.



-Laelth

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Response to Laelth (Original post)

Thu Sep 11, 2014, 02:42 PM

18. No, this is just another aspect of the clash of cultures.

 

These things don't happen in a vacuum. The two hemispheres have been merging at a faster rate than in the past century. Bush, Junior didn't change the world with his invasion. He was simply one aspect of a sea change that has been occurring for decades now.

Technology makes this integration faster, which is why hostilities break out so easily now.
[hr][font color="blue"][center]Stop looking for heroes. BE one.[/center][/font][hr]

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Response to randome (Reply #18)

Thu Sep 11, 2014, 07:13 PM

36. Interesting perspective.

I don't deny that you're right, but I still think it's essential that we protect our allies' energy interests and insure that energy continues to be traded in USD.

-Laelth

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Response to Laelth (Reply #36)

Fri Sep 12, 2014, 01:40 PM

48. Uh-huh.

 

I'm more worried about the atrocities ISIS commits. http://www.slate.com/articles/news_and_politics/foreigners/2014/09/don_t_watch_isis_s_murder_of_steven_sotloff_honor_him_by_remembering_the.html

Start with Monday’s testimony before the U.N. Human Rights Council. The documented incidents include 1,700 captives executed in Tikrit, Iraq, and 650 in Mosul, Iraq. Some 1,000 Turkmen massacred, including 100 children. More than 2,000 women and children kidnapped. “Systematic hunting of members of ethnic and religious groups.” Women raped and sold. Young boys executed. Girls enslaved for sexual abuse. Children recruited as suicide bombers. More than 1 million refugees, half of them kids.

[hr][font color="blue"][center]Birds are territorial creatures.
The lyrics to the songbird's melodious trill go something like this:
"Stay out of my territory or I'll PECK YOUR GODDAMNED EYES OUT!"
[/center][/font][hr]

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Response to randome (Reply #48)

Sat Sep 13, 2014, 12:10 PM

55. Atrocities?

I am much more concerned about the atrocities that we, here in the United States, visit upon our own citizens every day. On the "atrocity" front, I leave IS to the people directly affected by them--very few of whom are American citizens.

-Laelth

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Response to Laelth (Original post)

Thu Sep 11, 2014, 03:03 PM

19. This starts out looking informative and ends up saying absolutely nothing of consequence

In fact, it's self-contradictory.

You begin by stating all the reasons for our intervention in the ME with an emphasis on preservation of the petrodollar.

Then you actually show that ISIS is not a threat to our energy regime, as they have been stripped of resources and are in retreat.

Then, in a total non sequitur, you state we are going to war with ISIS anyway because the president must "look strong".

So your point essentially is this: the military action against ISIS is all about energy, except no, it's not, it's really all about politics.

We are going to war because "the drums of war are beating"? And you think that's a sturdy defense of this action?

What I see above is yet another effort to characterize war proponents as serious adults and war opponents as idealistic ninnies. Nothing more. And you started out doing so well...

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Response to Maven (Reply #19)

Thu Sep 11, 2014, 03:42 PM

20. In all fairness, the post isn't self-contradictory.

It's true that we're attacking IS in order to protect the Kurds, thereby allowing them to continue to break Russia's monopoly on natural gas shipments to Western Europe. The Kurds are shipping their natural gas to Western Europe through Turkey. IS is a threat to the Kurds, so we are protecting them.

It's also true that the drums of war are beating in the U.S. and that, for political reasons, the President felt compelled to do something. He did, but it's not much, and I am glad that it's not much.



-Laelth

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Response to Laelth (Reply #20)

Fri Sep 12, 2014, 12:09 PM

43. Not much unless it is your family being bombed.

 

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Response to Laelth (Original post)

Thu Sep 11, 2014, 04:02 PM

23. Violence is STILL not the way.

 

It only begets more violence.
You kill some of them, and the ones that are not dead, and are young, grow up to be more terrorists.
You kill many innocent people. For what? How much oil is a person's life worth?
How about we have a Manhattan Project style program, whereby we get off of ALL fossil fuels in 3 years.
If we could build the atomic bomb in such a short amount of time, I am CERTAIN that we can get everyone in the US off of fossil fuels.
Then we could export that to Europe, Japan, and the rest of the world who needs it. Heck, without our demand on the global marketplace, the price would go way down.
After we make the fossil fuels the dinosaurs of today, we then can have little to do with ISIS, or our next "enemy."

And can you explain to me, why we keep funding these folks as friends, only to have them become our enemies?

Oh, and did I mention that even though the President says that there will be no boots on the ground, what do you call the thousand or so soldiers that will go over there? Will they be wearing pumps, stilettos, or sandals so they don't count as "boots" on the ground?
Give me a break, this is all about corporate and military-industrial complex profits. Nothing more, nothing less.

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Response to RoccoR5955 (Reply #23)

Sat Sep 13, 2014, 10:04 AM

51. It's about politics and economics.

Our economy is fundamentally intertwined with the economies of our allies. They rely upon us to insure the flow of energy, and we benefit tremendously from their reliance upon us.

Yes, some corporate entities get rich from this dynamic, but I have no desire to see political instability across the world. All of us are addicted to petrochemical energy. We can not simply wish away that fundamental truth, and we'd see a lot more death, destruction, and carnage in a large number of countries around the globe if energy supplies to us and our allies were disrupted as a result of our inaction.

-Laelth

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Response to Laelth (Reply #51)

Sat Sep 13, 2014, 11:02 AM

53. Like I said

 

We may be addicted to fossil fuels, so how about a rehabilitation program for ALL of us.
I am not saying to wish it away, but to put a program together to get us off of it ASAP.

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Response to RoccoR5955 (Reply #53)

Sat Sep 13, 2014, 11:35 AM

54. I am open to any program you have in mind ...

... to break the fossil-fuel addictions of Brazil, China, India, the United States, the U.K., Germany, France, Indonesia, Japan, and every other nation on Earth.

I desperately want such a program or plan, but I don't see it. I don't know how to wish such a program into existence.

-Laelth

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Response to Laelth (Original post)

Thu Sep 11, 2014, 04:30 PM

25. UnRec

...for the binary logic and Us against Them frame.
There ARE other options besides trying to bomb multiple countries into "peace".


OTOH, at least you are admitting that this is all about energy resources (OIL) and the US and its allies are justified in killing anyone and everyone we need to kill in order to get it.

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Response to bvar22 (Reply #25)

Sat Sep 13, 2014, 10:35 AM

52. I'd love to hear about the "other options" you have in mind.

I am open to whatever suggestions you have.



-Laelth

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Response to Laelth (Original post)

Thu Sep 11, 2014, 05:28 PM

31. You did not provide any links for the gas going from the Kurds to Europe.

As of April 2014:

For Turkey to function as a gas transit state, it must be able to import enough gas to satisfy both domestic demand and any re-export commitments as well as provide enough pipeline capacity to transport Caspian natural gas across Turkey to Europe. While Turkey enjoyed considerable excess import capacity a few years ago, this excess pipeline capacity has eroded as Turkey now uses most of its pipeline capacity to meet its domestic demand. Furthermore, possible restrictions on imports of Iranian natural gas because of sanctions would remove Turkey's excess capacity during peak demand months.

http://www.eia.gov/countries/cab.cfm?fips=tu

I would like to know exactly how much gas is going through Turkey to Europe and what percent this is of the total since you seem to think it justifies a war.

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Response to Laelth (Reply #32)

Thu Sep 11, 2014, 05:46 PM

33. Europe uses 21,000,000 barrels of oil a day.

This pipeline is for oil not natural gas. So the pipeline, when working has a capacity of 300,000 or about 1.5% of Europe's needs.

http://www.indexmundi.com/energy.aspx/?region=eu&product=oil&graph=consumption

The link about the gas is for proposed lines in the future. Nothing has been built.

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Response to Laelth (Original post)

Thu Sep 11, 2014, 09:51 PM

37. The post is thoughtful and

difficult to refute. But I always wonder what would actually happen if we didn't "do something to show that we're strong", if we stood up to the energy barons and all the 1%ers, if our president hadn't learned that he needs to go along to get along. What if he had surrounded himself with advisers who believed as he said he did that we could not win nations by invading them, that we can never solve the mideast's (or the world's) problems with bombs. And he (and we) acted on what we know is right?

Somehow the Tea Party RWs got a lot of people elected to local and national leadership. Somehow they got people to believe their weird ideology would make them and our nation stronger, just like John Galt said. And they didn't do it by giving up those beliefs and compromising, something liberals think we must do to win anything.

One time there was a man who debated Jesus: How many times do I have to forgive my brother who sins against me (he's really a bad guy) as much as seven times? (before I drop a bomb on him) Jesus says: more like seventy times seven! The man said: You've got to be kidding me, there's no way. Jesus probably said: Why did you ask if you didn't really want to know what might work?

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Response to Laelth (Original post)

Thu Sep 11, 2014, 11:25 PM

38. The fuck? For a fraction of the cost of war(s), we could be up and running on renewable energy.

 

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Response to Laelth (Original post)

Thu Sep 11, 2014, 11:32 PM

40. The problem for oil would be if ISIS threatened the oil production areas in southern Iraq,

 

which are deep in the Shia heartland. The vast majority of Iraqi oil is pumped in the south and is loaded on tankers at Basra.

It is difficult to imagine that the Iraqi Shia and the Iranians would fail to defend that area, which is in their midst and key to their survival. That would be a very different scenario than defending Arab and Kurdish Sunnis in the north and west of the country.

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Response to Laelth (Original post)

Fri Sep 12, 2014, 12:17 AM

41. I have great respect for you, but this post is mostly horseshit

It is simply the repackaging of neocon philosophy using bigger words and liberal code.

The problem with your analysis, is the same problem with Neocon analysis. It makes assumptions that do not coincide with reality.

In a response above, you say something I truly believe: Liberalism requires seeing the world as it is, so that we can craft reasonable policy to address the problems we see.

I submit that your post does not live up to this standard because it does not see the world as it is.

Big reality point 1. The world will not fall apart if ISIS or any other terrorist du jur interrupts oil supplies in Iraq or Syria. The world has plenty of oil, a glut in fact. The price per barrel has fallen 20% in an improving world economy. That is unheard of and is a direct indication of a worldwide glut, stemming mostly from fracking.

Big Reality point 2. ISIS is not a threat to the US. It is a regional flair up that will be contained regionally and burn itself out. The leaders of ISIS might even morph into political leaders in the countries they are currently terrorizing. For far too long we have picked one evil leader over another based solely on whether we think they will be nice to us. This "policy" has cost us trillions of dollars and 10s of thousands of American lives, not to mention the devastation those policies have wrought on those we were trying to "help"

Big Reality point 3. This is not a slippery slope situation. See above.

Big Reality point 4. The only real ally we have in that region is the kurds. They are strong, also supported by Turkey and would need limited support from us to defeat any ISIS threat.

Big Reality point 5. By continuing our failed policies like you advocate, we are perpetuating the cycle of resentment and hatred for the US in that region.

Big Reality point 6. Even arguendo oil prices jump, that is not a bad thing in the long term. Absent strong government leadership promoting alternative energy (one of my biggest disappointments in the current administration), the shift to alternative energy needs oil prices to be high.

So to repeat, I respect you and your many positive positions, but on this one, I'm afraid you have it dead wrong.

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Response to Laelth (Original post)

Fri Sep 12, 2014, 11:12 AM

42. Cross-post.

I'm cross-posting this message from another thread, HERE, just to keep my thoughts on this subject on the same page.

I launched a thread yesterday, HERE, in which I defended the President's limited escalation of the use of military force against IS, so I am one of the people to whom this thread is directed. I note that the OP demonstrates a solid knowledge of the "facts on the ground" in the Middle East, and that makes it much easier for me to respond as we start off this discussion with a similar understanding of the reality of the situation.

Let me caveat my response by saying that I know nothing about what the President, his advisers, the Security Council, and the Joint Chiefs of Staff really think about these matters. My response is purely speculative and is based solely upon my own, admittedly-limited observations. So, here goes.

First - Mosul and Tikrit. The OP rightly notes that Mosul and Tikrit can not be "conquered" by any military force currently available in the area. These cities were Sunni Baathist strongholds in the old Iraq, and they remain Sunni strongholds today. Neither the Iraqi military nor the Kurdish Peshmerga have the power to capture and control these cities today. These cities were centers of money and power under Saddam's rule. When we forced Iraq to adopt democracy, the majority Shiites in the South took power, and those same monied interests from the North were left with nowhere to go. They lost all political representation, and, as a result, they joined up with IS. IS filled the vacuum that we created when we turned Iraq into a democracy. Iraq's Sunnis now control IS. Many of them, it appears, have no love for Islamic fundamentalism, but, because IS was the only game in town, they played along.

The problem is that IS has failed. It had a chance to become the caliphate its leaders hoped for, but that chance has evaporated. Once Saudi Arabia withdrew its support for IS, and once the other gulf states in Saudi Arabia's orbit abandoned IS, the movement to create a Pan-Islamic state collapsed. Now, IS is little more than a Sunni Iraqi faction with little funding and little hope of accomplishing its broader goals.

They still control Mosul and Tikrit, however. I don't think we have any desire, nor any need, to dislodge them from these cities. I think the purpose of the President's plan is pure containment--cripple IS and prevent IS from encroaching upon Kurdish oil and natural gas fields that have the possibility of breaking the Russian near-monopoly on the sale of energy to Western Europe. That's all I think we're shooting for, and that's all that I think limited airstrikes can achieve.

Wiping out IS is not the real goal, as far as I can tell. Containing IS and protecting the Kurds will be plenty. Whether Iraq's Sunnis can ever be reunited with Iraq's Shiites is another question--one that does not appear to concern us very much. As it stands, Shiite Iraq is a failure. It's little more than an Iranian satellite state at present. Their military stinks--in part because we disastrously disbanded the Iraqi military shortly after we conquered them. All their military's institutional knowledge was lost. Their officer corps was decimated. Many of Iraq's competent military leaders are now working for IS. That makes sense because they were Baathists and supporters of Saddam Hussein. They were stripped of power in Shiite Iraq, and now they are working for their own, Sunni people as leaders of IS. Shiite Iraq's military is so bad, in fact, that an Iranian had to be brought in to lead Iraq's brand-new military. There's no way that the Iraqi military could defeat IS at the moment, but this may change as IS becomes depleted of arms, war machines, and ammunition now that their major backers have abandoned them. Either way, it appears to me that the President's plan has nothing to do with conquering either Mosul or Tikrit. Ultimately, we don't need to conquer either of those cities in order to achieve our goals.

Second - Syria. I don't think we care much about what happens in Syria. Assad has proven himself fully capable of defending his regime, and it's clear that none of the Syrian rebels has enough power to topple his regime. IS will be even less capable of overthrowing Assad after the punishment the US is likely to visit upon them. Frankly, from a human rights perspective, we're better off with Assad in charge. It appears that in this area of the world, at least, a minority population can rule over a majority population and more-or-less do an adequate job of protecting the rights of the subjugated majority. That was the case when Saddam Hussein (a minority Sunni) ruled Iraq (which has a Shiite majority). Saddam was no saint, but he kept the peace and liberalized Iraq. The same applies to Syria where a minority Alawite (Assad) rules over a majority Sunni population. As American history shows, it takes a long time for minority rights to be respected and protected when said country is ruled by its majority. How long did it take majority American whites to grant full citizenship and rights to minority Blacks? Hundreds of years? And we might not have even achieved that goal yet? How we ever expected the majority Shiites in Iraq to respect the rights of the minority Sunnis is beyond me. History shows that the tyranny of the majority in a democracy will seriously harm minority rights. Syria and Iraq, on the other hand, show that a minority population in control of government can adequately (if not perfectly) protect the rights of an out-of-power majority. As such, I don't think we care what happens in Syria--not much, in any event. It appears that Assad will hold on to the reins of power, and we're probably fine with that.

Third - We have the support of Arab allies for our campaign against IS. The Saudis have abandoned IS, as have Saudi Arabia's gulf state satellites, so I don't see the problem here.

Fourth - We're not going it alone. France will probably help. SA will help. Besides which, I think you mistake our goals. While it's true that the rhetoric coming out of the President and the Vice President calls for the utter destruction and elimination of IS, I don't think that's what we're really shooting for. What we want to do is relieve the Russian near-monopoly on energy sales to Western Europe. Kurdistan now has a working pipeline (through Turkey) to do just that. All we need to do is contain IS and protect the Kurds. That's it, and I think the President's plan to use limited military force against IS can achieve that goal.

-Laelth

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Response to Laelth (Original post)

Fri Sep 12, 2014, 12:45 PM

44. Kick their ass and take their gas!

 

"Can you blame any politician in a republic or constitutional monarchy for insuring that the price of energy is low? "


Low?

That is exactly what they told us before Bush invaded and gas prices increased to new highs.

If Obama cared about keeping energy prices low, he would take to the bully pulpit and explain to everyone how the Koch brothers paid off Bill and Wendy Graham to deregulate so they could speculate on gas prices, driving their worth from 5 Billion to +100 Billion.

Speculation is how the Koch brothers got all the money to buy our government.

Obama could explain to the public about speculation, then demand Congress end it. Once he explained it, he would have the American people behind him.

No need for war to keep energy prices down.


And did you see this?

U.S. Seen as Biggest Oil Producer After Overtaking Saudi Arabia

This is not about energy prices, it is about looting the nation while blaming poor people and victims of their sociopathy for the debt they create.

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Response to J_J_ (Reply #44)

Sun Sep 14, 2014, 01:34 PM

59. I think you mean Phil and Wendy Gramm, right?

Not trying to nitpick at all, just a point of information.
Speculation is an important part of our (many) issues that need to be dealt with.

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Response to Laelth (Original post)

Fri Sep 12, 2014, 12:52 PM

45. Yes, basically true.

It is mostly about the threat to the energy in Iraq.

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Response to Laelth (Original post)

Fri Sep 12, 2014, 01:36 PM

47. We need more war to win elections?

Can you blame him?


Yes, because I value human life.

Can you blame any politician in a republic or constitutional monarchy for insuring that the price of energy is low?


Yes, if they take human life.

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Response to ZombieHorde (Reply #47)

Fri Sep 12, 2014, 01:48 PM

49. I think Laelth is trying too hard to be subtle and sarcastic.

 

Easy to understand. The 'subtle' key is right next to the 'sarcastic' one.
[hr][font color="blue"][center]Birds are territorial creatures.
The lyrics to the songbird's melodious trill go something like this:
"Stay out of my territory or I'll PECK YOUR GODDAMNED EYES OUT!"
[/center][/font][hr]

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