Whitefish neo-nazi march

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Re: Whitefish neo-nazi march

Post by scrmbldggs » Sat Dec 15, 2018 11:38 pm

That's probably a life worthy of saving for him. Kids crossing borders in hopes of better lives - not so much. Those who aren't dying of exhaustion and dehydration on transports are interred in camps and others outfitted with snappy black (permanent marker) numbers on their forearms. Where have I heard that before...
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Re: Whitefish neo-nazi march

Post by Statistical Mechanic » Tue Dec 18, 2018 2:48 pm

"It was still at the stage of clubs and fists, hurrah, tala"

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Re: Whitefish neo-nazi march

Post by Jeff_36 » Fri Dec 21, 2018 11:56 pm

Anyone else think that the withdrawal from Syria is the worst and most damaging action of the Trump administration so far?

I'm serious. This will empower Russia and Turkey at the expense of natural American proxies like the SDF. I am absolutely disgusted. Many brave men and women will suffer and die because of this choice. The fact that he made this decision after a conversation with Erdogan is worse than any Russian collusion.

This is nothing short of the return of the Republican Party of Robert Taft and Charles Lindburgh.

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Re: Whitefish neo-nazi march

Post by Statistical Mechanic » Sat Dec 22, 2018 12:17 am

Jeff_36 wrote:
Fri Dec 21, 2018 11:56 pm
Anyone else think that the withdrawal from Syria is the worst and most damaging action of the Trump administration so far?
Not me.
Jeff_36 wrote:
Fri Dec 21, 2018 11:56 pm
This will empower Russia and
Iran.

I think that these horses left the barn some time ago. Russia and Iran were willing to make the commitment to keep Assad in power and put in the resources to do it. In that sense, whether you favor their policy or not, it succeeded in 2015, not this week.
Jeff_36 wrote:
Fri Dec 21, 2018 11:56 pm
natural American proxies like the SDF.
I think reducing the SDF to an American tool is mistaken. An article I read earlier today addressed this, "Syrian Kurds [the dominant group in the SFD] aren’t fighting as a favor to the United States. They seek to establish an autonomous Kurdish enclave in Northeast Syria . . ." This is not a US goal.
Jeff_36 wrote:
Fri Dec 21, 2018 11:56 pm
I am absolutely disgusted. Many brave men and women will suffer and die because of this choice. The fact that he made this decision after a conversation with Erdogan is worse than any Russian collusion.

This is nothing short of the return of the Republican Party of Robert Taft and Charles Lindburgh.
I will agree with only this much: the way Trump arrived at his decision and then did this, without consulting with other countries which the US drew in, deserves criticism. The US intervention in Syria, since the start under Obama, has IMO been illegal. It needed authorization, which neither Obama nor Trump wished to get, and the intervention is dubious in international law. Most important, there has been no focused or coherent national debate/discussion on US strategy and goals in Syria and the region. Convoluted legalistic arguments stretching the 9/11 AUMF to Syria do not cut it.

The usual suspects - Rubio, Graham, et al - will say the usual things about this, but their old arguments don't change how the situation in Syria has changed since 2015.
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Re: Whitefish neo-nazi march

Post by Balmoral95 » Sat Dec 22, 2018 1:06 am

Well, no, because there's more yet to come... :mrgreen:

Politically, yes, it probably stands as one of the worst. From a security pov, who knows as the publicly available data to assess that remains scant and elusive.

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Re: Whitefish neo-nazi march

Post by Statistical Mechanic » Sat Dec 22, 2018 1:49 am

>> Politically, yes ...

Making this decision in a phone call with Erdogan, at Erdogan's request and surprising even Erdogan, would be startling if it weren't Trump. Could he have agreed to this with Putin in Helsinki?

Also, given the recent political swirl - Mueller's progress along with that of the SDNY and the sentencing of Trump associates, NY state's legal action against the Trump Foundation, the market meltdown, China's trade-related economic slowdown and global economic warning signs, the Wall-funding muck, Kashoggi's murder and the Senate resolution, the '18 midterms, WH staffing problems, and so on - this action (including the way it was done) surely becomes part of an explosive mix.

On the security question, there is one oddity, contributing to the elusiveness of the situation: I've read those close to the Kurds making what seem to me to be contradictory appraisals: the 2000 US troops have been key, on the one hand, and the Kurds (with 10,000 casualties) have been key, on the other. Given Russian advances since 2015, I somehow doubt that the US stake is key.

Personally, I would have preferred that Trump cut off support for the Saudi military effort in Yemen first.
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Re: Whitefish neo-nazi march

Post by Jeff_36 » Sat Dec 22, 2018 2:42 am

Statistical Mechanic wrote:
Sat Dec 22, 2018 12:17 am
I think reducing the SDF to an American tool is mistaken. An article I read earlier today addressed this, "Syrian Kurds [the dominant group in the SFD] aren’t fighting as a favor to the United States. They seek to establish an autonomous Kurdish enclave in Northeast Syria . . ." This is not a US goal.
I was not reducing them to a mere tool - I stated that they were a "natural proxy" - i.e that they could be turned into a proxy in the future. I support the creation of a Kurdish autonomous province in Northeastern Syria, and I applaud the sincere efforts at multi-confessional federalism by the PYD and it's partners. It would be sad, IMO to see this state destroyed - especially since they can be groomed into a future American partner. It is dishonorable, in my opinion, to abandon them after they have served as a valuable ally to coalition forces. JSOFCOM reportedly greatly preferred to operate with the SDF as opposed to the FSA.

Further to the heart of the matter - ISIL is not yet defeated, and they have been reportedly been reorganizing as an insurgency in the Syria/Iraq border provinces as well as in Raqqa itself. The inevitable and necessary redirecting of resources by the SDF to combat a future Turkish onslaught will create a vacuum for the resurgence of ISIL in Northeastern Syria. Trump, as I predicted in 2016, has become the caliphate's President.

The most shocking aspect of this whole debacle, as I stated earlier, the Trump's positioning of himself as a hitman for Erdogan. Is he not aware of what occurred in Afrin last year? Is he not enlightened to the fact that Turkey is the acknowledged patron of Jabat-Al-Nusra and Fatah-Al-Islam, two groups that even the Saudis wouldn't touch? Is he not clued in to the multiple reports of collusion between MIT (Turkish Intelligence) and ISIL in 2014/15?

I see Turkey as a more serious threat than either Iran or KSA. Trump is proving to be just as much a lackey for Erdogan as he is for Putin.

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Re: Whitefish neo-nazi march

Post by Statistical Mechanic » Sat Dec 22, 2018 3:16 am

Jeff_36 wrote:
Sat Dec 22, 2018 2:42 am
Statistical Mechanic wrote:
Sat Dec 22, 2018 12:17 am
I think reducing the SDF to an American tool is mistaken. An article I read earlier today addressed this, "Syrian Kurds [the dominant group in the SFD] aren’t fighting as a favor to the United States. They seek to establish an autonomous Kurdish enclave in Northeast Syria . . ." This is not a US goal.
I was not reducing them to a mere tool - I stated that they were a "natural proxy" - i.e that they could be turned into a proxy in the future. I support the creation of a Kurdish autonomous province in Northeastern Syria, and I applaud the sincere efforts at multi-confessional federalism by the PYD and it's partners. It would be sad, IMO to see this state destroyed - especially since they can be groomed into a future American partner. It is dishonorable, in my opinion, to abandon them after they have served as a valuable ally to coalition forces. JSOFCOM reportedly greatly preferred to operate with the SDF as opposed to the FSA.
But a proxy doesn't have potentially differing goals from its principal -and what you (or I) support is not the issue: there's been almost no public debate of such prospects in the US, including what support for a Kurdish autonomous enclave would mean for relations with Turkey and Russia. Kurdish ambitions don't necessarily mesh with US strategy. Anyway, there was a long article in the NY Times in January in which Russia's fait accompli was detailed and in which a former US ambassador to Turkey (under Bush and Obama) and Iraq (under Obama) was quoted on US relations with the Kurdish fighters, as described to Turkey: “We told the Turks that the Kurds were temporary, tactical, and transactional to defeat ISIS. Now we need them to contain Iran.”
Jeff_36 wrote:
Sat Dec 22, 2018 2:42 am
The most shocking aspect of this whole debacle, as I stated earlier, the Trump's positioning of himself as a hitman for Erdogan.
More shocking than Helsinki?

I think that the political fallout from Mattis' departure is potentially one of Trump's biggest problems in this, at least now, along with the reactions of allies. Predicting the fallout in Syria and the region is really difficult. But, to my mind, much of this and the Russian position were secured two-three years ago, not with this pullout.

Again, most important, the American military involvement in Syria has gone on without legal authorization from Congress and in the absence of anything approaching the kind of discourse that should have occurred in a democratic republic. That goes for Obama too.
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Re: Whitefish neo-nazi march

Post by Jeff_36 » Sat Dec 22, 2018 5:09 am

Statistical Mechanic wrote:
Sat Dec 22, 2018 3:16 am
Anyway, there was a long article in the NY Times in January in which Russia's fait accompli was detailed and in which a former US ambassador to Turkey (under Bush and Obama) and Iraq (under Obama) was quoted on US relations with the Kurdish fighters, as described to Turkey: “We told the Turks that the Kurds were temporary, tactical, and transactional to defeat ISIS. Now we need them to contain Iran.”
This is a terrible idea for a number of reasons, not the least of which is Turkey's increasing hostility towards the west, it's more or less open support for Al-Qaeda-linked rebel groups in Syria, and it's ambiguous stance vis a vis ISIS. You could not pick a worse ally. At least the Saudis, vile as they are, have not been credibly accused of collusion with Daesh.

At this juncture any policy that harms Turkish interests is desirable for just that reason. We are witnessing a three-way race for regional dominance between KSA, Iran, and Turkey, and I would rate Turkey as the worst option of the three.

They cooperated with Al-Qaeda proxies to commit war crimes in Afrin last year, and now Trump wants to gain their acquaintance - ludicrous. Made all the more absurd by the fact that Erdogan has been hot-and-cold with the Iranian regime at times. He is not a consistent opponent by any means.

More shocking than Helsinki?
Absolutely. Putin is a master manipulator - it can be attributed to his background in intelligence. The way he utilized religion to manipulate GWB is a classic example of this. Someone like Trump - whose IQ likely doesn't top 80 - is a prime target. It was entirely predictable that he would fall hook, line, and sinker.

Erdogan, on the other hand, essentially wears his heart on his sleeve. He is a caricature of a petty, spiteful religious zealot who plainly hates America. He fools no one.

I think that the political fallout from Mattis' departure is potentially one of Trump's biggest problems in this, at least now, along with the reactions of allies.


He;s going to have a hard time finding a new Defense Secretary.
Predicting the fallout in Syria and the region is really difficult. But, to my mind, much of this and the Russian position were secured two-three years ago, not with this pullout.
I agree with you there. It's not Russia that I fear here - their dominance in Syria was assured a while back. I'm worried about Turkish designs on northeastern Syria, and the possibility of wholesale slaughter by their troops akin to what we saw last year.

In my opinion we will shortly see a split between Iran and Russia over who will get to be the undisputed master of Syria. It is no secret that Assad prefers to be Moscow's servant rather than Tehran's. I discussed this exact subject with a diplomat from an ME state at a reception a few months back and he agreed with me.

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Re: Whitefish neo-nazi march

Post by Statistical Mechanic » Sat Dec 22, 2018 2:22 pm

Jeff_36 wrote:
Sat Dec 22, 2018 5:09 am
Statistical Mechanic wrote:
Sat Dec 22, 2018 3:16 am
Anyway, there was a long article in the NY Times in January in which Russia's fait accompli was detailed and in which a former US ambassador to Turkey (under Bush and Obama) and Iraq (under Obama) was quoted on US relations with the Kurdish fighters, as described to Turkey: “We told the Turks that the Kurds were temporary, tactical, and transactional to defeat ISIS. Now we need them to contain Iran.”
This is a terrible idea for a number of reasons, not the least of which is Turkey's increasing hostility towards the west, it's more or less open support for Al-Qaeda-linked rebel groups in Syria, and it's ambiguous stance vis a vis ISIS. You could not pick a worse ally. At least the Saudis, vile as they are, have not been credibly accused of collusion with Daesh.

At this juncture any policy that harms Turkish interests is desirable for just that reason. We are witnessing a three-way race for regional dominance between KSA, Iran, and Turkey, and I would rate Turkey as the worst option of the three.

They cooperated with Al-Qaeda proxies to commit war crimes in Afrin last year, and now Trump wants to gain their acquaintance - ludicrous. Made all the more absurd by the fact that Erdogan has been hot-and-cold with the Iranian regime at times. He is not a consistent opponent by any means.
Two points: first, the NYT piece makes clear that the policy of "using" the Kurds, short-term, was being instituted well over a year ago, making the announcement of the troop withdrawal part of an overall US approach - the Kurds have not been long-term allies of the US; second, under both Obama and Trump, US military involvement in Syria has been unauthorized and has had little apparent public support. So the troop withdrawal isn't the most significant moment in all this.

My point about Putin is a little different to how you took it: Trump's "America First" foreign policy has certainly gravitated toward authoritarian, "strong man" leaders - and includes "outsourcing" to select strong men (e.g., Putin, MBS). I also have to believe that a number of markers were put down in the secret discussions in Helsinki. In the context, I don't see Trump's "outsourcing" to Erdogan as being so shocking (surprising) or representing something new or crossing a line.

What I wonder is whether Trump will fire Jerome Powell . . .
Jeff_36 wrote:
Sat Dec 22, 2018 5:09 am
He;s going to have a hard time finding a new Defense Secretary.
Ronny Jackson is available. So, too, is Tom Cotton.
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Re: Whitefish neo-nazi march

Post by Jeffk 1970 » Mon Dec 24, 2018 6:52 pm

This is kind of our mini-Trump thread so I wanted to share with you a shirt I really need to get:

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“They say..that in Slonim they gathered in the town square 14,000 people...and all were machine-gunned. I ask you, is it possible to believe such a thing?...How can the world remain silent? It is probably not true.”
Calel Perechodnik, Polish Jew, 1942

https://twitter.com/jonronson/status/10 ... 24832?s=21