The First Rule of Foreign Policy: Don’t Panic

American foreign policy has always been a bit short on perspective, but that problem has been markedly worse since 9/11. Somehow our enemies, no matter how weak or pathetic, loom like giant mechanical super-villains in our imaginations. Viewed with a sober, long-term lens, events unfolding in Ukraine could not be more favorable for the US. We have not been so lucky in decades.

Here is what is happening that we are somehow not seeing.

Russia is unravelling. The neo-fascist dictatorship under which the Russians live has been growing more and more brittle as oil prices stabilize and the population grows ever sicker, poorer, and more isolated from global markets. The population is in free-fall, due mostly to staggering mortality rates. The military is grumbling, underfed and underequipped, incapable of sustaining operations against an organized enemy. Their “nuclear deterrent” is a crumbling collection of poisonous garbage that was probably minimally functional in the best of times. The threat it poses now is the toxic waste it is leaking into the environment and the risk that the pieces might fall into the hands of someone capable of using it.

This is not 1956 and Kiev is not Budapest. There are sizable, influential Ukrainian communities in New York, Chicago and London. The Russians have no ideological influence in the world. Zero. No matter what else happens now, by invading Ukraine Putin has slipped a noose around his neck. He is very unlikely to die in his own bed.

Here is a list of forces Putin has set in motion this week in his stupid, short-sighted effort to retain dictatorial control over his own people:

Turkey has now been pushed into the EU. For a decade the Turks have been flirting with the idea of Islamic nationalism as an alternative to integration with Europe. That was never a good fit for an increasingly sophisticated, globalized and secular culture. That experiment died this week.

Turkish resentment of Russia has always been far stronger than their connection to their mostly Arab coreligionists. The Turks just learned where their future lies. The Russians can expect to lose the ability to move the Black Sea fleet and experience significant harassment of their Black Sea trade. They cannot challenge the Turks, partly because the Turkish military is stronger than the Russians, but more importantly because Turkey is a NATO member. Turkey, like several other countries, is about to rediscover its enthusiasm for NATO.

Whatever global leverage the Russians may have accumulated by their resistance to the American wars in the Middle East just disappeared. Whatever people around the world may think about America, they have far more fear of Russian (and Chinese) power than of America. The Iraq invasion may have been stupid, but there was a certain weird logic to it and we got out of there as soon as we could sober up and find a way. This invasion communicates to every country on Russia’s periphery (and there are lot of them) that they could be next, with little warning.

Putin may have just guaranteed that the Keystone Pipeline gets built and Europeans get access to vast new supplies of natural gas from North America. As Russia becomes a naked pariah, new markets for natural resources are going to pour money into the American Midwest. That new flow of resources and money are going to add to the desperation of the Russian people as opportunities dwindle.

All the leverage Iran and Syria have held in their efforts to keep building nuclear weapons or keep murdering their people, respectively, just blew away like smoke. There will no longer be any reason for the US or Europe to continue to defer to the Russian regime on anything, anywhere.

European Union expansion is back on the table. The problems with the Eurozone took some of the luster off of EU membership for many countries on the periphery. At the same time, Russia’s bluster raised the cost to the core EU countries of any potential expansion. This muscle-flexing changes the logic behind EU expansion both for countries inside and outside the Union.

NATO has a new reason to exist. The invasions of Iraq and Afghanistan had placed serious strain on NATO. The unilateral decision US to invade Iraq raised the internal political cost of NATO membership at a time when the logic behind the alliance seemed to be fading away. This week, Vladimir Putin generously rescued the North Atlantic Treaty Organization, giving the organization the energy it needs to remain vital for at least a generation and expand to new members.

What’s more, Ukraine will almost certainly be a NATO member within a decade. It will be interesting to see what happens now with Georgia, but it is now far more likely that Georgia will join both the EU and NATO than it was before Putin invaded the Crimea.

For all of this to unfold to the US’s benefit, we must remain sober and patient. These events validate American power and influence in the world. So long as we don’t panic and don’t overestimate our enemy, everything about this mess turns toward the benefit of the US and the spread of liberty.

We should begin imposing sanctions on the Russian regime in a gradual, but steadily escalating manner. Senator Rubio’s proposals are a good start, except for the ridiculous suggestion to immediately invite Georgia into NATO his pointless political jab about arms control. Putin has placed himself in an absolutely impossible situation. The conflict he has started is one he can neither win, nor extract himself from. It will probably end with him swinging from a light pole in some gray Ural hellhole. The Russian people are likely to pay the highest price in this drama and there’s little we can do for them now. Most of all, we just need to keep our heads and let Putin lose his.

Chris Ladd is a Texan living in the Chicago area. He has been involved in grassroots Republican politics for most of his life. He was a Republican precinct committeeman in suburban Chicago until he resigned from the party and his position after the 2016 Republican Convention. He can be reached at gopliferchicago at gmail dot com.

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Posted in Foreign Policy
98 comments on “The First Rule of Foreign Policy: Don’t Panic
  1. DanMan says:

    meh, Obama is just displaying his post election flexibility by leading from behind as he twerks Putin. It’s all good when you put it I context.

    Too bad for Europe all those natural gas export terminal permit request are sitting idle at the EPA. This winter chill kind of puts them at Putin’s mercy.

  2. texan5142 says:

    The guy getting throw from the window reminds me of kabuzz, Palin, and every other arm chair quarterback and the same should happen to them when they open their mouth.

  3. CaptSternn says:

    Lest we forget, it was predicted that Russia would probably invade the Ukraine if Obama was elected.

    http://www.newsmax.com/Newsfront/sarah-palin-predicted-ukraine-russia/2014/03/02/id/555549

    • desperado says:

      And what does the prescient Mrs. Palin suggest we do now?

    • Tuttabella says:

      Mrs. Palin literally “saw” it coming. 🙂

    • Crogged says:

      And I said if the Boston Red Sox won the World Series that Russia would invade the Ukraine.

    • flypusher says:

      But she doesn’t give any rationale other than the standard “conservatives strong, liberals weak” line. If she had provided some analysis of her prediction, like a discussion of the divides within Ukraine- the ethnic distributions, the disagreements over whether they should lean towards Moscow or the EU, then I could give her credit for insight. So did she mention any of that back in 2008?

      • Crogged says:

        I predict the Republican strategy of using Sarah Palin as a foreign policy expert will benefit a political party in the United States.

    • bubbabobcat says:

      Cappy (and Buzzy), as usual you and your brethren are lacking in facts and nuance when flinging your poop just to see where it will stick.

      So Sarah Palin “predicted that Russia would probably invade the Ukraine if Obama was elected” eh?

      Did you actually watch that speech by Sarah Palin that you linked? And pay attention?

      She stated that after Russia invaded Georgia in 2008 (under George W. Bush who did nothing which she “conveniently” forgot to note THAT in her speech), she stated the Ukraine invasion “prediction”…which she attributed to Joe Biden.

      So it was Joe Biden who predicted it? Plagiarizing now too?

      And you know what else she also “predicted” if you kept listening? That Obama was “wrong” and that if he went into Pakistan unilaterally without their approval in pursuit of al Qaeda, that would also lead to the same dire scenario of “Russia invading the Ukraine”.

      So Cappy/Buzzy, you support Sarah Palin not willing to capture or kill bin Laden? In Pakistan without their government’s knowledge I might add.

      So Sarah was one for two, and that one “correct” prediction she attributed to Joe Biden.

      So before you start your usual bashing of Obama no matter what he does, please provide your withering criticism of George W. Bush when he did nothing in response to Russia’s invasion of Georgia please. For ethical consistency ya know?

      That blatant hypocrisy thingy seems to come up a lot with you guys, doesn’t it Cappy/Buzzy?

      Now why is that? That was a rhetorical question by the way. No need to respond with any more of your usual hypocritical blather.

      • kabuzz61 says:

        Bubbo, you are a silly, silly man if you think Palin and others meant a high risk, stealth engagement to capture Obama to INVADING Pakistan, well, stupid is what stupid does. That should cover it. Enjoy the gas lines this summer.

  4. Texan5142 says:

    kabuzz wrote,
    “Fly, you and other liberals don’t understand war.”

    By all means explain it to us General kabuzz.

    • Tuttabella says:

      I take Kabuzz to mean that people who are paciifists by nature automatically see all war as bad, without bothering to analyze the situation at hand. It’s not necessarily true of everyone, but too often we hear the argument that “too many people are dying,” as if that in itself is a reason to oppose war, or conversely, “show the world that we are boss.” Military strategy is complex and requires knowledge of history and geography, and I don’t think society in general is well-equipped to opine on the issue. Armchair military strategy, as Texan said.

      • Texan5142 says:

        You give him more credit than I would. How does he know what anyone “understands”? Let him explain what he means.

      • Houston-Stay-At-Homer says:

        I think we might be confusing liberals with pacifists, and while pacifists probably are more likely to be liberals, there are whole boatloads of folks carrying guns in our military who happily vote on the more liberal side of the equation.

      • Tuttabella says:

        HT, I agree that political affiliation is not necessarily a reflection of a person’s views on war. That said, do you agree that a pacifist cannot be objective about military strategy?

      • kabuzz61 says:

        No ‘we’ aren’t confusing the two. Pacifist’s and liberals are almost identical in their belief that war/military are not needed. The only difference is the pacifist’s speak out about it while the liberals tout their support of the military but their policies and foreign policy demonstrate the opposite.

      • Houston-Stay-At-Homer says:

        Tutt, not to derail into a philosophic or semantic argument, but I think you could argue that a pacifist could be as objective as a “pro-war” person about military strategy. Knowledge of military strategy, tactics, and objectives would certainly be possible for a pacifist (and might even lead someone to becoming a pacifist).

        I think there are plenty of anti-abortion folks who are very knowledgeable of the abortion process, how it works, and the best way for an abortion to be conducted. They certainly wouldn’t be in favor of an abortion, but that does not stop them from being knowledgeable about it.

        I think the total number of true pacifists is rather small in the US, given the extremely high “lets go bomb some folks” polling numbers in the immediate aftermath of 9/11.

      • Tuttabella says:

        HT, there are few things I enjoy more than semantic arguments.

        I had come up with a rebuttal to your comment that 1 cannot equal 2, as Kabuzz had suggested in his post about war and peace, but alas, everyone had moved on by then.

      • Houston-Stay-At-Homer says:

        Buzz…I’m sorry that the liberals” were mean to you and said some not nice things to you in the 60s and 70s.

        You still seem a bit angry at “the liberals” about this some 40 years later. Might be a decent time to talk with someone about that and see if you can let it go.

      • Tuttabella says:

        HT, I deeply regret not having devoted more time and effort toward my study of linguistics while I was in school. I’m especially interested in semantics, logic, and philosophy of language. Alas, I’m not getting any younger, and time is running out.

      • kabuzz61 says:

        HT, they didn’t bother me at all. Your missing the point. Me being in the military bother them in a very significant way. It was A war they were against as much as they hate the government and the military. It was even demonstrated by the 91 and 01. Liberals just don’t like war and by association the military. Plus democratic presidents cut the defense budgets to increase give away’s. It is what it is.

        As with colds, flu, gas prices and liberals, they are around and nothing I can do about it. But liberals are bothered by the military. Bottom line.

      • GG says:

        “Pacifist’s and liberals are almost identical in their belief that war/military are not needed.”

        Bull.Shit

      • Houston-Stay-At-Homer says:

        Buzz, are you carving out some segment of your brain to somehow figure out a way to categorize the “liberals” currently serving in the military who have been shooting at folks over the last decade or so?

        Your huge, broad brush generalizations and straw person (hey 50-ohm) arguments really just make it sound like you are an old man watching Fox and Friends and muttering at the TV about the darn “liberals”.

        With regard to one of your last comments, are you seriously opposed to cutting defense spending? Really?

      • Tuttabella says:

        Kabuzz, I don’t think we have the same anti-military sentiment that we had in the 1960s, during the Vietnam era, and anti-establishment in general.

        I agree with your point that today, people will say they “support the troops,” even though they are against our involvement in the Middle East and will vote against it — both as legislators and as ordinary citizens — but that’s not the same as the bitterness against the troops themselves from 45 years ago.

        In spite of 9/11 and the personal involvement of many of our loved ones in the current and recent wars, as a society we’ve reached a sense of complacency about violence in general, with many of us just paying lip service toward either side of the debate.

      • Tuttabella says:

        I think we’ve reached a point in our history in which we neither accept without question our government’s involvement in war, nor rally against it with the same fervor and bitterness as many did during Vietnam.

        Our views have become more moderate, and I was thinking it was partly due to our being more informed and educated, but as I said, there seems to be a disconnect between our daily lives and the wars we are participating in, so maybe it’s actually complacency and not moderation.

        There were constant reminders of Vietnam in the media and culture of the day — in songs, movies, TV shows, etc — and the wars in the Middle East just don’t receive the same attention.

      • CaptSternn says:

        Tutt, I think the reason the Vietnam war got so much protest against it was due to the draft. Now we have an all volunteer military. The only people that join do so because they want to join. I bet we would see a lot more protests if people were being drafted these days.

  5. kabuzz61 says:

    Yesterday I posted what Romney said at the 08 debates concerning Russian being a problem that needs attention. The left ridiculed him and did again yesterday. so today here is this:

    Blake Hounshell, who was then editor of Foreign Policy magazine and now edits Politico magazine, wrote in 2008 that Palin’s remarks that Russia’s Vladimir Putin may invade Ukraine if Barack Obama were elected president were “strange” and depicted an “extremely far-fetched scenario

    Ouch! Your favorite punching bag knowing more than Obama. Love it!

    • desperado says:

      So what does Nostra-Sarah offer as a solution to the problem she predicted?

    • Crogged says:

      The election was 6 years ago–there is no link between the election and the invasion of Ukraine.

      • flypusher says:

        Of course it does. Everything that happens in the world is determined by the results of American Presidential elections. Local politics mean nothing.

    • John Galt says:

      If you read further in that article, Hounshell continued to say that Russia had been very successful in manipulating Ukraine to do it’s bidding, so he didn’t see any reason that violence would be needed. And for six years, he was right. The commitment of the Ukrainian people to freedom and democracy toppled the pro-Putin leader and Russia panicked.

      As usual, the story is a bit more complex than can be expressed in monosyllabic grunts.

  6. flypusher says:

    From one of the links:

    “..Russia’s adult population—women as well as men—puts down the equivalent of a bottle of vodka per week.”

    Day-yam. I wonder if they’re the most addicted society, ever.

  7. rightonrush says:

    In Ukraine’s favor chalk up the Turkish Navy which outguns the Russian Navy. The Turks hate Russia, and altho you don’t hear much about them, the Turks are one hell of a force to be reckoned with if Russia continues it’s threat in the Black Sea area. If you are interested
    http://turkishnavy.net/2013/01/27/the-turkish-navy-superior-to-the-russian-black-sea-fleet/

  8. texan5142 says:

    A whole lot of arm chair quarterbacking going on here. I for one am not going to guess what should be done, it is above my pay grade number one, and number two, we here on this blog are not privalidged with all the information needed to make an accurate assessment. Carry on with your speculation.

  9. John Galt says:

    I think this is a rather optimistic assessment. Yes, all those things should happen, but it will take some dedicated diplomacy and some cojones to bring it about. In other words, Obama is going to have to bring his A game.

  10. CaptSternn says:

    Our actions against Iraq and Afghanistan were justified and overdue, but the left never wants to admit or even understand the actual reasons. They would rather excuse Obama for helping the Muslim Brotherhood and al Qaeda rise to power in the Middle East and other places. The left has no idea of foreign strategy, and they are the last people we should be listening to on such matters.

    And never underestimate an enemy. There is no such thing as overestimating an enemy.

    • flypusher says:

      “There is no such thing as overestimating an enemy.”

      Bullshit. Iraq was a classic example. Hussein was in no position to threaten anyone outside his own country.

      As for “helping the Muslim Brotherhood and al Qaeda rise to power in the Middle East and other places”, some of that is in direct response to all our meddling over the decades. Want to keep spending blood and treasure to keep the undesirables out? The interest on that is going to keep compounding.

      • CaptSternn says:

        The Hussein regime was a threat to everyone, an ongoing threat actively at war with the U.S. and our allies. It would take a serious level of deliberate ignorance to think otherwise.

        Our meddling was started by the socialist democrats back in the 1930s and 1940s. Obama keeps pushing those policies by shutting down drilling and production of oil and gas on federal lands. Now we are stuck with what we have, and the left doesn’t want to take any steps other than surrender.

      • flypusher says:

        “The Hussein regime was a threat to everyone, an ongoing threat actively at war with the U.S. and our allies. ”

        And exactly what was it going to threaten anyone with? Malicious thoughts? Calling us names? Iraq in 2002 was a military and economic cripple. It was contained.

        The meddling was done by both parties. Now we have to decide whether it’s worth it to keep delaying the inevitable- that people in the ME choose their own governments ( and yes some of them will make choices we don’t like).

      • CaptSternn says:

        Iraq may have been weak compared to our military, and we should make sure all are weak compared to our military, but Iraq did not have a weak military compared to the rest of the world.

        And what did that “containment” cost us, Fly? Al Qaeda wasn’t our enemy until we decided to stay in Islamic Holy Lands to “contain” Iraq rather than remove the Hussein regime in the first place.

        Do nations choose their own governments? Yes, unless they mess with us. Then we need to make changes the way we did with Germany and Japan. That’s what is lacking today, the determination to do what is best for us. Leave us alone, we leave you alone. Mess with us, …

        Then again, when can the left ever leave anybody alone to begin with?

      • flypusher says:

        “Iraq may have been weak compared to our military, and we should make sure all are weak compared to our military, but Iraq did not have a weak military compared to the rest of the world.”

        Iraq fought with Iran for 8 years, a bloody reenactment of WWII trench warfare that drained their resources ( human, economic, military) and gained them nothing. Then they invaded Kuwait and where smacked down very hard by the US. Then there were weapons inspections that further reduced their military capabilities, and years of crippling economic sanctions. In the end there were no fly zones and their every move was being watched by the US and it’s allies. Exactly WHO were they going to invade? Be specific.

        No doubt that the US NEVER should have aided that likes of Hussien, or the Shah, or a long list of odious tyrants ITFP. But how curious it was that Bush never admitted to any responsibility for feeding monsters when he made his case for invasion. Ironically that was the one argument that would have held any water ( because Iraq as a threat was a total fail).

      • flypusher says:

        Should be WWI.

        Also you don’t mess with us, we, don’t mess with you is a fine thing, but sometimes we were the ones who did the first messing with.

      • CaptSternn says:

        Right, Fly, so depleted that Kuwait pushed the Iraqi forces back. Except that was not the case. It took the U.S., U.K. and dozens of others to push Iraq out of Kuwait. Even after the beating they took, the Hussein regime had more than enough forces, which is why those no-fly zones were created, and the war continued for over a dozen years. Iraq was still a serious threat to Saudi Arabia, and we won’t allow that. That issue goes back to FDR, as do many other things. The weapons inspectors were concerned with nuclear, chemical and biological weapons, and were not allowed into Iraq between 1998 and 2002, more violations of the cease-fire.

        Bush43 never had a hand in backing Iraq in the 1980s, or even al Qaeda for that matter. He wasn’t president until 2001. The U.S. did back them at a time when fighting proxy wars against Iran and the USSR. Iran because of ousting the Shah and the hostage situation. But Iraq later turned on nations we protect, namely Saudi Arabia, also Kuwait and Israel. Al Qaeda was still favorable to the U.S. until we “occupied” Saudi Arabia.

        You see, this is what aggrivates people like me, the left is incapable of connecting the dots, unable to understand cause and effect. To the left, all evets are isolated and never related. They pull the trigger of a loaded weapon, it fires, the bullet strikes a person and that person is killed. To the left, pulling the trigger was not the cause of the weapon firing. The wepon firing was not the cause of the projectile being launched. Being launched had nothing to do with striking the person, and striking the person had nothing to do with the death. They are all isolated, unrelated events for the left.

      • flypusher says:

        Sternn, you are asked for specifics, but yet again take refuge in the tired old “conservations strong, liberals weak” mantra. You’re trying the same misdirect that Bush did. What mattered in 2003/2003 was the state of the Iraqi military in 2002/2003. Not the state of the Iraqi military in 1990/1991. Or 1980. You offer NOTHING to back up your claim that they had any realistic chance of pulling off an attack on Saudi Arabia in 2002/2003, absolutely nothing.

        While Bush 43 had no hand in feeding the Iraqi monster, a President nonetheless does have to deal realistically with the actions of his predecessors and their consequences. A President inherits the good and the bad. If you are going to express moral outrage over a dictator using WMD on his people 12 years after the fact, but you won’t admit to your predecessors’ role in helping said dictator acquire said WMD, your moral argument fails.

        Your accusation of me failing to connect dots is hilarious, given that you have ignored repeated requests to do exactly that to back up you claim that 2002 Iraq could actually threaten anyone.

      • CaptSternn says:

        Fly, during the 2003 invasion, The Iraqi Republican Guard put up some strong resistence to U.S. forces, bogging them down a few times. Knowing the difference in technologies, that was quite a feat and showed that the Iraqi military was no pushover. It took U.S. military power and technology to make it happen as well as it did.

        Iraq was very capable of producing chemical weapons on its own. The U.S. did provide some anthrax back in the day, Iraq militarized it. In 1990, the “experts” thought Iraq was at least a decade away from developing nuclear weapons. In 1991, after being pushed out of Kuwait, inspectors discovered Iraq was probably only months away from having nuclear weapons.

        Iraq had one of the top ten militaries of the world. What Iraq didn;t have over the U.S. was, most importantly, air power, and second was tank technology.

        You ask these questions, but so many on the left have already claimed that Iraq was a serious military power that could keep Iran in check. They blame the removal of the Hussein regime for the “rise” of Iran over the past decade. Inconsistent. Or maybe you should school other liberals on the fact that Iraq had nothing to do with “containing” Iran.

      • flypusher says:

        “Fly, during the 2003 invasion, The Iraqi Republican Guard put up some strong resistence to U.S. forces, bogging them down a few times”

        THAT is your evidence that they were a threat to invade Saudi??? That they temporarily inconvenienced the US military fighting a defensive action on their home turf? I’d say that you have got to be kidding, but sadly you are not.

        “Iraq was very capable of producing chemical weapons on its own.”

        Then we should have found them if they had actually produced some post 1990’s, shouldn’t we? Except it seems they didn’t.

        “”In 1991, after being pushed out of Kuwait, inspectors discovered Iraq was probably only months away from having nuclear weapons.”

        And in 2002? How far were they from having nukes then? Because that is what mattered. (and that’s assuming I buy that 1991 claim, and I’m skeptical).

        “Iraq had one of the top ten militaries of the world.”

        In 2002? According to who, besides Bush?

        “You ask these questions, but so many on the left have already claimed that Iraq was a serious military power that could keep Iran in check. ”

        I speak for myself, not the “left”- let’s get that straight right now. I am not responsible for anyone else’s arguments or claims. Iraq was more a political check- the Sunni minority ruled and repressed the Shiite majority. This is not an expression of approval for that situation, but a statement of fact. Given that the Shiites have proportional power now in Iraq, that is an improvement from the viewpoint of Iran- one less adversary, and a potential ally.

      • CaptSternn says:

        Oh … my … lord. *face palm*

        How deliberately dense and ignorant could you be? By putting up a strong defense against the U.S. military, against our air power, against our M1 Abrams, anywhere, that shows their ground forces were really strong in military terms.

        Where are those chemical weapons? Where are the stockpiles of anthrax? We don’t know. Iraq was required to give full disclosure under the terms of the cease-fire. Are those weapons in Syria now? Are those the weapons the Syrian government was using against their own people? We don’t know.

        Chemicals were detected in the rivers after the invasion. Did they dump the weapons into the river? We don’t know. All violations of the cease-fire. Even the UN weapons insdpectors said Iraq was in violation, in material breach.

        Iraq still had the materials to make nuclear weapons. Iraq was in violation of the oil for food program, France being one of the worst offenders.

        Here we are, 11 years after the invasion to remove the Hussein regime. I was asking the same questions you are asking, and even suggesting that so what, lots of countries have chemical and biological weapons, and several have nuclear weapons.

        The difference between you and I is that I did the research and study to understand why, to find the facts, to understand the answers. I became informed, you remain in deliberate ignorance. And you won;t even listen or accept the facts from a person that has done the research, that has found the answers and changed his opinion based on those facts. You don;t want facts, you reject facts and reality.

        Well, my lady and I just got back from our weekend and scenic trip to Salado. Now I have posting comments out of my system. As you said to her, drink and blog responsibly. All things in moderation. My blogging/posting is done. Bye.

      • Turtles Run says:

        General Cappy – I am pretty sure that if there was any supporting evidence for any of the wild claims you made then the GOTP would have been running up and down rubbing everyone’s face in it. The very fact that it has not occurred really shoots your claims down.

      • flypusher says:

        YOU are face-palming? You really think that in the annals of military history that the 2003 US- Iraq fight is going to be depicted as anything other than one of the biggest military mismatches ever? Seriously? I confess that I’ve only browsed military history, but that vaunted Iraqi resistance you tout is not impressive in comparison.

        As for “we don’t know” regarding chemical weapons, more hand waving instead of facts. The US has been free to investigate anywhere in Iraq for over a decade. Are we really that bad at investigations? But the simplest explanation never occurs to you- that it’s very likely the WMD were already used/ destroyed/ confiscated prior to 2002 and they weren’t replaced because Iraq didn’t have the means to replace them (Scott Ritter said as much, before the invasion). You claim that you research and study, yet you don’t back up your assertions with anything specific. So I seriously have to wonder about the value and veracity of whatever it is you “research and study”. Probably the same kind of “sources” that claim governments tell national scientific academies in the Free World what to say, and we know how reliable those are.

      • CaptSternn says:

        Turtles, we have been pointing these facts out for over a decade now. But people like you are too busy plugging your ears with your fingers, closing your eyes, stamping your feet and shouting “I can’t hear you” instead of opening your eyes and seeing the reality.

        Fly, it wasn’t the U.S. doing the inspections, it was the UN. They were not allowed into iraq between 1998 and 2002. remember Desert Fox in 1998? Remember Clinton making regie change the official U.S. policy? Once te UN inspectors did get back to Iraq in late 2002, they found Iraq refused to cooperate. In 2003 they reported that Iraq was in material breach of the cease-fire and other esolutions.

        http://www.foxnews.com/story/2003/01/09/iraq-in-material-breach-un-ambassador-says/

        Did the U.S. military dominate in the conflict? Of course. We would dominate in military might over any nation’s military. That is the way it should be.

      • flypusher says:

        Those aren’t facts Sternn, those are speculations by people who sold the country a false bill of goods (OMG Saddam has WMD, he’ll use the on US!!) and are trying to cover their asses in the absence of any actual weapons. Facts would cite specific documented events. Facts would be actual WMD found. And as TR said if there was any credible evidence, Bush and his people would have been shouting it from the roof tops.

        The UN did inspections in the 90s, yes. Are you claiming they were hiding something from us. After we invaded, we were free to look anywhere we wanted. And yet we didn’t find anything that was a threat. A few things here and there that had been buried in the desert since the 90s, but nothing usable. The burden of proof is on those who make the claims, and you guys have nothing but conspiracy theories.

        Show us this evidence.

        As for your claims of a threat to Saudi, it seems your whole case is:

        1) Iraq had an army
        2) That army would shoot back when someone invaded

        That’s not even good enough to be a weak case. When countries plan an invasion, there tend to be things like battle plans drawn up, spies sent out ( and associated communications), military drills in preparation. Where’s that sort of evidence? We had plenty of time to look for that while we were looking for those WMD.

      • CaptSternn says:

        The burden of proof was on Iraq. That was under the terms of the cease-fire. There were still stockpiles left in 1998 when the inspectors were not allowed into Iraq. What happened to them? If Iraq had been in compliance, we would have those answers. The fact that we don;t know is proof that Iraq was in violation and still at war. Not to mention the actual military hostilities through the 1990s. Desert fox, remember?

    • bubbabobcat says:

      Obama’s helping al Qaeda’s rise to power? Really? There goes that wingnut alternate reality again.

      Um, George W. Bush was al Qaeda’s best friend and most effective recruiting tool. There was no al Qaeda in Iraq whatsoever before Bush/Cheney’s war of choice in Iraq.

      Bush let Osama bin Laden escape in Tora Bora in November 2001 when he was totally surrounded and his forces totally decimated in Afghanistan. And he lost his opportunity to end that war in a month. Then he lost both wars by starting the fake war in Iraq before finishing the job in Afghanistan and then botching his execution of both and unnecessarily killing over 5,000 American and NAT military and countless hundreds of thousands of civilians, Iraqi and others.

      Such “excellent strategery” eh Cappy? But not unexpected for a bunch of draft dodgers.

      But all the wingnuts care about are 4 dead Americans in BENGAZI!!!!!!!!! [sic]

      • kabuzz61 says:

        Houston, such childishness. Captain never said he was an expert on any issue. Those are your words. I read what Captain commented and found the conclusion correct by the facts I understood at the time. Your echo chamber is the ones throwing out the rumors that are unsubstantiated at the time and now. Train that laser tongue on your clique.

      • CaptSternn says:

        Bubba, I am glad you are not in charge of anything related to foriegn policy, because you are quite clueless. Where to even begin?

        War is always a choice. Iraq chose to start a war with the invasion of Kuwait, and chose to continue that war. The U.S. and our allies chose to join that war to stop Iraq. That war lasted over 12 years and ended with the removal of the Hussein regime in 2003. There was another aspect of the 2003 invasion, I will get to it.

        Al Qaeda is made up of Saudi exiles. They are exiles because they turned against the House of Saud for letting the U.S. “occupy” Saudi Arabia to “contain” Iraq and fight the ongoing war. Their main base was then in Afghanistan after Clinton allowed bin Laden to go there and train the fighters/terrorists.

        We went to Afghanistan in 2001 because of the attacks, and we recruited the Northern Alliance, previously our enemies, to aid in overthrowing the Taliban and going after al Qaeda. There is no way a war in Afghanistan would ever be over in a month. Basic historuy of thousands of years explains that point. Nor did we allow bin Laden to escape, he escaped because of the terrain and tribal mentalities of that region, still largely ungoverned.

        Back to Iraq, Afghanistan is hostile to regular troops and equipment, we could not unleash our full might there, as Obama is discovering the hard way and costing U.S. lives. So we needed to choose the main battle ground, not allow al Qaeda to choose it. How convenient that Iraq was still at war with us. Two birds with one stone, oust the Hussein regime and make Iraq the central battle ground. Ad it worked, al Qaeda came and was squashed, defeated in Iraq and on the run everywhere else. That’s one of those things Obama changed.

        Knowing and understanding such things takes research and study, or listening to someone that has done the research and study. There is a whole lot more to the picture than that bit. But you will neither listen nor will you do the research and study. The scary thing is that you probably vote, and base your votes on bumper sticker slogans, five second sound bytes and headlines not bothering to even read the article.

      • flypusher says:

        ” So we needed to choose the main battle ground, not allow al Qaeda to choose it. How convenient that Iraq was still at war with us. Two birds with one stone, oust the Hussein regime and make Iraq the central battle ground. ”

        The ethics of that is so unbelievably twisted. Wow.

      • CaptSternn says:

        It is war, Fly. What part of that do you fail to grasp?

        It is good that we have guided bombs, cuts down on the munitions we expend. But it is war. Our enemies have no problem hiding behind women and children. Fine, shoot through the women and children to get at and kill the enemy. Make it so ugly that their own people refuse to aid or protect them. Not that they care, they find life to be cheap and useless. Kill them to the point they have no more will to fight. That is the way to win. The only way to win. Being nice and running away only encourages them.

        We were nice to Iraq when we pushed Iraq out of Kuwait. We left the Hussein regime in control. Bad idea. There was the road of death, where we bombed the crap out of the retreating military, and many cried over that. It was the right thing to do, only it wasn’t enough. We didn’t win WWI and WWII by being nice. We didn;t beat Germany and Japan into submission by being nice.

        If we go to war, then we need to go to war. Not some half-assed attempt or gesture. Clinton showed the problems with only make gestures. Even Bush41 failed. Clinton should have invaded Afghanistan, invaded Iraq. But I don’t blame him for not doing so. The people didn;t have the heart for it, and it was all “over there”.

        The left has pointed out that Bush43 intended to invade Iraq if he was elected, before he was elected. Good. And he didn;t want to swat flies where al Qaeda was concerned. Don’t launch a couple of cruise missiles against a tent and kill a camel. Bush43 had the right foriegn policy, but not much right on domestic policy.

        Obama has not much right on either front. But he did do well against the pirates. He gave conditions, and when refused, he gave permission for the military to act.

      • flypusher says:

        “It is war, Fly. What part of that do you fail to grasp?”

        I grasp war quite well. I also grasp the standards that we claim to uphold. Like it being immoral to start a war with a country that is NOT an imminent threat to you or anyone else (no matter how well their terrain may be suited for violence). You seem to want to toss those standards for your convenience.

        You excuses are just more might makes right, no different than despotic empires of the past that took what they wanted. Comparing 2002 Iraq to WWII Germany and Japan doesn’t work. Your essays on collateral damage or how to fight are a diversion- I made no mention of those, and they aren’t even germane to my arguments (which is when it is justified to START a war, in case you didn’t remember).

      • CaptSternn says:

        We didn’t start the fracking war. Iraq did. Deliberate ignorance on your part. Now really, bye.

      • flypusher says:

        And that war ENDED when Iraq was kicked out of Kuwait and the decision was made not to topple the Iraqi government. You can dislike and question that decision, but that was the stopping point that everyone agreed on back then. This “we reserve the tight to restart the war at our convenience, regardless of whether or not you are actually a real threat” is just more ends justify the means crap.

      • bubbabobcat says:

        Cappy wrote:

        “The scary thing is that you probably vote, and base your votes on bumper sticker slogans, five second sound bytes [sic] and headlines not bothering to even read the article.”

        I vote based on information, logic, and criteria totally foreign to Cappy and for that I am monumentally proud and relieved.

      • CaptSternn says:

        No, the war did not end when Iraq was pushed out of Kuwait. It was scaled back, a strict cease-fire was imposed on Iraq, which iraq never abided by. The allied forces stayed in Saudi Arabia and continued to fight a scaled down war. Desert Fox was part of that war, bombing the factory in Sudan was part of that war, firling missiles into Afghanistan was part of that war. Clinton continued fighting that war through both of his terms. We simply scaled it back up in 2003. Those are the facts. You don;t get to make your own facts up as you go.

      • flypusher says:

        I ‘m making things up? Sudan and Afghanistan had nothing to do with the UN mandate to kick Iraq out of Kuwait. Just more excuses to cover for the con job that was the 2003 invasion.

      • CaptSternn says:

        Fly, I will type slowly so maybe you can keep up. Iraq was restricteed under the terms of the cease-fire from developing and making chemical and biological weapons. Iraq was required to account for all such weapons, have the inspectors verify the accounting, destroy said weapons and allow inspectors to verify the destruction. In the middle 1990s, Iraq was working with al qaeda, another violation of the terms of the cease-fire, to develop chemical weapons. They were using the factory in Sudan to make those weapons.

        When Clinton had gathered all te evidence, he bombed the factory in Sudan, fired missiles into Afghanistan and launched Desert Fox against Iraq. He then made regime change in Iraq the official U.S. policy. Or maybe you think it was all done simply to distract us from Monica’s blue dress? No, it is all part of the same issue. It is all tied together and has nothing to do with the blue dress. Again, the left is unable or unwilling to connect the dots.

      • flypusher says:

        ” In the middle 1990s, Iraq was working with al qaeda, another violation of the terms of the cease-fire, to develop chemical weapons. ”

        Really? If an Iraq- al qaeda partnership was as well established as you think it was, then why wasn’t Bush and his people producing any evidence? That would have been as much of a slam dunk as finding working WMD. Why did the United States Senate Select Committee on Intelligence conclude in 2006 that “Postwar findings have identified only one meeting between representatives of al-Qa’ida and Saddam Hussein’s regime reported in prewar intelligence assessments. Postwar findings have identified two occasions, not reported prior to the war, in which Saddam Hussein rebuffed meeting requests from an al-Qa’ida operative. The Intelligence Community has not found any other evidence of meetings between al’Qa’ida and Iraq.” and “Saddam Hussein was distrustful of al-Qaeda and viewed Islamic extremists as a threat to his regime, refusing all requests from al-Qaeda to provide material or operational support.”????????

        Sarcasm never hides lack of a case.

    • Houston-Stay-At-Homer says:

      Stern…there are few things better than a renaissance person, truly well versed in a variety of topics.

      You good sir, on your accord and by your own doing, are a self-taught expect on the US constitution, the civil war and civil rights, abortion, and the US involvement in the middle east.

      Your conclusions on these topics tend to differ from lots of relatively smart people, but your steadfast beliefs in these conclusions, or at least your stated steadfast beliefs in these conclusions, suggests that yours is the one, true conclusion.

      I’m not sure I am as certain that the sun is going to rise in the east as well as you know the true facts about lots of very complicated topics.

      • CaptSternn says:

        It is just curiosity, HT. Wanting to know what is going on and why. You see me here standing up for our 2003 invasion of Iraq in a strong manner. Guess what, I intitially stood against it just as strongly. I had strong doubts about going into Afghanistan in 2001. How did we know that al Qaeda was the right target? And no invader ever does well in Afghanistan.

        I study and learn the facts, and form opinions based on what I learn. FDR made a pact with the House of Saud. That is fact. Was it the right or wrong thing to do? The U.S. has honored that pact since then even today. Right or wrong to do so? Japan bombed Pearl Harbor. Was it right or wrong to choose to go to war? We developed atomic and nuclear weapons and used them in war. Was it right or wrong to use them in war? Was it right or wrong to create them?

        How can a person make an educated choice, form an educated opinion, without having the facts first?

      • flypusher says:

        “FDR made a pact with the House of Saud”

        Still doesn’t prove 2002 Iraq was a threat.

      • John Galt says:

        Nope, HT, he didn’t get it.

    • bubbabobcat says:

      Cappy also blathered:

      “Nor did we allow bin Laden to escape, he escaped because of the terrain and tribal mentalities of that region, still largely ungoverned.”

      Incompetence, hubris, poor planning, poor strategy, and poor understanding of the terrain and tribal mentalities of that region ALLOWED bin Laden to escape Tora Bora when he was on the run and surrounded.

      Also, let me understand this, the Taliban and al Qaeda forces were routed and decimated in November 2001 (hence bin Laden’s “Sound of Music” escape through Tora Bora), the head of the Taliban and al Qaeda both (the aforementioned Tora Bora camping trek) in hiding and on the run, and the war could not possibly be over in a month?

      I’m glad you are Secretary of Defense, Chairman JCS, and CIC only in your overly self important and self aggrandizing mind Cappy.

    • kabuzz61 says:

      Fly, you are being purposely dense or you are quite ignorant.

      Bubba, the war didn’t end after the UN pushed Iraq out of Kuwait. Get your facts. Very easy to do. Read up on the 91 war.

      Fly, you and other liberals don’t understand war. You understand talking points. Plus, according to you liberals if you didn’t serve you are merely a chicken hawk.

      • flypusher says:

        No buzz, the definition of a chicken hawk has TWO parts. Part one is not serving. Part Two ( which you righties love to leave out) is supporting the war as long as it’s not you having to go fight it.

        I have more respect for the people who ran to Canada than I do for the chicken hawks.

    • flypusher says:

      Bush assumed a burden of proof when he made the major selling point of the war he wanted to be Iraq was a threat to the United States. You claim that, then you produce the evidence. He couldn’t because it wasn’t.

  11. flypusher says:

    So will Putin go the way of Ceausescu?

    I always thought that bastard got off way too easy, considering all the misery he caused. Like this:

    http://www.npr.org/2012/08/19/158924764/for-romanias-orphans-adoption-is-still-a-rarity

  12. CaptSternn says:

    By the way, Happy Independence Day.

  13. kabuzz61 says:

    You were doing somewhat well until you stated ‘…the unilateral decision to invade Iraq.’ Just can’t help yourself can you? But unfortunately a lie is a lie.

    Secondly, there was a small country that thought they could go to war against a very large country because the military was in shatters and stretched thin. That little country was Japan and the big country was the USA. They did attack and succeed, but the determination of the people turned the tide. We can’t poke a stick at Putin. He is just wanting us to.

    Since we have a president that has exhibited great weakness when needed and a total lack of clarity, no action will be taken.

    • kabuzz61 says:

      I also remember the debates in 08 when Romney stated that Russia and Iran are our biggest enemies. Obama and the left derided and made fun of him. Well?

      He is what Romney said:Romney offered a powerful retort: “Russia, I indicated, is a geopolitical foe…and I said in the same paragraph I said and Iran is the greatest national security threat we face. Russia does continue to battle us in the U.N. time and time again. I have clear eyes on this. I’m not going to wear rose-colored glasses when it comes to Russia or Mr. Putin…”

      • flypusher says:

        Well what? Would you be worried about a quadriplegic beating you up? I don’t doubt Russia is an adversary, but they’re not in a position to do much acting on it. If Chris is right, then even less.

      • John Galt says:

        What Romney said was stupid. It played to his voting demographic of 50+ year olds who remember hiding under desks against a Soviet nuclear attack, a demographic comfortable with an old and non-existent order. Russia is not in the top 50 concerns of the U.S. today. Even with this invasion, it barely reaches the top 10, and it won’t be there for a week.

      • kabuzz61 says:

        JohnG, what you commented is stupid. What Romney said is happening when you look at the rest of his statement. As the chairman of the echo chamber, I would think you would know this.

        And when is 6 equal to 10? No matter how you add it up, 6 is smaller. Cheesh! You lefties just amaze me.

      • John Galt says:

        “what you commented is stupid”

        Well, I certainly can’t offer a riposte to that devastating critique.

    • John Galt says:

      What’s with the analogy to Japan and the US? What are you smoking? Japan in 1940 had a battle-hardened military and was by no means a “small country”. It’s population was 60% that of the US. In the end it was Japan that was stretched thin and overwhelmed by the limitless resources of the U.S.

      • texan5142 says:

        They do not pass out the meds until 9 AM at the dementia wing of the nursing home, it is not his fault.

      • Tuttabella says:

        I do seriously wonder sometimes how often some of us post under the influence, especially during the late evening hours, or in the wee hours of the morning.

        Also, I’ve read some pretty surrealistic stuff seemingly posted during those subconscious moments between sleep and total awakening, like automatic writing.

  14. way2gosassy says:

    I am old enough to remember the school drills for a possible nuclear attack from Russian backed Cuba. ( Living in Fla. in the late 50’s) I also remember the fall of the Soviet Union and the end of the cold war.

    Germany’s invasion of Czechoslovakia and Poland in the 30’s opened the door for Russia to annex these countries. I am sincerely hoping that Putin’s moves in the Ukraine are not a precursor for more of those same policies of post WWll.

  15. flypusher says:

    Sit back and let Putin destroy himself. That borders on too good to be true, but I’d like nothing better than for things to play out just as you described. No American blood or treasure spent.

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