Russia Derangement Syndrome: Syria Edition

“This is the endless treadmill that the civilised world is on: Libyans (and others like them) disturb the peace of the world. In turn, the West tries to kill those who would impose their will on others (because the others include us).

It is a recurrent police action and no more than that is needed; it is pointless to stay around to do some nation-building – the mistake of Afghanistan.”

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Saudi Arabia’s Pipelines Will Not Offset Iran’s Closure of Oil Chokepoints

“Fact is, under present conditions, without some form of peaceful mitigation of tensions, it is likely that some form of conflict with Iran is at hand–this is especially true if the Iranians blockade the Strait of Hormuz. The United States, at that point, would have no point but to respond immediately. There are simply no viable alternatives out of transporting Mideast oil through the Strait of Hormuz.”

Trump Zig-Zags on Trade Talks With China

“One thing is clear: The White House is looking for a soft landing to its hard stances on trade with China. Perhaps China has already won this round of the trade war. But, if the White House holds strong, it just might exact the concessions it needs from China without sacrificing American national security.”

Syria is a Successful and Sustainable Model? Don’t Make Me Laugh

“For the United States, it needs to not only temper its expectations (and therefore slow down the tempo of its intervention in the region generally, but specifically in Syria), and start focusing on larger geopolitical concerns. Obviously, the United States cannot (and should not) simply abandon the region, as many on the Far Right insist. But, we must be willing to give greater levels of support–and responsibility–to our local allies. That is our only hope for not breaking the American military in the quicksand of Mideast politics (which we presently are in danger of doing).”

Indecision Over Syria Creates More Problems, Not Less

“The idea that the United States would not retaliate against Assad is disturbing, because it sends a signal to the Israelis and our Sunni Arab partners that we really don’t have a backbone when dealing with Iran (which is what this is really all about). It will force them to take a hard look at whether they will stick their proverbial necks out for us in fighting to maintain a regional order that favors American preferences over those of the Russians and Chinese. We can–and should–draw down most of our 2,200 men in Syria. But, we should also strike back at Assad’s forces for conducting the chemical weapons attack. We cannot encourage, or appear to be encouraging, the use of WMD in such an unstable world. It sets a bad precedent and sends mixed signals to our allies, and also signals to North Korea that we really aren’t serious about upholding non-proliferation policies.”

America’s Ace-in-the-Hole: Japan

“Japan is America’s ace-in-the-hole when it comes to China. The United States should encourage Japan to take greater levels of active defense of their homeland, and to become a normal country with a military force again. After all, Japan’s military and not China’s is the most advanced and capable military in the Asia-Pacific today. Fully normalizing their country’s armed forces could solidify this fundamental truth and put the Chinese back on their heels, buying America much-needed time to solidify its own global dominance, and to keep China back.”

No, Germany is Not Our Friend

“All in all, President Trump was completely correct to call out Germany. At the same time that Angela Merkel “leads” the “free world” in a rhetorical crusade against Russia for “hacking” elections everywhere (read, giving that hooligan Donald Trump the Oval Office–which, by the way, Putin did not do that), her government and country sidles up even closer to Moscow. If they can do business with and have peaceful relations with Russia, why can’t we (and the rest of the world)? At the same time that Frau Merkel insists on bashing America’s “weak” response to Russia, it is the United States, Great Britain, and the Baltic states that disproportionately fund NATO. Even as Merkel insists upon greater, more open trade, her government engages in the exact same kind of anti-free trade actions that Trump espouses.”

Balancing the Equation with China by Arming Taiwan

“My recommendation would be to give Taiwan scores of cruise missiles (or to encourage the Taiwanese to build massive amounts of their own cruise missiles), coupled with the EA-18 Growlers (as well as the E-2D Hawkeyes that support the Growlers) that would be needed to suppress and overcome the Chinese S-400 threat. Taiwan has a handful of Hawkeyes and would need considerable amounts of Growlers to make their S-400 countermeasures fully effective. The United States must make selling Taiwan these upgraded systems a major priority in its relations with Taiwan.”

Outlook: Trump’s North Korea Options Are Bad–But Choose He Must!

“The president’s options on North Korea are bad. However, the president must make a choice. This is the sad world we currently live in today. It’s a simple lose-lose calculation: do we lose little by dictating the course of conflict with preemptive strikes before North Korea gets fully functional ICBMs, or do we lose big by suffering a mass casualty attack and, potentially, being forced out of the Asia-Pacific entirely?”