Archive for foreign relations

If Only This Was A Book. Watch The Trailer

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Four horeseman of the Apocalypse

Would you read this book? Here's the plot line, and it's a real pot boiler in tensions and intrigue:

A seemingly benign governor gets elected President of the United States. He's a fairly simple man, both in style and intellect. He's vulnerable to suggestions from his staff which the political party leaders chose for him. He didn't mind. He was a simple king.

Pressure begins to build in the middle east. A crisis is looming so the President, who's hardly traveled outside of his own country, delegates the management of  US foreign policy-making to a small inner group a religious fanatical group of anti-Semitic, right wing Christians.

This clandestined group holds secret, yet official meetings with leaders of the middle east and their apocalyptic Christian groups. Together they chart a path for the United States to clear the way for a second coming of Christ.

Sounds kind of Dan Brown conspiracy-like, doesn't it?

This collective group draws up plans for the realignment of Israel's borders to be exactly as those foretold in the bible to bring about the apocalypse and ultimately the great Rapture.

The top guy in the US President's policy making for Africa and the Middle East works in secret with the extremist Christian apocalypse believers to assure them that the President had given permission for the "believers" to divy up the Gaza Strip and still be able to meet the bible's specifications. All Jews must be rounded up and forced into Israel so the Messiah can come down and remove them off the face of the earth, thus allowing for the full destruction of our planet, aka the rapture.

When the President gets wind of this plot, he surprises the plotters and reveals that he too is anti-Semitic and approves the plan. Everything is being secretly prepared for the impending arrival of the Four Horsemen of the Apocalypse.

Complicating the plans is a single reporter who, while investigating another unjustified conflict in the region begun by the President and his warmongering staff, gets wind of these apocalyptic rumors. While looking into the plausibility of these acts against humanity, he's caught and forced to confront the Chief White House National Security adviser. Immediately the stonewalling and threats begin. Denials fly and while buying time, the half-crazed President's plot to bring about the end of the world continues in motion. It becomes a race against time.

The more the official denials come from the administration, the more implausible their refutes became, until ultimately it becomes almost impossible to stop the ticking clock. And in an plot-twist ending worthy of it's undoubted best seller status...

Oh, I don't want to give away the ending of the story for you... You'll just have to read it yourself, or better yet, watch the book trailer starring Rachel Maddow:

Kind of scary, isn't it? GW Bush and Adolph Hitler with similar plans for the Jews - convert and destroy. You can't make these things up. Only ask yourself why we let these people rise to power.

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When You Aren't Totally, Fully, Without A Doubt, Absolutely, Completely Sure, Be Quiet

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SYRIA-CONFLICT

We all know that there's a looming crisis in Syria. We're also quite aware that the public is not in favor of the US taking any miliarty action at this time regardless of the horrific poison gas murders of innocent civilians by the Assad regime this past August 22nd.

Fortunately, through a series of planned or unplanned events, a crack in the diplomatic door has been opened and Obama has chosen to pursue that potential avenue. This must be applauded. Despite all the rhetoric by the McCain hawks or the Rand Paul doves, the drumbeat for war was becoming quite alarming.

What we should be alarmed at is not our determination to make a stand against the use of chemical weapons. But that it took this August massacre to be the flash point. There have been reports of much earlier use of CW's that rose to the White House's attention.

LA TIMES:

WASHINGTON — In July 2012, senior U.S. intelligence officials drove to the Capitol to secretly brief top lawmakers on the first indications that the Syrian government had used chemical weapons against its own people.

SNIP

But it was the beginning of a stream of intelligence documenting what U.S. officials say was a yearlong escalation in the use of the banned weapons by the government of President Bashar Assad, a far more extensive record of the incidents than previously known. The Obama administration did not publicly acknowledge the attacks for months, and declared in April that it believed Syria had used chemical weapons.

So if Obama knew this information that chemical weapons were being used, why is it that it took this large scale attack in August to trigger his "line in the sand?"

The Daily Beast.

Though President Obama, Secretary of State John Kerry, and other officials have asserted there is "no doubt" Assad was behind the attack, they have been careful to refer to "Assad's regime" or the "Syrian regime" to avoid stating it outright. Outside the administration, analysts with senior-level intelligence clearance say there is real doubt that Assad has command of his chemical weapons.

It's this kind of tenuous reassurance or double talk that has me worried. I personally think Assad is in charge of his current regime and anything they do, whether with his explicit, implied or even blind eye are still his responsibility. Just as Obama is ultimately responsible for the US response.

With this question of who really has control of the chemical weapons in Syria, this is the time to tread lightly and continue to investigate. The Washington Times also echos this concern of who's really in command of these CW's.

U.S. intelligence has yet to uncover evidence that Syrian President Bashar Assad directly ordered the chemical attacks last month on civilians in a suburb of Damascus, though the consensus inside U.S. agencies and Congress is that members of Mr. Assad’s inner circle likely gave the command, officials tell The Washington Times.

If we don't know for sure if it's Assad or his lieutenants, there's something interestingly optimistic in this. Russia also may not know who's really pulling the strings in Syria. And they have a huge stake in making sure these CW's don't end up being used against them down the road. If they back Assad and someone else is capable of using the Sarin gas, then they have a fear that Chechen's or others within Russia may seek out an alliance with the real person responsible and that could bring about an attack on Putin's land.

Just a thought -- if it wasn't Assad himself who gave the order, look for some close adviser to the President of Syria to suddenly go missing, under Putin's secret authority.

Everyone's got some skin in this game. And for a change, the outcome for both the Russians, despite their bluster, and the US are the same-- elimination of the chemicals. So while we give negotiations a chance, let's keep some optimism alive. And maybe during that time, we'll find out who really pulled the trigger on the August 22 chemical attack. It just might be the Syrian Minister or General who doesn't answer "here" when they do the next role call.

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We’ll Always Have Benghazi

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Ted Cruz Canada

Poor Senator Rafael Cruz. He’s got no one to play with. His get-famous-quick scheme has taken a back seat to real news. His momentum hasn't sputtered, it’s petered out totally. No one wants to hear Raffy’s whining and even the Tea Party is getting tired of Teddy One-note, the dual-citizen from North of the 49th parallel.

Listen to his droning on about Benghazi. According to him, we've taken our eye off the ball. The real prizes are Benghazi and the IRS "scandals." He feels that’s where our attention should be – not on the hundreds or thousands of Syrians who were gassed. He’s not interested in the millions of Syrian refugees whose lives have been disrupted. After all, those are foreigners, not native born Americans like… Whoops – well, maybe he’d care about these refugees if they had dual citizenship.

Here’s Rafael, trying once again to become pertinent or relevant. He’ll take either, but seems to be neither.

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Give Credit Where Credit Is Due -- Manchin/Heitkamp

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joe_manchin_heidi_heitkamp

I believe there's a good chance we avoid firing a single missile into Syria and we can accomplish much more than the intended cruise missile could. We will be potentially saving millions of lives, not taking them. And this supposedly all came about by an off the cuff remark attributed to the dullest man on the planet, Secretary of State, John Kerry.

But was it really an off-guard moment, a spontaneous thought that just occurred to the SOS? That would sure make for a good TV series plot -- but it's not at all the case. Oh, Kerry was genuinely asked the question that resulted in that "throw away" response, but the reply was hardly his.

This idea of Syria giving up it's chemical weapons was introduced five days before -- by the two real engineers of this plan. These two should be heralded as the architects of this possible solution which is getting embraced in every corner of the world (I say corner because the the vast numbers of Republicans in the Flat Earth Society).

Back on September 5th, five full days before Kerry's remarks, POLITICO reported on a widely circulated, proposed senate bill:

The United States would give Syria 45 days to sign an international chemical weapons ban or face the wrath of American military might, under a draft resolution being circulated by Sens. Joe Manchin (D-W.Va.) and Heidi Heitkamp (D-N.D.).

Now I'm not saying Obama nor Kerry aren't ultimately going to make this happen, along with Putin and Assad and the Secretary General of the UN, Ban Ki-moon. I'm hoping they pull it off. But let's give credit where credit is due.

Two visionary U.S. senators, Manchin and Heitkamp are their names. They should, if this all falls into place, be given great praise for preventing more bloodshed and a world-wide blame on our country should something go wrong and we end up with another Iran or Afghanistan. At this writing, things seem to be headed in the peaceful direction. There are plenty of obstacles ahead, but West Virginia and North Dakota may have provided us with the two people who saw a potential war and found a peaceful solution.

In a face-saving statement, which is perhaps born in fact, Obama has said that it was his threat of the use of fire power and retaliation that has brought about the potential for this hopeful resolve. Maybe he's right. There's enough praise to go around. But sometimes the real brains behind the victories are lost in the rush to congratulate the titular leaders. At no point did I hear Kerry or Obama publicly mention a plan like that of these two senators. Perhaps in the strategy rooms it was discussed, but not with the people of the US, or in the Congressional briefings.

It was only Manchin and Heitkamp who put their thoughts and this option out there publicly.

For that we owe them a great debt of gratitude. They not only saved us money, lives and a potential war. They also saved Obama the embarrassment of not getting Congressional approval to take these warlike actions he's proposed -- then forcing him to act alone, or face the humiliation of dropping the plan all together.

Let's keep our fingers crossed. There's a long way to go. But two new heroes have joined the ranks of people we should look at for the future when crisis or the need for leadership comes a calling.

UPDATE: (though real credit goes to the above)

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Video- Michelle Obama and Laura Bush in Africa on Being First Lady

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Video- President Obama Speaks at the University of Yangon, Burma 2012

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