Why The Neutralist? The term Isolationist implies a narrow Fortress America outlook and is used as an epithet. The term Neutralist does not indicate someone hiding out from the world. No one calls the Swiss isolationists. The Wilsonian world view is old, tired and wrong. Our interventions have been less and less successful and now the failure can no longer be covered up.

Sunday, October 25, 2015

What makes sense in Syria-Somebody knows and it ain't the USG

Thanks to Isegoria, I know some of what the War Nerd writes, or at least some good stuff.  The War Nerd is behind the Pando Paywall, and the Neutralist, having never had a successful fundraising campaign, must work on the cheap.

As the Neutralist has noted before, the American media is all propaganda all the time.  As regards Syria, it publishes or broadcasts the mantra of Assad must go while tacitly supporting the entity they consider the enemy in Iraq.  That it is in no sense sane was up until a few short weeks ago irrelevant.

Then something happened that changed everything.  The Russians arrived and acted like they had a viable plan.  Immediately, the media sniped at the Commie Russian intervention.

the War Nerd writes for Pando.  I never warmed to the site.  Maybe it's because there is just too much out there on the web.  More it's attitudinal.  Pando writers are not without a holier than though outlook.  Everyone else is racist and stupid or something.

The War Nerd is a pseudonym, but the persona is of a loser cubicle slave who has a war jones.  A little more endearing than the "we're cool guys and your not" vibe of the rest of the columns.

Anyway, The Neutralist agrees with the words of the War nerd as posted to Isegoria;

Russia is using its air force to try to blast out a viable territory for an Alawite/Shia state along the Syrian coastal hills. Assad’s people are longtime Russian clients and allies, and the Russian air force is helping them maintain their key turf against a much more numerous enemy. It may fail, but at least that’s a reasonable plan.
At the moment, Russia’s planes are focusing on a triangle of Sunni-held territory north of Homs, trying to blast a path for Assad’s weak infantry. If you look at these verygood graphics put together (it pains me to admit) by the New York Times, you can see what a sensible, traditional military move that is. Scroll down to the two maps captioned “Many of the Initial Airstrikes Were Near the Boundaries Between Government and Rebel Zones” and go to the second map. You’ll see a T-shaped yellow zone marking Sunni-held territory due north of Homs, along the key road to Hama and Aleppo.
That’s where the Russian strikes have been hitting hardest lately, in Sunni-held crossroads towns like Ter Maela, right on the M5 highway that runs north to Hama and Aleppo, south to Damascus. That highway is the key to Syria, a kind of spinal cord like the big vein down a shrimp’s back. If the Russians can obliterate Ter Maela’s defenders thoroughly enough to let Assad’s weak infantry (or maybe his much better Hezbollah or Iranian ringers) take and hold these villages, then the Alawites have the makings of a viable state.

At this point Isegoria Interjected; "The US air campaign, on the other hand, does not make much sense:"

If you were to sum it up, it’d go something like this: “Hit Sunni targets east of the coastal hills, but ignore everything to the west; help the Kurds in the north, but grudgingly, as little as possible, for fear you’ll offend Turkey; and while you’re attacking Assad’s enemies, keep reassuring the Israelis that you’re just as anti-Assad as you are anti-Islamic State.”
Sound stupid? It is. It’s a ridiculous compromise adopted to please the Israelis and Saudis, based on the dumb-ass notion that Sunni fighters in eastern Syria are evil sectarian bastards, but the Sunni fighters facing off against the SAA in the west are “moderates.”
It’s true that Islamic State is uncommonly vile, but let’s not lie; the only faction in Syria that even tries to rise above sectarian hatred are the young Kurdish commies of YPG/J. Every other group is sectarian, and militias that start out sectarian only get meaner as they go, by the iron logic of primitive war, where massacre is the norm. And this sectarian taint isn’t new. Syria’s Sunni were chanting “Christians to Beirut, Alawites to the graveyard” long before the fighting started.
Again Isegoria; "Air strikes look clean from air, messy from the ground:"

As a rule, you can tell when the media approve of air strikes by the angle. If it’s all nice clean pilot’s-view of distant explosions, it’s a good strike. If they show you funerals, weeping relatives, blasted apartments, it’s a bad strike. So you can tell, just from the headline — “This Is What the Russian Air Strikes in Syria Look Like from the Ground” — that it’s a bad strike.

Whoever is running American Foeign Policy is not doing much of a job.  This has been so since Bush I.*  Leadership fails sooner or later and even if we got a intelligent administration, it would be but an interregnum until a correlation of forces returned and dumb came back in vogue.

Thus, as Johnny one note we again state, that a neutralist ethos needs to inform our body politic permanently.  The alternative is disaster as is happening now.

So whatever we may think of the rest of Pando, el Nerdos articles are interesting and here is a link if you are inclined to subscribe.  The War Nerd is worth the rest of the site, which is like other progressive sites such as Vox except with a paywall.

*I know everyone loves to hate Reagan, but I suggest you read Suzanne Massie's book on Reagan and Russia, you might think differently about the man.

Wednesday, October 21, 2015

AJ Schmeltzer and the bogeyman of Syria

Bashar Assad has got to go.  It's almost a mantra of people like John Kerry.  Assad is a big meanie and if he had left at the beginning of the uprising in Syria, the country would be heaven on earth.

Why, Kerry even compared him to Hitler.  Of course, if you have not compared someone to Dolf, you probably have not been in a senior policy position, but we digress.

The media speaks as one on the Syrian president's evil.  It is all ad hominem.  They do give us little of substance, and I'm waiting.

In Massachusetts back in the 80s, a man was convicted of horrible crimes against little children.  The malefactions took place in a secret room on the property.  The secret room was never found, but the hysteria led to conviction and the press was in no way glorious.

I am surprised that Assad doesn't have a secret room.  Well, maybe his police do in that bad neighborhood.

It is hard to avoid the conclusion that in this country, all news is propaganda.

The most blatantly stupid piece was Diane Sawyer and the women snipers of Syria.

So what's the point of all this?

Over at the indispensable Sic Semper Tyrannis website of Col. Lang, there is a post by AJ Schmeltzer  that goes into some depth as to Assad and his situation.  Yes he is the strongman of a country in MENA.  Someone has to do the job or you get Libya Iraq as they are now.

Two sections of the post are instructive:

2: In the original protests, Assad initially attempted negotiations, but, partly due to ingrained behavior and partly due to the quite considerably regime casulties even in the "peacefull" phase, supporters of a "forcefull" approach within Syrian security won out, and attempted to solve the issue by force.
3: Temporarly, this put Assad himself between all chairs. The opposition viewed him as a traitor (due to the security organization being very violent despite orders to the contrary) and the security state himself viewed him as a weakling due to his non-violent orders.
The American assistance that "Assad must go", as a precondition of entering any negotiations was, under that background, seen as sheer bad faith by the Russians. Assad could be utilized as a tool to rein in the Syrian Mukhabarat, and he was/is certainly more controllable/civilized then the people actually running the various Mukhabarats, removing him would achieve nothing, other then the Mukhabarat fighting completely gloves off for its own survival.
We see that Assad is not the devil and our press and government are jerks.
As neutralists, we feel a country with such a juvenile outlook as ours should not even have a foreign policy.

Monday, October 19, 2015

World War II will never end!

Went as a guest to a concert put on by the Air Force Concert Band.  It was a good show.  Sort of like the Boston Pops in uniform.

The show celebrated the end of World War II.  It was well done, but when are we going to start having events that feature our glorious post-Big One military adventures.  How come, instead of "In the Mood" and Andrews Sisters songs don't we have cultural celebrations of Korea, Vietnam, both Gulf wars, Afghanistan et al.

Can the Neutralist get support for a mini series, Grenada, that will sort of be like The Pacific or Band of Brothers?

Thought not.

There is not much to celebrate.

At the beginning, there were introductions.  One of them was for the recruiter in case anyone might be interested during intermission or after the show.  Noticing all the white hair and dearth of youth in the audience, her job yesterday was a forlorn quest.