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.

Friday, November 27, 2015

Is Obama worse than Assad?

Shocking? Uncalled for? It shouldn't be.

Some talking heads are wising up. They have come to the conclusion that dumping Bashar Assad might not be an act of genius. Every such pronouncement has to be preceded by a formula similar to; “Of course, President Assad is gross, and disgusting, but what comes after might be even worse.”

No one really wants to take it any further because in a point by point comparison, their analysis might lead them to a sort of riff on Henny Youngman's “How's your wife. Compared to what?” How about compared to President Obama.

In his joint session with President Hollande, Obama blamed Russia for the downing of its own jet.

President Barack Obama said the downing of a Russian fighter jet along the Syrian-Turkish border Tuesday is evidence of an "ongoing problem" with Russia's military operations in Syria, and that Turkey had a "right to defend its territory and its airspace."

The president said this before there was much information available. Unfortunately for the narrative, one of the crew-members survived and returned to his base. If the man is to be believed, there were no warnings given as claimed by Turkey.

The plane, even if it crossed into Turkish air space was there only for seconds and did not deserve to be downed. No word from our president if he stands behind his words.
There is no lack of evidence that Turkey is in the oil biz with ISIS. We had been going after the tanker trucks in a most desultory manner. Our air force got around to it on November 16th and took out 116 trucks. Maybe it was long planned or maybe the Russkies showing us up had something to do with it. Of course that is a small point in the thesis that Assad is a nicer guy. There are bigger arguments in that direction.

If, as our administration would have it, the Syrian Government is a foul regime that we could never support, this begs the question as to why are in bed with the brutal regime in Bahrain?
In the April 13, 2012 Huffington Post, journalist Ahmed Shihab-Eldin, wrote;

Obama has demanded that Bashar al-Assad step-down, slapped sanctions on Syria, and is funding opposition groups in the country. But when it comes to Bahrain, he has colluded in the King's efforts to downplay the civil unrest, distract from proposed reforms and failed to hold Bahrain accountable. This, from a president who promised to restore America's human rights reputation abroad.

Ahmed, it was only a campaign promise. The tradition in the exceptional nation is to break them.

Bahrain used to torture dissidents, but fortunately that has all stopped. Well, no it didn't.  According to Human Rights Watch on November 22, 2015;

The claims of Bahrain and its allies that authorities have ended torture in detention are simply not credible,” said Joe Stork, deputy Middle East director. “All the available evidence supports the conclusion that these new institutions have not effectively tackled what the BICI report described as a ‘culture of impunity’ among security forces.”
Bahrain is a country where a Sunni Royal family lords it over a Shia population. How come the spreaders of democracy are not calling for elections. Bahrain would claim they have them, but it is only for the lower house and the king appoints the upper house which makes the whole thing a sham. Obama, being from Chicago could only admire such a system. Not that he would sign an executive order...

There is no evidence that Assad supports the brutally corrupt Bahraini regime.

A little bit of water separates Bahrain from another shining example of a human rights non-paradise. Saudi Arabia has been our ally since near forever. Whatever that kingdom's concept of democracy is, they don't like it much. Oh, they have municipal elections, but for the country, if you get the king's vote you're in, literally. He appoints all 150 members of the majlis or consultative assembly.

No one seems to be calling for regime change. Then again, maybe I'm being a little too harsh on the desert monarchy. They are not without grievances and they refuse to take it lying down. The justice ministry intends to sue a person on twitter for comparing the death sentence handed out to a Palestinian poet for apostasy to the punishments handed out by ISIS. Oh such a foul slander!

I'm not sure the quibble. Neither ISIS or KSA have a good word to say about apostasy and will not spare you. One would think the ministry does not have the the sense to be embarrassed.

Though, according to the Independent, the Kingdom has executed 151 victims this year, there is leniency. Blasphemy only gets you flogged fifty times as in the case of liberal writer Raif Badawi. With his ten year sentence, he can contemplate his sovereign's clemency.

Maybe Assad should start handing out death sentences for apostasy and Obama might bow to him too.

Does the Syrian president have a fleet of drones flying over the Levant? That is a is a question to be answered. One might expect if his drone force was having the success Obama's has had, we would have heard about it with a certain prejudice.

Whether or not our drones can hit the broad side of a barn door is not known. They can tag a lot of people, innocent ones. According to the Intercept, about 90% of the drone kills get the blameless. This is a failure rate that would get any CEO fired. The mainstream press should be howling, if we could find them.

It is a heck of a thing if our high tech is more of a human rights travesty than barrel bombs.

Can't say if Assad has a penchant for suppressing whistleblowers but our jefe máximo does. It is something of a hallmark of the administration that promised transparency. Than again, they all do.

In spite of everything above, Assad has never had the bad manners to call for Obama's removal from office.

Maybe some quant can tell us which of the two presidents has more to answer for. All that is nice, but there is one trump that allows Assad extra points. He is not flirting with starting a war with a nuclear power that could turn much of the country into glass. The Syrian president just wants to survive, we are adventuring in Ukraine and the Middle-East against Putin.

None of this should be construed as support for the Syrian regime Of course, President Assad is gross, and disgusting and he can forget ever being awarded the Nobel Prize.

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