Ooobie on Everything

The Tangled Web We Weave

I’ve been trying to concentrate on the upcoming mid-terms, but it’s like love lost: once gone, never re-captured. I just can’t get into it. That is because I have no credible reason to believe that anything hugely bad done under Obama will be destroyed by the GOP, and that means more of same. You see where that got us. No, what will be will be, as Doris Day used to say. Maybe when things go so far beyond the acceptable in this country it will ignite something else, and then we’ll see.

It’s the foreign policy screen that has me rapt. I just read an article saying that Kobani, that tiny Nowheresville on the outskirts of both Turkey and Syria, is being swarmed by the ISIS death beetles. Then it says that the US military sees a rich array of targets of opportunity in this situation.

I can’t help it, I  keep thinking that the foreign policy inanity and incompetence and ignorance I’m seeing and the fall-out it is provoking have inured me to any further shocks, but I’m always wrong. Kobani is a strategic town in the ISIS-led Neo-Caliphate’s effort to take over the world. It is an important battle site because the turbaned fanatics are attacking ethnic Kurds, who are running to Turkey. In Turkey there are age-old tensions between the Turks and Kurds aggravated by Kurdish separatist sentiment. There are armed Kurdish rebels who have fought the Turkish government. At present, the Kobani Kurds are fighting off ISIS valiantly but they are losing. On the Turkish side, enraged ethnic Kurds are flocking to the border to help their brethren in Kobani, but they are being beaten back by the Turkish military and that could spark more problems inside Turkey. The US sits doing nothing because it insists (and rightly so) that Turkey take out ISIS at Kobani with ground troops. Then the US could give air support. But Turkey won’t attack ISIS. Why? For the same reason that it won’t let the Kurds go to Kobani’s defense — because Turkey hates Syria’s Assad worse than it hates ISIS, at least for the moment. Turkey insists that if the US wants Turkey’s action in Kobani, the US has to agree to go after and unseat Assad. Turkey wouldn’t profit if its own ethnic Kurds went and did the job for the US, depriving Ankara of its leverage. Turkey also doesn’t want to give the Kurds, some of them ex-guerrillas, the chance to hone their military skills or develop a special relationship with the USG.

croc_editedIt seems there hasn’t been a deal, because everybody is just watching this disaster unfold. I’m sure behind the scenes there are many screaming matches at the moment. Some want Obama to okay commitment to regime change in Damascus in exchange for Turkey’s action on the ground at Kobani. The pressure is high. The McCains of both left and right are yammering about the need to remove Assad. Others sense what a quagmire this all is promising to become and worry about Obama’s Peace Prize and how Obama can’t afford to ruin his image. Where are we currently? Nowhere good. ISIS is all over Kobani. The civilized world’s common enemy is winning against America and its power. Even a loss after such a glorious battle doesn’t diminish their success. To the ordinary person, it seems the US comes out looking weaker than ever, despite our endless bombing runs. It looks like this is just driving more and more high-hormone teenagers into the fight. It’s like blood in the water.

Okay, but granting that this is so, think about this: the USG has looked at the situation and finds that it is not a disaster! This is because now US bombers can swoop practically from outer space and drop ordnance killing all kinds of targets (we always call them targets instead of verminous bastards or in the case of the innocent victims, human beings) and they are concentrated. It is likely that quite a few ISIS victims are going to die under our bombs along with their tormenters. I guess it’s a more merciful death than what was waiting for them. But from our perspective, what difference does it make if we kill a bunch of ISIS guerrillas? In fact, what difference does it make if ISIS loses control of Kobani? They will be promptly replaced and pop up elsewhere, maybe in Europe. And they will simply wait until the defenders abandon Kobani, as we will, and then re-swarm and take even uglier vengeance there. On the other hand, if we lose Kobani because the Kurds can’t do the job, I don’t see a good bombing environment as a big counterbalance to that central fact. And if we arm the Kurds and send them in, we are probably setting up Turkey for major destabilizing domestic developments somewhere down the road. You can see why it’s so difficult to make sound policy — every step we take or don’t take has a counter-effect on another one of our alliances or goals. This is another example of how America’s proliferating commitments are entangling us hopelessly and greatly complicating decision-making.

Assad might well have been ready to send in his Army to fight ISIS with US collaboration, but we couldn’t ask Assad because the USG wants to have another go at regime change in Syria. Like Turkey, we seem to see Assad as a scarier foe than ISIS, and this is why the US is manning up and arming its own military force in Syria to act as our proxy in an overthrow. Isn’t it crazy — wouldn’t you think, given the convergence of interests, that the US would have agreed with Turkey’s proposal and then both goals would be met — overthrow and blows against ISIS. But no. And yet there are rumors that the US is going to declare a no-fly zone in the airspace over Syria, including northern Syria where Assad and the government are. ISIS, supposedly the chief focus of our actions, has no air force. They have captured three Syrian Air Force antique aircraft that are visually known to the US which they hope to send on a suicide mission to some not too-distant spot loaded with chemical weapons taken from ISIS-controlled areas of Iraq quite recently. (I won’t get into that can of worms here.) Unlikely the suicide missions would ever get off the ground loaded before being vaporized, so why this no-fly zone? That sounds and smells really stinky to me and to many others, including Syria’s ally Russia, which supplies Damascus all its defense equipment.

It appears to me the US strategy goes like this: illegally arm and train proxies to fight against Assad domestically (check); get legislation authorizing a virtual US military take-over of the rag-tag army under the guise of fighting ISIS (check); as soon as there is a lull in the ISIS fighting, turn the rebels against Damascus by unleashing them throughout the country (soon come); begin bombing Damascus in support of our proxy army on grounds that Damascus is responding brutally to popular discontent (time to be determined). After that, insure that the Russian military is replaced by the US military, thus opening a huge new military hardware and technology market.

There are, of course, many things that can intervene to change a situation. Perhaps the ISIS fight will become so serious in Europe that nobody will support the insane overthrow of the last secular Arab leadership outside of the Egyption Army. Perhaps the US will have so many problems elsewhere and at home that it cannot afford a feckless fight against Assad. Or perhaps a change in the USG will bring in a hawkish president who decides that the US military really can control the world. I hardly know which scenario is scariest.



Hill’s Shills

clintoniraqI haven’t written for some time now. I’ve been mesmerized by the wreckage of our foreign policy ineptitude, in which, as we all know, Hillary Clinton played a huge role as Secretary of State. She was Joan of Arc for the export of US democracy around the world, the beacon of liberty. It was in this spirit that she pushed hard for a war against Qaddafi (although we never call things like bombing war anymore) and then publicly gloated when the man was shot on his knees as well as reportedly sodomized with a weapon. This is the woman who would be President. It isn’t a pretty picture.

pickeringtwo_editedI guess we all have become used by now to the spectacle of career US officials such as Ambassador Thomas Pickering running interference for Hillary Clinton. In case you forgot, Pickering was in charge of the Accountability Review Panel that scoured the events of Benghazi in order to assign blame for the disaster. Alas, he wasn’t really able to pin that down very well, and he sure wasn’t able to find any link at all to the Big Gun at State, Mrs. Clinton. In fact, Pickering was convinced a priori of Mrs. Clinton’s non-responsibility, to the extent that he didn’t bother to chat with the lovely lady about her role in things. Some of us wonder how stupid he thinks the rest of us are, and believe me, State is filled with people who think they are smarter than almost anybody but a European. Pickering didn’t think it was necessary to inquire too deeply into her own actions that led up to this and her actions on the night of the disaster. Did she do anything other than sit on her ample ass and listen and watch to what was happening? Did what she had seen not seem at odds with her public statements that this was linked to that stupid (but convenient) video snippet that supposedly triggered spontaneous rioting? Mr. Pickering is one of those who is dreaming of being Mr. Secretary of State if dear Hill is elected. She owes him BIG TIME for that one. The man threw away all his credibility by trying to cover up Mrs. Clinton’s responsibility for what happened in Benghazi, and I’m afraid he is going to be disappointed at not being Secretary of State.

Let’s move on to another US Ambassador, a career official, Ambassador Christopher Hill. He has just published an article in Politico, the TASS of the Clinton campaign, in which he blames Obama for the debacle in the Middle East. The lead photo he used alerted me to what was up. It was a picture of a beaming Hillary Clinton with the  Ambassador at her side by the aircraft that had delivered her to Iraq like manna from heaven. His first paragraph was enough for me. It started by recounting how Clinton went to Iraq and how the Iraqis loved her, were in raptures with her, she immediately bonded with every single human being in the room. I guess Amb. Hill thought the world under Hillary’s guidance would be sunshine and roses, warring factions would kiss and make up and then BOOM. Here, let the Ambassador tell you for himself: Exhilarated and grateful, I stood on the edge of the landing zone in a line with a few other embassy personnel, all of us waving farewell to our secretary with the expectation she would be back soon. Obama replaced her in that position with (gasp) the Vice President. Well, I guess Hill shares the common view of Biden as a blundering blithering idiot, but his insinuation is that, if only it had been Hillary, everything would have worked out just fine.

Yes, she might have begun by disarming the US Embassy security force, Amb. Hill.

090315_chrishill_kady_editedHill is another fawning candidate for Secretary of State or perhaps the number two spot. His maneuver with this article was transparently an attempt to distance the miraculous Hillary Clinton from the disastrous decision-making in foreign policy while she was Secretary of State by pinning it on Obama and the White House advisors. This is the “if only” school of campaigning — if only Hillary had been president, none of this would have happened. She is tougher than ISIS and Assad put together. If you think NATO was prone to bombing under Obama, you ain’t seen nothin’ yet. By the way, the cavalcade of stars coming out of State Department is no surprise. She had it under her control for four years, during which she wasted no time recruiting for her campaign machine. An acquaintance from State, a currently serving Ambassador, told my husband she is working for the Hillary campaign. For quite a while we got phone calls under her name, but they were obviously robo-calls (never a message left). Expect this team to be dedicated to whitewashing Hillary Clinton’s lusterless tenure as SecState. (And by the way, what happened to the Hatch Act that prohibited USG employees from active support of political candidates?)

panetta_editedNow we have Leon Panetta. If wimpy guys like Hill don’t convince you that Hillary Clinton is a Strong Leader, here’s the guy who was Secretary of Defense. And what do you think his message is? That Obama is such a stinker, he screwed up everything! Alone! Panetta was much smarter than Obama and disagreed with almost everything Obama was in favor of. He did not say in so many words that “my friend Hillary would be much stronger as President than Obama ever was or will be,” but we get it Leon. He’s another Clinton I lapdog, and he remains true to his brand. Expect more of the same from him in coming months.  Leon’s getting on in years so perhaps he doesn’t want a government spot, but perhaps just a lucrative government-connected boondoggle.

Get used to it. Hillary’s bandwagon was lined up long ago, and she poached within the USG to find her team. It is just one more example of how the USG has become aligned with one party and in doing so has politicized the civil service function. This deserves defeating.



WWIII: Middle Eastern and North African Front

WWIII_dummies_0Here we go. With the European front simmering, even giving off smoke there in Ukraine, the US president has taken his courage in his hands and capitulated to opinion polls. He is going to cut back to manageable size the jihad war against anybody civilized by bombing the jihad capital in land captured from Syria with weapons captured from US-supplied friends via third parties in order to overthrow Syria’s government by force.

Syrian President Assad is wildly enthusiastic about wiping out the guys who once fought with US support. He won’t hold a grudge as long as the US wipes out the monster it created. Unfortunately, the US isn’t interested in asking for approval from somebody it is still planning to mow down just as soon as it takes out ISIS/ISIL/etc etc. The USG has decided instead to thumb our noses at such arcane principles as national sovereignty and territorial integrity and bomb where and when and how and how often we like, whether in Syria without any authorization or in Iraq with the collaboration of the government.  Here’s what a State Department spokesmen said with just the right tone of contempt: the U.S. “did not request the regime’s permission” and had warned the Syrian government “not to engage U.S. aircraft.”

Meanwhile, back in LaLa Land USA, we see stories beginning to leak that try hard to convince us this isn’t about the US violating international law yet again, but about a handful of duplicitous Middle East countries doing it along with the US. These analyses tell us that it is vitally important that people not think this is just the US throwing its military prowess around or trying to claim that whatever the US wants gives it a pass on international law. The world must believe the US is doing this solely in defense of its vital national interests and those of everybody else and so international law doesn’t apply. It’s an exception like the war against Serbia.

And it is important that everybody see that this is a team effort, from each according to his abilities, which necessitates that the US do everything. The first bit of obfuscation came in a WSJ piece about how Arab pilots participated in the bombing, flying by the side of US jet fighters. I wonder if they dropped anything or were there as observers and a beard. There were a whole five Arab countries involved, not just the courageous Saudis, who are also by the way supporting the jihadists. Turkey has already made clear, along with NATO as an organization, that they have nothing to do with bombing in Syria. Whew. That let’s both of them off the hook despite the consistent and not insignificant assistance they have given to unseat Assad over the past couple of years. I’m glad to know these countries recognize international law.

Everybody is bracing for the backlash now, knowing that what happens in Syria or Iraq is going to take back seat to what is coming in our various civilized nations, where war is supposed to happen someplace else. The US and the EU are incredibly vulnerable because of the open door immigration policies both have followed and the resulting influx of Moslems who share about zero of Europe or America’s (remaining) ethics. There have been obvious terror test runs in America and in Europe, efforts to penetrate to the heart of our “civilization” — our clean running water, our constant electricity, our computers that allow the authorities to communicate. Those would be the infrastructure part, but the fun part for these lunatics will be making sacrifices of Americans, in their own heartland, in full public view — and the more pitiful the target, the more joy they will derive. An old lady? An infant? All the better. Taking a train trip? I’d think twice. Flying? Not this year. Crossing a bridge? Can you swim?

Setting aside all the crap that is currently flying our way, the US has now set in concrete the right of any nation to take unilateral military action to preserve their perceived vital national security, even if it is in another country half-way around the world. So I would venture to say that the world, preoccupied with the drama in the Middle East, will only notice the annexation by Russia of eastern Ukraine de facto. And by then it will far too late for the US to speak of respect for borders or sovereignty — there is no going back. We have left too significant a chain of evidence demonstrating US support for “might makes right” to claim that nobody else can rally to that flag.

I didn’t even mention the Eastern front this time (or Western if you’re in California).

Some thoughts on neutrality

bear_and_eagleIn earlier posts I have mentioned in passing how undervalued neutrality has become in the past twenty years. Young people in the United States, who are hard pressed to name a single member of the US administration, probably don’t have any idea what neutrality even means. Within the United States the idea of neutrality is also out of style. The ethic is not “free thought is the cradle of ingenuity,” but “he who is not with us is against us.” The same ethos rules in both US domestic and foreign policy.

I’m thinking about this subject because just recently I picked up a long-lapsed correspondence with some Georgian friends (Tbilisi, not Atlanta) and since we last had a discussion, my views and theirs have spun off into opposite corners of the universe. Here’s a little background: in 1993 Georgia was a disaster zone like the rest of the former Soviet Union. Despite the suffering of that period, the Georgians were glad to be free of communism and Russian dominion. (Not that those views were shared by everybody, by any means –in Gori they still adored Stalin.) It was a new world, but a scary one. Georgians were at war with the Abkhazians and the South Ossetians, who were supported by Russia in their determination to break away from the dominant people in the country, the Georgians. Even under the very able and brilliant Eduard Shevardnadze, the government was very weak and the country had negligible capacity to defend itself. And at that time you were more likely to bump into somebody who argued that Georgia could never change its geography, so it had to get along with Russia, than somebody who said “let’s join NATO and shake our fist in Russia’s face.” In fact countries like Ukraine and Georgia joining NATO was not even on the distant horizon as far as the US and western Europe were concerned. The USG was in the midst of a major courtship of the usefully weak if sly Yeltsin and was fawningly solicitous. What the Clinton Administration and its architect of US-Russian policy at the time, Strobe Talbott, did not want was anything gumming up the works. And in this spirit they chose not to beard Russia about even so serious a matter as the Chechens fighting brutally against mostly Georgian civilians in Abkhazia, not even to warn the Russians that what goes around comes around and they might want to think twice.

Cut to today: NATO is belly to belly with Russia and trying to inch around that country’s southern flank; NATO is rattling its sabers at Russia and warning it not to “meddle” in Ukraine and to leave Georgia alone, while the US and EU role in the violent overthrow of Ukraine’s legal government or the disastrous effort by Georgia’s army to retake South Ossetia in 2008 are studiously swept under the rug. Today NATO’s chief tells the world that Russia is NATO’s enemy. This is one hundred and eighty degrees from where we were twenty years ago. But what really happened over those past twenty years?

russia_wants_war_look_how_closely_they_put_country_to_our_military_basesFirst of all, the big give-away in Russia to western financial interests stopped. Second, the Russians began to regroup and regain their national identity. Third — NATO and not Russia expanded the territory it controls by nearly doubling its membership and bringing itself to a point where if Russia wants to walk out its door NATO is there with a missile at its face. At no point did NATO say, is this wise? At no point did NATO ask does this make all of us safer or more insecure? Because of course, that was the only responsible way to consider requests for membership. Worse, with every east European country admitted to NATO, the organization’s Russophobic index shot up. Today I would assess NATO to be permeated with this skewed view of international affairs, as seen by countries who have been quarreling with Russia (and sometimes invading it) for centuries. Today you could erase the names and listen to the rhetoric, and I’m afraid it would be NATO sounding like expansionist ideologues, not Russia.

atlas2h3But Russia is not the weakling it was back in the 1990s. It is flexing its muscles, testing its systems, working out the most critical kinks, and armoring up in every sense. If America can’t admit it, Russia and the other big players have recognized, accepted and are acting on the basis that the unipolar world is dead. Russia has drawn its own red line, prepared to fight any further NATO encroachment in the former Soviet space.  If NATO were to eliminate the requirement that new members bring along no unresolved territorial disputes, or create a special “NATO protectorate” category, NATO security would not be increased with the additions. Because of course any fight a member state has with Russia is a fight everybody in NATO is forced to have with Russia. And the practical effect would be that NATO might take western Moldova, but Russia would take Transdnestr; NATO might get Tbilisi, but Russia would get Sukhumi and Vladikavkaz. NATO might get Kiev, but Russia gets Donbas.

So, back to the virtues of neutrality.

In the past twenty years the US ruled supreme. If it wanted to do something, or invade somewhere, or bomb some place, it was a breeze to do so. There was no opposition. This, I am convinced, lured the US into undertaking far too many such adventures that were finished pretty quickly, but settled nothing and even worsened the situation. In a new multi-polar world, each player must move with great caution and forethought. No power can act “without a strategy” because the costs would be far too high if they fail or stall. There are big powers waiting to take advantage of fumbles. Powers can’t resort to force because they are checked on too many fronts and everybody knows war is likely to go nuclear with more than one nuclear power involved. What remains is a return to the art of diplomacy and negotiation and espionage, but in a far less stable environment than existed in the Cold War. We will have to be quick and smart to keep at least some of our advantages.

In a multi-polar world there are multiple potential flash points, as well. The closer two or more of the powers are to one another, the easier it will be for an unanticipated incident to spiral into major confrontation. This is a potential danger Russia faces with China, with which country Russia now enjoys improving relations. But in the west and south, where Russia would welcome some breathing room, it now is standing off against NATO — with whom relations could not be worse short of war. What that means is, as with China, the smallest spark can become a flame and there is no fire-break in between.

The solution is compromise. Russia says not an inch farther. NATO says you can’t tell these people what to do. We have the material for a massive explosion. But here is a solution. Negotiate an international treaty guaranteeing the neutrality of all the remaining former Soviet states not members of NATO. Give them special supervisory regimes to give teeth to the status. Then allow those states to associate otherwise with whom they like, trade how they please, and do anything that does not constitute a credible threat to anybody else. Some of those states, like Ukraine, will complain that this is unfair — NATO took everybody else, why not us? But for NATO to swallow Ukraine would be like swallowing a lighted stick of dynamite. It would not enhance anybody’s security, not even the Ukrainians’. It is all about providing security in the end. These countries want security, and the big nations can give it to them.

Breakingthechainthatbindsuslarger_zps3889e159And here is another thought: an alliance is only as strong as its weakest link; that has always been the case with NATO, and in reality NATO defense relied on less than a third of its original members to do the job, because the others would never last. Today that situation is much worse, because the same third is still carrying the load for a membership nearly doubled. Everybody wants the US to do the dying for them — which is why they want our soldiers deployed to Russia’s borders. That’s their guarantee that we’ll fight the bigger war for them. I don’t know about you, but I’m not keen to go to war even over Poland. But Ukraine? I don’t think so. And Ukraine needs to ponder that, too.

The Goths are Coming


The amorphous international community seems to be drawing together in agreement that the ISIS/ISIL/Caliphate crowd has to go. The jihadist murderers are overrunning country after country and can my beloved Amsterdam be far behind? They’re headed for us and ours, too, and you can put money on it. From within we will be beset, even as we waste our precious resources trying to settle family quarrels around the world and confine the fire to other people’s countries. All our interventions have done is serve as a recruiting tool among the far too numerous offspring of the Moslem world. I’m all for hitting these loathsome creatures wherever we can, but I don’t think we’re going to defeat them overseas.

It’s pretty certain that the US will get another chance to try out the latest military tech by hitting the jihadists in Syria. Maybe we’ll hit a leader or two or three, and you can be sure we will kill a lot of civilians, too. But it all depends on how the US approaches this impending military action that will determine if it will have any success as we now define it. I hope that building this “coalition” means getting people together to fight a common threat within another country with the permission of the government and that it doesn’t mean “coalition against Assad, too.” If we ignore regional realities and rivalries and try to regime change again, this fire is going to have jumped the break. In the meantime, nobody in charge seems too concerned about the deliberately-provoked deluge of the US southern border, which mass migration was sprinkled with a sufficient number of abandoned children to make this into a sob story about poor orphans. Nobody is writing much about all the flotsam and jetsam that washed over the border along with the abused children whose parents got them off their hands. That’s because nobody knows who they are, just ask Immigration or Homeland Security. We won’t know who they are until heads are being cut off in tolerant places like Minneapolis or tunnels are collapsing leading into major cities. Things like that.

So what’s the point of a bombing campaign in which, quite possibly the NATO crowd aka the US will ignore the government of Syria and bomb at will? What if NATO decides not only to bomb away inside Syria, as if the Assad government had already been deposed, but to put “boots on the ground”? What’s a border to NATO, unless it belongs to a NATO member or maybe a non-NATO member seen as cooperative? If NATO does act against ISIS without Assad backing them up, NATO will fail in its ultimate goal, the decimation of ISIS and the mad jihadists. This is a case of shared interests. Are we too blinded by our sense of moral superiority that we can’t see that? If the US does try to use one pretext to take care of other business, it will have blown a great opportunity to get past the pout stage of US foreign policy and onto realpolitik. In the latter world, Assad could be a sort of ally, or as much of one as we have anymore, whom we are not trying to oust or have murdered and with whom we work together to corral those varmints and kill them. It’s easy to be friends. And morally you can justify this course by adding up the numbers of civilians killed by the US and by Syria to point out that the US has a far more grievous record on that score than Syria could even aspire to.

As for Ukraine, wow, that went so fast it took me by surprise. We began with a junta-led military offensive against a civilian population and a separatist faction in eastern Ukraine, under direction of a right-wing defense minister and assisted by neo-Nazi volunteers. Then there was an “election” and Poroshenko was in power, and he wanted to show he was as strong as he looks. He really unleashed the military against civilians, even going so far as to lob short-range ballistic missiles into populated areas with never a peep from NATO or the EU about human rights. Kiev bombed schools and apartment blocks and churches and WWII monuments. Old ladies sleep on cots in damp dark basements that will soon be frigidly cold. Nobody gives a damn. It’s all balance of power and world hegemony.

Kiev was winning the fight, surrounding the terrorists, and NATO membership was just at Kiev’s fingertips. When wham. A sudden turn-around. More soldiers, more and better arms. Russia, without ever putting demonstrable “boots on the ground” in Ukraine, turned back Kiev’s forces. The rout, which was apparently a small demonstration of what could be deployed against Kiev, seems to have convinced everybody that a settlement was a sensible course to pursue.

Russia’s first victory was the inclusion of the separatist leaders in the negotiations in Minsk, for the first time and against Kiev’s protests I am sure. The second victory was tentative agreement, supported by the OSCE, on substantial autonomy in eastern Ukraine. I’d guess the West, particularly Germany and the US, played a role in convincing Poroshenko to give it up. The only end result of heightened military confrontation would be more civilian deaths, more and destabilizing sanctions, and greater likelihood of Russia simply seizing eastern Ukraine. This is the face-saving solution. The Americans and Europeans will say, we brought peace and prevented further Russian penetration. Russia doesn’t need to say anything.

I never did play chess and while the Cold War was rife with intrigue, it was never so open as now. Putin may be the bogey-man for the West, but hopefully they are coming to realize that this isn’t a good case for regime change. Putin is a strong leader, but he’s strong because he capsulizes the sentiments of a nation in its vast majority. It is Russia that is ready to rock, not just Putin. The West went too far in Ukraine, and threatens to do as well in Moldova and Georgia. They should reconsider. It would be very easy to dismember Moldova, with the eastern region ready to go with Russia. In Georgia, Russia might lose its once and no doubt always-beloved neighbor to an enemy alliance, but Georgia will forever cede two sizable territories to Russia.

I’ve said it before, I’ll say it again. What are these national leaders thinking? Is there nobody out there to counsel them the virtues of neutrality, internationally guaranteed with ratified treaties? One in which they trade where they want, but don’t threaten anybody. A status that allows them to eschew military blocs and avoid wasting money on unnecessary military activities. Ask Finland how good neutrality was. They got fat and rich on it. I bet Finland wishes they hadn’t cozied up quite so close to the EU and NATO in these days of sanctions and counter-sanctions.

Neutrality: it’s an unpopular view today, but things change.




An Outstanding Essay

I offer below a moving look back at the life of an alcoholic — very insightful and sad. I’ve lifted it from a fellow blogger who publishes Asylum Watch. Having close family members struggling with addiction problems, including alcoholism, I’ve seen and experienced the alienation it produces. And I’ve seen every kind of drunk, some gentle and hopeless and some angry and mean, all around the world. A toast to all those who struggle anywhere, every day to overcome the disability.


“Liquor Store Loses One More Customer” an essay by Brian

Posted on September 6, 2014

 No politics today. Instead, this essay by Brian of the Frankenstein Government blog is of a more personal nature. Alcoholism has touched the lives of many of us, I’m sure. This essay was originally published on August 30, 2014.


Liquor Store Loses One More Customer

I’ve never really cared for funerals. Especially Catholic funerals. I can’t imagine my friend Al liking Catholic funerals either, but unfortunately as life and luck would have it, this funeral was his.

I listened attentively at the funeral, all 90 minutes of it. I was in awe that a Catholic Priest, Father if you will, could pretend to know someone and speak so glowingly about him. It wasn’t a very personal pitch and it felt a little too generic and thus appropriately, albeit late in the service, this Father finally came clean and admitted that he had only been with this church a year and didn’t know Al at all. I think the part that bothered me the most was how this Father kept saying Al led a “full” life.

I suppose you have to say things like that. Funerals they say, are for the living.

I’m not sure I could have rendered a service like that. And as I sat there and listened I couldn’t help but think that Al would have agreed with me. I don’t think Al would have liked it either. Al never stood tall with the bullshitters. That I think, would even include those wearing black robes.

The Al that I knew was about 6’2″ tall and 375 pounds. I met him in 2001. He was kind of an inquisitive, cautious guy. He didn’t really like new people but maybe that was just me. It took him a few months to warm up to folks. He was intelligent, loyal to a fault, and when he laughed- it was a belly laugh. A sort of gruff, nasal, chuckle. I can hear it as I write this. Al was a pretty fair pool player and so was I. We often played to a draw- and we played a lot of pool.

One night, Al got us tickets to the “fights” at a downtown bar. These were fights where two local yayhoos who didn’t like each other- jumped into the ring together and literally tried to beat the shit out of each other. The referee was half drunk, so were the combatants. On this particular night, I bought one of the fighters 6 shots of Jagermeister while he waited for his fight to take place. He was drinking a fair amount of beer also. When he jumped into the ring against a much smaller opponent- I told Al I would bet him 50 bucks that the small guy would kick the big guy’s ass. Al didn’t even hesitate to take the bet- it looked like such a mismatch. The big guy didn’t even last halfway through the first round. When the small guy won, Al wheeled around and said that our bet was “bullshit” and “how the fuck did you know that?” When I told Al about all the drinks I had bought the guy at the front of the bar, Al let out that chuckle first and then roared with laughter. He knew I wouldn’t make him pay.

If Al was great at anything, it was drinking. We drank every night. Al loved “Firewater” back then, 100 proof cinnamon schnapps. He drank it like water. I spent a few years and God only knows how many nights and camping trips- drinking with Al. As much as Al loved his wife and kids, I could tell they were feeling estranged. I knew we both had a problem.

Both of us were becoming alcoholics if we weren’t already. In 2004, I talked Al into trying a rehab and I very nearly drove him there. He did it on his own. I think he managed to stay sober for 15 months. A little over a year.

I continued to drink. In early 2006, I wasn’t seeing Al as much as I used to. One night in a Nevada border town/casino, I saw that Al had started drinking again. A year later in October of 2007, it would be my turn for rehab.

I packed my Jeep up and called Al. I said I had one seat available in my Jeep and I was headed for New Orleans to get sober. I invited Al. Al told me couldn’t afford to go. I told him he couldn’t afford not to. He said that his income was the only income that his family had and that he just couldn’t leave. I think now that I should have struck a deal with his boss to bring back a sober employee. That is the guilt that flows within me. It is bullshit of course. I’ve never saved anyone that wasn’t intent on saving themselves first.

I only saw Al a few times after I got sober. He of course, was drinking heavier than ever. They tell us sober folks that we have to change playmates if we want to live. And so we do.

Alcoholism is a disease that tricks the alcoholic into thinking that there is no other way to live our lives. Alcohol lies to us. Alcohol for an alcoholic becomes our chief coping mechanism until one day when we reach that point when alcohol no longer works and our lives just begin to implode around us. We reach the “jumping off point” when we can no longer envision our lives with or without alcohol. Some call that our bottom. We either get sober and change our entire lives or we descend into madness, getting locked up in institutions like jails, prisons, and hospitals- or we eventually die. Many alcoholics are clinically depressed and struggle with other forms of mental illness as well. I can’t help but wonder how many millions of people have suffered from depression, people who never really get properly diagnosed or treated, and then die alcoholic deaths.

You see, there is no doubt in my mind that Al loved his wife and kids. The problem with alcohol is that it fights it’s way to the top of an alcoholic’s priority list. Alcohol takes control. In the end, alcohol shoves family and friends out of the way. It isolates us from our families. We no longer participate in relationships. We don’t help raise our kids, our relationships crumble, and all we care about is ourselves. Pretty soon, the people who would love us, get exhausted, fatigued, and they marginalize us in order to emotionally survive. Our family members are forced to retreat. They cannot participate in our lives and they cannot break the stranglehold that alcohol has on us. This can go on for years and decades. That is the nature of the disease. Only the survivors feel guilty. The survivors wish they could have stopped us or intervened. If only we would have tried this or tried that- they think. They feel cheated because we kicked them to the curb in favor of booze. We didn’t have time after school to help you with homework, to go to the park, or to spend a little time with you. All we care about in the end is drinking. That is the nature of our disease.

You cannot stop an alcoholic from drinking. You do not have that power. You must get ok with that because we will leave you no alternative. Some of us go down with the ship.

I know all that.

Al lived for nearly 7 more years before a series of medical events claimed him early. Alcoholics die so many ways. Traffic accidents, shootings, falls, suicides, medical complications like diabetes, heart disease, burst blood vessels and intestinal bleeds, strokes, cancers of the throat, pancreas, liver. There are a multitude of medical problems that are aggravated and made worse by alcohol.

But we don’t talk about that. Obituaries don’t tell those nasty truths. As a culture, we agree to lie about all of that because the drinkers don’t want to stop drinking. When diagnosing the potential alcoholics in ourselves, most everyone thinks they are immune.

I’ve been missing Al since 2004. I miss all the fun we used to have. I’ve missed teasing his wife and messing with his kids. But alcohol changed all of our relationships. Al’s wife grew older, his kids grew up, and his alcoholism grew worse. So did mine. We all have choices to make and after I got sober – I had a few choices of my own to make. Unfortunately, hanging with my old friend Al wasn’t going to be possible. I had to accept that and the possibility that Al would never stop drinking.

I will never understand how some of us find our way out and some of us do not.

I thought about all of that as I sat there in that pew. I thought about how much my life has changed. I got healthy. I run and lift weights, ride my scooter, play golf when I want to, go to the track when I want to and I never get sick like I did in my drinking days. I haven’t had 10 shitty days in 7 years. Who can say that? I have everything I want. I covet no one. I still live with the guilt of a self centered life- which I can’t go back and change. But I know where it went wrong. I don’t have to repeat history. I have the best relationships that I’ve ever had and every once in awhile, I think about the people in my life before I think about myself. That’s a fucking miracle. Drinking stole a big chunk of my life and sometimes I think- when something is stolen from you- you have to steal it back.

My life back in those drinking days was pretty empty. Doing nothing, getting drunk and passing out every evening. That was my life. That was Al’s life also. Had Al been sober and attending my funeral, I wonder what he might have thought when some unknown Father proclaimed that Brian had lived a “full life”- cut short at age 52.

I know Al. I think he would have said, “bullshit.” Goodbye my friend, I shall see you in a better place.


War Anyone?

russia usIt looks possible that Russia could invade eastern Ukraine in the near future. I’ve thought this before, and was always wrong. But I’ve never been this convinced. The rapid build-up of Russian forces at the border and the escalating violence of Kiev’s attack on the separatists, as well as the massive outflow of refugees into Russia, are combining to create an irresistible force. All the usual suspects in the West are having fainting fits over Obama’s passive approach and aversion to anything more than sanctions. He could approve the shipment of heavy weapons to Ukraine during a civil war in which many of the victims are civilians, but beyond that what? Will NATO bomb for Kiev? If so, are we all prepared for war? NATO intervention would be seen as a direct attack on Russia and would not go unanswered. So far, the average talking head seems to buy the line that the US has a right to go to war for pretty much anybody or anything we want, since if we want it, it’s good and right. And besides, we promised Ukraine we’d take care of them. That was after we promised Russia we wouldn’t expand NATO.

Bah humbug. This entire disaster has gone from bad to worse and at every step the US had its hand in the pot. Prior to the civil war, Ukraine had an unpopular but legitimate president of Ukraine, corrupt as is every other politician in the country. There was tension between the pro-Russian faction and the westerners of Kiev (a perennial occurrence between the two tribes of Russia) and there were elections coming up soon. Then the EU offered the Ukrainian president a deal he could not accept, as it essentially required Ukraine to choose between the EU and Russia as a trade partner. When the Ukrainian president balked, there was an armed and very violent putsch in Kiev, forcing Yanukovych and other government officials to flee the country. The US and EU intervened immediately in support of the resulting junta and began (or the US did) selecting the junta officials. And putting together the next government after finding the right man for the presidency. The junta began hostilities against the separatists in the east, who refused to recognize the junta or the overthrow of Yanukovych, and the violence escalated. Poroshenko, with US encouragement, upped the level of violence and ruthlessness, bombing civilian areas and even launching short-range ballistic missiles into eastern Ukraine. Donetsk is a husk, its population fled, largely to Russia. The number of refugees now must be well beyond the level of “minor annoyance.” What started as a power game has now become a genuine civil war with all the resulting casualties. And Russia may well step in to take control of the situation. Russia has more security at stake in what is happening than all the rest of Europe outside Ukraine combined. Still, I see we’ve sent a missile cruiser into the Black Sea. What? We’re going to shell Donetsk for Kiev?

All of the East Europeans who once marched for the Warsaw Pact (but were never trusted by Russia nor Russia by them) are now marching on behalf of Washington and looking for a dust-up with their old boss. If I were heading up the USG, I would look at these new allies with the same jaundiced eye the Russians used. Just as Americans have no friends, only interests, the little countries can’t afford friends — their chief interest is not being absorbed or partitioned and so they choose everything themselves with a jaundiced eye. They are demanding US troops, and US weapons, and US missiles. We are the canary in the coalmine, the tripwire. If somebody kills us as we sit on Russia’s borders, our European allies get another fifteen minutes to prepare for extermination. It doesn’t matter that Russia, I would bet, has no interest other than as mere fantasy in invading and dismembering the frequently dismembered Poland.  And I doubt they want the Baltic states back because the two sides so dislike one another and Russia doesn’t need more problems. But those with an interest in war choose to exaggerate the threat and thus provoke conflict. They will succeed in setting on fire the people on the other side of the pendulum. You watch: the sound of millions of weapons loading and locking is going to wake up that latent European pacifist tendency and you will be seeing protests for peace. Count on it.

When the first expansion of NATO took place, I argued that it was a long-term negative for global security. Instead of seeking a new security system that included Russia, NATO always kept Russia on the enemies list. NATO’s sweet words were condescending and sticky with good will, but the US at a minimum never had any intention of inviting Russia to join — no competition welcome! And now every member admitted since the collapse of the USSR has bolstered western Russophobia and aggravated simmering Cold War-itis. Russia was an enemy in the eyes of the West long before Russia caught on. It had an idea it could be one of the decision makers in the Eurasian sphere, but NATO was never going to agree without a fight. Only now is it clear to ordinary Russians that they are surrounded by a powerful  military bloc that is controlled by old foe USA, that they are under threat, and that NATO never did mean them well.

A much bigger war than Ukraine hovers in the wings. Add to Ukraine/Russia the Middle Eastern debacle and a newly aggressive US military role there that includes the impending unauthorized violation of Syrian territory in defiance of the government we are trying to overthrow by, inter alia, arming the opposition to Assad, even though Assad would agree — you can see the possibilities. The US in reality can hardly support the weight of two major war fronts in which nuclear weapons are a possibility. Because if you think Russia is going to play  a ground war on its home turf or cede an inch to NATO, I’d take a second look. Any US-Russian military confrontation could go nuclear very quickly. In the Middle East the worst atrocities are yet to come and they are waiting for the Infidel, the US, to come to them.

Are there any somber and level-headed US officials these days? Everywhere I look it is swagger and braggadocio. Meanwhile our soldiers are dying in brutal countries where we aren’t wanted for people who aren’t fighting for themselves. I would say the same of Europe, where the only two countries who have shared in any significant way in the fighting burden are the US and the UK — our guys are keeping the world safe for everybody else. I for one am fed up with it. Go Rand Paul. Let’s really transform something when we have the White House, going for a foreign policy based on actual proven US vital national interests.  Wouldn’t it be nice not to be plotting another regime change?

Dismal outlook

bad-2dweather-2d19-resizeI usually get a spark for writing something when I’m browsing the news. This morning’s spark was provided by a news bit that Ukrainian President Poroshenko has now called the legislative opposition in Kiev “fifth columnists” for refusing to back his effort to have the Donetsk and Lugansk Peoples Republics declared terrorist organizations. He wants “snap” elections to get rid of the pests, which sounds like he has these elections all sewn up in advance.

What this set me to thinking was, all these two-bit “democracies” we’re creating use the same kinds of schemes, always. Doesn’t Poroshenko’s “we can’t wait,” and the very Leninist attitude that “he who is not with us is against us” remind you of somebody we all know or don’t know to be more precise? Poroshenko is waging exactly the same kind of disproportional warfare that many claim Israel is, and the USG is giving Israel a verbal whuppin’ for daring to defend itself, but Poroshenko hears no such censure from the lips of a US official. The different approaches just underscore how varied US standards are, so much so that the government looks increasingly hypocritical, both at home and abroad.

In the old days we had far less engagement in the world than today. We didn’t consider it the fate of our nation to be a policeman and air force around the globe. When we got involved, we were able to do so in ways compatible with our national character. The bottom line was stopping the advance of communism. We believed in that goal. The Vietnam War was a sobering experience. It was so brutal that ordinary people couldn’t escape images that did not comport with our national identity. There was dissonance and dissidence.

But today? Today is unlike anything I would ever have imagined. The US government is putting US sovereignty at risk to defend an incredible range of countries, from the democratic to the autocratic, through an endless network of agreements. Our weapons are being used to carry out atrocities because we just had to give them to our “friends.” Now we are arming and training Ukrainian national guard troops even as Ukraine lobs short-range ballistic missiles into populated areas. We are doing it as he tries to silence dissent in the Parliament. Where are the standards for democracy? They don’t exist outside our minds.

Poroshenko would not be quite so desperate about killing off his own opposition if he didn’t have pressure from those in the West to “get it done.” As long as Ukraine is immersed in civil war, it cannot join NATO. EU’s interests are affected, too, with this new Associate Member. It’s always about interests.

Meanwhile to our south the pot is on full boil. The peasantry of Latin America sniffs a chance at some unbelievably good luck if only they violate US sovereignty, openly and in full view of the press. (Well, not actually. It’s a war zone down there and the US isn’t providing cover.) This is happening because the US president and the Ruling Party don’t like borders and want lots of indentured slaves to vote on the Democrat Plantation, while our President has certainly encouraged the violation of our borders through his words and policies. This inundation is igniting ordinary Americans, and while most feel compassion they almost all want them gone back home, wherever home is.

And of course, it is now being reported that some very suspicious characters are slipping into the US posing as Guatemalans, and their dark skin and inability to speak English are a good disguise. But that doesn’t surprise any of us, does it? We will be surprised, of course, when the first bridge blows up at rush-hour or the first poisoning of a water system takes place. And what is being done about all this or to round up these suspicious characters? Well, the President is going to issue a decree that will encourage many many thousands more of these aliens to violate our border. And our Congress had a hard time deciding whether to pass a bill to give the President more money so he can provide for these illegal aliens and violators of our sovereignty.

All of this — the multiple standards of behavior, the insouciance with which we resort to violence in other people’s countries, and the destruction of our Constitutional liberties — combine to make me despair. We’re on some path toward cataclysm at home and abroad. We can’t seem to veer one iota from it. We’re involved in so many countries that every separatist group on earth (except the East Ukrainians) want the US to fight their wars for them. The latest petitioners are the Iranians. It is as though we who oppose this interventionism are being silenced by the very separatists that our policies have encouraged. Who can stop this? More importantly, who will?


When War and Tragedy Become Theater

Members of the Ukrainian Emergency Ministry carry a body at the crash site of Malaysia Airlines Flight MH17, near the settlement of GrabovoI was playing cards with my husbands a few days ago and reading the internet at the same time when I saw the news of the Malaysian Airlines disaster in Ukraine. “Uh-oh,” I said. “A passenger jet down over Ukraine.” “Who did it?” he asked. “We don’t know, do we?” I replied.

Oops, I spoke too fast. It appears the US knows who did it, they’re dead certain who did it — although lacking any evidence other than an unsourced tape provided through a Ukrainian newspaper and jumped on by Russia’s foes as evidence of criminal behavior. It was Russia, America screams. And it was Russia even if Russia did not operate the battery that launched the deadly missile. That is because Russia apparently isn’t allowed to back its allies militarily in a civil war in some other country, unlike the US and France and the UK and NATO all on its own. Russia shouldn’t send military advisors or provide logistics. The mere fact of defying the US and EU on this is a criminal offense, it would seem. I have to confess that the US logic makes me worried that the we have lost our  national senses. If we are to take countries to the International Court (which the US, by the way, doesn’t even recognize) because they deliberately provide weapons to insurgents fighting legal governments,and those weapons kill people, then the US is in very deep kimshee. We are many, many thousands ahead of Russia in the collateral damage division.

The number of rumors running around about Russian chicanery and the hysteria that hovers over the war-mongers like a miasma tell me we are under a major propaganda barrage. The US and EU would like Russia to go away, or at least change its national character, and cede its historic territory in Ukraine to NATO. The downing of this airliner gives them a lot of grist for the rumor mill. I can almost see Vladimir Putin stirring a pot of evil potion, he is drawn in such exaggerated colors by the west’s champions of liberty. The mob of Russophobes will get a lot of points in yet another campaign to depict another national leader as an enemy of the world. It’s one of those things where you make the accusations and by the time they are proven false you’ve moved on to something else. That’s how it was in Kosovo, where the NATO bombers justified their actions by claiming president of the former Yugoslavia Milosevic was preparing to murder every Albanian in the province, and that many, many had already been murdered. All lies. But who cared ten years later when that information was finally provided to the public, very quietly?

Needless to say, all the usual suspects are clamoring for an investigation, but not hesitating to point the finger of blame in advance. Even a mass murderer gets more consideration and any official speaking out of school would be disciplined. Some are apparently clamoring for war, as they propose the US become the official armorers of the Ukrainian Army and their Air Force, too. But the same indignant crowd are not nearly as  keen in following up information damaging to NATO. When the Estonian Prime Minister told the EU Foreign Minister that it was widely accepted that the Poles and Lithuanians trained the Maidan snipers, one assumed there would be an investigation of that damning allegation. But no. It was totally buried and not a word further was heard on the subject. Instead it was swept under the wave of “Yanukovych did it” screams from the EU and US. It was buried because it was the wrong information from NATO’s perspective. Now however they are thirsting for an investigation, and of course there will be. There was a large loss of life. It’s just the duplicitous way the West operates that gets under the skin.

And that’s the way hard-ball international relations works. Tarring the other side before any facts are on the table is a very good way to steal a march on the whole process of smearing your opponent. I heard today that the separatists are spiriting away bodies to different locales, as if they were some sort of ghouls using the bodies for sport or stealing body parts, or merely hiding the bodies of persons unknown to them for absolutely no reason. I knew they were removing the bodies in their role as the only authorities in that area. And it turns out that they have done this to prevent any tampering with the evidence by the OSCE team that is having a look at the site or anybody from the Ukrainian government. The Russians will probably participate in the UN Civil Aviation investigation or at a minimum be informed of all the evidence. In this way they guarantee a fairer defense against the claims of “guilty” from the US and EU.

I am not going to say who shot that plane down. It probably was the separatists. On the other hand, as far as I can tell it could as easily have been rookie Ukrainian soldiers who shot down a plane bearing a red-white-and-blue logo much like the Russian flag. The Russian military said that on the day in question they recorded activity all day from a Ukrainian BUK emplacement and that it was believed to be relaying information to a missile battery. Remember that Kiev was accusing Russia of violating Ukrainian air space and actually bringing down Ukrainian aircraft. That is why they had moved the BUK missiles into the area of the disaster just before the Malaysian Airlines jet was shot down. It is possible that the soldiers overreacted when they saw the colors on the plane in Ukrainian air space and went for the proof by firing a missile at it. If so, you can be sure that the Americans will not reveal any information to suggest such a scenario. I am pretty sure neither side thought anybody would be stupid enough to take a passenger jet into an area where missiles were regularly flying. And I’m sure that missile was not intentionally aimed at a civilian airplane, whoever did it. Both sides are shooting to kill and aircraft are raining from the skies. The US wasn’t allowing its planes to fly there, but somehow nobody else got the word. If they knew the rebels had missiles, where was the aviation warning?

I don’t blame either side in Ukraine for defending their rights, but I’m kind of pissed with the UN civil aviation authorities who said the war zone was safe for civilian flights and the incompetent Ukrainian government, which only days earlier had lost a military aircraft shot down at 20000 ft by a BUK missile. Ukraine is still wavering on whether it was the rebels or Russsia that fired the rocket (they would have to admit the rebels actually have the system themselves). The US military, which isn’t on our southern border securing US sovereignty, but hanging out in Kiev directing their military operations against Russia, have gone one better. They are clinging to the “Russia’s guilty” rant, but now a US military officer claims they almost have proof that it was an actual Russian military person who commanded the take-down. That is such an egregious charge — and we are to believe it because US intel claims it has a (secret of course) “voice analysis” of the mysteriously convenient tape provided by a Kiev newspaper that proves the men gloating over bringing down the plane included one specific Russian military commander.

I don’t know about you, but I haven’t believed anything my government says for so long now, I can hardly remember the last time I fell for the party line like a sap. More to the point, I don’t care what our party line is anymore. We don’t belong in Ukraine. We shouldn’t be rattling our sabers under Russia’s nose, unless we want a saber up our own butt. We should be taking care of our own quarrels. Hah.

The US knows it cannot win against Russia in Ukraine militarily; long before the conflict ended the eastern half of the country would be under Russian control and the US wants all of Ukraine for NATO. It needs to tie Russia up in all that international one government red tape, fighting charges never proven and a massive character assassination campaign. Who would ever have thought that the US and those wimps in the EU would be as good at propaganda as the USSR?

This is the long game we are entering in Ukraine. If the West thinks it will succeed in browbeating Russia into retreat from its support for the eastern Ukrainians, it should think again. If it is confrontation that the West is seeking, I’m pretty sure we’ll get it. As in Syria, where many of our leaders would like to unleash Armageddon, the unknown risks in a face-off with Russia far outweigh the ones we can see, and the ones we can see are bad enough.




American Rollercoaster

I have not written on foreign policy for a while. Things are happening so fast that I hardly put pen to paper when some new development makes past judgements just slightly off. Iraq is now a patchwork quilt of alliances on both the jihadist (ISIS) side and the government’s. And our enemy next door in Iraq and the other one in Syria, the two forming a mini Axis of Evil, are our allies, of a sort, in fighting the same guys in Iraq that we are helping stupidly or otherwise in Syria. I know, it is too confusing to follow, and frankly this regime would rather nobody follow it.

In Ukraine things are equally interesting. I can’t tell if this is the Russian short game or long game. Russia is saying all the right things (unlike Nouri al Maliki) and seems to have all but abandoned its co-patriots in eastern Ukraine. On the other hand, the sneaky part of my brain whispers, the rebels seem to be drawing the Ukrainian troops ever closer to the Russian border. What’s that about? No sooner had the thought entered my brain than the news flashes began about shells landing on Russian territory inside a populated area and killing a woman and child. The rebel actions are becoming more violent and the Ukrainians are reacting in kind. Will this go any farther? Will Putin at the last moment, when his name is anathema to everybody in eastern Ukraine, swoop down and occupy an area to prevent any more bloodshed? Or will he allow the resistance to the Kievites to be crushed. And if he does, what does it mean? I suspect as I have for a while that Merkel and Putin have a deal, a secret one. The deal is, she will oppose any further expansion of NATO eastward, thus blocking such moves. Putin will let Poroshenko try to govern Ukraine. This would buy Putin time for further plotting and preparations for something still to come. It will give Merkel time to try to strengthen Ukraine vis a vis Russia through increased trade and aid. Whatever the case, despite daily calls for wider sanctions against Russia, the hawks have for the moment been stifled. Anders Fogh Rasmussen, NATO SecGen, and Philip Breedlove, US General seconded to NATO have not been heard from in months. Perhaps they, too, are as mystified as I am what is really going on between Russia and Germany. Let’s hope that Germany doesn’t get the best of the deal yet again as they did with Ribbentropp.

How about Israel and the Palestinians? What a kick in the pants. Three Israeli boys are kidnapped and brutally murdered and old Obama is Silent Cal. Only when the Israelis defend their country and population vigorously, having long ago realized whose side the US is taking in the Middle East,  do we hear from the Great Peacemaker (hah!) Barack Obama.

If there were ever a moment in time when everything that can go wrong is going wrong, this is it. This is a historical period of US decline domestically and internationally and everything and anything is possible. Hold on to your hats.

I hear more and more talk about the rise of the new Caliphate, where all us women get to wear veils and take care of the little man’s needs. These jihadists are very bizarre, if you ask me. I thought they were Moslems, but they’re destroying mosques and holy sites. Huh. Could it be that they are secretly jihadists trying to restore some ancient pagan religion such as that of Egypt’s pharaohs? Maybe that is why they are called ISIS? Bet you never thought of that one.

These terrorists are supposedly the top number one all-time worst ever threat to US national security, and we know how sneaky and devious they are. As their power builds throughout the Middle East and Africa, in the US our regime decides a border is irrelevant and pretty much offers open invitations to everybody to come on in. Our US enforcement is being turned not against this illegal wave that is a direct violation of US sovereignty, no indeed. The tough guys are gunning for the US citizen tired of being  ignored and used. The people out there blocking the arrival of uninvited and unwanted illegals are under threat of “counter-violence” from the USG.

At the same time that Mexico has dumped thousands of problems onto the US (and good riddance, I’m sure they said) our prez has nothing to say about a US Marine who is being held in some hell-hole of a jail in Mexico out of pure spite. On this fact alone I would impeach him. (And while I’m at it, I’m so sick of hearing Republican pols whining that impeachment is the wrong way to go. I mean, I’ll be glad if Obama is brought down through a Court ruling, but there’s nothing wrong with impeachment, either.)

And all the while the Commander-in-Chief (and boy, does he love giving commands) is golfing or giving high-fives to a homosexual and asking a personal question about the guy’s sexuality in front of little kids, or partying with the One Percent and the Hollywood trash set. The First Moochers are already getting ready for their next super-expensive vacation on the taxpayer’s dime or maybe mooching off friends for a swank place to stay. Obama ain’t gonna do a lick of work, Massah, and ain’t nuthin you can do ’bout it. I suspect from his recent performances that he is once again smoking his beloved choom and perhaps dabbling in other substances as well. It would be right in line with his open contempt for this country. He looks for every opportunity to play the arrogant buffoon who will be beloved around the world for bringing America to its knees.