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    The exercise area is well away from the disputed...

    The exercise area is well away from the disputed area and nowhere near where the US FONOPS have been taking place.
  2. I agree, but I think this problem starts at the...

    I agree, but I think this problem starts at the policy level, and is well entrenched before the military takes it over.

    When we talk about "legitimacy", we often assume that what is pursued is...
  3. Late to the table, but a few points... I agree...

    Late to the table, but a few points...

    I agree with Slap's earlier point on "religious insurgency". This is an actual thing. Probably the most obvious act of religious insurgency in Western...
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    How things start...

    A bit up this thread I posted some observations from time spent in Wao, Lanao del Sur, a town with a Cristian settler majority and Maranao Muslim minority, at the edge of the Central Mindanao...
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    I don't see ISIS as a major factor... certainly...

    I don't see ISIS as a major factor... certainly the more radical factions (not all of them young) identify with ISIS, but if ISIS wasn't there they'd identify with something else. If this agreement...
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    I agree on the issue of targeting individuals. In...

    I agree on the issue of targeting individuals. In this case the individual concerned may have been of less value than some believe, as argued by Sidney Jones, one of the more credible analysts...
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    This has been an ongoing effort for some time,...

    This has been an ongoing effort for some time, but at this point has about a snowball's chance on Taft Avenue in April of passing. Legislators have lined up against it since the Mamasapano incident,...
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    The reports do not appear to be exaggerated....

    The reports do not appear to be exaggerated. Official counts vary but range around 50 dead. The MILF is saying 64 PNP dead have been recovered:
    ...
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    Interesting days in Central Mindanao...

    This story is still evolving and details are sketchy, but...

    Apparently a Manila-based team from the Philippine National Police Special Action Force (sort of a combined SWAT/Hostage...
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    Captain Cook wouldn't have had the incident all...

    Captain Cook wouldn't have had the incident all over the global media.

    Last April the US and the Philippines signed an "Enhanced Defense Cooperation Agreement" providing the US a substantially...
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    Another incident potentially involving a US serviceman...

    This hit the social media mill yesterday, in the news today:

    www.nytimes.com/2014/10/14/world/asia/member-of-us-military-questioned-in-death-of-filipino.html?smid=pl-share&_r=0



    Additional...
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    Interesting look at the threats and opportunities...

    Interesting look at the threats and opportunities ISIS presents for the Kurds...

    http://www.newyorker.com/magazine/2014/09/29/fight-lives

    Key paragraph:
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    That's... entertaining, given your own habit of...

    That's... entertaining, given your own habit of simply declaring that early American intervention was "the right thing", while presenting no supporting evidence or logic beyond variants on the ...
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    It seems inevitable that intractable problems...

    It seems inevitable that intractable problems will generate utterly unrealistic "solutions" from onlookers, but this conflict seems to be doing more than its share. This has to be right up there near...
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    Paul is well out on the fringe on any subject and...

    Paul is well out on the fringe on any subject and well beyond the fringe on foreign policy; his views would hardly be thought "usual". A more mainstream view, a better illustration of the arguments...
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    That doesn't mean concern doesn't exist in other...

    That doesn't mean concern doesn't exist in other places as well. You don't have to be an autocrat to notice that transitions out of autocracy, especially those initiated by external meddling, are a...
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    Russian production isn't falling because of a...

    Russian production isn't falling because of a shortage of reserves, it's falling because of a shortage of investment. In the short run the impact is the same, but a deficit of investment can be...
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    The question is whether the economic oligarchs,...

    The question is whether the economic oligarchs, both licit and illicit, have sufficient influence to persuade Putin to change course. Not sure anyone knows the answer to that question... we'll find...
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    I don't think anyone seriously disputes that. ...

    I don't think anyone seriously disputes that.



    There's also a great deal of skepticism and concern that a move toward democracy could result in chaos and collapse. A lot of the support for the...
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    Who exactly is saying this, and where?

    Who exactly is saying this, and where?
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    Of course; it's been that way for ages, it's only...

    Of course; it's been that way for ages, it's only recently that people are looking. As I said, any information from Russian sources has to be assumed to be unreliable. They are in a bad way on a lot...
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    This going well off topic and probably should be...

    This going well off topic and probably should be moved elsewhere, but I'll leave that to David...



    Influence in any given case depends on the extent and credibility of the incentives and...
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    More likley CIA, DoD, DoS and a few others did a...

    More likley CIA, DoD, DoS and a few others did a detailed breakdown on the opposition groups, what might be done to help them, and what the probable and possible consequences would be, and the...
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    Anything from official Russian sources has to be...

    Anything from official Russian sources has to be taken with multiple grains of salt.

    Given the opacity of Russian budget processes, we have no way of knowing what prices they are assuming when...
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    They work if they accomplish their goal... have...

    They work if they accomplish their goal... have they? Only if the Russians back away in the Ukraine, and that doesn't seem to be happening.



    Rumors always spread fast. They don't always turn...
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