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Old 1 Day Ago   #741
CrowBat
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Despite the usual bunching of insurgents with extremists and insistence that 'moderates' are not fighting, that whatever one sends to insurgents is reinforcing extremists, that one cannot trust them etc., etc., etc. (like in the video below)...

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=DveDwEk122Y

(BTW, typical in this style of argumentation is Rand Paul's explanation about 'JAN, ISIS, al-Qaida' being 'stronger' - in sense of more numerous - than the FSyA. This is nothing but nonsense. Firstly, and as usually, he completely ignored the IF, which is the most numerous insurgent group. Secondly, even if all combined, these groups do not count even 50% of either, the 'FSyA block' or the IF. Thirdly, while about 50% of the JAN is Syrian, the rest of extremists are simply not, and thus it's dishonest to mark them as such and explain 'we don't know who they are'.)

U.S. Congress approves arming Syrian rebels, funding government
Quote:
...The U.S. Senate approved President Barack Obama's plan for training and arming moderate Syrian rebels to battle Islamic State militants on Thursday, a major part of his military campaign to "degrade and destroy" the radical group.The Senate voted 78-22, in a rare bipartisan show of support for one of Obama's high-profile initiatives.
...

Last edited by CrowBat; 1 Day Ago at 09:15 AM.
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Old 1 Day Ago   #742
Dayuhan
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Originally Posted by CrowBat View Post
Despite the usual bunching of insurgents with extremists and insistence that 'moderates' are not fighting, that whatever one sends to insurgents is reinforcing extremists, that one cannot trust them etc., etc., etc. (like in the video below)...

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=DveDwEk122Y

]
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 for non-intervention that actually carry some weight in DC, would be those of Mark Lynch, for example:

http://www.washingtonpost.com/blogs/...islamic-state/

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Originally Posted by CrowBat View Post
But, with this 'demand' we're back at the start of the 'off topic' part of discussion here: that's not going to happen as long as the US (and the West) continues insisting on upholding reactionary police states that are its 'allies' there.
Are the US and "the West" really "upholding these regimes? Are they really that dependent on either, and is there really as much influence there as you think? I suspect not: the mantra of "dependent on the west" has simply been repeated until it's accepted without question or thought.
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Old 1 Day Ago   #743
CrowBat
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Sigh...what you've posted is the same line - including all the same, lame excuses and speculation. Indeed, the kind of speculation you're complaining about?!?

You've got this all explained, long ago: you prefer to ignore all I wrote in reply and thus it makes absolutely no sense in discussing anything with you (even if, I would be repeating myself for '1.977th time' ).

*************

Meanwhile, in the real world, French making it official they're flying combat sorties in Iraq: Irak Premieres Frappes Francaises (in French),

...and Saudis 'making it official' they've got DF-21s:

Saudi Arabia has Acquired the DF-21 Missiles says Saudi General (in Arabic).

Now let's see if intermediate range (1.700km) ballistic missiles might ever help them at least move their small finger to fight the Daesh....
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Old 16 Hours Ago   #744
AmericanPride
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Originally Posted by Dayuhan View Post
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 very difficult and very dangerous time for many countries, and are often followed by violent competition for power and/or a slide back into even worse autocracy.
I'm not sure about your qualifier of "often". Violent transitions do in fact occur - American Revolution, for example. However, there are also many peaceful transitions. A Freedom House report analzyed 67 democratic transitions and found that 32 of them were won by non-violent means. You could also say that non-violent transitions occur almost as often as violent ones. So let's try to be careful in defining the problem here.

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Originally Posted by Dayuhan
Considered by who? Nobody who isn't a Saudi has a right to an opinion on the value of Saudi territorial integrity, any more than anyone who isn't Iraqi has a right to an opinion on whether or not Iraq should remain as a single state. These are matters for the people of the countries involved to resolve.
That's increasingly becoming an 'old world' view. The emerging structure of international law is producing a new paradigm where human rights (among which include participation in a pluralist governmental process) are more important than states' rights. This is the ethical and legal basis of the responsibility to protect which while now focused on the most egregious violent crimes, it also sets the conditions for encompassing all recognized human rights. This is the ideological reason why Republicans in the U.S. Congress not too recently rejected the U.N. treaty on disability rights.

Quote:
Originally Posted by Dayuhan
The ones I know are typically in business, not on the top tier and with no connection to the royals, but reasonably well off. They've traveled and in many cases studied abroad. Many are open to Western ways and admire democracy, but are very worried about how a transition would be managed and about the rather grim possibilities of a transition that's mismanaged.
Those are legitimate concerns but are they sufficient justifications to persist in injustice?

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Originally Posted by Dayuhan
As long as money is flowing, there's a lot of hesitation about rocking the boat. A fair number of people have a stake in the system and are reasonably comfortable, but are also not secure enough in their comforts to take them for granted and want to risk them. There's certainly discontent, but whether that discontent is anywhere near the level needed to initiate change remains to be seen.
And that's the fundamental problem in a centralized, autocratic, patronage state like Saudi Arabia. Compliance with the political system is not an endorsement or acceptance of it, and the royal family is acutely aware of the simmering discontent beneath the surface of political niceties. Where is the tipping point in KSA? I don't know - short of some kind of internal upheaval or catastrophic external conflict, the next major event will be succession of the next monarch.

Quote:
Originally Posted by Dayuhan
Islamic fundamentalism and its violent offshoots are less a reaction to autocracy in the Muslim world than to a widespread perception that Muslims in general and Arabs in particular have been repressed, abused, manipulated, and maltreated by the West... the syndrome Bernard Lewis calls "aggressive self-pity". Emasculating and humiliating military defeats at the hands of Israelis, Americans, and practically anybody else have left a lot of people itching for payback..Have you ever wondered why Osama's calls for fighters to rise up against infidel invaders from the Soviet Union and the US got such a response, but his efforts to rouse jihad against the Saudi royals fell so flat? The "expel the infidel from the land of the faithful" narrative has a lot more traction than the "rise up against your effete rulers" narrative.
This is not entirely true. Many people answered the call to arms against the KSA - but the Saudis also have a fairly effective internal security service. And many of the sponsors of Islamic fundamentalism are the Saudis in power in the first place. Who writes the school text books, organizes training camps, and so on? So when 9/11 occurred and the chickens came home to roost, the KSA had already distanced itself from bin Laden - and the rest of the patronage state followed the al-Saud lead for the reasons you described in your previous comments (you don't sh*t where you eat).

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"Diplomatic and social pressure" accomplish nothing beyond getting people annoyed at foreign meddling.
That's an oversimplication.

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One thing we need to recognize, but often don't, is that in many autocratic countries even people who hate their governments do not want the US meddling in their internal affairs... US criticism of a government is often the fastest way to get people rallying behind the government.
That's also an oversimplication.


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In much of the world, particularly the oil producing world and most especially the Arab world, accepting money or support from the US instantly discredits a political group: they are seen as sellouts to manipulative Western imperialists. Somehow people have got it into their heads that we typically act to advance our own interests, not theirs.
True. And we've consisently made the mistake that backing 'stable' autocratic regimes is in our own interests - but I don't think history bears that out. It could be on a case-by-case or limited basis but not as a matter of policy, and certainly not with the aim of preserving that status quo for any significant amount of time. Why did Eastern Europe welcome the U.S. and E.U. with open arms after the fall of communism but the Arab Spring did not offer the same warm welcome? It's a consequence of U.S. policies in those regions, not any cultural or social disposition towards autocracy.

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Ok, we declare ourselves patron of the system and defender of the faith, and that gives us a moral obligation... to whom? Whether or not we think it's "our business" is not the question: do the people of the country involved think it's or business?
These questions operate on multiple levels. First, on a principled basis, those with the power to act of an obligation to do so. Whether or not the exemption carved out for political decisions is legitimate is open for debate. Second, from a political theory point of view, the U.S. has an obligation to itself to fulfill the obligations it claims to have in order to maintain its own credibility.

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I have yet to hear any credible suggestion of how American political and economic means can effectively be used to compel change in other countries.
That this discourse is not mainstream does not mean no 'credible suggestion' exists. And 'compel' is the wrong word. The discourse has moved to a paradigm of 'multi-track' diplomacy that includes upwards of nine lines of effort (depending on the model used). The U.S. has frequently but selectively shaped conditions through political and economic means (i.e. Ukraine) to promote democratization.


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When a transition is externally initiated, that is not the case, one reason why externally initiated transitions typically fail so miserably. You cannot lump internally and externally initiated initiatives together.
You can't?

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Pluralistic government has to evolve, and its evolution is a process that we cannot dictate or control. If we try to skip or accelerate that process to suit our own objectives, we end up with a government that can't endure and a mess that can and does endure.
Yes - those are problems, evidenced by Iraq most recently. But those problems are not inherent in the process of pluralist reform, even if externally sponsored. Political conditions in the U.S. may prompt these mistakes but that's a consequence of governmental politics and not the actual process of pluralist reform.

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There may be times and places where the US can assist internally initiated transitions, but it requires subtlety, restraint, and deep awareness of local conditions, none of which are American strong points.
I agree - but that's not a reason for the U.S. to ignore the problem of autocratic regimes entirely.

Quote:
Originally Posted by Dayuhan
No, I make the inference that you're suggesting that the US meddle in the internal affairs of other countries. I think that's something we should avoid to the greatest possible extent... not because of any moral principle, but because we generally make such a mess of it.
The U.S. does this on a regular basis. That's the job of diplomats. It's only a question of degree.

Quote:
Originally Posted by Dayuhan
Strengthening political institutions in other countries? You redefine the term "hubris".
That's often a stated goal for many international organizations so how is that 'hubris' for the U.S. to recognize it can play a major part in that process?

Quote:
Originally Posted by Dayuhan
If we can't predict or control what's going to happen when we start rocking the boat - and we certainly can't - it might be better not to start.
And it's that risk-aversion that often leads to loss in long-term relative security. Attempting to preserve the status quo out of fear of 'rocking the boat' is a losing strategy.

Quote:
Originally Posted by Dayuhan
It's not our damned boat to begin with.
That depends on how you define 'the boat'.
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