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Tuesday, July 8, 2014

The President and The Caliphate

For John, BLUFWe can't solve everyone's problems.  Nothing to see here; just move along.

While I don't agree with Mr James Carroll's position on the OpEd page of The Boston Globe on Monday, that President Obama has foreign policy by the right end, Mr Carroll does represent a view that is out there amongst the Progressive population.  Thus, it is worth looking at.  The headline is "On foreign policy, Obama is succeeding".  I would say the President seems to be muddling through.

And, by muddling through with regard to Syria, ISIL and Iraq he may actually be steering the best course available.  If we oppose ISIL we are aligned with Iraq, of course, but also Syria, Iran and Russia.  Do we wish to be aligned with President Bashar al-Assad of Syria?  The Daily Beast has this item:

Stephen Rapp, the State Department’s ambassador-at-large for War Crimes and director of the Office of Global Criminal Justice, has reviewed large sections of a huge collection of photos and written records of Syrian government atrocities smuggled out of the country by a former military photographer known as “Caesar.”  Rapp spoke about the evidence at a July 3 event at the Atlantic Council in Washington.

“This is solid evidence of the kind of machinery of cruel death that we haven’t seen frankly since the Nazis,” he said.  “If it is as it appears thus far, we’re talking about more than 10,000 individuals being killed in custody over the period from 2011 to 2013, including largely men but also some very, very young men and boys and women…  It’s shocking to me, as a prosecutor—I’m used to evidence not being so strong.”

I think the Nazi comparison is a little overdrawn, given Mao, Kim Jong-un, Pol Pot, Rawanda and other genocides since WWII, but it is a good pointer.  It does seem Ambassador Rapp has not heard of Godwin's Law. The American People don't wish to commit troops to Iraq, but no one wishes for ISIL to be executing terror attacks on New York or some other target in the US.  Further, the idea of a Caliphate stretching from Bangladesh in the East to the Pyrenees in the West, from Vienna in the North to the 10th Parallel in the South, as depicted on ISIL maps, is one that would require us to get much more fully engaged if it started to evolve.  It would be better nipped in the bud.

Regards  —  Cliff

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