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  • Originally posted by radcentr View Post
    We should have been reducing our military presence in Germany and Japan since the USSR imploded. Maybe at 1/3 the forces that we had prior to 1988. Since we are a significant supplier of troops and military hardware for nations allied to ours, we stuck around (unfortunately). If we ever informed allies that we would reduce or remove our military bases from their country, the response was often met with pressure from both governments. Our federal gov't. would cave in to pressure from political hawks, top brass, and military hardware subcontractors. The host country might make some noises about sovereignty and getting foreign troops off their soil, but then cave in after considering how much our military spends in their country. That quiet tone also has to do with the additional those countries would have to spend on military preparedness themselves, if the US bugged out.

    For smaller countries like Syria, it becomes more complicated. They have not recently accepted the US as an ally, they might even be in the category of a "cautious enemy" for several decades. If Turkey and Israel are solid allies to the US, that places Syria in a tough spot considering their history, political and cultural differences.
    The people who started this war in Syria were demanding democracy, human rights, etc. I'm sure they would accept as allies a coalition of countries that went in there and made that happen for them and stuck around until their own forces were capable of protecting their new found freedoms.

    מה מכילות החדשות?


    • Originally posted by Brexx View Post

      The people who started this war in Syria were demanding democracy, human rights, etc. I'm sure they would accept as allies a coalition of countries that went in there and made that happen for them and stuck around until their own forces were capable of protecting their new found freedoms.
      A few of the groups in rebellion are demanding some form of secular republic, true. The rest are divided between a nutjob caliphate, or the same 'ol "family business" form of gov't. practiced by the Assad family (just a different family in charge). Then there are the Russians, who seem to dislike the idea of losing a naval base and a cooperative Assad on the Mediterranean. A big mess, in short. Doesn't mean it couldn't be done, but the sales pitch from our gov't. would gloss over the complicated nature of what happens after we "win the war".

      Same thing that happened in Iraq. Was the Iraq post-war mess Obama's fault? According to some political opportunists, it was ALL Obama's fault. We would get the same pitch from DC for Syria, with the same gloss-over of the complications and vague political objectives. OTOH, what if Syria's regional neighbors (Jordan in the lead) lead the re-building effort? It might work.

      מה מכילות החדשות?


      • Originally posted by radcentr View Post

        A few of the groups in rebellion are demanding some form of secular republic, true. The rest are divided between a nutjob caliphate, or the same 'ol "family business" form of gov't. practiced by the Assad family (just a different family in charge). Then there are the Russians, who seem to dislike the idea of losing a naval base and a cooperative Assad on the Mediterranean. A big mess, in short. Doesn't mean it couldn't be done, but the sales pitch from our gov't. would gloss over the complicated nature of what happens after we "win the war".

        Same thing that happened in Iraq. Was the Iraq post-war mess Obama's fault? According to some political opportunists, it was ALL Obama's fault. We would get the same pitch from DC for Syria, with the same gloss-over of the complications and vague political objectives. OTOH, what if Syria's regional neighbors (Jordan in the lead) lead the re-building effort? It might work.
        It could be done, but it would take some leadership. There are no world leaders at this time who want to do anything decisive about the Syrian war. It will not end well or soon. Those millions of refugees are screwed for the foreseeable future.

        מה מכילות החדשות?


        • Originally posted by Brexx View Post

          It could be done, but it would take some leadership. There are no world leaders at this time who want to do anything decisive about the Syrian war. It will not end well or soon. Those millions of refugees are screwed for the foreseeable future.
          I'd like to see world leaders (2-3 from EU, US) propose the "regional solution". Leave the "heavy hitters" (US, EU forces) out of the situation, except as a military peacekeeper when things flare up. What would happen if Germany, Italy and the US proposed a regional council for hashing out political details? What if that council was relatively non-aligned with the "heavy hitters" of the middle east, namely Saudi Arabia, Egypt, Turkey and Iran? Supposing Jordan and Morocco were the key players, instead, along with a mix of other states that left those ME powers basically "out in the cold", as observers but not voting participants.

          Would China come on board? Sounds far-fetched, but it does have a long relationship with Morocco. Would Saudi Arabia feel their status threatened and pressure the US? Of course, that should be one of our objectives: No country finances nutjobs to destabilize another country, without consequences. Iran finds itself in the same cold boat as the Saudi royals, ironically for the same reason, Turkey is just an ex-imperial occupying a side chair for historical purposes. Syrian patriots at first wouldn't trust our selection, but if China came on board along with other countries that established long term relations with Syrian players (not just Assad), I could see this work out. The US really does want to act as the bouncer and little else, giving the occasional beating to a rowdy drunk, while the civilized patrons conduct a proper dance party.

          מה מכילות החדשות?


          • Originally posted by radcentr View Post
            I'd like to see world leaders (2-3 from EU, US) propose the "regional solution". Leave the "heavy hitters" (US, EU forces) out of the situation, except as a military peacekeeper when things flare up. What would happen if Germany, Italy and the US proposed a regional council for hashing out political details? What if that council was relatively non-aligned with the "heavy hitters" of the middle east, namely Saudi Arabia, Egypt, Turkey and Iran? Supposing Jordan and Morocco were the key players, instead, along with a mix of other states that left those ME powers basically "out in the cold", as observers but not voting participants.

            Would China come on board? Sounds far-fetched, but it does have a long relationship with Morocco. Would Saudi Arabia feel their status threatened and pressure the US? Of course, that should be one of our objectives: No country finances nutjobs to destabilize another country, without consequences. Iran finds itself in the same cold boat as the Saudi royals, ironically for the same reason, Turkey is just an ex-imperial occupying a side chair for historical purposes. Syrian patriots at first wouldn't trust our selection, but if China came on board along with other countries that established long term relations with Syrian players (not just Assad), I could see this work out. The US really does want to act as the bouncer and little else, giving the occasional beating to a rowdy drunk, while the civilized patrons conduct a proper dance party.
            No deal that involves Assad is going to be acceptable to the Syrian people. They wanted him gone to start with. Now, after all the atrocities, I'm sure they want him gone even more. There is no way that any decent country should have anything to do with any process that would see him remain in power. He should be removed and sent to The Hague for trial.

            As for hashing out the "political details" that should be done by Syrians, facilitated by Germany perhaps, and assisted by UN constitutional advisers. As in Iraq and Afghanistan the new constitution should be voted on by the Syrian people, followed by a new government elected in a fair and democratically conducted election. Afterwhich the "peacekeepers" would have to maintain a presence in the country for an indefinate period of time.

            מה מכילות החדשות?


            • Originally posted by Brexx View Post

              No deal that involves Assad is going to be acceptable to the Syrian people. They wanted him gone to start with. Now, after all the atrocities, I'm sure they want him gone even more. There is no way that any decent country should have anything to do with any process that would see him remain in power. He should be removed and sent to The Hague for trial.

              As for hashing out the "political details" that should be done by Syrians, facilitated by Germany perhaps, and assisted by UN constitutional advisers. As in Iraq and Afghanistan the new constitution should be voted on by the Syrian people, followed by a new government elected in a fair and democratically conducted election. Afterwhich the "peacekeepers" would have to maintain a presence in the country for an indefinate period of time.
              Assad is a family business, which includes a faction that supports that criminal organization (a significant number of people/groups). So, it is included, at least until the cease-fire sticks and talks begin. If Assad is killed rather than captured for a trial at the Hague, that could complicate matters. If he survives for the talks, a light prison sentence for him should be used to ease his family out (and into a mansion in Switzerland). I understand people's understanding of peacekeeping force, and the need to stay a "long time". However, "indefinite" could mean decades (like, South Korea). That means the issue isn't resolved and a big piece of Syria remains in the hands of the "bad guys" (like N. Korea). If the parties involved want a range, say "no longer than 5 years", that is acceptable. But "indefinite" signifies a failure, either a stalemate (like the Korean peninsula), or worse -a failed state. A failed state would probably default to a protectorate under Turkey's administration, much like the bad old days.

              מה מכילות החדשות?


              • Originally posted by radcentr View Post

                Assad is a family business, which includes a faction that supports that criminal organization (a significant number of people/groups). So, it is included, at least until the cease-fire sticks and talks begin. If Assad is killed rather than captured for a trial at the Hague, that could complicate matters. If he survives for the talks, a light prison sentence for him should be used to ease his family out (and into a mansion in Switzerland). I understand people's understanding of peacekeeping force, and the need to stay a "long time". However, "indefinite" could mean decades (like, South Korea). That means the issue isn't resolved and a big piece of Syria remains in the hands of the "bad guys" (like N. Korea). If the parties involved want a range, say "no longer than 5 years", that is acceptable. But "indefinite" signifies a failure, either a stalemate (like the Korean peninsula), or worse -a failed state. A failed state would probably default to a protectorate under Turkey's administration, much like the bad old days.
                There is no role in this situation for peacekeepers. That is why I put the term in quotation marks. Peacekeepers are for when both sides of a conflict are considered legitimate and the only goal is to keep them apart until a negotiated settlement can be reached. Both sides have to agree to the peacekeepers. That is not the case here. Nobody wants peacekeepers. This would have to be a combat mission, and a very big one. Assad and his army and supporting groups would have to go first, then the radical groups. Only then could the decent Syrians, with help, begin the work of restructuring and rebuilding their country. Security would have to be provided for them for years. This is where the indefinate part comes in. It won't be literally indefinate, but its foolish to give the bad guys a date for when they can start up their activities again.

                מה מכילות החדשות?


                • In the bad old days, armies would stand down after a truce was called. Just a temporary stop in the warfare business, though. I'm all for providing security while the re-build happens, but it has to start at the truce and work thru the details from that point.

                  Breaking the established gov't. -bad as it is- ruins the concept of truce. The Russians won't stand for it, first of all. Secondly, the military argument notes that most of the most powerful groups fighting against Assad are the least trustworthy. They are the "nutjobs", in short. Your strategy would require that a NATO alliance finish the war, by killing off the most powerful factions, with the exception of the Russians. Sounds like a very delicate dance (around the Russians), while we determine factions before the ME political leadership even gets started with re-building. Are you proposing we send the following clear message to the world? "NATO does not care what the Russians or non-aligned, regional ME leadership thinks. NATO will choose the factions for the new gov't. in Syria". Doesn't work. At best, a military "safe zone" campaign for refugees would target the worst groups, and leave the rest for negotiations, which should start as soon as the non-aligned ME countries settle in -after truce talks begin.

                  מה מכילות החדשות?


                  • Originally posted by radcentr View Post
                    In the bad old days, armies would stand down after a truce was called. Just a temporary stop in the warfare business, though. I'm all for providing security while the re-build happens, but it has to start at the truce and work thru the details from that point.

                    Breaking the established gov't. -bad as it is- ruins the concept of truce. The Russians won't stand for it, first of all. Secondly, the military argument notes that most of the most powerful groups fighting against Assad are the least trustworthy. They are the "nutjobs", in short. Your strategy would require that a NATO alliance finish the war, by killing off the most powerful factions, with the exception of the Russians. Sounds like a very delicate dance (around the Russians), while we determine factions before the ME political leadership even gets started with re-building. Are you proposing we send the following clear message to the world? "NATO does not care what the Russians or non-aligned, regional ME leadership thinks. NATO will choose the factions for the new gov't. in Syria". Doesn't work. At best, a military "safe zone" campaign for refugees would target the worst groups, and leave the rest for negotiations, which should start as soon as the non-aligned ME countries settle in -after truce talks begin.
                    General MacArthur said, "There is no substitute for victory." How many times must he be proven right before people get it?

                    If an international force were to go into Syria their goal should be clear: to create conditions that allow the Syrian people to vote on a new constitution and a new government. Both Assad and the nutjobs are totally against that - they know they can't win elections. So they have to be destroyed. Russia would just have to lump it. They wouldn't want to take on a huge international force.

                    מה מכילות החדשות?


                    • Originally posted by Brexx View Post

                      General MacArthur said, "There is no substitute for victory." How many times must he be proven right before people get it?

                      If an international force were to go into Syria their goal should be clear: to create conditions that allow the Syrian people to vote on a new constitution and a new government. Both Assad and the nutjobs are totally against that - they know they can't win elections. So they have to be destroyed. Russia would just have to lump it. They wouldn't want to take on a huge international force.
                      To whittle down the nutjobs and Assad factions, leaving Syrians oriented toward democratic values. That seems like a less than realistic expectation, unless we know the democratic faction is in the majority?

                      מה מכילות החדשות?


                      • Originally posted by radcentr View Post
                        To whittle down the nutjobs and Assad factions, leaving Syrians oriented toward democratic values. That seems like a less than realistic expectation, unless we know the democratic faction is in the majority?
                        Once the fighting was stopped the will of the majority could be determined.

                        What the west has done so far has been nothing but harmful. By assisting some rebel groups we have simply prolonged a war with no prospect of winning it. If we are unwilling to do anything decisive we should have stayed out of Syria and let Assad crush the rebellion.

                        מה מכילות החדשות?


                        • Originally posted by Brexx View Post

                          Once the fighting was stopped the will of the majority could be determined.

                          What the west has done so far has been nothing but harmful. By assisting some rebel groups we have simply prolonged a war with no prospect of winning it. If we are unwilling to do anything decisive we should have stayed out of Syria and let Assad crush the rebellion.
                          Like it or not, the Assad concession was (and still is) the second best option. The best option would be your democratic groups voting in a relatively secular republic, while a broad alliance (way more than just NATO) maintains a safe zone and whittles down the nutjobs to a tiny red spot.

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                          • Originally posted by radcentr View Post
                            Like it or not, the Assad concession was (and still is) the second best option. The best option would be your democratic groups voting in a relatively secular republic, while a broad alliance (way more than just NATO) maintains a safe zone and whittles down the nutjobs to a tiny red spot.
                            I agree with that. Unfortunately the best option isn't going to happen. Western countries should concentrate on helping Iraq and let Assad and the Russians deal with the mess in Syria.

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