Pause and win

How Obama could deal with Syria. Play the long game and make Assad do it. Invasion seems pointless. Everyone appears to be at war with everyone else – want to join in? Get the chemical weapons out of the equation

President Obama drew a red line in the sand and to maintain any dignity he has to make good his threat. That is yesterday’s thinking. The need to retaliate for the use of chemical weapons by someone in Syria points to one thing. Syria has illegal weapons and he needs to be made to get rid of them. Not by invasion, that is too expensive. Not by trying to blow Damascus into the ground – you would kill large numbers of civilians, too.

But by negotiation. Imagine this?

President O: President Assad, you are guilty of possessing chemical weapons and they are being used. We suggest that you have lost control of your weapons and are therefore now a danger to the world. You have to now stop your war and we have to destroy your weapons or the world will force my hand and we will have to hunt you down. Your crimes against humanity are well documented, both before and largely since the war.

President A: We will never hand over our weapons. If you attack us, we will defend ourselves.

President O: We have heard that one before, and look what our generals did to Saddam. Now we have nothing against the good people of Syria. We have a problem with you harbouring and allowing or using deadly gas against any people. We can destroy them safely and if you hand them over now, we will do it for no charge and help the new Government rebuild.

President A: I will never agree to this.

President O: Then I would not stand so close to the window, Bashar. [CLICK!]

Twenty years ago, that would be pure paranoid conspiracy. Today, that is probably how this will pan out. Bombing Damascus would simply be sad. It is not the fault of the inhabitants. Destroy Syrian air=power – now if that was achieved then more chemical weapon attacks would be a significant risk. The only strategy is to force the most influential actor in this, Assad, to rid Syria of Chemical Weapons so when he inevitably faces trial for his crimes against humanity, there would be something positive in the balance.

Edward Snowden vs USA

In his statement, Edward Snowden points to the violations of international law that the government of the USA has taken to extradite him back as a traitor. Indeed, as a contractor in the security services he has more than crossed the line into criminal liability. Technically. He could be accused of this, most certainly. Accused, yes. And in the current paranoid political environment in the USA he would be imprisoned for life, probably without trial. Certainly without a public hearing. But if what he asserts is true he would never be found guilty in an international court of law. The balance of justice appears to be in his favour.

Does the public of the world want the USA spying on their private conversations? More important to the American mind is the violation of its Constitution. Is it justified? Is America still at war or has it consigned itself along a course that is totalitarian in nature if not in name?

You can read Edward Snowden’s statement in The Guardian.

Additional

It sure looks like the Obama administration took the Bush Doctrine and found a way to make it work, properly. The NSA and CIA have been spying on allies forever and it is probably quite shocking to the military industrial complex to be openly revealed as not really different to previous totalitarian regimes that America used to criticise. It is a fallible political system that resembles religious fanaticism in its fervour (who would have thought they could make Nixon turn in his grave?). Great Britain did the same in the 19th Century. Look what happened and is still happening to it’s empire.

The world wants Edward Snowden and Bradley Manning to have their voices heard by the executive, for them not to be punished as is not treason if the Government is not abiding by The Constitution.

Information Freedom

What is freedom if you only think you are free?

Politics is hard. If you veer too far from the peoples’ hopes that voted you in, especially if you are exploring fascist tendencies, you got a lot of explaining to do.

Of course this “war” against “terror” needs to be concluded and maybe the most exhaustive war would not resolve it. The tendency is to try and resolve the conflict during your history making turn in office. But maybe the problem is deeper and actually solving it does in the opinion of the intelligence community require a war. And if the eyes of the CIA are turned inward, they are not turned outward, doing their job. And the same kind of shift of focus into what are in essence “criminal acts” that are called “terror” as the person became a Muslim. Is that the test of whether it was an act of terror versus the act of a deranged person with automatic weapons at the opening of a Batman film? Does the definition of “terror” turn on motivation or how, we the supposedly terrified public, feel?

We will remember Boston, but the location of the Batman mass murderer has fallen from my lexicon of “terror”. “Terror” is in fact a language idea, if you call it that, then anything is justified. Just like the governments if 1984, behind steel walls, the Governments of today are now afraid of and watching their own people. The US Constitution is revealed as a set of ideals and we witness America at war with itself. Not a civil war in any conventional sense. But a war all the same. Not so much a war do to the actions of the “terrorists” (one can just imagine they finally get to meet each other on the other side as so far they are only brothers because they do the same thing due to the same sort of language indoctrination.

The war is defined by the actions of the Government. And just like medical actions that have a high risk of failure, special powers must be kept back until there is no option, i.e. a state of war.

If a government finds an existential crisis has beset it from within, if it is fighting an infection then it has to act in a way that has survival in its future. Due to the electoral cycle it wants a result within 5 years.

Yes. The NSA data gathering is extremely Orwellian and changes the perceived nature of Government now that we all know that fascist measures are in play to allow American control of “it’s interests” (interests that are, incidentally, shared with and competed for by every country in the world) may have taken a step too far.