Friday, December 16, 2016

Aleppo: The Obama Doctrine -- How He Has Shaped The World -- Atlantic Monthly; Thank You Tour -- December 15, 2016

December 15, 2016, 6:30 p.m. Central Time. First time I've ever watched a Trump speech -- "thank you" tour in Hershey, PA. Absolutely incredible. The "stadium" is packed and he says 8,000 people waiting outside in freezing weather.

He tells the Texas, Georgia, Utah, Iowa story. Wins Iowa by over ten (10) points. Then Florida. The story of all the buses lined up in Florida. It turns out "all" the Trump people rode the buses. Funny, funny story. Wins Florida "by a lot." Great, great orator.

He gave seven speeches in seven different venues on election eve. Hillary had one event on election eve: a concert. His last speech was at midnight, election day morning. Hillary never went to Wisconsin once. 

Spain In Our Hearts

I'm re-reading Adam Hochschild's Spain in our Hearts, a memoir of the Spanish Civil War, 1936 - 1939. Re-reading the battle for Madrid, relatively early in the book, suggests that talking heads on television, talking about Aleppo, have never read or possibly never even heard of the Spanish Civil War. I've heard some talking heads suggest there is nothing in human history that compares to Aleppo.  Well, we have the Turkish-Armenian genocide; Stalinist genocide; the Holocaust; Pol Pot; Mao Tse-Tung; Saddam Hussein; the Spanish Civil War; and, the list goes on.

On page 95 of the book, the author introduces Jason "Pat" Gurney, a 26 y/o London sculptor and activist, who joins the International Brigades to fight on the side of the Republic. The International Brigades had been organized by the Communist Party but that did not bother him, despite him writing/saying:
They [the Soviet Communists] were always right. There were never two ways about anything. They had studied the works of Marx, Engels and Lenin, which held the correct answer to any subject under the sun, and that was the end of the matter. Since they believed this as implicitly as any of the most bigoted sects believed in their own scripture, the Party was not for me. Moreover, the members he knew had no sense of humor. Any hint of levity was treated like farting in church.
Sound familiar?
Obama's "Red Line"

From March 26, 2016:
Breaking news:  Russia says its warplanes have made 40 sorties around the ancient Syrian city of Palmyra in past 24 hours, with 158 Islamic State targets hit, more than 100 militants killed. ISIS takes notice. [By the way, six days ago it was reported that ISIS has re-entered Palmyra -- December 16, 2016.]

Is the US even involved any more? President Obama made the decision to "sit this one out." That was reported in the cover story of this month's issue of The Atlantic: "The Obama Doctrine: How he has shaped the world." From that story, these two sidebars highlighted his un-Trumanesque doctrine:
  • The moment Obama decided not to enforce the red line and bomb Syria, he broke with what he calls, derisively, "the Washington playbook." This was his liberation day.
  • Leon Panetta, one of several SecDefs for President Obama, has criticized the president's failure to enforce the Syrian red line.
From September 11, 2014:
This is the opening paragraph from the most recent issue of The New Yorker, "The Talk of the Town," p. 27:
Even the most forgiving judge of Barack Obama, one willing to overlook his preference for chipping onto the sunlit greens of Martha's Vineyard rather than brooding in the fluorescent glare of the Situation Room, must admit that the President has sometimes been a thick-tongued steward of his own foreign policy. How did the author of "A More Perfect Union" become the author of "The worlld has always been messy"? Obama, who prides himself on late-night preparation, unshakable rationality, and a writerly ear, is compiling an anthology of botched pronouncements that have, at best, muddied his intentions.
August, 2012: "We have been very clear to the Assad regime, but also to other players on the ground, that a red line for us is we start seeing a whole bunch of chemical weapons moving around or being utilized." [Which, by the way, almost sounds inner-city-gangsta.]
September, 2013: "I didn't set a red line. The world set a red line." -- President Obama.
August, 2014: "I don't want to put the cart before the horse. We don't have a strategy yet."

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