Friday, August 24, 2012

Syria in September - The "Perfect Mousetrap"

A note from MeanMesa:  The blog has been off the air for a few days while the hand was healing.  It's been a bit of a problem when typing more than two sentences has sent this old bird into a self-pity tizzy!  All that is over now.  Glad you're here!

 The Variety of the Dreams of Victory

Dreams of victory and justifications for fighting seem to run in paired sets.  As one of the historically most war like nations in the modern world, these dreams and justifications extracted from our recent domestic history are telling.  When attacked, we countered with a rueful propaganda effort in Afghanistan married to an oil war in Iraq.  

Drenched in both false shame and quite reasonable trepidation, the Saudis offered up a symbolic pittance as compensation for the grisly work of their countrymen.  Happily, for them, their "connections" diverted the retaliatory attacks and invasions onto two of their unfortunate neighbors.

The war making climate has now become so superficial that practically anything will serve to justify it.  Worse, those flimsy, meat handed justifications are simply too complex to actually metamorphose into workable results corresponding to any publicly held "dreams of victory."  These days find that already questionable old adjacency abandoned in favor of a variety of impulses disgustingly akin to simple religious vengeance, usually amounting to little more than a discarded rag soaked with testosterone and clotted blood driven by a public opinion campaign.

Rather than fighting because we were attacked or might be attacked, because our allies were attacked or in danger or even because our countrymen were attacked in some distant corner of the world, we fight for greed.  Further, it is not national greed which might -- conceivably -- be somewhat more coherent and understandable, it is the craven greed of oligarchs.

Those would be the oligarchs directly behind that line of war mongers eliciting the vast, raucous cheers during the debates of the Republican Primary.  MeanMesa is surprised that the stupefied teenagers in that audience had not already begun to bleed before the applause had ended.

Running along with the "becauses" which "justify" these monstrosities, we can see the chilling absence of any view of success.  There were no informed Americans who thought, even briefly, that an occupied medieval Afghanistan would become a modern democracy.  There were no informed Americans who thought that an Iraq with the autocracy removed would become "just like here."

Amazingly, there were no dreams of victory.  A few inches beyond the "catch phrases," "talking points" and false dichotomies only an empty hole remained where, in better times, victory might have held forth her dream. Down here on the ground we must still discuss the horrors with returning veterans, or even more perplexing, the reasons.  Down here on the ground we must still engage our neighbors in conversations about justifications and national accomplishments.

As one ascends to the atmospheric heights, the mindless realm of the oligarchs, such discourse falls silent.

We have managed to develop a national foreign policy which is absolutely devoid of discernible success. In fact, we -- as a national demographic of consolidated interests -- can't even agree on what such a success might be.

Thanks to the flat sighted reactionaries and their legions of the terrified, thinly disguised servants of those cursed by greed without limit, we are a paralyzed and demoralized remnant of what we were -- of what we must be again.  Relief is unlikely unless our reasonable national goals mature to a place commensurate with our actual strength.

By "relief" we mean a return to cogency.

The "October Surprise" - An American Tradition

There are plenty of accounts of various insurgent operations stepping up hostilities "in the spring" or "after the monsoon season."  We can immediately think of the on-going, annual conflicts in the Congo, in Aceh Banda or the wild western provinces of Pakistan.  We understand the alluring convenience of this scheduling pattern.

Around the world, fighting men without boots are making their way to combat zones in small, hidden places where the mud, heat and mosquitoes alone can be their greatest enemies.  These seasonal blood letting festivals are not the same as our domestic Easter or Thanksgiving celebrations.  They are scheduled to coincide with military and tactical advantages.

Here at home, however, it's just a bit less comprehensible. We have watched seven Republicans with the ambition of high office parrot out the war bait, one after another, to the deafening roar of responding cheers at their debates.  Instead of scheduling the proposed mayhem for better weather, here all such matters must be placed in the context and on the calendar of our the elections.

Systematically instilling a coarse, post literate fear in one crowd while inciting another to inflamed chest beating for the latest war making plan, these bellicose monstrosities from another era make the rounds, first for campaign contributions from those with ambitions of somehow profiting from such adventures and only later for the votes of those they have managed to frighten with hideous tales of the latest synthetic enemy. 

Finally, installed in power, they are taxed only for the maintenance of the respective opportunities of sustained terror and outrage.  Actual policy becomes nothing more than a potentially risky, flippant, unnecessarily complicating public opinion problem.

It's just as if actual blood did not exist.

It's just as if war were cheap.

War by Accident, Hubris or Oversight

We find ourselves in a state of economic collapse.  Although there are many "truisms" which can be uttered about war, one with exceptionally valid continuity is that it is expensive.  The more desperate it is, the more expensive it can become, in fact, the more expensive it will almost certainly become.

Our war with Afghanistan was blessed with only the most tenuous such validity.  It was a war for domestic consumption, and it was a war for unexamined vengeance.  There was essentially no prospect for enhanced national security by changing the warlords currently in power in Afghanistan.  Any actual incremental enhancements for national security would be both defensive and domestic ones.

The al Qaeda who attacked New York knew this.  Their bold strategy was entirely designed to avoid our military power.  They knew that they could pose no substantial threat to the United States beyond the furtive opportunity placed at their disposal.  The advantage which they carefully designed into their plot was the advantage of "pure asymmetry." 

They were protected from US military might because there would be neither traditional attack nor traditional retaliation.  Of course, the weakened US leadership, perhaps an unanticipated additional advantage, "took the bait."

Likewise, the oil war in Iraq could only be made valid in its own right by the proposition that it, too, was preventing an attack.  The argument began to literally fall apart the day it was first proposed, but the hypnotic attraction continued.  It didn't end there.

War.  War.  War.  War. (image source)

The most available and conveniently "hateable" adversary remained in the punching ball of Iran.  The country had already been pilloried by economic sanctions -- foreign policy which was actually effective -- by the time of the Republican debates, but the old penchant for violence hadn't moved an inch.

Plus, there was oil there.

Naturally, the reckless policy promises of those desperately transfixed with the necessity of "collecting" votes from an illiterate base ran immediately to a familiar theme.  Iranian "red meat" outrages could provide electoral cover for the hideous echo of the last Republican administration if only the base could be distracted long enough.

It's not a base which has a history of being difficult to distract.

Syria: The Stars Align for the "Perfect Mousetrap"

2012's "Perfect Mousetrap"

Granted, this post has "wandered" through some rather "big picture" issues of wars and war making.  That largess was precisely the intention.  Americans -- especially in election time and especially as we approach October -- should probably be interested in such a disturbingly sultry mix of both "big picture" and "contemporary specifics."

If one has paid even a passing attention to the commercial news or the content of this little blog from the desert, every one of the little white boxes in the "mousetrap" diagram above will mean something.  Should one or more of them mean nothing, MeanMesa strongly suggests that our noble visitor here tear that attention away from the political "frog festival" long enough to catch up with reality.

This is a potentially very bad collection of current events.

If you felt a few pangs of national uncertainty while we were careening into Iraq, a quite similar feeling should probably be emerging just about now.

The "trigger" seems to be -- at least for the moment -- centered on the question of whether or not the dictator of Syria will grow desperate enough to use his bunker full of poison gas in an attempt to hang on to his "legacy."  The current death toll in Syria now is in the range of around 20,000, mostly civilians.  The dictator's father is reported to have slaughtered 92,000 in his successful bid to "keep the garden."

The United States has very publicly revealed that our policy of not intervening militarily would have to be "rethought" if the gas were used.  The Europeans, Syria's neighbors -- especially Turkey -- would, most likely, be able to "rethink" their own positions even more rapidly.  The now openly fascist State of Israel is currently sipping tea and having wet dreams of its own about the same potentiality.

Presumably there are Russian military and diplomatic folks walking around all over the country.  More than "presumably," there are scores of Iranian nationals in make shift militias handling the dirty work in the dictator's door to door practices.  The orders for those  "door to door" visits are largely too savage to hand off to the dictator's Alaouite regulars.

This means that any substantial military intervention with the purpose of suppressing the use of the gas would be raining down on both Russian Federation military personnel and Iranian nationals.

It's been a while since the United States or NATO killed any Russian soldiers or diplomats.  Obliterating a few Iranians would probably not bother us too much, but the mullahs, already sitting on a wrecked economy [worse than ours], languishing under sanctions which have made civilian life awful and desperately watching the capstone of their tenuous terrorist arch to Hezbollah and Hamas slowly crumble would probably block the Gulf of Hormuz the next morning.

Further, MeanMesa assumes that the Russian defense fortifications at Tartus include either on-site nuclear capacity or hair trigger reinforcement from the Federation proper.  If the Iranians have a bomb of their own, which they might, it could also be insinuated into the defense alliance with Syria, a far more intimidating location for a nuclear test that anywhere in the Iranian desert. 

This level of escalation would not be offered as an indulgence to the dictator so much as evidence of the legitimacy for the Russians to rehabilitate the rather sorry record of lack of effectivity for Russian weapons systems which failed all through the countries of the Arab Spring.  The Iranians are more similar to the loud mouthed bully standing second in a line for a fist fight.

Both the Syrians and the Iranians are watching their dreams become chaotic junk yards, a state which makes them dangerous.

This rambling scenario could unfold a thousand different ways, but the "exciting" parts would easily include some or all of the nightmare being described here.

Sleep well.  Cavort through a moon lit comedy of the Republican Abortion Festival being inundated by an out of control hurricane in Tampa.

MeanMesa's compliments to the President.

For a couple other MeanMesa posts on Syria:

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