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A Question For Forum Members

Discussion in 'North American Politics' started by esmith, Jan 6, 2020.

  1. Mr Spinkles

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    For the record, I am not one of those who necessarily disagrees with the assassination. Maybe it was the right thing to do. It’s certainly a big optical success for Trump so far.

    What I am concerned about with Trump generally, not just on this issue, is that he is erratic. He is not a steady hand on the wheel.

    As I’ve said in other threads, Trump is our Commander in Chief and if Solemaini was involved in violent attacks against our troops, and I assume that he was, then striking back is certainly an option.

    Was it the right option? Maybe.

    Do I have confidence Trump carefully weighed the legality, the evidence, the pros and cons? Sadly I cannot have confidence in this man - and anyone who does is a fool, I regret to say. We may not be so lucky next time he makes an impulsive decision that brings us to the brink of war.

    By analogy: we have a drunk pilot. We all hope he doesn’t crash the plane. We’re all glad to be safely on the ground again. But I worry he’ll take off again before he gets sober.
     
  2. oldbadger

    oldbadger Skanky Old Mongrel!

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    Designated by who?
    There are those in the world who might be branding your leaders as such, you know.
    How hard would you scream and shout if one of your leaders was blown up just outside Kennedy Airport?

    He was your ally against the Taliban and other exteme forces.
     
  3. oldbadger

    oldbadger Skanky Old Mongrel!

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    So Gorbachev and Yeltsin did nothing towards this amzing change?

    :facepalm:
     
  4. shmogie

    shmogie Well-Known Member

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    Yep, they did. Trying to keep up with US spending on the military, and military development the USSR went broke. recognizing they could no longer afford their empire, they both were involved in divesting the USSR of the empire.

    Yeltsin was the best hope for democracy in Russia, but unfortunately he was an alcoholic, and thus weak.

    Putin and his criminal pals put extreme pressure on Yeltsin, and he cut a deal with Putin. Leave Yeltsin and his extended family alone, and he would leave, appointing the little KGB man as his successor.

    With the KGB on Putin's side, Yeltsin could not have survived otherwise.
     
  5. shmogie

    shmogie Well-Known Member

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    Nixon developed the idea of the mad man presidency. In essence, the idea was to make the president SEEM to be unpredictable and erratic. This would hinder an enemies calculations, and deter them, because they wouldn't have any idea how the president would react to what they want to do.

    In the case of the dead Iranian terrorist general, he had been on a hit list for years. He operated in a secretive manner, and when he traveled, violating a UN sanction, he traveled in a large plane, with many people, to deter us or Israel from shooting his plane down.

    The guy learned to love the limelight, and did things in a public manner more and more. He apparently began to believe that he was safe, and immune from attack.

    A drone caught him on the ground, relatively isolated from people, TRump was advised, and he said take the shot.

    Why then, and there ? Because it was the first time in years that they had a clear shot that would not kill innocent civilians. Boom ! Terrorist mastermind croaked.

    We never were at the brink of war, that's nonsense. The Iranians are not fools, and their leadership wants to survive at all costs. They have serious domestic issues, and they know war with us would topple them. They will push, but only so far so as to not do anything that will escalate to a major conflict.

    Your democrat talking points are based in political animus and nothing more. We were never on the brink of war, not even close.

    The democrat equation seems to be, "they are killing us, but don't respond, they might kill us"

    Like children, the Iranians want clearly defined boundaries, and like children, they will act up as much as you allow them to.

    They have gotten away whatever they have chosen for too long. They now clearly understand the boundaries and the consequences for violating them.

    If they are so foolish ( they won't be ) to push us into a war with them, they lose, flat out without us ever having to put soldiers on the ground.

    So, rest easy, and you don't have to check under your bed every night for Iranians.

    Iran under the mad mullah's is on the descent. They ultimately will not survive. 40 plus years of conflict with us is on the brink of destroying the regime. The world, and Iran will be better off with them gone.
     
  6. 9-10ths_Penguin

    9-10ths_Penguin 1/10 Subway Stalinist
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    War also requires the approval of Congress.
     
  7. shmogie

    shmogie Well-Known Member

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    True, but there is the war powers act which gives the president sole authority to act in some military situations without a declaration by congress, of war.
     
  8. Shad

    Shad Veteran Member

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    One of the criticism against the strike was about sovereignty of Iraq. This was an argument made by members of the Iraqi government.

    Obviously there was a plan as there was a strike on a target that was successful.
     
  9. Shad

    Shad Veteran Member

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    The US has not declared war since WW2. Congress had no issues with Korea, Iraq 1/2, Afghanistan, Vietnam, Operation Praying Mantis and any number of military operations against states, governments and other organizations for decades.. Congress is only complaining as Trump used the tool Congress provided freely because of TDS.
     
  10. Mr Spinkles

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    Yes, I am aware of Nixon’s mad man theory. My concern is that Trump is not acting; he actually is erratic. This has long concerned me; the Solemaini episode is just a reminder of what the stakes could be.

    Tangentially, Nixon was highly experienced, and a very smart man - in spite of his flaws. If you think Trump is some sort of careful student of Nixon .. or anyone .. with a theory of foreign policy .. I have a bridge in New York I’ll sell you.

    Having said that, for the record, I am glad the worst did not happen. And I am not mourning that an enemy of the United States - which I assume Solemaini was - was killed. This is a huge political victory for Trump and I accept that.

    Ok. Tangentially, this is not the narrative that Trump and the White House have been telling. They said he was targeted in response to imminent attacks on several US embassies; you make no mention of that and say he was always targeted, we just didn’t have a clear shot until now.

    Are you doing that thing again, where you ignore the self-contradictory half-truths coming out of the Toddler-in-Chief’s mouth, and insert your own more consistent, plausible story to explain his behavior?

    I am not against fighting back. I just wish that power was being wielded by someone sober.

    I, along with almost the entire world in a rare moment of near-unanimity, agree with you, that Iran needs to be contained. However, it’s worth considering what Iran is trying to “get away with” - namely, attacks on US troops in order to expel them from Iraq, and developing a nuclear weapon. Iran appears to be inching just a bit closer to, not farther from, both of those goals now, than before Trump embarked on his Oscar-winning performance of what a “mad man” president looks like.

    This is why foreign policy requires considering the third and fourth order consequences of your actions, not just the immediate consequences. Something I don’t think 70-something year old Donald Trump is going to learn anytime soon. So buckle your seat belts.

    I have had a number of Iranian friends and I hope you are right. I think Iran would be better off with a different government (like, say, the one they had before the US helped reimpose the Shah). I do not think Iran would be better off if the US was involved in such a regime change - and Donald Trump, in spite of his many other flaws, seems to understand that.
     
    #110 Mr Spinkles, Jan 15, 2020
    Last edited: Jan 15, 2020
  11. shmogie

    shmogie Well-Known Member

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    I accept that there was an immediate threat by the dead terrorist general, he was in Iraq to plan the attack on our embassy. I don't know the details of the threats, although apparently it involved multiple embassies.

    Operations can operate on two or five different concurrent tracks. I based my explanation on comments from intelligence sources.

    One of my fears about Trump, and why I was part of the nevertrump wing of the Republican party ( I supported Cruz ), was exactly what you address, his impulsiveness and resultant problems from action without thought. Though now I am much less worried about it. I think he does listen to advisers and considers his actions much more than I thought he would. I certainly cannot argue with his results, virtually every action or result of action on the part of his Administration. I support.

    Actually, Nixon, though a dark person with personality problems, Nixon was a foreign policy expert, and a political genius. He fell because of the disease all politicians have, the ability to cop out on a mistake, and apologizing for it.

    There is only one way to stop Iran from getting nukes, and there always has been one way. Military destruction of their ability to create a device. There is nothing short of this except regime change that will change the equation.

    I expect that at some point, The US with perhaps Israel will initiate an air campaign to do this.

    Irans air force and Navy will be defeated easily, and the have only so many ground to air missiles.

    It is either this, or accept a nuclear armed Iran, and the frenzied act to get nukes by the sunni states. Certainly a very unsafe world will result.
     
  12. Mr Spinkles

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    Maybe. You have much more faith in this White House than I do. I’ll believe it when I - or at least lawmakers in a closed door session - see the evidence.

    This White House has a pretty poor track record when it comes to telling the truth and they have sent mixed messages here at odds with what the Iraqi PM said.

    It’s interesting though that your first explanation was that the US never had Solemaini in its sights until now. In fact as I recall both the Bush and Obama administrations had him in their sights and decided not to assassinate him because the third and fourth order consequences outweighed the strategic benefits, in their calculation.

    Trump made a different calculation - or just as plausibly, none at all. What seems clear to most of the world - notwithstanding the US Trump Party - is that the US and Iran are on more of a collision course today that they were when Trump took office.
     
  13. shmogie

    shmogie Well-Known Member

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    He deserved to die. He was a declared terrorist. It was the proper call.

    Weren't there possible serious downsides from invading Pakistan, a nuclear power, without their knowledge, and shooting down a resident there ? A resident who had strong support across the muslim world ?

    There were, and I recognized them. Yet the deed had to be done. I detest obama, yet I totally supported his decision.

    Because of TDS, EVERYTHING Trump does is viewed negatively by those with the condition.

    Before Trump took office, Iran was quite comfortable. They had a clear pathway to nuclear weapons, they could expand their influence in their region, and sanctions were lifted.

    Wrong, wrong, wrong.

    Iran has been at war with us since 1979, anyone who doesn't see this is a fool. Attack after attack, harassment after harassment, problem after problem all caused by them.

    I don't worry about a collision between they and us, in fact, it needs to come. If past Presidents right back to Carter, had dealt with them forcefully they wouldn't be what they are today.

    Military force is a last step, but it is a step. When diplomacy fails, power exists for a purpose.

    Diplomacy without the application of force with the Iranians is a dead duck. They simply keep on doing what they do, and laugh at us trying to talk about it.

    Trump has been wise and reserved in ramping up sanctions, they might do the job. He was wise in pulling out of the nuclear deal, it was terrible. It guaranteed Iran nukes.

    The only way to stop Iran's nuclear weaponry is overturning the regime or force.

    The regime falling would be great, but if it comes to force, so be it.
     
  14. Mr Spinkles

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    Okay, but if so, I see no need to lie about the reasons. And I see a positive obligation to be truthful and straightforward about the reasons.

    Yes. I am not criticizing Trump because he made a decision with possible downsides. I am concerned that Trump is erratic when he makes decisions, and doesn’t carefully weigh those downsides. Maybe there were adults in the room doing that for him. I wish we had an adult occupying the White House to begin with.

    Well, I can’t speak for whoever you are referring to. I can only speak for myself. And speaking for myself, when Trump says something, I cannot simply believe that it’s true. No thinking person can. This is a consequence of his behavior and his uniquely challenged ability to tell the truth.

    He says Iran was targeting 4 embassies. Could that be true? Absolutely. Could Trump make that up on the spot? You bet. This doesn’t mean I have TDS. It means we have the boy who cried wolf in the White House, and sadly, none of us (if we are honest) can rely on his word to know whether there are wolves, or not, on any given day. I am sure there are wolves, sometimes.

    Even the guy you originally supported, Ted Cruz, said Trump lies, and I quote, “virtually every time he opens his mouth”, end quote, after Trump suggested that Cruz’ father was involved in the JFK assassination (remember that? I couldn’t make this stuff up if I tried). My TDS did not cause Trump to spew lies; his lies caused me - and anyone who is honest - to be unable to trust his word.

    Amazing that yet again, you ignore Trump’s “very stable genius” behavior as a possible cause of why people are slow to take his word for anything.

    Maybe your point is, we shouldn’t ASSUME he is lying every time. I completely agree with that and I am assuming no such thing.

    According to which foreign policy experts?
     
    #114 Mr Spinkles, Jan 18, 2020
    Last edited: Jan 18, 2020
  15. shmogie

    shmogie Well-Known Member

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    All politicians lie, Tru,p much more than most.
    All politicians lie, Trump much more than most. When what he says is verified by someone I trust, like the head of the joint. Chiefs, I believe it.

    Do you not realize that the nuke deal released sanctions and guaranteed nuclear arms in 12 years ? 7or 8 now. All the Republican foreign experts I trust say so it was a terrible idea. Even Congress would not pass it, that is why it was not a treaty.
     
  16. Mr Spinkles

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    Right. And all politicians face opposition that questions everything they do - Trump much more than most. Because he lies much more than most.

    Why you can’t seem to make that connection, is beyond me. Instead you dismiss it as “TDS”, as if mistrust of and antipathy toward Donald Trump sprang into existence, without cause, and there is nothing Trump could ever do about it.

    If you are honest, I think you know that’s not true. But it must be a comforting myth for those who, deep down, know how flawed Trump is, but have chosen to support him anyway, and therefore need excuses to brush aside criticism.

    You are referring to Joint Chiefs Chairman Gen. Mark Milley? Did he verify Trump’s claim that four US embassies were being targeted by Soleimani? I didn’t see that but perhaps I missed it.

    Other officials have been slow to back up that claim, such as Def. Sec. Esper saying he “didn’t see evidence” for it. Pence, in his effort to re-phrase Trump’s rationalizations, tried to link Solemaini to 9/11. This, combined with Trump’s history, makes me think Trump yet again stretched the truth, leaving his staff scrambling to clean up the message.

    My guess is that directionally Soleimani was a threat but Trump - predictable, narcissistic Trump - couldn’t just tell America the truth, when a lie might make his actions look even better.

    Tell America the Truth Again would make a nice hat, come to think of it.

    Which experts said it guaranteed Iran nuclear arms in X years? Bolton? I’m just curious. Bolton’s opposition to the Iran deal, for example, was not because it “guaranteed nuclear arms in X years” based on what I saw - it was for different reasons. Trump’s own Dept. of State, not to mention the IAEA, certified Iran was in compliance with the deal multiple times. I.e., they relinquished nearly 100% of their enriched uranium stockpile, stopped making enriched plutonium and dismantled their plutonium reactor.

    Please cite a source that says Iran didn’t do that or would somehow have had nuclear arms in X years as a result of taking those actions.

    By the way, this may not be intentional but your attitude towards the Solemaini assassination and towards confrontation with Iran strikes me as something almost akin to bloodlust. It is one thing to argue that conflict is necessary, and another thing to talk about it in terms that glory and bask in it. It does not seem very Christian. Maybe that is a topic for another thread, or maybe your posts are coming across differently from how you intend. But it is striking to me. I share your view that violence in self-defense against terrorists can be necessary and justified, I just don’t relish the thought. And I know that evil acts can stem from just intentions, especially when violence is involved.
     
    #116 Mr Spinkles, Jan 18, 2020
    Last edited: Jan 18, 2020
  17. shmogie

    shmogie Well-Known Member

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    You ought to read the JCPOA deal, or a synopsis of it. The critical issue are the sunset clauses on the amount and enrichment level of stored material, and the restriction on the number of centrifuges that can be in operation. One is 5 years, one is 10 years.

    After these restrictions are lifted, they have a breakout time of maybe a year till they have enough enriched uranium to begin producing nuclear weapons, and there is nothing in this agreement to stop them.

    No, they did not relinquish their entire enriched stockpile. They are approved by this agreement to have enough lower enriched uranium for energy purposes, whatever that means.

    It is not bloodlust, it is pragmatic thinking about the world. I am glad the terrorist general is dead. Diplomacy will not restrain Iran unless they see a large advantage in that restraint.

    They see nothing but multiple advantages in having nukes, and none in permanently giving them up.

    You can't buy them off, as we tried with North Korea, they took everything given to them and still developed a small nuclear weapons capability.

    So, there are three options

    Accept a nuclear Iran, and accept sunni nations ultimately going nuclear
    Hope the regime falls
    Or intercede to stop them
    If we intercede, there is diplomacy and there is force. Diplomacy in my view would be and was a failure.
    That leaves only force.

    I won't go over the many successes of the Trump administration. They go from prison/sentencing reform to economic reforms that have created a red hot economy and historic low unemployment rates, including those for minorities.

    I agree that he is a petulant sometimes childish person. He operates in a manner not seen in Presidents before.

    However, I judge by what is done, as part of the equation.

    I do not believe that in foreign policy, Trump will act without careful consultation with his foreign policy and military teams.

    It is a cruel and dangerous world, and sometimes there is no option but military intervention to make it safer for many millions. The Arab states are terrified of a nuclear Iran, Israel is terrified of a nuclear Iran, we should be terrified of a nuclear Iran as well.

    They have to be stopped from getting nukes. If they do get nukes, it will start a cascade of events that could spiral out of control and the whole region, perhaps more, will be severely disrupted
     
  18. Mr Spinkles

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    Ok. Perhaps we should start another thread about this topic specifically?

    That is a far cry from your assertion that it guarantees Iran will have nuclear arms in X years. Because that assertion assumes two things:

    (1) the existing agreement cannot or will not be replaced by an extension or replacement agreement before it expires,

    (2) Iran would produce nuclear weapons immediately if the agreement expired without a replacement.

    #1 is a preposterous assumption. Very few countries are willing to enter into new, untested agreements “forever”. The idea of a sunset period is it allows both parties to confirm the other is living up to its end of the bargain and that the agreement is functioning as intended. It would be like saying if Congress passes a budget for the year, it “guarantees” the US will go bankrupt, because it only funds the government for one year and will expire without an extension or replacement.

    #2 is possible, but cannot be assumed. It also does not support your argument that Iran is less likely to get nuclear arms without an agreement.

    Just think about it: if you are so worried that Iran would immediately have nukes in 10 years because that’s when the agreement expires, why would you terminate the agreement now, and bring us to that point now?

    It makes no sense, it’s self-contradictory, and frankly smacks of the kind of overconfident, amateurish, testosterone-fueled “forget those egghead experts, let’s talk nuclear policy over a beer” thinking that pervades Trump’s style.

    Again I await sources for the foreign policy experts / institutions that support your view. Even John Bolton - an implacable Iran hawk - did not seem to share your view that the Iran deal guaranteed them nuclear weapons in X years, from what I have seen.

    We know exactly what that means because it was spelled out and monitored by both the UN and Trump’s own State Department. Iran gave up 97% of its enriched uranium and was in compliance. As a result of Trump re-neging Iran has said they will no longer comply and if I recall they have said they will start enriching more uranium again. I fail to understand how that gets them further, rather than closer, to nuclear weapons. Again - perhaps we should start a new thread?

    Why then did Iran dismantle - according to Trump’s own people - their plutonium reactor, for example? Do you dispute that this happened, or do you argue that they were doing something else secretly (building another reactor?) that offset this apparent step backwards from nuclear weapons?

    Tangentially, it makes sense for a petro-state to try to diversify its energy resources and become less dependent on domestic crude production / foreign demand.

    I am glad that Trumpworld has come to accept the Labor Department’s unemployment rate. Candidate Trump dismissed the very low (and falling) numbers under Obama as fake news - before they became his numbers. And I appreciate you sparing us all “the many successes of the Trump administration”. Perhaps a new thread to cover all of those?

    This is a key point of difference between us. I do not share your faith there and I think it is already evidence he has not been doing that. I would be curious to ask the highest ranking foreign policy and military advisors if they agree with your assessment, such as Rex Tillerson, General Kelly, General Mattis, General McMaster, John Bolton, etc.

    I agree but I also do not think we should make complex decisions in a state of terror. I am reminded of when we were terrified of a WMD-armed Iraq after 9/11, and how that turned out.

    Probably. But a similar cascade of events will happen if the US and Iran go to war. Both Iraq and Afghanistan, which are neighbors of Iran, ought to serve as powerful lessons on this. I would not be quick to exchange the possibility of future violence, for the surety of violence now.
     
  19. shmogie

    shmogie Well-Known Member

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    Do you really think that a state that has been trying covertly to acquire a nuclear weapon will now not openly pursue it when the sunset closes expire ?

    There is no mechanism in the agreement to renegotiate the clauses after they expire.

    It becomes perfectly legal per the deal to do as they choose, and to think that after legally complying they are going to renegotiate on what they demand is interesting.

    That is naivety and hubris rolled into one, to think that leverage can be found to compel them to the table, again. They will cry foul, say they negotiated a deal, abided by it and want their rights under the deal.

    There is a reason Obama never even tried to get his personal agreement with Iran through congress as a treaty. It would not pass, the were enough Republicans and Democrats against to endure it's failure.

    I suggest you check Obama's unemployment number before you say how great they were.

    Don't you remember Obama's lecture about how 2% GDP was the new norm, and we would just have to accept it ?

    Check the current GDP.
     
  20. Mr Spinkles

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    Dear shmogie. It's me, facts. Are you listening?


    upload_2020-1-20_21-39-40.png

    GDP increased by 2.2% in 2017 and by 2.9% in 2018. The latest numbers for 2019 are tracking 2.3%. I went ahead and circled the quarters under Trump that had less than 3% GDP growth on an annualized basis. It's most of them.

    Has someone been getting their facts from the White House twitter account, again? Tsk, tsk, shmogie. I'm not saying the economy is doing poorly but you are providing a great example of how the President is polluting our discourse with nonsense, through sheer force of repetition.

    Source: U.S. Economy at a Glance | U.S. Bureau of Economic Analysis (BEA)
    Additional source: Gross Domestic Product, Fourth Quarter and Annual 2018 (Initial Estimate) | U.S. Bureau of Economic Analysis (BEA)

    Also please cite your source for Obama saying that 2% was the new norm and we just have to accept it ... I suspect you are misquoting / taking him out of context, which is exactly what Donnie did: Trump hits Obama for 2016 'magic wand' comment about economy

    See Donnie. See Donnie Lie. Don't Do What Donnie Does! :p
     
    #120 Mr Spinkles, Jan 20, 2020
    Last edited: Jan 20, 2020
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