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Foreign affairs – How bad is it?

This bad:

Secretary of State Kerry worked for three months to get the warring parties to a negotiating table under the auspices of the United Nations — moderate rebels, representatives of the regime, Iranians, Saudi Arabians and Russians. But Moscow then turned around and launched its offensive right as the talks began. Within 48 hours, the Russian air force carried out 320 airstrikes in northern Syria alone. It was no coincidence that the storm on Aleppo began at that exact moment. The aim was that of destroying any possibility that the opposition would have a say in Syria’s future.

Yes, that’s right, the Russians had no intention of working within the process and were simply setting up an opportunity to embarrass the United States.

I know, you’re shocked, aren’t you?

Secretary of State John Kerry conceded that his much-touted ceasefire in Syria, set to take effect Saturday, “may be” little more than what a Democratic senator called a “rope-a-dope deal.”

With Washington as the dope.

“I’m not going to vouch for this,” said Kerry. With good reason: It doesn’t cover ISIS, the al Qaeda-affiliated Nusra Front and other terrorist groups — nor anyone who cares to fire at them. For months, Russia’s been bombing anyone it wants to while claiming to be targeting ISIS.

One off?  Hardly:

In a move likely to further increase already volatile tensions in the region, China has deployed fighter jets to a contested island in the South China Sea, the same island where China deployed surface-to-air missiles last week, two U.S. officials tell Fox News.

The dramatic escalation came as Secretary of State John Kerry hosted his Chinese counterpart, Foreign Minister Wang Yi, at the State Department.

It would be hilarious if it wasn’t so dangerous.  The disrespect toward Kerry is much deserved, but it is primarily being shown to Obama. Kerry is just the proxy.  These two states, among many others, simply have no respect or fear of Obama.  None.  And while they’ll play the diplomatic game, they’re two realpolitik states.  When the former leader of the West shows weakness, they exploit it.  Kerry just is the guy they choose to embarrass directly.

Oh, and speaking of ISIS, have you been monitoring its growth in Libya?  You know Libya, the other foreign policy triumph of the Obama administration.  Different Secretary of State, same disastrous result.  And what is Obama doing?  Well he’s considering a solution much like his Syrian solution.  No boots on the ground and train some “good guys” to oppose ISIS.

So what does that tell adversaries?  A) He hasn’t a clue.  He’s in the middle of doubling down on failure.  B) He will not commit to the effective use of American force.  Yeah he may throw a few cruise missiles and air strikes at the place, but he really doesn’t plan to do much.  And C) he’s the lamest of lame ducks and will likely do what he’s done for 7 years if either China or Russia act aggressively – talk big and carry no stick.

Where does that leave this situation?

The Russians made clear that they were also coming in to help deal with the threat of the so-called Islamic State in Syria. It soon became apparent, however, that the Russian targeting strategy was less concerned with ISIS than tilting the balance of the civil war in favor of Assad and that Russian forces are now using tanks to target rebel strongholds in and around Aleppo.

Saudi Arabia has now moved fighter jets to Turkey with the aim of carrying out strikes inside Syria and has agreed to deploy special forces coming into Syria via Turkey.

Turkey is making it clearer by the day that it may feel it necessary to move from shelling mainly Kurdish positions inside Syria to moving troops and tanks into Syria. Meanwhile, concerns are being raised about Turkey invoking Article 5 of the NATO treaty, if Turkish forces were to be attacked by Russia or Syria.

NATO has every right to advise caution on Turkey, its fellow NATO member. But in these circumstances, following the Russian intervention — now that its full nature is revealed — it is very hard to argue that that it is not unreasonable for both Saudi Arabia and Turkey to contemplate such action.

NATO needs to establish two clear positions:

  1. That it will not become embroiled as an alliance in fighting on the ground in Syria.

  2. It will, however, respond to any attack that threatens the territorial integrity of Turkey.

Most people who know anything know that as the US goes, so goes NATO.

Anyone – do you really believe the so-called “commander-in-chief” would heed Turkey’s invocation of Article 5 and confront the Russians?

Two days before Christmas, as American policymakers were settling into the holidays, Russia quietly signed a sweeping air defense agreement with Armenia, accelerating a growing Russian military buildup that has unfolded largely under the radar. It was the most tangible sign yet that Putin is creating a new satellite state on NATO’s border and threatening an indispensable U.S. ally.

The buildup in Armenia has been glossed over in Washington, despite being a key piece of Vladimir Putin’s plan to dominate the region — along with its proxy Syria and growing military ties with Iran. Most importantly, Armenia shares an approximately 165 mile border with Turkey, a NATO member and the alliance’s southern flank. 

And now Russia has 8,500 military personnel, 600 artillery pieces, 200 warplanes and 50 warships in the area.

Does that smell like “fear” to anyone?

If so, it’s probably emanating from DC.

~McQ

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10 Responses to Foreign affairs – How bad is it?

  • That’s what you get when you invite a country dominated by an unstable immature culture for self-aggrandizing diversity points into a alliance that is meant to bring stability and deter conflict for its members.

  • To read the various articles of China turning their islands into unsinkable carriers, the idea they have always intended to install targeting radars, SAMS and base offensive aircraft on them comes as a big surprise.
    I mean who’d ever believe that wasn’t always the plan right from the moment some Chinese bright light suggested they could dredge and build islands!
    I gather a significant number of writers for various national publications must have thought perhaps the Chinese were building casino resorts.

    And in Europe, if Putin is going to do anything else drastic, he’ll do it between now and about September of this year.

    We’ve said it all along.
    They push Obama down, take his snack money, and tell him what to bring for their lunch tomorrow before they kick some sand in his face.
    Kerry holds his coat while this happens so Barack looks presentable for the ‘victory’ speech he always gives afterwards.

  • Why on earth would we come to Turkeys defense? Erdrogan can go pound sand. He’s earned it. As for the rest of the Middle East stuff you mentioned, no longer care. Let them go kill each other. It will never stop. They deserve it too.

    Now the China thing- that’s different. That’s worry some. Fortunately Pres. Trump (get used to it) will have good strategic counter options open to him involving Taiwan and Japan.

  • “Does that smell like “fear” to anyone?
    If so, it’s probably emanating from DC.”

    It may be hard to distinguish from the other smells emanating from DC.

  • I don’t think Turkey will be successful in dragging NATO into a conflict with Russia. For one thing, Turkey is arguably in violation of Article One. Secondly, I don’t think Russia is stupid enough to directly attack Turkey. It may attack Turkish forces in Syria, but that would not, by itself, trigger NATO involvement under Article Five (and Six).

    Of course I may be wrong. I may be overly optimistic about the intelligence of various world leaders.

    http://www.nato.int/cps/en/natolive/official_texts_17120.htm

  • I call it “Russia,” in quotes, because it’s a KGB state. Russia, as a place on the map and a culture, is hardly up to the challenge of “Russia.” And don’t look now, but I think we are living in the “United States.”

  • Foreign affairs aren’t bad at all! Don’t you guys listen to Scott Erb: the US has never been more respected in the world at large than it is under Obama!

    • And all the things this article covers as problems are actually foreign policy victories that Obama gave us!

      There’s no need to fear, UnderPrez is here.

    • Under this, the best of all possible Presidents.

    • Erp, holder of the Pangloss chair of Pragmatic Political Alchemy.