Tuesday, September 10, 2013

The Russia Idea On Syria Has To Be Carried Out Through The UN

English: Flag of Syria, from 1932-58 and 1961-63.
English: Flag of Syria, from 1932-58 and 1961-63. (Photo credit: Wikipedia)
If war can be avoided, that is a good thing, but the proposal that has been making the rounds has to take the form of a UN Security Council resolution. What Syria will do has to be clear. What punishment will be meted out should Syria backtrack should also be clear in the resolution.

Some good will come out of the exercise. One, war will be avoided. Two, the UN will gain currency. Three, this will hopefully lead to a ceasefire in Syria and a political solution to the grave crisis in that country.
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Monday, September 09, 2013

Kerry's Proposal Is A Good One

English: SOCHI. With President of Syria Bashar...
English: SOCHI. With President of Syria Bashar al-Assad. Русский: СОЧИ, БОЧАРОВ РУЧЕЙ. С Президентом Сирии Башаром Асадом. (Photo credit: Wikipedia)
If Syria hands over all its chemical weapons, that can be a nice way out of the current quagmire. Wars are always ugly. There is no such thing called a surgical war. But pressure has to be maintained, and preparations have to be made.

Other than the weapon, a few good things about the move would be that one, maybe Assad will agree to a ceasefire and a political solution, and two, it is a good thing that Russia and the US are cooperating.

The tech community feels differently about Snowden than does DC. The nation state is in a clash with the Internet. The Internet has a libertarian bent to it. So the Russia-Snowden affair is not all that black and white.

If Assad will agree to hand over his chemical weapons, maybe Assad will also agree to a political solution that will start with an all round ceasefire to bring the mindless killings to an end. But then the roadmap has to lead to elections to a constituent assembly, to start with a caretaker interim government. Or am I asking too much?
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Friday, September 06, 2013

Syria: The Most Important Move Is Still Political

Barack Obama can strike if he wants to, and he does want to strike. He could rain 100 million dollars worth of missiles, or he could rain two billion dollars worth of missiles. He has leeway to decide. There will be no American troops on the ground. None are needed.

But the biggest challenge is not all that. That part is done. The biggest challenge is political and it has to do with the Syrian opposition.

The Obama administration has to make a clear case to the Syrian opposition in exile. They have to get their act together. That means cobbling together a united opposition. That means agreeing to an interim president in waiting. Who is that candidate? That means agreeing to elections to a constituent assembly within a year of Assad getting toppled. That means only inviting those groups into the coalition that will agree to lay down their arms once Assad is out.

The transition will have to be smooth. The post-Assad regime ironically will have to secure all the chemical weapons as the first order of business, that and any other weapons of mass destruction.

Unless the Syrian opposition is willing to all this political homework, the Obama administration should attempt only a limited strike, enough to punish Assad but not enough to hand over Syria to the Al Qaeda. The Obama administration has to do all it can - and there is much it can do - to push the Syrian opposition to do all the necessary political homework. Why strike if you are not going to get rid of Assad? We are not attempting a fireworks display.
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Sunday, September 01, 2013

Seeing Common Ground With McCain

English: John McCain official photo portrait.
English: John McCain official photo portrait. (Photo credit: Wikipedia)
As for Syria, I seem to be on the same page as McCain. I am not for a limited strike, a just making a statement kind of strike. I am for sustained aerial strikes that tips the balance of power in Syria against Assad. That is possible.

It was a curious circumstance that I did not get to campaign against this man in 2008. although I gladly would have, because I was Obama's first full time volunteer in NYC.

This Arizona Senator is talking a ton of sense on Syria. It is also "incomprehensible" to me, this whole non action, and limited action talk.
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