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Tuesday, July 01, 2014

OTP - July 2014: Republicans Lose To Democrats For Sixth Straight Year In Congressional Baseball Game

As Time magazine recently reported, Republicans, frustrated by their 22-0 loss in last year’s game, sought a new coach to shake things up on the field this year. Some members even appealed to House Speaker John Boehner (R-Ohio) to fire the coach, Rep. Joe Barton (R-Texas). But Boehner said he wasn’t powerful enough to control the baseball diamond, and Barton refused to walk away after spending 28 years with the game. Instead, he brought on Rep. Roger Williams (R-Texas), a former professional baseball player and coach at Texas Christian University, to coach while he stayed on as the team’s manager.

In the face of Wednesday’s loss, according to The Washington Post, Republicans are once again asking Boehner to remove Barton from the game. But with multiple pitchers giving up walk after walk, it seems that what the Republicans really need is a pitcher who can better match Rep. Cedric Richmond (D-La.), who previously pitched on Morehouse College’s varsity baseball team.

Bitter Mouse Posted: July 01, 2014 at 07:53 AM | 4025 comment(s) Login to Bookmark
  Tags: politics, winning is fun

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   2501. Johnny Sycophant-Laden Fora Posted: July 18, 2014 at 05:23 PM (#4753902)
GF's point is that Obama has "shat up relations with Russia."


Well yeah, that's because he's an anti-Obama fanboy who thinks that just about everything in the world would have been better if Obama hadn't been elected.

:-)


I don't think Obama's been good at international relations, he hasn't been as bad as Dubya and almost certainly not as bad as Romney with the warmed over neo-con cast around him would have been... but Obama's policies certainly have not been optimal so to speak, a lot of stuff seems to be on auto-pilot and his admin spends far more time [belatedly] reacting than acting.

We could have been spending a lot more time cultivating financial, business and military relations with India and Brazil among other things (you want outside the box? How about figuring out how to get those Mistrals in the Brazilian Navy rather than Russia's)

   2502. Rickey! trades in sheep and threats Posted: July 18, 2014 at 05:25 PM (#4753903)
Who cares if they "like us" or not? The complaint isn't that they don't "like us," it's that they've acted contrary to our interests with insufficient deterrence and penalty.


So you're just flipping whatever usage of "relations" you want to leverage at any given time, in order to make sure that Obama is doing something wrong. That sounds about right, actually.

If we were at war with Russia, would be have better or worse relations with them than we do now? Than we did in 2009?
   2503. Rickey! trades in sheep and threats Posted: July 18, 2014 at 05:28 PM (#4753906)
I don't think Obama's been good at international relations, he hasn't been as bad as Dubya and almost certainly not as bad as Romney with the warmed over neo-con cast around him would have been... but Obama's policies certainly have not been optimal so to speak, a lot of stuff seems to be on auto-pilot and his admin spends far more time [belatedly] reacting than acting.


Obama's crime against the neocon alliance, both in the Village and their rooting section here, is that Obama seems to have stopped pretending that the United States is an all-powerful, do anything it likes wherever and whenever it likes, god-like entity. This admin has basically said "you know what, Eastern Europe is sort of Europe's thing; we'll support you and we'll agitate for sanctions, but if Germany isn't going to get off the pot and act, we're not going to get into it when it's not our eggs being broken."

Neocons can't stand realism.
   2504. The Id of SugarBear Blanks Posted: July 18, 2014 at 05:29 PM (#4753908)
So you're just flipping whatever usage of "relations" you want to leverage at any given time, in order to make sure that Obama is doing something wrong. That sounds about right, actually.

You must have me confused with someone else. Russia and China are our geopolitical competitors. Their systems of governance and mores are in conflict with ours. Therefore, the objective of our relations with them isn't that they "like us." It's to compete effectively with them, and cooperate in areas in which we can cooperate consistent with our interests and values.

   2505. Rickey! trades in sheep and threats Posted: July 18, 2014 at 05:49 PM (#4753918)
Russia and China are our geopolitical competitors. Their systems of governance and mores are in conflict with ours. Therefore, the objective of our relations with them isn't that they "like us." It's to compete effectively with them, and cooperate in areas in which we can cooperate consistent with our interests and values.


So we shouldn't invade and colonize them?
   2506. The Yankee Clapper Posted: July 18, 2014 at 05:58 PM (#4753925)
Candidate Romney:
"First of all, Russia I indicated is a geopolitical foe. Not... excuse me. It's a geopolitical foe, and I said in the same -- in the same paragraph I said, and Iran is the greatest national security threat we face. Russia does continue to battle us in the U.N. time and time again. I have clear eyes on this. I'm not going to wear rose-colored glasses when it comes to Russia, or Mr. Putin."

Seems rather prescient, actually. Hard to say if we'd have better relations with Russia under Romney, but we probably get better results and fewer surprises with a realistic view of the Russian regime, instead of warmed over Jimmy Carter.
   2507. The Yankee Clapper Posted: July 18, 2014 at 06:16 PM (#4753938)
A couple of weeks ago, I posted a Boston Globe poll that had the likely Democratic nominee for Massachusetts Governor, Martha Coakley, leading the likely Republican candidate, Charlie Baker, by only 5%. Given how strongly the state favors Democrats, that narrow margin seemed a bit surprising. However, it doesn't appear to be a fluke, since Coakley's lead is down to 3%, 39% to 36%. Doesn't appear to be just a case of Coakley being a bad candidate, since the other two Democrats seeking the nomination actually trail Baker by 8% & 24%. If Democrats are struggling in Massachusetts, in the absence of any especially adverse local issues (as I understand it to be), it could be a difficult year for them in general.
   2508. zenbitz Posted: July 18, 2014 at 06:23 PM (#4753942)
Russia and China are our geopolitical competitors. Their systems of governance and mores are in conflict with ours. Therefore, the objective of our relations with them isn't that they "like us." It's to compete effectively with them, and cooperate in areas in which we can cooperate consistent with our interests and values.


I tried to reply to this but realized I have no idea what "game" we are supposed to be competing in. Certainly we are not economic competitors?
   2509. bobm Posted: July 18, 2014 at 06:26 PM (#4753945)
We could have been spending a lot more time cultivating financial, business and military relations with Congress India and Brazil among other things

FTFY :)
   2510. tshipman Posted: July 18, 2014 at 07:00 PM (#4753957)
A couple of weeks ago, I posted a Boston Globe poll that had the likely Democratic nominee for Massachusetts Governor, Martha Coakley, leading the likely Republican candidate, Charlie Baker, by only 5%. Given how strongly the state favors Democrats, that narrow margin seemed a bit surprising. However, it doesn't appear to be a fluke, since Coakley's lead is down to 3%, 39% to 36%. Doesn't appear to be just a case of Coakley being a bad candidate, since the other two Democrats seeking the nomination actually trail Baker by 8% & 24%. If Democrats are struggling in Massachusetts, in the absence of any especially adverse local issues (as I understand it to be), it could be a difficult year for them in general.


Really? Posting pre-primary polls and drawing grand conclusions about the national environment? Okay.
   2511. Johnny Sycophant-Laden Fora Posted: July 18, 2014 at 07:09 PM (#4753963)
Really? Posting pre-primary polls and drawing grand conclusions about the national environment? Okay.


You have the polarity wrong there

he's already drawn a "grand conclusion" about the national environment, what he does is trawl for data that supports that conclusion or can be spun to support that conclusion.

   2512. Johnny Sycophant-Laden Fora Posted: July 18, 2014 at 07:16 PM (#4753965)
I tried to reply to this but realized I have no idea what "game" we are supposed to be competing in.


The New Great Game
not to be confused with the old Great Game

or maybe I'm confused and it's the [misnamed] Beautiful Game
   2513. Bitter Mouse Posted: July 18, 2014 at 07:21 PM (#4753969)
2503 is spot on.
   2514. The Yankee Clapper Posted: July 18, 2014 at 07:28 PM (#4753975)
he's already drawn a "grand conclusion" about the national environment, what he does is trawl for data that supports that conclusion or can be spun to support that conclusion.

The old "cherry picking" claim again? I've posted bushels of polls - national polls, state polls, Obama Job Approval Polls, issue polls, Senate polls & Governor polls. They seem to be pointing in one direction, but the Obama fan boys are certainly welcome to dispute that. However, I'm not seeing much contradictory data, just whining that it can't be that bad for the Democrats.
   2515. tshipman Posted: July 18, 2014 at 07:38 PM (#4753980)
However, I'm not seeing much contradictory data, just whining that It can't be that bad for the Democrats.


GCB 7/18/2010: R+3.3
GCB 7/18/2014: D+1.5
   2516. BDC Posted: July 18, 2014 at 07:39 PM (#4753981)
OK Obama is doomed I admit it. Now may I please get drunk till 2020.
   2517. The Yankee Clapper Posted: July 18, 2014 at 07:48 PM (#4753988)
GCB 7/18/2010: R+3.3
GCB 7/18/2014: D+1.5


I noted the limitations of the Generic Congressional Ballot polls previously - it's a national poll not reflective of the Congressional Districts. Just as you don't get extra seats by carrying some districts by huge margins, you don't get extra seats by polling especially well in those same districts. The GCB polls don't reflect the "enthusiasm gap" between the parties, either. However, I think it is more likely than not that by Election Day, the GCB pols will be closer to other polls than may be the case at the moment - although, it looks like the Dems margin in the GCB has shrunk noticeably since it was last posted.
   2518. The John Wetland Memorial Death (CoB) Posted: July 18, 2014 at 07:58 PM (#4753997)
Well, I think we all knew that the pro-Russian separatists were going to desperately try and spin blame away from themselves, but I've got to give them credit, I hadn't thought of this possible approach:


A top pro-Russia rebel commander in eastern Ukraine has given a bizarre version of events surrounding the Malaysian jetliner crash — suggesting many of the victims may have died days before the plane took off.

The pro-rebel website Russkaya Vesna on Friday quoted Igor Girkin as saying he was told by people at the crash site that "a significant number of the bodies weren't fresh," adding that he was told they were drained of blood and reeked of decomposition.

...

Girkin said "Ukrainian authorities are capable of any baseness."


Next up, blaming the Rand Corporation, working with the Saucer People, under the supervision of reverse vampires ...
   2519. Misirlou was a Buddhist prodigy Posted: July 18, 2014 at 08:28 PM (#4754010)
suggesting many of the victims may have died days before the plane took off.


Only many, not all? In what sort of fantasy world does this guy live in where live people get on a plane with a bunch of dead bodies strapped in next to them?
   2520. tshipman Posted: July 18, 2014 at 08:30 PM (#4754013)
Only many, not all? In what sort of fantasy world does this guy live in where live people get on a plane with a bunch of dead bodies strapped in next to them?


Yeah! AirTran and Frontier don't fly over Ukraine!
   2521. Misirlou was a Buddhist prodigy Posted: July 18, 2014 at 08:38 PM (#4754021)
Maybe they were only mostly dead.
   2522. Lassus Posted: July 18, 2014 at 08:40 PM (#4754022)
Hard to say if we'd have better relations with Russia under Romney,

Holy crap, talk about needlessly patronizing. No one thinks you believe this.


The GCB polls don't reflect the "enthusiasm gap" between the parties, either.

I don't think your enthusiasm is measurable by conventional means, YC.
   2523. bobm Posted: July 18, 2014 at 08:45 PM (#4754030)
Only many, not all? In what sort of fantasy world does this guy live in where live people get on a plane with a bunch of dead bodies strapped in next to them?

A "Sherlock" fan, obviously.
   2524. Misirlou was a Buddhist prodigy Posted: July 18, 2014 at 08:48 PM (#4754035)
A "Sherlock" fan, obviously.


But that's my point. Those were all dead.
   2525. The Yankee Clapper Posted: July 18, 2014 at 09:23 PM (#4754054)
In what sort of fantasy world does this guy live in where live people get on a plane with a bunch of dead bodies strapped in next to them?

In coach? Expectations are pretty low these days.
   2526. Howie Menckel Posted: July 18, 2014 at 09:27 PM (#4754059)
You could charge extra on some airlines these days to get a seat next to a dead body - no mindless jibberjabber, they can't hold an infant so no worries there, maybe you can finagle their free peanuts if you wink at the flight attendant...
   2527. Mefisto Posted: July 18, 2014 at 09:54 PM (#4754068)
he was told they were drained of blood and reeked of decomposition.


Sounds like Angel lost his soul again. Damn.
   2528. Srul Itza Posted: July 18, 2014 at 11:16 PM (#4754111)
Putin is a KGB thug. If he has any redeeming characteristics, he has yet to display them.

That anyone ever thought they could "do business" with him is bad enough; to suggest they got "a sense of his soul", and it was anything other than a black hole of rapacious mendacity, is even worse.

Every President who has been dealing with the new Soviet Union under Putin (including the years when his sock puppet was on the throne) has screwed the pooch, because they did not see him for what he is.

The fact that the Europeans have been in "bend over" mode has not helped, of course. If this atrocity finally causes the scales to fall from their (and our) eyes, we will all owe a permanent debt that we can never repay to the Martyrs of MH17.

Unfortunately, knowing the cheese-eating surrender monkeys and the bratwurst-swilling happy burghers as I do, I fear that even this will not be enough to make them understand what needs to be done to confront the new Tsar of All the Russias -- a return to a containment policy with teeth. Cold War II has already started. It is about time we realized it.
   2529. Misirlou was a Buddhist prodigy Posted: July 19, 2014 at 12:00 AM (#4754138)
So, watching CNN coverage right now, I realize the similarity between the media and baseball. The best way to have a job is to have or had a job in the first place. Yesterday, CNN had this goof railing against the possibility the plane was shot down because the videos of the impact didn't show a trailing fire and smoke trail. He was adamant the plane wasn't shot down, despite overwhelming evidence, and explanations to the contrary. Tonight, he is the star guest talking about the how and why about the shootdown. Kind of like J. P. Arencibia getting a MLB first base job despite being released because he was an historically poor hitting catcher.
   2530. Bitter Mouse Posted: July 19, 2014 at 01:33 AM (#4754172)
Unfortunately, knowing the cheese-eating surrender monkeys and the bratwurst-swilling happy burghers as I do, I fear that even this will not be enough to make them understand what needs to be done to confront the new Tsar of All the Russias -- a return to a containment policy with teeth. Cold War II has already started. It is about time we realized it.


It is a tragedy, but it is just a plane load of people. If we get too emotional about it we might end up invading some neighboring country of Russia.
   2531. tshipman Posted: July 19, 2014 at 02:10 AM (#4754183)
It is a tragedy, but it is just a plane load of people. If we get too emotional about it we might end up invading some neighboring country of Russia.


If you accept a water border (Caspian Sea), Iran would count! Don't tell JE, he'll get too excited.

Kind of crazy how many countries Russia borders. An invasion with North Korea would also count.
   2532. bunyon Posted: July 19, 2014 at 04:34 AM (#4754200)
Unfortunately, knowing the cheese-eating surrender monkeys and the bratwurst-swilling happy burghers as I do, I fear that even this will not be enough to make them understand what needs to be done to confront the new Tsar of All the Russias -- a return to a containment policy with teeth. Cold War II has already started. It is about time we realized it.



It is a tragedy, but it is just a plane load of people. If we get too emotional about it we might end up invading some neighboring country of Russia.


I'm generally onboard with the idea that the neocon folks are way too trigger happy. But, here's the thing, you can't combat that with "We'll never fight, over anything." Lots of details to emerge here, of course. If this is a Russian supplied weapon used by rebels to shoot down what they thought was a military transport...well, that's bad, but I wouldn't go to war over it absolutely ratchets up the threat level and I think it would be wise to use the PR of the attack to get Russia to back off from the rebels. If, on the other hand, the missle were fired from inside Russia, or by Russians, or if it can be shown Russian backed rebels shot down a commercial airliner, knowing it was a commercial airliner, then, yes, that's worth going to war over. You simply can't let countries do anything and not stand up to them.

Basically, the old axiom of it only takes one side to make war. If Putin really wants to keep meddling in Ukraine, the Europeans have to act. As Srul says, Putin is a KGB thug and he is the leader of a powerful nation. You can't just pat him on the head and hope he calms down.

I'm rambling because I haven't had my coffee but the larger point is this: avoiding war at all costs is not a foreign policy. It's just the flip side of Bush stupidity.
   2533. greenback calls it soccer Posted: July 19, 2014 at 08:04 AM (#4754213)
If you really want to #### on Putin, then come up with an energy alternative to oil. All the rest is just John Wayne-style posturing.
   2534. Greg K Posted: July 19, 2014 at 09:02 AM (#4754222)
Kind of like J. P. Arencibia getting a MLB first base job despite being released because he was an historically poor hitting catcher.

I'd laugh but he hit the key 3-run homer in his return to Toronto last night. So I cry.
   2535. Mefisto Posted: July 19, 2014 at 10:32 AM (#4754251)
Seems rather prescient, actually. Hard to say if we'd have better relations with Russia under Romney, but we probably get better results and fewer surprises with a realistic view of the Russian regime, instead of warmed over Jimmy Carter.


Romney must have been wrong. I was reliably assured just a page ago that the Russian military was basically worthless.

In any case, I think we can all safely assume that Romney's goal was worse relations with Russia. That was the feature, not the bug.
   2536. bunyon Posted: July 19, 2014 at 10:40 AM (#4754255)
If you really want to #### on Putin, then come up with an energy alternative to oil.

It would have that effect but is hardly a "policy". Yes, we should be doing more in that area but it isn't as if freedom from oil is right around the corner.
   2537. Slivers of Maranville descends into chaos (SdeB) Posted: July 19, 2014 at 01:01 PM (#4754311)

It would have that effect but is hardly a "policy". Yes, we should be doing more in that area but it isn't as if freedom from oil is right around the corner.


Reminds me of the Japanese scientist in 1944 who was given orders from the military to come up with a substitute for aviation gasoline "preferably something like air."
   2538. Slivers of Maranville descends into chaos (SdeB) Posted: July 19, 2014 at 01:03 PM (#4754312)
If, on the other hand, the missle were fired from inside Russia, or by Russians, ... then, yes, that's worth going to war over.


Russia shooting down Korean Airlines 007 did not lead to war.

The United States shooting down Iran Airlines 655 did not lead to war.
   2539. Rickey! trades in sheep and threats Posted: July 19, 2014 at 01:07 PM (#4754313)
Basically, the old axiom of it only takes one side to make war. If Putin really wants to keep meddling in Ukraine, the Europeans have to act. As Srul says, Putin is a KGB thug and he is the leader of a powerful nation. You can't just pat him on the head and hope he calms down.


Nor can, or should, we go to war over this incident without *someone* in Europe taking the lead. If Germany or France, or hell, Poland doesn't #### or get off the pot, the US has no causus belli to engage this any more than we already have (sanctions, etc.) If Putin takes his "start a war just to see what happens" shtick to one of the Baltics that joined NATO, the calculus changes. As it is, he's shot down a plane full of mostly Euro and Asian civilians. If that doesn't move the European needle, we can probably assume it's not Obama's fault for being a bad "leader."

(oh, who am I kidding, we all know whatever happens it will be Obama's fault either way.)
   2540. Bitter Mouse Posted: July 19, 2014 at 01:08 PM (#4754315)
Basically, the old axiom of it only takes one side to make war. If Putin really wants to keep meddling in Ukraine, the Europeans have to act. As Srul says, Putin is a KGB thug and he is the leader of a powerful nation. You can't just pat him on the head and hope he calms down.


Well no one has taken war forever off the table, but Ukraine is not worth going to war with Russia. At all. Why do you think Ukraine is vital to US interests? Not a trick question.

Yes I will feel bad if Russia invades. Off course if Russia does invade they will win some initial military victories and then get eaten alive by the populace. It would cost Russia a ton to conquer and hold Ukraine, especially if the resistance is at all determined.

Ukraine and the US are not bound together by treaty that forces our hand. And it is not like Ukraine is the bulwark protecting Europe from the ravaging Russian horde.

No one is suggesting patting Putin on the head, I am all for sanctions and diplomacy, and maybe some military aid - if I am confident it is going to a military that won't fumble the weapons into idiots hands who shot down airliners. But there is zero reason to actively fight in Ukraine or doing anything that could lead to us fighting there.
   2541. snapper (history's 42nd greatest monster) Posted: July 19, 2014 at 01:11 PM (#4754317)
Romney must have been wrong. I was reliably assured just a page ago that the Russian military was basically worthless.

Compared to ours? Or what Germany, France and the UK could field if they wanted to? Yes.

They'd probably need 5:1 or greater superiority to have a chance fighting against a top-notch Western military; just like WW2.

That doesn't mean they can't beat up on small countries if NATO lets them.
   2542. snapper (history's 42nd greatest monster) Posted: July 19, 2014 at 01:16 PM (#4754323)
But there is zero reason to actively fight in Ukraine or doing anything that could lead to us fighting there.

Deterrence.

We should at least make Putin think we might fight.
   2543. Rickey! trades in sheep and threats Posted: July 19, 2014 at 01:24 PM (#4754328)
Deterrence.

We should at least make Putin think we might fight.


It should be made clear that NATO nations are off limits, yes. That's not Ukraine. Again, if this plane thing doesn't move the German needle, no amount of US "leadership" is going to help.
   2544. McCoy Posted: July 19, 2014 at 01:31 PM (#4754330)
Deterrence.

We should at least make Putin think we might fight.


What a moral stand to take.
   2545. zenbitz Posted: July 19, 2014 at 01:36 PM (#4754331)
They'd probably need 5:1 or greater superiority to have a chance fighting against a top-notch Western military; just like WW2.


You might want to read up on the Red Army circa 1943-1944. Admittedly, it took an awful lot of on-the-job training to get them there.
   2546. tshipman Posted: July 19, 2014 at 01:38 PM (#4754332)
Deterrence.

We should at least make Putin think we might fight.


I know you know this, but it isn't 1939 anymore. European nations (really any nations outside of Africa) don't really go to war for territory--there's a good reason for that. Trade is worth more. This all started because Russia wanted to expand the influence of their trading union. They failed. The best deterrence to prevent Putin from invading Ukraine really is more sanctions.

I mean, I don't know how anyone can look at the results that Putin has been getting and think that he's winning. He's increasingly isolated, and his country has less geopolitical power than it did three years ago.
   2547. McCoy Posted: July 19, 2014 at 01:43 PM (#4754335)
I know you know this, but it isn't 1939 anymore. European nations (really any nations outside of Africa) don't really go to war for territory--there's a good reason for that.

Well, yeah, mainly because the most powerful have the best territory or the most powerful are protecting that territory.
   2548. snapper (history's 42nd greatest monster) Posted: July 19, 2014 at 01:50 PM (#4754336)
You might want to read up on the Red Army circa 1943-1944. Admittedly, it took an awful lot of on-the-job training to get them there.

And you should read up on how badly they outnumbered the Germans. Man-for-man, the Russians never matched the Germans, even when they were fielding old men and 16 y.o.'s in '45. They won by massive application of brute force.

Here's the relative strength at Kursk, where the Germans were on the offensive.

Germans
912,460 men[1]
2,928 tanks[1]
9,966 guns and mortars[2]
2,110 aircraft[3]

Soviets
1,910,361 men[4]
5,128 tanks[4]
25,013 guns and mortars[2]
2,792[5][c] to 3,549[6][d] aircraft

The Germans could consider attacking with 1:2 odds, where the normal rule of thumb says you need 3:1 to suceed.
   2549. Slivers of Maranville descends into chaos (SdeB) Posted: July 19, 2014 at 01:57 PM (#4754339)


They'd probably need 5:1 or greater superiority to have a chance fighting against a top-notch Western military; just like WW2.


??


The Germans could consider attacking with 1:2 odds, where the normal rule of thumb says you need 3:1 to suceed.


Kursk was a miserable failure with no chance to succeed.

For most of the later war ('43-'44), the Russians outnumbered the Germans overall around 1.5 to 1. They managed to concentrate their forces better than the Germans on critical parts of the front, though.
   2550. McCoy Posted: July 19, 2014 at 02:00 PM (#4754343)
WWII was a miserable failure with no chance to succeed . . . for the Germans and Japanese.
   2551. Rickey! trades in sheep and threats Posted: July 19, 2014 at 02:00 PM (#4754344)
I mean, I don't know how anyone can look at the results that Putin has been getting and think that he's winning. He's increasingly isolated, and his country has less geopolitical power than it did three years ago.


While not lumping Snapper, who is sui generis at times, in with them, the neocon alliance (here and in general) identify "power" with "they did something with a piece of military hardware." It's not a sophisticated understanding of the world.
   2552. Rickey! trades in sheep and threats Posted: July 19, 2014 at 02:16 PM (#4754351)
They'd probably need 5:1 or greater superiority to have a chance fighting against a top-notch Western military; just like WW2.


The error here is not necessarily bad history. I don't do that WWII history buff rabbit hole that a lot of you guys run down on occasion; not my circus, not my fleas. But the error here, it seems to me, is applying a model where Russia goes to war with the west, whether they need 3:1 man power advantage, or whether they need 5:1, but the nukes stay magically siloed and unused. It's an error of thinking the "unthinkable" is really unthinkable, while projecting unthinkable war conditions on the ground nevertheless.

If the Euro-Asian continent devolves into a hot war where Russia is marching troops of any ratio against Europe, then the calculus where the world doesn't burn has to be revisited. The fact that we walked a tight rope over an irradiated lava field in the 70s and 80s doesn't mean we're destined to never fall off that rope. One point of data is not a trend.
   2553. McCoy Posted: July 19, 2014 at 02:20 PM (#4754353)
Not saying it wouldn't happen by why would the Russians employ nuclear weapons in a war with the West in this environment? Putin is going to destroy his own country because of the Ukraine?
   2554. Mefisto Posted: July 19, 2014 at 02:34 PM (#4754356)
Your exact words from 2319:

"Russia is quite weak conventionally; fewer than 10 divisions, made up mostly of conscripts with low morale.

Russia's not the 2nd strongest military in the world. Maybe not even top-10."

You now say, "That doesn't mean they can't beat up on small countries if NATO lets them."

Which was substantially my original point that Ukraine was defenseless against them, and to which you said, contrary to the quote just above, "Ukraine, fighting on the defensive, can impose heavy costs on a Russian invasion. They took large losses invading Chechnya. Russia will weigh those costs in deciding whether to attack."

In any case, the only reason I referenced your point about Russia's military weakness is it is inconsistent with Romney's fatuous statement that Russia was our "greatest geopolitical foe".
   2555. Rickey! trades in sheep and threats Posted: July 19, 2014 at 02:36 PM (#4754357)
Not saying it wouldn't happen by why would the Russians employ nuclear weapons in a war with the West in this environment? Putin is going to destroy his own country because of the Ukraine?


I'm not saying he would. I'm saying that if you're game planning a scenario where Putin would march the Red Army, at any strength, against the West, you have to game plan the nuclear option as well. Because there's no real scenario where Putin is so isolated and believes his own propaganda so deeply that he rolls tanks into Poland to "defend Ukraine" or whatever, that he draws a line at not using "tactical nukes" at the very least.

And while I think you're probably correct in your assessment that the sanctions are hurting him and the unthinkable is still mostly actually unthinkable, I would caution against how deeply the Russian people are buying into his nationalist rhetoric and absurd propaganda tripe. They, as much as Americans or anyone else, want to believe that they are on the side of angels and defending rightness and purity in the world, and I would bet money to odds that most Russians, being fed the party line via TV, radio and internet, honestly believe that Ukraine shot down that airliner, trying to hit Putin's plane flying home from the World Cup, rather than seeing the world as it is.
   2556. Bitter Mouse Posted: July 19, 2014 at 02:47 PM (#4754363)
I know you know this, but it isn't 1939 anymore. European nations (really any nations outside of Africa) don't really go to war for territory--there's a good reason for that. Trade is worth more. This all started because Russia wanted to expand the influence of their trading union. They failed. The best deterrence to prevent Putin from invading Ukraine really is more sanctions.


Correct. There is no reason for us to fight for Ukraine. Do our best to deter through sanctions, and if Putin invades watch as he dumps blood and treasure trying to hold it. No need for our blood or treasure to be involved AT ALL.
   2557. Srul Itza Posted: July 19, 2014 at 02:59 PM (#4754372)
Geez, it's like nobody here was alive between the 1950's and 1989.

We fought a long battle with Russia, without going to war with Russia. That's why it was called the COLD War. The policy was containment.

You confront them and compete with them diplomatically and economically, and you provide aid and comfort to their enemies by making alliances and raising the stakes for Russian Adventurism.

It is not the policy of the macho, first strike, nut jobs. It is the policy of mature adults who have patience, and who realize that they are engaged in a long struggle that will eventually pay off, without setting the world on fire.

   2558. Depressoteric feels Royally blue these days Posted: July 19, 2014 at 03:06 PM (#4754376)
Pretty much all of Asia, Europe and South America, with exceptions for Russia, China (which I think we have better relations with, but hard to tell), and North Korea. Oh, and Pakistan. Much better relationships with most of Western Europe.
I never comment in these political threads (and I rarely even read them) and there's a reason for that. But I just have to say that the idea that the US under Obama has improved its relationships with most Western European countries is utterly farcical, and could only be written by someone who is completely disconnected with 1.) media coverage of the US in European capitals; 2.) elite/governmental/diplomatic opinions. Do a minority of European left-wing voters sort of "like" Obama? Sure, I suppose. And that's worth...what exactly, in terms of US interests?

In particular, tshipman apparently seems to have absolutely no idea whatsoever (or has failed to consider entirely) the damage that Edward Snowden's NSA revelations have caused to Obama's reputation and to the US in terms of our intelligence and diplomatic relationships in France and especially Germany recently. (The UK is less of a problem in this regard, which is ironic given Glenn Greenwald's Guardian perch.) Regardless of how you feel about Snowden, about the NSA's actions, or about the Obama administration's handling of the affair, what is incontrovertible is that the chill between the US and Germany is real and starts from top (with Merkel, whose phones we were bugging) and extends downward. Germany just kicked the CIA's station chief out of the country, an almost inconceivable symbolic move that speaks to a much deeper freeze underneath the surface.

Furthermore, the contempt of various European diplomatic corps and executives for the Obama administration's paralysis in recent international crises (Libya, Iraq, Syria, etc.) has reached near-toxic levels: it's not that these countries "hate" or "loathe" the US/Obama administration, it's that they simply cannot trust or rely upon them in any important way. Which is worse. (Do you think the Cameron government in the UK feels warmly towards the US after Obama forced them into the historic humiliation of a Parliamentary defeat on the Syrian resolution by moving first for military strikes then backing out and demanding Congressional support?)

Finally, most of the people talking here do not seem to understand how bitter France, Germany, and Poland are (for very different reasons!) about the US's handling of the Ukraine issue, both in the run-up to the Euromaidan revolt and in its post-revolution aftermath. Without delving too deep into the whole mess, there are many who believe the US was clumsy and ham-handed in forcing a stark "Europe (and, impliedly, NATO) vs. Russia" choice upon an ethnically and geographically divided Ukraine, which is what sparked this mess in the first place. You can agree or disagree with that position (strong arguments on both sides), but don't dismiss it as a powerful school of thought in Berlin, Paris, London, and even Warsaw right now.

Either way, the idea that US relationships with our most important Western European allies have "improved" under Obama is so perversely at odds with reality, so divorced from the facts on the ground (and the truly major, international-news level scandals that anyone opining on this subject ought to have been aware of), that it very nearly seems the sort of claim that only a madman could put forth. US/European relationships were indeed damaged by the Bush administration and the Iraq War -- anyone claiming otherwise deserves to have the rest of their opinions on international politics dismissed out of hand -- but that damage was of the sort that admitted of fairly easy repair over time. Obama's missteps have been far more disastrous for our standing with our Western European allies, for the simple reason that they have called into question our most important asset in international dealings: our reliability and constancy.

That is all.
   2559. Bitter Mouse Posted: July 19, 2014 at 03:39 PM (#4754391)
the damage that Edward Snowden's NSA revelations have caused to Obama's reputation and to the US in terms of our intelligence and diplomatic relationships in France and especially Germany recently.


Far be it from me to downplay the NSA mess. I am on record as saying it is a disaster for US interests, but while it has certainly not helped the Obama administration I think you are being very unfair if you are going to tag that fall out as Obama's fault.

That stupid mess has been US policy for a while and it was unveiled during his administration, and so some of the blame is his, but honestly it is a problem that stretches back many administrations and is owned by both parties.

It would have happened no matter who was elected, and suggesting Obama is to blame for the fallout is a bit much. So if we are parsing out factuals and counter factuals regarding US standing I think it can actually be ignored, as terrible a train wreck as it has been.
   2560. Bitter Mouse Posted: July 19, 2014 at 03:43 PM (#4754393)
We fought a long battle with Russia, without going to war with Russia. That's why it was called the COLD War. The policy was containment.


No one is arguing against containment. Like really, no one. The argument is how military or active US involvement needs to be in that containment. Some of us want the US to take a more active leadership role, with stronger military positioning and contribution of arms and such. Others of us want to primarily use economic sanctions and diplomatic pressure and for this particular instance let our European allies take the lead, since it is in their backyard.*

But both sides - as far as I can tell - think Russia is a bad actor that needs to be contained and punished/steered onto a better path.

* Edit: This was the most fair and value neutral description I could come up with for the major points of the two sides.
   2561. Slivers of Maranville descends into chaos (SdeB) Posted: July 19, 2014 at 03:47 PM (#4754396)
Without delving too deep into the whole mess, there are many who believe the US was clumsy and ham-handed in forcing a stark "Europe (and, impliedly, NATO) vs. Russia" choice upon an ethnically and geographically divided Ukraine, which is what sparked this mess in the first place


And yet the biggest cheerleaders for Ukraine joining NATO are Republicans. You don't think a McCain or Romney administration would have conducted the same policy, if not even more so?
   2562. bunyon Posted: July 19, 2014 at 04:03 PM (#4754401)
No one is arguing against containment. Like really, no one. The argument is how military or active US involvement needs to be in that containment.

I think trying to mostly use military or mostly trying to use economic/diplomatic is a major mistake. They all have to be in play to be effective. I mostly agree with Srul. War/no War is not a binary thing.

At the end of the day, I'm glad I'm not charged with making real decisions. No war is obviously the best policy in that we all live much happier and prosperous lives. But if you state that too boldly, you get war. If you are too forceful in your deterrence, you get war. When dealing with a brute like Putin, that is. The peaceniks* here keep telling the neocons that it isn't 1939 anymore. The guy they need to tell is Putin. As his situation worsens, he looks to be getting more aggressive.

So, be strong but not provocative. I'm not enough of an expert to know where that line is. I suspect no one posting here is. (But it's sure fun to talk about).
   2563. snapper (history's 42nd greatest monster) Posted: July 19, 2014 at 04:10 PM (#4754404)
I think trying to mostly use military or mostly trying to use economic/diplomatic is a major mistake. They all have to be in play to be effective. I mostly agree with Srul. War/no War is not a binary thing.

At the end of the day, I'm glad I'm not charged with making real decisions. No war is obviously the best policy in that we all live much happier and prosperous lives. But if you state that too boldly, you get war. If you are too forceful in your deterrence, you get war. When dealing with a brute like Putin, that is. The peaceniks* here keep telling the neocons that it isn't 1939 anymore. The guy they need to tell is Putin. As his situation worsens, he looks to be getting more aggressive.

So, be strong but not provocative. I'm not enough of an expert to know where that line is. I suspect no one posting here is. (But it's sure fun to talk about).


Well said. Agree 100%.
   2564. bunyon Posted: July 19, 2014 at 04:17 PM (#4754407)
Personally, I think letting in so many former Soviet republics to NATO was a mistake. I agree there is no inherent strategic interest of the US's in Ukraine. But there is probably more than in Latvia. Keep letting countries in and sooner or later you have to defend one.

Anyway, my hypothetical above about going to war wasn't just if Russia played a key role in the shoot down but that it was shot down with certain knowledge it was a civilian airliner. All the other shoot downs of civil aircraft have had at least enough color of doubt to move past. I can't imagine we're going to find out that MH17 was identified as civilian and then shot down. I doubt it happened. If it did, I really doubt we find out.

   2565. snapper (history's 42nd greatest monster) Posted: July 19, 2014 at 04:20 PM (#4754408)
Personally, I think letting in so many former Soviet republics to NATO was a mistake.

Isn't it only the 3 Baltics?
   2566. tshipman Posted: July 19, 2014 at 04:21 PM (#4754409)
The peaceniks* here keep telling the neocons that it isn't 1939 anymore. The guy they need to tell is Putin. As his situation worsens, he looks to be getting more aggressive.


This is not accurate (unless you believe that Russia shot down the airliner on purpose?). Putin has significantly backed down in the Ukraine.

I never comment in these political threads (and I rarely even read them) and there's a reason for that. But I just have to say that the idea that the US under Obama has improved its relationships with most Western European countries is utterly farcical, and could only be written by someone who is completely disconnected with 1.) media coverage of the US in European capitals; 2.) elite/governmental/diplomatic opinions. Do a minority of European left-wing voters sort of "like" Obama? Sure, I suppose. And that's worth...what exactly, in terms of US interests?

In particular, tshipman apparently seems to have absolutely no idea whatsoever (or has failed to consider entirely) the damage that Edward Snowden's NSA revelations have caused to Obama's reputation and to the US in terms of our intelligence and diplomatic relationships in France and especially Germany recently. (The UK is less of a problem in this regard, which is ironic given Glenn Greenwald's Guardian perch.) Regardless of how you feel about Snowden, about the NSA's actions, or about the Obama administration's handling of the affair, what is incontrovertible is that the chill between the US and Germany is real and starts from top (with Merkel, whose phones we were bugging) and extends downward. Germany just kicked the CIA's station chief out of the country, an almost inconceivable symbolic move that speaks to a much deeper freeze underneath the surface.


I thought about Snowden.
First of all, there's apparently no counterfactual where NSA is not bugging significant numbers of allies, so don't see the relevance for Obama/not Obama.
Second of all, seriously doubt that the "chill" as you put it is all that meaningful. Frankly, they all knew that we were spying on them already. The ramifications of the spying revelations? EU has gone along with targeted sanctions on Russia, and has been following our lead on negotiations with Iran. I'm failing to see the consequences here. I think it's pretty clear that our relationship is still much better than it was January 19, 2009.

Either way, the idea that US relationships with our most important Western European allies have "improved" under Obama is so perversely at odds with reality, so divorced from the facts on the ground (and the truly major, international-news level scandals that anyone opining on this subject ought to have been aware of), that it very nearly seems the sort of claim that only a madman could put forth. US/European relationships were indeed damaged by the Bush administration and the Iraq War -- anyone claiming otherwise deserves to have the rest of their opinions on international politics dismissed out of hand -- but that damage was of the sort that admitted of fairly easy repair over time. Obama's missteps have been far more disastrous for our standing with our Western European allies, for the simple reason that they have called into question our most important asset in international dealings: our reliability and constancy.


Why don't you tell us again about how the cocktail chatter in DC makes Romney a lock?
   2567. The Yankee Clapper Posted: July 19, 2014 at 04:27 PM (#4754412)
Far be it from me to downplay the NSA mess. I am on record as saying it is a disaster for US interests, but while it has certainly not helped the Obama administration I think you are being very unfair if you are going to tag that fall out as Obama's fault.

Blaming Obama for what happens on his watch, so unfair! LOL.
   2568. Depressoteric feels Royally blue these days Posted: July 19, 2014 at 04:29 PM (#4754413)
And yet the biggest cheerleaders for Ukraine joining NATO are Republicans. You don't think a McCain or Romney administration would have conducted the same policy, if not even more so?
Nowhere in my post was there even a hint of partisan politics. I did not make an argument for Republicans vs. Democrats, neocons vs. realists, or the like. Why are you introducing that tired angle into this subject? It is irrelevant. The collapse of the US's reputation among our Western European allies during the Obama administration -- in a way that is substantively different from the hit we took during prior administrations -- isn't a partisan fact, it is an objective reality. (It can be used as a partisan talking point, to be sure, but that's not what I'm doing nor what I care about.) My account of it was entirely descriptive, not prescriptive. It is orthogonal to my point to say "but what about those other guys who never became President?" The only reality we have is that of the man who IS President.
   2569. Bitter Mouse Posted: July 19, 2014 at 04:42 PM (#4754422)
Blaming Obama for what happens on his watch, so unfair! LOL.


What a fascinating read for what I said. In your happy little world Snowden wouldn't have gone public if Romney or McCain had won? Or is it they would have been so impressed with their manliness they wound't have minded being spied on?

Seriously dude at least pretend not to be so far in the tank for the GOP, at least once in a while.
   2570. Slivers of Maranville descends into chaos (SdeB) Posted: July 19, 2014 at 04:48 PM (#4754428)
Nowhere in my post was there even a hint of partisan politics. I did not make an argument for Republicans vs. Democrats, neocons vs. realists, or the like. Why are you introducing that tired angle into this subject?


You blamed Obama for the supposed decline in US/Europe relations.
   2571. The Yankee Clapper Posted: July 19, 2014 at 04:52 PM (#4754429)
John Kerry doing the Full Ginsburg tomorrow. I have my doubts about whether he's up to the challenge, but we'll see.
   2572. Joe Kehoskie Posted: July 19, 2014 at 04:52 PM (#4754430)
Seriously dude at least pretend not to be so far in the tank for the GOP, at least once in a while.

Irony.
   2573. Depressoteric feels Royally blue these days Posted: July 19, 2014 at 04:52 PM (#4754431)
You blamed Obama for the supposed decline in US/Europe relations.
Sure. But I think what you're failing to see is that this isn't a partisan point. It's just a fact. It happened. He was/is the President. It's his foreign policy. If we'd had different Presidents (Clinton/McCain/Romney whatever) then their foreign policy failures would be THEIR faults too. What doesn't follow necessarily thereupon in my analysis is "oh, therefore You Should Have Voted For The Other Guy/Party!" I Don't. Effing. Care. I long ago ceased viewing foreign policy through a partisan "GOP v. Dems"/"liberal v. conservative" lens, somewhere around the time the Iraq War collapsed and I realized that the neoconservative program I'd once bought into turned out to be a bunch of overly-ideologized bunkum. I try to save my partisanship for domestic politics these days (don't always succeed, but I do try), and in any event I keep it far, far away from Primer.
   2574. bunyon Posted: July 19, 2014 at 04:53 PM (#4754432)
One can blame Obama for mistakes without assuming the Republican would be better/different. Obama has cleared screwed up a number of foreign policy angles like he has a number of domestic issues. If saying so is partisan politics, one can't discuss the world without discussing partisan politics.

I still prefer Obama to the two alternatives (2008, 2012). I still wish he was a better president.
   2575. Depressoteric feels Royally blue these days Posted: July 19, 2014 at 05:10 PM (#4754439)
Personally, I think letting in so many former Soviet republics to NATO was a mistake.

Isn't it only the 3 Baltics?
The Baltics are the only former SSRs that belong to NATO, but you have to also consider the Eastern European countries that used to be Communist satellite states for the USSR: Hungary, Bulgaria, Czech Republic/Slovakia, Romania, and (most importantly of all) Poland. Whether or not you think this idea deserves any respect, Russia (and the USSR) has always considered the existence of friendly -- or at a bare minimum non-aligned -- "buffer states" on its western border to be of the utmost importance, given its historical vulnerability to invasion from that direction. You're free to argue that this is a mere historical anachronism in the modern era, but believe me: the Russians disagree, and it's an attitude that is bred deep into their bones. Therefore, the inclusion of ALL these former satellite states in the United States' military treaty organization -- done at a time when post-Soviet Russia, under Yeltsin was at its nadir in terms geopolitical power and therefore barely able to whimper in objection -- is a massive thorn in Putin's side, something he (and all Russian strategists) perceive as a near-intolerable ongoing threat to their security. Which is why they will never, ever willingly give up their influence in Ukraine: along with Belarus, it's the last buffer they have.
   2576. The Yankee Clapper Posted: July 19, 2014 at 05:14 PM (#4754441)
Blaming Obama for what happens on his watch, so unfair! LOL.

What a fascinating read for what I said. In your happy little world Snowden wouldn't have gone public if Romney or McCain had won? Or is it they would have been so impressed with their manliness they wound't have minded being spied on?

Snowden was hired as a computer security contractor on Obama's watch, vetted on Obama's watch, promoted on Obama's watch, and manipulated lax security to steal highly sensitive information on Obama's watch. How many Presidents get to evade responsibility for what happens while they are in office on the theory that the same might have happened if someone else had been elected? Perhaps Bitter Mouse will apply that standard to a GOP Administration soon. And, of course, it's not just the disclosures, as noted in #2558, there are a lot of reasons relations with our NATO allies have declined under this Administration.
   2577. rr Posted: July 19, 2014 at 05:21 PM (#4754445)
Why don't you tell us again about how the cocktail chatter in DC makes Romney a lock?


Yep. I don't know enough about geopolitics to evaluate how accurate Eso's analysis is, but the the people-in-the-know tone--save it, after the election prediction. In all walks of life, there is a line between "accurate inside information" and "comically ill-informed echo chamber bullshitt." Eso might be on the right side of that line on this issue, but he was as far on the wrong side of it as someone can be on the election.
   2578. Depressoteric feels Royally blue these days Posted: July 19, 2014 at 05:38 PM (#4754451)
Yep. I don't know enough about geopolitics to evaluate how accurate Eso's analysis is, but the the people-in-the-know tone--save it, after the election prediction. In all walks of life, there is a line between "accurate inside information" and "comically ill-informed echo chamber bullshitt." Eso might be on the right side of that line on this issue, but he was as far on the wrong side of it as someone can be on the election.
Please inform me: where did I invoke personal authority as the basis for any of my arguments in #2558? Every assertion I made (whether you agree with it or not) is butressed with analysis or evidence, not "trust me, I know these people" stuff. You're jumping at shadows, looking for an easy insult, which is exactly the sort of small-minded internet BS that made me give up on talking politics on Primer. I have mentioned many times that I was completely wrong about the outcome of 2012 - not the first time I've been wrong, not the last time I'll be wrong either - and it's but one reason I'm pretty much out of the election prognostication game entirely. Bringing that up in situations where it's entirely irrelevant -- not just because it's a non-sequitur intentionally designed to sidestep the substance of the argument, but also because "who will win in 2012?" was by definition a forecast of future events rather than analysis of things which have already happened -- as tshipman did is just a transparent act of intellectual surrender.

And incidentally, even though I didn't make an "argument from authority" here, the irony is: I could have! REAL professional authority, not "Kevin"-like authority. (It's not like I was born an attorney, you know. This is my second career, not my first.) But I've come to believe that such arguments are almost always cheap ones, intended to circumvent and/or shut down discussion in lieu of actual evidentiary support, so I really do try to avoid them.
   2579. Rickey! trades in sheep and threats Posted: July 19, 2014 at 05:41 PM (#4754452)
I blame Bryce Harper.
   2580. Depressoteric feels Royally blue these days Posted: July 19, 2014 at 05:42 PM (#4754454)
I blame Bryce Harper.
I think we can all agree that it probably is that overrated schmendrick's fault.
   2581. Joe Kehoskie Posted: July 19, 2014 at 05:47 PM (#4754458)
not "Kevin"-like authority.

Speaking of Kevin, did I miss some excitement with him, or was he banned again as a matter of belated housekeeping?
   2582. Depressoteric feels Royally blue these days Posted: July 19, 2014 at 05:47 PM (#4754459)
Anyway, I'm pretty much done commenting here. Not saying that in a "oh boo hoo!" way, just in recognition of the fact that even a couple of posts is enough to make me remember why I took a solemn vow nearly two years ago to stay out of OT:P threads altogether.

Believe me, my absence ain't no great loss. I bring virtually nothing to the table.
   2583. tshipman Posted: July 19, 2014 at 05:52 PM (#4754464)
Please inform me: where did I invoke personal authority as the basis for any of my arguments in #2558?


When you invoke no other sources, personal authority is an implicit claim.

Here are your claims in that post:
But I just have to say that the idea that the US under Obama has improved its relationships with most Western European countries is utterly farcical, and could only be written by someone who is completely disconnected with 1.) media coverage of the US in European capitals; 2.) elite/governmental/diplomatic opinions.


You invoke no sources for claim 1, and no sources for claim 2. How do you claim intimate knowledge of elite/governmental/diplomatic opinions? If you look at their actions, there's been no break.

Your argument continues:

Furthermore, the contempt of various European diplomatic corps and executives for the Obama administration's paralysis in recent international crises (Libya, Iraq, Syria, etc.) has reached near-toxic levels: it's not that these countries "hate" or "loathe" the US/Obama administration, it's that they simply cannot trust or rely upon them in any important way. Which is worse. (Do you think the Cameron government in the UK feels warmly towards the US after Obama forced them into the historic humiliation of a Parliamentary defeat on the Syrian resolution by moving first for military strikes then backing out and demanding Congressional support?)


How do you know that the EU diplomatic corps have "contempt" for the Obama admin? How do you know that it's reached "near-toxic" levels? How is this squared with the facts on the ground of increased sanctions taking hold in Russia and continued cooperation over Iran?

Finally, most of the people talking here do not seem to understand how bitter France, Germany, and Poland are (for very different reasons!) about the US's handling of the Ukraine issue, both in the run-up to the Euromaidan revolt and in its post-revolution aftermath. Without delving too deep into the whole mess, there are many who believe the US was clumsy and ham-handed in forcing a stark "Europe (and, impliedly, NATO) vs. Russia" choice upon an ethnically and geographically divided Ukraine, which is what sparked this mess in the first place. You can agree or disagree with that position (strong arguments on both sides), but don't dismiss it as a powerful school of thought in Berlin, Paris, London, and even Warsaw right now.


How are you aware of this "powerful school of thought"? You cite no evidence for your claim, just your opinion.

Obama's missteps have been far more disastrous for our standing with our Western European allies, for the simple reason that they have called into question our most important asset in international dealings: our reliability and constancy.


Why is that our most important asset? Because you say so. Why is Obama acting on Libya, and then not acting on Syria more disastrous than the Iraq war? Because you say so.

So again, why don't you tell us about the DC cocktail chatter some more?

Edit:
Believe me, my absence ain't no great loss. I bring virtually nothing to the table.


Ain't that the truth.
   2584. Slivers of Maranville descends into chaos (SdeB) Posted: July 19, 2014 at 05:55 PM (#4754466)
Sure. But I think what you're failing to see is that this isn't a partisan point. It's just a fact. It happened. He was/is the President. It's his foreign policy.


I think that's too simplistic. Congress has a major impact on foreign policy. If you had argued for a deterioration "since 2000" or "under the President and Congressional leaders", that would have been less partisan.

   2585. Slivers of Maranville descends into chaos (SdeB) Posted: July 19, 2014 at 05:55 PM (#4754467)
How many Presidents get to evade responsibility for what happens while they are in office on the theory that the same might have happened if someone else had been elected?


9/11.
   2586. Joe Kehoskie Posted: July 19, 2014 at 05:59 PM (#4754469)

"Seriously dude at least pretend not to be so far in the tank for the Dems, at least once in a while."
   2587. rr Posted: July 19, 2014 at 06:00 PM (#4754470)
Eso,

Like I said, you may know exactly what you are a talking about on this issue, so I am neither surrendering nor sidestepping anything here. Your beef on that is with shipman, not me. But you are a DCish guy; a hardcore GOP partisan, and somewhat of a GOP insider, and based on your track record on other topics, I am going to take that into account when you are start telling people that anyone with an understanding of the facts knows how badly Obama has f'd this stuff up. So, I would like to see some more of this evidence on the topic. Sorry if you don't like that, but the evidence there is on my side, and you have provided it yourself right from your own keyboard over a period of several years.

As to the election, you may have owned being wrong, but I personally have never seen you do that, and in that post that shipman refers to, you didn't just say "Here's what I think." You pretty much mocked every liberal on the board for denying the obvious, objective truth that we couldn't see because of our emotions, hopes, dreams etc.

As to "arguing from authority", I mostly believe in knowledge base, which is one of the many reasons that I am not on these threads much anymore myself: my knowledge base on most of these topics is pretty thin. So, if you have a knowledge base about foreign policy based in part based on professional experience, whatever one labels it as, that would help the discussion.


   2588. BDC Posted: July 19, 2014 at 06:13 PM (#4754477)
I'm no big expert on European views of the US, but I read the papers. Le Figaro today calls Obama "prudent" and cooperative with Cameron and Merkel on the crash crisis. Le Monde, somewhat further left, sees Obama as getting out ahead of international consensus in blaming Putin so squarely. Neither paper is moaning about how we can't trust Obama and he's not a leader. (Let alone an appeaser; of course these are French papers :) In fact, as I've said, it's always interesting how in European coverage the US is just another power and POTUS just another PM: whereas American media tend to see US positions as all that matter on any issue, and the President as responsible for 98% of what happens in the world.
   2589. Depressoteric feels Royally blue these days Posted: July 19, 2014 at 06:32 PM (#4754483)
I think that's too simplistic. Congress has a major impact on foreign policy. If you had argued for a deterioration "since 2000" or "under the President and Congressional leaders", that would have been less partisan.
There are two separate points I'd parse out here:

1.) While Congress has a minor impact on foreign policy, I think it's fair to say that, as both a matter of Constitutional doctrine AND as a matter of functional reality, its power to affect US foreign policy is dwarfed by that of the Executive Branch. Basically, Congress' powers are limited to yelling at cameras and the occasional Senate confirmation or treaty ratification battle. The House's power of the purse is a nominal 'weapon' that has yet to be deployed during a hot war, for obvious political reasons -- "you're hurting the troops!" -- and which I doubt ever will be, though it did arguably play a role in the rapid fall of South Vietnam after US troops pulled out. Even the power of Congress to formally declare war is curtailed, practically speaking, by the President's vast emergency powers to deploy military force and the likely unconstitutionality of the War Powers Act (a position which every President including Obama has argued for since its passage). So I would argue that foreign policy is almost exclusively an Executive power, and it certainly is the exclusive province of the President in its particulars, as countless Supreme Court cases (e.g. Goldwater v. Carter (1979)) have held. Congress really only exerts indirect power on foreign policy. (A recent example would be Congress expressing disapproval of Bush's Iraq policy by refusing to confirm John Bolton as UN ambassador.)

2.) As I said earlier, there is no doubt at all that the US's relationship with our European allies took a major hit during the Bush years. (Anyone pretending otherwise, or acting as if this was all just the fault of "recalcitrant Europeans," has their head in the sand.) But my argument is that the damage that Bush/Iraq inflicted upon our international relationships was of the sort that is both fairly common historically and which would repair itself over time. In fact, it was the sort of damage which, ironically enough, Obama was poised to reverse almost entirely when he came into office in 2009: a clean sweep of Bush/neocon types whose disastrous war in Iraq and needless abrasiveness had so turned off the French (and to a lesser extent the Germans). The damage done to our European relationships during the Obama era, however, is of a qualitatively different sort: damage to the one currency America had always heretofore been able to rely upon during post-WWII era, namely our reliability and consistency as allies. The seeming 'paralysis' or 'lack of engagement' of Obama's foreign policy, however you care to explain it, has put an enormous dent in the way we are viewed in foreign capitals as a military and/or defense partner. Can it be overcome by a new administration (i.e. the Hillary admin - I'll confess I think she's inevitable in 2016)? Perhaps so, but I doubt it will happen easily. We are ceding ground that will not easily -- if ever -- be regained.

By the way, random as it may seem, I just want to say that I appreciate your civility. Thank you for that.
   2590. Steve Treder Posted: July 19, 2014 at 06:41 PM (#4754486)
We are ceding ground that will not easily -- if ever -- be regained.

Assuming this is correct, to whom are we ceding it?
   2591. A big pile of nonsense (gef the talking mongoose) Posted: July 19, 2014 at 06:43 PM (#4754489)
Speaking of Kevin, did I miss some excitement with him, or was he banned again as a matter of belated housekeeping?


I was asking just a couple of days ago about his & Morty's whereabouts. Surely they haven't run off with one another; I'm pretty certain that Publius is several decades too old for Morty.
   2592. rr Posted: July 19, 2014 at 06:46 PM (#4754491)
Surely they haven't run off with one another; I'm pretty certain that Publius is several decades too old for Morty.

Causa is actually older than Kevin.
   2593. Joe Kehoskie Posted: July 19, 2014 at 06:46 PM (#4754492)

Morty's profile is still active, but he hasn't logged in since June 10. Kevin's, however, is "not available," which leads one to believe he's been banned again.
   2594. A big pile of nonsense (gef the talking mongoose) Posted: July 19, 2014 at 06:47 PM (#4754494)
#2592 -- The reference was actually to Morty's unfortunate views, as expressed more than once, toward relations with the underaged.
   2595. BDC Posted: July 19, 2014 at 06:49 PM (#4754495)
How come nobody ever misses me when I take a few weeks off.
   2596. rr Posted: July 19, 2014 at 06:49 PM (#4754496)
#2592 -- The reference was actually to Morty's unfortunate views, as expressed more than once, toward relations with the underaged.


Ahhh. My bad. Your snark was too subtle for me.
   2597. rr Posted: July 19, 2014 at 06:51 PM (#4754497)
How come nobody ever misses me when I take a few weeks off.

Because you do not engage in bannable behavior. So, people assume that either you are

a) Coming back
or
b) dead

   2598. A big pile of nonsense (gef the talking mongoose) Posted: July 19, 2014 at 06:51 PM (#4754498)
How come nobody ever misses me when I take a few weeks off.


You need to work on your obnoxiousness. Living in Texas isn't quite enough just by itself.

Edit: Cold beverage of his choice to robinred.
   2599. Depressoteric feels Royally blue these days Posted: July 19, 2014 at 06:54 PM (#4754500)
Does anyone know what Kevin's offense was this time? He seemed to be behaving himself, at least the last time I checked.
   2600. rr Posted: July 19, 2014 at 06:58 PM (#4754502)
Edit: Cold beverage of his choice to robinred.


Thanks, but your comment was more clever than mine, since you worked the Texas angle in there. You are way ahead of me today. But then, most people are.
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