For MEB, forever.

The name As(s)sad is in parentheses, because you see it both ways, if specialists use one S more, the reason for the difference being different systems of transliteration.

I wanted to see exotic Vietnam... the crown jewel of Southeast Asia. I wanted to meet interesting and stimulati… Read full post »

For MEB, forever.

Senseless in this case refers to Clausewitz in his classic On War, and refers to his core notion that war is the pursuit of policy by other means.

There is an unavoidable policy rationale for some strong signal in the Syrian use of chemical weapons, military action the… Read full post »

For MEB, forever.

People have different strategic tastes, as to stating exactly what one would do or not do, historically speaking Republicans preferring what John Lewis Gaddis called an "asymmetric approach," on average, Democrats preferring to specify contingencies.

As an example, Ambassador Glaspi… Read full post »

For MEB, forever.

It would be risky because it would tempt a response, but clever, because if there were not a response, it would have system impact on credibility of American statements on national security.

It would be clever to try to label a chemical attack a false flag, seeming to… Read full post »

For MEB, forever.

That is a good thing about chemical weapons, that it minimizes property damage.

Thank Dr. Assad for reminding us of the good features of chemical weapons, a higher form of killing.

On reflection, maybe we should have more of it in the future: "Just spray them, like cockroaches."… Read full post »

For MEB, forever.

That of course is what the President has decided to do, to ask the Congress for authorization to use force against Assad, after having deployed such a lovely strike force to do that already.

Clearly there was the potential for a significant bombardment of the Assad regime, easily… Read full post »

For MEB, forever.

In the Balkans, tens of thousands died, until the United States finally got embarrassed enough to do something about it, which did require the use of force.

The massacre at Srebrinica was important in that process.

For all the critics over the years, the peace has held in… Read full post »

For MEB, forever.

In a populist democracy, popularity wins, and so perhaps we'll see a stunning about face, if then I bet we'd regret that a little while down the road.

That is a different question than waiting for UN Inspectors to make their conclusions.

But as to why the Syrian… Read full post »

For MEB, forever.

Member States of the UN make certain committments, one of which is to not initiate the use of weapons of mass destruction, clearly at issue in Syria.

More than likely, the Syrian government initiated the use of weapons of mass destruction as a challenge, in order to achieve… Read full post »

For MEB, forever.

It is of course true that the use of chemical weapons as a "false flag" or psychological-military information support effort has been claimed to have been in the offing, if by pro-Russian sources in the main.

That almost looks like a passive-aggressive tactic, to stage a confrontati… Read full post »

This contains material from NSA intercepts of the meeting between Dr. Pest Control Assad and Jessie and Mr. White.

"Yo, Dr. Assad, gassing thousands of people, way to go biatch!"

"Nice to meet you too Jessie. I have admired your scientific efforts for some time now."

Assad then turns to Mr.… Read full post »

For MEB, forever.

WMD, weapons of mass destruction.

Most would agree that the use of chemical weapons munitions of a lethal quality by their nature, would be a use of Weapons of Mass Destruction, which is what has been alleged to have occurred in the Syrian suburb of Ghouta, Damascus region.… Read full post »

For MEB, forever.

That remains unclear as to whether or not Assad did use chemical weapons, if the timing would make sense one could argue, possibly.

As to the difficulty, if he used chemical weapons on a major scale, that is a direct affront to U.S. policy as to that issue,… Read full post »

For MEB, forever.

35 years is a long time in prison, if the offenses in question as to deliberate and multiple breaches of secured computer communications were serious too.

It's a sad case, because from what one reads, Pvt. Manning probably should have been discharged from the Army in the first… Read full post »

For MEB, forever.

That's not an easy question, if its an important one too.

Egypt matters first of course because of Suez, if hardly just because of that.

As the largest Arab country by population, in the years since WWII, Egypt has set the tone for much of the… Read full post »

For MEB, forever.

The Central Intelligence Agency "admitted" this week what people had known for a long time: In 1953 the CIA organized the coup that overthrew the elected Prime Minister of Iran, Mohammad Mossadegh.

It didn't stay a secret that long, if it was a well-executed operation for its day,… Read full post »

For MEB, forever.

Clearly, the Obama Administration is in a difficult position with Egypt, as is America.

Our American ideals say "Support a democratically elected government," while practicalities suggest that government in Egypt under President Morsi was not if fact so democratic, particularly in o… Read full post »

For MEB, forever.

That's the seeming type of choice now in Egypt, like on September 11, 1973: A populist leading the country on a dangerous economic path, but who won an election, or the military led by a Pinochet, which will kill some of its opponents, in Chile, about 3,000. It will impris… Read full post »

AUGUST 16, 2013 1:26PM

Of the Muslim Brotherhood and the FIS

For MEB, forever.

The FIS were the descendants of the Islamist parties who won elections in Algeria in 1991, not dissimilar to the Muslim Brotherhood in Egypt.

In both cases, the Islamist parties capitalized on regimes suffering from gradual loss of legitimacy originally acquired in fighting the West… Read full post »

For MEB, forever.

Empire is in quotes because we are not an empire in the sense of territorial annexation or overlordship, per respectively the Romans and the British, even as the scale of our alliances makes us functionally similar to an empire.

All empires have difficulties at times with varying op… Read full post »

For MEB, forever.

A lot of people died in Cairo today, as the Egyptian security forces cleared out President Morsi's supporters from their protestor camps.

It's unsettling, and tragic, and as old as time, like, when the question in Chile was: Allende or Pinochet?

When politics comes down to brass tac… Read full post »

For MEB, forever.

The Obama Administration clearly hoped to avoid an Israeli preemptive strike on Iran's nuclear programs long enough for the Iranian elections to possibly alter Iran's course.

The new Iranian government's offer this week to "engage in serious diplomacy" means that strategy was not wi… Read full post »

For MEB, forever.

It's not the most exciting topic, bugdeting that is, if without a budget, no government can survive for long, failing ultimately in the first function of all governments, national defense.

As to the Sequester, which is a set of across the board cuts in domestic and military spending… Read full post »

For MEB, forever.

There was a very interesting article in the New York Times this Sunday about the development of the New Silk Road.

The New Silk Road is like the old one, not so much one road, but many paths across the interior of the Eurasian landmass, if… Read full post »

For MEB, forever.

My home county of Jefferson, Alabama, had the previously largest filing of a municipality in history, 3 billion dollars.

There was a lot of hardship associated with that, and still is.

There are lessons in that filing that are important, including the cost of federal mandates, as… Read full post »