Quotes of the day

posted at 8:01 pm on September 15, 2013 by Allahpundit

Syria’s Minister for National Reconciliation said on Sunday that the chemical weapons agreement between Russia and the United States was a “victory” for Damascus, won by its Russian allies, and had taken away the pretext for war…

“This agreement, an achievement of Russian diplomats and the Russian leadership, is a victory for Syria won thanks to our Russian friends,” Ali Haidar told Russian news agency RIA.

“We welcome this agreement. From one point of view, it will help Syrians exit the crisis, from another, it has prevented a war against Syria, having taken away the pretext for one from those who wanted to unleash (it),” he said.

***

“I’m less concerned about style points. I’m much more concerned with getting the policy right,” Obama told ABC’s George Stephanopoulos in an exclusive interview on “This Week.”…

The president said a “verifiable agreement” to disarm Assad of his chemical stockpiles will go further than any U.S. military strikes could have in eliminating the threat of their use.

“If that goal is achieved, then it sounds to me like we did something right,” Obama said…

“I welcome [Putin] being involved. I welcome him saying, ‘I will take responsibility for pushing my client, the Assad regime, to deal with these chemical weapons,’” he said. “This is not the Cold War. This is not a contest between the United States and Russia.”

***

For his part, Syrian President Bashar al-Assad is effectively being rewarded for the use of chemical weapons, rather than “punished” as originally planned. He has managed to remove the threat of U.S. military action while giving very little up in return. Obscured in the debate of the past few weeks is that chemical weapons were never central to the Syrian regime’s military strategy. It doesn’t need to use chemical weapons. In other words, even if the regime does comply with inspections (which could drag on for months if not years), it will have little import for the broader civil war, which Assad remains intent on winning.

If anything, Assad finds himself in a stronger position. Now, he can get away with nearly anything — as long as he sticks to using good old conventional weapons, which, unlike the chemical kind, are responsible for the vast majority of the more than 100,000 deaths so far in the civil war. Let’s say Assad intensifies the bombardment of villages and cities using aircraft and artillery. What if there are more summary executions, more indiscriminate slaughter? What we have already seen is terrible, of course, but it is not the worst Assad can do with conventional weapons…

To the extent that other strongmen are watching this sorry episode and using it to decide whether to use chemical weapons — a somewhat dubious proposition to start with — they are likely to learn a rather different lesson: It may have very well worked for Assad, so why can’t it work for us?

***

At the same time, Obama can cite his threat to use force as the reason Putin suddenly swung into action (this might even be true, to some extent). He can thus take at least joint credit for ridding Syria of chemical weapons and upholding international law. And he is saved from having to make good on letting Congress vote on whether to authorize the use of force—a vote that he seemed all but certain to lose. A win-win-win for Obama.

The only losers in this diplomatic venture are the Syrians. They’re stuck with Assad, and the civil war rages on. But this is how things were before the sarin strike of Aug. 21, which pushed Obama across a red line he didn’t want to cross all by himself—and then pushed him into a compounding crisis of his own making when it became clear that no other institution (not the United Nations, NATO, the Arab League, or the U.S. Congress) wanted to cross with him…

And yet, Assad cannot help but come out of this deal weaker than before. First, he has had to admit that he has chemical weapons—and in fact to lead foreign inspectors to their sites—after earlier denying that he had any. (The sign of weakness here isn’t the admission of a lie but the necessity to come clean.) Second, he has had to submit to a deal struck by two outside powers; he can no longer present himself—to his people, his enemies, or perhaps most fatefully, to his military officers—as a strong, independent ruler. He appears to be, instead, Putin’s lackey and perhaps even Obama’s manservant.

***

The Kremlin needed this breakthrough, not just to improve the prospects for peace in the Middle East but to bolster its international standing, which explains why President Vladimir Putin’s government apparently pressed the Syrians hard for a deal, Alexander Golts, deputy editor in chief of the liberal online publication Yezhednevny Zhurnal said…

“While Putin and Obama are both enjoying the moment of getting each of them out of a difficult situation, Assad should also feel grateful for getting a lot of time to find a way to get rid of the rebels without U.S. missiles falling on his head,” Golts said. “It may take a significant time between Assad giving out the location of his chemical weapons bases, and there may be as many as 60 of them, to the actual deployment of thousands of international experts and troops to protect them let alone utilize or destroy.”

“All Assad needs now is time,” he added. “So Assad is the ultimate winner.”

***

“You have a very limited time to do as much as you can with maximum political support,” said David A. Kay, who led major efforts in the 1990s to find and destroy Iraq’s unconventional arms. “The political support will start to erode. The people you’re inspecting will get tired. So you want to do as much as you can, as quickly as you can.”…

“We don’t want to create another chemical weapons disaster; Syria has already had several,” said one senior administration official who has knowledge of the meetings over how to separate Mr. Assad from the arsenal that he and his father have built up over the past three decades. He insisted on anonymity because he was discussing internal deliberations. But if Mr. Assad does not put on “a big, demonstrable show” to prove to the Syrian military that he is “giving up the crown jewels,” the official said, “this isn’t going to work.”

Robert Joseph, a former top national security official under President George W. Bush who helped create the requirements for Libya when it gave up its nuclear program and chemical stockpiles, said Libya complied because “the Libyan leadership believed that it would be attacked” if it did not abandon its program.

“I doubt Assad has that worry now,” he said, though White House officials insist that President Obama’s declaration that he is keeping military forces in the Mediterranean on alert sends that message.

***

Mr. McCain, Arizona Republican and a defense hawk who’s called for more forceful action in Syria, said the agreement went soft on Syrian President Bashar Assad despite tough talk from President Obama in the wake of an Aug. 21 chemical attack on civilians near Damascus.

“And by the way, they didn’t even assign blame for this attack,” Mr. McCain told NBC’s ” Meet the Press.” “In fact, [Russian President Vladimir] Putin in his op-ed piece — a stirring piece — said that it was the rebels, it was the Free Syrian Army that committed this. There is not a seriousness on the part of the Russians.”…

I think it’s a loser, because I think it gave Russia a position in the Middle East which they haven’t had since 1970,” he told NBC. “We are now depending on the good will of the Russian people if Bashar Assad violates this agreement. And I am of the firm belief, given his record, that is a very, very big gamble.”

***

But this defeat is not irreversible, if US policy is still to get rid of Assad. Whether from internal dissension within the regime, pressure from rebels, or a combination of both, Assad can still go down. That would turn a diplomatic defeat into a real world win. Obama would make his point, and Putin would be left playing air guitar…

So if the administration still believes that US interests would be served by the overthrow of an inept and brutal dictator who has violated one of the most fundamental taboos in international life and who is strategically linked with America’s most dangerous opponent in the Middle East, then the road forward is clear. Under cover of the deal with Russia, the US administration will encourage and perhaps, from far in the rear and in relatively quiet ways, assist the Saudis and others who see the overthrow of Assad as the next step in the process of containing Iran…

So far, playing for time on Syria has just made things worse, but who knows? Tomorrow is another day. We shall see.

***

But the second prong of the Putin doctrine (or ultimatum) may be more urgent in practical terms, as these “negotiations” wend their way through a succession of global meeting places. To say that we “must return to the path of diplomatic and political settlement” means that we must reach a new carve-up. The Cold War pact with East and West having their mutually agreed spheres of influence may not stand any longer, but a new deal will have to be done. The old imperial Russia, without even the ideological gloss of communism, is on the march. It isn’t about defeating the evils of capitalism any more: Russia is now in a robber-baron stage of capitalist development that would make 21st-century Americans blanch. No, it’s just about territory and geopolitical clout. (Maybe that’s what it was always about – even in the Soviet era.)

Significantly, Mr Putin’s most notable target has been American exceptionalism. But he has proceeded to lay claim to precisely the idea on which that exceptionalism is based: although we are all different, he says,“God created us equal”. And by saying that, oddly enough, he acknowledges that the language of God-given universal rights is now the only acceptable currency of international relations. Did he really mean to do that? A lot could hinge on the answer.

***

A Geneva peace summit on Syria is still being discussed. Several U.N. diplomats see the new developments as groundshifting and are waiting to hear from U.N. and Arab League special envoy Lakhdar Brahimi.

Referring to the ongoing civil war, Ban on Friday said that Assad “has committed many crimes against humanity.”

“This may be the beginning of a realization by Russia that a transition is in the cards,” a Security Council non-permanent-member diplomat said, “and, therefore, an international conference is a must.”

***

By partnering with Russia and the West on the disarmament process, a process that is meant to last into 2014 (and most likely won’t be finished for years, even if it is carried out in good faith, which is a big “if”), Assad has made himself indispensable. A post-Assad regime wouldn’t necessarily be party to this agreement, and might not even go through the motions. Syria, post-Assad, might very well be more fractured and chaotic than it is now, which is to say, even less of an environment in which United Nations weapons inspectors could safely go about their work. The U.S. now needs Assad in place for the duration. He’s the guy, after all, whose lieutenants know where the chemical weapons are…

This plan probably won’t work. Assad is a lying, murdering terrorist, and lying, murdering terrorists aren’t, generally speaking, reliable partners, except for other lying, murdering terrorists. In any case, disarmament experts say that this process, properly carried out, would take years and years to accomplish, but of course they really don’t know how long this might take because no one has ever tried to locate and secure hundreds of tons of chemical weapons on an active battlefield, particularly one in which Hezbollah and al-Qaeda are vying for supremacy…

Who are the real losers in this episode? That one is easy. The Syrian people. They will continue to be raped, tortured and slaughtered in their homes, in their markets, on their streets, in their hospitals and in their mosques. So long as they die in conventional ways, no one will pay their deaths much mind at all.

***

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Visit NBCNews.com for breaking news, world news, and news about the economy

***

“Who cares? If it has a chance to get rid of chemical weapons, do we really care that Russia got the diplomatic edge?”


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Unless there is some radical enlightenment, it won’t matter a bit. The media satiates the zombie horde that just wants Xbox, snap cards, TMZ, free stuff, etc. They will need to experience real mortal pain before they awaken.

Murphy9 on September 16, 2013 at 12:39 AM

.
I am giving even odds that China and Russia engineer a move away from the USD as the world reserve currency BEFORE January 20, 2017.

Waking up to find out EVERYTHING costs 3 – 4 times as much should be enough mortal pain for any of the L.I.V.’s.

America experienced another “Pearl Harbor event” this past week … but this time the media didn’t report it as such.

PolAgnostic on September 16, 2013 at 1:18 AM

Has anyone shot a revolver in .327 Federal Magnum? I’m hearing good things about them, but haven’t made time to shoot one yet.

novaculus on September 16, 2013 at 1:03 AM

.
No, but cooler weather is here and my shooting buddy is the type who buys different things “just to see what there like”. I’ll have to see if he has one he has picked up along the way.

PolAgnostic on September 16, 2013 at 1:21 AM

Ruger. P95.

Jt’s a good gun. I own one. It a serves me well. Blueing worn off, it rolls on. Everyday.

wolly4321 on September 16, 2013 at 1:22 AM

Although, to be fair, the NYC cops only shot three rounds and scored two hits, so I guess that’s pretty good …

ThePrimordialOrderedPair on September 16, 2013 at 12:53 AM


LOL!

And no doubt, those women already have personal injury lawyers representing them – so each “hit” will cost NYC at least $ 250k

PolAgnostic on September 16, 2013 at 1:23 AM

PolAgnostic on September 16, 2013 at 1:12 AM

I haven’t shot the Ruger LCR. I’ll put it on the list along with something in .327 Federal Magnum.

A lot of the smaller pistols are “blowback” designs that need a heavy spring and they are difficult for some people to use as a result. This is the reason that some people have a hard time manipulating the smaller pistols but can work bigger locked-breech design pistols just fine. My “small” pistol is an old Star Model S which is a .380 ACP but a fairly close copy of the 1911 with a locked breech design. The lighter spring makes it much easier to work the slide. It has the added benefit for me of having the same controls as a 1911 so I don’t have to learn different control layouts AND remember which one I’m using when the chips are down.

So it isn’t as simple as it may seem. A smaller revolver or pistol can be harder to use and shoot accurately than a larger one. That’s why you try them out.

novaculus on September 16, 2013 at 1:27 AM

“If that goal is achieved, then it sounds to me like we did something right,”

So Obama’s real goal was to keep Assad in office so he can kill more of his citizens?
Obama is a joke.

albill on September 16, 2013 at 5:43 AM

Obama and Kerry are idiots and they also know they are full of BS. It’s all cynical posing. A show.
Only the informed folks know the score and they are outnumbered by the low information fools who elected and still support this president out of sheer idiocy and or racism.

Sherman1864 on September 16, 2013 at 5:48 AM

Obama’s Nobel Peace Prize should be rescinded and given, instead, to Vladimir Putin

roflmmfao

donabernathy on September 16, 2013 at 5:57 AM

As I approach the milestone of reaching 100 Twitter followers, I just want to thank you all for encouraging me these many months. KingJester has been a particular source of inspiration for me, as has Flora Duh (before her unfortunate break down, that is.)

@bluegill4ever is my twitter name, and the next milestone is 1000 followers.

https://twitter.com/Bluegill4ever

I have good feelings about 2014 and 2016.

bluegill on September 16, 2013 at 6:09 AM

Oh, Dear God.

kingsjester on September 16, 2013 at 6:44 AM

Obama’s Nobel Peace Prize should be rescinded and given, instead, to Vladimir Putin

donabernathy on September 16, 2013 at 5:57 AM

Hey! Obama isn’t only an affirmative action President, he is also an affirmative action citizen of the world. White recipients of the Nobel Peace Prize have to have spent an entire career working toward global peace. But if you’re a lazy stupid community agitator, you get the Nobel it as part of the inagural swag bag.

Happy Nomad on September 16, 2013 at 6:48 AM

CW and Koolaid. Thanks for the answers. Sorry I didn’t stay last night to thank you then. Tired.

smoothsailing on September 16, 2013 at 6:52 AM

Obama’s Nobel Peace Prize should be rescinded and given, instead, to Vladimir Putin

donabernathy on September 16, 2013 at 5:57 AM

Good luck getting the money back. Its already been spend on golf lessons and BBQ. Oh, and a new dog. Which may or not end up being BBQ.

Seriously, the Nobel Peace is a liberal joke. It used to honor real heroes who helped to avoid bloodshed. Now its a token award expected from key liberal leaders from the Global Liberal Mutual Admiration Society.

smoothsailing on September 16, 2013 at 6:57 AM

The old imperial Russia, without even the ideological gloss of communism, is on the march. It isn’t about defeating the evils of capitalism any more: Russia is now in a robber-baron stage of capitalist development that would make 21st-century Americans blanch.

Really?

What period of it during the ‘robber baron phase’ in the US had Federal police extorting protection money from businesses to line the pockets of the police? I must have missed that one. And what period was it that had a US CEO exiled to prison on trumped up charges by courts that had Federal police ‘advisors’ attached to them to inform judges of the way things went in the case?

When the richest man in Russia seeking to open its society up and start a civil understanding of the people of Russia puts his personal money behind the project and gets tossed into Siberian prison and stripped of his company, you have to wonder just what this ‘robber baron’ phase that is talked about. Because US robber barons like Carnegie and Rockefeller sure had more leeway in starting civil projects to enrich the general population than Khodorkovsky has at this moment. Russia is a police state run by the police, and the elections that put ex-FSB and ex-KGB members into the Duma brings into question just why anyone thinks the laws are tilted to leave businesses run free… when the Secret Police runs the parliament, runs the police and strong-arms the judiciary, plus has the Head of State, isn’t that pretty much the opposite of a ‘robber baron phase’? It is, however, a good working outline for a fascist state…

ajacksonian on September 16, 2013 at 8:12 AM

As I approach the milestone of reaching 100 Twitter followers, I just want to thank you all for encouraging me these many months. KingJester has been a particular source of inspiration for me, as has Flora Duh (before her unfortunate break down, that is.)

@bluegill4ever is my twitter name, and the next milestone is 1000 followers.

https://twitter.com/Bluegill4ever

I have good feelings about 2014 and 2016.

bluegill on September 16, 2013 at 6:09 AM

Just looked at your link, and it shows 154 followers… Did you pick up 55 in the last 2 hours?

PointnClick on September 16, 2013 at 8:22 AM

Just looked at your link, and it shows 154 followers… Did you pick up 55 in the last 2 hours?
PointnClick on September 16, 2013 at 8:22 AM

When it rains, it pours.

Word is getting out. @bluegill4ever on twitter is where it’s at! :-)

bluegill on September 16, 2013 at 8:27 AM

LOLZ!!! I mean it man, every body likes me man.

Bmore on September 16, 2013 at 8:50 AM

One of HA’s commenters, BKeyser got a a mention from Iowahawk.

David Burge ‏@iowahawkblog 29m

Mad props to @b_keyser who created that Nobel-winning horsey ride Photoshop. https://twitter.com/b_keyser/statuses/378691740779425792

Congrats BKeyser! ; )

Bmore on September 16, 2013 at 9:56 AM

bluegill on September 16, 2013 at 6:09 AM

Heh! I seldom read your comments, but I did this one. Don’t stumble on that ego. It’s huge.

I can see now why you are are the butt of so many jokes on this site now. I had often wondered……..

Negative attention is better than no attention at all, I see.

avagreen on September 16, 2013 at 12:46 PM

lol

I’m so glad I checked this thread.

Axe on September 16, 2013 at 4:38 PM

Axe on September 16, 2013 at 4:38 PM

Why? Short thread. Thin thread. What did ya see?

Bmore on September 16, 2013 at 7:09 PM

Axe on September 16, 2013 at 4:38 PM

It was this wasn’t it?

Oh, Dear God.

kingsjester on September 16, 2013 at 6:44 AM

Bmore on September 16, 2013 at 7:11 PM

Bmore on September 16, 2013 at 7:11 PM

lol — it was perfect. :)

Axe on September 16, 2013 at 7:34 PM

Yep, I thought so.

Bmore on September 16, 2013 at 10:07 PM

When it rains, it pours.

Word is getting out. @bluegill4ever on twitter is where it’s at! :-)

bluegill on September 16, 2013 at 8:27 AM

…no shit!…I’ve been telling you that!

KOOLAID2 on September 16, 2013 at 10:11 PM

Comment pages: 1 2 3