Tuesday, December 27, 2016


"With great power comes great responsibility"

I learned that concept from a Spiderman cartoon when I was 10 or 11 years old.  

In the original cartoon, Peter Parker (Spiderman's real identity) is told this by his Uncle Ben. But Spiderman doesn't act on this life lesson when a thief robs a man that has just cheated him. Instead of stopping the robber, which Spiderman had the power to do, he lets the robber go. Later his Uncle Ben is killed. When Spiderman catches the masked killer of his Uncle and wants to kill the robber in revenge, he pulls the robber's mask off and recognizes the thief he allowed to escape. 
Spiderman understands that he is partially responsible for his Uncle's death, takes the killer to prison (unlike the movie version) and resolves to be to use his powers responsibly. A superhero is born
The United States came into it's superpowers after WWII. But, I don't think world Superpowers like The United States and Russia got the Uncle Ben Memo.

When I think of Syria and other countries we've stomped into, I don't delude myself into thinking that the United States intervenes in civil wars because we're the good guys. Getting into a proxy war with Russia and Iran or Russia and Country X on one side with the United States and Western Europe on the other, is the way you get a whole bunch of people killed in some land, far, far away.  

If the side the United States backs wins, we call ourselves humanitarians. "So many more people would have died if we hadn't gone. If the side the U.S. back fails,  as happened in Aleppo, then we didn't do enough.

It seems to me the cleanest thing the United States could have done in Syria was to stay out of it. That's because part of me thinks, very simplistically, that a civil war ought to be a civil war. Whoever wins? They win. Proxy wars will just take longer.

A longer war means more dead bodies. A longer war means more desperation, more atrocities. Better for it to be over quickly. Whoever wins? They win. No matter which side wins, the ending of the war quickly preserves the most physical life -- even if it doesn't give everybody freedom. 

The other reality is our own and Russia's desires for empire or failing that allies. I know we can't just sit here watching Russia or China take prop up their favorite regime and do nothing. I know we can't just sit here and wait until another super power starts tromping across the planet like Hitler tried to. 

However, as already stated, proxy wars are evil all the way around.

Vietnam was really the U.S. fighting Russia. Syria was really the U.S. fighting Russia again. And if Russia sends bombs and bullets to one side of the NEXT CIVIL WAR in a new country we will feel like we must supply bombs and bullets to the other side.  We will prolong the next war in the next country.

If we wanted to let a civil war be a civil war and Russia decides to give aid to one side, the most honest thing we could do would be to attack Russian supply lines -- not give aid to one side in the civil war. The most directly honest thing we could do would be to stop other countries from intervening. 

But the U.S. and Russia don't attack each other for fear of provoking a nuclear war. So we stuck. So President Obama was stuck. Wasn't he?

Maybe I'm feeling defensive of President Obama as he leaves office --in a way I probably wouldn't be if the Orange Dragon wasn't waiting for us on the other side of New Years Day.  But I don't know what he could have done differently or better. He didn't have the people's support for a full scale war or even enough support to just match Russia plane for plane, bomb for bomb. 

We the people couldn't even agree that we should take a bunch of Syrian refugees here. And this indecision symbolizes the thing that bothers me most about us. We-The-People can b*tch on both sides of an argument at the very same time. 

In 2008 and 2009, We-The-People wanted the banksters to go to jail. I did too. But we also wanted the economy to recover as quickly as possible. 
Those two things couldn't happen at the same time. 
If you put the banksters in jail, the banksters (a.k.a the 1 %) that escaped justice by the skin of their teeth get scared. If the 1% gets scared, then the stock market tanks. If the stock market tanks, that means investments have stopped. If investments stop, businesses stop hiring. When people don't have jobs because the businesses stopped hiring, the people stop spending money. Then you have a depression instead of recession in 2008 and 2009.  
The next questions becomes: Could President Obama have kept the banksters dangling on a string, indicted sans trial or something, until the economy recovered? 

I don't know. With his black skin and ambient white supremacy being what it is, the main stream press didn't admit that President Obama completely turned the economy from what he inherited from Bush Jr until very recently.  Since, I don't think you can accuse a bankster of criminal activity then prosecute him when the economy is stable 7.5 years later, I think President Obama was stuck as far as never going-hard to put the banksters in jail 
As far as getting legislation passed to stop "too big to fail?" I think we need a whole new congress. We'd have to replace them all in order to get them to stop protecting the interests of the ones who donate to their election coffers.   

The other two things you can't do at the same time is save each city in the world using our military AND not have some of our military get killed. You also can't break Iraq by killing Saddam Hussein, accidentally create ISIL, then watch ISIL flood into Syria and destabilize it under a dictator, then just sit there and do nothing. 

The civil war in Syria wasn't JUST a civil war, of course. But how do you attack cooperatively with a Syrian dictator you despise, but legally represents the country, in order to go in after ISIL? I don't think you can. We didn't. Not really.

Once Syria became but so unstable, Syria's government ceased to exist, which means Syria the nation-state didn't really exist anymore either. What does great power meaning great responsibility look like at that point?  

I know what great power meaning great responsibility didn't look like prior to Aleppo falling. 

It didn't look like We-The-People wanted President Obama to send as many troops as necessary to get the job done. 
It didn't look like We-The-People would take as many refugees as necessary while we helped clean up the mess we helped create. 

From where I sit, it doesn't look like President Obama made the mistake of not going in to rescue Aleppo alone. President Obama and We-The-People made this decision to not-commit together-- much like We-The-People made the decision that the reviving the economy, getting people back to work, and stopping foreclosures was more important than putting the banksters in jail.

You can't make a cake without breaking some eggs. Just like you can't keep the eggs intact and also make the cake, you can't go to war and not lose American lives. Just like you can't keep the eggs intact and also make the cake, you can't bomb the hell out of a country, make people homeless, then pretend you don't have to do something to help the people made homeless (a.k.a Syrian Refugees)

If the United States is guilty of letting Aleppo fall, President Obama isn't guilty of that alone. We-The-People were behind him all the way

* * * * *  
The VOX video below on how and why Aleppo fell is only 4 minutes long.  The break down of what happened in Syria is easily understandable even though it doesn't list even 1/10th of the players involved in the Syrian War. But you'll know which big players did what and why by the time you've finished.

The thing you probably won't understand is probably the same thing I don't understand.  And what I don't understand is how U.S. foreign policy will ever be anything but some sort of huge ugly compromise where our politicians, sans a lick of honor, will decide whether or not to throw OTHER PEOPLE's sons and daughters at a "humanitarian crisis" happening in a country halfway around the world.