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Very Hot Topic (More than 25 Replies) Trump disappoints on Syria (Read 1,582 times)
Demos
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Re: Trump disappoints on Syria
Reply #80 - Sep 9th, 2018 at 9:16pm
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Of course, I could be horribly wrong:

Syria planning poison gas attack on rebels, U.S. says

Another one off air strike wouldn't be meaningful, but if it's an actual escalation, that would be bad.
  
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Queshank
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Re: Trump disappoints on Syria
Reply #81 - Sep 9th, 2018 at 10:08pm
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Demos wrote on Sep 9th, 2018 at 9:12pm:
If you're asking if I think we're going to escalate the situation by increasing troop levels, strikes against Assad, etc., then no. If that were the case, then we would've responded back in July when the regime invaded Deraa. The context and circumstances haven't changed dramatically since then. And I don't think administration officials want that, and frankly, neither does Russia.


No, nothing quite that dramatic.  I'm simply asking if it's a factor.  And if you think Trump ... a guy who focuses obsessively over the "appearances" and the "message" is factoring in the media's over the top critical responses to his suggestions of withdrawal and the threat of impeachment and the coming elections in his decision making process on what to do about Syria.

In the same way recordings exist of both LBJ and Nixon discussing the media and political opposition's influence and strategems on Viet Nam.

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McCain's motivation for supporting intervention in Syria never seemed to be about solely or mainly about Russia. Any concern by McCain about Russia was as bogeyman to push for a sustained U.S. intervention in Syria, as in the article you linked. But McCain was just an interventionist by nature, particularly in the Middle East.


Okay here's the disconnect again between what you're talking about and what I'm talking about.

I'm talking about bogeymen.  You're talking about data.

Bogeymen are the vehicles used by punditry to shape and manipulate public opinion.   The fact that McCain used Russia as a bogeyman to shape and manipulate public opinion is precisely the type of moves and strategems I am talking about Trump's team taking into consideration.

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Trump's responses to domestic political concerns about Russia do not appear entirely conventional however; this is another reason why I don't think you'll see a response in Syria like LBJ or Nixon escalating in Vietnam.


They aren't conventional.  But I think it's an error to suggest they aren't political calculations.

And I want to put the brakes on what you're talking about here.  I do not think we'll see a response in Syria like LBJ or Nixon escalating in Vietnam.  Somehow we crossed a track here into a realm of speculation I haven't touched. Even tho I can see why my rhetoric led you there. 

I am addressing the fact that Trump seems to have flipped and is now bowing to pressure to stay in Syria.  As some articles suggest, Trump is "waking up to the realities" of the situation.

It is my contention that some of those "realities" of the situation involve domestic political calculations as the November elections draw near.

Queshank
  

BowHunter wrote on Nov 30th, 2017 at 10:24am:
I am not aware of any article
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patrick2
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Re: Trump disappoints on Syria
Reply #82 - Sep 10th, 2018 at 3:17am
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Lomelis wrote on Sep 9th, 2018 at 6:13am:
If every person thought like that there would be no army.


But everyone DOESN'T think like that.  Wink
  
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Demos
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Re: Trump disappoints on Syria
Reply #83 - Sep 10th, 2018 at 11:52am
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Queshank wrote on Sep 9th, 2018 at 10:08pm:
I'm simply asking if it's a factor.  And if you think Trump ... a guy who focuses obsessively over the "appearances" and the "message" is factoring in the media's over the top critical responses to his suggestions of withdrawal and the threat of impeachment and the coming elections in his decision making process on what to do about Syria.

If it's a factor at all, I don't think it's been very significant in terms of Syria policy. From what's been reported so far about the decision making, at least some of it has been reactionary, particularly in response to the chemical weapons attacks. And if it's a factor at all, it's not a factor in such a way that it he appears to be concerned about appearing weak vis a vis Russia.

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Bogeymen are the vehicles used by punditry to shape and manipulate public opinion.   The fact that McCain used Russia as a bogeyman to shape and manipulate public opinion is precisely the type of moves and strategems I am talking about Trump's team taking into consideration.

And I don't see they've been particularly successful in trying to shape public opinion on Syria by using Russia that way. The divide on Syria policy is partisan and shows little correlation to overall public opinion about Russia. If they're factoring that into their decision making, they probably see the same thing I see and aren't too worried about it as far as Syria goes. But again, I don't think that domestic concerns about Russia are much of a factor in Syria policy, based on what we've seen thus far.

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I am addressing the fact that Trump seems to have flipped and is now bowing to pressure to stay in Syria.  As some articles suggest, Trump is "waking up to the realities" of the situation.

I think that is more a result of him not having firm foreign policy beliefs (outside the issue of trade agreements). For example, he supported striking Gadaffi in 2011, then opposed it in 2016. He was initially ambivalent about invading Iraq, then came out against. Then we have the examples of what's happened just within the administration since 2017. He has certain instincts he is inclined to follow, but it seems those instincts can be overridden.
  
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Re: Trump disappoints on Syria
Reply #84 - Sep 11th, 2018 at 8:28am
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Oofdah Monday got away from me.

Demos wrote on Sep 10th, 2018 at 11:52am:
If it's a factor at all, I don't think it's been very significant in terms of Syria policy. From what's been reported so far about the decision making, at least some of it has been reactionary, particularly in response to the chemical weapons attacks. And if it's a factor at all, it's not a factor in such a way that it he appears to be concerned about appearing weak vis a vis Russia.


I always admire the way you respond without responding.  The picture I always have in my head is I'm somebody on MSNBC and you're a politician giving an answer Smiley 

You have no problem tacitly admitting it's a factor in the calculations politicians make at the national level by even dismissing McCain calling Syria a Russian proxy war AFTER saying it was a political position he was taking.  (You are admitting McCain was making a political calculation with that and applying pressure to the president to do what he wanted him to do.)

But you won't concede that like every single president from Obama, who told Russia "I'll have more flexibility after the election" and Nixon and LBJ who are both on record talking about "Those damn Dems/Reps/insert opposition candidate here" forcing them to play hands they didn't want to play.  And insinuations from "insider books" regarding the Clinton years as he wagged the dog to distract from Monica Lewinsky.

All because you've seen no evidence of it.  But Demos, there's evidence surrounding us in book after book written about prior administrations and on audio tapes that run into the miles in length that this is definitely a part of our foreign policy.

Why is John McCain playing political games, but there's no possibility any of Trump's advisors had the same thought?

Would you have known Obama was factoring domestic political considerations into his policy on Russia if Obama hadn't been picked up on a hot mic saying it out loud?

Would we have known both LBJ and Nixon were factoring domestic political considerations and the press into their decisions on VietNam if we didn't have recordings picking up conversations in the White House?

Does the concept of "wagging the dog" not actually exist?  It's just a myth?

So now here we are 2 months away from a midterm that could very well see President Donald J Trump removed from office in disgrace, two conservative Justices' denied (because if Trump is impeached if you think they aren't going to move to try to remove Gorsuch and replace him with Garland based on the illegitimacy of Trump's actions you're crazy.)  And an overturning of every 'conservative' victory in the past 18 months including the tax bill.

And you don't think it's a factor in his recent reversal on his position of "getting out of Syria as fast as possible" that he was up til now consistently hammering?  You don't think he has advisors around him harping on this nonstop?

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And I don't see they've been particularly successful in trying to shape public opinion on Syria by using Russia that way. The divide on Syria policy is partisan and shows little correlation to overall public opinion about Russia. If they're factoring that into their decision making, they probably see the same thing I see and aren't too worried about it as far as Syria goes. But again, I don't think that domestic concerns about Russia are much of a factor in Syria policy, based on what we've seen thus far.


You need to widen your scope.

Public opinion is not a factor.  What were the polls before Obama said "I'll have more flexibility after the election" on a hot mic versus what they were after?  You don't know just like I don't.  Because nobody was taking that type of poll before the event happened.  Yet it's definitely something that's gone into the hatred hopper for Obama on the right. That's the flaw in your reasoning here. 

Trump being seen as weak on Russia is a huge soft spot for the Trump administration.  The Democrats know it.  The Republicans know it.  The media knows it.  I know it.  And you know it.

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I think that is more a result of him not having firm foreign policy beliefs (outside the issue of trade agreements). For example, he supported striking Gadaffi in 2011, then opposed it in 2016. He was initially ambivalent about invading Iraq, then came out against. Then we have the examples of what's happened just within the administration since 2017. He has certain instincts he is inclined to follow, but it seems those instincts can be overridden.


Absolutely.  When it comes to most of these individual foreign policy issues, Trump is just the kind of person to be swayed by political considerations.

That's my point.

Queshank
  

BowHunter wrote on Nov 30th, 2017 at 10:24am:
I am not aware of any article
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Demos
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Re: Trump disappoints on Syria
Reply #85 - Sep 11th, 2018 at 12:01pm
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EDIT: Adding this at the beginning, because it colors all of my thoughts on this issue. I don't think the administration has a grand strategy for geopolitical issues, whether its dealing with China or Russia (that's not unique to this administration), so how the administration reacts to one issue doesn't necessary impact how it reacts or implements policy on another issue (e.g., on China, we implemented certain policies; however, our policy toward China didn't seem to have much impact on how we treated India, which was a target of steel tariffs, even though we could use India's cooperation on dealing with China).

Queshank wrote on Sep 11th, 2018 at 8:28am:
You have no problem tacitly admitting it's a factor in the calculations politicians make at the national level by even dismissing McCain calling Syria a Russian proxy war AFTER saying it was a political position he was taking.  (You are admitting McCain was making a political calculation with that and applying pressure to the president to do what he wanted him to do.)

And McCain's play didn't work (not with Obama and doesn't seem to have been a factor with Trump either).

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But you won't concede that like every single president from Obama, who told Russia "I'll have more flexibility after the election" and Nixon and LBJ who are both on record talking about "Those damn Dems/Reps/insert opposition candidate here" forcing them to play hands they didn't want to play...

All because you've seen no evidence of it.  But Demos, there's evidence surrounding us in book after book written about prior administrations and on audio tapes that run into the miles in length that this is definitely a part of our foreign policy.

And with the benefit of that hindsight we can look for tells in this administration and others. We can look at their decision making and see if those considerations are having an impact. Thus far, any domestic concerns about Russia don't appear to be affecting policy in Syria.

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Would you have known Obama was factoring domestic political considerations into his policy on Russia if Obama hadn't been picked up on a hot mic saying it out loud?

Factoring and/or considering but not allowing it to change his policy direction, so not a significant factor. That comment was also about direct negotiations on arms control and missile defense (which was also discussed by Trump and Putin in Helsinski). Maybe on those negotiations they might feel the sting more, but based on what's been happening with N. Korea, I don't think the administration would necessarily factor it in (they're even talking about a 2nd summit there).

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And you don't think it's a factor in his recent reversal on his position of "getting out of Syria as fast as possible" that he was up til now consistently hammering?  You don't think he has advisors around him harping on this nonstop?

No, I don't. And while this particular reversal is recent, he and the administration have been going back and forth on this for a while now. The people in the room with him have their own agendas that have nothing to do with domestic political/partisan concerns about Russia and Trump. E.g., Bolton has his own agenda which has nothing to do with any of that. I think the people in the room making these decisions have broader concerns and agendas.

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Trump being seen as weak on Russia is a huge soft spot for the Trump administration.

Ok, but that doesn't necessarily mean its impacting decisions on Syria. If it was, wouldn't we be doing more to try and counter their efforts in Syria like we've seen with other Presidents?

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Absolutely.  When it comes to most of these individual foreign policy issues, Trump is just the kind of person to be swayed by political considerations.

But as I was saying, the people in the room guiding and directing these decisions don't seem that influenced or concerned with partisan, electoral concerns about Russia. They certainly have agendas - regime change, etc. - but unrelated to campaign concerns. Could they potentially use those concerns to push for their preferred agenda? Maybe, but the only one I could see doing that is Bolton.
« Last Edit: Sep 11th, 2018 at 3:01pm by Demos »  
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Queshank
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Re: Trump disappoints on Syria
Reply #86 - Sep 11th, 2018 at 4:38pm
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Demos wrote on Sep 11th, 2018 at 12:01pm:
EDIT: Adding this at the beginning, because it colors all of my thoughts on this issue. I don't think the administration has a grand strategy for geopolitical issues, whether its dealing with China or Russia (that's not unique to this administration), so how the administration reacts to one issue doesn't necessary impact how it reacts or implements policy on another issue (e.g., on China, we implemented certain policies; however, our policy toward China didn't seem to have much impact on how we treated India, which was a target of steel tariffs, even though we could use India's cooperation on dealing with China).


Okay and I understand that.  And I agree in the main.  Although Trump has definitely been linking China and Korea.  And linking how he deals with Saudi Arabia with Iran.  I'm actually surprised by the number of positive reports I'm reading from sober people about how well the Trump administration seems to understand the Middle East.

But Syria doesn't need to be connected to Iran policy for the "Trump is weak on Russia" minefield to have an influence.  And Syria is definitely connected to our Russia policy in the political mind.  That's undeniable based simply on the sheer volume of punditry penned articles connecting our Russia policy to our Syrian policy.

Given how Trump operates ... where absolutely everything is a political consideration ... I think Trump is more likely than Obama, Clinton, LBJ and Nixon to take political calculations into consideration.   And we have at least 3 of those 4 on tape admitting it.

Why didn't Obama have any flexibility to work with Russia before the 2012 elections?  Was it because the wrong move could have consequences in the election?  Like the elections we have coming up?

Queshank
  

BowHunter wrote on Nov 30th, 2017 at 10:24am:
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Re: Trump disappoints on Syria
Reply #87 - Sep 11th, 2018 at 4:40pm
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Demos wrote on Sep 11th, 2018 at 12:01pm:
But as I was saying, the people in the room guiding and directing these decisions don't seem that influenced or concerned with partisan, electoral concerns about Russia. They certainly have agendas - regime change, etc. - but unrelated to campaign concerns. Could they potentially use those concerns to push for their preferred agenda? Maybe, but the only one I could see doing that is Bolton.


Something I have to point out.

The people in the room guiding and directing these decisions have had no impact on Trump continuing to state he wants to get out of Syria until now.

It's not them that we're talking about changing positions.

What changed for Trump? 

Queshank
  

BowHunter wrote on Nov 30th, 2017 at 10:24am:
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Re: Trump disappoints on Syria
Reply #88 - Sep 11th, 2018 at 4:54pm
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Queshank wrote on Sep 11th, 2018 at 4:40pm:
Something I have to point out.

The people in the room guiding and directing these decisions have had no impact on Trump continuing to state he wants to get out of Syria until now.

It's not them that we're talking about changing positions.

What changed for Trump? 

Queshank


He doesn't want to appear weak on Russia due to domestic, political considerations?

That seems to be where you're headed.

If Trump can't change the geo-political status quo and genuinely wants to, then the deep state is worse than even right wingers fear. I'm not buying it, but the "Russia" consideration IRT Syria has some merit.


  

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Re: Trump disappoints on Syria
Reply #89 - Sep 11th, 2018 at 5:00pm
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Queshank wrote on Sep 9th, 2018 at 7:16pm:
With all due respect, limey.

That is a far more nebulous and abstract concept you're painting as the villain than the rather concrete insinuations I'm making that Russian controversy is a primary motivator and consideration in every single foreign policy decision made by this president.

The thing that disturbs me so much about your particular brand of fearmongering is ... you are literally fearmongering against people who vote contrary to your ideals.




Almost nobody votes against democracy. I’m not sure there are any anti-democracy parties on American or British ballots.


I’m not fearmongering. These are genuine forces in current politics. Your President’s thought processes about the mostly foolish Russian conspiracy accusations are, to me, both opaque and of little interest.

I’m very interested in what that sideshow seems to illuminate, which is the clash of ideas I described.

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It is guys like you that seem to be afraid of democracy and trying to fight it.

Queshank



Nope. Not at all. I’m desperately worried about it being subverted in order to effectively destroy itself.  A healthy democracy will usually only make 35%-45% of people happy with their government. That’s not a reason to be against the idea, nor fear it.
  

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