Monday, September 9, 2013

On The Other Hand....

Well, it has been a fine start to 5774. Rosh HaShanah was lovely, full of good company, good friends, and good food, followed by a bonus Shabbat dinner on Friday night because the senior son had flown in for the weekend.

                                     Photo by Phil Pierson
Saturday afternoon, we headed up to Duluth for the wedding of his oldest friend. The guys, a mere 2 days apart in birthday land, met in preschool, and despite very different paths, both are musicians…axemen with day jobs. There was no way we were going to miss Evan marrying the woman of his dreams, Breanne…another musician with a day job. One thing that made this wedding so incredibly sweet came at the reception. Ev and Breanne wrote and recorded a song for their first dance. I Do (Today And Everyday) is lovely and touching. Do take a sec to listen. It's just lovely. It makes me totally misty.

And having the senior son to myself for 5 hours (2.5 up and 2.5 back) in the car? Priceless.

Meanwhile, back at blog central, stuff has changed big time in world events, and I'm not talking about Prince Randy Andy getting taken down by the Buck House goon squad while strolling in the garden. 

In the last 24 hours, there has been a serious shift in Syria. 

To be real honest, I was almost relieved when President Obama said he was going to Congress for support on a no-boots-on-the-ground military response. Look, let's be real here: if the President says "day," the putzes in Congress are gonna say "night." That's just how they work. He could not possibly believe he was going to get their blessing. But by going to Congress, any lack of action is no longer his issue. He gets to say, “I was hawkish on this, but Congress forced us to back down.”

The delay, however, may be the mostly timely tactic at all.

I do not believe for one New York minute that Secretary Kerry's offhand suggestion that Syria turn over their chemical weapons to international control was offhand. Bull-oney. It was delivered with the perfect amount right of flip. This gave Russia the opening to pick up the ball and run with it…all the way to Syria. Since they're the only ones talking to President Assad, Putin's pals were in the best possible position to float the idea with Assad.

Amazingly enough, in his interview with Assad, Charlie Rose asks if he would give up chemical weapons if it would prevent an American strike. Assad continues his grand jeté around whether or not Syria even has chemical weapons. He keeps saying he will neither confirm nor deny because the information is classified. Uh, Bashar, if I’m not buying tickets to this ballet, no one else is, either.

Syria...who controls what
Thankfully, Charlie Rose also asked Assad saw how the war should end. Assad continually refers to the rebels as terrorists, but Rose presses him on the issue until Assad says he will talk to them only if they give up their weapons. He says the “armaments of the government are legal armaments,” the others are not. Which translated from the Assad-speak means there is no negotiation from that position. The rebels surrender and winner takes all.

And if the Russians convince the Syrians to turn the chemical weapons over to an international monitoring body with the end result being the destruction of the stockpile? President Obama is off the missile-firing hook, the Russians regain a bit of their much-desired “good guy” status, and Bashar Assad gets to continue prosecuting his civil war without much comment from the West. Everyone wins…except for the Syrian people who continue to die in their villages, live in horrific refugee camps, and stress the resources of refuge countries…all of which destabilizes the region.

In several comments in the NY Times, I asked, “what is the expected outcome of American intervention?" At no point was any sort of expectation made clear. Same thing for the rebels. I keep trying to figure out what, besides getting rid of the Alawite regime, are they fighting for? Are they trying to establish another Islamist nation-state? Are they fighting for or against a secular state? The only remotely sane, quasi believable thing I heard come out of Assad’s mouth was that the death of a secular state would be the death of Syria. 

That might just turn out to be the seriously big elephant in the room. 

Grandma Bessie (z"l), commenting on the death of Egypt’s Gamal Abdel Nasser in 1970, said, “Sometimes its better to know your enemy than to wish him dead.” This might turn out to be one of those moments. It’s beginning to look more and more like a no-win situation.

The Wifely Person's Tip o'the Day
Never underestimate the ability of a skilled community organizer 
to actually get a community to move one way or the other. 

Bonus Tip
For thems that do....have an easy fast!


  1. Evan ... married ... I'm sorry ... I enjoyed readin your political comments, but am in shock about Evan. He was such a sweet kid ...I imagine he is also a sweet adult :)

  2. Putin the peacemaker. How 'bout that. I never thought I'd see the day where the world would look to Russia instead of the U.S. for international calm. Our allies can't count on us to be that steady hand any longer.

    1. To many it may seem that Putin is the man here. Heck, the Right Wingers are falling all over themselves to praise him (yet they still love Reagan like a deity - how does that work). It appears the POTUS and his administration has been working this plan behind the scenes for some time. Even Putin admitted today that he and Obama discussed it previously.
      Obama knows the Right is going to want the opposite of whatever he wants. He put off war last spring when the Right was turning red. In late August he says war to move those Congressional ideologues away from the launch button and then carefully crafts a diplomatic solution that may serve all involved.
      Sure, give Putin the credit. I think the POTUS is fine with Putin taking a round of applause as long as Assad is put in his place (no more chemical weapons) and no young Americans have to die to do it.
      We now return you to your regularly scheduled immigration and budget fights...wait can't we find another distraction from that stuff.

    2. As Spock once said, "Only Nixon could go to China." Well, I would add, "Only Putin could talk to Syria."

      Face it, once a community organizer, always a community organizer. POTUS knows how to do this. And he's really good at this.

      If only he could work on moving congress. Nah. They're not smart enough for that.

  3. Is it true that your Grandma Bessie(z"l) also said "Bomb the basteds!" and that, truth be told, she would not be waiting around for a diplomatic solution?

    Or was that your Grandma Sarah(z"l)???

  4. Interesting...looking forward to exploring more of your blog