"a philosophy of national security reflecting the preference of most Americans?"
That's where Ted Cruz is apparently trying to position himself, between the extreme isolationism of candidate Rand Paul, and the extreme interventionism of candidate Marco Rubio.
A Cruz Doctrine would ask of military action:
"How does it keep America safe? If it's keeping America safe, we should do it. If it's making America more vulnerable, we shouldn't do it."
At a recent Iowa town hall, Cruz rejected the choice being between "retreat from the world and be isolationist and leave everyone alone, or we've got to be these crazy neocon-invade-every-country-on-Earth and send our kids to die in the Middle East."
He added: "Most people I know don't agree with either one of those. They think both of those are nuts."
This is comparable to a debate I had with jk in June of 2014. Our differences were nuanced, but generally along the same lines as Cruz v. Rubio.
At the time I said Obama was right not to invade Syria in pursuit of Islamic State. While jk did not disagree, he did stand in support of "some of the excesses of neo-conservatism." Cruz seems to sense that most Americans are no longer willing to endure those excesses.
Instead of nation building, how about a principled realpolitik under which America defeats terrorist regimes with massive force, then swiftly brings the boys home -- making it clear We Shall Return if terrorists are replaced with other terrorists. (...)
Cruz may be the only Republican to explore this apparently verboten notion of having the kind of foreign policy every other civilized country in the world has -- placing our own interests first.
I suspect I might be El Lobo Solo on this topic. Please allow me to make my point and I'll certainly accept competing views.
I think that we should accept Syrian refugees. The figure I've heard bandied about is 10,000 and that is a number with which I am comfortable. I would rehash many of my pro-immigration arguments, but add a moral feelsy element (OMG! He's turning into Rod Dreher!)
I recall the Cambodian "Boat People" from my youth. Our country accepted many, and our church adopted a family whom I got to know pretty well. A sizable hunk of the diaspora found homes and Americanism. I will appreciate the differences between Cambodians and Syrians in today's political tenor, but I would ask others to consider the similarities. Bad guys that we were fighting took over their homeland and made life untenable.
Reason did a nice piece, but my favorite was done by the folks at FEE. This is not Mother Jones, and I am not calling you racists for disagreement.
What I'll add is that we need to assess risk and act accordingly. That may be what separates us from the animals. I do NOT claim that the UN and our illustrious government will be super sharp at screening refugees. Certainly they will not. Out of 10,000 refugees, we will certainly introduce some people who mean us harm.
That's bad. But how many new terrorists will be born next year to US citizens? How many will be recruited in prisons? How many will come in and overstay Visas? A gob more. Are these guys super-evil-geniuses? Do they have nukes hidden in their socks? Nope. I don't whole-heartedly endorse the FEE piece, but think them right that other entry methods are far easier to exploit.
A Facebook meme (love 'em!) shows a dish of M&Ms and says "Two of these are poison! Would you give them to your family?" No. I'm a grownup who ways marginal costs, risk, and marginal benefit. The cost to throw away a dish of candies is nothing compared to the harm. The cost of discarding 10,000 human lives is more substantive.
UPDATE: Cato puts what I was trying to say more clearly:
Of the 859,629 refugees admitted from 2001 onwards, only three have been convicted of planning terrorist attacks on targets outside of the United States and none was successfully carried out. That is one terrorism-planning conviction for a refugee for every 286,543 of them who have been admitted. To put that in perspective, about 1 in every 22,541 Americans committed murder in 2014.
"Headquarters of terrorist group and an arms depot were destroyed in the region of Ildib, as well as a militant three-level fortified command point in the region of Hama," Moscow's ministry of defense said.
It also said Su-24Ms and Su-25s, aircraft first put in service by the Soviet Union in the 1970s, made eight sorties against the IS targets, and succeeded in avoiding civilian casualties.
Meantime, the U.S. in over a year and three months can't make meaningful gains against IS.
It looks like Vladimir Putin has finally found a use for Secretary of State Clinton's "reset" button. That was easy!
None of this was imaginable before Barack Obama came on the scene. Russia, while clearly ambitious for more global power under Putin, had apparently permanently lost its standing as a global superpower.
It took a U.S. president committed to revolutionary change in America's role in the world to reawaken the Russian bear and provide an opening for Putin's aggression.
When the U.S. fulfills its role as leader in the world, we are criticized, even ridiculed. But we are respected. Putin's Russia is not about to be loved, but it may begin to be greatly respected if it starts doing things that the U.S. is supposed to do but won't.
Indeed, the problem in Syria is not so much with the Russians -- or Iran, Hezbollah and Assad, all of whom see the Syrian civil war correctly as a fight to the finish against Sunni jihadis.
Our problem has been that we have let our friends -- the Turks, Israelis, Saudis and Gulf Arabs -- convince us that no victory over ISIS can be achieved unless and until we bring down Assad.
Once we get rid of Assad, they tell us, a grand U.S.-led coalition of Arabs and Turks can form up and march in to dispatch ISIS.
This is neocon nonsense.
Those giving us this advice are the same "cakewalk war" crowd who told us how Iraq would become a democratic model for the Middle East once Saddam Hussein was overthrown and how Moammar Gadhafi's demise would mean the rise of a pro-Western Libya.
When have these people ever been right?
In making ISIS, not Assad, public enemy No. 1, Putin has it right.
It is we Americans who are the mystery inside an enigma now.
The Syrian government's antiquities chief Mamoun Abdulkarim said he had no doubt that if Palmyra fell to the jihadists, it would suffer a similar fate to ancient Nimrud, which they blew up earlier this year.
'If ISIS enters Palmyra, it will spell its destruction... it will be a repetition of the barbarism and savagery which we saw in Nimrud, Hatra and Mosul.'
But I shall not just complain without suggesting a solution.
These heavily armed aircraft incorporate side-firing weapons integrated with sophisticated sensor, navigation and fire control systems to provide surgical firepower or area saturation during extended loiter periods, at night and in adverse weather. The sensor suite consists of a television sensor, infrared sensor and radar. These sensors allow the gunship to visually or electronically identify friendly ground forces and targets anytime, anywhere.
I do not feel that my choice of title is overwrought.
The whole questionable debate on American war weariness aside, the U.S. military is not war weary and is fully capable of attacking and reducing IS throughout the depth of its holdings, and we should do it now, but supported substantially by our traditional allies and partners, especially by those in the region who have the most to give - and the most to lose - if the Islamic State’s march continues.
From a must read article by General John R. Allen, USMC retired. He gives the President great credit for actions taken in the theater thus far, but makes a profound plea for his annihilation of Islamic State immediately.
For its part, the White House has finally unleashed the "t-word."
"When you see somebody killed in such a horrific way, that represents a terrorist attack," White House Deputy National Security Advisor Ben Rhodes told reporters. "That represents a terrorist attack against our country, against an American citizen, and I think all of us have the Foley family in our thoughts and prayers."
A Facebook friend compared the Islamic State movement [ISIS] to Nazism in 20th century Germany. Given the wholesale mass murder that both ideologies engaged in, I think the comparison is a good one, and completely leaps over Godwin's Law. I replied with the following comment:
The analogy between "ISIS" (Islamic Statists) and NAZI Germany is apropos, but I think there is a more timely analogy for IS - namely, the Ebola virus. Islamism is an ideological virus comparable to the biological virus. Both viruses kill or make carriers of the majority of people which they contact. Both are merciless, and have no goal but their own propagation. Both pose a threat of spreading to every nation on Earth. They are impervious to reason or "negotiation." - So why does Ebola warrant emergency efforts by our NIH and deployment of our latest experimental "weapon" the ZMAPP drug, while the rapidly spreading Islamic Statist movement is met only with "limited airstrikes?"
A blog friend shares a Jon Stewart quote on Facebook.
I get that Fox opposes a Syria peace plan because its modus operandi is to foment dissent in the form of a relentless and irrational contrarianism to Barack Obama and all things Democratic to advance its ultimate objective of creating a deliberately misinformed body politic whose fear, anger, mistrust and discontent is the manna upon which it sustains its parasitic succubus-like existence. -- Jon Stewart on The Daily Show Tuesday night
"Nicely distilled ..." says our friend.
I'll give anybody points for using "succubus," but after that I wonder if we are living on the same planet. That and widespread flooding across our normally-arid high dessert plains give me pause.
Now wouldn't you know it, I missed Stewart last Tuesday. I will take <redacted> at his word that the transcription is accurate. It certainly seems in character. To make things worse, this was approbationally linked by another friend who added "So very true! Keep your critical thinking caps on folks! Don't let any media outlet tell you what to think! Investigate and think it all through!" Great advice.
Maybe it is the continual rain but I. Just. Can't. Take. It.
-- The "Syria peace plan?" Again, I missed mister clown-nose on, clown-nose-off on Tuesday, but is that the "peace plan" where we rain down a billion dollars worth of high-tech ordinance on an impoverished nation? Is that the peace plan those damnëd FOX people dare oppose?
-- We have a difficult time finding a friend in the contretemps (I'll see your succubus and raise you a contretemps!) Assad is a tyrant who gasses his own people, the rebels are interleaved with al Qaeda and desecrate the corpses of their opponents.It is pretty difficult to tell who the good guys are. That is one of my first problems with action in the theatre. But: we sure know who the enemy is, do we not? FOX and its viewers!
I am frustrated by the lack of reason and I am frustrated at yet another ad hominem attack. People who oppose the "peace plan where we blow a lot of shit up and then just bask in the peace after" clearly have no legitimate grievance with the C-in-C or plans as outlined. No, there is no room for honest disagreement. They are evil and anti-peace.
I typed but removed incriminating evidence that could identify these two; it is not about them. The whole blessed Church of Stewart-Colbert surely nodded along, not noting that the President's "peace plan" has been attacked by Democrats and supported by Republicans. No, that is not interesting to those who find us un-nuanced.
It used to be that if dozens of foreign countries signed onto a U.S. military intervention, but not France, we were "going it alone." Now, if we have a military coalition consisting exclusively of France, we are leading the world. -- Rich Lowry (via Jonah's G-File; dude owns QOTD like Peyton Manning owned Tyrell Suggs)
Usually, when I write my (Democrat) Senators and (Republican) Congressman, I am pretty certain how they'll vote. This time, I truly have no idea:
I thank you for your time and trust you will vote your conscience on upcoming resolutions to pursue military options with Syria.
As a constituent, however, I wanted to ask that you oppose action.
I have not heard a clear strategy to protect the further spread of chemical weapons or to mitigate the many possible disadvantages of such actions. Without a clear and achievable purpose, I feel the risks are far too high.
This was written by -- not one of my loony moonbat friends -- just a musician buddy. I don't recruit him for GOP GOTV efforts, but don't consider him a partisan on either side. Ergo, a bit of surprise:
Since when did Republicans in Congress suddenly become a bunch of 60s countercultural "make-war-no- more" peaceniks? Since Obama arranged for a strike and gave them the deciding vote, that's when. Bipartisanism and anti-Barack no-matter-what-ism runs pretty deep when you go against your own deeply held principles simply to say "no" yet again to Obama in a transparent attempt to humiliate the administration you resent so much for keeping your full power from you.
I suspect the President would much like to cultivate this opinion. Is this a one off or is it working? Is this the Katie Couric/Jon Stewart view of the world?
I respectfully pressed him (and delivered a little historical perspective on Robert Taft and Charles Evans Hughes, baby nobody can out-isolationist Republicans!) I asked if he was 100% in favor of the President's response and he said "Yes I am!!"