The Incredible Shrinking President

Exclusive: Trying to soothe American fears about “terrorism,” President Obama glossed over the dangerous contradictions in his own policy, particularly the fact that Saudi Arabia, Turkey and other “allies” have been helping Al Qaeda and ISIS, notes Daniel Lazare.

By Daniel Lazare

President Barack Obama came off well in his nationwide address on the San Bernardino shootings. He was lively and expressive and he even achieved a moment of pathos when he urged Americans not to “turn against one another by letting this fight be defined as a war between America and Islam.”

But otherwise he was the incredible shrinking president. The problem was not so much his use of clichés the victims are “part of our American family founded upon a belief in human dignity let’s make sure we never forget what makes us exceptional,” etc. rote phrases that are somehow meant to be reassuring and comforting.

President Barack Obama addresses the nation from the Oval Office about terrorism on Dec. 6, 2015. (Image from Whitehouse.gov)

President Barack Obama addresses the nation from the Oval Office about terrorism on Dec. 6, 2015. (Image from Whitehouse.gov)

Rather, it was the denials, half-truths and outright misstatements that leave no doubt that the man is clinging to a failed policy and that whatever changes he makes in the wake of the San Bernardino killings will only make matters worse.

As for half-truths and misstatements, perhaps the best place to begin is with the concept of terrorism. Although Obama spoke the T-word some two dozen times during the course of his address, he holds a selective view of what it means.

While everyone agrees that setting off a bomb on a crowded bus is terrorism, what about using an F-16 to deposit a bomb in the middle of a Yemeni wedding party is that terrorism too? If shooting up health workers is terrorism, then what about using an AC-130 gunship to bomb and strafe hospital workers in Afghanistan? What is the difference?

By any objective measure, there isn’t any. This is why Obama and others utter the word “terrorism” so incessantly because it is a highly-loaded term that serves as a smokescreen to disguise the true nature of their own activities. It allows them to get away with murder, but it also leaves them punching at the air.

By arbitrarily classifying certain groups as terrorist or non-terrorist merely because of which side they happen to be on at any given moment, Obama and other abusers of the T-word wind up not only fooling the public, but themselves as well.

Is Al Qaeda Still Terrorist?

This tendency toward self-deception was evident in Obama’s references to Al Qaeda and ISIL (also known as ISIS, Islamic State and Daesh).

“Our military and counterterrorism professionals have relentlessly pursued terrorist networks overseas,” he said, “disrupting safe havens in several different countries, killing Osama bin Laden, and decimating al Qaeda’s leadership.”  But then, a few minutes later, he added:

“In Iraq and Syria, airstrikes are taking out ISIL leaders, heavy weapons, oil tankers, infrastructure. And since the attacks in Paris, our closest allies including France, Germany and the United Kingdom have ramped up their contributions to our military campaign, which will help us accelerate our effort to destroy ISIL.”

But wait what happened to Al Qaeda? Obama’s sleight of hand was designed to obscure the fact that, while bombing ISIS, the U.S. has been standing by as Turkey and Saudi Arabia, two of its closest regional “allies,” have channeled money and arms to Al Nusra, Al Qaeda’s official Syrian affiliate, via an Islamist umbrella group calling itself the Army of Conquest.

The Obama administration didn’t object when the Saudi-supplied Al Nusra Front and its principal “Army of Conquest” ally, another jihadi group called Ahrar al-Sham, used U.S.-made TOW missiles in an offensive to seize portions of Idlib province. [See Consortiumnews.com’s “Climbing into Bed with Al-Qaeda.”

The administration didn’t even speak up when Al Nusra issued an Arabic-language video thanking the U.S.-backed and supposedly “moderate” Free Syrian Army for supplying it with advanced weaponry, according to a new Israeli-Arab news organization known as Al-Masdar.

So, while bragging about killing bin Laden (in 2011) and “decimating” Al Qaeda’s leadership, Obama forgot to mention that the U.S. is currently backing the same forces as they seek to topple the Assad government in Damascus or at least backing groups that cooperate with Al Qaeda.

Obama noted that “groups like ISIL grew stronger amidst the chaos of war in Iraq and then Syria” while also forgetting to mention growing reports that it is not only chaos that has allowed ISIS to grow, but donations from super-rich Arab gulf monarchies, which the U.S. government considers its “allies.”

“We’re working with Turkey to seal its border with Syria,” Obama added, when in fact Turkish Prime Minister Ahmet DavutoÄŸlu has already given the proposal the cold shoulder and Turkey’s alleged border-sealing effort is belied by evidence that giant convoys carrying ISIS oil have been routinely entering Turkey without resistance. At least until Russia essentially shamed the U.S. into joining in a bombing interdiction campaign last month.

Obama bragged that “sixty-five countries have joined an American-led coalition” against ISIS, an unconscious echo of George W. Bush’s claim that 48 nations had joined a “Coalition of the Willing”  to invade Iraq. But Obama neglected to note that the Saudis and other Gulf monarchies have all but abandoned the effort in order to concentrate on their sectarian war against Shi’ite Houthis in Yemen, where some 2,600 civilians have died since air strikes began in March.

Obama also forgot to mention Russia, whose warplanes are pounding ISIS, Al Nusra and other rebel forces. While promising to “continue to provide training and equipment to tens of thousands of Iraqi and Syrian forces fighting ISIL on the ground so that we take away their safe havens,” Obama said nothing about tens of thousands of Syrian army troops who have been battling ISIS, Al Nusra, and other Salafist groups since at least 2012, despite sanctions from the U.S. and other Western powers.

Obama also failed to mention Syrian President Bashar al-Assad even though overthrowing his government is clearly America’s prime goal. Somehow, Obama has gotten it into his head that the best way to combat ISIS is by ridding it of its foremost enemy, a case of self-deception raised to the nth degree.

The Saudi Brand of Islam

But Obama was perhaps at his most duplicitous in his comments about religion. The killers in San Bernardino “embrac[ed] a perverted interpretation of Islam,” he said.

But, Obama added, Islamic State “does not speak for Islam. They are thugs and killers, part of a cult of death, and they account for a tiny fraction of more than a billion Muslims around the world, including millions of patriotic Muslim Americans who reject their hateful ideology.”

That is quite true. But then he went on to say:

“That does not mean denying the fact that an extremist ideology has spread within some Muslim communities. This is a real problem that Muslims must confront, without excuse. Muslim leaders here and around the globe have to continue working with us to decisively and unequivocally reject the hateful ideology that groups like ISIL and al Qaeda promote; to speak out against not just acts of violence, but also those interpretations of Islam that are incompatible with the values of religious tolerance, mutual respect, and human dignity.”

Yet, if Muslim leaders are to “continue” working to oppose such ideology, that assumes that they are doing so already. But the Saudis, the dominant power among the Arab Gulf states, is probably the most illiberal society on earth, one that bars all religions other than ultra-conservative Wahhabist Islam, arrests Christians for the “crime” of attending underground religious services, and savagely represses its own 15-percent Shi‘ite minority.

In 2006, Freedom House and the Institute for Gulf Affairs, both eminently conservative organizations, issued a joint report finding that Saudi textbooks instruct students to “hate” Christians, Jews, polytheists, and unbelievers; teach that the Crusades are still ongoing; advise students not to greet, befriend, imitate, or even be courteous to non-Wahhabists; and state that “the struggle between Muslims and Jews” will continue until judgment day and that “Muslims will triumph because they are right.”

What’s more, Obama knows this reality because the State Department completed its own comprehensive study of Saudi textbooks in 2012. Yet the administration opted to suppress the report for the same reason that it has suppressed a 28-page chapter in the joint congressional report on 9/11 dealing with the question of Saudi complicity because the alliance with Riyadh is sacrosanct and trumps other “minor” issues such as religious bigotry and the attack on the World Trade Center.

The Saudi Arabia also got a pass regarding its connection to the San Bernardino massacre. Obama promised in his speech to “put in place stronger screening for those who come to America without a visa so that we can take a hard look at whether they’ve traveled to warzones.”

But Tashfeen Malik, the woman who reportedly pledged allegiance to ISIS shortly before embarking on a killing spree with her husband Syed Rizwan Farook, did not travel to a warzone. She traveled and lived in Saudi Arabia.

Although Tashfeen Malik was of Pakistani origin, she spent most of her life in Saudi Arabia, where she and her father drank deeply from the well of Wahhabism. Relatives say her father emerged deeply conservatized from the experience while Tashfeen was so thoroughly Saudi in her outlook that when she returned to Pakistan to study pharmacology, she had difficulty adjusting even on a campus notorious for its fundamental Islamic influences.

“She told me, ‘My parents live in Saudi Arabia, and I am not getting along with my roommates and cannot adjust with them, so can you help me?’” one faculty member told The New York Times.  Yet no one thought to worry since both Saudi Arabia and Pakistan are key U.S. “allies.”

Obama’s Bind

Barack Obama is thus a man caught in a bind. If his speech was rife with contradictions, it’s because he wants to have his cake and eat it, too. He supports Sunni extremists in Saudi Arabia, Yemen and Syria, yet is shocked, shocked, when they unleash their violence on innocent bystanders in Paris or San Bernardino.

Obama claims to be at war with Al Qaeda, yet looks the other way when close friends supply the same group with money and arms. He cautions Americans not to give in to Islamophobia, but says nothing as Wahhabists rage against Christians, Jews and Shi‘ites.

The President is all in favor of secularism, yet is seeking to topple the secular Baathist regime in Damascus. Indeed, he is waging war against one of the few secular governments left standing in the Muslim world.

He promises that “the strategy that we are using now airstrikes, Special Forces, and working with local forces who are fighting to regain control of their own country that is how we’ll achieve a more sustainable victory.”

But under his watch, Al Qaeda and ISIS have expanded from Bangladesh to Morocco, with the latter now in charge of a territory the size of Great Britain in northern Syria and Iraq. How many more such victories can the world take and how much longer can the U.S. government keep covering up for the Saudis?

If Marine Le Pen’s neo-fascist National Front emerged as the biggest winner in French regional elections this weekend and Donald Trump is now 20 points ahead of his Republican competitors, it’s because voters have lost confidence in their leaders’ ability to combat ISIS and Al Qaeda.

The only way they know how to respond is by closing U.S. borders and keeping out anyone who looks the least bit like a “terrorist.” If Obama’s gun-control message is failing to make headway, it is for the same reason. If the government can’t protect them against ISIS, growing numbers of Americans figure that the only solution is to protect themselves by arming to the hilt. Thus, fear of “terrorism” contributes to the street-level arms race that Obama is unable to contain.

Obama’s core contradiction is that he wants to battle ISIS while catering to ISIS’s co-thinkers in Riyadh. He wants to rein in ISIS savagery in Syria and Iraq while aiding Saudi savagery in Syria and Yemen. He wants to protect Americans while protecting those who allow money and weapons to flow to forces trying to kill Americans.

It’s not a policy destined for success.

Daniel Lazare is the author of several books including The Frozen Republic: How the Constitution Is Paralyzing Democracy (Harcourt Brace).

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42 comments for “The Incredible Shrinking President

  1. Paul
    December 7, 2015 at 3:23 pm

    Thanks for an excellent summary of the contradictions in Obama’s policies. Hard to disagree with any of this.

    One quick and sincere question: everyone knows the reputation of the Front National in France, based on its anti-Semitic past. Am by no means an expert on French politics, but from my superficial reading, I get the impression that those sorts of views have been repudiated some time ago, and that the main distinguishing policy traits of the FN is: a) opposition to open immigration and b) opposition to France being absorbed into the EU and having its policies dictated in Brussels.

    If that is accurate — is it appropriate to continue calling a party that advocates such things ‘fascist’? If so, why? Or are there other important policy positions that we need to be aware of?

    • Lusion
      December 7, 2015 at 4:00 pm

      I found watching an exchange on RT with a French political analyst, who’s name I didn’t get, very informative – beginning at 7:22 in the first video: https://www.rt.com/news/324926-national-front-lead-france/

      He points to her support for Israeli policies as well as for post-colonial French endeavours in Africa. He said, she might just be playing on the fact, that the mainstream-narrative is discredited to such a degree in France, that a dissident posture seems the ticket to success.

      • Mortimer
        December 7, 2015 at 11:18 pm

        he, she or they ought to find and read Franz Fanon or find recorded histories of the Algerian Revolution, as found in “The Battle of Algiers” DVD.

        The dispossessed Algerians fought against the colonialist/imperialist French army
        for their independence against Occupation and Dominance… .

        The Game is historical, not built on Current Realities but Structured Superiorities.

    • Roberto
      December 7, 2015 at 11:21 pm
    • Chris Herz
      December 8, 2015 at 1:43 am

      Anti-semitism remains a potent force across Europe. It is an essential component of all conservative nationalism there, in much the same way as American conservatives abhor blacks. While people like MMe LePin do not wish to push that particular button at the moment it is always there.

    • OF
      December 8, 2015 at 12:51 pm

      I am french.
      You are right on a).
      But b) is wrong : you can look at this vidéo (in french) which shows very clearly that the FN never said or wrote clearly that they wanted to exit EU or euro. FN has an ambiguous speech on this subject from “no to EU but …, to yes to EU if …”. This means FN wants to stay in EU and euro. Because, as Talleyrand said : “there is only one word to say NO and it is NO. All other formulations are a YES.”
      http://www.upr.fr/videotheque-upr/les-21-versions-contradictoires-du-fn-sur-lue-et-leuro

  2. Jon Shafer
    December 7, 2015 at 3:58 pm

    Osama bin Laden was dead long before 2011, and kept “alive” by US propagandized lies, courtesy of the CIA-military industrial complex.

  3. Dosamuno
    December 7, 2015 at 4:14 pm

    Obama’s legacy:

    The appalling AHA, which preserves private insurance companies.
    Charter schools.
    Drones.
    Expansion of colonial wars.
    Multi-trillion dollar bailout of investment banks.
    Heightened surveillance of U.S. citizens.
    Increased persecution of whistle-blowers.
    The destruction of Libya and Syria.
    Inflation of Hillary Clinton’s resume.

  4. Bob
    December 7, 2015 at 4:41 pm

    It’s possible ISIS had something to do with Paris or San Bernardino. It’s also possible someone else committed these acts and blamed them on ISIS. This is a distinct possibility when our leaders “are caught in a bind”. We deserve a lot more proof than we are provided if they want us to willingly hand over guns and support the killing of more innocent Muslims overseas.

  5. onno
    December 7, 2015 at 5:32 pm

    My question how come Obama was elected in the first place: because he was Black, because he always had a nice story, he lied well, and of course he was a Harvard Graduate who never had an executive position. So he became America’s worst president in history. Everything he touched became a failure and the American people paid the bill.

    MSM is again pushing presidential candidates who will become a disaster for the USA as a nation both domestically and internationally like Hillary Clinton who travelled enough to qualify fo a Milleage Plus Award but also excelled in accomplishing NOTHING in her years as Secretary of State. Americans voting for this ambitious woman should be warned.

    Following the Republican candidates it has become a choice of the least evil alternative. The only person qualified will be crucified by MSM and political power groups in Washington who have too much money at stake, think only about the Defence Industry one reason an intelligent and pro-human President like Jimmy Carter had to go. No wars, No Profits. His successor Reagan started wars in Yugoslavia, Libya, Nicaragua and so on.

    So in the present unstable world WW III is on our doorstep thanks to a weak president and incompetent Commander-In-Chief causing ambitious and irresponsible neocons like Nuland, McCain, Brzezinsky and others to take control of the White House and Congress. No wonder under Obama more hostilities in the World, re-start of the Cold War with Russia and the present explosive war in the Middle East.

    Finally, I wonder why we have a UN allowing nations like USA, UK, France and now Germany under the name of Allied forces have the right to bomb sovereign nations like Iraq, Syria, Yemen killing hundreds of thousands of civilians and causing the present migration of 1 million Muslims to overflow the European nations and causing the 130 murders in Paris and more to come!

    Incompetence of politicians has become a standard and regretfully the people pay the price in America as well as in Europe. And as long as the people are accepting this and falling for the political traps NOTHING will change. The most scary part is that the Muslim religion is the fastest growing religion on this globe and is expected to be the largest by 2035. At least President Putin is defending his country from this disastrous development and he at least obeys the UN Charter which cannot be said about the USA which bullies its way around with military force and nuclear bombing threats.

    I have lived through WW II under NAZI occupation and I realize that we live in a dangerous world today where Western MSM make us believe that Russia is the aggressor. It’s USA/NATO that are playing with fire and are the initiators of this military aggressions all over the world. Let’s stop these dangerous games and remove these warmongers from office.

    • Bob Van Noy
      December 8, 2015 at 9:19 am

      “So in the present unstable world WW III is on our doorstep thanks to a weak president and incompetent Commander-In-Chief causing ambitious and irresponsible neocons like Nuland, McCain, Brzezinsky and others to take control of the White House and Congress. No wonder under Obama more hostilities in the World, re-start of the Cold War with Russia and the present explosive war in the Middle East.”

      I appreciate your agony onno. My take is this: If a government is secretly overthrown, like America was in 1963, it cannot “self-right,” it will remain corrupt until that crime is addressed.
      The Deep State now has developed so many Legends that it can no longer make sense of them.
      A collapse is imminent. We can all feel it. Certainly Robert Parry does. We’ve reached a level of absurdity that can no longer be rationally explained away.

  6. Tom Welsh
    December 7, 2015 at 6:12 pm

    “While everyone agrees that setting off a bomb on a crowded bus is terrorism, what about using an F-16 to deposit a bomb in the middle of a Yemeni wedding party – is that terrorism too?”

    It’s never terrorism if it’s done by, for, or on behalf of the US government. That’s the most important disclaimer of all. Because no matter how many people the US government kills, maims, dismembers, burns, starves, bereaves or makes homeless, it’s always done with love and the very best of intentions.

    • fred
      December 8, 2015 at 11:10 pm

      “It’s never terrorism if it’s done by, for, or on behalf of the US government. That’s the most important disclaimer of all. Because no matter how many people the US government kills, maims, dismembers, burns, starves, bereaves or makes homeless, it’s always done with love and the very best of intentions.”

      That is what we are told, and what the Mainstream Media report, knowing it is a lie.
      But many people are not believing these lies any more.

  7. Gregory Kruse
    December 7, 2015 at 6:40 pm

    Not your normal victory, which we expect to last a long time, but a “sustainable” victory, and not just a sustainable victory, but one that is “more sustainable” than the victories we have had lately, which were not very long-lasting at all. In fact we can hardly call them victories at all. By the end of Obama’s term, maybe he will be calling for an “unsustainable defeat” as opposed to one that is like the defeats we have suffered lately, and by that I mean, like normal defeats that last a long time.

  8. James O'Neill
    December 7, 2015 at 7:12 pm

    I endorse Jon Shafer’s comment above. OBL died of natural causes in 2001, as reported in the New York Times and elsewhere at the time. Obama’s claim about OBL is just another means of sustaining the whole 9/11 myth.
    There are other hypocrisies you could have detailed. For example, the US’s continuing and virtually unqualified support for the State of Israel, a terrorist nation by any definition. Also the US government’s support for the fascist coup in Ukraine and that government’s ongoing war of terror on the people of Donbass who had the temerity to vote for the government they wanted.

  9. Sasquatch
    December 7, 2015 at 7:24 pm

    “While everyone agrees that setting off a bomb on a crowded bus is terrorism, what about using an F-16 to deposit a bomb in the middle of a Yemeni wedding party – is that terrorism too?”

    An act of violence intended to terrorize and committed by the official armed forces of a recognized sovereign nation is not terrorism; it is a war crime.

    • John P
      December 7, 2015 at 8:19 pm

      What about Israeli settlers in illegal communes destroying Palestinian olive trees, scaring Palestinian farmers using similar methods as the KKK, harassing Palestinian school children on their way to and from school, defacing Mosques and Christian churches etc. Few are brought to justice and the police do little. That is accepted national terrorism along with government war crimes.

  10. Abbybwood
    December 7, 2015 at 7:35 pm

    Russia has brought forth evidence that Turkey has been “trading with the enemy” and I believe Turkey shooting down the Russian military jet was an act of war.

    International sanctions should be brought against Turkey and Turkey should be booted out of NATO.

    There needs to be a major international investigation into which countries are dealing with/supporting Daesh and these countries need to be named and sanctioned.

    • Logical extrapolations
      December 7, 2015 at 8:30 pm

      Turkey won’t be booted out of NATO. Turkey is playing the role of provocateur against Russia that it was assigned by NATO. NATO intends to draw Russia into a greater war in which they intend to destroy Russia’s forces in Syria and humiliate them once again. Obama’s speech was meant to set the stage by admitting that we are sending forces into Syria. Though he said “no boots on the ground” that is just the oft repeated lie that gives way to “mission creep” and “escalation.” Obama really intends a full out blitz, probably in early 2016, against the Syrian army and the Russian and Iranian forces in country. Then he will turn his attention once again to Ukraine and the fascists he has placed in power there. He figures after a route of Russian forces in Syria that Putin will panic and abandon Crimea and the Donbass, leaving all the spoils to the exceptional empire. I’ve seen these people operate long enough (70 yrs) to know what makes them tick.

      • Joe Tedesky
        December 8, 2015 at 2:55 am

        I happen to agree with your assessment. With all these recent ISIS attacks that are scaring the people in the West, and now that you have Turkish, French, British, and American fighter jets entering Syrian air space, you can only wonder where all this is taking us. Thierry Meyssan at voltairenet.org is claiming how the U.S. is promoting the idea that Putin is nothing more than a ‘Paper Tiger’, while encouraging their NATO comrades to literally fly in the face of the Russian Bear. Paul Craig Roberts claims that the NATO aircraft is equipped with air to air missiles, and not air to ground. Since ISIS doesn’t possess an Air Force, well then why would the NATO fighter jets come armed with air to air? Good question, but it does support the idea, how we are probably watching the NATO mobilization towards an all out war. The question is, is just who is NATO going to war against?

  11. Abe
    December 7, 2015 at 7:45 pm

    Obama’s Bind = Israel

    Along with the “allies” — Turkey, Saudi Arabia, Qatar, Jordan and the NATO satrapies — Obama was recruited to serve the primary deep state alliance between the neocons (both red and blue) and the pro-Zionist government of Israel.

    Not surprisingly, mention of Israel is totally absent from Lazare’s analysis.

    Well, maybe not totally.

    The only whisper of the word “Israel” from Lazare is his sharing of an internet link to “a new Israeli-Arab news organization known as Al-Masdar”.

    Al-Masdar actually is operated by The Israel Project, an Israeli propaganda organization https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Israel_Project

    • Abe
      December 7, 2015 at 8:33 pm

      Al-Masdar Al-‘Arabi (The Arab Source) is a Syrian news website http://www.almasdarnews.com

      The Editor-in-Chief of Al-Masdar News, Leith Abu Fadel, is a Syrian journalist based in Beirut, Lebanon. Fadel specializes in Near Eastern Affairs and Economics.

      Lazare misidentified the site as “a new Israeli-Arab news organization”.

    • Abe
      December 7, 2015 at 8:45 pm

      More on the Israel Project http://rightweb.irc-online.org/profile/The_Israel_Project

      A Washington- and Jerusalem-based Hasbara organization that aims to give a “more positive public face” to Israel, it has supported the controversial wall along the West Bank, advocated a hard line on Iran, and promoted the work of militarist think tanks and writers.

      One of its many Hasbara “projects” is its own Al-Masdar site, targeting Arabic-speaking countries.

    • MEexpert
      December 8, 2015 at 11:38 am

      Thank you Abe for bringing Israel into the equation. Lazare forgot to mention it. The most important factor in Obama’s foreign (War) policy is Israel. The Arab monarchies and Turkey are partners with Israel in this war against Iran and its proxies. Remember the so called “Shi’ite crescent.” They have no interest in defeating ISIS. All Israel wants is to eliminate forces that threaten Israel’s hegemony in the Middle East. Israel is using the US to achieve that goal. Saudi Arabia and the other Arabs pretend to hate Israel yet Saudi Arabia and Israel are partners. Israel is opening an embassy in Abu Dhabi (UAE).

      Israel cannot forget its A** kicking by Hezbollah in Lebanon (twice). It is using the US to takes its revenge.

    • Abe
      December 8, 2015 at 5:07 pm

      It is astonishing how many analyses of the war in Syria “forget” to mention Israel.

  12. Roberto
    December 7, 2015 at 8:17 pm

    Obama’s problem is that he has to show that he is fighting ISIS while still supporting neocon objectives in the Mideast, behind the backs of the american voter. In real terms, nothing has changed from the Bush W years. The neocon-game he is playing is just a little slicker.

  13. F. G. Sanford
    December 7, 2015 at 9:32 pm

    Now that an ISIL training facility has been discovered in Afghanistan in nominally NATO controlled territory, I wonder just how much longer this whole charade can last. Having at least as much military “expertise” as the buffoons Fox News presents as military “analysts”, I can assure the American people that the only population being effectively deceived by all this is…well, the American people. Folks should keep in mind that, from a strategic point of view, Putin’s military analysts are advising preemptive nuclear strikes on Israel should the operations in Syria deteriorate. That’s just the fact of the matter. Good luck, Neocons, may the force be with you.

    • Joe Tedesky
      December 8, 2015 at 3:09 am

      Would a Russian military analyst have that much good faith in Russia’s S Series defense systems? I respect your knowledge F.G., but Wow Israel a Russian preemptive nuclear first strike target? It’s not that I don’t believe what you are saying couldn’t happen, but that statement you made seriously deserves a Wow, or a Holy Cow, or something…. Now, you have given me a whole new dimension to ponder over.

      • F. G. Sanford
        December 8, 2015 at 7:54 am

        You have to ask, “Can Putin afford to lose?” S-400 missiles and S-300 missiles onboard the Guided Missile Cruiser Moskva are staged to stop missiles, not airplanes. Who has missiles? Turkey, Saudi Arabia and Israel are the strategic entities with whom Putin must deal first in a strategic confrontation. Only Israel presents an existential threat. Putin does not intend to lose. That’s what the Neocons can’t grasp. Of course, it may not go that far. Putin could lose the confidence of his own oligarchs, but Bibi is already a long way down that road. Watch for a ‘cold coup’ in Tel Aviv. Bibi is on his way out. The greatest strategic threat to Russia is Israeli nukes. He who shoots first wins. This is all simple stuff, but people are hesitant to look reality directly in the eye.

        • Brad Owen
          December 8, 2015 at 1:16 pm

          And this is why Israel was never anything more than an expendable “beach head” for the Western Empire; a proxy place to park some of the Western Empire’s nukes to hit “the muscle” of the BRICS regime, letting Israel absorb the first strike, giving time to the W.E. to consider counter-strike, or call for Truce and Peace Talks (BRICS has been offering the carrot of “The Silk Road” Reconstruction Project to the W.E. to help pull its’ financial bacon out of the fire, thus eliminating their perceived need for a WWIII). Russia won’t lose, as they already know the stealth phase of WWIII was launched by the W.E.’s deep state on Sept. 11th, 2001, intending all along for it to eventually reach the former adversaries of the Cold War era, now reorganized/modernized/streamlined as BRICS. They KNOW we’re gunning for THEM (but I happen to believe the Silk Road Plan, which is the new Marshall Plan, will prevail), and if I were an Israeli citizen, I’d relocate to NYC, Miami, etc…their game’s over. That’s my two cents anyway.

        • Abe
          December 8, 2015 at 4:20 pm

          If Natanz goes boom, so does Dimona.

        • Abe
          December 8, 2015 at 5:29 pm

          Brad Owen: This dubious so-called “beach head” hypothesis — the notion of the Western Empire “letting Israel absorb the first strike” — sounds like a not-so-subtle rationale for the Samson Option, Israel’s delusional deterrence strategy of nuclear retaliation to “bring down the pillars of the world”.

          Under the Samson Option, in the aftermath of a “second Holocaust”, Israel would attack Moscow, as well as London and Paris, all urban areas with Jewish populations over 100,000.

          The resulting Global Thermonuclear War most certainly would incinerate (through direct strikes) or kill (through radioactive fallout) the larger Jewish populations of NYC and Miami, as well as Los Angeles, Philadelphia, Boston and Chicago, making Israel responsible for an immeasurably larger and more deadly “third Holocaust”.

          Instead of perpetrating the ultimate “Final Solution” for humanity, wouldn’t Israel prefer a nice game of chess?

          • Brad Owen
            December 9, 2015 at 5:24 am

            Yes, and the Russian chess masters will not lose this chess game. Their (Russia) gun’s on the chess table, along with a nice bag of money via the Silk Road. The Zionista component of the W.E. Oligarchy will go into debate mode, along with the rest of the Oligarchy. Israel will prefer to lose a chess game, not their lives….they’ll go back to “next year in Jerusalem”, preferring to live-to-fight-another-day. After all, the W.E.’s Hong Kong banking branch (the “Wall Street” of the East) needs much more time to undermine China. Partnership provides opportunity for the deep state. But nothing’s guaranteed. Wrong moves can be made in mere minutes. It’s a dangerous game they’re playing.

    • Abe
      December 8, 2015 at 4:18 pm

      Israel has quietly tested ways of defeating an advanced air-defence system that Russia has deployed in the Middle East and that could limit Israel’s ability to strike in Syria or Iran, military and diplomatic sources said.
      http://www.reuters.com/article/us-mideast-crisis-israel-greece-idUSKBN0TN10G20151205

  14. Bruce
    December 7, 2015 at 10:05 pm

    How does he shrink from Zer0? Is he a black hole??

  15. Jeb Bushmeister
    December 7, 2015 at 10:43 pm

    I am still hoping for change

  16. OOOpsie
    December 7, 2015 at 11:56 pm

    Turkey should be booted out of NATO ??

    No way.
    Instead, much simpler plan. Just boot NATO out of everywhere.

    Mission accomplished!

    • Abbybwood
      December 8, 2015 at 4:35 am

      Agree.

  17. Abe
    December 8, 2015 at 1:06 am

    It was clear in 2011 that the United States sought regime change in Syria, just as it did in Libya. It was clear that it had backed heavily armed sectarian extremists to carry out this regime change. What wasn’t clear, at least apparently to US policymakers, was the resolve the Syrian government, the Syrian Arab Army, and the Syrian people themselves had to defeat this conspiracy, revealed as early as 2007 by Pulitzer Prize-winning journalist Seymour Hersh in his 2007 New Yorker piece, “The Redirection.”

    In it, Hersh revealed that the United States, Saudi Arabia, and Israel were determined to build a proxy army of sectarian extremists aligned with or sympathetic to Al Qaeda, for the purpose of undermining and overthrowing the nations of Syria and Iran.

    By 2011, with Libya already decimated by NATO-backed extremists, the US State Department was busy transferring weapons and terrorists from Benghazi and Eastern Europe to Turkey where they would be staged, armed, trained, and sent in to invade Syria.

    As the Syrian government confounded the US’ proxy war, at various stages attempts were made for a more direct intervention – again, just like in Libya. However, attempts to create a “safe zone” in northern Syria or otherwise carry out strikes on the Syrian military itself were blocked by both the realities on the ground and the support of Syria’s allies – Russia, China, and Iran.

    When Russia entered the conflict, the calculus changed dramatically. The prospects of direct intervention by the West against the Syrian government all but dimmed entirely, and what was exposed as a feigned US “fight” with the self-proclaimed “Islamic State” (ISIS) gave way to a very real Russian-led war on the terrorist group and its affiliates across the country, in coordination with Syrian troops on the ground.

    Quickly the true source of ISIS’ fighting capacity – supply lines stretching out of NATO-member Turkey’s territory, long protected by NATO itself since the conflict began – came under threat. Russian warplanes are now flying sorties directly along the border, decimating ISIS-bound convoys long before delivering their supplies, weapons, and fresh fighters. Syrian troops have likewise made significant gains near borders they once were deterred from approaching because of NATO treachery.

    The endgame is soon approaching, and to prevent this, the US and its regional allies have begun a series of provocations meant to tip toe the West into deeper war in the region, and in particular, against Russia and Syria.

    […]

    It must be remembered that beyond the deepening rhetoric of the West, they still have only one goal – the same goal that they had when first beginning their proxy war with Syria – regime change in Damascus before pursuing regime change in Tehran, then Moscow and then Beijing.

    It is likely the West will not stop until forced to tactically, strategically, economically, and politically. It is therefore incumbent upon Syria and its allies to create and apply the necessary force to do this.

    America’s Creeping War in Syria
    By Tony Cartalucci
    http://landdestroyer.blogspot.com/2015/12/americas-creeping-war-in-syria.html

  18. Peter Loeb
    December 8, 2015 at 7:14 am

    CREDIBLE SHRINKING

    I write In appreciation for Daniel Lazare’s excellent article
    THE INCREDIBLE SHRINKING PRESIDENT.

    As I have noted previously, I do not distinguish between
    the current Obama Presidency and other American
    policies of the last several decades. I might even go so
    far as to predict that while many future possibilities as
    US President offer even worse and more horrifying
    “choices” (policies”). the basic result would differ only
    marginally.

    As always I agree with the comment that the role
    of Israel (USA-Israel) is not adequately dealt with.

    Many commenters contributed greatly to the
    success of this article.

    —-Peter Loeb, Boston, MA, USA

    • F. G. Sanford
      December 8, 2015 at 8:11 pm

      Mr. Giambrone, for what it’s worth, I appreciate your efforts to illuminate the truth. I recently read one of your articles at OPEDNEWS which got flushed to an inconspicuous location after its publication was delayed. I think the excuse was, “editorializing does not qualify as news”, and much more could be accomplished with “subtlety and tact”, or some such nonsense. It was a rather cowardly dismissal of a fine piece; obviously candor and truth are not commodities when it comes to the pivotal events of our history. Please, don’t give up. Some of us are listening.

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