President Trump and Tomahawks

I am not against the use of Tomahawk missiles against Syria.

I am not for it, either.

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This issue is so terribly complicated that I’m pretty sure I’ll never fully understand all the variables at play. The use of that awesome and effective United States Military power changed the course of Trump’s presidency. For me, that calls for a little Monday Morning Quarterbacking and analysis of what might be going on.

First, let’s examine some facts.

  1. Assad used chemical weapons.
  2. President Obama told Assad not to do that.
  3. President Obama failed to enforce the ‘red line’ in Syria.
  4. Donald Trump vehemently protested any action in Syria in 2013 and while campaigning.
  5. Syria is under Russian hegemony.

Now, let’s amass some opinions. Opinions aren’t bad, they just must be viewed differently than facts.

  1. Most everyone in the world agrees that using chemical weapons is a crime against humanity.
  2. Some people think POTUS should have come to congress before taking action.
  3. Other people think POTUS had authorization for this under previous resolutions in congress.
  4. Militarily, Syria poses no threat to us, however Russia’s presence makes things sloppy.
  5. The United States is one of the few nations on earth with both the ability and the moral authority to act.
  6. Many of the ‘hot spots’ in the world, particularly ISIS, are so hot because Barack Obama was not aggressive on the international front and projected weakness. This is evidenced from Ukraine to Iran to Nigeria.

Having some facts in hand, and some opinions, now let’s think about the politics.

  1. A lot of Trump voters were for him because he advocated a policy that indicated he would not entangle himself in international messes. Repeatedly he said things would be better if we just left things alone.
  2. POTUS and Putin have an interesting relationship, one that has been under a great deal of scrutiny.
  3. Trump has criticized the United States’ intelligence gathering communities.
  4. Last week North Korea launched a missile.
  5. China’s leader, President Xi Jinping, was in Trump’s hotel in Mar-a-Lago when the missiles were launched against Syria.
  6. There is some kind of power struggle going on in the White House between the globalist son-in-law Jared Kushner and the nationalist Steve Bannon. It appears in this issue, POTUS went to Jared.

Perhaps now we can do some analysis.

  1. It is possible that POTUS changed his opinion based upon intelligence information, policy arguments, and the weight of the office of President. Perhaps he had a legitimate change of mind because of the evidence presented to him from the intelligence communities. This would be encouraging.
  2. It is also possible that POTUS recognizes he is in trouble over Russia and the internecine struggles within his staff that have resulted in an administration that is undisciplined, disconnected, and unsure of itself. To fix this image problem and divert attention, he did what others (remember Reagan invading Grenada, or Clinton bombing aspirin factories?) have done, and that is trump up (no pun intended) a national security issue. This particularly gives him cover on the Russia issue. A person friendly or beholden to Putin would not have done this. This line of thought is very discouraging.
  3. Maybe, just maybe, the real target of the Tomahawks was not Syria, but North Korea. I think the America people possibly feel this in their gut, because we recognize what a fighter does. A fighter punches someone in the face to get everyone’s attention in order to send the message that if they don’t fall in line, they are next. Last week POTUS said, “If China doesn’t fix North Korea, we will,” and then, as if to add some muscle to that, he bombs Syria while the leader of China is eating dinner at the Florida White House. This line of thought is chilling, but clever. Clever in its churchillian approach, but chilling in that it signals a heightened military presence around the world.

Now, for some Greenbean opinions.

  1. The Middle-East is not a puzzle to be solved. Something should be done about Assad, but it will not really solve anything. We are still trying to figure out how to put things back together after they broke it all following World War I. What is broken in that part of the world is the culture, and politics can’t really fix culture.
  2. If there were no oil there, no one would care. Look at Africa. No one is worried about the refugees coming over to Uganda from Sudan because of the violence. There is no oil there. No one cares. This seems to rob much of these issues of their moral clamor.
  3. Tomahawk missiles do nothing in the struggle in Syria. If we really wanted to make a difference in Syria, we must land ground troops, overthrow Assad, and build a national coalition. Of course, that is what we did in Iraq, and we see how that works. Again, there are no good solutions.
  4.  If this continues, it is only a matter of time before we are in a proxy war with Russia in Syria (or Iran) as well as a proxy war with China in Korea. Again.

A NOT SO FRIENDLY GAME OF CHESS

Have you ever wondered what terrorists do when they’re not beheading journalists, blowing up shopping malls, or hijacking airplanes?  I suspect some of their free time is spent studying the Koran and listening to podcasts explaining the whole 72-virgins for martyrs thing.  But other than that, what do they do with their time?

I’ve decided that I think they play chess.  Here’s why.

Chess Anyone?
Chess Anyone?

Saturday I played chess with one of the sprouts.  Chess is a great teacher of logic, problem solving, and strategy.  She is still working on strategy.

After some initial feigning moves, I sacrificed several pieces (a knight, a bishop, and two pawns) in order to get part of the board cleared out with my rooks and queen in place.  My daughter was giddy at the prospect of winning, because she was up several pieces.  She was already gloating that she was ahead and might actually win this time.  Three moves later she was in check, and six moves later, checkmate.

I then explained to her that I wanted her to take my pieces.  She was amazed that I would want to lose pieces.  I told her that sometimes you make sacrifices in order to get your opponent into a position where they become vulnerable, and to do that you have to make it look like you made a mistake, were careless, or just didn’t know what you’re doing.

Several weeks ago I wrote about (click here) how Vladimir Putin was playing poker with the Ukraine. By the way, he still is.  ISIS, though, is playing chess.   That is the only conclusion I can come to.  Why else would they taunt the United States by beheading journalists in such a public way.  They want us to attack.  It is a trap.

I don’t know what their reasoning is, but I am quite certain that we are falling right into their hands.

DEATH, SOLAR FLARES, AND UKRAINE

This is just one of those blog posts that can’t stay focused.

 

1.  Botched Execution.  Apparently Arizona had a very “Oklahoma-like” moment this past week when it tried to execute a man guilty of murdering his girlfriend and her father.  Click here for the WSJ’s report.  It took almost 2 hours for him to die.  in April the same thing happened in Oklahoma, but it only took 45 minutes for him to die there.  Oklahoma has that effect on people–it makes them want to die quicker.

I am not a supporter of the death penalty, and have blogged about that before (click here).  However, I am a big supporter of competency.  I worry about reports like this because it highlights the growing incompetency of our society.  The inability to quickly and effectively kill someone by a state organization whose sole job is to put people to death is troubling.  I know that there are many mitigating circumstances, but it is precisely the point that competency falls apart when too many people try to command the situation.  Please note, I have no sympathy for this murderer and others like him.  Instead, I worry that we can’t even perform the most basic of civil responsibilities.

 

Fortunately, the sun was not aiming for us
Fortunately, the sun was not aiming for us

2.  Solar Flares.   The earth was almost destroyed in 2012.  No, it wasn’t the Mayan Apocalypse or the pesky rapture that never materialized.  It was solar flares.  Click here for the article in the Seattle Post-Intelligencer.  The newspaper says that if those would have hit earth, and they nearly did, we would still be picking up the pieces.  Apparently it would have knocked us back to the Middle Ages.

Apparently we dodged a bullet.  What overall lessons can we learn?  A) The cosmos is a dangerous place.  B.  We probably dodge a bullet every day.  C.  Everything is not predictable.  D.  You should give thanks for today, because you have electricity and Netflix and smoothies.  Tomorrow you might not.

 

3.  Ukraine.  It occurs to me that Vladimir Putin is currently playing the role of Kim Kardashian or Miley Cyrus or something.  He just can’t help but be in the headlines so he will do almost anything to stay there.  The MH17 shoot down was likely a mistake.  I can’t imagine why anyone would want to shoot down, on purpose, a civilian airliner.  What is not a mistake, though, is that the Russians are giving very powerful anti-aircraft artillery and other weaponry to people who are not really all that expert in using it, and that Russian apparently is firing into Ukraine.  Click here for news story.

I told you months ago that Putin was playing poker, not chess.  He now knows that he has all the cards, and that the West will fold.  At this juncture, it is only a matter of time before Russia annexes all of Ukraine.  I suspect it will happen before the end of 2015.  The only thing that will stop that is the deployment of NATO troops in Ukraine, and I just don’t think that will happen.  We will not call Putin, and as we fold he will rake in the winnings.

 

 

image from thedailybeast.com

NEVADA, UKRAINE, MOONBEAM, AND HATE

From time to time, the Greenbean blog is just a random list of things that are on my mind.  This is one of those times.

 

Home, Home on the Range, Where the BLM Roam

Did you notice that this past week there was what can only be called a “Showdown” going on out in Nevada.  Apparently a rancher claims hereditary rights to land that the government seized in 1993 due to a provision in the Endangered Species Act.  The feds will let him continue to graze there, but he has to pay a fee, they say, to use land his family has always used.  He refuses to pay.

It is quite the scene as the Bureau of Land Management has begun seizing his cattle unless he pays the $1.1 million in back grazing fees.

Three things come to mind.

  • Why are the feds acting now.  What do they really want?
  • The way of life in the west is different from the rest of the country, and this strikes me as being more of a cultural problem than a law problem.
  • This is the kind of thing that never ends well.

Putin Gambles with Other People’s Money

Putin is at it again in Ukraine.  I’ve already blogged about this (click here), and it seems my analysis was accurate.  Putin is upping the ante, and this will now only end in one way–with Ukraine being reabsorbed by the Russian state.  I don’t think the U.S. or the U.K. will honor its moral obligation to protect Ukraine, which is something they promised in 1994 when Ukraine voluntarily gave all its nuclear weapons to Russia.

Under a Blood Red Moon

Mrs. Greenbean woke me up at 2:45 this morning to see the lunar eclipse.  It is the first of four in this lunar eclipse tetrad that spreads out until September of 2015.  It was impressive, I have to admit.  The moon was a reddish/orangish hue and might be quite frightening if a person didn’t understand the science behind it.  I looked at it for a moment and then crawled back in bed.

A BAD MOON RISING
A BAD MOON RISING

Here comes the interesting part.  This mornings newspaper reports that San Antonio preacher John Hagee believes that this is a sign that the end is near.  Click here for a news report about Hagee and his claims.  Of course Hagee is wrong, although he will no doubt make a little coin off his book about it.  I don’t know why anyone gives any credence to loons like that (pun intended–loon–lunatic–lunar) when they howl that everything that happens is a sign of the end.  (Click here, here and here for other end of the world analysis).  These types of people, like Hagee, should never be trusted by anyone again on any issue because they have consistently proven they do not rightly handle the word of God.

Hate is a Poor Marksman

There is not much to say about the tragic shootings in Kansas.  Frazier Glenn Cross, 73 years old, hates Jews.  This is supported by his role as a leader in the Klu-Klux-Klan and avid white supremacist activity.  He attacked the Jewish center on Passover Eve and killed three people.  The problem, for him at least, is that the three people he killed were all self-identified Christians.

Much analysis is now taking place over hate crime laws, since he missed his mark.  The question seems to be, “Is it a hate crime to kill white Christians?”  I take the whole issue to be ridiculous because the crime is not in the hating, the crime is in the killing.  Regardless of who this man shot, he should spend the rest of his life in jail.  (For why I’m against the death penalty, click here.)  I continue to hold firm to my believe there is no such thing as a hate crime.  There is only crime.  Motivations are pretty meaningless.

 

lunar image from CNN.com