Jumat, 20 September 2013

....In watching the Obama presidency dissolve before our eyes, there is a cautionary tale to be told. Every presidency falls short of the expectations that the candidate sets. But no man has ever promised more and delivered less than the current occupant of the Oval Office. All of the extravagant promises and claims–of “Yes We Can!” and “we’re the ones we’ve been waiting for;” of hope and change and slowing the rise of the oceans; of claiming his candidacy would “ring out across this land as a hymn that will heal this nation, repair this world, make this time different than all the rest”–lie in ruin. (I’d urge you to watch this short video clip from the 2008 campaign to more fully appreciate the crushing disappointment that results from what Mr. Obama said he would achieve versus what he’s been able to achieve.) ...>> ..That became apparent with the announcement that Vladimir Putin has decided to supply Iran with advanced S-300 anti-aircraft missiles and to build an additional nuclear reactor at the Bushehr plant. Moreover, during a debate in the Russian parliament on the sales held today, Putin ally Alexander Pushkov, the chief of the body’s foreign-affairs committee, said that if Washington dares to back away from the deal offered by Moscow on Syria to President Obama, the Kremlin will consider expanding arm sales to Assad-ally Iran and to make it more difficult to supply U.S. forces in Afghanistan...>> Pelaku rata-rata melakukan tindakan sadis tersebut karena menderita gangguan mental atau frustasi. Sejumlah pengamat menilai penembakan-penembakan di AS wajar terjadi mengingat setiap 10 orang, terdapat sembilan pucuk senjata. Selain itu, dalam konstitusi AS diperbolehkan bagi warga untuk membawa senjata api. Kebebasan membawa senjata api telah menyebabkan jumlah korban senjata senjata api di Amerika telah melewati 20.000 kasus setiap tahunnya. Sekitar dua juta tahanan di AS mendekam di penjara karena kasus yang berhubungan dengan senjata api....>>>


Contentions

Putin Shows Obama Who’s the Boss

http://www.commentarymagazine.com/2013/09/11/putin-shows-obama-whos-the-boss-iran-putin-missile-sales/

In case you were among those gullible souls who have bought the administration’s claims that its acceptance of Russia’s offer of a plan to take charge of Syria’s chemical-weapons stockpile was a reflection of American strength, the Putin regime isn’t interested in letting you hold onto your illusions for long. Rather than allow President Obama a decent interval after his retreat from a call to arms on the threat of Syrian atrocities in order to save face, Moscow seems intent on immediately showing the White House who’s the boss. 

That became apparent with the announcement that Vladimir Putin has decided to supply Iran with advanced S-300 anti-aircraft missiles and to build an additional nuclear reactor at the Bushehr plant. Moreover, during a debate in the Russian parliament on the sales held today, Putin ally Alexander Pushkov, the chief of the body’s foreign-affairs committee, said that if Washington dares to back away from the deal offered by Moscow on Syria to President Obama, the Kremlin will consider expanding arm sales to Assad-ally Iran and to make it more difficult to supply U.S. forces in Afghanistan.

These moves remove the thin veil of bluster that was enabling the president to justify his backing away from a strike on Syria. Far from the Russian diplomatic gambit being the result of American toughness, its acceptance by the president is seen in Moscow as more than just an obvious sign of weakness. It is being interpreted as having handed Putin carte blanche in the Middle East and allowing Russia to grant impunity to Iran as the West was supposedly gearing up to pressure it to surrender its nuclear ambition.

The Russians don’t have much to worry about when it comes to the administration’s willingness to go down the garden path with them on Syria’s chemical weapons. President Obama lacked the will to strike Syria on his own and the small chance that Congress might authorize the use of force evaporated when he put off indefinitely the notion of the “incredibly small” attack (in the words of Secretary of State John Kerry) on the Assad regime by accepting the Russian lifeline. Though they are talking tough now, the chances that Washington will abandon the faux-diplomatic solution offered by Russia no matter how fraudulent it might be are minimal.

But rather than, as some have hoped, the president’s reticence on Syria being a prelude to aggressive action on the even more dangerous Iranian threat, Russia’s assertiveness shows that their joint interest with Tehran in protecting Bashar Assad means they will use the Syria issue to restrain the U.S. on Iran.

It’s not just that the missiles Russia is selling Iran will complicate any future attack on nuclear targets by either the U.S. or Israel. Their victory in Syria is feeding Putin’s ambition to reconstitute not only the old Soviet sphere of influence in the Middle East but a rough balance of power that would serve to deter the West from muscling the ayatollahs. Though Washington has always spoken of Russia having just as much to lose from a nuclear Iran as America, by getting into bed with Putin on Syria, Obama is about to discover that Moscow’s main interest in the region is to weaken U.S. influence more than eliminating a nuclear threat.

When President Obama said last night that Syria’s use of chemical weapons constituted a threat to the security of the West, he was right. But he failed to understand that Russia’s offer that allowed him to weasel out of his pledge to punish Assad might present even more of a danger to U.S. interests than anything Syria might do. The last few weeks have exposed President Obama as a weak leader. What follows from that weakness will increase the power of Vladimir Putin and his unsavory Middle East allies. 

The Long-Term Prospects of the Syria Deal


You can almost hear the collective sigh of relief in Washington over Syria’s apparent acceptance of a Russian plan to dismantle its chemical weapons. This offers the Obama administration an obvious out from what looked to be a losing vote to authorize military action against Bashar Assad. But is it a real out or a mirage?
It’s impossible to say for sure, without knowing the details of the “workable, precise, and concrete” plan that Russia has vowed to produce. But there is certainly room for considerable skepticism given what we know about the duplicity of the Syrian regime, Russia’s determination to keep that regime in power at all costs, and the ineffectuality of UN forces in the past.  

Start with the obvious question: how will the destruction of the Syrian chemical arsenal work anyway?
The language coming from the Syrians and Russians suggests that Syria’s arsenal will not be moved out of the country. Rather, UN inspectors are somehow supposed to take control of tons of chemical agents in the middle of a war zone. It is unclear what then follows–will the inspectors somehow have to incinerate tons of these agents safely or will they simply camp out around the chemical-weapons sites indefinitely?

How this works, in practice, is almost impossible to imagine. Western intelligence agencies do not even know where all of Assad’s chemical-weapons stockpiles are located. Remember how much trouble UN inspectors had in verifying Saddam Hussein’s compliance with UN resolutions in the 1990s? The difficulties will increase ten-fold in Syria where the chemical-weapons arsenal is scattered across a large, dangerous battlefield. Saddam, it turns out, didn’t really have WMD; Assad does, and they won’t be easy to find.

The only way that Syria might fulfill its obligation to disarm is if it faces a credible threat of military action. Will Russia agree to a Chapter VII resolution at the United Nations that would authorize military action to compel Syrian compliance? Doubtful, but possible. Even if the UN does authorize action, what are the odds that Obama will act given the bipartisan resistance in Congress to any strikes? The House and possibly the Senate as well were already set to reject the authorization for the use of force. This “deal” is being peddled as a way to avoid a vote altogether. But if the U.S. is not seen as willing to strike Syria, what incentive does Assad have to comply with the terms of any disarmament deal? The most likely scenario is that Assad will agree to something in principle and then fudge on the implementation, knowing that Washington will have lost interest by that point.

The best thing that can be said in favor of the Russian deal is that it does offer an alternative to the immediate humiliation of Congress repudiating the president and refusing to authorize Syrian action. But the Russia resolution–unless it turns out to be unexpectedly binding–offers instead the prospect of a longer, more drawn-out strategic defeat in which Assad remains in power, keeps slaughtering his own people, and probably keeps at least part of his chemical-weapons arsenal.

Obama’s Syria Debacle Inflicts Historic Damage on America


Max Boot does an excellent job explaining why the new Russian proposal on removing chemical weapons from Syria is almost certainly a mirage. Not surprisingly, however, President Obama is eager to embrace it. After all, doing so will avoid Congress rejecting his request to use military strikes against Syria–and the de facto collapse of his presidency.

But this will come at quite a high cost. Russia is now establishing itself as the preeminent power in the region, having displaced the United States. American prestige and credibility lie in ruins. President Obama has succeeded in undermining the moderate rebels he promised to assist. He has strengthened the murderous anti-American regime he declared he wanted gone. A despot who used chemical weapons and committed, in the words of Secretary of State John Kerry, a “moral obscenity” will now escape any punishment (which after all was the stated purpose of Obama’s threats to strike Syria). And Iran and Hezbollah, having (along with Russia) come to the aid of Assad, will emerge from this whole thing in a much stronger position.

It is hard to overstate how much of a debacle Syria has been for America. The damage we have sustained is deep and durable. The balance of power has shifted dramatically against America. It may take decades for us to undo the damage, if even that is possible.

This period may well turn out to be a hinge moment in the Middle East–and one of the worst diplomatic chapters in modern American history. Such is the cost to a nation when a community organizer is promoted to the job of commander in chief.


Contentions 

http://www.commentarymagazine.com/2013/09/09/kerrys-unserious-proposal/

Russia’s Absurd Proposal on Syria’s Weapons

The debate over Syria took a new turn on Monday when Secretary of State John Kerry suggested that Bashar Assad could avoid American airstrikes if he would “turn over every single bit of his chemical weapons to the international community in the next week — turn it over, all of it, without delay and allow the full and total accounting.” Kerry added that Assad “isn’t about to do it, and it can’t be done.”

But that didn’t stop Russia and other nations from jumping on the idea after the Syrian government said it welcomed the idea. Now this seemingly offhand suggestion–which Kerry apparently did not mean to float as a serious proposal–is being seriously debated as an alternative to American military action.

If Assad were serious about turning over his entire chemical weapons stockpile–not to mention destroying all capacity to manufacture more such weapons in the future–this might conceivably be a deal worth taking even at the risk of Assad rebuilding his chemical weapons capacity sometime in the future. But the odds of Assad assenting to such a deal are slight: Why should he when he knows that, worst case, he faces an “unbelievably small” American airstrike, as Kerry himself has said?

Chemical weapons are an important source of power for the Assad regime, not only for the threat they pose to Israel but, more immediately, for the threat they pose to Assad’s rebellious subjects. He is unlikely to give up such an advantage, which is so crucial to his regime’s survival, unless he were convinced that his regime would crumble otherwise. But nothing that President Obama or his aides have said would lead him to come to that conclusion.

Even if Assad claimed to be serious about such a deal–and he has said no such thing yet, in fact he hasn’t even acknowledged that he possesses chemical weapons–it is hard to know how such a deal could be implemented or enforced. It is one thing for inspectors to travel to Libya in 2003 to make sure that Gaddafi was giving up his entire WMD program. Libya then was a peaceful if despotic place. It is quite another thing to do so now in Syria where violence is commonplace–in fact UN inspectors looking for evidence of chemical-weapons use have already been shot at. How on earth could international inspectors possibly roam Syria in the middle of a civil war to confirm that Assad has no more chemical weapons left?

The task is daunting, indeed nearly impossible, in no small part because of our lack of knowledge about the whereabouts of his arsenal. The New York Times reports: “A senior American official who has been briefed extensively on the intelligence noted in recent days that Washington has firm knowledge of only 19 of the 42 suspected chemical weapons sites. Those numbers are constantly changing, because Mr. Assad has been moving the stores, largely for fear some of them could fall into the hands of rebels.”

Even if we knew where all the stockpiles were, removing them and destroying them–presumably a process that would have to occur outside the country–would be an enormous undertaking that could easily involve thousands of foreign workers along with thousands, even tens of thousands, of soldiers to protect them. It is hard to imagine such an undertaking occurring in wartime; few if any nations will risk their troops on the ground in Syria to make the process possible and Syria’s government would be unlikely to grant them permission to do so.

This, then, is not a serious alternative to military action. It is a stalling tactic to allow Assad to retain his chemical-weapons capacity–and other weapons that have killed far more people. It is also a distraction from the real issue, which is not Assad’s chemical-weapons stockpile but the continuing existence of the Assad regime itself.

More than 100,000 people have already died in the Syrian civil war and more will continue to die as long as the Assad regime remains in power. There are admittedly real dangers in what post-Assad Syria will look like, but we already know what Syria under the Assad regime looks like today–it is a disaster, not only from a humanitarian but also from a strategic standpoint, because al-Qaeda is already consolidating control over parts of northern Syria while Iran is able to maintain a client regime in power in Damascus.

The U.S. policy should be not just the removal of the chemical-weapons stockpile but of the Assad regime itself. In fact Obama has said that is his goal–but he is not willing to take the actions necessary to bring it about. In the face of this leadership vacuum, it is hardly surprising that all sorts of odd ideas are being floated.

http://www.commentarymagazine.com/2013/09/12/the-collapse-of-the-obama-presidency/

The Collapse of the Obama Presidency

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Tembakan membabibuta di jantung kompleks Angkatan Laut (AL) Amerika Serikatdi Washington padaSenin (16/9), dipastikan menewaskan sedikitnya 12 orang. Satu pelaku penembakan juga tewas, dan polisi masih memburu dua pelaku lain yang diduga mengenakan seragam militer.Aaron Alexis yang selama empat tahun bertugas di AL AS, masuk ke kompleks AL dan menembaki orang-orang yang berada di kompleks tersebut.


24 jam setelah insiden itu, belum diketahui pasti apa motif dan penyebab yang mendorong pelaku melakukan aksi brutal tersebut. Pelaku yang telah ditembak mati diindikasi sebagai karyawan AL  yang status pekerjaannya berubah pada awal tahun ini. Status pekerjaan tersebut diduga melatar belakangi serangan itu, meskipun motif lain tak di kesampingkan termasuk terorisme atau gangguan mental. Ada kemungkinan pula bahwa tindakan tersebut dilakukan Alexis untuk membalas dendam kepada komandan AL atau sebagai bentuk protes terhadap kinerja militer AS dan pejabat pemerintah.

Terlepas dari semua kemungkinan tersebut, ada satu hal pasti bahwa tidak ada tempat di AS yang aman dari aksi penembakan meskipun itu gedung-gedung atau kompleks yang dijaga ketat oleh unit-unit militer. Beberapa tahun lalu, peristiwa serupa juga terjadi di pangkalan militer terbesar AS di Texas yang menewaskan seorang psikiater militer dan beberapa rekannya. Karena pelaku beragama Islam, maka pejabat pemerintah dan media-media raksasa AS menyebut peristiwa tersebut sebagai serangan terorisme.

Penembakan-penembakan di Amerika menunjukkan bahwa militer AS menghadapi musuh di dalam maupun di luar. Perang 11 tahun di Afghanistan telah menenewaskan sekitar 1300 tentara AS. Dua peristiwa penembakan di kompleks AL dan pangkalan militer Fort HooddiTexassaja telah menewaskan 20 orang. Sementara itu, jumlah penembakan  di jalan-jalan di Amerika lebih sering terjadi dari pada di instalasi militer.

Pada akhir tahun lalu, penembakan di sebuah sekolah di Connecticut menewaskan 25 orang termasuk 20 anak-anak. Peristiwa tersebut mengejutkan warga AS dan semua berkabung atas tragedi itu. Sebelum peristiwa tersebut, terjadi pula penyerangan brutal di Bioskop di Coloradoyang menewaskan puluhan orang. Sejumlah orang juga tewas dalam peristiwa serupa di Universitas Virginia. Pada akhir dekade 1990-an terjadi peristiwa berdarah di sebuah sekolah di Colorado yang  mengejutkan semua orang.

Pelaku rata-rata melakukan tindakan sadis tersebut karena menderita gangguan mental atau frustasi. Sejumlah pengamat menilai penembakan-penembakan di AS wajar terjadi mengingat setiap 10 orang, terdapat sembilan pucuk senjata. Selain itu, dalam konstitusi AS diperbolehkan bagi warga untuk membawa senjata api. Kebebasan membawa senjata api telah menyebabkan jumlah korban senjata senjata api di Amerika telah melewati 20.000 kasus setiap tahunnya. Sekitar dua juta tahanan di AS mendekam di penjara karena kasus yang berhubungan dengan senjata api.

Selama beberapa tahun terakhir, gelombang tuntutan untuk mengontrol jual beli senjata atau pembatasan terkait hal itu meningkat di masyarakat pasca setiap peristiwa penembakan berdarah, namun selang beberapa waktu, permintaan tersebut dilupakan. Perputaran uang ratusan miliar dolar dari perdagangan senjata dan puluhan ribu pekerja di pabrik-pabrik senjata menjadi faktor penghalang diterimanya tuntutan pembatasan itu.

Yang jelas korban seri penembakan yang tak berujung tersebut adalah masyarakat AS sendiri. Setiap saat nyawa mereka terancam oleh peluru-peluru para penjahat, orang-orang yang sakit mental dan frustasi.  (IRIB Indonesia/RA)




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