Stumbling Into War?

The scandals of the Trump administration have filled the news. There can be no doubt that this is a perilous time for the United States as a constitutional crisis tied deeply to Russia unfolds. Unfortunately, this became even more dangers with a new revelation of alleged treachery.

The story out today is that Michael Flynn, acting as the incoming administration’s representative, called off US support for the SDF militia fighting Da’esh (ISIS) on 10 Jan. He may have been acting more on behalf of Turkey, which reportedly paid him $500,000.

Understanding this situation and why it is so dangerous for the entire world requires some deep background. It will be difficult for the mainstream press to catch up, so it is our pleasure to provide it here.

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Syria Degenerates

The US has turned inward. The nooze has become a high-caloried stream of confectionary nonsense from Washingtoon, spiced up with genuine budgetary horrors. The diversions keep coming, keeping everyone’s attention away from the real stories – possible treason and a lot of incompetence.

Meanwhile, Syria has become significantly more dangerous. In the very near future it’s reasonable that the situation will demand genuine leadership and careful negotiation. Given that this is nearly impossible, based on the narcissistic machismo which substitutes for leadership on nearly all sides, the potential for something even more horrible is rising daily.

But it’s hardly being reported at all.

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Syria: The Next Phase

The war in Syria and Iraq continues. Our press continues to report it very badly, never providing any context whatsoever. How can anyone make sense of what’s going on or the likely conquest of Da’esh/ISIS which is in the works?

This is a brief update on the situation which is strangely not provided in any other outlet. Keep in mind, however, the essential truths about the ongoing battle with Da’esh:

  1. They pose no significant threat to the United States.
  2. In fact, the entire region is largely irrelevant to the US.
  3. The lack of relevance is not going to stop us from blundering remarkably close to a global conflict.

With all of this in mind, let’s look at the reality of this situation which is generally ignored.

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Defeating ISIS

In a crazy election year, it should come as no surprise that there is another turn waiting to be sprung on everyone. The biggest “October Surprise” in the works right now is the defeat of ISIS / Da’ish. This is quite likely to happen, and it would be a huge boost for Obama and Democrats everywhere.

The story, of course, isn’t about us – but we’ll make it that way. Our media will almost certainly portray the collapse as something the Obama administration gets all the credit for. Not only will that not be entirely true, it will also be reported very badly by the media leading up to the “final” event.

This is a complex story that requires a lot of context, which is exactly what the US media is terrible at. But even more than predicting tomorrow’s news today, Barataria is all about context. Here is what to look for if you wish to follow this story as it unfolds.

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Never Ending Conflict

The torment continues in Syria, if anything accelerating. The conflict appears to be burning through the remaining areas of the nation creating another refugee crisis on top of the one that has already swamped neighboring nations Jordan, Lebanon, and Turkey. Europeans are now forced to deal with it.

Into this a new combatant, Russia, has started bombing. The conflict has only intensified as a result. Where will this go?

The short answer is that there is apparently no end in sight simply because the nature of the conflict has an ability to morph as more and more of those involved have an interest in creating chaos. Syria is devolving into the kind of scorched battleground reminiscent of the Thirty Years War of 1618-1648, which is in itself an example of history not quite learned.

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Stability

As the crisis in Iraq worsens nearly daily, a quiet calm seems to have come over US politics. Republicans want to blame Obama for this, but know that they can’t. More to the point, there doesn’t seem to be anything proactive we can do, at least not anything different from what we tried twice before. There is simply far too much blame to go around for it to land squarely on anyone here in the US.

What is different this time? Apart from the horrible loss of life a decade ago, apparently for little gain, there is a big change in the US. Our energy independence makes any arguments based on “strategic resources” much thinner than the blood of American soldiers. Between this crisis and Ukraine it has become clear that we have limits and have to learn to be OK with that.

But there is more to it. It should be obvious by now that US foreign policy can no longer be about control but stability. And that, by itself, should be a pivotal change.

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Nationhood, the Hard Way

The latest crisis in Iraq has become a grave situation. This spillover from Syria, in the form of the Islamic State of Iraq and Syria (ISIS) has already become a regional conflict even bigger than the refugee crisis that has spilled over into all of the neighbors of Syria.

What’s less obvious is that ultimately this could become something much more profound if everyone involved manages to do the right thing for once. The odds of that happening are slim, but important steps forward have been taken by the largest group of stateless people in the world, the Kurds. How they play their hand could determine how many wrongs dating back to the fall of the Ottoman Empire nearly a century ago are finally righted.

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