Tag Archives: syria

Does Russia’s Re-Expansion Threaten Global Peace

A critical aspect of Golden Rule government is acquiring knowledge and imagining ourselves in the situation of others. With the news today that a Russian General has walked into the U.S. Embassy in Baghdad to request/tell the U.S. to pull its soldiers away from Syria, I’ve started to imagine what Russian President Vladimir Putin might be planning. Following are some of the questions I’m pondering:

  1. Now that we’ve been asked/told by Russia to withdraw our troops from Syria, how long will it be before an American soldier is accidentally killed by a Russia bomb?
  2. In the likely case we pull our troops back further after that American death, how long will it then be before a full Russian military base is built in Syria?
  3. What American interests will be put at risk by that vastly expanded Mediterranean base?
  4. What part of Russia’s re-expansion strategy benefits from Russia’s rapidly strengthening Syria-Iran alliance?
  5. Once Russia begins to fight ISIS in and around Syria while also taking out the handful (actually) of soldiers allied with the U.S. in Syria, do we fully turn over the fight against ISIS to Russia?
  6. Do we have any reason to trust that Russia would only fight ISIS, given Putin’s willingness to invade relatively defenseless nations and know the international community will let him bully his way into control?
  7. Which one of the ‘stans, or will it be Armenia, will the international community have a harder time reaching to stop Russia’s taking of control the next time Putin senses that the U.S. President is politically weak? (My money is on oil-rich Kazakhstan, but there are other candidates).

It’s easy to say let’s clear out from the Middle East and let Russia fight ISIS. But we can be certain that Putin isn’t moving just a single chess piece. In Doing Unto Others, set in the 2040s, Russia has full control of some former Soviet Union nations beyond those he has already taken. Putin may be on the path to greater control sooner than I suspected.

10 Desirable “Unbelievably Small” Outcomes

Secretary of State John Kerry commented today that a military strike against Syria would be “unbelievably small.”  Kerry has to know that “unbelievably small” does not describe any successful military strike. This phrase does, however, describe a number of desirable government outcomes.

Here’s my short list:

  1. Unbelievably small federal debt
  2. Unbelievably small poverty rate
  3. Unbelievably small unemployment rate
  4. Unbelievably small political contribution limits
  5. Unbelievably small number of people entering the nation illegally
  6. Unbelievably small number of eligible food stamp recipients
  7. Unbelievably small high school dropout rate
  8. Unbelievably small number of drug addicts
  9. Unbelievably small college tuition bills, and
  10. Unbelievably small crime rate.

There are plenty of others, but I’ll stop there. In Secretary Kerry’s defense, his unscripted comment that America might not need to act if Syria gives up its chemical weapons may have stumbled on a better solution to the crisis than any previously suggested.

Six Questions Syria Raises for America’s Future

Syria’s collapse into ethnic and religious civil war carries with it lessons for the United States perhaps far more important than current missile-launch debates.

Two lessons are critical:

  • Segregated societies can be divided easily, just as Syria is being torn between Sunnis, Alawites, Christians, Kurds and other religious sects in their different geographic strongholds.
  • Politicians who exploit divisions, or fail to heal wounds of divisions, can quickly turn nations into bleeding grounds.

After substantial advances toward racial integration in recent generations, progress has halted in many parts of America and even moved toward re-segregation in many regions by race, ethnicity and, recently, language.

Syria reminds us that we need to answer different questions beyond those being debated today in order to create a more unified society. Following are six questions particularly worthy of introspection and debate:

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