Tuesday, September 10, 2013

Rachel Maddow explains how Russia became a player in the possible avoidance of an American strike against Syria. But she just might be missing something.

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Okay so you all KNOW that I think that Rachel Maddow is the best when it comes to covering breaking news stories, however I am not sure if I buy the whole "John Kerry gaffe evolves into unexpected bloodless solution to a possible Syria missile strike."

For one thing even with the internet and Twitter this whole thing came together incredibly fast. I mean when was the last time you saw a problem of this magnitude potentially solved in a day? Yeah, me either.

And the other things is...well first let me link to how this story is being reported on the Maddow blog:

It's too soon to say with confidence whether the diplomatic solution for Syrian crisis will stick, but if it does, we can probably guess the story the White House will be eager to tell. President Obama took the lead in responding to Syria's suspected chemical-weapons attack and threatened to use military force. At the same time, Obama and his team pointed the way to a political resolution that forced an end to Syria's entire program of chemical weapons, and it was the White House's threats that made diplomacy possible. 

That's obviously the most favorable possible spin -- it's also assuming the proposal solution will work, and it may not -- but it's rooted in plausible claims. A longtime Republican strategist told the Huffington Post, "It looks like Obama drew an inside straight here." 

And for the right, the notion that Syria could become a political plus for Obama just won't do. So what's the alternative for U.S. conservatives? Quick, praise Putin! 

"From the claws of defeat and humiliation, Obama is claiming victory.... The way this was handled was a complete embarrassment and near-disaster, saved only by Vladimir Putin. [...] 

Putin comes across as the world leader."

So suddenly Putin, who was being attacked and vilified by just about EVERYBODY over the Snowden affair, is suddenly the new conservative hero? The same conservatives who like to believe that their hero Ronald Reagan arm wrestled the Soviets into knocking down the Berlin wall and whose recent presidential candidate said that Russia was "without question, our number one geopolitical foe?" That Vladimir Putin?

Well that's certainly an unexpected outcome.

Or is it?

It seems to me that I remember an incident, barely reported on, from about four days ago at the G20 Summit:  

President Barack Obama met privately with Russian President Vladimir Putin in the midst of their dispute over how to respond to chemical weapons use in Syria. 

Putin told reporters they spoke for 20 or 30 minutes Friday and focused on Syria. 

The Russian president says while they disagreed, the meeting was constructive. 

The White House confirmed the meeting but offered no details. 

But hey I get it. Kerry made a gaffe, and while the President was "dithering," Russian President Putin rode in on a white horse to solve the problem.

Sounds reasonable, right? After all this President was simply a one term Senator and former community organizer, how could HE be expected to solve such a complicated problem?



  1. Anonymous9:45 AM

    Very interesting analysis. But Putin is just one aspect of this conundrum. I respect our president has set this out for discussion and diplomacy. It challenges the power grip the defense industry has on this country. Imagine! Going to the people for a decision! Doesn’t that just reek of democracy? It is time we got off the soul-breaking war-mongering “might is right” or “we are NO. 1!” or “a strong defense is the best offense” talking points. Americans ought to get out and travel more. But it is simply easier to stay in the post-World War II bubble and think the US is the end all be all. When I hear people go off about how President Reagan saved the world for democracy and Russia is still our enemy I just think it is willful ignorance, but more shocking is the obvious inattention to the last 50 year’s history. Even more disturbing is some of these people actually were sentient beings during the last 50 years!

    1. Lots of things were going on; Lech Walesa (Poland), the pope, and especially Gorbachev. I don’t think Reagan consciously broke the Soviet Union, they were going under anyway. Gorbachev said so. He also let the Berlin wall fall without consequences. Reagan gets a lot of undeserved credit.

    2. Anonymous12:43 PM

      You are so right, the Soviet Union was going down. The arms race was unreal expensive and unsustainable for them. I find it amazing our intelligence agencies did not report such things at the time (but my cynical self says the defense industry was happy as pigs in a mud bath). People who actually visited the USSR commented on this aspect and how Russians were so demoralized by the cost of the Cold War.

    3. Anonymous5:05 PM

      The Soviet Union went under because of Afghanistan. Reagan sent money and aid to, wait for it, Osama Bin Laden in Afghanistan in the 80s. Afghanistan sucked the Soviet Union dry just like they did us and we didn't learn from that mistake.

  2. My respect for President Obama just grows and grows. The man is truly a chess master. All kinds of mayhem would have ensued if he's just sent strikes in the beginning of all this. Putting it up for Congressional approval did two things:

    1:It put Congress in the hot seat, specifically GOPers.All their angry accusations neutralized and their own stand on the matter of strikes or no strikes suddenly put in the spotlight. See the GOPers scurry for cover!

    It gave Assad days and days, yes, to move stuff around and probably surround his chemical sites with wormen and children, but more importantly it gave Assad days and days to consider what the might of the U.S. might rain down on him. Initial reaction to U.S. was "bring it on", but days and days of looking at potential realities and suddenly Putin and Assad find a way to defuse the situation.

    Just plain brilliant, Mr. President.

    It still has to play out, but right now Obama is looking like a chess grandmaster.

    1. Anonymous4:12 PM

      When the discussions of an attack on Syria first began, it seemed like President Obama was mired in a situation that had no possible good outcome. No matter how he responded, it would have been a disaster.

      Based on previous events in which he pulled saves out of thin air, I should have expected some creative, unexpected plan coming together in the background. As usual, he's ten steps ahead of everyone else and finding ways to solve overwhelming problems that no one else thought of.

      Thank goodness for the brilliant minds in the White House!

  3. Anonymous10:14 AM

    Peter King wanna be President,was decrying and degrading "community organizer" we'll take that any day over Cowboy Bush. Amazing shrinking GOP, nothing but grifters all!

    1. Anonymous4:13 PM

      Can you imagine how McCain or Romney would have handled this crisis???

      I shudder at the thought!

    2. Anonymous4:52 PM

      putin reared his head, where was the windigo???
      dumb bitch gots nuttin to say now

  4. Anonymous10:18 AM

    It doesn't matter what the Obama Administration does, the right will never give him or his team any praise for their efforts. I recall when President Obama was headed for the summit in St. Petersburg, the conservatives were all aflutter with rage accusing him of wasting his time going there; they criticized him for that, and with meeting with Putin, because Putin had insulted John Kerry for calling him a liar.

    Despite the accusations from back home and the insult, President Obama became the "negotiator" and diplomat and put his pride on the back burner, so that he could prevent a disaster in the Middle East. He put the needs of others ahead of his own needs. And voila! The outcome is what the book of Proverbs and all those nice verses that the christian right keep reminding everyone of became a reality. The outcome is one that brings about a peaceful solution.

    Now, we're not certain that we can trust Putin or Assad or any player in these cases, if this new deal goes through, it will at least have averted more possible carnage and buy time until the next provocation. It gives the international community time to create discussion on this issue without any air strikes.

    Fox News and the right have become unglued because they see that diplomacy and patience and calm assessment is working. Even if this new strategy with removing weapons in Syria doesn't work, it gives Syrians time to pick up the pieces and leave the areas where rebel forces have re-occupied.

    This whole thing from the beginning was about citizens living in the re-occupied lands of Syria being gassed to death. The focus should still be on them and their safety and helping them leave, give them refugee status, humanitarian aid, etc. The pundits on TV are all in a "how does this affect us and the next election" mode. That is disgusting to watch.

    1. Anonymous4:15 PM

      See what can happen when a President makes decisions based on the safety and security of his country and the world instead of always thinking about what's best for his political career or that of his party?

      Amazing what can be accomplished!

  5. Sally in MI10:26 AM

    So I suppose the Wasilla Witch will declare that Putin was listening to Allah, who sorted it all out, and she was right all along?
    I still say Obama had no intention of starting a war. None.

  6. Anonymous10:58 AM

    Our newspaper today in Cleveland said that Obama claimed to have "broached the subject at their 20 minute meeting" so yes, it seems he is a lot smarter than even I was giving him credit for.

    And I do give him a lot of credit on many things.

  7. Anonymous11:03 AM

    I'm on the edge of my seat over the whole thing...so fucking much at stake, so played out for media consumption, so fast-moving, and Obama gets the shit kicked out of him by the nut jobs and the doubters and the haters, and he just keeps taking things as they come and triangulating off of them. Without very much ego. If he did agree with Putin to let Putin carry the day, I would understand it considering Barack's psychological make-up. He doesn't want to attack. He doesn't want the use of chemical weapons. He'll make mistakes getting to those goal. But he is getting closer to them. Will he get us there? He has to, because most of the country doesn't want to attack. Why I'm on edge of seat.

  8. Anonymous11:04 AM

    I think it was masterfully done -- by President Obama. He allowed Putin to save face in the light of the mess he made of the Snowden business and of the disaster the Russian Winter Olympics is likely to be and of his denial about Assad's use of chemical weapons. Bravo to President Obama!

    1. Anonymous2:07 PM

      I so respect our President and I'll wager Putin does too. Behind the scenes negotiations and he (POTUS) will probably get zero credit for it by the media or Republican party.

      But, he is cool and steady as he goes and outplays the asshole Republicans every time! Love it and love him!

    2. Anonymous4:20 PM

      If the choice is between making the Republicans and the right wing media eat crow - OR - working with international allies to stop a dictator from gassing his people without shedding a drop of American blood, I'll take international cooperation every time!

      Who cares who gets credit, as long as the mission is accomplished!

  9. Anonymous11:13 AM

    OT, but you will all love Andrew Sullivan's take on the Quitter's latest video (bomb Obmacare).

    "It’s never time to “bomb” anything outside a declaration of war. To urge such a thing in domestic political disputes, even in empty rhetoric, is the mark of a crazy person. But we knew that already."


    1. fromthediagonal3:47 PM

      Martin Bashir also has a segment on it. His comments and those of his guests are great!

  10. Anonymous11:18 AM

    Rand Paul and Ted Cruz’s Defund Obamacare Rally Attracts Dozens of Medicare Using Elderly People

    Sens. Rand Paul and Ted Cruz’s defund Obamacare rally today turned out to be a giant bust, as the only people most interested in stopping Obamacare are old people who are already on Medicare.

    Pat Robertson’s CBN Network touted the anticipated huge crowd size, “The start date for enrolling in the Affordable Care Act is Oct. 1. As the nation gets closer to that date, activists who want to defund Obamacare are putting more pressure on legislators. On Tuesday, they’re bringing thousands of protestors to Washington, D.C., for an event called Exempt America.”

    This was a shot of the crowd that they got:


    1. Well bless their little pea-picking hearts! Too bad they are lacking brains - unless they were all bussed in and paid for their time which is a whole different game. Most of those people could use a buck or two more I'm thinking.

      Rand Paul, Ted Cruz, and Pat Robertson all look the fools that they are. They deserve this visual putdown!

  11. Anonymous11:53 AM

    Of course the president and Putin agreed upon this last week. Putin/Russia sells arms to Assad and doesn't want to lose that $. He then had to be against the strike but behind closed doors he and president Obama probably agreed that Kerry would let it "slip" that if Assad turned over the weapons to the in counsel then Putin would get an agreement from Assad. Putin saves his money interests, Obama and the world get control over the chemicals and no strikes are made.

    President Obama has shown us time and again that he is more about solving problems than looking like a hero. How many times do left pundits say he has to do this or that to show how great he is-yet he doesn't. He is a man of integrity and honor and wisdom and as long as the job gets done that is all he wants.

    Obviously Putin is more agreeable to our president than congress is because this did come together quickly and we know that congress cannot do anything quickly and/or at all.

    To deny that Obama is the one responsible for this compromise is stupidity.

    1. Anonymous1:23 PM

      Russia was not the only one who was selling Syria weapons like the ones used. Britain did it too and that is why they did not want to be involved in bombing a former (and future) customer.

    2. Anonymous5:34 PM

      Assad may have really good reasons to go along with the plan. German intelligence reports that they intercepted communications between Assad and a couple of division commanders. They were seeking permission to use chemical weapons (at least twice). Assad answered "NO". The Germans and at least one other source believe the district commanders, one of which was the commander for Damascus, used the weapons without permission from Assad. If all of this is true, being "forced" to get rid of his weapons might solve Assad's problem too.

      Of course, that does not excuse the wholesale slaughter of the Syrian people that is going on. We must use maximum pressure to stop that.

      Elizabeth 44

  12. Anonymous12:06 PM

    To the pee ponders who read here:stfu you racist idiots. You have a post up denying that president Obama orchestrated this? Why? Because it is so untrue? If it isn't plausible then why give it any thought? I have heard c4p is a support the skank site-so why do you care if Obama handled this or not? Skank isn't ever going to be near the White House so really world affairs such as Syria are none of your business or expertise-it has nothing o do with skank so has nothing o do with your one dimensional lives.

    Yes the half black half white man in the White House is intelligent enough to have orchestrated this. While the world is against any bombing the skank has a video made about bombing obamacare!! Yeah-sheer genius!! This is going over well-not.
    At a time such as this when delicate negotiating is moving forward and away from missile strikes-bombings- the idiot queen uses the word "bomb". What we know and you don't is that she is really saying "money bomb" because obviously she hasn't had enough vacations yet.

    Hunting? For food? Nah-they are staying at a high end resort of which Todd owns a percentage and are flying and being driven to areas where an animal may be too weak to run just so they can get off on blood sport.

    Blood sport/ blood libel/target/ reload/ bomb-oh yeah all just coincidences!

    Again stfu you childish idiots and let the adults run the world. You all can sit at your computers after cashing your unemployment or social security checks and talk about the good old days when women, gays, blacks, Hispanics, Jews weren't allowed to mingle with you.
    BTW-we like it better not mingling with you too so feel free to stay at the pee pond.

    1. Anonymous1:51 PM

      Those 4pee sites are something to behold. She sure attracts the scum of the scum, that's for sure, and they're too freaking stupid to realize she's not running for anything ever again.

  13. Caroll Thompson1:31 PM

    I have something to say to all you trolls on IM: President Barack Obama is the best President of my lifetime, bar none. On January 20, 2017, President Hillary Clinton will be taking the oath of office. I think she will also be a great President; maybe better than President Obama.

    So go ahead with your race baiting and hating on the gays. Keep it up with that social agenda where you speak of wanting freedom and then deny that freedom to all who disagree with you (i.e. the gays, women taking birth control, minorities wanting to vote, people who believe in religous freedom - as in leave me the hell alone to my own beliefs).

    The young folks are not with you, minorities are not with you, women are not with you. Your base is old white men I guess. Your base is dying one by one every day of every week. No one is replacing your dying base.

    Take a page from Bob (that would be Dylan of course) "You better start swimming or you'll sink like a stone for the times they are a changing".

    1. Anonymous4:28 PM

      How thrilled I would be if the first African-American POTUS and the first female POTUS both happened in my lifetime!

    2. Anonymous5:36 PM

      Anon 4:28: I agree, that would be something special.

      Elizabeth 44

  14. I have read all of the comments-- lots of good ideas that help to explain this situation. Still, I feel like there is at least one piece of the puzzle that we are not privy to. I'm not sure what it may be.

    I truly hope that the U.S. does not bomb Syria.
    I also truly hope that the negotiators can help deliver peace to this tortured nation in the midst of a Civil War.

  15. Our President Obama is such a grand master strategist. I applaud his skill and humility. He will go down in history as one of the most accomplished presidents ever.

    But, who can replace him? He is one of a kind, I'm thinking.

  16. Anonymous3:22 PM

    I've been arguing this point all day --
    If Obama wanted to hit Syria, he'd hit Syria. Doesn't take rocket science to understand that he had the ability to do this legally -- in his word.

  17. I do not buy the accidentally on purpose Kerry comment story either. The John Kerry comment could have been a testing of the public's opinion move along with the opening of the discussion for a non-violent solution. When I first heard the story I had to wonder if Russia was helping to come up with an idea to solve the problem, they have a history of doing this despite what our government wants the sheep in this country to believe, even during the Cold War era. The whole plan could have come from this country however, to be started with a comment from Kerry. This solution comes right after Obama visited Russia where conversations not on the phone or internet could be had. I don't doubt Putin discussed this with other countries in the Middle East as well who would like the chemical weapons gone. Obama wants to find a way to save face while still looking strong, so he does not want this plan to come from him. That would make him look like the people controlled his decision which according to our Constitution is exactly what is supposed to happen. We are living in twisted times with a right wing and miliary-industrial-complex who would start screaming Obama is weak without the use of bombs or drones. Bullying another country by boming innocent people is weak, finding a peaceful solution is strong, but idiots are not able to see this. The public is totally against bombing Syria, not just in the US, but all over the world. This is the type of solution we wanted, there is no excuse for having chemical weapons for any country including ours. There are solutions to the problems in the world, but we have corporations who don't want solutions, they want profits at the expense of harming others. It makes no sense to harm the people of Syria because their government or someone else gassed them. I also have to wonder if this was a clever maneuver to thwart the actions against Syria facilitated by a president who can't control the Military-Industrial-Complex. Obama may be on the phone to the Pentagon right now saying, But General Asswipe whoda thunk it.

  18. Anita Winecooler6:40 PM

    Great Comments! All I can add is, in a roundabout way, Obama got Putin to admit he knew Syria has chemical weapons??? Who did Syria get them from? hmmmm....


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