Monday, April 30, 2018

Why We Can Be Cautiously Optimistic About North Korea

North Korea has been a major problem for world peace and a major security threat to the U.S and its allies for some time. But some recent developments suggest this may be changing.

North Korean leader Kim Jong-Un did something totally unprecedented when he crossed the border to talk peace, a formal end to the Korean War and the denuclearizing of the Korean peninsula with South Korean President Moon Moon Jae-in.And a formal meeting with President Trump appears to be upcoming.

The President himself mentioned it at a rally in Michigan on Saturday night, saying,“I think we will have a meeting over the next three or four weeks,” he said. “It’s going be a very important meeting, the denuclearization of the Korean peninsula. But we’ll see how it goes. I may go in, it may not work out, I leave.”

Needless to say, there have been a fair amount of skeptical and cautionary statements about this development. Some of them are justified, others are simply based on partisan hatred of this president. And while I'm not prepared to schedule the party quite yet, I'm cautiously optimistic. Here's why.

Kim Jong Un has finally realized he isn't dealing with Bill Clinton or Barack Obama, but with a far different personality, someone who is committed to solving this problem whatever it takes. President Trump responding to Kim's threats by saying that "the button on my desk is bigger and it works" obviously had an effect. No one has ever talked to the North Koreans in quite that way, ever. Instead, they've be cosseted, bribed and simply ignored. Kim knows that President Trump is not going to respond to a missile fired over Japan by simply shrugging his shoulders and saying 'there's nothing we can do' as the Obama Administration did. And he's also had a number of incidents occur to let him know that things have changed.

North Korea's main trading partner is China, who have always been fond of having a pit bull on their border to distract attention from China's doings when they needed it. President Trump ended that by pressuring China to enact sanctions on the Kim regime that cut the trade by an estimated 90 percent. Apparently the Chinese have realized that North Korea has gotten out of control.

Another 'mysterious' incident involved North Korea's main nuclear testing area under Mantapsan Mountain. It was mostly destroyed when the entire mountain collapsed. While some people are calling it an earthquake caused by too much underground testing or too much tunneling, there's also a fair amount of evidence that the incident was man made and could very well have been a message from either the Chinese or the U.S. that it was time to get serious about dismantling the Nork's nuclear weapons program...or else. Kim Jong-Un is already saying that he will shut down all of his nuclear testing and research areas publicly, in front of foreign experts. So it looks like a case of message received, so far.

And finally, President Trump has surrounded himself with intelligent and savvy team members. John Bolton is one of the world's most knowledgeable experts on nuclear proliferation and non-proliferation, and our new Secretary of State Mike Pompeo is no fool either, and Kim Jong-Un knows it. We're not talking about dealing with the likes of  Hillary Clinton, John Kerry or Madeline Albright here.

Finally, like most dictators, Kim Jong-Un is quite concerned with face and his personal prestige, especially with his oversized military. I doubt he would be risking that by making these gestures and saying what he's saying if it weren't a matter of sheer personal survival.

So for the above reasons, I'm cautiously optimistic. And if President Trump actually pulls this off, he does indeed deserve the Nobel Peace Prize...certainly far more than his predecessor Barack Obama.


Friday, April 27, 2018

Forum: Is It Time To Forget About The Holocaust?

Every Monday, the WoW! community and our invited guests weigh in at the Watcher's Forum, short takes on a major issue of the day, the culture, or daily living. This week's question: Is It Time To Forget about the Holocaust?

Bookworm Room
: Holocaust Memorial Day is a perfect example of the O'Sullivan principle: " Any institution that is not explicitly right wing will become left wing over time." I realized last year that the whole concept of using government to memorialize the Holocaust had been destroyed when Obama managed not to mention Jews even once in his Holocaust remembrance statement:

In a departure from predecessors on both sides of the political aisle, President Trump’s statement Friday marking International Holocaust Remembrance Day did not mention the deaths of six million Jews — a lapse the head of the Anti-Defamation League called “puzzling and troubling.”

In the three-paragraph statement Friday, Trump said: “It is with a heavy heart and somber mind that we remember and honor the victims, survivors, heroes of the Holocaust. It is impossible to fully fathom the depravity and horror inflicted on innocent people by Nazi terror.”

“Yet, we know that in the darkest hours of humanity, light shines the brightest.‎ As we remember those who died, we are deeply grateful to those who risked their lives to save the innocent,” he continued, again referring only to “the innocent.”

“In the name of the perished, I pledge to do everything in my power throughout my Presidency, and my life, to ensure that the forces of evil never again defeat the powers of good,” he concluded. “Together, we will make love and tolerance prevalent throughout the world.”

As I pointed out in my post about Anne Frank, the Left is not only taking the Jews out of the Holocaust, it's putting the Holocaust into the service of the Palestinians whose deepest desire is to massacre every Jew in Israel.

Israel should continue to honor Holocaust Memorial Day. Jews should continue to honor Holocaust Memorial Day. People of good will should continue to honor it. But for goodness sake, it's time to get governmental institutions out of the Holocaust Memorial business, because government (at least lately) is inherently Leftist endeavor. Obama was just the visible thin edge of the wedge. The professional Left will continue to do whatever it can, not only to despoil the memory of the Six Million, but to use the Holocaust against the Jews. We need to take that opportunity away from them.

Rob Miller: Well, why not?According to Gavin McInnes, those Jews harping on the Shoah (the Hebrew name for the Holocaust) is turning him into a anti-Semite. Although to be honest, McInnes has always had a certain attitude towards Jews and Israel. I won't link to the You Tube video concerned (you can find it, I'm sure), but he voices all the usual things said on both the hard Left and the  extreme Right about the subject:

'Oh the Jews think the Holocaust is so special. There are plenty of genocides, so why bother making that one a special case? Time we all moved on, especially the Jews. They've milked it enough already.'

' Holocaust deniers aren't really saying it didn't happen, they just say no gas was used and the death toll wasn't anywhere near six million.Oh, and most of those died because the Germans lacked enough food to keep them alive.'

'Oh, no one in the allied countries knew about the Holocaust. That's why Auschwitz was never bombed.'

'Hey, Jewish commies were responsible for the Ukrainian genocide, the Holdomor and others as well, so they have nothing to say when it comes to victim hood.'

Every one of these cutesy opinions is either a lie, deliberate bias or the result of extreme ignorance.In McInnes's case, I'd say all three.

'Jewish commies' didn't make any decisions about the Holdomor. The one who did that was Stalin. Were some people of Jewish birth involved? You bet. But remember, the Soviet Union was about not having any religious affiliation, which is why a lot of Jews on the Left gave up any connection with the religion or ethnicity in order to become communists. They figured that if they had no religion, there would be no reason to hate them anymore, and lots of them, like Famous German Jewish communist Rosa Luxemburg said as much.

Any number of Holocaust deniers, especially the more recent ones have indeed said that no gas was used, and the death toll was far less. Of course, they have no explanation of all those Zyklon B cans that were found when the camps were liberated. Or the 'shower rooms' where pieces of the cement were literally clawed away by people desperate to get out of them once the gas was released. Or Zyklon B's manufacturers, IG Farben's company records which show why the gas was developed in the first place, and who requested it. Or the records of what was shipped to the Nazi government and where it was shipped.

Oh, and the Allies didn't know what was going on? Their leaders certainly did. Any thinking human after Kristallnacht knew what the Germans had in store for the Jews. But the leaders knew first hand.

Second Lieutenant Jan Karski was smuggled out of Poland with full documentation and pictures of what was going on. Starting in 1942, Karski reported to the Polish, British and U.S. governments on the situation in Poland, especially on the destruction of the Warsaw Ghetto and the Holocaust of Polish Jews. He had also carried out of Poland a microfilm with further information from the underground movement on the extermination of European Jews in German-occupied Poland. The Polish Foreign Minister Count Edward RaczyƄski provided the Allies on this basis one of the earliest and most accurate accounts of the Holocaust. It led to no action whatsoever.

Karski was finally given an audience with FDR on July 28, 1943. Roosevelt heard him out, but essentially ignored him.

There were others who took huge personal risks to report to the Allies what was happening, like Witold Pilecki, who reported pretty much the same thing. The Allies simply weren't interested and took no steps to halt the carnage, not even to the extent of simply bombing the railroad tracks leading to the camps to slow down the slaughter.

Ah, well.

Finally, was the Holocaust was unique in modern history? Please read what follows and then you tell me:

1) Total extermination of an entire ethnic group as a policy goal

The entire idea behind the Final Solution was just that. To massacre every Jewish man, woman and child. In 1915, if Armenians escaped from the disgusting genocide that was inflicted on them by the Turks and managed to flee to Iran, the Levant, Egypt, Russia or the western world, there was no major effort by the Turks to pursue them and murder them outside Ottoman borders.

Not only that, but many Armenians, especially women and children survived even if they were captured by the Turks. During what amounted to a death march to the Syrian Desert, not only were a number of women and children kidnapped along the way, but many were sold into slavery by their Turkish captors. They lived in misery as slaves, but they lived. Extermination wasn't the goal.

In contrast, Jewish women and children were marked for death and the Nazis enjoyed nothing more than sterilizing Jews without the benefit of anesthesia.

2) Total extermination of an entire group as a policy goal where no threat existed or was believed to exist:

While there have been many examples of genocide and mass killings in history, total extermination is rare, especially on an industrial scale, and especially when absolutely no threat existed or was even thought to have existed. Except for the Holocaust, there was always a political and/or territorial goal, even if 'the danger' was largely in the minds of the perpetrators.

The Ottomans believed the Armenians were trying to carve out a separate nation. The Pakistanis, who carried out a disgusting attack that included mass rape on what is now Bangladesh back in 1970 were trying to retain territory for themselves after 'West Pakistan' broke away and to impregnate enough women to dilute the Bengali part of the population. Pol Pot murdered something like a million of his own people who he felt endangered his psychotic regime, The Janjiweed who attacked Darfur had the same goal as the Pakistanis.

There's no genocide existing where there was no real or construed territorial or political threat...except the Holocaust, which was launched against people who were literally defenseless and no threat whatsoever.

3) In-gathering

Normally mass killings are confined to a certain area, territory or national border, and there's no attempt to urge or coerce other countries to participate or to turn over members of the targeted group to the killers...except in the Holocaust.

The Nazis had no problem encouraging their allies and even governments of countries they didn't occupy to turn over their Jews and in many cases, even to actively participate in either killing them themselves or shipping them to the camps. While the Germans took the primary blame, they were actively assisted by Vichy France, Croatia, the Ukraine, Norway, the Netherlands, Austria and the Baltic countries, just to name a few. Oddly enough, Germany's allies, Italy and Hungary were harsh in their treatment of Jews, particularly Hungary, but they didn't round up their Jews and turn them over for the Nazis to take to the camps until a retreating German army occupied the countries. Finland, who had a sort of alliance with Germany against the Russians refused to even consider cooperating, Denmark's story is well known, and the Bulgarians were also pretty adamant about the matter.

That kind of in-gathering, especially for people who posed no threat of any kind is unique in history.

There are other things about the Holocaust that are unique but who cares? Let's just forget about it, OK?  We've gotten over it, why haven't the Jews?

Well, let it never be said I can't consider another point of view. But I do want a few things in return. And I think it's appropriate to consider the motives of the people who really want the Holocaust mostly buried in the memory banks.


The Germans at least considered the matter honestly and paid reparations, but to be honest they got a real bargain because Israel was a broke, brand new country swamped with refugees from both the camps and the Arab world and Ben-Gurion needed the money badly. The monetary amount had nothing to do with the property, businesses, bank accounts and personal property looted from Germany's Jews, but at least it was something.

But the same thing happened all over Europe, and aside from some pro forma apologies, no one else ever paid a dime. Is some cases, it took decades before these countries even acknowledged that they'd been more than a bit eager to round up their Jews ship them off and cash in. Naturally, they're eager to bury this part of the past! Not only that, but in a number of shall we say, culturally enriched countries the Holocaust isn't even taught in public schools anymore 'because it clashes with what our Muslim students are taught at home and causes problems.'

That's an actual quote from a UK school head master when questioned about the matter.

Fine by me. Don't teach about the Shoah, especially your part in it. Faggetaboudit. But in exchange, pay for what you stole from the Jews in today's money. We can negotiate the terms, perhaps, but you owe the Jewish people big time. And that, by the way is why that feeling of guilt so annoys you.

As far as I'm concerned, that specifically includes the UK. Having your anti-semitic Prime Minister Neville Chamberlain close off Palestine to Jews in violation of the League of Nations Mandate in 1939 when millions of Jews were desperate for a haven cost quite a few lives that could have been saved otherwise. It's about time you acknowledged that and paid up. Pay up...not that it will ever excuse the cruelty of what your government did and the human suffering it caused. But as our part of the deal, you can placate the UK's Muslims all you want. And I'll throw in a sweetener...we'll even forget about you arming the Arabs to the teeth in 1948 and even officering the Arab Legion when you knew very well their announced intention was genocide of every Jew living in Israel.

The other group that really wants the Holocaust forgotten is a significant part of the Muslim world, except when they're at the mosque or talking among themselves in Arabic.

Well, I think we can deal here too, Tzadik. After 1948 almost a million Jews were ethnically cleansed from the Arab world simply because they were, you know, Jews. The Arab countries took their cue from the Nazis, and the price for the Jews was the same it was in Germany during the 1930's...everything they owned for an exit visa, their businesses, bank accounts, homes, personal property, everything.

The most conservative estimates of what was stolen come to just over a trillion dollars in today's money. That shouldn't be too hard to raise, should it, with all that oil money and overseas investment? And in exchange, you can buy all the copies of Mein Kampf you want, rant and quote the Qur'an about how evil the Jews are, and we'll forget all about the Holocaust and how many of you openly supported the Nazis. And the Israelis will even help you with your Iran problem. That, of course, applies to the Arab 'refugees now living high on the uh...camel, that's it camel... on Western dole money.

Let's make a deal, shall we?

If not, stop your whining and face up to what you did, at least.

Laura Rambeau Lee:The only chance we have to avoid repeating the horrors of the past is to never forget the Holocaust and the millions of innocent people Adolph Hitler and his Third Reich coldly and systematically exterminated during the 1940s. We must understand and convey to new generations the methods of indoctrination and propagandizing that can cause seemingly normal people to believe that the unspeakable evils they are committing against their fellow human beings are for a greater good. I have visited Dachau. I have seen the gas showers and the crematoriums. This didn’t happen long ago; this is recent history. Many today try to deny any of this ever happened even though we still have some survivors of these concentration camps and others who witnessed these atrocities living among us.

In Dr. Jordan B. Peterson’s book 12 Rules for Life: An Antidote to Chaos he writes:

“Memory is not a description of the objective past. Memory is a tool. Memory is the past’s guide to the future. If you remember that something bad happened, and you can figure out why, then you can try to avoid that bad thing happening again. That’s the purpose of memory. It’s not “to remember the past.” It’s to stop the same damn thing from happening over and over.”

This is true on a personal level and on a collective level. Only by remembering can we have any hope of keeping these horrors from happening again. We must make it a point to observe Holocaust Memorial Day, to talk about it, and to never forget.

Well, there it is!

Make sure to drop by every Monday for the WoW! Magazine Forum. And enjoy WoW! Magazine 24-7 with some of the best stuff written in the 'net. Take from me, you won't want to miss it.

Tuesday, April 17, 2018

Forum: What Happens Next In Syria?

Every Monday, the WoW! community and our invited guests weigh in at the Watcher's Forum, short takes on a major issue of the day, the culture, or daily living. This week's question: What Happens Next In Syria?

Don Surber: I posted my answer.

I told readers on Thursday, "My money is on a lot of rockets red glare while the Saudis quietly take care of business. You need them to go in because they can tell the difference between an actual Syrian rebel and an Islamic State terrorist. Obama never realized that.

"Besides, it is their land, not ours. Let them defend it. No American president wants to send in ground troops. Had we fought the Gulf War this way, that New World Order thing may have worked."

Now hindsight is 20/20 on the Gulf War. The Gulf states lacked quantity of troops necessary. But on the other hand, they would not allow Western soldiers enter Baghdad. What a mess.

27 years later, we provide the bombs, the Saudis provide the ground troops.

The Saudis have the bombs but couldn't bomb Syria without drawing return fire from Russia. That would have led to a war no one wants.

So we provided cover, and brought along Britain and France. With China siding with Russia, the five permanent members of the UN are split with three on the side of good, and two on the side of Assad.

Trump will bring the shock and awe, and maybe keep a few troops on the ground.

But the Gulf states are doing the heavy lifting, just as they are doing in Yemen where there is another proxy war between the Arabs and Iran.

The Syria strike is the Trump Doctrine at its best. We provide the backup to our friends involved in regional conflicts. Korea is another example. We are enabling South Korea to negotiate with the North directly, for the first time in 68 years.

Trump also severed our foreign policy to the human rights restriction that Jimmy Carter imposed.

Why not? Obama ignored it in Cuba and Iran.

Rob Miller: I pretty much explored this here.

Whether the recent gas attack on Douma was Assad's work or a false flag photo op by the rebels is irrelevant. This is simply the norm when it comes to war in this part of the world. Nor does it really have much to do with ISIS as far as I'm concerned. What is important is not allowing Iran to have a strategic bloc extending to Mediterranean and not allowing them to neutralize our allies...the Kurds and their Christian and Yazedi partners.

History shows us that a power that allows to be wiped out because it's inconvenient to get involved or more convenient to simply sell them out to appease a hostile power always suffers the consequences, and those consequences can be very significant.

We have 2,000 or so boots on the ground in Syria embedded with the Kurds and they serve a significant purpose of actually preventing an escalation as well as protecting our allies. Israeli PM Netanyahu has already told Putin that Israel will not allow a significant Iranian presence in Syria.That's a red line Israel will not allow to be crossed. And Putin not only understands it, he's likely quite willing tocontinue the status quo as long as Russia continues to have access to the warm water ports and there are no Russian casualties.

Putin and Netanyahu have a fairly good relationship, and Putin has been happy to look the other way when the Israelis (or who knows who?) bomb Syrian,Hezbollah or Iranian facilities to destroy weapons shipments or other strategic objectives as long as no Russians were killed. But if Iran becomes more insistent on establishing bases, missile launching sites or other military presence in Syria, the war will definitely escalate, and if Russia comes in as part of a proxy war, so will we. Putin understands that too.

Since Russia can't afford a war financially or logistically, it would suit both parties to simply settle for a stand off.

While Russia has promised 'consequences' for the recent missile strikes and has a small armada of ships headed towards Syria, rest assured that Putin won't risk war with the U.S. directly. Instead, the attempt at 'consequences' is almost certain to be made by Hezbollah or the Iranian Revolutionary Guard, both of whom lack real air power. That pretty much determines that their efforts won't succeed, unless Russia intervenes...which it won't.

Syria itself has always been something of a failed state. It has a couple of trading cities in Aleppo and Damascus, but there's little or no trade happening now. Half of it is desert, and there's little else except some agricultural land and a couple of good ports on the Mediterranean. It doesn't even really matter if Assad stays in power or not. No one has really been able to make much of Syria...not the Seleucids, not the Mongols, not the Ottomans, and certainly not the French or the Arabs.Assad himself admits it will likely take $400 billion dollars to fix Syria's infrastructure and get its economy even close to functioning on the limited level it was before the war. The Russians certainly don't have it, Iran doesn't either and Syria has nothing like oil to interest the Chinese. The only thing Assad has to offer anyone is warm water ports, Putin's chief interest. And a closer striking point aiming at Israel, which is what the Ayatollahs want, along with a land link to their other Mideast colony, Lebanon.

Our best bet is to stay the course, keep a presence in Syria and continue to arm and train the Kurdish Persh Mergah.

Well, there it is!

Make sure to drop by every Monday for the WoW! Magazine Forum. And enjoy WoW! Magazine 24-7 with some of the best stuff written in the 'net. Take from me, you won't want to miss it.

Tuesday, April 10, 2018

Getting Serious About Syria

The bleeding orifice known as Syria has once again erupted, due to a chemical weapons attack in Douma that took a number of civilian lives, or so it seems.I say this because media has become a weapon in modern warfare, the Sunni Syrian rebels are more than capable of rigging something up and as the self inspecting Iranians would tell you about the pictures and videos they send to the IAEA as 'compliance,' such things are very easy to stage.

President Trump has promised 'a high price' for the attack, referred to Syria's dictator as 'that animal Assad,' (why slander animals?) and actually took the opportunity to cite Putin as responsible. I suppose that was just for domestic politics.

To date there was one very successful air raid on a Syrian regime airbase east of Homs which was crawling with Iranians. Putin reportedly says it was the work of the always effective Israeli air force, but my Lil' Birdies in Israel just gave a wry chuckle when I tried to confirm this. My guess is that it very well might have been, given the Iranian connection, but if it was, the IDF likely had other reasons rather than retaliating for the gas attack. One of them was probably to send a direct message to Iranian President Rouhani, who's been doing some chest pounding lately that Israel is not prepared to let them turn Syria into another Gaza or Lebanon.

Meanwhile, a second guided missile U.S. destroyer, the USS Porter has been sent to the Syrian coast to join the USS Donald Cook, a similar ship already there.

What happens next is anyone's guess.

Needless to say, the whole assortment of isolationist paleo cons, pro-Iran leftists and Israel haters in general are screaming bloody murder. They want us out of Syria yesterday. John Bolton being named National Security Advisor made them particularly insane.

But no matter matter what happened or didn't happen in Douma, pulling out of Syria would be a huge strategic error and a bad mistake. Here's why.

Syria was where ISIS got its start emerging from a group of 'moderate' Sunni rebels who were mostly al-Qaeda, its affiliates like al-Nusrah or other Islamists and salafists. Obama, along with his BFF Tayyip Erdogan of Turkey and Qatar armed, trained and financed these people, bypassing congress in the process.

As he was leaving, our now ex-president was careful to drop the mess into other hands, stating that it would take years to defeat ISIS and take back the territories they help in Syria and Iraq. President Trump said it could be done in a matter of months and did exactly that. Our allies in that effort were the Kurds. The Iraqi army that dropped their weapons and ran from ISIS before were mostly useful in mopping up afterwards.

When Obama was president, he gave the Kurds just enough ammo and supplies to barely hold their own. The Israelis, with long time close connections with the Kurds were able to supply some more. And When Donald Trump came in and put US air, naval and ground forces into the equation, the Kurdish Persh Merga played a key role in destroying ISIS on the ground and driving them out of their Iraqi and Syrian strongholds.

Their reward was to have the Shi'ite Iraqi government steal the oil rich city of Kirkuk, violating the original Iraqi federation agreement and making a Kurdish state even within the federation financially impossible. And for the Turks to attack them and seize Kurdish territory in Syria's northern border region.

Here's the present situation. The Turks have retreated after being 'urged to do so' by Iran's President Rouhani. The U.S. still has about 2,000 ground troops in Syria, mostly embedded with Kurdish forces, which also include Yazedi and Christians as well as civilians.

Aside from the certain bloodbath, if we leave we hand Iran a major victory, a land passage between their colony in Iraq and their colony in Lebanon. And we give them access to the Mediterranean. Also, we would give Iran yet another reason to consider the US an easy foe who is afraid of them.

Finally, it would mean that the Kurds, our true allies would be destroyed.

History gives us numerous examples of what happens to world powers who allow their allies to be neutralized and liquidated. Or even worse, co-opted to fighting on the other side.

Czechoslovakia in 1938 had a strong, well trained and well armed military, excellent border fortifications and protective terrain in the mountain passes and dense forests bordering Germany. They even had a major arms manufacturer in Skoda, comparable to Krup. Hitler could never have attacked the west successfully with that on his borders, because it would have meant a two front war, something he and the Germans dreaded and weren't ready for.

When Britain and France sold out the Czechs, not only did they ensure that Hitler would attack them when he was ready, but that Britain and France were so frightened of war that they would do anything to prevent it. And it also sent a message to Stalin, who had been talking earnestly to Britain and France about an alliance or mutual defense pact to keep the Germans at bay that a non-aggression pact with Hitler was a far better bet.

At the start of the Punic Wars, Carthage allowed its allies in Sicily to be destroyed simply because a war might cost two much money. Sicily's resources and manpower were denied to them, as were its ports, shipyards and its strategic position within easy sailing range of Carthage heading south and close to Rome heading Northeast. While the Carthaginians won (or tied, depending on how you see it) the first Punic War, they lost the others once Rome had a navy. Had they backed their Sicilian allies, Hannibal might have invaded from the south in easy distance to Rome instead of having to leave from Spain, travel the Alps and lose a portion of his men and war elephants in the process before he ever was able to fight in Italy.

There are numerous other examples.

But what about the Russians?

Putin's main interest in Syria is twofold. The main thing for him is the warm water ports at Tarshish and Latakia. Secondary is appeasing his Iranian allies. And when it comes to Iran, Putin's position is by necessity somewhat ambivalent. The U.S. pulling out of Syria is not really in Russia's best interest.

He understands that the Israelis will simply not allow Iran to put missile or air bases in Syria. If a hot war breaks out, Russian personnel will be caught in the middle of it, and if Russia intervenes and is involved in a proxy war on Iran's side, the U.S. will do the same with Israel, and Russia can't afford a war just now. Or really, to alienate Israel, with whom Russia still has relatively cordial relations.

As I pointed out previously, during the Obama years Russia and Israel put together an actual hotline between the Kremlin and it's equivalent in Tel Aviv. The idea was to avoid conflicts and any casualties for Russian personnel. And part of it involved Russia agreeing to turn a blind eye to Israeli attacks on Hezbollah or Iranians or weapons shipments going to these parties as long as no Russians got killed. The agreement has worked well so far. Even though Putin claims the Israelis bombed that air base and Russian foreign minister Sergei Lavrov called it “a very dangerous development” Putin hasn't done anything about it, nor would it serve him or Russia to do so.

Even less to Russia's liking, President Trump is not Obama and might just decide to fix America's Iran problem once and for all.

So given some access to the ports and actual negotiations with the president on settling the Syria question, Putin would likely be willing to cut a deal...given the alternatives.

As for Syria's ultimate destiny, I'm ambivalent as long as Iran is kept out of the picture, which is vital for U.S. interests. Just rebuilding its infrastructure after the war is going to take billions, which I see no reason for the American taxpayer to shell nation building, please. If anything, Syria should become the new Kurdistan, at least a decent piece of it. They're owed at least that much, at least.

Monday, April 09, 2018

Forum: Trump Vs. Mexico...Who Wins?

Every Monday, the WoW! community and our invited guests weigh in at the Watcher's Forum, short takes on a major issue of the day, the culture, or daily living. This week's question:Trump Vs. Mexico...Who Wins?

Don Surber: Never bet against Donald John Trump.

How many times must I tell people this?

The Trump Effect is real. Even Pope Francis knows this.

Mexico called off the caravan, and is fixing to sign off on a revamped NAFTA. Everybody wins.
By the way, Rocket Man will surrender to the Dotard in May. We de-nuked him while nobody was looking. But Kim Jong Un is smart. Well, smarter than Rosie O'Donnell and all those other losers who fought The Donald (and The Donald won). Kim gets to keep his life and maybe his regime.

Closing question: What if Trump is the anointed one?

Bookworm Room:I'm with Don -- Trump wins because Trump wins. While his early efforts in 2017 might have been a bit rocky, he was still learning the ropes about politics versus business. Trump, though, is a fast learner, and he's since been entirely successful in getting things done. I have no doubt that he's got an effective long-term plan here, both as to trade and border security.

Mind you, what I'm saying is not the result of blind faith, but of paying careful attention to events since the day Trump declared his candidacy. He's got such an excellent track record that, unless he stumbles seriously and repeatedly, I'm betting on him every time.

Rob Miller: Let's look at this logically. Mexico makes money mostly from the following items...agricultural products, oil, some NAFTA manufacturing at maqiadora factories on the border, tourism, drugs and reparations to Mexico from Mexicans living here, many of them illegally. The U.S. can do without their tomatoes, we no longer need oil from PeMex, the NAFTA manufacturing is heavily weighted in Mexico's favor and tourism is way down because the country itself has gotten so corrupt and dangerous. I say that with a twinge, remembering the wonderful times I had there back when, but it's simply how things are now.

That leaves drugs and reparations from expatriates here in America. Building a border wall cuts way back on both sources of income. Is it any wonder the Mexican government is so bent on continuing the status quo? And renegotiating NAFTA would not be in Mexico's interest either, since it has made Mexico the country we have the second biggest trade deficit with, after China. Even more to the point, stopping illegal migration to the U.S. means closing off a social safety valve that has allowed the corrupt Mexican government to avoid spending its money on helping its people for years.

There's no way Mexico wins this. China might buy its oil, but the price might not be to Mexico's liking. The world has a lot of oil right now, Iran, Burma and the Middle East are a lot closer and cheaper to import from, and desperate failed states like Venezuela would probably undercut them. If the NAFTA manufacturing goes bye bye and Trump does something like putting a 10-15% excise tax on reparations from the U.S., Mexico really will be in dire straits.

They would be far better off renegotiating NAFTA and making a real commitment to police their side of the border and not colluding in allowing illegal migrants to cross into the U.S.

Laura Rambeau Lee: In the battle between President Trump and Mexico, President Trump – and the American people who voted for him – will win. We have already seen this week the annual trek of illegals into America (this year a caravan of people from Honduras, the most violent country in the world) has been halted in Mexico because Trump threatened action against NAFTA. It’s about time our elected leaders make good on their campaign promises. The America people are waking up to the realization that our “trusted servants” only seek to gain and keep power. The left has found a new voting base and no longer needs to keep up the pretense of advocating for the underserved minorities. They’ve got their votes but it’s become apparent it is not enough as they’ve experienced significant losses in the elections since 2010, when the Tea Party organized in protest of Obamacare and the alarmingly progressive agenda of the Democrats. American citizens are beginning to realize the Democrat agenda has nothing to do with protecting them and everything to do with the destruction of our laws, culture and society in a desperate effort to advance progressive policies and fundamentally transform our country. President Trump will win because he has the support of the majority of the American people even if the media says otherwise.

Well, there it is!

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