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International Geopolitics Abhors a Vacuum

Posted by V the K at 11:24 pm - September 29, 2015.
Filed under: War On Terror

Russia is setting up shop in Syria, deploying a massive amount of military power in support of the Assad Regime. This places Russia in position to be the power broker in the Middle East, filling the vacuum created by America’s weakness and retreat under Obama. Syria stands to become the base from which Russia expands its security arrangements and becomes the dominant power on the Arabian Peninsula. He’s also proposing a coalition of military power to take on ISIS, and openly questioning Obama’s policies that have turned Libya, Syria, Iraq, and Yemen into dumpster fires.

“Instead of the triumph of democracy and progress, we got violence, poverty and social disaster — and nobody cares a bit about human rights, including the right to life,” Putin said through a translator. “I cannot help asking those who have forced that situation: Do you realize what you have done?”

Meanwhile, Barack Obama, whose “Hashtag Diplomacy” was so effective in taking down Boko Haram and getting Russia out of Ukraine (/sarc), has his own strategy for defeating ISIS. It involves consulting with Hollywood to figure out how to make catchy videos to counter ISIS propaganda and turn them away from violent genocide. I am not making this up.

The Obama administration is turning to HBO, Snapchat, and a controversial, Oscar-winning screenwriter to help them fight ISIS.

Earlier this year, the State Department convened a group of friends in the U.S. film industry, social media, and premium cable TV to brainstorm ways to counter jihadist propaganda.

The administration claimed Benghazi was caused by a YouTube video. They now think ISIS can be defeated by YouTube videos. I think they vastly overestimate YouTube’s influence.

Either that, or they simply are not serious people.

Vladimir Putin, whatever else he may be, is a serious man.

You don’t have to be a supporter of Putin’s domestic to recognize that he is successfully expanding Russia’s influence and strengthening his country’s global position, while Obama has thoroughly squandered American prestige, abandoned allies, embraced our enemies, and reduced American influence to third-rate status.



  1. Remember the “World Apology” tour Obama went on in 2009,where he said things like this…””In America, there is a failure to appreciate Europe’s leading role in the world.
    “Instead of celebrating your dynamic union and seeking to partner with you to meet common challenges, there have been times where America has shown arrogance and been dismissive, even derisive.”?

    Comment by The Poetry Man — September 30, 2015 @ 1:50 am - September 30, 2015

  2. “This places Russia in position to be the power broker in the Middle East, filling the vacuum created by America’s weakness and retreat under Obama.”

    I am glad the USA won’t be spending our solider’s irreplaceable blood and tax payer money on setting up democracies in the Middle East.
    Without committing lots of ground troops coupled with billions and billions of dolalrs, Syria will fail.

    “Obama has thoroughly squandered American prestige, abandoned allies, embraced our enemies, and reduced American influence to third-rate status”

    You think that the USA should support Assad? You think that the Saudi’s have been good allies? Yeesh! And you call yourself serious?

    Comment by mike — September 30, 2015 @ 8:57 am - September 30, 2015

  3. ” while Obama has thoroughly squandered American prestige, abandoned allies,
    embraced our enemies, and reduced American influence to third-rate status.”

    Maybe that’s the whole idea.

    Comment by nolabill — September 30, 2015 @ 9:21 am - September 30, 2015

  4. I agree with Mike, but the problem with Obama is that he doesn’t do anything with the other half of the equation when it comes to letting the Middle East go to hell. We need to be developing our own oil and gas resources so we don’t care when the House of Saud collapses. Further, we need to ship those resources to Europe so that they aren’t totally dependent on Russia for gas and oil. Iran is going to get, bomb, so we should be developing our missile shield capability and providing it to our allies. Finally, to keep the nutballs out of the US we should have an actually functioning immigration program and border security.

    As far as I can see, the current administration is doing none of that.

    Comment by Hunter — September 30, 2015 @ 9:36 am - September 30, 2015

  5. So, littlelettermike has crossed the line from looniest left to become looniest right. He has become isolationistlittlelettermike.

    Soon enough, isolationistlittlelettermike will confuse himself even more by demanding high tariffs and “buy American” along with obedience to the United Nations and open borders.

    What a man, what a plan. It should all work like pushing a chain up hill so long as man-made global warming doesn’t get him first.

    Comment by Heliotrope — September 30, 2015 @ 10:26 am - September 30, 2015

  6. This is a great rebuttal to littlebrain mike’s comment, by someone who is much, much smarter than he.

    Comment by V the K — September 30, 2015 @ 10:37 am - September 30, 2015

  7. Russia’s presence in the short term will give reason for even more “refugees” to leave the area and settle into Western countries. Thus, advancing the Islamic cause worldwide, without violence. Isn’t that one of the basic pillars of Islam? There is a reason why rich Arab countries are not taking in “refugees”.

    Comment by TnnsNe1 — September 30, 2015 @ 11:12 am - September 30, 2015

  8. mike: “You think that the USA should support Assad? You think that the Saudi’s have been good allies? Yeesh! And you call yourself serious?”
    I don’t think the USA should “support” Assad, but I don’t think it’s a good idea to topple a secular dictator either. Look at Bush’s disastrous Iraq foreign policy. We toppled a secular dictator, Saddam Hussein, who was a force for stability in the region. Now it’s being taken over by ISIS and other religious fanatics. Syria is dangerously close to becoming another Iraq.

    Comment by Paul — September 30, 2015 @ 12:16 pm - September 30, 2015

  9. Oh God, I agree with mike. The seventh seal is broken.

    On that note, Helio, you use the term isolationist like it is a bad thing. I can see no valid reason for a nation to be concerned in the goings on of other nations, especially when those other nations would be stuck in the seventh century without the first nation. In fact, I can think of a few experimental arguments as to why nations should not have any real significant contact with one another.

    Comment by CthulhuDreaming — September 30, 2015 @ 12:21 pm - September 30, 2015

  10. “He has become isolationistlittlelettermike.”

    Nope I am not. But I thi8k its best to let the Sunni and Shia fight amoungst themselves and we just keep killing their leaders – just like Obama has been doing

    Comment by mike — September 30, 2015 @ 3:22 pm - September 30, 2015

  11. Isolation is impossible in the ICBM world. Get over it.

    Furthermore, a whale of a lot of outsourcing is to escape government regulation. As a nation, we have entitled people to living a very high standard of living (compared with the rest of the world) by sitting out full employment or even any employment at all and depending on welfare.

    We have never been colonialists, but sure as heck have always made plenty of our economy off of exports. Now we have ourselves upside-down with the Chinese in our trade imbalance. And we have mortgaged the full faith and credit of we the people by printing endless worthless bonds on which we must pay interest to keep other economies in joining ours in a massive collapse.

    You want to see a real economic crisis up close? Seal us off from cheap foreign made goods and maintain the welfare system and business regulations we have in place.

    Comment by Heliotrope — September 30, 2015 @ 4:57 pm - September 30, 2015

  12. I thi8k its best to let the Sunni and Shia fight amoungst themselves and we just keep killing their leaders – just like Obama has been doing

    Whether willfully ignorant or stupidly blind, this comment is beyond help.

    The “Sunni/Shia” fight is carried forth without any mannerly etiquette like “rules of engagement.” Yet you touchy-feely liberals get all prickly and stompy-footed if one of our troops nicks a civilian with a bullet.

    If you are content to let the Sunni and Shia brutalize each other, why would you oppose carpet bombing them into oblivion?

    And, by the way, nice work in Yemen, Libya, toppling Mubarak and letting the “democracy loving” Arab Spring clean up the mess your Obama ignored or benignly let happen.

    isolationistlittlelettermike needs to start funding the “moderate” Muslims to gear up and wipe out the radical Muslims who are “giving Islam a bad name.” Maybe he can model his effort after the fantastic job Obama’s people did with whatever that crowd in Syria was that we ended up spending 100 million per soldier on.

    You want to clean up the “problem” between the “Sunni and Shia?” Here are some of the “bit” players you will have to deal with: the Kurds, the Armenians, the Yazidis, the PLO, Boko Haram, all of Somalia, much of Sudan, Chechnya, the Pakistanis, the Taliban, the Malaysians, and the Indonesians, to name a few.

    The same people who are still pissing and moaning about what the European white men did to the American Indians still just do not get it.

    By the way, isolationistlittlelettermike, did you know there is a huge ethnicity problem between the Persians and the Arabs which is on top of the “Sunni/Shia” differences?

    Comment by Heliotrope — September 30, 2015 @ 5:17 pm - September 30, 2015

  13. Yeah, mike did lose it.

    I am not disagreeing with your diagnosis of the current affairs, just that a position of less interest in global issues is better for a nation.

    Also, on a pedantic point, I think we operating under different assumptions about the definition of the term isolationist. I do agree that extreme isolation, as in ancient china, is a bad idea if not impossible, but isolationism as I meant it is more of an apathetic view of the rest of the world. Naturally, apathy requires (a) self-sufficiency and (b) defensive superiority.

    Provided a nation maintains technological growth it meets both requirements and, frankly, I see no valid argument for interfering with inferior countries beyond exporting excess goods.

    Comment by CthulhuDreaming — September 30, 2015 @ 5:31 pm - September 30, 2015

  14. Assad, like Saddam Hussein, is a butcher. But as we (should be)/are learning, a butcher that can contain some of the loonier forces in the ME are not quite is awful as butchers that are not able to contain the head-choppers.

    It may well be that the Russians can do some damage to ISIS but it will be messy (as if we can tell the difference) and what ultimately emerges almost certainly will not be good for the US or the only free society over there: Israel. Russia’s in this for Mother Russia. Any benefit that accrues to others is just a side-effect.

    BHO, with the EU’s Hillary’s help, made a dog’s breakfast of the ME and now Putin is handing BHO his ass.

    In his book, After America, Mark Steyn asserts that a world without the US as an effective global power will “reprimitivize”. Looks like we’re testing that assertion.

    Comment by KCRob — September 30, 2015 @ 6:35 pm - September 30, 2015

  15. Heliotrope

    Your ramblings make no sense. What do the various ethnicities in the mideast have to do with my comment at all? Neocons like yourself seem to think the USA can fix all the problems of the world. I got news for you, the US can’t fix Syria. The US cant force democracy on a population that doesn’t want it without a major long term investment of blood and treasure.
    There is a Muslim civil war brewing Shia vs Sunni. A strong US presence will only unite them against a perceived occupation.
    Obama seems to understand this and is content to try and not take sides in that battle and let them go at it. He going after terrorist leadership and fighters and leaving the ground war to someone else. I support that.

    Comment by mike — September 30, 2015 @ 8:39 pm - September 30, 2015

  16. “This is a great rebuttal to littlebrain mike’s comment, by someone who is much, much smarter than he”

    V -Berlinski is calling for the US to send in troops and occupy Syria. She also wants the US to go back in Afghanistan.

    You really think that is what we should do? To what end? For how long? You want multiple generations of US soliders policing the streets of Syria Iraq and Afghanistan?
    And you accuse me of being little brained?

    Comment by mike — September 30, 2015 @ 8:49 pm - September 30, 2015

  17. Neocons like yourself seem to think the USA can fix all the problems of the world.

    It is to laugh. isolationistlittlelettermike has no evidence whatsoever that I have ever taken the position that the US can or should even try to fix all or even some of the problems of the world. As for the Neocon part, I seriously doubt isolationistlittlelettermike even knows what that label means or where it came from.

    When Obama decided to cut and run from Iraq and Afghanistan, why didn’t he cut and run? Take a look at the last helicopter leaving Saigon, isolationistlittlelettermike, that is what it looks like. What it doesn’t look like is killing US military at an alarming rate in Afghanistan on your watch as you slowly, slowly tie their hands and leave them without a military mission as you take your good old time withdrawing.

    Also, isolationistlittlelettermike, what the heck was assassinating Qadaffi all about and why did the US participate in that BS? And tell me about Mubarak and why did Obama decide to jaw with Iran?

    Comment by Heliotrope — September 30, 2015 @ 9:51 pm - September 30, 2015

  18. Heliotrope
    Your insults/ramblings though amusing are incredibly confusing. You are all over the map in your arguments.
    What exactly are you proposing? More troops in Iraq Syria and Afghanistan? Air strikes?
    US troops on every street corner? All ROE gone?
    I honestly cant follow you here….

    Comment by mike — September 30, 2015 @ 10:18 pm - September 30, 2015

  19. Interesting… I have no problem following Helio’s train of thought. Perhaps I just have an open mind and a little more basic knowledge of the politics of the area. I would suggest that littlelettermike spend more time reading news than watching entertainment “news”.

    Comment by TnnsNe1 — October 1, 2015 @ 6:45 am - October 1, 2015

  20. What exactly are you proposing? More troops in Iraq Syria and Afghanistan? Air strikes?

    None of the above so long as the US continues to lead from behind, vote “present” and swirl the drain.

    Apparently, isolationistlittlelettermike is happy with the national decline and burning our way to insolvency through spiraling government entitlements and deficit spending until the bubble bursts and the Weimar Republic looks like normalcy.

    What will fix this is more sales of abortion parts, child marriages, political correctness police tearing down 150 year old battle flags, more Lena Dunham philosophy, war on cops and open borders with state welfare for all.

    Now if that last paragraph is confusing and all over the map, I would ask isolationistlittlelettermike just what g*d d*mned accomplishment Obama has accomplished to make the US a better place or even as good as the same place he took over in 2009.

    He didn’t make the two wars he inherited. But he ran for the job. He didn’t cause the debt he inherited, but he ran for the job. He didn’t make the race relations he inherited, but he ran for the job. He didn’t make the world he inherited, but he ran for the job.

    Now we have a clusterf*ck called Obamacare, relations with Cuba, a really fouled-up “withdrawal” from Afghanistan, the Libya catastrophe, overwhelming refugee pressure on Europe, crippling deficits, phony chats with Iran over nuclear containment, Boko Haram, China and Russia coming out of their cages, $85 BILLION dollars per month of fiat money pumped into our economy though out his terms, and more such crap on HIS watch. That is what HIS successor will inherit.

    Obama has droned how many people and done what? Oh, yeah, I forgot. He single-handedly killed Osama. Whoop-de-doo.

    What exactly are you proposing? More troops in Iraq Syria and Afghanistan? Air strikes?

    I am not proposing anything so long as your Obama and people like you are strolling and trolling and posing like you have got a scintilla of a clue about the forces or evil and how to combat them.

    Maybe, isolationistlittlelettermike, you would be better advised to daily hashtagging “Save our Girls” and running around with Code Pink than trying to engage intelligent people on this site in conversation.

    The reason you think I “am all over the map” is because you can read maps. You are stuck on your single ideological vision and nothing else computes. For you, there is an answer for everything. And when there is no clear answer, you wash your hands of it or you vote “present” or you engage in placing and shifting the blame.

    Who the Hell are you? Do you stand for anything or do you stand for everything your ideological enema tube pumps up your butt?

    Comment by Heliotrope — October 1, 2015 @ 10:43 am - October 1, 2015

  21. […] International Geopolitics Abhors a Vacuum You don’t have to be a supporter of Putin’s domestic to recognize that he is successfully […]

    Pingback by Coming soon to a hemisphere near you | Fausta's Blog — October 1, 2015 @ 11:02 am - October 1, 2015

  22. Upon reflection, I have decided to give isolationistlittlelettermike a more thoughtful reply to his needling me about what I propose for Syria and the Middle East.

    Events almost always overtake planning. Bush the Elder had it right when he stopped Saddam in his tracks and pushed his forces out of Kuwait. When the mission was accomplished, he packed up and went home. What he did not do was to be seduced into mission creep and plant a permanent presence in Iraq. Bush the Younger had his hands full with Afghanistan and risked his involvement by taking on fighting two wars simultaneously. And he was totally seduced by the liberal concept of nation building/rebuilding as we did in Europe and Japan after WWII.

    Obama has been very reticent about committing the military while doing a great deal to redesign the culture of the military. We have reached the point where we no longer understand the purpose of the military. In this sense, the liberals have become satisfied that anything that could be seen as military aggression has been contained. Supposedly, we are ruled by Obama’s non-aggression policy which he has summed up as “Don’t do stupid sh*t.” However, that does not explain the clusterf*ck we created in Libya, the chaos from the Mubarak overthrow, the now defunct red line in Syria or the destabilization and loss of Yemen.

    It is quite possible that “don’t do stupid sh*t is automatically neutralized if the leader is, himself, unable to sort out what constitutes stupid sh*t and what constitutes preemptive action.

    Israel and Pakistan have the bomb. Iran will soon have it. Saudi Arabia is casting about for one of their own. The old MAD (Mutually Assured Destruction) policy will hold the finger off the trigger. And if it doesn’t reprisal will the ace card.

    Russia has just given Obama the middle finger. The Russian attaché in Syria walked into the US embassy in Syria and gave the US three hours notice to keep away from Russian military air incursions. The Russian aircraft sent to Syria are better equipped to shoot down other aircraft than they are for supporting ground troops or doing pinpoint targeting. Clearly Russia (Putin) has decided to take an active role in the turmoil in the Mideast. And Russian Rules of Engagement will be markedly different from the rules liberals demand. In fact, Putin is brothering up with Assad and it is unlikely that the Russian mission is to reform the way Assad fights.

    By default, this is the time for the US to stand aside and let Putin try the heavy handed approach to whatever the Russian mission might be.

    What liberals try to assiduously ignore is what ISIS and the fundamentalist Islamists are dedicated to causing and bringing about. Whether you want the Crusade or not, the Islamists are bringing it to you. Sooner or later you will have to decide whether it is better to be dhimmi or dead.

    Germany is getting the beginnings of a plague of Islamists who will not abide co-existence. The “refugees” got to safety without leaving the mideast. But they have persevered in going through the poor countries of Europe to settle in wealthy and advanced countries. Now they will act like their brothers in Sweden, The Netherlands, France, England, Denmark, and Belguim and work to undermine the culture and tear it apart.

    If you studied the Quran, you would already know the game plan. As Sun Tzu proclaimed: “Victorious warriors win first and then go to war, while defeated warriors go to war first and then seek to win.”

    We refuse to name the enemy while battling politically among ourselves over the “mystery” what makes Islamists tick.

    Meanwhile, Obama has gone out of his way to apologize for the people who believe the American experiment and experience has been exceptional. In praising Islamists, Obama has either naively or craftily supported and emboldened the rise of a powerful theocratic force in the world.

    We need to be open and honest about what game is afoot and we need to protect our Constitution and our country against it. However, fighting a religious war and attempting to convert Islamists is a fool’s errand. Patton is credited by some with musing: “If you grab them by their balls, their hearts and minds will follow.” But that means Gitmo with no exit doors or even a return to the guillotine.

    Events will determine what falls to the next president. Obama is not going to act unless it is clear that a Republican will succeed him and then he will likely float and iceberg sized turd in the national punchbowl our of sheer vindictiveness.

    We do have global interests (geo-politics) which are key to our economic well-being. That sucks if you are an altruist, but it is a basic law of capitalism. The alternative to capitalism is colonialism with communism as the ultimate form of colonialism in which the people themselves are enslaved by the government.

    Comment by Heliotrope — October 1, 2015 @ 12:37 pm - October 1, 2015

  23. Well, I was going to contribute a long post (it was fun to write, actually), but it didn’t add much to this thread, and I mostly agree with Heliotrope.

    I don’t think that Syria is worth the bones of one American soldier. Syria was a client state of the Soviet Union, so it is appropriate that Russia goes there now–although it may resemble Afghanistan more than they think.

    Non-lefty-ideologues are going to rue the day when they talked the US out of it role in international affairs. (They’re also going to rue the day when the changed the US military so much that it lost much of its effectiveness.) By and large, the US has been a force for good since WWII, and the world has been better off for that influence.

    Comment by TheQuietMan — October 2, 2015 @ 8:14 am - October 2, 2015

  24. Typically, isolationistlittlelettermike is engaged with his …. crickets ……

    Comment by Heliotrope — October 2, 2015 @ 1:30 pm - October 2, 2015

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