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Iraq Unravels

Baz

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Baz said:
That it blows up in our face.  It goes from terrorism, which is a pin prick, to state on state conflict involving Russia, which is an axe in comparison.

Let me be less specific.  Trump's actions, in my view, carry more risk because of third order effects and unintended consequences.  It seems, to me, this administration does not consider or maybe even understand that.  There seems to be a segment of the US voters, who are the only ones that matter to his election, that feel the same way.
 

Brad Sallows

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There is a universe of possibilities from actions taken or not taken.  A critic of a bold response will worry about escalation by angry foes; a critic of a weak response will worry about escalation by emboldened foes.  What they share in common is vague worries.

>this administration does not consider or maybe even understand that.

That is most likely true of Trump, and unlikely to be true of the entire administration.  What we have been shown, repeatedly, is that people in the administration have been willing to slow walk or ignore instructions borne of Trump's worst impulses and that Trump has a short attention span.

What is more likely: that response options pop into Trump's head and he commands one or more to happen, or that lists of considered options are presented to Trump by people who have thought about them?
 

brihard

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Brad Sallows said:
There is a universe of possibilities from actions taken or not taken.  A critic of a bold response will worry about escalation by angry foes; a critic of a weak response will worry about escalation by emboldened foes.  What they share in common is vague worries.

>this administration does not consider or maybe even understand that.

That is most likely true of Trump, and unlikely to be true of the entire administration.  What we have been shown, repeatedly, is that people in the administration have been willing to slow walk or ignore instructions borne of Trump's worst impulses and that Trump has a short attention span.

What is more likely: that response options pop into Trump's head and he commands one or more to happen, or that lists of considered options are presented to Trump by people who have thought about them?

Thing is he has a penchant for ignoring, insulting, and ultimately firing those people. Those who attempt to curb Trump's excesses typically are not destined for long and fruitful careers in his administration. The number of quality or at least experienced individuals he has driven out is alarming. He is at best a sometimes, briefly, captive audience to experience and insight- barely influenced by it, and certainly not at all deferential to true expertise in fields where he lacks even a rudimentary grasp. We see time and again that he tries to force things into a nice comfortable for-profit corporate box in his mind. Anything outside of that context, he seems to struggle with and have little to no time for.
 

Colin Parkinson

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Brihard said:
We see time and again that he tries to force things into a nice comfortable for-profit corporate box in his mind. Anything outside of that context, he seems to struggle with and have little to no time for.

I think that's a pretty accurate statement, although I think for his political opponents, the only thing that changes is the box they are in.
 

quadrapiper

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For the sake of discussion, other than not discomfiting the Saudis (who are behind far more pervasive and geographically distributed asymmetrical misery) and (potentially) the Israelis (who can a) take care of themselves, and b) aren't economically significant), what is the long-term practical interest in containing Iranian interests? Their crude's as good as any.
 

Brad Sallows

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Some people might want to contain their interests.  Some just want them to stop being a state sponsor of terror.  Imagine if Iran were just like most other countries and wasn't stirring up shit among its neighbours.
 

Colin Parkinson

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dapaterson said:
Same arguments could be applied to the House of Saud.

The Iranians are more competent at it and more devious. Iran could be a real economic power in the region if run by anyone other than the Clerics and IRGC.
 

FJAG

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Colin P said:
The Iranians are more competent at it and more devious. Iran could be a real economic power in the region if run by anyone other than the Clerics and IRGC.

The Saudi's are more subtle. They have been singularly responsible for the spread of Sunni Wahhabism throughout the world through the massive infusion of cash for the building of mosques and fundamentalist Islamic schools. I'm only guessing here but I would expect that as many allied servicemen were killed or injured in Afghanistan by Sunni fundamentalist Taliban (and their ilk) who were indoctrinated in Saudi funded schools in Pakistan as were by Shi'ite, Iran inspired ones in Iraq. But then again, it's not really a competition. Or is it?

:worms:
 

Brad Sallows

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>Same arguments could be applied to the House of Saud.

Yes,  and probably a few other countries.  Add them all to the list.
 

Colin Parkinson

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FJAG said:
The Saudi's are more subtle. They have been singularly responsible for the spread of Sunni Wahhabism throughout the world through the massive infusion of cash for the building of mosques and fundamentalist Islamic schools. I'm only guessing here but I would expect that as many allied servicemen were killed or injured in Afghanistan by Sunni fundamentalist Taliban (and their ilk) who were indoctrinated in Saudi funded schools in Pakistan as were by Shi'ite, Iran inspired ones in Iraq. But then again, it's not really a competition. Or is it?

:worms:

The Sunni world is much bigger than the Shia world and Iran never had the cash that the Gulf States had. otherwise the 12th Iman types would be doing the same.
 

The Bread Guy

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An update from the Institute for the Study of War ....
Warning Intelligence Update: Iran Increases Pressure on U.S. Forces in Iraq

Key Takeaway: Iran is organizing a new effort to increase political and military pressure against U.S. forces in an effort to compel an American withdrawal from Iraq. Iran’s proxy militia groups are working with Iraqi nationalist Shi’a cleric Moqtada al-Sadr to organize a “million strong march” on January 24 to oppose U.S. troop presence in Iraq. Sadr’s support lends additional credibility to the march and may enable Iran’s proxies to generate a more significant protest than they otherwise would be able to achieve. Iran is also attempting to coalesce its lethal Iraqi proxy militias, and potentially Sadr, into a more unified military force to target U.S. forces in the region. Iran faces some obstacles in doing so, but the formation of an anti-U.S. Iraqi resistance front poses a significant threat, even in its preliminary stages of organization ...
More @ link.
 

quadrapiper

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Some people might want to contain their interests. Some just want them to stop being a state sponsor of terror. Imagine if Iran were just like most other countries and wasn't stirring up shit among its neighbours.
Imagine if the Saudis were content to enjoy their enormous wealth, the prestige of having Mecca on their soil, and so on, and stop spreading a destabilizing creed well beyond their own borders.

Without getting too deeply into the comparison, it seems loosely comparable to Russia and China: Iran seems dead-set on securing itself a stable place in the region, and the problems it causes are regional in nature, while the Saudis are slightly better neighbours, but are much more ambitious in spreading their influence.

Let the Iranians spread a bit, kick in the doors of some of their more shambolic neighbours, put some pressure on Israel, and give the Saudis something to worry about. Bet whatever emerged would be less of a breeding ground for things like ISIS.
 

Brad Sallows

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Let the Americans spread a bit, kick in the doors of some of their more shambolic neighbours, put some pressure on Europe, and give the South Americans something to worry about.

Bad Saudi behaviour doesn't excuse bad Iranian behaviour.
 

quadrapiper

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Nope! They're both awful, currently, though Iran is arguably less so. So either the whole region needs sanctions and interventions, or none do: save the effort, buy the region's one major export from whoever's selling, and quit worrying about which pack of theocrats gets the upper hand. Might encourage the Saudis to stop sticking their nose outside their borders, and thus save the world a great deal of pain.
 
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