NATO could destroy the Islamic State. So why don’t they?

NATO is the most powerful military alliance in human history: it combines 3 of the world's 7 nuclear-armed powers and tops it off with the conventional power of the world's lone superpower.  It has potentially formidable military powers within it: Germany, Italy, France, and Britain could all well rearm to much success should they so … Continue reading NATO could destroy the Islamic State. So why don’t they?

Mission Accomplished for Putin in Syria? Well, yes and no.

Six months ago, Putin stunned just about everyone by sending Russian forces off to a distant war in the Middle East.  Folly, cried many, including myself, for the Middle East is an ugly morass of conflict that siphons power and undermines great states. Now, Putin is pulling most of his forces out.  Once more, just … Continue reading Mission Accomplished for Putin in Syria? Well, yes and no.

Why the Free Syrian Army Never Went Anywhere

As the Syrian civil war embarks upon an odd cease fire - one replete with exceptions and violations - it's worth looking back at some of the failures that led up to this point.  There are plenty to choose from, and that long sad path is better detailed elsewhere.  Instead, we'll focus on just one: … Continue reading Why the Free Syrian Army Never Went Anywhere

Bad news made worse: Saudi Arabia is in freefall

It's important to look forward as one year ends and another begins: to make resolutions, regret our mistakes, and to wonder where it could all go wrong in the next 12 months. There are fewer countries on Earth that have as much explosive potential in 2016 as Saudi Arabia. Yes, there are failed or nearly … Continue reading Bad news made worse: Saudi Arabia is in freefall

A modest proposal to end the Syrian civil war and destroy the Islamic State

And modest, of course, it will be, involving cooperation on a scale not seen since World War II.  But to genuinely destroy the Islamic State and end the regional crisis that fuels it, one must think big. Diplomacy has been tried in the past, but diplomacy tends to fail when equally matched powers are unwilling … Continue reading A modest proposal to end the Syrian civil war and destroy the Islamic State

No Good Options: Why The U.S. Dithers In Syria

Haters do hate, and many of President Obama's greatest haters despise what he's done about Syria; or, more accurately, what he hasn't done.  Some of that criticism is fair, but much of it is not, for Syria is not worth the blood, treasure, or time of the United States when there are much bigger, nuclear-armed … Continue reading No Good Options: Why The U.S. Dithers In Syria

What the hell is Putin doing in Syria?

And more importantly, what does he want? It's important to remember how swears like that will net the sort of Google-searching folks I very much want here: the sort who want to understand, but who don't need the gross, and largely unimportant, blow by blows. In two years, Vladimir Putin has taken Russia to war in … Continue reading What the hell is Putin doing in Syria?

Russia’s Smart-Dumb Move Into Syria’s Civil War

As we are wont to do these days, we cry out, "The Russians are coming!"  But their next move is not further into Eastern Europe, where too many eyes are trained and a slowly gathering NATO grande armee is being assembled. It is into another, older civil war that Russian power is now deployed: Syria. … Continue reading Russia’s Smart-Dumb Move Into Syria’s Civil War

What Must Happen Before the Syrian Civil War Ends

The numbers are staggering: up to 250,000-320,000 dead, 7.6 million refugees internally, 4 million more over the border, for a total of around 11.6 million people displaced.  That's from a total population of around 18 million.  In other words, almost 2 out of every 3 Syrians has either been killed or has fled from their … Continue reading What Must Happen Before the Syrian Civil War Ends

The Geopolitics of Syria’s Civil War

Let's revisit, and use this oldie but a goodie to understand Syria.  Sorry for the lateness, but my real life stuff is cramping my geopolitical style. Article overview 1). Syria is and always has been a terrible place to set up a nation-state 2). Bad was made worse by the invention of political ideology, which … Continue reading The Geopolitics of Syria’s Civil War