Tuesday, September 10, 2013

Last Call For Lightning Diplomacy

With Syria now agreeing to come clean on chemical weapons and to sign the Chemical Weapons Ban treaty, Ezra Klein predicts a White House win. What a difference a day makes.

Assad is now agreeing to preserve and strengthen that norm. He’s agreeing to sign the treaty banning chemical weapons — a treaty Syria has been one of the lone holdouts against. He’s creating a situation in which it would be almost impossible for him to use chemical weapons in the future, as doing so would break his promises to the global community, invite an immediate American response, and embarrass Russia.

This is, in many ways, a better outcome than the White House could have hoped for. Punishing Syria may or may not have actually reinforced the norm against chemical weapons — particularly if the strikes went bad and the American people punished members of Congress who voted for them. But Syria joining the treaty against chemical weapons definitely, almost definitionally, reinforces the ban.

Now, there are obstacles between here and there. The White House wants to see this ratified in the UN Security Council and subject to tough international monitoring, and Russia says that means forswearing force against Syria. And there’s always the chance that Assad’s spokesman pops up tomorrow with a press release that says, simply, “syke!”

But the White House shouldn’t work too hard to set the bar high here. If Assad is willing to sign the treaty and stop using chemical weapons, they should declare victory. It’s a better outcome than they could have hoped for. And they might get it without firing a single shot.

Almost like President Obama knows what he's doing.  More on the President's speech tomorrow.

[UPDATE, Wed morningThe President's speech last night was the case we've heard before:  somebody has to handle Syria, and that somebody has to be us.  I remain unconvinced, as does pretty much the rest of the country, but the President is going to follow through on the Russian disposal angle for Asaad, and frankly the old Churchill adage remains apt: "'Jaw, jaw' is better than 'war, war.'"  I trust the President to continue diplomacy and to find a way to make this work.

If it doesn't, well, that's another discussion for another day.

So Three Schmucks Head To Egypt...

...and I wish I had a really great joke to go along with that opening, but sadly that's the headline to this story of GOP dipsticks Michele Bachmann, Louie Gohmert, and Steve King actually going to Egypt.  To have a press conference.  Where they announced their plans to undermine US foreign policy for all the entire world to see last weekend.

Tea party-backed Representatives Michele Bachmann (R-MN), Louie Gohmert (R-TX) and Steve King (R-IA) on Saturday held a press conference in Egypt to thank the country’s military for overthrowing the elected government, and at one point even seemed to suggest that the Muslim Brotherhood had been behind the Sept. 11, 2001 attacks in the United States.

“Together, we’ve gone through suffering. Together, the United States and Egypt, have dealt with the same enemy,” Bachmann explained. “It’s a common enemy, and it’s an enemy called terrorism.”

“We want to make sure that you have the Apache helicopters, the F-16s, the equipment that you have so bravely used to capture terrorists and to take care of this menace that’s on your border,” she continued. “Many of you have asked, do we understand who the enemy is? We can speak for ourselves. We do.”

“We have seen the threat that the Muslim Brotherhood has posed here for the people in Egypt. We have seen the threat that the Muslim Brotherhood has posed around the world. We stand against this great evil. We are not for them. We remember who caused 9/11 in America. We remember who it was that killed 3,000 brave Americans. We have not forgotten.”

So yes, if you're keeping score, these three clowns 1) went to a foreign capital in order to criticize the President, 2) promised the Egyptian military an increase in military aid after staging a coup, the exact opposite of stated US policy,  and 3) blamed Egypt's Muslim Brotherhood for 9/11.

This is actually breathtakingly awful, it should be illegal, and it should get all three of these jackasses tossed from the House.  But hey, they're Republicans attacking the President, so nobody will care.

George Of The Bungle

Nobody could have predicted that George Zimmerman was going to remain a powder keg after his acquittal.  Nope.  Not a single person saw this coming.

Lake Mary police say they were called around 2:30 p.m. to the Sprucewood Road home of Shellie Zimmerman's parents, David and Machelle Dean.

According to Lake Mary Police Chief Steve Bracknell, Shellie Zimmerman called 911 claiming George Zimmerman had a gun and was making threats.

"He’s in his car and he continually has his hand on his gun and he keeps saying 'step closer' and he’s just threatening all of us," Shellie Zimmerman said in the 911 call, adding that George Zimmerman was "trying to shut the garage door" on her.

"He punched my dad in the nose my dad has a mark on the nose. I saw his glasses were on the floor," Shellie Zimmerman said in the call. He then accosted my father then took my iPad out of my hands. He then smashed it and cut it with a pocketknife, and there is a Lake Mary city worker across the street that I believe saw all of it."

The victims were not speaking to police and waited for their attorney to arrive before leaving just after 4 p.m. George Zimmerman is cooperating and is clam, according to police. Police say George Zimmerman is now accusing Shellie Zimmerman of being the aggressor in the conflict and the investigation is ongoing.

Can't wait for the conspiracy theories on that one.   Zimmerman's wife isn't pressing charges, so, of course George walks again.

Karma is a funny thing, George.


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