Trump deploys troops to Syria. Will this escalate?

  • The US has sent 400 additional troops to Syria to support an allied local force aiming to capture the so-called Islamic State stronghold of Raqqa

    On his campaign for president, Trump said he wanted to destroy ISIS. With this small deployment, could this be the start of something bigger?


    Hope Putin and the Chinese are taking notice.

  • If Trump, with the help of Putin and the Chinese, can destroy this horrendous manifestation of pseudo theocratic insanity and bring the people of those regions some peace so they can rebuild what IS has smashed, then this can't be a bad thing. Keeping people under control, or keeping them out, in countries in the rest of the world is quite sane.


    What I cannot understand is why so many are peeved about it. Do they somehow perversely like IS? Does the prospect of explosions and bits of human flying round collapsed buildings give them some sort of a thrill that they keep on whining about controlling it?

  • If Trump, with the help of Putin and the Chinese, can destroy this horrendous manifestation of pseudo theocratic insanity and bring the people of those regions some peace so they can rebuild what IS has smashed, then this can't be a bad thing. Keeping people under control, or keeping them out, in countries in the rest of the world is quite sane.


    What I cannot understand is why so many are peeved about it. Do they somehow perversely like IS? Does the prospect of explosions and bits of human flying round collapsed buildings give them some sort of a thrill that they keep on whining about controlling it?


    Apart from extremist Muslims, everyone would love to see IS wiped out but we know that trying to wipe them out is not only difficult but has in the past had the opposite effect. Surely memories are not so short?


    Hopefully Trump will keep a lid on things, the deployment is small, focused and temporary and if it stays that way and withdraws when Raqqa falls then all is well and good. Targeted support is fine, it has worked OK in Iraq, but it's dangerous to go too much further. There have been the odd story of atrocities in Iraq when government troops or militias have retaken territory. As we all know, murder and torture is generally acceptable as long as it isn't the West that is doing it. As soon as US troops can be associated with any of these acts, even if later on they are disproven, then the security of Americans will be negatively affected.


    For all his faults Obama did seem to have learnt the lessons of America's recent past, let's hope Trump has too.

  • If Trump, with the help of Putin and the Chinese

    The reference to Putin and the Chinese was not whether they would help in Syria, there's already been enough Russian "help." But whether they were taking notice of Trumps actions, in case he moves into "their" backyards, Ukraine and the South Chia Seas.

  • Apart from extremist Muslims, everyone would love to see IS wiped out but we know that trying to wipe them out is not only difficult but has in the past had the opposite effect.

    Of course, the person can be destroyed, but the idea that fuels the person cannot.


    For all his faults Obama did seem to have learnt the lessons of America's recent past, let's hope Trump has too.

    And the people of Syria "learnt" what happens too when American takes a back seat.

  • The only real solution to these offshore issues is for the people there to reject them. If, as you say, someone else has to keep wading in, then there is always someone else to blame and this fuels crazy cults with bombs on their belts.


    But - most of these people are so smashed and so terrified and so preoccupied with feeding zillions of babies because they have no population control in countries with little arable land to grow food and limited waster supplies, they can't fight them off. If they spent less time praying and more time doing something workable about it they might succeed. But that is difficult to achieve when whole populations are obsessed with what doesn't exist in reality. They need to orient themselves to the here and now in order to fix problems caused by the here and now. That is usually accomplished by education. When education is mainly concerned with forcing young people to sway backwards and forwards over an ancient text and prevents females from learning anything and encases them in swathes of cloth because for some unfathomable reason their God isn't keen on one of his own creations, then the problem outweighs a solution. Unless the people are willing to take a long, cool look at what they are doing and try to find a more rational way of dealing with everyday life.


    I don't know what one does about these cultures, but something needs to be done because they are infiltrating other stabilised cultures who will quickly become destabilised (no matter what liberals think) and it will be a question of importing what you are fighting off somewhere else.


    It's all very mad.

  • Of course, the person can be destroyed, but the idea that fuels the person cannot.


    And the people of Syria "learnt" what happens too when American takes a back seat.


    They already knew e.g. ordinary Iraqis and Afghans were quite happy for the soldiers to stay and keep the peace but unfortunately their voices do not count for anything.

  • LW, Except, Syrians, overall, were not extreme. The women were treated well and they were very advanced in many social issues as compared to other Arab states.


    My firm did some work in Syria not too long before the arse fell out of the place. The guys that went said it was a lovely place, just like Turkey (of a few years ago...!).


    There clearly was some discontent though and Assad is to blame for the mess thanks to his refusal to respond to these concerns. Of course other nations and groups took advantage of the ensuing mess but he was ultimately responsible.

  • They already knew e.g. ordinary Iraqis and Afghans were quite happy for the soldiers to stay and keep the peace but unfortunately their voices do not count for anything.


    But that was after American intervention. A democratically elected government wanted the American troops gone, so they went. The Syrians never got the choice to choose a government who might make that same decision. They're still stuck with that barrel bombing murderer.

  • My firm did some work in Syria not too long before the arse fell out of the place. The guys that went said it was a lovely place, just like Turkey (of a few years ago...!).


    There clearly was some discontent though and Assad is to blame for the mess thanks to his refusal to respond to these concerns. Of course other nations and groups took advantage of the ensuing mess but he was ultimately responsible.


    What the Syrians expected when they rose up against Assad (as we egged all of the Arab world to do) was that they would get help from us.


    And we have career politicians like Miliband, Cameron and Obama for standing back and letting thousands get slaughtered. An utter disgrace.


    Loads people would've died regardless of what happened, but we could've been rid of Assad. Syria will not ever function again until he's gone. Although I doubt the present country, as it is today, will remain as it is in any case. (Kurdish expansion)

  • What the Syrians expected when they rose up against Assad (as we egged all of the Arab world to do) was that they would get help from us.


    And we have career politicians like Miliband, Cameron and Obama for standing back and letting thousands get slaughtered. An utter disgrace.


    Loads people would've died regardless of what happened, but we could've been rid of Assad. Syria will not ever function again until he's gone. Although I doubt the present country, as it is today, will remain as it is in any case. (Kurdish expansion)


    I'm not sure they expected it. During the "Arab Spring" there was only intervention in Libya and that came after a UN resolution and demand from the Arab League and Islamic organisations to get involved. Even the Libyans didn't want troops on the ground.


    It's easy to criticise the West for standing back but post-Iraq we know there is no other option. It is sad and frustrating but we simply cannot police the world, I thought we'd learnt that?? At least we did not actively murder civilians like the Russians.

  • I agree about Libya, but disagree with all this post Iraq "let stay out of it" philosophy.


    It's not a case of policing the world, but stopping mass wrongs where they occur, especially that of a campaign of genocide by a regime on its people.

  • I agree about Libya, but disagree with all this post Iraq "let stay out of it" philosophy.


    It's not a case of policing the world, but stopping mass wrongs where they occur, especially that of a campaign of genocide by a regime on its people.


    Easy to say it H, but how can we stop them?

  • To be clear, I'm not talking about regime change, or trying to change a culture. I am simply talking about what was enshrined in international law after WW2.


    The western countries, especially America, has the military might to stop any genocide anywhere, easily.


    The Syrian genocide could've been stopped before it even started. How? By shooting down Assad's planes. Even we could have done that, we have bases near Syria.


    It's only when the West turned its back on Syria, that Putin went in and joined the "fun."


    We never solved the problems in ex-Yugoslavia, they still remain. They all hate each other there and for good reason. But if weren't for Clinton's/Albright's intervention, the killings would have been far, far worse.

  • but we simply cannot police the world


    And just to add to this, we are the police, by our own design. We've never given up our permanent seat on the Security Council and see no sign that we ever will.


    There are only 5 policemen currently in the world, unfortunately two of them (Russia & China) are part of the problem, not the solution.


  • Come on H, military might doesn't work. We know that. These are not easy enemies to identify and remove without causing greater damage to the ones we are trying to protect (not to mention resentment).


    What do you think Russia would have done if we started shooting down their ally's planes?


    It's very sad, genuinely sad, and frustrating but we actually don't have the power to fix these problems. We find it very hard to accept that but the evidence keeps screaming out at us.

  • Syria and Iran are both beautiful in places and were once inhabited by advanced civilizations but it must be borne in mind that they are not ethnically united. (Neither is Afghanistan.) Assad is from a different ethnicity and ancient Syria and Libya had what used to be referred to as "fair Aryans" in the populations, before the term became the enemy term of nazi hunters. But the "fair Aryans" are still there. Iran was Persia and has a population of Farsi who were not Muslims but Zoroastrians. Lebanon was once predominantly Christian until they had an Arab Muslim invasion. Beirut bears witness to decades of civil strife. Ethnic conflict is a very important part of the causes of human conflict throughout history. To ignore this simply because the modern west has this globalist, universalist agenda is to ignore a fact of life for the purposes of social engineering and the promotion of yet another mad idea of "oneness" and similitude where this does not exist above the obvious levels of species.


    Unless people are allowed to have their own spaces and are not forced to live under the jurisdiction or theocracy of those who differ, often radically, there will always be conflict. I am amazed someone hasn't worked this out yet. Perhaps it is because there is a need among power seekers to place as many as possible under one umbrella and groups and ethnicity and cultures get in the way of this. Some social engineers use the misery of others to break down the unity and identity of their own groups, no doubt hoping that all will be one in the end, provided it is the one they decide upon and not a different monolithic controller.


    This sort of thing has failed consistently throughout history. It has come about by violence and invasion, existed for different amounts of time and then fallen in entropic splendour as the lack of strong bonds cause it to disintegrate.


    You have to ask what bonds are the bonds that might unite people for longer than any regime may endure. (It's why I wrote the little piece in my blog about Quo Vadis Politics). I did so because politics, as we know it, doesn't seem able to solve certain human issues. It seems that ethnic identity and cultural ties are better able to do this. Whether things are good or bad, blood tends to be thicker than money for some. For those who just want to be rich, then civilizations where everyone is happy only so long as money flows and the fun factor booms is fine. When it stops for some reason, they often find they have no ties and no loyalties.Because crass materialism makes crap social glue.


    Force is hopeless. It doesn't unite, it simply tries to glue things together and that glue usually degrades with time. The glue of identity and culture tends to strengthen because tradition and a deep attachment to people and ways and beliefs of a group tend to endure. Provided, of course, these things do not contain any daft ideas. Daft ideas cause things to collapse into chaos and violence as sane folk try to escape increasing madness. This appears to be happening in countries in the Middle East. It's very sad and I feel especially sorry for refugees who are forced to leave their roots and go where they will have no roots and might be rejected.


    When will someone start to be less idealistic and more realistic about humanity?

  • Come on H, military might doesn't work. We know that. These are not easy enemies to identify and remove without causing greater damage to the ones we are trying to protect (not to mention resentment).

    It was easy to identify Assad's planes dropping chemical weapons on his own people against international law.


    What do you think Russia would have done if we started shooting down their ally's planes?

    Nothing. Assad is no ally of Putin's.

    It's very sad, genuinely sad, and frustrating but we actually don't have the power to fix these problems. We find it very hard to accept that but the evidence keeps screaming out at us.

    Your view is one shared by a majority, but one I disagree with.


    The evidence is based through the prism of Iraq. And I put it to you, we don't really know the reason for Iraq.... but I digress.


    There are very few countries in the world with the power to deploy military power anywhere on the planet. We are one them and when (if) we get our new aircraft carriers, our ability to project to power will be fully restored.

  • It was easy to identify Assad's planes dropping chemical weapons on his own people against international law.
    Nothing. Assad is no ally of Putin's. Your view is one shared by a majority, but one I disagree with.


    The evidence is based through the prism of Iraq. And I put it to you, we don't really know the reason for Iraq.... but I digress.


    There are very few countries in the world with the power to deploy military power anywhere on the planet. We are one them and when (if) we get our new aircraft carriers, our ability to project to power will be fully restored.



    Yes we have the military might but that is of little use in these types of situations. There is no easily identifiable and easily targeted enemy. When do you knock out a plane carrying chemical weapons?


    We've taken all the blame for Iraq when we should only take some of it. Destruction of that nation was inevitable, we just hastened its demise, but reality counts for sod all - we are now blamed for anything that went wrong there. Any discussion of the "real" reason for the problems over there is purely academic.


    Assad is of course a Putin ally. Obviously he cares nothing for the people but he likes the extension of Russian power and would not give it up without a fight.

  • When will someone start to be less idealistic and more realistic about humanity?


    I'll just respond to this bit rather than the history lesson about Beirut etc.;)


    And I don't disagree with you about the reality, I just disagree about how to deal with it.


    People are like any other animal on this planet. We are tribal, can be viscous, greedy, jealous and many other things besides. Then you put into that mix, different races, religions, nationality. All combustible, I agree.


    What I disagree with is the overwhelming chorus now that "we mustn't get involved" "let em get on with it."


    This thinking led to the Syrian refugee crisis in Europe. We "let them get on with it" and in doing so it has empowered Putin (who MUST be confronted at some point), empowered Assad and caused chaos throughout Europe.


    But even if something were happening in a distant part of the world. If a regime and I am specifically talking a government's own actions. If a regime starts slaughtering it's own people, as a permanent member of the security council, one of the "policemen," I absolutely think we should intervene to stop atrocities. You cannot know what will happen afterwards and perhaps things will be worse, but you can stop the disgusting behaviour you know about.


    If Hitler had been confronted in the 1930s when he started on the Jews and starting to rearm, we might, albeit slimly, may have stopped WW2.

  • I mentioned Beirut because I once had a Lebanese step-family. They were Christians. They were devastated at what had happened to Beirut and viscerally detested the Arab militia. In the sixties this was a nasty civil war, if you remember. So I got how the Christian Lebs felt straight from the horse's mouth and they used to go over to Beirut yearly (took diamonds, brought back gold). Not much has changed except that the Muslims are overwhelming them now, it seems.


    I think Hitler wasn't stopped early enough for a number of reasons. Many thought he had a rather good idea in rebuilding Germany from the corruption of the Weimar Republic. The Jews were not a group of people dearly beloved of Christians so the eventual genocide got established before anyone realised what was going on. In fact I don't think people really realised it until the allies broke through to the concentration camps and found heaps of bones and what was left of the Jews who had not yet died from starvation, typhoid or gas.


    But one must try to keep in mind that Hitler and WWII wasn't about the Jews. It was about overrunning Europe with Germans. The Jews were an unfortunate by-product of Catholic venom and Hitler's madness. It is a great pity the art academy that rejected him didn't take him on as he was a rather good painter and if it had, the world might have been much different. Of course, humans would still be fighting. I don't see that coming to a more stable state until people are willing to acknowledge the reality of ethnic identity.


    Islam, like Christianity has infiltrated and converted many ethnicities. Huge masses of potential fighters were created this way. That didn't lead to anything but more aggro which is now turning rabid and driving people out of the Middle East.


    As things stand, it's hard to know what to do about the extant situation. Large urban multicultural communities and widespread intermarriage have created masses of people who now need a superficially common culture or they will have nothing to live around psychologically.


    Globalism isn't the answer. It's virtually impossible to argue with anyone over this because multiculturalism has become a sort of religion and its acolytes get really angry if you dissent. They fire barbs of "racist" and "bigot" at you for the slightest misdemeanor within the strict limits of their little mind box of beliefs.


    I don't argue with them anymore as they are beginning to give me the creeps.

  • It's a shame one of our new members never came back here, because I've had really good discussions with him over at the Times on this and he even created a blog here on the subject of interventions (or was going to.) And if you think I'm hardline on this, well, he's worse!


    I'll come back to all points later, haven't got the time at the moment.

  • Yes we have the military might but that is of little use in these types of situations. There is no easily identifiable and easily targeted enemy. When do you knock out a plane carrying chemical weapons?


    We've taken all the blame for Iraq when we should only take some of it. Destruction of that nation was inevitable, we just hastened its demise, but reality counts for sod all - we are now blamed for anything that went wrong there. Any discussion of the "real" reason for the problems over there is purely academic.


    Assad is of course a Putin ally. Obviously he cares nothing for the people but he likes the extension of Russian power and would not give it up without a fight.


    Putin would dump Assad in a second if it suited him. Putin is only interested in a Mediterranean base.


    On Iraq, you would need to spell out the "real" reasons for the problems, as you see them, before I could respond. But I agree with your first point, it's not all our fault. Iran's meddling and blowing up our soliders using IEDs hardly helped the situation. But I'm not sure that I agree with you that it was inevitable that Iraq would've collapsed whether we invaded or not. Saddam had an iron grip on the country as would've his sons after him.


    On your first point, I really don't understand. As soon as Assad started bombing his own people with chemical weapons, we should've have destroyed his air force there and then. Easy to identify his planes. Obviously not shooting down a plane laden with chemicals over a city, but destroying that plane before it ever took off to begin with, along with its airfield, comms and defences. A couple of dozen missiles launched from subs would've finished his airforce in one strike.

  • As things stand, it's hard to know what to do about the extant situation. Large urban multicultural communities and widespread intermarriage have created masses of people who now need a superficially common culture or they will have nothing to live around psychologically.


    Globalism isn't the answer. It's virtually impossible to argue with anyone over this because multiculturalism has become a sort of religion and its acolytes get really angry if you dissent. They fire barbs of "racist" and "bigot" at you for the slightest misdemeanor within the strict limits of their little mind box of beliefs.


    I don't argue with them anymore as they are beginning to give me the creeps.


    Well, I can be racist and a bigot, so I've have no need to get into arguments with people over that. I'm open and transparent about it.


    I think multiculturalism will die off. It may take a few generations, but it will end.


    I like variety, it's the spice of life. But, especially with the neighbours I have... I am also a strong believer in good fences make good neighbours.


    We need strong nation states where every group of people can live with their own kind by their own customs and traditions, but mixing different groups together doesn't work. If everyone stayed on their own side of the fence, many of the world's problems would end.

  • LW, I know I opened the door to you when I mentioned Hitler here... (note to self, try not to do that again!:)) but it'll take the thread too far off topic. Perhaps we can that up in a future thread?? Although thinking about it there is a direct link of course as Assad's party takes its cue from Germany's nazis.

  • People don't like to admit this and have hysterics if you do, but the politically correct fascists of our day remind me a lot of them too. Plus I lived in a state practicing racism and national socialism on steroids so I know what that is like and the modern left reminds me of both the Nazis and the Stalinists. But, yes, stuff for another thread.

  • Putin would dump Assad in a second if it suited him. Putin is only interested in a Mediterranean base.


    On Iraq, you would need to spell out the "real" reasons for the problems, as you see them, before I could respond. But I agree with your first point, it's not all our fault. Iran's meddling and blowing up our soliders using IEDs hardly helped the situation. But I'm not sure that I agree with you that it was inevitable that Iraq would've collapsed whether we invaded or not. Saddam had an iron grip on the country as would've his sons after him.


    On your first point, I really don't understand. As soon as Assad started bombing his own people with chemical weapons, we should've have destroyed his air force there and then. Easy to identify his planes. Obviously not shooting down a plane laden with chemicals over a city, but destroying that plane before it ever took off to begin with, along with its airfield, comms and defences. A couple of dozen missiles launched from subs would've finished his airforce in one strike.


    Never going to happen - the West is too scared of the Russian response, probably with good reason. Even In Libya we didn't introduce a no-fly until there was widespread international support as well as strong local pressure.


    We'll never know about Saddam but I'm sure he wouldn't have lasted long. He had genuine support in some places but in the north and south he was always at risk.

  • There is invariably a power vacuum in any dictatorship so dumping the dictator often leads to insurgencies and chaos as it did in Egypt and Libya.I feel sorry for those who want to be free of fascist rule but it's no use having a revolt if you get an even worse dictator in its place, or your ranks are infiltrated by extremists who have other ideas. This is largely because your enemy's enemy is seldom your friend.

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