Cart 0

Why care about Russia in Syria?

Posted by John Reed on

Should we get all excited about Putin putting military in Syria and bombing some of the Muslims fighting there?
Does Syria have a strategic location?
Not unless you consider a land bridge between Lebanon, Israel and Jordan on the one hand and Turkey on the other important. I don’t.

Is their oil strategic? Not much. They rank 68th in the world in oil.

Are their people strategic? Nope. 18 million quarrelsome tribes and religions. Their border was drawn by France. Their civil war is arguably the biggest human disaster on earth at present. Now that he can no longer waste Russian money on the winter Olympics, I can think of no better place to have Putin waste Russian money than Syria.

Russia’s last foray into a Muslim civil war was Afghanistan, unless you count Chechnya, which is part of Russia. Putin is a really slow learner.

The Soviet Union collapsed, in part because they could not afford their “sleazy dictators of the world” empire—Egypt, Cuba, North Korea, etc.. They are making the same mistake again. Let them.

Share this post

← Older Post Newer Post →


  • Re Vandiver: We are the world’s policeman as I said in a blog post at
    But you depict that as meaning all the world can fire their own police because we will take care of it for free. That is obviously not the policeman of the world concept.

    What’s going in in Syria is a civil war. The three rules for getting involved in a civil war are 1. Don’t. 2. Pick a side. 3. Make sure your side wins. America should not get involved in the Syrian civil war. Neither should Putin, but he is incompetent on the economy, corruption, pollution, and needs to distract Russians from that fact.
    If we wanted to get involved, we would be stopped by inability to comply with rule 2. All the players are bad guys. Putin has chosen the shia side. That makes him the enemy of all the sunni countries, as well as NATO countries like Turkey.

    The policeman of the world response for America with regard to Syia is “Move along. Nothing to see here.”
    To the extent that Syria or IS threatens the U.S., we should take our policeman action. Until ten, It is the problem of Syria and its neighbors, not us.

    John T. Reed on
  • As someone who believes the world needs a policeman, I would this situation would merit US response from your POV. Unless of course you advocate essentially walling off the ME like CPD has done on the Soutside of Chicago.

    vandiver49 on
  • John,

    The short answer to your question, "How does one ‘make a draft politically acceptable?’” is “With great difficulty in contemporary America.”

    I agree that “The draft decision is also made by our enemies, not by our voters.” Under my “New National Guard” proposal we would be more prepared than we were in 1941 when Japan, Germany, and Italy made that decision for us.

    Basically, I was hoping to get your opinion (and maybe your support) regarding my “New National Guard Proposal”, which might make the draft politically acceptable.

    For any of your readers who didn’t see it I’ve pasted it below. Please read the last three paragraphs because they address the fairness vs cost issue of my preferring a general call up to you preferring only drafting the personnel needed to defend the country, and I discuss some added non-military bonuses of a general call up which your draft article didn’t cover.

    The US government should create a separate “New National Guard”, based on your draft article, which can only be deployed outside the US if Congress grants the President a declaration of war the way it did in 1917 and 1941.

    Nobody would be allowed to enlist in this “New National Guard”, nobody would be drafted into our existing armed forces.

    Although my “New National Guard” plan would not address your concerns about issues like the mercenary nature of our current armed forces, it has a better chance of passing Congress. The lefties and libertarians could accept it because they would be less likely to die in forsaken foreign lands for the military industrial complex. The military establishment could accept it because it would not threaten their two Ps: profits and pensions.

    Also, to balance the fairness vs cost issue of my preferring a general call up to you preferring only drafting the personnel needed to defend the country, we would require all able bodied males between the ages of 18-55 to serve in the “New National Guard Reserves”. That way, everybody would be connected to national defense by having to experience the physical and mental rigors of basic training, infantry training, and military culture. Then, before being assigned a reserve unit, each individual would be be required to develop one specialty area. This would give the military a chance to assess which soldiers have the skills they need in a military setting (Stephen Jobs was great with computers, but could he summon his talent while in uniform?). This would also reduce the temptation of politicians to commit the US to wars frivolously by not having a large standing military force on active duty.

    As an added bonus, a general call up to reserve duty would also facilitate testing to see who is deficient in areas like education, mental health, and physical health. And, we can address the camaraderie and national unity issues Joseph Epstein addressed in his “How I Learned to Love the Draft Article”. This would also improve discipline and the ability to follow simple directions—ever watch young Americans line up, maintain hygiene, or follow simple directions? IT’S PAINFUL!

    A general call up to reserve duty would also better prepare us for sudden shocks like natural disasters, urban unrest, and terrorist attacks. When Wall Street was bombed in 1920 the World War I veterans present assembled at Ground Zero and lined up for duty WITHOUT BEING TOLD! (I got that from the book The Day Wall Street Exploded). Try to imagine that kind of spontaneous, selfless, grassroots response today!


    Larry D’Amico

    Larry D'Amico on
  • Re D’Amico: How does one “make a draft politically acceptable?”

    John T. Reed on
  • John,

    Right on! Let somebody else make the mistake of getting into a “land war in Asia” for a change.

    By the way, what did you think of my “New National Guard” proposal. If you’d rather not post it please respond by email.

    Based on the three paragraphs following your “Whether to have a draft is not our decision” I get the feeling you’re not interested in making a draft politically acceptable, only in proving we should have one. I’m not sure I agree with this logic.

    By the way, when you reviewed Hackworth’s memoir you said it would be continued. Maybe now would be a good time.


    L. D’Amico

    Larry D'Amico on

Leave a comment

Please note, comments must be approved before they are published.