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A Horse Named Stranger

US Politics: CPAC - Finding new ways to bring America to Rune.

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1 hour ago, GrimTuesday said:

Iran already feels like it is surrounded by US puppets who are seeking to destroy them, and they are more or less right.

I would actually argue that the biggest regional winners of US foreign policy adventurism of the last 20 has been Iran. Not intentionally, of course.

It would seem from the surface that we have them hemmed in - Iraq on one side and Afghanistan on the other. While it’s true that we have ongoing military presence in those countries we don’t really control either one. And in Afghanistan the officially recognized government doesn’t control most of the country anyway. I don’t think our (now pretty small) presence in Iraq and Afghanistan gains the US much strategically with regard to threatening Iran that we couldn’t have already done by parking a carrier group in the Persian Gulf. 

The Taliban is not going to bother Iran, and neither is the US friendly Afghan government. In Iraq a Sunni hardline government was ousted and a ‘Democracy’ imposed in a Shia majority country. No surprise that the Shia now dominate the government there. The Iraqi Shia purging of Sunnis from positions of influence in Iraq’s government was a major factor in the rise of ISIS. 

Iraq’s shift from a Sunni strong man to a Shia pseudo-democracy created a Shiite bridge to Iranian meddling in Syria in support of Assad (also a Shia government) and more directly connected Iran with Hezbollah in Lebanon which it has cultivated and supported for years. This of course makes Israel nervous and probably rightfully so. Iran now sits in a position where it has unbroken influence and potential land supply routes from Tehran to the Mediterranean.

Add the Houthis in Yemen and Iranian support there and it looks to me more like it is the Iranians who have the Saudi’s surrounded. Not to make excuses for the Saudi’s who deserve the criticism, but this is the root of what’s going on there.

Saudi’s correctly feel like they will be surrounded by enemies if Iranian allied groups control Yemen as well. This is the reason, more than anything else, that in recent years we’ve begun to see Gulf States cozying up to Israel. They’ve looked around and decided that Iran is the bigger threat. Sorry if that takes the wind out of Trump / Kushner’s sails :lol:, though maybe I can begrudgingly credit them for not fucking it up as a go between or something.

If you are the Saudi’s you’ve gotta be looking around the region and thinking ‘what in the fuck happened?’ Being buddy buddy with the most powerful nation on earth seemed like an absolute no-lose situation and yet here they are surrounded by hostile or potentially hostile actors. I believe they did advise against Iraq 2.0, having seen the potential for this. But I think over the last 20 years they’ve seen their fortunes ebb more quickly than they would have imagined possible.

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To paraphrase Mark Twain (who didnt really say it):" The most evil Republican I ever met in DC was a centrist democrat from West Virginia"

Anyway, it makes literally no sense to limit the stimulus eligibility from what was done in the previous two rounds. It also makes little sense to cut weekly unemployment benefit amounts. Attacking both the poor as well as the better off makes absolutely no philosophical sense. I'm sure this is all kabuki theater to get that broadband money included.

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1 hour ago, DMC said:

Yeah, this is why lifting the sanctions just to discuss reentering the deal would obviously be an act of weakness and stupidity that Tehran would exploit.  If they were still in compliance, that'd be one thing.  But they're not, plus they're putting conditions on Biden just to talk.  Conceding to that "reengagement" would be laughably stupid to any objective observer that isn't depicting Tehran as some innocent regime that was wronged.

Dude, we're the ones who violated the deal. This is like if made a deal to stop shooting someone in the kneecaps, start shooting them in the knee caps again, then start making demands to go back and comply with our original deal in order to make us stop.

Iran is not a innocent regime, but to pretend they are not the wronged party here is idiotic. This is not to say we have to drop all the sanctions, but right now we are the ones impeding diplomacy.

13 minutes ago, DireWolfSpirit said:

What if Saudi contracts were keeping you employed at the Helicopter plant and as a result of the sanctions those contracts would be lost and as a result you and most of the plants workforce would lose those jobs? Would you still be in support of said sanctions over some tragic murder of a journalist?

I pick the jobs and investment over bullying another country in a way that only does more harm to ourselves. 

Ya'll that disagree can throw your stones now but is it your job that's at stake? I highly doubt it.

Real talk, I don't care. Lockheed and Raytheon aren't going to shut down their plants because we stop selling the Saudis helicopters. The US military is their largest contract by miles, and they can 100% absorb the revenue loss, and if they use American jobs as justification for continuing the blood shed in the middle east in the name of profit, they should be nationalized.

10 minutes ago, S John said:
Spoiler

 

I would actually argue that the biggest regional winners of US foreign policy adventurism of the last 20 has been Iran. Not intentionally, of course.

It would seem from the surface that we have them hemmed in - Iraq on one side and Afghanistan on the other. While it’s true that we have ongoing military presence in those countries we don’t really control either one. And in Afghanistan the officially recognized government doesn’t control most of the country anyway. I don’t think our (now pretty small) presence in Iraq and Afghanistan gains the US much strategically with regard to threatening Iran that we couldn’t have already done by parking a carrier group in the Persian Gulf. 

The Taliban is not going to bother Iran, and neither is the US friendly Afghan government. In Iraq a Sunni hardline government was ousted and a ‘Democracy’ imposed in a Shia majority country. No surprise that the Shia now dominate the government there. The Iraqi Shia purging of Sunnis from positions of influence in Iraq’s government was a major factor in the rise of ISIS. 

Iraq’s shift from a Sunni strong man to a Shia pseudo-democracy created a Shiite bridge to Iranian meddling in Syria in support of Assad (also a Shia government) and more directly connected Iran with Hezbollah in Lebanon which it has cultivated and supported for years. This of course makes Israel nervous and probably rightfully so. Iran now sits in a position where it has unbroken influence and potential land supply routes from Tehran to the Mediterranean.

Add the Houthis in Yemen and Iranian support there and it looks to me more like it is the Iranians who have the Saudi’s surrounded. Not to make excuses for the Saudi’s who deserve the criticism, but this is the root of what’s going on there.

Saudi’s correctly feel like they will be surrounded by enemies if Iranian allied groups control Yemen as well. This is the reason, more than anything else, that in recent years we’ve begun to see Gulf States cozying up to Israel. They’ve looked around and decided that Iran is the bigger threat. Sorry if that takes the wind out of Trump / Kushner’s sails :lol:, though maybe I can begrudgingly credit them for not fucking it up as a go between or something.

If you are the Saudi’s you’ve gotta be looking around the region and thinking ‘what in the fuck happened?’ Being buddy buddy with the most powerful nation on earth seemed like an absolute no-lose situation and yet here they are surrounded by hostile or potentially hostile actors. I believe they did advise against Iraq 2.0, having seen the potential for this. But I think over the last 20 years they’ve seen their fortunes ebb more quickly than they would have imagined possible.

 

 

I think that is actually a pretty good take. We are absolutely seeing a bi-plolar power dynamic forming in the middle east with Iran and Saudi Arabia. The only issue is the outside backing for the Saudi side is much more robust, meaning that while they have a security dilemma, on their hands, they are not under siege at this point. Sanctions have crippled the Iranian economy, whereas the economies of the Saudi aligned regimes are not nearly as inhibited. Beyond that, the countries in Iran's sphere are much less stable and susceptible to outside interference.

Of course, this isn't even factoring in the fact that you have Turkey to the north kind of doing their own thing, so depending on where you think Turkey is at in terms of who you think they are inclined to align with, it could well be a multi-polar system which is less stable.

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20 hours ago, IheartIheartTesla said:

I would have gone with 1pac, 2pac, CPAC, none; but then again I live a 100 miles from 8-mile.

I was trying to get this as I grew up about 80 miles from 8 mile. 

It's a coy reference to Eminem being more witty with his rhymes than us?

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Nah man, just a stupid joke about how CPAC rhymes with Tupac (and I thought Eminem was making some point about the members of Free World ending up like Tupac, which is why he cocked finger guns at them....)

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@GrimTuesday

It's not just weapons contracts that Saudi investment make in the U.S. They've pumped billions into casino projects (during the financial crisis years 2008-12 when it saved a lot of jobs) and other ventures that have put a lot of benefits into the economy.

We may sanction them for the weapons sales but you likely lose the other investments as well when they look to other places to invest altogether, not a good move during the pandemic economy imo.

 

 

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1 minute ago, DireWolfSpirit said:

@GrimTuesday

It's not just weapons contracts that Saudi investment make in the U.S. They've pumped billions into casino projects (during the financial crisis years 2008-12 when it saved a lot of jobs) and other ventures that have put a lot of benefits into the economy.

We may sanction them for the weapons sales but you likely lose the other investments as well when they look to other places to invest altogether, not a good move during the pandemic economy imo.

 

 

I still don't fucking care. The Saudis need us way more than we need them, and worrying about Saudi investment capital over their human rights abuses is morally bankrupt.

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14 minutes ago, GrimTuesday said:

Dude, we're the ones who violated the deal. This is like if made a deal to stop shooting someone in the kneecaps, start shooting them in the knee caps again, then start making demands to go back and comply with our original deal in order to make us stop.

Iran is not a innocent regime, but to pretend they are not the wronged party here is idiotic. This is not to say we have to drop all the sanctions, but right now we are the ones impeding diplomacy.

Dude, you are blatantly mischaracterizing the Biden administration's express position.  The bolded is simply wrong because - yes! - they are demanding we drop all sanctions just to talk:

The Biden administration was willing to continue informal talks - without any preconditions - and they said no.  How that means Biden is doing a shitty job at diplomacy is either willfully misreading the situation or coming out of Tehran.

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Just now, DMC said:

Dude, you are blatantly mischaracterizing the Biden administration's express position.  The bolded is simply wrong because - yes! - they are demanding we drop all sanctions just to talk:

The Biden administration was willing to continue informal talks - without any preconditions - and they said no.  How that means Biden is doing a shitty job at diplomacy is either willfully misreading the situation or coming out of Tehran.

I'm not saying that is what the Iranians are saying. I know they are demanding all sanctions be dropped. I'm saying that in my opinion, while we will not be dropping all sanctions, but dropping some, as a show of good faith is not unreasonable. The Biden's position is we can talk but we're not lifting sanctions until they comply with the agreement that we shredded, which is in my view is unreasonable.

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Umm. Merica doesn't have to give up anything in order to start negotiations. We already have everything except a nuke treaty. You don't start a poker game by sliding a couple of blue chips across the table so that the other person will talk to you.

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2 minutes ago, GrimTuesday said:

I'm saying that in my opinion, while we will not be dropping all sanctions, but dropping some, as a show of good faith is not unreasonable. The Biden's position is we can talk but we're not lifting sanctions until they comply with the agreement that we shredded, which is in my view is unreasonable.

And what makes you think they'll go for "dropping" some sanctions when they won't even enter into informal talks unless we drop all of them?  Frankly, anyone that's putting preconditions on informal talks is posturing to a point in which it's clear they're not willing to reach any agreement unless it's substantially asymmetric.  Let's just say I'll try to remember never to ask you for help buying a car.

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59 minutes ago, IheartIheartTesla said:

Anyway, it makes literally no sense to limit the stimulus eligibility from what was done in the previous two rounds. It also makes little sense to cut weekly unemployment benefit amounts. Attacking both the poor as well as the better off makes absolutely no philosophical sense. I'm sure this is all kabuki theater to get that broadband money included.

Americans don't like giveaways. A rational response to the current crisis is not what's driving things right now.

Your namesake could relate.

 

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1 minute ago, DMC said:

And what makes you think they'll go for "dropping" some sanctions when they won't even enter into informal talks unless we drop all of them?  Frankly, anyone that's putting preconditions on informal talks is posturing to a point in which it's clear they're not willing to reach any agreement unless it's substantially asymmetric.  Let's just say I'll try to remember never to ask you for help buying a car.

It's already asymmetrical. America is the most powerful nation in the world, we have the backing of Europe as well as their regional rivals. This power disparity is significant, and is what contributes to the siege mentality that fuels the Iranian people's resentment of America. We have destroyed the Iranian economy, we have humiliated them and made them look like fools for trusting us. You have to let them save face on some level. 

I don't know if they are going to go for dropping some sanctions but we're coming off four years of active antagonism the murder of Soleimani, and having walked away from a nuclear deal that was amenable to both sides, we should be the ones to make a show of good faith.

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2 minutes ago, GrimTuesday said:

I don't know if they are going to go for dropping some sanctions but we're coming off four years of active antagonism the murder of Soleimani, and having walked away from a nuclear deal that was amenable to both sides, we should be the ones to make a show of good faith.

And the Biden administration willing to enter informal talks without preconditions is that show of good faith.  Such discussions are almost always where the ground is built in such agreements - particularly making sure each side can is granted some face-saving gestures so as to mollify the right flanks of each side.  What you're suggesting - conceding at least a substantial portion of our bargaining chips before even getting to the table - is a decidedly naive perspective on international relations.

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7 minutes ago, GrimTuesday said:

It's already asymmetrical. America is the most powerful nation in the world, we have the backing of Europe as well as their regional rivals. This power disparity is significant, and is what contributes to the siege mentality that fuels the Iranian people's resentment of America. We have destroyed the Iranian economy, we have humiliated them and made them look like fools for trusting us. You have to let them save face on some level. 

I don't know if they are going to go for dropping some sanctions but we're coming off four years of active antagonism the murder of Soleimani, and having walked away from a nuclear deal that was amenable to both sides, we should be the ones to make a show of good faith.

I tend to agree with this, personally. Diplomacy is the way to go, especially when you hold all the cards.

That being said, you're talking about an antagonist nation that

1)I'm sure a clear majority of Americans couldn't find on a map. 

B ) Would rather see bombed into nothingness than allowed any kind of 'victory', moral or otherwise (take a moment and remember that your fellow citizens didn't even MENTION the two different expeditionary wars in administratively crippled nation states we are currently engaged in during the last election before you think otherwise) 

III) Don't look like 'us'. (See item B )

Four) "They're a threat to our way of life!"

Dawg. The reasons for the Biden administration to NOT be overly lenient have nothing to do with right, wrong, or morality and everything to do with the imbecilic average American voter. 

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18 minutes ago, DMC said:

And the Biden administration willing to enter informal talks without preconditions is that show of good faith.  Such discussions are almost always where the ground is built in such agreements - particularly making sure each side can is granted some face-saving gestures so as to mollify the right flanks of each side.  What you're suggesting - conceding at least a substantial portion of our bargaining chips before even getting to the table - is a decidedly naive perspective on international relations.

Funny how we can have such different approaches to domestic versus foreign policy making.

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Back to the Senate hearing... Is it just me or were certain senators desperate to find out which phone and meta data the fbi has, and how to shut that part of the investigation down?

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4 minutes ago, Tywin et al. said:

Funny how we can have such different approaches to domestic versus foreign policy making.

Theoretically anything you're giving up in a domestic argument should benefit other Americans, meaning your people (americans) are ultimately getting something even if your particular tribe (R or D) has to give something up. This is called compromise. It's good for people.

I wanna know why this Christopher Wray character has a job still.

 

 

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58 minutes ago, DMC said:

And the Biden administration willing to enter informal talks without preconditions is that show of good faith.  Such discussions are almost always where the ground is built in such agreements - particularly making sure each side can is granted some face-saving gestures so as to mollify the right flanks of each side.  What you're suggesting - conceding at least a substantial portion of our bargaining chips before even getting to the table - is a decidedly naive perspective on international relations.

Are we "giving away" anything when we can impose it at anytime?  Does it cost anything to say you'll lift sanctions, or agree to reduce them to start talks, when we all know they can be reimposed anytime?

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2 minutes ago, larrytheimp said:

Are we "giving away" anything when we can impose it at anytime?  Does it cost anything to say you'll lift sanctions, or agree to reduce them to start talks, when we all know they can be reimposed anytime?

This line of thinking just seems entirely ignorant of the political reality.  Let's say Biden lifted the sanctions solely for informal talks.  And then those talks lead to nothing - which considering Tehran's posture right now is a very high likelihood.  Could Biden then reimpose the sanctions?  Sure.  Will he look like a weak idiot that almost ensures the Dems lose the White House in four years?  That's pretty damn likely too.

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