American Effectualism

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Obama Administration

Right wing media have had a grand time bashing President Obama for his Syria policy, and then this happens

The United States and Russia reached a sweeping agreement on Saturday that called for Syria’s arsenal of chemical weapons to be removed or destroyed by the middle of 2014 and indefinitely stalled the prospect of American airstrikes.

Was this the plan all along? Hell if I know. However, I do believe it’s in the ball park of what the President really wanted all along. A lot could go wrong, of course, but this is the best possible outcome for everybody.

So how many right-wing feet did this announcement leave in right-wing mouths? Well, Mark Steyn’s, for one. He’s got an overwritten and nearly incoherent column floating out in cyberspace titled “American Ineffectualism,” in which he praises Vladamir Putin and ridicules our President.

But, m’loves, in the end, who blinked?

I agree the White House has been less than a fortress of iron resolve over the past few days. Instead, the President and John Kerry have been, shall we say, flexible in the face of changing developments, and eventually got to where they wanted, albeit in an inelegant way. Compare/contrast to our previous POTUS, who was all about displays of iron resolve, and who got us bogged down in Iraq.

I’m saying the iron resolve thing is way overrated. What matters is results.

See also Steve M.

We’re here because Obama threatened an attack and because Putin thinks that threat is credible. He’s pounding his chest like a Russian Donald Trump and that makes all the right-wing and centrist insiders in America get tingles up their legs, but he wanted an out, and now here we are.

Some left-wing feet got left in mouths as well, such as this shrieker at Salon. One does find knee-jerking all across the political spectrum.

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14 Comments

14 Comments

  1. Stephen Stralka  •  Sep 14, 2013 @2:24 pm

    He’s pounding his chest like a Russian Donald Trump and that makes all the right-wing and centrist insiders in America get tingles up their legs…

    Yes, sometimes it’s best to look at these things in primatological terms. Putin pulls a dominance display and all these other primates respond in the same terms. If you can strip out the language and just look at the behavior, it’s kind of like watching a troop of chimpanzees.

    Meanwhile Obama has been acting like a human being, and this has brought results, which is of course unacceptable to those how put their faith in dominance displays.

    You’d think some of these guys would have heard the expression “Speak softly, but carry a big stick.” Now it’s “Carry a BIG FREAKING STICK and make sure you USE IT!!!!”

  2. c u n d gulag  •  Sep 14, 2013 @2:32 pm

    NeoCLOWN POV:
    What the hell do you mean, “NO WAR!”

    How is that even possible?

    oBAMBI looks weak.
    O-Bwana makes America look weak!

    Jesus, by now, George W. Bush would already have bombed Syracuse!!!

    And he’d be ready to boots on the ground in Siberia!!!!!

    oBAMBI’S A WUSS!!!

  3. xsnake  •  Sep 14, 2013 @3:33 pm

    Putin knew that Obama would be easy since ’08, when he first saw Him nance into the White House.

  4. maha  •  Sep 14, 2013 @3:44 pm

    xsnake — Obama easy? Um, it was Putin who caved, son. Not the other way around. Do keep up.

  5. c u n d gulag  •  Sep 14, 2013 @4:10 pm

    xsnake,
    Uhm, and what is it exactly that makes you such an expert on “nance?”
    “Nance,” much?
    (NTTAWWT!!!)

  6. Swami  •  Sep 14, 2013 @4:57 pm

    Meanwhile Obama has been acting like a human being, and this has brought results, which is of course unacceptable to those how put their faith in dominance displays.

    Bullseye!, Stephen.. They’re befuddled. What manner of man is this Obama? And by what powers does he do these miracles?

  7. maha  •  Sep 14, 2013 @5:15 pm

    I infer that “nance” is a mashup of “nuance” and “dance.” It’s like a really subtle merengue, with small steps.

  8. c u n d gulag  •  Sep 14, 2013 @5:57 pm

    My take on it, is from “nancy-boy” – an anti-gay term – and I don’t mean Ronnie!

    “Richard Simmons ‘nanced’ his way into my wife and families diet and exercise routines. And now, I have mince when I jog, waving my arms around like I’m a feckin’ sparrow – and at dinner, be grateful for raw or lightly-steamed vegetables, and a piece of lean meat or fish, the size of a deck of cards – and NOT the larger, Tarot ones, either!!!!!”

  9. Doug  •  Sep 14, 2013 @8:34 pm

    I’ve read a lot of discussion over the last week or so, particularly from the left, that has been quite irrational. While an initial aversion to violence is the right reaction, the defense of the final decision to avoid conflict shouldn’t be based on poor logic.

    Some of the opponents to the proposed bombing (which is thankfully on hold) have said that the use of WMD, murder by chemical weapons, is no different than murder by conventional weapons, which have inflicted a HUGE toll in Syria. Another argument has been that the use of napalm is just as inhumane. (Thank’s DOW for your contribution to American exceptionalism.) And bystanders who become victims to US drone strikes are just as dead as victims of biological warfare. All true, and convincing viewed through a narrow lens. Let’s take a wide-angle look and see where the train of reason left the rails.

    Perhaps the first evidence of American exceptionalism showed in the Civil War. Over 600,000 Americans died at the hands of their countrymen – this inhumanity included shelling cities. This was the first major conflict where industrial ingenuity was applied to slaughter. Five decades later, trench warfare in Europe introduced chemical warfare and 4 decades later WWII shocked the world not only with Auschwitz but also Hiroshima and Nagasaki.

    For the first time in the sordid history of mankind, post WWII, an imperfect agreement was forged, which banned the use of nuclear, chemical and biological weapons. You can write volumes about the failure of the international community since then to prevent genocide or how the world (including the US) devised new technologies for mayhem. The FIRST step towards a peaceful planet should have led to more steps in that direction (hat tip to the US & Russia for building down their nuclear arsenals) but not enough has been done. I abhor that the US hasn’t led the global effort to restrict the ways that man can justify murder in the guise of war. In fact, we (meaning the US) have gone to the dark side without using NBC arms.

    Those who truly want peace (hat tip to Code Pink) need to not only respect, but enshrine the very limited progress we have made as a species to degrade the ‘legitimate’ use of violence at a national level. That means never backing away from progress, which means the absolute condemnation, indictment & prosecution of any national leader or revolutionary who employs forbidden weapons technology – and bringing to bear whatever peaceful pressure will prevent the development of proscribed stockpiles. (Does anyone remember the S. America was persuaded to abandon nuclear weapons development?)

    I absolutely respect the position of the pacifist. So much NEEDS to be done to ‘build down’ the list of legitimate weapons, and discourage the manufacture and distribution of weapons as an arm of political science, whether those weapons are the tools of the tyrant or the revolutionary. However contradictory it may seem, a world community determined to diminish warfare (which is my dream) will have to use force to deter the violent fanatic who is unwilling to recognize those limits.

    My apologies for being wordy – and my sincere commendation to those who actually made it through my essay. It’s a challenge to myself to see if I can articulate a viewpoint which I think is valid and hasn’t found a voice in the dialogue. If nothing else, I have added a therapy for insomniacs.

  10. justme277  •  Sep 14, 2013 @11:55 pm

    Well this is no where near as well written as Doug..just a simple woman’s thoughts on the subject. I saw this attitude on the right start during the snowden mess. They LOVED putin “putting the screws” to Obama when he asked for snowdens return. They didn’t even notice it was America being poked in the eye , instead they thought it was all about supposed egg on Obama’s face… Frankly it was so sad to see Americans hate Obama more than they loved their own country and it gave me the feeling they would let the whole nation be destroyed and cheer on those who did it.

    How much do you have to hate this country to cheer on putin? If you wake up tomorrow and find yourself on his side of the coin wouldn’t that raise a red flag within yourself that you are totally F’ed up?

    And how short sighted does one have to think it is a better idea to bomb the shit out of the same people we claim to want to send our kids to die to save then to destroy the ability, through means that don’t require a costly military action, for this to be unleashed upon anyone ever again?

    Without chemical weapons on the table the people of that nation can rise up on their own and institute change. (then we can complain about not liking the government that the people elect your times comin sean insssanity). We cannot bring a single life back nor do we stand much of a chance of our bombs landing on the actual people responsible for these crimes- this is the very best we can hope for.

    Those who wanted war should do a serious self examination – no one should EVER want war it should be a last resort when all other options fail. Not having to bomb everyone we disagree with is a show of strength, not weakness.

    Years ago I tended bar in a club in Kansas City, near Arrowhead. Some of the players would frequent the place. It never failed on any given sat night that some suburban couple would come in and the tiny bleach blonde wife would be unable to keep her eyes off these giant built football players and the husband, would be upset and step up to the players and try to pick a fight. So they would have some 5’7 inch guy in their face calling them “pussies” because they wouldn’t fight. Well that has to be embarrassing after awhile as a crowd of locals snap video for facebook or tweet / hashtag “Football player afraid of short white guy from burbs in chinos” Now you know this 310 lb guy who is 6’3 and crushes people for a living could break bones burb boy never knew he had, but he doesn’t even stand up. THAT is strength.

    Non strength? Shooting an unarmed boy with skittles because you can.

  11. justme277  •  Sep 15, 2013 @12:00 am

    One more thing… I like Bill Mahers take on this .. He calls it “Black tracking” or pulling a “One hatey” Love it!

  12. Bill Bush  •  Sep 15, 2013 @10:18 am

    Obama has won, without shedding blood, and there are people who can’t stand it. A good old-fashioned bloodbath is within their reach, however, if they will just purchase tickets to some hellhole and go try to settle things with their own precious guns. Sometimes, they’ll learn, you just have to get your hands dirty and do the job that needs to be done, never mind what anybody says. Like Obama did.

  13. erinyes  •  Sep 15, 2013 @2:40 pm

    Once again,I defer to the guru, Eric Margolis. His advice to Obama is don’t fuck with the KBG. There are well meaning constitutional scholars, and there are head bashing, garrot using bad boys. Obama is wise to embrace Putin at this point; screw those ass hats who are talking out their asses about Obama caving. This could have been the bring of a really bad thing, but luckily, Obama realized the situation.
    I like what just me wrote; it is spot on with the situation at hand.

  14. Mike G  •  Sep 15, 2013 @4:22 pm

    Frankly it was so sad to see Americans hate Obama more than they loved their own country

    It’s not the first time. I remember the rightards’ glee when Chicago lost their bid for the Olympics. For these self-proclaimed “patriots” America can’t lose often enough when it can be blamed on Obama.



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