Beyond the Cusp

September 14, 2013

Has America Lost its Credibility and Super Power Status?

With the recent standoff over presumed use of chemical weapons on civilians which supposedly murdered over fourteen-hundred innocents many have claimed that the United States appeared weak, indecisive, and excessively tentative eventually backing away from enforcing President Obama’s declared red lines. This has sparked claims that America has lost her super power status and is no longer to be respected as any red lines or other ultimatums made in her name are likely just hot air and empty threats. But is it true that the United States has become a secondary level player or worse in the world or is it something less severe? Perhaps America is still the super power the world has depended upon to come to the rescue of Europe through two world wars and acted as the world’s nation of first and last resort. It is where nations turn after natural disasters and such will continue despite the presumed trauma suffered by the Syria debacle. So, what is the reality concerning the United States; has she fallen from grace or simply had a bad encounter from which she should return with her familiar roar.


Fortunately for the future of mankind, America is the same super power and retains her ability to come to the rescue of the world, save nations and people from natural disasters, and come to the answer no matter when, where or who is in need no questions asked and then go home when the difficult circumstances have been resolved without saying a word or demanding compensation, never expecting to receive gratitude as she has become accustomed to being taken for granted. This episode is simply the rest of the world exercising their favorite pastime, ridiculing the United States at the slightest stumble reveling in her embarrassment while ridiculing Americans apparent weakness and stupidity knowing full well that should they meet disaster and cry out for the Americans to save them, she will come without regard for the scorn and not expecting any apology or explanation and treat those in need with careful care and compassion which is only possible when you are self-assured that you are above threats and able to answer any real challenge. Sure there are the jealous wannabes ridiculing the powerful one which has had a moment of poor leadership, but that is all this is, a moment of poor leadership and America knows that she gets to choose a new leader whenever necessary every four years. Though it has yet been necessary to actually push a leader from the Presidency, though one did depart under fire, there is also the path to make changes within the four year cycle should such prove necessary.


No, my friends, the United States of America is still the last best hope of mankind, the example for others to emulate, the proud but humble, hardworking, ever giving, charitable, savior of the distressed, super power she was for as long as we can remember. America has not fallen, not even really stumbled; she has had a crisis of one person, her President who came up wanting in a difficult situation of his own making. There will be those in the world who will mock America in this moment of imperfection, but her friends will continue to know she is their best hope and best of all possible friends while her detractors will revel in her momentary lack of will through inadequate personal leadership of her President but still fear to press her too far or make threats because they think her fallen for they know the reality is she is still the strongest and most righteous of powers. No, America is still that shining city on the hill and retains her pride and shine and the Red, White and Blue, the Stars and Stripes still wave and her National Anthem, all three verses, still describe her heart and will which none should test lest they wish to feel her wrath. America is still slow to anger and quick to forgive beyond the understanding of her enemies and the gratitude of her friends. America is the hope and shall retain every ounce of pride as it is all deserved. A President has stumbled, there will be a new one coming along, so be careful of your scorn for America does have a long memory, ask those who have thought to test it before, the Barbary Pirates, the English, the Germans, all tested her twice and found her up to respond to the task each time. America still stands tall, proud, and decent, like always has been and will continue for the foreseeable future. Enough said.


Beyond the Cusp


September 7, 2013

Obama Finally Unifies America

Getting Americans to agree almost in total is very much like getting cats to agree to act like a herd. Despite such an enormous challenge, President Obama has finally found the necessary message that has united the Americans just as it had been prophesized he would do after he was first elected as President. Granted, it took somewhat longer than the world was led to believe, but he has done so to such an amazing extent as to be unbelievable. We even tried here at BTC to remember any time where even seventy percent of Americans were united behind something and other than the early space program we could not think of anything as uniting as a Syrian intervention has instilled in the American populace. If the news reports are to be believed, and we kind of have to do so here by definition, then over ninety percent of Americans agree over whether or not the United States needs to respond at this time militarily to the use of chemical weapons in the Syrian conflict. Granted, their agreement is with each other and not with President Obama.


Of course President Obama is not all alone being against the wishes of the vast numbers of Americans. Oh no, he has lots of fellow travelers such as Senator John McCain to name one but by far not the only one. The Senate Arms Services Committee supported the President in his calling for striking Syria to send Syrian President Bashir al-Assad a message such that he will never even consider using such weapons again. What has been amazing is nobody has addressed exactly what is the plan should such a mission as proposed by President Obama and Secretary of State Kerry fails to convince al-Assad to never again use his chemical weapons. After hearing Secretary Kerry testify on the plans it does not even appear that he and the President are talking about the same mission plan. Just about every news report that comes along makes this entire episode seem even more like a complete SNAFU in the making. What escapes reason is that anybody up on Capitol Hill is still on board with striking Syria considering the mood of the American population. Perhaps this is a plan for imposing the best of all possible methods at term limits by having so many lifelong politicians supporting a strike on Syria and thus guaranteeing their loss at their next election bid. What will almost be amusing over the next week is watching as so many elected performing verbal acrobatics as they adjust and alter their initial support for the President and have to explain their newfound revelations of exactly how unwise involving the United States in the Syrian conflict could prove to become. Some of their moves and wriggling as they escape their old constraining positions to their newly found enlightened positions would probably have impressed Houdini.


Of course there is always the possibility that everything could go very wrong and the American people will be betrayed by their elected officials. Then there is also the distinct possibility that even should Congress refuse to grant their approval for President Obama’s intent to use military force against Syria as a deterrent against any future use of chemical weapons or other WMDs, that the President with the full backing of Secretary of State Kerry and Secretary of Defense Hagel will decide that he has to act in order to preserve what he believes is his and American credibility. Should President Obama ignore Congress, assuming that they refuse to approve his desire to strike Syria, and launch an attack, it would actually be in vain as he no longer has any credibility left. As far as the United States, as long as the Congress adheres to the will of the American people both them and the nation will retain their credibility, it will simply be in storage until President Obama leaves office. It really will be costly for the world as we all go forward for the remainder of President Obama’s term in office with the United States all but neutered regarding anything concerning world affairs. The world has slowly devolved towards increased chaos, if fortunately only at a slow rate, over the past five years since Obama became President. The real problem is the yet to be determined increase in the rate of future drift ever further with the United States basically out of the picture. What makes things really dicey is how quickly the entire world situation could be altered, irrevocably unraveling as events spiral as nation after nation react and choose to either fulfill their threats or back off and resume sanity. Unfortunately, history teaches us that at times such as these, sanity is often a very precious commodity in very short supply. Seeing over ninety percent of Americans together supporting a singular position is a wondrous sight, but it would really be a sad ending if they end up being ignored.


Beyond the Cusp


August 25, 2013

Lebanon Jordan and Turkey Suffering from Creeping Syrian Violence

The civil war in Syria is horrendous in so many ways. The effects are measured in more than the casualties of the over one-hundred-thousand murdered, almost countless injured with many having horrific injuries, equally uncountable refugees having fled over the borders to Jordan, Lebanon and Turkey, all of the major cities suffering damage that has erased or threaten to erase entire neighborhoods, severely damaged infrastructure, and now the looming threat of continued use of nerve agent and other chemical weapons by the Syrian military at the orders of dictatorial President Bashir al-Assad. As damning as all of this is, there is another distressing side to this conflict, it is spreading across borders into Lebanon predominantly as well as into Jordan and Turkey to a lesser extent. This past week the effects of the Syrian civil war next door exploded in Lebanon with car bombs striking a southern neighborhood of Beirut in the heart of Hezballah held areas and two huge car bombs severely damaging two Mosques in Tripoli during Friday prayers murdering around fifty worshipers and injuring numerous others. Additionally, a terrorist front claiming alignment with al-Qaeda launched six rockets towards Israel over the weekend with one being intercepted by an Iron dome unit, one landing within a residential area between Acre and Nahariya, two falling in open areas and two never quite making out of Lebanon falling within the border. The Israelis responded with an airstrike which targeted the launch location reported to have struck an actionable target. These attacks all are directly traceable to the Syrian civil war.


There have been attempts by terrorists to strike in both Jordan and Turkey but have fortunately been prevented from executing their plans thus far. Still, the threat that the violence from Syria could spread must be very troubling for both the people in the neighboring areas as well as the authorities responsible for preventing these attacks. There have also been the first intentional attacks launched at the Israeli troops manning the Golan Heights by Syrian military forces that launched artillery or mortars across the armistice lines. The Israeli response reportedly destroyed the Syrian position. Responding to these recent attacks from Syria and Lebanon government spokespeople as well as Prime Minister Netanyahu stated unequivocally that Israel will not stand silent and will respond forcefully to any threat posed to the Israeli population. In addition to this ratcheting up of the Syrian war into the neighboring countries there have also been reports that the Syrian military under orders from Bashir al-Assad released chemical weapons upon civilian targets. Preliminary inspections have confirmed this and there are United Nations inspectors in Syria who are hoping to be allowed to inspect the area under suspicion to confirm whether or not actual chemical weapons have been deployed. United States Secretary of Defense Hagel sounded determined when he stated to the media that should it be proven that al-Assad has deployed chemical weapons on civilians that would require an immediate and decisive response from the United States. French Foreign Minister also called for action to prevent any further use by al-Assad of chemical weapons especially against civilians.


All of this posturing possess a serious question, even if al-Assad had used chemical weapons, who can the Americans and their allies work through in theater in order to avoid placing troops inside Syria, even if all that is required would be pilots as any possibility which might place service members of the United States or their allies to be captured by either side in Syria would present serious difficulties. Such a possibility would probably make any intervention by the United States to be restricted to missile attacks or other stand-off munitions. Perhaps this is behind the orders to retain the USS Mahan, a cruise-missile armed warship, in the Mediterranean Sea along with her relief ship, the USS Ramage. This should provide an area of interest which there should be kept a close watch as once the reports confirm chemical weapons use, President Obama will have little alternative but to finally act. Thus far President Obama has clung to the fact that there has been no definitive proof, which for Obama means a report from the sole authority as far as he is concerned, the United Nations, to avoid acting on his promise of severe consequences against al-Assad for any such transgression. With United Nations observers presumably scheduled to confirm the chemical weapons use allegations early this week President Obama will no longer be able to equivocate any further and he will have to either step up and act or become even more irrelevant and inconsequential, if such is even possible. This could be the week where President Obama becomes completely invisible on the world stage and no longer will be credible outside Washington D.C.


Beyond the Cusp


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