CSotD: Weekend Wrapup

Over in the Economist, Kal Kallaugher wonders if Europe will ever trust us again, given that she’s got reasons not to.

I’m leading with it because yesterday I promised to look into the missile strike against a launch base in Syria, admitting that, given my feelings about our having abandoned our Kurdish allies, I had some expectations in the matter.

An analyst interviewed on the BBC that morning noted that the target was an Iraqi group and suggested it was a departure from the Trump policy of blaming everything on Iran and signaled a softening related to our desire to rebuild the Iran nuclear treaty.

But everything else I’ve seen has described the group firing the missiles as “Iranian backed.” Seems that, while Iraqi, they are Shiites and have Iranian backing as well as ties to Hezbollah.


Meanwhile, Andy Marlette (Creators) is clearly talking to different Democrats than I am, because I’ve seen a lot of condemnation and very little jubilation.

I also wasn’t, however, able to find any of the “broken promises” that liberals and progressives cite in condemning the action.

Biden said he doesn’t want new wars, but that he would continue to fight ISIS, and a strike on a purely military target in retaliation for its strike against our own military site seems to fall within that.

I did find references to Biden, in the wake of the overthrow of Saddam Hussein, having suggested dividing Iraq into three federal territories based on Shia, Sunni and Kurdish majorities in those areas, but that was long ago and seems like something Allenby and friends should have considered. (And did, and rejected.)

At this point, it would be a case of trying to get toothpaste back into the tube, and perhaps we should damn the Pottery Barn rule and let the region fall into whatever chaos it would like.

That isn’t what he promised, and, going back to Kal’s cartoon, I would note that he’s reversing Trump’s pledge to withdraw our forces from Germany, which ought to give Europe some comfort.


Though, if they’re watching the bizarre display of Trumpomania unfolding at the CPAC Convention, I doubt they’re about to begin trusting us again.

Mike Luckovich (AJC) suggests a party self-destructing rather than changing directions. I regretfully agree: It may be the end of the Republican Party as a responsible political force, but it’s not clear they’re interested in that goal anyway.


Or maybe we’re just entering a new world of artistic expression to which I have not yet adjusted.

There have been a lot of memes and cartoons based on the story of Worshipping the Golden Calf from the Book of Exodus, but maybe the difference is that the Israelites involved in that momentary slip from grace had already made the choice to flee Egypt.


The Bible doesn’t tell us about any Israelis who decided to stay behind and trust Dear Pharaoh, but there probably were some who felt the plague of frogs wasn’t such a bad thing after all, and that malcontents like Kevin Siers (N&O) shouldn’t be so critical of fiscal prudence.


They likely even laughed at the jokes of the fellow who, as seen in this John Branch (KFS) cartoon, fled to a seaside resort in Gaza during the plagues, but returned for their applause once Moses and his troublemakers had left.


Well, the conservatives can laugh at what they find funny and Barry Blitt can suggest other sources of humor.

I’ve been watching this development out of general political interest, but also because it reminds me of a conversation I was a party to at a college reunion in the ’80s.

I was talking to a buddy who had become an FBI agent and another fellow who was some sort of prosecutor at least tangent to Giuliani’s attempt to bring down the mob.

My friend had been babysitting one of the key witnesses, and the conversation got pretty deep into stuff only they understood, but one of them mentioned the judge who, he said, had just been named to handle the case and they agreed with enthusiasm that she would make everybody toe the line and that this thing might actually happen.

Which it did, which makes me wish I could sit in on a similar conversation now, because I’m not going to trust the outcome until the final gavel is rapped.

Realizing that Dear Leader’s acolytes will never accept a conviction no matter how damning the evidence, even if it included video of him shooting someone on Fifth Avenue.


This brings us full circle in a sense, because Michael de Adder lays out a scenario that, as he suggests, should restore trust and bring an end to the game.

We’ve eliminated all the other suspects, all the other weapons, all the other venues, and, in a world of cause and effect and logic . . . well, there’s your problem.

We knew what happened when it happened, and perhaps, while the blood was still fresh, a strong and determined response might have done something.

But we live in a world that’s much more complicated than a board game, and that once-hot iron has gone stone cold.

While we no longer need Saudi oil, we do have reasons not to cut them off, including the fact that the murderer is only 35 years old and is likely to take the reins soon and for a long time.

Maybe we can pressure them into not killing any more Houthis, but it’s not like our refusing to sell them arms would leave them sitting there with nothing.

If they can’t buy from the Russians, the combination of needed oil and our having alienated our European allies (see above) might suggest a market there.

Point being that, while I hope Biden stands tough on this, I suspect that, even then, we won’t see the bulk of whatever happens.

Besides, even if international relations were as simple as a game of Clue, we know what happens after a winner has been proclaimed.

Shuffle the cards and start another game.


(The actual songwriter with extra verses, plus a Hirschfeld illo. Such a deal!)

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