“Soft despotism is a term coined by Alexis de Tocqueville describing the state into which a country overrun by "a network of small complicated rules" might degrade. Soft despotism is different from despotism (also called 'hard despotism') in the sense that it is not obvious to the people."

Monday, July 21, 2008

Obama Supporter, Brzezinski, Warns on Afghanistan

Not too enthusiastic.

Brzezinski wary of repeating Soviet experience
By Daniel Dombey in Washington FT

July 20 2008

Zbigniew Brzezinski, the former US national security adviser and prominent supporter of Barack Obama, has warned the Democratic presidential candidate that he risks repeating the defeat suffered by the Soviet Union in Afghanistan.

Mr Obama has called for up to 10,000 more US troops to be deployed in the country, where the USSR once sent tens of thousands of soldiers only to suffer cataclysmic military failure.

But in an interview with the Financial Times Mr Brzezinski warned: “It is important for US policy in general and for Obama more specifically to recognise that simply putting more troops into Afghanistan is not the entire solution . . . We are running the risk of repeating the mistake the Soviet Union made . . . Our strategy is getting in deeper and deeper.”

He added that while the Soviets invaded the country thinking there was a communist Afghan elite on which they could rely, “we have to be careful not to overestimate the appeal of the democratic Afghan elite, because we run the risk that our military presence . . . will gradually turn the Afghan population entirely against us”.

Afghan society was deeply conservative and resistant to dramatic change, he said.

Mr Brzezinski is sometimes seen as a controversial figure because of his trenchant criticism of Russia and his calls for US policy on the Middle East not to be “subordinated to Israeli interests”. Today he depicts himself as a supporter who has declined to join the Obama campaign because of his unwillingness to be kept quiet or on message during the duration of the election.

“I realise that in an electoral campaign you don’t want to antagonise large groups which are highly motivated,” he said.

Nevertheless, their personal contact has left its mark on the 80-year-old former Harvard and Columbia professor, a veteran of the Johnson and Carter administrations. He said that of all the presidential candidates since 1960, he was most impressed by Mr Obama and John Kennedy, both of whom he considered “in tune with the music of the time”. But he argued it was more difficult today for Mr Obama to define a clear foreign policy position than it was for Kennedy.

“This is a very dangerous period of time with very unpredictable consequences,” he said, referring to tensions between Iran and Israel and the US. “You have three countries doing a kind of death dance on the basis of confusion, division and fear.

“If we end up with war in Iraq, Afghanistan, Pakistan, Iran at the same time, can anyone see a more damaging prospect for America’s world role than that?” he asked. “That’s the fundamental foreign policy dilemma at the back of this election. A four-front war would get us involved for years . . . It would be the end of American predominance.”

Copyright The Financial Times Limited 2008


  1. "He said that of all the presidential candidates since 1960, he was most impressed by Mr Obama and John Kennedy, both of whom he considered “in tune with the music of the time”."
    Today that would be Rap,
    so he'll get no argument from me on that.

  2. (long as it's on the teleprompter, otherwise the black man can't dance.)

  3. (probly that white slaver blood)

  4. Obama was expected to meet Gen. David Petraeus as well as Iraqi Prime Minister Nouri al-Maliki while in the country, although aides provided few details, citing security concerns.

    Obama arrived as part of a congressional delegation that also included Sens. Jack Reed, D-R.I., and Chuck Hagel, R-Neb., following stops in Kuwait and Afghanistan. The delegation met Sunday in Kuwait City with Kuwait's emir, Sheik Sabah Al Ahmed Al Sabah, and other senior officials, the Kuwait News Agency reported.

    All three are longtime critics of the U.S. involvement in the war in Iraq. Obama has called for withdrawing American troops at the rate of one or two brigades per month, and an end to combat operations within 16 months. He has said he favors leaving a residual force in the country to provide security for U.S. personnel, train Iraqis and counter attacks by al-Qaida.

    The delegation arrived amid controversy over al-Maliki's published comments in a German magazine that appeared to endorse Obama's 16-month timetable. The Iraqi leader's aides have since said his remarks were misunderstood, and he is not taking sides in the U.S. election.

  5. Brzezinski, a failed, bitter prick...

    His daughter riding on his coattails is a bitter bitch that is a "good cop/bad cop" supporter of BO...

    Just watch her over the last 10 months on MSNBC.. She makes me puke.

    Now her Israel hating, jimmy the Dhimmi worshipping/advising pappa warns the great "BO" that Afghanistan is a quagmire, not unlike he warned of the FOLLY of the UNNEEDED war in Iraq speaks up..

    To all those that say the war in Iraq was wrong I say you are right!


    What right did we have to TAKE out of power the single biggest murderer of moslems in history?

    Why should we have removed a man from power that killed more Iranians than anyone else in a 1000 years?

    So to all you naysayers of the war, you are right, your position was correct, the war was wrong, your point to KEEP a mass murderer in power was correct....

    BTW do you enjoy death camps?

  6. - What Obama Could Say in Berlin -

    No Substitute for Victory

    I’ll go out on a limb and say that Barack Obama will be well received when he speaks in Berlin on July 24.

    O.K., it’s not exactly a limb.

    A recent poll shows that the German public prefers Obama to John McCain by 67 percent to 6 percent.

  7. Obama saw how quickly tensions can inflate after an off-the-cuff remark to Jewish supporters last month that Jerusalem should remain an "undivided capital" outraged many in the Muslim world.

    Obama's camp quickly backpedaled and said the senator endorsed official US policy that Jerusalem was a "final-status issue" to be decided in negotiations.

    But Palestinian leader Mahmoud Abbas, who will reportedly sit down with Obama on Wednesday, was sharply critical of the comment.

    "That topic will come up, on both sides. He'll get asked about it," said former State Department Mideast analyst Graeme Bannerman.

    "He's got to remember he's speaking to Americans - he's in a campaign, after all - even if that means he has to say things that make the locals very nervous."

  8. I think Ohio is a
    "final-status issue"
    also, WIO.

  9. Your right to exist is to be decided in negotiations.


    An Islamic group plans to blitz 1,000 subway cars with advertisements this September in a campaign being promoted by a Brooklyn imam whom federal officials have linked to a plot to blow up city landmarks.

    The group says its mission is to explain the true nature of Islam to non-Muslims who believe the religion is bent on acts of violence - but Siraj Wahhaj, the inflammatory imam who appears in a promotional YouTube video for the project, has defended convicted bomb-plotters and called the FBI and CIA the "real terrorists."

    US Attorney Mary Jo White even named Wahhaj one of 170 unindicted co-conspirators in the 1993 World Trade Center bombing and the thwarted plan to blow up a slew of buildings.

    "In time, this so-called democracy will crumble, and there will be nothing, and the only thing that will remain will be Islam," Wahhaj said in one of his sermons.

    The stark, black-and-white ads of the Subway Project promote Islam with the goals of clearing up long-held misconceptions about the faith and reaching out to those interested in becoming Muslim, according to the Islamic Circle of North America, the group behind the campaign.


  11. This comment has been removed by the author.

  12. Doug: Obama saw how quickly tensions can inflate after an off-the-cuff remark to Jewish supporters last month that Jerusalem should remain an "undivided capital" outraged many in the Muslim world.

    I was there Doug, it was NOT OF THE CUFF....

    BO stood in front of 6000 of us and laid out a speech, EVERY word PLANNED, every inflection PLANNED, every Pregnant PAUSE PLANNED and STATED without HOLDING BACK his support for a STRONG SAFE ISRAEL, with JERUSALEM AS HER UNDIVIDED CAPITAL.

    There was NOTHING mis-stated, there was NO room for any misunderstanding...

    Unless of course BO is nothing but a liar...

  13. "Wahhaj, imam of Al-Taqwa mosque, is a former member of the Nation of Islam and was the first Muslim to give an invocation at the House of Representatives.

    Formal charges were never filed against him by White, although he did serve as a character witness for the defense in the trial of Omar Abdel-Rahman, "the blind sheik" who is now serving a life sentence for his role in plotting the 1993 WTC bombings.

    In the promotional video for the Subway Project, Wahhaj is the first to speak.

  14. I'm sure many things were said @Trinity Church were not
    "off the cuff"
    in BO's presence.

    Too bad the whole god-damned congregation is filled w/cowardly anti-American Swine, such that not ONE will come forward and tell the truth.

  15. Gotta cite of Mika being insufferable, Deuce?
    (my masochist jones calls)

  16. Quote:

  17. Hey, don't knock it:
    We're replacing Ray Charles doing
    "America the Beautiful"
    w/that, more beautiful piece of stuff.

  18. Sorry, Doug, but he only had Rainy Days in Georgia on his mind.

  19. This comment has been removed by the author.

  20. Poor misguided video splashed all over da Joo-tube. Britney Spears will never again enjoy a normal life as a community organizer.

  21. Bobal wrote:

    "Ash, did you find out anything about nuclear waste, it's storage, disposal, reprocessing etc from your friend?"

    I did Bobal. With respect to reprocessing to clean the spent fuel up he thought it much too expensive and problematic "That stuff is DIRTY". Basically his view is you simply store the waste. Let it sit in pools for years then encase it in lead barrels and bury/warehouse the stuff.

    One problem he noted is the safety oriented people want a reactor to have a 'negative...coefficient'. I'm not sure of the actual term he used but basically the old CANDU reactors which is what he currently works with that require not very enriched uranium (burns dirt) have a positive 'coefficient' - which basically means that if a problem occurs and nothing is done the nuclear reaction increases on its own requiring intervention to shut down. In other words it doesn't burn out but rather it increasingly burns brighter. The newer reactors work the opposite way - they essentially burn out on their own if left untouched. These reactors require more highly enriched uranium.

  22. The problem with "Deshittski" is, he never has understood the difference between Us and the Soviets.

  23. T. Boone Pickens for VP!

  24. They ain't makin' Joos like Jesus anymore.

    Or so they say, in Texas

  25. Give a tad sight more age and experience to the Obama ticket, wouldn't it, mat.

  26. "They ain't makin' Joos like Jesus anymore."


    And why is Chuck Hagel flanking Obama in Iraq?

  27. Electric Volt GM's 'No.1 priority'


    Range: 51km per charge.
    Price: $55,000 per unit.

    When Hobbyists with off the shelf consumer parts are converting their gasoline engine cars to fully electric for $8,000 and getting twice the range that of the GM Volt, that is just sad. Btw, $5 worth of electricity will buy you 300 km using these converted electric cars.

  28. My apologies.
    That be 300 miles (or 500 km) for $5.


    That's a bigger feather in his cap than John's folks could ever cook up.
    How much more obvious can they get?

    ...and they "endorsed" him in the primary!

  30. John should never have pushed Barry into this trip.
    He'd be talkin about failure right past the election.
    Now John has forced him to sound (a little) less ignorant.

  31. 3rd term Barry:
    Says he wants to get to know the World Leaders that he'll be working with for the next 8-10 yrs when he becomes President.
    (Of all the 57 States)

  32. Reading McCain's editorial I can see why the NYTimes board would reject it (if indeed they did). It is a whiny piece asserting questionable facts. Interestingly enough, McCain is framing everything in the context of "Obama this..." "Obama that..."

  33. Obama's piece otoh:

    Pure Genius.

    You reveal yourself as a censorius ("liberal") Fascist Pig.

    You will decide what we should read.

  34. "(if indeed they did)"
    Another Conspiracy:

    Drudge made up the NYTime's fascist's words.

    Knowing no-one would ever find out.

  35. No doug, I haven't even read the Obama piece but the NYTimes is privately owned publication in no way obligated to provide a platform for any candidate to print whatever editorial they choose. They have every right to determine the quality of a piece they choose to publish. McCains was a poor quality piece. A negative hack job primarily.

  36. Why don't you move to Gotham where you can roll in exuberant self-loathing every Sunday at Trinity?

  37. dougo, not everything you read on the internet is true. I know, I know, tough to believe, but there are falsehoods actually published online. Maybe Drudge has the story right, probably, but I dunno. I'd bet NYTimes rejected that article as reported by Drudge but I've lost bets at times in the past...

  38. Sorry,
    I forgot Chicago is in Amerika.

    Death to Amerika!

  39. Maybe Algore's right and we're all fried in less than a Decade:
    I Dunno:

  40. dr: They ain't makin' Joos like Jesus anymore.

    Or so they say, in Texas

    Actually you are right, they IMPROVED Jesus...

    Kinky Friedman & Myself are BOTH prime examples!

    thanks for asking

  41. "No doug, I haven't even read the Obama piece"
    So you've read McCain's response to an article you have not read by the man you support for POTUS!

    Very interesting way to come to a decision.

  42. Elevator Music Vs Rock and Roll, WIO

  43. CNN's picked up the story doug, so it must be true.

    Nope, I didn't read Obama's piece but I did read McCain's as reported by Drudge.

    I haven't settled on support for Obama as of yet. So far, he's miles better than McCain but I've got my issues with Obama. Maybe on of the 3rd party folk will snag my vote.

  44. I've now read the Obama piece Doug.

  45. Good,
    Just forge some residency papers and you can be his Sec of State.

  46. Barr thinks Gore's latest is brilliant:
    Vote Barr!
    The Libertarian in Favor of the Govt setting all our thermostats.

  47. On the NBC cable network, they were saying the Germans expect 100,000 spectators at Obama's speach, there.

    75,000 will be at Invesco Arena, in Denver.

    Took in $52 million, last month.

    McCain is running a Rovian campaign, trying to define Obama.
    Obama will smother the McCain message. That Obama is really a psuedo-conservative.
    More than suitable to the undiecided voters, nothing to radical can be expected from Obama.

    Maverick invited, insisted really, that Obama go on this world tour, thought it'd give Maverick an edge.

    What was he smokin', that afternoon? Just back from Bogata, wasn't he?

    That Maliki translation in a German magazine, that could-a-bin, maybe an endorsement of the Obama timeline.

    The talking heads said none of these events were predictable, when Maverick laid down the travel challenge. I had to laugh.

  48. 106 days until the Election

    When President Kennedy addressed the crowds in Germany he announced to the world
    "Ich bin ein Berliner"

    Wonder what the perspective Democratic nominee Obama will have to say. What catch line will he throw out, the international messenger, Barack Obama, an American messiah.

  49. “We had a very constructive discussion,” Obama said upon leaving the meeting at the prime minister’s private residence in Baghdad's fortified Green Zone. Maliki then left for a meeting in Germany.

    Accompanying Obama in a bipartisan congressional delegation to the war zones were Sens. Chuck Hagel, R-Neb., and Jack Reed, D-R.I., veterans who were highly critical of the Iraq war and could play a role in an Obama administration.

    David Satterfield, senior adviser to Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice and coordinator for Iraq, joined Obama during his meeting with Maliki.

    End of '10

  50. With 110 days to go, to the Election, Mr Bush and Condi decide the US would break its' almost 30 year diplomatic freeze with Iran, just as Obama said we should.

    Where are the big picture folk, for the GOP?

  51. I think Bush and Condi's decision was based on multiple think tanks coming to that conclusion.

  52. Behind the curve reactions, again.

    Could have done it a year ago, it'd not effect the election, then. But to be 110 days out, then to undercut your ideological and Party's perspective nominee, just not indusive to a successful transfer of the White House, within the Republican ranks.

  53. VPR's Bob Kinzel reports:


    Speaking on VPR's Vermont Edition, Leahy said he strongly supports the administration's new approach with Iran.

    (Leahy) ``Iran is a major problem. And I think part of the problem is that we have tried to isolate them instead of consider trying to negotiate with them.


    (Kinzel) Leahy says he supports a diplomatic approach because he doesn't think the United States is prepared for military action against Iran.

    (Leahy) ``I think a war would be tragic. One, we don't even have the forces to do it.


    (Kinzel) Leahy says he hopes this weekend's meeting in Geneva will lead to larger diplomatic relations between the United States and Iran.

    Relations May be Improving

  54. Anybody know how to type this?


  55. No, not me

    BRAWLEY, Calif. (Associated Press) -- A Mexican citizen accused of driving more than 20 illegal immigrants in a vehicle that plunged into a canal, killing six of them, has been arrested on suspicion of smuggling, federal authorities said Monday.

    The crash happened Friday night shortly after the driver fled police in Westmorland, about 125 miles east of San Diego, said Lauren Mack, spokeswoman for U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement.

    According to the California Highway Patrol, the GMC Suburban overturned into the canal and was submerged after the driver failed to maneuver a curve in the road. An 8-year-old boy was among the dead.

    The driver was arrested Sunday at a motel in nearby Brawley, Mack said. The suspect, who has been caught eight times by the Border Patrol, claimed to be a juvenile. His name was not released.

    Witnesses reported that 22 people, all believed to be Mexican, had been packed in the Suburban, Mack said. Alfredo Sevilla, deputy consul for the Mexican consulate in Calexico, said there had been 19 people inside.

    Survivors include a 12-year-old girl whose mother, father and younger brother died in the crash, Mack said.

    Five passengers were returned to Mexico, four were hospitalized, and three were being held as material witnesses, Mack said. The others apparently fled.

  56. In an e-mail to the campaign on Friday, David Shipley, an op-ed editor at the newspaper, said he could not accept the piece in its current form, but would look at another version. In the e-mail, released by McCain's campaign, Shipley wrote that McCain's article would "have to lay out a clear plan for achieving victory _ with troops levels, timetables and measures for compelling the Iraqis to cooperate. And it would need to describe the senator's Afghanistan strategy, spelling out how it meshes with his Iraq plan."

    Commenting Monday on the Times' request, McCain spokesman Tucker Bounds said, "John McCain believes that victory in Iraq must be based on conditions on the ground, not arbitrary timetables. Unlike Barack Obama, that position will not change based on politics or the demands of The New York Times."

    Bounds said the campaign will not submit a revised op-ed.

    In a written statement Monday, the Times explained its decision and left the door open to publishing his views:

    "It is standard procedure on our op-ed page, and that of other newspapers, to go back and forth with an author on his or her submission. We look forward to publishing Sen. McCain's views in our paper just as we have in the past."

    The New York Times endorsed McCain in the Republican primaries, but he has had a testy relationship with the publication.

    In February, McCain vigorously denied and denounced the newspaper's report that suggested he had an improper relationship with a female lobbyist. His campaign referred to the article as a "smear campaign" and "gutter politics" in the midst of the presidential race.

    McCain's submission comes after the newspaper ran an op-ed written by Obama last Monday. The Illinois senator wrote that as president he would send at least two more combat brigades _ about 7,000 troops _ to Afghanistan as part of his plan to pull combat troops out of Iraq and focus on al-Qaida in Afghanistan.

    The newspaper said it has published at least seven of McCain's op-ed pieces since 1996.
    "We take his views very seriously," the statement said.

  57. From the AP wire

    In Washington, the White House expressed unhappiness about Iraqi leaders' apparent public backing for Obama's troop withdrawal plans and suggested the Iraqis may be trying to use the U.S. presidential election as leverage for negotiations on America's presence and future obligations in the country.

    "We don't think that talking about specific negotiating tactics or your negotiating position in the press is the best way to negotiate a deal," White House press secretary Dana Perino said after al-Maliki was quoted in a magazine article supporting Obama's proposed 16-month troop withdrawal timeline. Al-Maliki's spokesman, al-Dabbagh, initially appeared to try to discredit the magazine report but on Monday newly expressed hopes that U.S. combat forces could be out of Iraq by 2010.

    Said Perino: "It will not be a date that you just pluck out of thin air. It will not be something that Americans say, `We're going to do _ we're going to leave at this date,' which is what some have suggested."

    The Bush administration has refused to set specific troop level targets but last week offered to discuss a "general time horizon" for a U.S. combat troop exit.

    Asked whether the Iraqis might be trying to use the U.S. presidential election for leverage in negotiations over the future of the American military mission in Iraq, she said, "I think that a lot of other people look through the lens of a 2008 presidential election. ... Might they be? Sure. I mean, it's possible."

  58. "Ich bin ein Berliner"

    Wonder what the perspective Democratic nominee Obama will have to say."

    "Iche bin ein Beginner"

    With all due respect to the person who coined it (not me).

  59. ô¿ô

    But I can cut & paste with the best of 'em

  60. NOW, THEREFORE, I, DONALD L. CARCIERI, by virtue of the authority vested in me as Governor of the State of Rhode Island and Providence Plantations do hereby order as follows:

    1. The Department of Administration shall register and use the federal government’s E-Verify program to electronically verify the employment eligibility of new hires in the Executive Branch and the validity of their Social Security numbers to ensure that all employees of the Executive Branch are legally eligible to be employed in the United States and take appropriate action against those that are not eligible for employment, consistent with federal and state law.


    2. The Department of Administration shall require that all persons and businesses, including grantees, contractors and their subcontractors and vendors doing business with the State of Rhode Island also register with and utilize the services of the E-Verify program to ensure compliance with federal and state law.

    3. The Directors of each department and state agency in the Executive Branch shall attempt to notify any person whose identity was stolen or otherwise improperly used by any person in order receive any benefit, including but not limited to child care, health care, any government issued identification card, including driver’s license and non-driver’s license identification, welfare or employment.

    Illegal Immigration Control Order

  61. "I think it is very important to recognize that I'm going over there as a U.S. senator. We have one president at a time, so it's the president's job to deliver those messages," Obama said.

    The fight in Afghanistan has become a more pressing issue on the political radar. Three times as many coalition soldiers and other military personnel have died in July in Afghanistan, compared with Iraq.

    July's death toll for coalition troops reached 22 after the Friday death of a Canadian soldier was announced.

    Afghanistan Urgent

  62. Afghanistan is a stomach cancer operation, and Iraq is a Michael Jackson nose job. About halfway through the procedure on the stomach you told the surgeon to stop working, but keep the area irrigated, while he devoted his time and your money working on the nose job. He kept making mistakes, and your nose kept getting more and more lopped off until it looked like one of those little noses in a Japanese cartoon. Then the surgeon said he was going to quit in a few months, but you can pick his replacement. An old white-haired candidate said he liked the idea of just working on the nose, for a hundred years if that’s what it took. A young black candidate said the stomach cancer was about to metastasize and he promised to shift the whole operating team away from the nose job and just work on the stomach cancer.

  63. Doug: Vote Barr!

    Fuck Bob Barr

    Where do you think his votes will come from? They will come from McCain.

  64. Librarians united!

    one skilled in the process of helping others locate and use information

  65. But the poll's real surprise was that Libertarian presidential nominee, former GOP U.S. Rep. Bob Barr, polled 8 percent.

    Previous presidential polls in Colorado haven't included Barr's name as an option.

    The poll, conducted online among 780 likely Colorado voters between June 11 and June 30, has a +/- 3.6 percent margin of error.

    Barr Polls 8%

    Taken before the 'World Tour', mind you.

  66. This comment has been removed by the author.

  67. DR wrote:

    "Mr Bush and Condi decide the US would break its' almost 30 year diplomatic freeze with Iran, just as Obama said we should."

    There is another possibility, one that would make dear Trish squawk and that is now Bush can claim "we negotiated, we talked, time to attack" The wet dream of so many of the radical right.

    I'm currently reading Niall Ferguson's "World at War" (after just finishing his "Empire") and he's talking about how just prior to WWI many were discounting the chance of war, or suggesting it would just be a short one, because it would cost so damn much and no one could afford it. Seemed to happen anyway and then go on for a long time. We could be sleepwalking toward a long, messy, disastorous, confrontation. A war on many fronts - Iraq, Afghanistan, Pakistan, Iran...

    ...zieg heil glorius Bush!

  68. Word of the forum came as a leading conservative Christian, James Dobson, signaled that he might reverse his position and endorse McCain, The Associated Press reported.

    "I never thought I would hear myself saying this," Dobson, chairman of Focus on the Family, said for radio broadcast on Monday. "While I am not endorsing Senator John McCain, the possibility is there that I might."

    The forum still falls short of the kind of face-to-face, town-hall-style debates that McCain, of Arizona, has called for this summer before formal debates scheduled for this fall.

    Together at Megachurch

  69. I blame all this on '24' and the boob tube.

  70. Ferrari vs Electric car:

  71. About the watch the documentary Who Killed The Electric Car. I bet I already know the answer.

  72. I tried to stomach five minutes watching her, but couldn't. The overwhelming urge to smash her skull against a wall, was just too much.

  73. Stanford R. Ovshinsky, a true American hero.

  74. She has the talent to soft boil a hard on.