The Weiner Component #135 – The Republicans & the First Primary Debate

English: Seal of the President of the United S...

English: Seal of the President of the United States Español: Escudo del Presidente de los Estados Unidos Македонски: Печат на Претседателот на Соединетите Американски Држави. (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

Recently the first Primary Republican Debate of the ten leading Republican potential candidates in the upcoming 2016 Presidential Election ended.

 

speaking at CPAC in Washington D.C. on Februar...

It was supposed to consist of the ten most popular Republican candidates out of the 17 attempting to run for the presidency.  The top ten were chosen based upon the last five national poles.  But the fifth pole tied the percentage of the 10th and 11th candidates, making the number chosen eleven.  Consequently Fox News, who ran the debate, skipped the 5th pole and used a 6th pole that did not have a tie in the last place and ended up with ten potential candidates.

 

Fox News, the official new arm of the Republican Party, devised the format of the debate that was not really a debate.  It consisted of questions addressed to specifically candidates.  And these questions were not always friendly, particularly many of those aimed at Donald Trump who was the most popular of all the candidates.

 

Probably because of intense outside pressure, Fox held a separate session for the losing or less popular seven candidates earlier in the day.  They treated them obliquely with contempt, using a large empty stadium and calling them by their first names as the Fox commentators asked them questions.  It was going along with popular pressure in a put-down fashion.

 

It should also be noted that Fox News sold the candidates a lot of advertising space for the candidates to make themselves popular among national Republicans.  Because Republicans watch Fox News nationally this was the only way the candidates could sell themselves to the general Republican public.  Fox devised the method and certainly profited from it.  Interestingly the one exception here was Donald Trump.  He apparently was known to everybody and needed no additional publicity.

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The main event in the evening, which was probably watched by more people than any other broadcast in the history of television was hardly a debate.  It featured three of Fox’s leading commentators asking specific questions and quickly moving on to another participant with another question.  All the speakers seemed well prepared and their answers, even though generally dealing with the topic of the question, did not really answer it.  There was only one  instance of a follow-up question and the answer given still did not reply to that specific question.

 

The leading Republican candidate for the presidency in terms of being the most popular among Republicans was Donald Trump.  I suspect the overall assumption among the millions of TV watchers was that he would blow his cool at some point and verbally erupt at someone or something.    The closest he came to that was with one of the Fox commentators, Megan Kelly, when she asked him about some of the negative statements he has made about woman.

 

The candidates attempted to define themselves and denounce President Obama and the Democratic Party.  President Obama was denounced as a week and failed president who essentially did everything wrong and bowed to the Iranians in giving them everything they wanted in order to become the leader of terrorism around the world, giving Iran the money to finance this process and allowing them to develop in order to become an atomic bomb nation.  And all these positive statements were made, I got the impression, without even bothering to read a draft of the 100 plus page agreement.  Most of these candidates practically or directly guaranteed we would go to war with Iran if one of them was elected.

 

It seemed as though the forthcoming election was all about them, the individual Republican candidates, and not about the disaster they could bring about if elected.  Most practically stated that they would straighten out all the world’s problems.  Their implied method was that they would do this by the use of military force if necessary.  They seemed to also not know that the United States is one of six nations that negotiated the treaty with Iran over a two year period, that if the U.S. rejects the agreement it will likely be the only one of the six nations on the United Nations Security Council to do so.

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Basically what was heard in the debate was demagoguery.  They, the Republicans, have taken no responsibility for any of their past actions and blame everything on President Obama and the Democrats.  My response to all this is: Get real!

 

Mostly by implication and sometimes directly, the ten hopeful Republican candidates for the 2016 Presidential Race blamed President Obama for virtually everything wrong in the society today..  It was as though the Republicans have done nothing to bring about the problems or conditions that exist today.  They would do away with Affordable Health Care (Obamacare) and the Dodd-Frank banking reforms that came about after the 2008 economic crash, or anything else.  I suspect if the weather was inclement it would have been Obama’s fault.

 

The Dodd-Frank Banking Reform Law was a washed down version (Washed down because of intense bank lobbying.) of what a finance committee, headed by Paul Volker, a former Federal Reserve Chairman, had proposed in order to do away with the causes that had brought about the economic disaster of 2008 which could have sent the nation into a depression far deeper than the Great Depression of 1929.  Today many banking executives feel economically inhibited by some of the few things they can no longer legally do and would like a totally free hand again.

 

While most of the participants in the so-called debate stated that they would do away with the Affordable Health Car Law, which incidentally has greatly reduced the rate of medical costs by slowing down the rate of medical cost increases, only one of them, Donald Trump, seemed to have a plan for its replacement.  He would, he said, make the insurance companies for its plan members function on a national instead of state level and for those who could not afford to buy insurance he implied obliquely that he would have the government provide a single payer plan for them.  Would he be able to do this if elected?  An interesting question.  Especially if Congress retained its Republican majorities in both Houses.

 

Of the faults of Obama as a failed president, one by implication was the National Debt.  After all aren’t the Republicans the party that espouses a balanced budget?

 

Since 1980, when Ronald Reagan was elected to the presidency, the Republicans controlled the presidency for 20 years and the Democrats for 15.  The country had Reagan for 8 years, Daddy Bush for 4 years, and Bush Jr. for 8 years.  The two Democratic presidents were Clinton and Obama, each for 8 years.

 

Reagan started with a National Debt of $1 trillion and raised it to $2.8 trillion, almost tripling it.  Ever since President John F. Kennedy had lowered taxes during his administration and the government had then collected far more in revenue than it had before the decrease in taxes other presidents had unsuccessfully attempted to do the same thing.  Reagan cut taxes, especially for the well-to-do and upped government spending, particularly military spending.  He believed, wrongly, that the Soviet Union was far ahead of us militarily and that we had to catch up and get ahead.  He introduced the concept of “star wars” and other science fiction type concepts which our scientists were supposed to develop.

 

What President Reagan inadvertently did was to force the U.S.S.R. to militarily keep up with the United States and that brought them to the edge of bankruptcy and to the fall of the Soviet Union.

 

But what Reagan did for the United States was to almost triple the National Debt to $2.8 trillion.   George H.W. Bush with his inept diplomacy actually encouraged Iraq’s Saddam Hussein to invade Kuwait and then he organized operation Desert Storm to liberate them.  This and his other actions cost the U.S. Government an additional $1.55 trillion.  Bush Jr. by engaging in two military operations (wars), one totally unnecessary, added another $6.1 trillion to the National Debt bringing it to $11.8 trillion.  And at the same time President George W. Bush also lowered taxes, particularly for the rich.  In fact today anyone earning over $400,000 a year pays no taxes on any amount over $400,000.  Welfare for the very well-to-do.

 

What has happened is that taxes for the upper 1% has been gradually cut in half or more and the ever increasing deficit has been used to force cuts in services for the middle class and the poor while the middle class with gradual inflation has found its income tax bill increasing.  Currently the Sequester, a law that automatically makes cuts across the board yearly unless Congress passes a bill stopping a part of it like certain cuts to the military for that year is enacted, is slowly decreasing funding for most programs including the military that is now at the lowest point of readiness than it has been for many years.  So far these cuts, which the Republicans insist on having, have been largely invisible.  At some time, probably around the end of this current year or at the most next year, many of them will become blatantly visible and the blame game will begin between the two political parties, with the Republicans, who have brought it about, screaming the loudest.

 

Under President Bill Clinton the deficit actually decreased slightly.  President Barak Obama inherited a heavy recession from Bush Jr. and had to spend quite a bit to avert a greater economic decline than the Great Depression. Among other things he bailed out the banks, who by their irresponsible behavior had brought this negative economic condition about, and the auto industry.  And, with phenomenal negative interference from 2011 on by the Republican majority in the House of Representatives, President Obama has brought the economy back from the Republican induced total disaster.  In this process he has increased the deficit but he may end his last year in office with a surplus paying down a small percentage of the Republican induced debt.

 

Taken together the three Republican presidents over their 20 year tenure raised the National Debt 13.5 trillion dollars and left the nation on the edge of a greater depression than that of 1929 which persisted for over ten years.  Electing a Republican president will probably mean another war in the Middle East with Iran.  That will make three separate wars being fought there and the national deficit will shoot up even more.

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In the various questions and answers discussed during the debate, with one exception, the economy was not mentioned.  Jed Bush stated that he can achieve 4% economic growth over his 8 year tenure as President and create 19 million new jobs.  He would do this by simplifying the tax code, repealing the 2010 Health Care Law, reducing regulations on the oil and gas industries and putting people in the country illegally on the legal jobs tax rolls.  While Climate change was not mentioned Jed Bush’s proposal would worsen the conditions that bring it about.  Student loan debt and affordable college were also not mentioned.  Gun violence in the United States was also ignored.

 

In terms of the War on Women, Scott Walker was against all abortions: rape, incest, and even where birth could terminate the life of the mother.  He felt that the medical profession, in every case, could save her life.  Mike Huckabee wants a Constitutional Amendment giving the fetus full protection before the law from conception on.  Apparently the question of choice for women is nonexistent.  Marco Rubio wants no exceptions for abortions in cases of rape or incest.  These men know absolutely what is right for all women; but they will not have the government share in the responsibility for raising or providing for any of these women or children.

 

The solution to illegal immigration was Donald Trump’s plan to build a wall between Mexico and the United States and have Mexico pay for it.  Apparently he doesn’t understand that a goodly percent of illegals come from all over the world including Canada.  Technically he would need fences on all areas where the United States borders on another country as well as a careful check upon all visitors to the country and how long they are legally allowed to stay in the U.S.

 

Among the ten candidates none stood out as a dynamic leader.  If anything some of their comments tended to insult a large part of their audience.  Donald Trump kept rationalizing about the disadvantages of being “politically correct,” as if it were some sort of disease.  He justified his verbal abuse of women by naming one.

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As I’ve stated, what was most significant was what was not mentioned, global warming was one example.  Bush, if he were to become president, could do away with the EPA (Environmental Protection Agency).  That could create jobs because adding the additional pollution to the United States and the world would probably create a multitude of new jobs.

 

What came to my mind as I watched the performance was the phrase “Myth & Reality?”  These people were prefabricating and defining conditions that did not exist.  They were creating a situation where verbally everyone would live “live happily ever after” if one of them were elected to the presidency.  Well some people just like them had been elected to the presidency in the past and many people, both Americans and those we were fighting, died or were maimed for life and the National Debt rose like a hot-air balloon.  What we must remember is that they are pandering to the extreme right of the Republican Party in order to be chosen as the Republican candidate in the primary elections.  Whoever gets chosen will still have to defeat the Democratic candidate in the general election.  Are they purposely lying or stating nonsense?  Or do they actually believe the myths they are espousing?  That’s an interesting question.

 

In any case what is needed is reality.  If that so-called debate is the best they can do then it becomes everyone’s duty to vote against all or any of those self-important candidates, particularly if they want to see their version of changes within our society.

 

 

The Weiner Component #132 – The Iranian Nuclear Deal

During the second week of July 2015, slightly past the set deadline for the negotiations between Iran and P5+1 to end, the two sides finally came to terms on a potential agreement that now has to be sanctioned by all the countries involved in the settlement.

After a period of about two years of negotiations between P5+1 (The five permanent members of the United Nations plus Germany,) and Iran a potential treaty has emerged that will allow Iran to develop and utilize atomic energy to produce essentially pollution free energy in its country but stop her from being able to produce an atomic bomb.

The nations that have been directly negotiating with Iran are China, Russia, the United Kingdom, France, and the United States. They all have permanent seats on the Security Council.  The Plus 1 is Germany.  These nations have been negotiating with Iran to keep her from developing her own atomic bomb, which Iran has continually stated she is not doing.  But Iran has continually refused to allow inspections of all her possible sites.  The fear is apparently that if Iran succeeds this will start the other Middle East nations doing the same thing and an arms race will result.

In July of 2006 China, Russia, and the United States joined with the other permanent members of the Security Council to expand harsh sanctions on Iran.

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Under the terms of the agreement Iran will get rid of practically all its centrifuges that are used to enrich lower grade uranium and all of her enriched uranium and all regions within the entire country will be open for inspection.  The agreement is over one hundred pages, detailing every possibility.  As the treaty terms are carried out the sanctions by all these nations will be gradually lifted.  If at any point or at any time Iran backs off its agreement the sanctions will be immediately re-imposed.  This treaty is far more extensive than any previously agreement between nations during peacetime.

Among the numerous sanctions that will be gradually removed there is one that has been mentioned numerous times and that cannot be rescinded and that is the assorted Iranian government bank accounts that were frozen by the various industrial countries which Iran had originally dealt with.   On November 4, 1979 the Iranian Hostage Crisis began.  Sixty-six American diplomats and citizens were taken as hostages by Iranian students from the American Embassy in that country and held for four hundred forty-four days.  Some were released earlier but fifty-two were held until January 20, 1981.

Oil exports from Iran to the U.S. ended November 12, 1979.  President Jimmy Carter issued Executive Order #12170 which froze all Iranian assets in the U.S. on November 14, 1979 by the office of Foreign Assets Control.  It was eight billion dollars.  This money was in the hands of assorted banks and has gained interest since that time. Later the Iranian financial assets of many United Nation members were also frozen. According to Western financial experts the amount today is at least 100 billion dollars. The Iranian Finance Minister places it at 28 billion dollars.  Either way this much money could noticeably raise the standard of living of all Iranian citizens.  It could also be used to shore-up Hezbollah and other Shiite movements in the Middle East.

Another advantage, in this case to countries of the Western World, is that Iran rests upon ¼ of the world’s oil deposits. This resource would then be available to all the countries that had imposed sanctions upon Iran lowering the present price of oil that is currently under $50 dollars a barrel.  This could substantially reduce the price of gasoline in all the western industrial nations and upset a number of bank executives in institutions where the money has been stored.

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Israel’s Prime Minister, Benjamin Netanyahu, has opposed this treaty since its inception, calling it a bad deal.  In fact, well before it was completed, with an invitation from the United States Speaker of the House of Representatives, John Boehner, he stated so to a joint session of Congress.  He has, since the treaty has been agreed upon, reiterated this position, saying that the deal will enable Iran to develop its own atomic weapon.

Currently President Barak Obama has diplomats from the State Department in Israel reassuring Netanyahu that even with the treaty the United States is a closer ally of Israel than ever.  Not everyone in Israel supports their Prime Minister’s position.  I get the impression that Netanyahu would like to see Iran at war, preferably with the U.S., and certainly not with Israel.  And in this way, see her ability to produce an atomic bomb totally destroyed. Is his position realistic? Certainly not in the long run.

Many Republicans have vociferously denounced the treaty without reading it as soon as its completion was announced.  In fact many of them had done so well before it was completed.  Scott Walker, the Republican 2016 presidential candidate from Wisconsin, stated in one of his primary speeches that he is willing to go to war with Iran as soon as he becomes president.  The House of Representatives Republicans have threatened to pass a bill denouncing and invalidating the treaty.  Interestingly the Constitution only gives the Senate the “advice and consent” powers.  With the House of Representatives involved they would be stretching the Constitution and changing its definition of the government, changing the organization of the Federal Government by taking over a good percentage of the executive powers and making future presidents ceremonial figures.  President Obama stated that if this were done and the bill was passed in Congress he would veto it.  The Republicans do not have enough of a majority in either the House or Senate to override a veto and even if they did the issue would go before the Supreme Court and they would be forced to declare the law unconstitutional.

It should also be remembered that young Senator Tom Cotton, a Tea Party Republican who was elected from the state of Arkansas in 2014, and whose name sounds like that of a Disney character in a full length cartoon, wrote a letter to Iran’s Ayatollah Khamenei, that was also signed by 46 other Republican Senators, denouncing the negotiations and saying any settlement would cease to exist once President Obama’s term ended in 2016.  Lately he has stated that the Secretary of State, John Kerry, sounds like Pontius Pilot.

Ted Cruz, who is currently not ranking very high in the national poles as a potential presidential candidate in 2016, has stated on Tuesday, July 27, 2015, to reporters in Washington, D.C. that “millions of Americans will be murdered by radical zealots” if the treaty is approved.  He also laid out a doomsday prediction that if Iran acquires an atomic bomb it will drop it over Tel Aviv. It seems that he feels he can clearly predict the future without any real evidence.  It also seems that he has not read the treaty which according to President Obama will hamstrung Iran’s nuclear ability to produce an atomic bomb.

And by not signing the treaty the United States would be accelerating Iran’s ability to make a bomb.  Also we have no control over the behavior of the other five nations that were negotiating with Iran and the probability is that some or all of them would go along with the treaty. The remaining sanctions would then be partial and frozen funds being held in these countries would then be released. There is also the possibility that the rigid boundaries imposed by this treaty would be relaxed if P5+1 is broken up.  This could place Iran fairly close to developing its own atomic bomb.

Mike Huckabee, the former pastor, former Republican governor of Arkansas, former Fox News anchor, and former presidential candidate, is again running for the presidency in 2016. Saturday, June 26, 2015, Huckabee stated in an interview with a conservative news outlet that the nuclear agreement would be a bad deal for Israel and will “take the Israelis and march them to the door of the oven.”  After facing intense criticism for this statement Huckabee refused to apologize for this remark.  He further stated, “This president’s policy is the most reckless in American history.  It is so naïve that he would trust the Iranians.  By doing so, he will take the Israelis and march them to the door of the oven  This is the most idiotic thing, this Iran deal.”  At a later date Huckabee the 2016 Presidential candidate stated that the Iranians cannot be trusted to ever carry out an agreement. He implied that they would never carry out any treaty.  I suspect that Mr. Huckabee would rather go to war with them.

Perhaps the greatest charlatan of the protesting Republicans is Donald Trump, whose father probable named him after his favorite Disney character.  He has said that when he becomes president he is going to beat-up the world so that every nation and group within those nations will do what he, President Donald Trump, wants them to do.  He has stated, among many other bits of idiocy that he feels sorry for ISS because of what he is going to do to them.  Trump called the Iran deal “terrible,” on Tuesday, July 27, 2015.  And he probably came to this conclusion without even reading the terms of the treaty.  After all, it is over 100 pages long.  He also said the President negotiated the agreement “from desperation.”  It’s amazing how much innate knowledge these Republicans have with no facts to back their conclusions.

Trump also stated earlier: “First of all, we’re giving them billions in this deal, which we shouldn’t have given them. We should have kept the money.”  Apparently he was referring to the gradual sanctions relief for Iran under the parameters of the agreement. “Second of all we have four prisoners over there. We should have said ‘Let the prisoners out.  They shouldn’t be over there.”  He also stated that any deal should also stipulate that inspectors have 24 hour immediate access to all nuclear sites in Iran.

Interestingly we’re not giving the Iranians any money.  These were Iranian funds that were frozen in the United States during the 1980s and have gathered interest since then.  The funds belong to the Iranians.  They are their monies, held and used by American banks for profit since that time.  This is also true for funds frozen in other countries.

One of the most important treaties in years, a document that could stabilize the Middle East and make the entire planet safer to live in, is being used as an attention-getter by Republicans, particularly by aspirants for the 1916 Presidential campaign.  A large number of Republican hopefuls are competing to see who will be the Republican presidential candidate in 2016.  To them nothing is more important than attracting Republican voter’s attention in the Republican primary elections and being chosen the Republican candidate for the presidency of the United States.  Anything that helps them achieve this goal, even if it means further destabilizing conditions in the Middle East and bringing about a war with Iran, is okay as long as they get chosen to become the Republican candidate for president in 2016.

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It is important to remember that the current treaty is over 100 pages long.  President Obama has urged everyone in Congress, particularly in the Senate, to read the treaty before deciding what to do.  It needs a 2/3ds “advice and consent” vote from the Senate before it can go into effect.  The treaty also needs the concurrence of the five other negotiating countries and of the Ayatollah Khamenei and the Iranian Parliament

President Obama has given the Senate 60 days to study the treaty and vote upon it.  It will take a 2/3 positive vote to pass. The probability is that if it is voted down the he will pass it as an agreement with another county by executive order.  It could then be kept that way or re-voted upon by the next administration in 2016.

The President has stated innumerable times for everyone to read the treaty before evaluating it.  He has also said that many of the Republicans who are loudly against it had very strongly advocated the invasion of Iraq to stop it from using its weapons of mass destruction that never existed.  The members of Congress and particularly those in the Senate have sixty days to read the 100 plus pages that make up the treaty and then make up their minds whether to approve or disapprove it.

Presumably they can then give reasonable reasons for their decisions.  Early in July of 2016 the major comments against it were: It’s not a good idea or a bad deal.  Those are very generic and meaningless reasons.  He has asked for alternative reasons.  Scott Walker has proposed war as his alternative.  Other Republicans have not stated this solution but have implied it in their rejection comments.  Is this what the Republican Party wants?  War with Iran?  I suspect the other five United Nation members, who also negotiated this treaty, have different thoughts about it.  The United States could end up standing alone against Iran.  I would suspect that that is a position that Scott Walker nor any other possible Republican president would want to be in a position to cope with.

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The one aspect of this agreement that no one seems to have made or considered is that with this treaty it will take Iran at least ten years to develop an atomic bomb.  Ten years is a long time.  Within that period, with no sanctions and utilizing its wealth in oil Iran will change or grow considerably.  Its people will have better lives.  Their standards of living and expectations will grow considerably. They will positively be connected to the rest of the world.  In essence they will have no need of having any atomic bombs.

Still another consideration is that if they were to use atomic weapons then atomic weapons would be used against them.  Even though Iran has four times the population of Iraq and is a much larger territory they could be totally destroyed as a nation if an atomic war broke out.  And it is an open secret that Israel has had atomic bombs for a number of years.  Also, perhaps the craziest nation in the world today that has atomic weapons is North Korea. They have not threatened anyone with their atomic weapons. North Korea having the bomb is the same as North Korea not having the bomb.  It is a weapon that cannot be used because using it would be an act of suicide.

President Barack Obama and Israeli Prime Minis...

 

English: A group photograph of the former host...

English: A group photograph of the former hostages in the hospital. The 52 hostages were spending a few days in the hospital after their release from Iran prior to their departure for the United States. Location: WIESBADEN AIR BASE (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

 

The Weiner Component #44 – Obama & Three Demensional Chess

Official photographic portrait of US President...

Chess is an interesting game.  In it one not only moves one of his pieces, which are all moved in different ways, but he also has to anticipate his opponents countermoves and by his move he can sometimes affect those countermoves.  He has to have one or more objectives that can be obtained in one to one hundred moves. 

I remember over a half century ago watching a chess game between two men who both played the game blind.  They had their backs turned to the chessboard and neither ever turned to face it.  The game took a long time before it was finished.  I don’t remember who won but watching I saw that neither one of the two men ever lost sight of the board in his mind.  The concentration level was virtually unbelievable; the game was dramatic.

In life there are people who play chess in normal or abnormal situations.  They have one or a series of objectives and every move they make against any other person is a step toward, at least, one of their objectives.  To me this is playing Three Dimensional Chess in real life situations.  It takes a really superior person to be able to do this.

President Obama is playing a series of these games, all at the same time, and generally, all important to the welfare of this nation.    Each of these is similar to the two men who played their blind chess game.

One such game is going on in Syria.  Here President Barak Obama has a series of objectives.  He would like to stop the use of chemical weapons, especially against unarmed civilians, that includes helpless and unarmed women and children.  He would like to end the Civil War and bring peace to the region without direct American military intervention or bombing, or for that matter, any additional military intervention by the U.N. or any other nation, and quite possibly help end the civil war and bring peace to the area.  He would also like to normalize conditions with Iran and bring her back into the family of nations.  And he would like to do all this without resorting to any further violence.

Is it possible or probable that all or any of this can be done?

Initially President Barak Obama drew a line across the fighting in the Syrian Civil War: in accordance with international treaties no chemical or biological weapons were to be used in the fighting.  This had been part of an international agreement made much earlier with the majority of the nations on the planet.  They were used, presumably by the Syrian army against civilians in pro-rebel areas, killing and maiming over fifteen hundred unarmed non-combatants, many of whom were women and children.

The people in the United States were and are tired of police actions (wars); they have lived through Iraq and are still living through Afghanistan.  They do not want another war, particularly one that would again be interminable.

President Obama could get no help from the United Nations.  Both Russia and China were allies of President Bashar al-Assad of Syria.  They are on the Security Council and would veto any motion against Assad and Syria.  The British Parliament went against its Prime Minister and opposed any direct military action against Syria.  At the G4 Conference Obama could not work up any support for his position even though 180 some nations had signed a treaty against the use of Chemical and Biological Weapons.  The indication was that in any action against Assad the United States would have to go it alone.

President Obama then threw the issue up before Congress, asking them to issue a Declaration of War against Syria.  He promised that no American soldiers would be landed there, that the response for crossing the line by Assad would be a bombing raid against his forces or the forbidden weapons. 

Even though members of Congress largely seemed to be opposed to this action they did not have time to vote on this issue because Secretary of State John Kerry at a press conference in answer to a question stated that the Assad led forces could avoid the bomb strike by surrendering their weapons of mass destruction.  Was this a natural occurrence or had it been set up?

Shortly thereafter the President of Russia, Vladimir Putin, offered to broker a deal whereby the Syrian government would give up its weapons of mass destruction to the United Nations, which, in turn, would destroy them.  A short time later the U.N. passed a resolution to this effect.  Even before the resolution this process was beginning.  Seemingly it will be gradually carried out with all the chemical and biological weapons being destroyed well before the end of 2014.

For the United States, Russia, Syria, and the United Nations this is a win, win, win situation.  Russia enters the world arena as an international peace-making nation; Syria avoids a confrontation with the United States; and the United Nations emerges as the international force that limits warfare.  In addition President Obama solves his problem without any military action. 

Of course, the civil war in Syria continues with regular weapons, still killing countless numbers of people.  But conditions have now changed.  The United Nations, all its members, and Syria’s two former allies, Russia and China, are now involved in Syria’s Civil War.  They want to end it.

In addition Syria’s other major ally in the Middle East, Iran, has also undergone a major change.  She has elected a new moderate president who wished Israel a Happy New Year (Rosh Hashanah) on the internet and in assorted TV broadcasts in China, the United States and elsewhere has stated, among a number of other things, that the war in Syria must stop.

Will Assad be able to freely continue his Civil War after the weapons of mass destruction controversy is resolved or will the United Nations be able to broker some sort of settlement?  The probability is that an election will be arranged with the people of Syria voting on the leadership they want for their country.  It is even possible that Iran could broker this deal, which would bring an end of civil war to that country.  It would also allow Iran international respect and bring her quickly into the family of nations with all the current sanctions against her removed.

Assad could even win the election and then he could become the leader of a democratic country or, for that matter, it could be someone else.  In any event the conditions within the country will have changed and the U.N. could bring about some sort of resolution allowing Syria to once again become a functioning successful nation.

Will any of this happen?  Would any of it have been possible without the initial act of drawing a line by President Obama or any of the other adroit moves made by the President?  Some of it has already happened.  It seems to me that he has played a game of chess both horizontally and vertically.  What will he have accomplished?  The world could find an end to the Syrian conflagration, a rise in Russian prestige as a peacemaker even to the point of getting a Nobel Peace Award for its president, Vladimir Putin, and a healthy strengthening of the anti weapons of mass destruction treaty.  The United States also having friendly relations with Iran once again, something that ended in 1979 with the American hostage crisis.  And the process can even allow Iran once again to function on an equal basis with all other nations.  This is indeed a very positive use of three-dimensional chess in real life.  Not one life having been lost or maimed during this entire process!

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