Obama punts on Syria

US Politics
on 22 Comments
Screenshot from Obama's address to the nation on Syria, September 10, 2013.

Screenshot from Obama’s address to the nation on Syria, September 10, 2013.

This is part of Marc H. Ellis’s “Exile and the Prophetic” feature for Mondoweiss. To read the entire series visit the archive page.

President Obama punted last night.  The war mongers – especially AIPAC – lost their bid for war.  The Assad government lives to see another day.  Despite the rhetoric, the President and America’s foreign policy establishment may have decided that Syria’s present dictator is better than the one who would follow.

Sad to say, the suffering masses in Syria are beside the American political point.  They are beside the Russian point, too.  Big power rivalries still trump ordinary people and their desire to live their lives in stability and peace.

The weakest part of the President’s address last night was his description of the victims of the chemical attack.  In a period of mass suffering, it doesn’t make sense to signal out one episode as horrendous simply because of the way people died.  The world stands silent as over one hundred thousand Syrians have died and millions have become refugees.  Or worse, too much of the world has its hands in that suffering.  Count America and Russia among the culprits.

Morality and politics mostly live separate lives.  True, the President’s speech last night contained its requisite moralisms but they were eclipsed by his emphasis on Assad’s sins and American exceptionalism.  In Obama’s view, America shouldn’t be the world’s policeman. But it’s also the President’s view that America is the only nation that will enforce internationality morality.  What other nation has morality as central to its identity and destiny?

Though the President chose the Russian way out, Russia is hardly a moral beacon.  True enough.  Yet the simple assertion that America’s destiny is to be on the frontlines of world ethical behavior is so ingrained that even a nod to Russia’s last minute gambit is impossible to register in the frame of American exceptionalism.   In American exceptionalism language, Russia’s plan is pure politics.  Politics is simply a disguise for ambition and power.

Though the next days will see international political wrangling –  with American politicians of all stripes weighing in as well –  trying to reboot American intervention through Congress will be difficult, if not impossible.  Delaying the vote in Congress means that the Obama administration thought they might lose the vote or that the vote would be too close to claim a mandate for missile strikes.

What should Jews of Conscience take away from the President’s decision to opt for international control of Syria’s chemical weapons’ stockpile?  AIPAC suffered a major setback last night on several levels.  Obviously the Obama administration chose further negotiations rather than the intervention AIPAC was pushing hard for.  AIPAC’s loss was a public one, since media outlets, including the New York Times, have featured AIPAC’s insistent lobbying efforts for missile strikes and beyond.  AIPAC’s lobbying isn’t often so publicly identified.  Its losses are rarely reported.   This one is obvious.

The Israeli political establishment admonished AIPAC as well for its bellicose push toward American military intervention in Syria – a policy that outside and around its rhetoric, Israel may not want.  This admonishment may also be connected to AIPAC’s bellicose support for and Israel’s ambivalence toward attacking Iran.  Isn’t it better to keep Iran perpetually under the gun than risk pulling the trigger with the end result unknown?

Israel is sitting pretty in the Middle East right now.  What Israel wants is controlled instability in the region.  Controlled instability means dictatorial regimes spend their time and resources disciplining their own people, thus continuing de-development in the Arab world, the ultimate guarantor of Israel’s ascendancy.  In the meantime, the Israeli/Palestinian negotiations have stalled.  They have been pushed to the back pages of world attention.  Israel gets kudos for being at the negotiating table that isn’t really there.

The defeat of AIPAC should be acknowledged but Jews of Conscience can take little solace beyond the moment.  The key to unlocking the decline of Jewish history – the suffering Israel continues to cause Palestinians – is no closer to being found.  In fact, we are more distant after the President’s address to the nation.  American exceptionalism continues to embrace Israel as its ancient and contemporary model.  On this issue President Obama will never punt.

About Marc H. Ellis

Marc H. Ellis is retired Director and Professor of Jewish Studies at Baylor University and author of Burning Children: A Jewish View of the War in Gaza which can be found at www.newdiasporabooks.com

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22 Responses

  1. hophmi
    September 11, 2013, 10:57 am

    ” The war mongers – especially AIPAC – lost their bid for war. ”

    Oh please. AIPAC didn’t bid for war. They stayed on the sidelines until the President asked them to get involved.

    “AIPAC suffered a major setback last night on several levels. Obviously the Obama administration chose further negotiations rather than the intervention AIPAC was pushing hard for. AIPAC’s loss was a public one, since media outlets, including the New York Times, have featured AIPAC’s insistent lobbying efforts for missile strikes and beyond. AIPAC’s lobbying isn’t often so publicly identified. Its losses are rarely reported. This one is obvious.”

    You’re fooling yourself. Every news report has made clear that AIPAC’s efforts were at the behest of the President. AIPAC has gained from all of this. It is no longer open to the ridiculous charge that it controls US foreign policy. You can’t claim that anymore, not that it was ever true.

    “What Israel wants is controlled instability in the region. ”

    Total and complete nonsense. Israel wants the same stability that the West does.

    “de-development in the Arab world, the ultimate guarantor of Israel’s ascendancy. ”

    What abject nonsense. Shimon Peres has spent the last two decades talking about a New Middle East, in which the Arab world develops and becomes trading partners in Israel. Israel does not benefit from Arab de-development at all; it creates more Israel-haters and terrorists.

    “The key to unlocking the decline of Jewish history – the suffering Israel continues to cause Palestinians – is no closer to being found.”

    Stop looking. Jewish history isn’t declining.

    • Krauss
      September 11, 2013, 2:09 pm

      AIPAC has gained from all of this.

      Even by the delusional standards of hophmi, this is a new record. And as usual it’s unintentionally hilarious.

      Do you honestly think AIPAC enjoys being public in their lobbying effort?
      Do you think they want to be as isolated as they’ve been these past few weeks, basically alone of the major lobby groups gunning for war, and then seeing their efforts badly bruised?
      Every major media outlet has talked of their effort to get America to war – just as public sentiment grew fiercer and fiercer against war.

      At this point, you’re trying to convince yourself more than you’re trying to convince us. Nobody will fall for such comments or assertions.

      These past few weeks have been a total disaster for AIPAC.
      It’s been highly enjoying watching them fall on their own sword, for all to see and laugh at.

      • hophmi
        September 12, 2013, 1:50 pm

        “Do you honestly think AIPAC enjoys being public in their lobbying effort?”

        No, I don’t. But they were not pushing hard for a war in Syria before the President asked them to get involved. It’s just not that big of an issue for them, or for the American Jewish Committee, who was also asked to get involved.

        “Do you think they want to be as isolated as they’ve been these past few weeks, basically alone of the major lobby groups gunning for war, and then seeing their efforts badly bruised?”

        No, but I don’t see it as Armageddon either. Most people here want to see it that way for quite obvious reasons, but it’s really no setback at all. It would be a major setback if they:

        A. Really cared in the first place, and:
        B. If the plan had significant support in public but Congress didn’t support it.

        But it’s not a setback to fail to convince Congress to take a position that more than two-thirds of the country opposes, and many strongly oppose, because AIPAC couldn’t do that on a good day.

        “Every major media outlet has talked of their effort to get America to war – just as public sentiment grew fiercer and fiercer against war.”

        There have been a few articles in the Times and Post about it. That’s certainly true. But the same articles made clear that they were asked by the President to get involved. And you haven’t got your facts straight. The President asked them to get involved when public sentiment was at a nadir, and it didn’t get much better. It wasn’t like they made it worse. As I said, you have a real problem over here now, because your assumption that AIPAC is all-powerful, or controls Congress, is absolutely wrong, and this is the proof. The assumption you keep making is that you think AIPAC people think like you think – that AIPAC is all powerful – but unlike you, they are either in denial about it, or just private about it. And you’re wrong about that. AIPAC is a strong lobby. But it’s not all powerful, and it never was, and that is why it won’t suffer greatly (and indeed may be enhanced because it will no longer have to put up with these all-powerful accusations) as a result of the Syria vote.

        “At this point, you’re trying to convince yourself more than you’re trying to convince us. Nobody will fall for such comments or assertions.”

        I’m not. The difference is that I have a sense of perspective about these things, and I’m not some extremist who views everything in black-and-white, win-and-lose, all-great-and-all-horrible way. AIPAC has lost before; you hear the story about how AIPAC made its bones over its campaign to stop the sale of AWACS to Saudi Arabia. It lost that too, remember?

        “These past few weeks have been a total disaster for AIPAC.”

        Again, it’s quite clear why someone here would want to tell themselves that the last few weeks have been a disaster for AIPAC. It’s much harder to deal with the truth. What do you think, Krauss? Do you think that the networks and activists that make AIPAC an effective lobby have just gone poof because they weren’t able to convince Congress to vote for something their constituents made clear that they didn’t want? Do you think that if, down the road, Iran actually gets a nuke, and 55 or 60 percent of the public supports a military strike, they’ll have any trouble convincing Congress to vote for a war resolution in big numbers? Or getting a sense-of-the Congress pro-Israel resolution through four hundred and something to single digits? Or securing loan guarantees? Or securing diplomatic support for Israel? These are all positions supported by the American public, and by both parties.

        You’re welcome to be as delusional as you want in your world where AIPAC is either controlled Congress or getting smacked. I’ll continue to keep my feet on the ground.

    • Justpassingby
      September 11, 2013, 3:34 pm

      “hophmi” you represent the israel lobby on this fora.

    • Ellen
      September 11, 2013, 10:25 pm

      hop, that is revisionist history now touted by hasbarats and other operatives.

      Israel has been pushing hard for an attack on Syria. AIPAC was not sitting on the sidelines ever, but was quietly working The levers. AIPAC went full throttle when it looked like the propaganda was not doing its usual magic on the American public. Some reports claim Obama called Netanyahu for help, and he sent AIPAC operatives like locusts onto Washington. Even if that is true, think about it. Since when does the POTUS call a foreign leader to get his operatives working elected officials to go against the will of the American public?

      Calls of treason may be within reason.

      From an earlier report:
      Israeli officials have consistently made the case that enforcing Mr. Obama’s narrow “red line” on Syria is essential to halting the nuclear ambitions of Israel’s archenemy, Iran.

      link to nytimes.com

      • hophmi
        September 12, 2013, 1:33 pm

        “Israel has been pushing hard for an attack on Syria. ”

        No, they are not. They’d like to see Assad go (I think most people would), but they didn’t push very hard for American involvement.

        “AIPAC was not sitting on the sidelines ever, but was quietly working The levers.”

        Lies. They were sitting on the sidelines, precisely because they didn’t want to be blamed if things didn’t go well.

        “AIPAC went full throttle when it looked like the propaganda was not doing its usual magic on the American public. ”

        AIPAC can’t talk the American people into things they don’t want to do. It lobbies for the things it believes are in the best interests of the American people, and usually, they are positions with strong public support.

        “Some reports claim Obama called Netanyahu for help, and he sent AIPAC operatives like locusts onto Washington. ”

        I’d appreciate if you didn’t compare human beings to animals. He felt that AIPAC had the best system of contacts to deal with a foreign policy issue in the Middle East. If he were President Bush and he wanted to repeal a gun law, he would have asked the NRA for help.

        “Since when does the POTUS call a foreign leader to get his operatives working elected officials to go against the will of the American public? ”

        Well, the idea is to help the American public understand why something is important, not to “go against the will of the American public.” I guess POTUS does this if he believes it can help. Netanyahu has good American contacts because he used to be Israel’s ambassador to the United States.

        “Calls of treason may be within reason.”

        It’s not treason to lobby your government. There’s no requirement that the position you lobby for have the support of a majority of the American public.

  2. HarryLaw
    September 11, 2013, 11:41 am

    I don’t regard Russia as being one of the culprits, Russia has continually called for a conference of all interested parties to the conflict without preconditions [Geneva 1, and 2,] the Assad government have agreed with them. The problem is the US cannot get the fractious opposition to agree to a conference without their unreasonable demands being met beforehand, the US therefore, seeing the predicament of the rebels [and the growing popularity of the secular Assad government] now seek to level the military playing field, first by allowing the Saudis to arm them, and then threatening to degrade Assad’s military capacity with the ludicrous shot across the bows military strike, which both Obama and Kerry regard as not the start of a war. Imagine if a Chinese warship entering waters off New York and offloading missiles into New York City continuously for 30 days could not be described as an act of war, these clowns should be locked up.

  3. bilal a
    September 11, 2013, 11:46 am

    Senior Washington former officials/pundits : Israel may have gassed children in Syria ?

    Former Gen Powell Chief of Staff , Col Wilkerson , ‘Syria chemical weapon attack could have been an Israeli false flag.’ Video: The Young Turks

    Sean Hannity: “Very high” possibility Syria chemical attack was a “false flag”, with Pat Buchanan , AUDIO ,’This has false flag written all over it..by intelligence agencies, enemies’ of Assad

  4. Citizen
    September 11, 2013, 12:03 pm

    Yep.

    Here’s an article (Why Are Obama and Kerry So Desperate To Start Another War?) that says the same thing, only much more harshly: link to informationclearinghouse.info

  5. MHughes976
    September 11, 2013, 12:51 pm

    I am totally incompetent at providing links but let me mention an interesting article in today’s Independent by Andreas Whittam Smith, called ‘An Elegy to Western colonialism: born in Africa 600 years ago, died in Syria’.
    I think I would be more sanguine than Marc. Western military intervention has always been part of Israel’s hand of cards. If that card has really been played for the last time – and lost – then the fact, mentioned by Brzezinski in an interview quoted here the other day, that the tiny population of Israel cannot dominate the huge population of the ME for ever, will sooner or later somehow or other sink in.
    Those whom God declines to destroy are saved from insanity and I thank God most profoundly for the good sense of American citizens. They will be saving the Israelis into the bargain, of course.

  6. James Canning
    September 11, 2013, 2:05 pm

    I think Obama should back the Russian proposal for UNSC resolution on getting rid of Syrian CW.

  7. DICKERSON3870
    September 11, 2013, 3:50 pm

    RE: “True, the President’s speech last night contained its requisite moralisms but they were eclipsed by his emphasis on Assad’s sins and American exceptionalism. In Obama’s view, America shouldn’t be the world’s policeman. But it’s also the President’s view that America is the only nation that will enforce international morality. What other nation has morality as central to its identity and destiny?” ~ Marc Ellis

    SEE: “God, Calvin, and Social Welfare – Part One: Coalitions (Revised)”, by Chip Berlet, talk2action.org, 2/06/06

    [EXCERPT] Today, many ideas, concepts, and frames of reference in modern American society are legacies of the history of Protestantism as it divided and morphed through Calvinism, revivalist evangelicalism, and fundamentalism. Even people who see themselves as secular and not religious often unconsciously adopt many of these historic cultural legacies while thinking of their ideas as simply “common sense”. [SEE U.S.: ‘Common Sense’ Says Syria Regime Used Chemical Arms – J.L.D.]
    What is “common sense” for one group, however, is foolish belief for another. According to author George Lakoff, a linguist who studies the linkage between rhetoric and ideas, there is a tremendous gulf between what conservatives and liberals think of as common sense, especially when it comes to issues of moral values. In his book “Moral Politics”, which has gained attention in both media and public debates, Lakoff argues that conservatives base their moral views of social policy on a “Strict Father” model, while liberals base their views on a “Nurturant Parent” model.
    According to Axel R. Schaefer, there are three main ideological tendencies in U.S. social reform:
    • Liberal/Progressive: based on changing systems and institutions to change individual behavior on a collective basis over time.
    • Calvinist/Free Market: based on changing individual social behavior through punishment.
    • Evangelical/Revivalist: based on born again conversion to change individual behavior, but still linked to some Calvinist ideas of punishment.

    Republicans have forged a broad coalition of two of the three tendencies that involves moderately conservative Protestants who nonetheless hold some traditional Calvinist ideas . . .

    ENTIRE COMMENTARY – link to talk2action.org

    • DICKERSON3870
      September 11, 2013, 4:15 pm

      P.S. ALSO SEE: “God, Calvin, and Social Welfare – Part Two: Calvinist Settlers”, by Chip Berlet, talk2action.org, 2/20/06

      [EXCERPTS] While most mainline Protestant denominations and evangelical churches have jettisoned some of the core tenets of Calvinism, ideas about punishment and retribution brought to our shores by early Calvinist settlers are so rooted in the American cultural experience and social traditions that many people ranging from religious to secular view them as simply “common sense.” [SEE U.S.: ‘Common Sense’ Says Syria Regime Used Chemical Arms – J.L.D.] What Lakoff calls the “Strict Father” model gains it power among conservatives because it dovetails with their ideas of what is a common sense approach to morality, public policy, and crime.
      To understand where this “common sense” comes from, and why it is tied to the Strict Father model, requires that we trace the influence of Protestant Calvinism. Martin Luther founded Protestantism in a schism with the Catholic Church in 1517, but it was John Calvin who literally put it on the map in the city of Geneva, which is now in Switzerland. In the mid 1500s, Calvin forged a theocracy–a society where only the leaders of a specific religion can be the leaders of the secular government.
      Calvinists believed that Adam and Eve disobeyed God and tasted the apple from the tree of knowledge at the urging of an evil demon. As a result of this “original sin,” the betrayal of God’s command, all humans are born in sin. God must punish us for our sins; we must be ashamed of our wrongdoing; and we require the harsh yet loving discipline of our heavenly father to correct our failures.
      Calvinists also believe that “God’s divine providence [has] selected, elected, and predestined certain people to restore humanity and reconcile it with its Creator.” These “Elect” were originally thought to be the only people going to Heaven. To the Calvinists, material success and wealth was a sign that you were one of the Elect, and thus were favored by God. Who better to shepherd a society populated by God’s wayward children? The poor, the weak, the infirm? God was punishing them for their sins.
      This theology was spreading at a time when the rise of industrial capitalism tore the fabric of European society, shifting the nature of work and the patterns family life of large numbers of people. There were many angry, alienated people who the new elites needed to keep in line to avoid labor unrest and to protect production and profits.
      Max Weber, an early sociologist who saw culture as a powerful force that shaped both individuals and society, argued that Calvinism grew in a symbiotic relationship with the rise of industrial capitalism. . .

      ENTIRE (PART TWO) COMMENTARY – link to talk2action.org

      P.P.S. MY CLOSING QUESTION/COMMENT:
      So, when Barack Obomber sees “exceptional” America as being the only nation that will enforce international morality, does he essentially see America as being the “Elect” of Calvinism that “God’s divine providence [has] selected, elected, and predestined . . . to restore humanity and reconcile it with its Creator” through the “liberal” use of punishment and retribution? Enquiring minds mimes want to know!”

    • DICKERSON3870
      September 11, 2013, 5:18 pm

      P.P.P.P.S. RE: So, when Barack Obomber sees “exceptional” America as being the only nation that will enforce international morality, does he essentially see America as being the “Elect” of Calvinism that “God’s divine providence [has] selected, elected, and predestined . . . to restore humanity and reconcile it with its Creator” through the “liberal” use of punishment and retribution? – me (from above)

      SEE: “False Doctrines of the ‘Pope’ of Geneva –
      Total Depravity, Unconditional Election, Limited Atonement, Irresistible Grace, and Perseverance”
      , from biblelife.org

      [EXCERPTS] One must first study the man, John Calvin, in order to understand the theology that has come to be called Calvinism. . .
      . . . John Calvin studied the voluminous writings of Saint Augustine, the Roman Catholic Bishop of Hippo (354-430 AD), much more so than those of Martin Luther, his contemporary. Calvin is continually praising Augustine’s work with numerous references and quotations. Augustine was greatly influenced by the Gnostics, an early Christian sect . . .

      Calvin’s Reign of Terror

      After some negotiation, Ami Perrin, commissioner for Geneva, persuaded Calvin to return. He did so, though unwillingly, on September 13, 1541. His entry was modest. Geneva was a church-city-state of 15,000 people, and the church constitution now recognized “pastors, doctors, elders and deacons,” but the supreme power was given to the magistrate, John Calvin. In November 1552, the Council declared Calvin’s ‘Institutes of the Christian Religion’ to be a “holy doctrine which no man might speak against.” Thus the State issued dogmatic decrees, the force of which had been anticipated earlier, as when Jacques Gruet, a known opponent of Calvin, was arrested, tortured for a month and beheaded on July 26, 1547, for placing a letter in Calvin’s pulpit calling him a hypocrite. Gruet’s book was later found and burned along with his house while his wife was thrown out into the street to watch. Gruet’s death was more highly criticized by far than the banishment of Castellio or the penalties inflicted on Bolsec — moderate men opposed to extreme views in discipline and doctrine, who fell under suspicion as reactionary. Calvin did not shrink from his self-appointed task. Within five years fifty-eight sentences of death and seventy-six of exile, besides numerous committals of the most eminent citizens to prison, took place in Geneva. The iron yoke could not be shaken off. In 1555, under Ami Perrin, a revolt was attempted. No blood was shed, but Perrin lost the day, and Calvin’s theocracy triumphed. John Calvin had secured his grip on Geneva by defeating the very man who had invited him there, Ami Perrin, commissioner of Geneva.
      Calvin forced the citizens of Geneva to attend church services under a heavy threat of punishment. Since Calvinism falsely teaches that God forces the elect to believe, it is no wonder that Calvin thought he could also force the citizens of Geneva to all become the elect. Not becoming one of the elect was punishable by death or expulsion from Geneva. . .
      . . . Michael Servetus, a Spaniard, physician, scientist and Bible scholar, was born in Villanova in 1511. He was credited with the discovery of the pulmonary circulation of the blood from the right chamber of the heart through the lungs and back to the left chamber of the heart. He was Calvin’s longtime friend in their earlier resistance against the Roman Catholic Church. Servetus, while living in Vienne (historic city in southeastern France), angered Calvin by returning a copy of Calvin’s writings, “Institutes”, with critical comments in the margins. Servetus was arrested by the Roman Catholic Authorities on April 4 but escaped on April 7, 1553. He traveled to Geneva where he attended Calvin’s Sunday preaching service on August 13. Calvin promptly had Servetus arrested and charged with heresy for his disagreement with Calvin’s theology. The thirty-eight official charges included rejection of the Trinity and infant baptism. Servetus was correct in challenging Calvin’s false teaching about infant baptism for salvation, but he was heretical in his rejection of the doctrine of the Trinity. Servetus pleaded to be beheaded instead of the more brutal method of burning at the stake, but Calvin and the city council refused the quicker death method. Other Protestant churches throughout Switzerland advised Calvin that Servetus be condemned but not executed. Calvin ignored their pleas and Servetus was burned at the stake on October 27, 1553. John Calvin insisted that his men use green wood for the fire because it burned slower. Servetus was screaming as he was literally baked alive from the feet upward and suffered the heat of the flames for 30 minutes before finally succumbing to one of the most painful and brutal death methods possible. Servetus had written a theology book, a copy of which Calvin had strapped to the chest of Servetus. The flames from the burning book rose against Servetus’ face as he screamed in agony.
      John Calvin celebrated and bragged of his killing of Servetus. . .

      SOURCE – link to biblelife.org

      P.P.P.P.P.S. Fare thee well, Saul Landau. You will be missed! ! !

      • ziusudra
        September 13, 2013, 2:55 am

        Greetings Dickerson,
        You ‘be’ amazing. Tks for your posts.
        Everything is borrowed from the east:
        The concept of the trinity. (Mesopotamia)
        Augustine an Arab Semite. (No. Africa)
        Islam copied from the old & new testements,
        Christianity from the old testement,
        Judaism from from older religions of
        Mesopotamia & Persia, Egypt.
        ziusudra

  8. DICKERSON3870
    September 11, 2013, 5:56 pm

    RE: “True, the President’s speech last night contained its requisite moralisms but they were eclipsed by his emphasis on Assad’s sins and American exceptionalism. In Obama’s view, America shouldn’t be the world’s policeman. But it’s also the President’s view that America is the only nation that will enforce international morality. What other nation has morality as central to its identity and destiny?” ~ Marc Ellis

    MY COMMENT: In order to be brutally honest, I favor using “American narcissism” in the place of “American exceptionalism”.

    ● FROM WIKIPEDIA [Narcissism]:

    (EXCERPTS) Narcissism is a term with a wide range of meanings, depending on whether it is used to describe a central concept of psychoanalytic theory, a mental illness, a social or cultural problem, or simply a personality trait. . .
    . . . Hotchkiss identified what she called the seven deadly sins of narcissism.
    [6]
    Shamelessness: Shame is the feeling that lurks beneath all unhealthy narcissism, and the inability to process shame in healthy ways.
    Magical thinking: Narcissists see themselves as perfect, using distortion and illusion known as magical thinking. They also use projection to dump shame onto others.
    Arrogance: A narcissist who is feeling deflated may reinflate by diminishing, debasing, or degrading somebody else.
    Envy: A narcissist may secure a sense of superiority in the face of another person’s ability by using contempt to minimize the other person.
    Entitlement: Narcissists hold unreasonable expectations of particularly favorable treatment and automatic compliance because they consider themselves special. Failure to comply is considered an attack on their superiority, and the perpetrator is considered an “awkward” or “difficult” person. Defiance of their will is a narcissistic injury that can trigger narcissistic rage.
    Exploitation: Can take many forms but always involves the exploitation of others without regard for their feelings or interests. Often the other is in a subservient position where resistance would be difficult or even impossible. Sometimes the subservience is not so much real as assumed.
    Bad boundaries: Narcissists do not recognize that they have boundaries and that others are separate and are not extensions of themselves. Others either exist to meet their needs or may as well not exist at all. Those who provide narcissistic supply to the narcissist are treated as if they are part of the narcissist and are expected to live up to those expectations. . .

    SOURCE – link to en.wikipedia.org

    • DICKERSON3870
      September 11, 2013, 6:12 pm

      P.S. ALSO SEE: “Bombing Syria: war as therapy”, by Brendan O’Neill, spiked-online.com, 8/28/13
      The narcissism of the bomb-Syria brigade is terrifying.

      War used to be the pursuit of politics by other means. Today, if the statements made by the Western politicos and observers who want to bomb Syria are anything to go by, it’s the pursuit of therapy by other means. The most startling and unsettling thing about the clamour among some Westerners for a quick, violent punishment of the Assad regime is its nakedly narcissistic nature. Gone is realpolitik and geostrategy, gone is the PC gloss that was smeared over other recent disastrous Western interventions to make them seem substantial, from claims about spreading human rights to declarations about facing down terrorism, and all we’re left with is the essence of modern-day Western interventionism: a desire to offset moral disarray at home by staging a fleeting, bombastic moral showdown with ‘evil’ in a far-off field. . .
      . . . All the discussion so far has focused, not on the potential moral consequences of bombing Syria, but on the moral needs of those who would do the bombing. US secretary of state John Kerry says failing to take action on Syria would call into question the West’s ‘own moral compass’. Others talk about Syria as a ‘test for Europe’, as if this rubble-strewn country is little more than a stage for the working-out of our values. So intense is the narcissism of the bomb-Syria brigade that one of its number describes the slaughter caused by the use of chemical weapons as ‘a question mark painted in blood, aimed at the international community’. They’re so vain, they think someone else’s war is all about them. One pro-bombing commentator says the situation in Syria ‘holds a mirror up to Britain’, asking ‘what sort of country are we?’. Like Narcissus, the beaters of the drum for war on Assad are concerned only with their own image, their own reflection, and the question of whether they’ll be able to look at themselves in the mirror if they fail to Do Something. . .
      . . . What we have today is a form of purely moralistic warfare . . .Today, when war is fuelled by narcissism rather than politics, and the aim is emotional fulfilment rather than territorial gain, there are no natural limits or rules to the warmongers’ behaviour.
      In a rare moment of self-awareness in the 1990s, the Canadian politician and thinker Michael Ignatieff wondered out loud if his and other Westerners’ demand for the bombing of Bosnian Serbs was ‘driven by narcissism’. ‘We intervened not to save others, but to save ourselves, or rather an image of ourselves as defenders of universal decencies’, he said. And so it is today, with people clamouring for a Western assault on Syria not to save Syrians, or to end Assad’s regime, but simply to make the West’s self-styled upholders of human decency feel better about themselves when they look in the mirror. In this terrifyingly narcissistic vision of the world, Syria is not a wartorn nation, but simply a stage for Western moralistic preening, and its people are not human beings with political needs and desires, but merely props in a Western liberal pantomime pitting goodies against baddies. . .

      ENTIRE COMMENTARY – link to spiked-online.com

    • DICKERSON3870
      September 11, 2013, 6:33 pm

      P.P.S. ALSO SEE: “Narcissists are ruining America”, by David Sirota, Salon.com, 9/08/13
      We’re on the verge of bombing another country — because a few conceited people want to feel good about themselves

      [EXCERPTS] One telltale trait of narcissists is their ability only to see how their actions affect them, and not others. In the narcissist’s mind, if doing something makes him feel good, then the act is inherently good — even if it is terrible for lots of other people and makes an overall situation a whole lot worse.
      This is a good way to understand the current proposal to bomb Syria. . .
      . . . Many Americans supporting a new war in the Middle East want to feel good about themselves. Many want to feel like we did “the right thing” and didn’t stand by while chemical weapons were used (even though we stand by — or use them ourselves — when we’re told that’s good for America). . .
      . . . What emerges is a portrait of pathological self-absorption. That’s right – despite the pro-war crowd’s self-congratulatory and sententious rhetoric, this isn’t about helping the Syrian people. Channeling the zeitgeist of that famous quote in “Broadcast News,” this is all about us. To the pro-war crowd, if both feeling morally superior and avoiding any real sacrifice mean having to kill lots of Syrians without a chance of actually stopping their civil war, then it’s worth the carnage, especially because it’s half a world away.
      Appreciating this insidious psychology, our government has come up with a brilliantly inhumane solution that plays to the narcissism: The Obama administration proposes to lob cruise missiles into Syria to make us feel good about “doing something,” even though most agree that such an operation won’t make anything better — and could make things worse. . .
      Finally, there are all the unasked questions about the chemical weapons attack that is supposedly motivating the Obama administration’s desire for military action. United Nations investigators haven’t even filed their report yet . . .
      . . . [T]he pro-war crowd nonetheless simply assumes that what the Obama administration is alleging is unquestionably true. Making such an assumption is, in part, another expression of narcissism.
      Simply put, conceited narcissists don’t seem to care whether the entire case for the war they are advocating is actually rooted in verifiable fact, because their focus is on their own feelings. More specifically, they care only about their desire to feel heroic, righteous and moral
      , whether or not the entire narrative that makes them feel that was is actually true. . . link to salon.com

      • Bumblebye
        September 11, 2013, 9:47 pm

        And here they are, a whole gang of ‘em, determined to have their way:
        link to thenation.com
        (Including one oh so familiar to yourself)

        “The new “Gang” bill, according to news reports, would authorize US military force in Syria if the Security Council can’t pass a workable resolution, or if Syria fails to comply with it. The New York Times reported the details are “far from complete.””

        “But Manchin’s bill was short and direct, and tried to force a number of safeguards that would limit the chances of military action, including a strategic plan from the White House with specific benchmarks.

        A quick look at the gang working on the new Senate bill would indicate the new resolution is unlikely to be similarly limited. The members are, according to the Times: Republican Senators John McCain, Lindsey Graham, Kelly Ayotte and Saxby Chambliss, along with Democratic Senators Carl Levin, Charles E. Schumer and Chris Coons. Senator Bob Menendez chairman of the Foreign Relations Committee, is reportedly “in consultations” with the group.”

        Determined to serve their foreign masters, rather than the Amer(israeli)can people?

  9. anthonybellchambers
    September 12, 2013, 12:24 am

    ‘In an opinion article in the New York Times, Russian President Vladimir Putin warns that a US military strike against Syria could unleash a new wave of terrorism. He says millions of people see the US not as a model of democracy but as relying on brute force.’

    “A strike would increase violence and unleash a new wave of terrorism,” he said. “It could throw the entire system of international law and order out of balance.”

    This appears to be a very dangerous situation for the West, and in particular the EU, who see a hobbled US president apparently being driven against his will by the agenda of the Israel lobby to crush both Syria and Iran in order to further its imperative for power in the Middle East.

    Whilst there is no doubt that chemical weapons have been used in Syria, that is not an excuse for the US, or Israel, both of whom have a chemical weapons program of their own, to take unilateral action of war without the authority of the United Nations of which they are both members.

  10. upsidedownism
    September 12, 2013, 8:10 am

    The US/Israeli alliance has bagged a lot of countries, reconquering Kuwait, conquering Iraq, regime change in Libya and so on. But Syria is proving to be a regime change too far. This time the US and Israel have come up against Vladimir Putin’s Russia.

    Russian and American ships are closely watching each other in the Eastern Mediterranean; war between the 2 countries is unlikely but still a slim possibility.
    The point is that the US can not proceed with regime change against Assad without impunity. You can’t be a bully when you are up against the biggest country on earth.

    Putin feels like he was duped by the US in Libya; he was assured that US/European intervention there was for humanitarian purposes, and not about regime change. He feels Obama was lying to him all along, and that killing Muammar Qadafi was the secret goal of the US from the very beginning. It probably was.

    America’s supposed indignation at the use of chemical weapons is as thinly disguised causus belli as you are ever going to see.

    In the case of Syria, Putin is not going to let America play him for a fool again.

  11. just
    September 12, 2013, 7:27 pm

    Gregory is a fool- tool..

    Does he really think that Bush was resolute and strong? Does he think we need another 9/11 to justify war making? I am sick of this %^&$ Oh boy, Gregory just mentioned a nuclear armed Iran…………….. and Israel.

    fool- tool on CM tonight.

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