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Brookings: Is armed conflict with russia a real possibility?

October 21, 2016

More from the think tank corner, on a subject that I am not concentrating on any more, but still relevant and interesting:


[1.5 hour video]

comment: The speaker phrases his answers with care, which is good. His host/interlocutor’s body language is fun to watch too as the clock drags on in this longish Q&A session. My overall impression after watching approx. half of this video is that armed conflict with Russia is NOT considered a real possibility. That’s both good and bad. It can happen by accident, but at least it’s not an overt goal. Aside from the usual denunciations required to signal one’s seriousness in Russia-related discourse, the overall tone appears significantly less rabid than was the case during the Ukraine crisis ~2 years ago. Speaking of that, the speaker says early on is that there was much support for “providing lethal support” within the US government, but Obama was saying no to that, and he remarks that Obama will be gone in 3 months, so we may expect that policy detail to change. Later in response to a question he seems well aware of the many downsides surrounding providing lethal support in Ukraine, and mentions Kiev’s “need for reform” several times, which is an angle to investigate for anyone still interested in Ukraine. He dismisses talk of direct US/NATO intervention in Syria as unrealistic because it would be an act of war. He seems to say sanctions are the tool of choice.


somewhat more boilerplate-ish than the previous, but shows what I assume are brookings potitions in written form.


notes dump on brookings, from circa late 2014/early 2015 (?):

history going back to the 20's
	connected to establishment
	used to write federal govt budget
    associated with both parties
   fannie mae? housing?
thoroughly neocon, connected to clintons
   strobe talbott
   robert kagan
   kenneth pollack, "cakewalk theory" in 2002
     ... still pushing ideas
recent articles
   recognize the middle east dilemmas... sectarianism vs nationalism
   can't say certain things (failure in iraq, for instance)
      as in, their public writings have blank spaces where most
      others would articulate these things 
   believe democracy in the middle east would result in 
      islamist government.
   beginning to synthesize a solution: support the "moderates" vs 
     "extremists". support national stability. meaning, nurture 
     an ideologically neutral leader.... a secular, or at least
     religious moderate, and non-nationalist. train, supply, advise, 
     and militarily back up an army on the ground, and provide air 
   ukraine -- all about sanctions, and pushing for 
     "international resolve", it seems. moving from containment to
     isolation. at no point were connections made to middle east or 
   israel -- supports israel, they are engaged in a battle 
     externally-rooted terrorism, and are justified in using
     whatever means they see fit. resolution would require 
     basically complete disarmament of palestinians.



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