tv Cross Talk RT August 28, 2013 11:29am-12:01pm EDT
i'm joined by a bell in damascus he is a syrian academic with the syrian foreign press in washington we have michael shank he is the director of foreign policy at the friends comedian national legislation and a professor at george mason university and in new york we cross to ed he is a associate editor at reason twenty four seventh's having cross talk rules and i think that means you can jump in anytime you want michael in watching if i go to you first secretary kerry is absolutely convinced the assad regime has used chemical weapons against its people he doesn't give any proof but he's absolutely convinced and now we have the drumbeat to war i think i saw this movie and it has a very bad ending you know what i mean yes certainly we did the same in iraq we undermined u.n. inspectors there we're doing the same in syria we actually called on the inspectors in syria to abort their mission certainly paving the way for an easier strike on our end so we don't kill any u.n. inspectors but it's it's a little spurious to say that we have the evidence when the inspectors actually
don't have the evidence so yeah we're seeing echoes like you mentioned in the intro this is a replay on iraq and how do you account for all of this because it sounds like a complete sham. well it's just it sounds like they're going to they're going to damascus even though they maybe they don't want to so it's interesting to see it's kind of like who's who's leading this you know because you look at american intervention in syria and it isn't really there's no really american strategic interest there so you know is this going to be a repeat of libya where it's kind of the europeans leading us along and congress isn't going to do anything about it we know that already and so that kind of leaves it leaves the this president's foreign policies in with anyway and this kind of is it's another thing that's like we're not engaging but we're intervening you know also it's not going to turn out good if cooler heads don't prevail yes right into damascus here in damascus how do you see all of this what's the timing all about. while america is not going to be embarrassed repeating the actions of iraq
ten years ago america did that times and times before and they are going to repeat it again now they're looking for a pretext for war that they're absolutely convinced that chemical weapons have been used by the syrian government they're not even interested in the results of the of the inquiry by the u.n. commission in fact mr kerry said that. they're not interested in the results because they have made their own judgments so they've made up their mind it seems that what they want is. employed force towards syria because clearly that this move is because of the advancement the syrian army has been making on the ground and american administration seems to me seems to be rather hysterical about the fact that calculations have proven to be completely wrong from day one in the syrian crisis well you know michael can michael you know they've been wrong from
day one you just keep getting it wrong right i mean this is insanity. well they've they've been wrong from the very beginning. syria i mean we withdrew our ambassadors early on kind of saying to syria that we don't want to engage with you we're going to demonize you we're going to vilify you we're going to isolate you which makes it much easier for assad or any leader to essentially go crazy on his own people let's be clear i mean the deaths that happened last week doctors without borders saying it's three hundred fifty five that's deplorable any death is deplorable whether it's u.s. air strikes in iraq or afghanistan to kill hundreds of people or chemical weapons in syria used by someone maybe the government killing hundreds of people death is deplorable but on syria we have not exhausted all means available certainly on the diplomatic front we only gauged russia primarily that's like well engaging a little bit just a little bit ok because you're a good point you know ed did they still had the peace process quote unquote but the americans never they dropped the ball every single time yeah i mean i think i think that is maybe i'm reading into it but we there's a little bit of
a reluctance somewhere in the white house into into getting into another quagmire because you know syria may not be iraq but it's not libya either obviously the presence of the russians makes it a big difference so there's some strategic balance there that i don't think it's not worth interrupting you know just like i don't really understand if you can see what the report says are supposed to be a u.s. report doesn't explain who use these chemical weapons but you know if it was the syrian government just going to it almost doesn't make sense because who does it benefit you know at this point like you said they're there they've got the advantage on the ground so does it really make sense for them to now do something president obama is he's move the red line back before you know because at first he said when they use chemical weapons and they use chemical weapons or he said they used chemical weapons sometimes the resolution body might have used chemical weapons someone might have used chemical weapons that's all we really need i mean but the idea that bashar assad would would would order that now is i mean he could be completely deluded at this point sure but it just seems like a spectacular own goal if this came from the actual higher reaches of the syrian
government and it ends in the in the western intervention in damascus give me some logic here what in your mind what is the timing all about in damascus what is the. there are a few things to consider when you look at the timing first the advancements on the ground by the syrian army especially in the suburbs of damascus the areas that the syrian army has captured recently are of strategic importance and they will reflect a momentum that the syrian army has started to establish from the from earlier this year and is going around. more so when when they were talking about the balance of power on the ground they've clearly. transpiring that this is not achievable for them and the longer they wait for these for a political solution the longer the syrian army is going to have the more the syrian army is going to have control on the ground that's number one number two there seems to be an ongoing conflict within the american administration with two
currents one that is known to be very intervention the hawks the new conservatives who are clearly applying the extreme extreme pressure on the obama administration obama coming from a democrat democrat background is probably has probably been a little bit more reluctant for intervention has clearly announced a policy that will try to avoid engaging in more wars his priority is to withdraw from afghanistan so with more pressure he's probably going to succumb to a compromise with those hawks inside. the american administration and their advisers to take a scenario similar to kosovo and that's the more the more similar the more. the more scenario that i would imagine that he would probably consider remote or strike without boots on the ground intervention or a substantial military intervention what let me gauge on their way through let me
ask you a question let me ask you a question is regime change in the cards or stalemate continued stalemate back to damascus what's the us. outcome well i mean when you're when you're facing a major power like the united states with a coalition of countries such as the. united kingdom and france and many other regional players then of course. strikes by a coalition from these countries would probably affect the balance on the ground and would probably eventually lead to. perhaps a change in the stalemate if that's what they're trying to achieve however that comes at the cost of destroying the syrian state and the and the syrian army you cannot expect what a perhaps a fool may may do i mean there are very powerful and they've done it before and they may do it again but that comes at the expense of of worsening the humanitarian situation in syria are not improving and so we have to be very clear here that when
they claim that they're coming here for humanitarian reasons it's the absolute opposite they're coming here to actually create a mother humanitarian what mire that will probably take decades to resolve not only in syria but in the whole entire region and i was it was it was very funny it was it was pathetic even to listen to. mr obama's interview with c.n.n. last week when he talked about syria for three or four minutes he mentioned the international law and the international community more than three or four times and and he was always going back to the fact that he is going to seek an international man of the hour when it's very interesting when they present it in the united states is international law it's anonymous with nato that's what it means to him and that's what it means to this administration and you want to jump in go ahead it's in your head i mean this is where this is where i would say the blame leave with lies with congress who over the last several decades has advocated its war
making powers because at the end of the day it's congress that would have to approve this and only because of what congress has done before it's. that there were even in the situation now where president obama can say well you know i can go look at the international community and go look at nato or say un not the u.n. in this situation or the arab league or whoever and say i can get my authorization from them that should have never happened you know it's the u.s. military that supposed to be deployed for u.s. interests and it's supposed to be approved by congress congress has the constitutional authority to declare war not the president not the white house and if congress had an advocate of its constitutional authority there we wouldn't be so close to the precipice and that's a huge problem you know just the other day speaker boehner spokesperson said you know the speaker made it clear that he wants congress to be have been consultation what and he doesn't name congress because little fish let's don't let your media down vote when one media is going to so that people know who to blame when there's a war michael look at western media they're going for a war we watch c.n.n.
. certainly i mean c.n.n. saying thirteen hundred died last week when doctors without borders said only three hundred fifty five which is still a serious amount of people dead but c.n.n. went and we still don't know how you're going to pull died we still don't know how those people died. right peter on address two things that come up with both dr abdullah and ed congress in international law in congress frankly there's a bipartisan effort in the senate bipartisan effort in the house senators udall murphy levy and rand paul in this in the senate in the house of reps welch and gibson both bills banning military aid u.s. military aid into syria because they're worried that it would just escalate the violence in the deaths which would but on international law if the president really cares about international law we would pursue something within the international criminal court certainly this is come up at the u.n. several times the human rights council pushing this for the high commission of the human rights council suggesting this be a referral to the i.c.c. that would allow us to arrest assad or at least create an international narrative
a moral narrative all right gentlemen i have to jump in here and since we're going to be very interesting discussion will continue with the international after we turn from our great state with r.t. . thank you. for the little. economic sounds in the final month they. sang i and the rest because i think he will be a prickly. interview
pleasure to have you with us here on t.v. today i'm sure. welcome back to cross talk we're all things are considered i'm peter lavelle true mind you were discussing a possible western strike against syria. ok michael i want to go back to you in washington like you mentioned before the war the break international law where was the international law with iraq again that's how i started this program this is
a bad movie and it's being repeated again we haven't learned anything the u.s. hasn't learned anything. right we like to enforce international law when it's convenient certainly when we're dealing with iran we care about the n.p.t. and iran is flouting the n.p.t. but when it comes to un inspectors in iraq or syria we're keen to flout that we're also not keen to support the i.c.c. i mean we've sent folks but shirin sudan and kenyatta and ken we've sent folks to i.c.c. for less than what assad has committed in syria certainly that would be an appropriate path to follow but also international diplomacy my point about only engaging russia why are we engaging iran and hezbollah and other stakeholders they have leverage over syria i mean even israel president shimon peres saying we should engage the arab league we have engaged the arab league extensively on syria we did a little bit on libya and then arab league once they kind of gave the green light retracted that green light but we haven't engaged the organization for islamic conference either if we are serious about the escalating violence in syria we would do all of that we're not ok and you know let's who do they want to win the obama
administration who wants to do they want to win in syria jihadists i mean that's the other side of the coin here i mean i don't get that are they going to kill them to declare war against them as well they're trying to play the game where they're not taking sides they're just they're just responding to the chemical weapons use well what about one hundred thousand and eight people that were killed israelis it was about two hundred thousand people that were killed in just this thirteen hundred or there's three hundred you know that's a political games they play you know it's weapons of mass destruction. this and i have brothers they're alleged to have used weapons of mass destruction you know and those are pressure cookers so it can really move whatever you want it to mean and if for some reason now's the time that they want to do it they'll do it but hopefully that's not what they want to do so you know we'll see we'll see what happens let me ask you has on the same thing in damascus i mean the other side is this the side that the united states and its western allies want to empower.
i don't think that their problem is really syria per se as much as. they are they're really becoming hysterical for the for what's appearing to be a new world order starting to happen or starting to shape in the middle east then they cannot bear the idea that their alliance that they decided to take. for in the in the early two thousand towards two thousand and one with the with the extreme islamist governments and install installed. puppet governments around the middle east that that alliance is not really working well and it's now a serious serious risk of collapsing there's the there's the alliance of syria with iran with the resistance. group or league let's say in the middle east is really prevailing and they they realize that if syria if syria doesn't fall as they
planned it it will back backlash on them. and read the american leverage in the area will start to shake we've seen that happening in several areas in several countries in the middle east where they've lost they they they lost their leverage clearly they at the start employed in the and the syrian conflict the the qatari is that didn't perform well the americans were and in a bit of confusion then the saudis put a bed to lead then they said they are fine why not as long as you can get us out of out of the syrian crisis and now they are not convinced that even the saudis with with what their full measures that they are deploying the syria including the jihad this the money the media warfare on syria that the saudis will probably be able to achieve their goals so now they have to resort to military force to save their position in the middle east they know that if syria. succeeds in surviving.
having this war against it from all fronts syria will only be and nucleus to a snowball that will stop probably growing towards other areas in the world it will start redrawing the map of the new world order the americans now are probably very concerned about such sonora and they want to stop it by force by hysteria by any means that are available to them though michael would like to expand upon that this is a very interesting point the americans are just losing their grip on the region and they have to show who's boss excellent analysis by dr abdullah i mean we think we can cleanly go in remove the bad guy and somehow the country's going to be better off but we see iraq's current violence as illustrative of how impossible that is and how dilatory is our approach is we're certainly see that in afghanistan we're seeing that in libya we thought we could support a very clearly defined with clean parameters rebel group in libya and that we
funnel arms in and money to them and them only that they'll somehow be able to stand up and overthrow qaddafi we're doing the same in syria thinking we can support their council their national council in standing up and if we just illegitimate them and officially recognize them then we can proceed and it will be clean will bomb will go out everything will be fine the syrian people will be liberated but when you have so many case studies i mean your son was was kind to the president early on in this conversation because i think the president is actually as war hungry as the predecessor president bush i mean thankfully we have some more rational voices in the senate senator kaine senator jack reed tweeting last night saying that they don't believe a military option is a good option we shouldn't pursue it it would exacerbate relations between the west in the muslim world so there are some saner voices in the senate but i think the white house is is very much on the warpath we've seen it in several countries now the list is growing and what do you think about that i mean what is obama want to gain to show that he's a great war president here because you know egypt is a terrible mess right now his foreign policy is in tatters right now he can't get
much done at home i mean this is a bizarre way to leave your mark. i mean the thing is it's what foreign policy you know i mean there's a debate to be had about the differences between george bush's war and george bush's wars and barack obama's wars but you know right or wrong george bush there was a certain kind of understanding this kind of purpose and it may have been weird and often wrong and destructive but there was this idea of like this is the purpose of american foreign policy or to make a rock believe you we want what we want them to believe we're going to make against them believe what we want them to believe here it's just kind of you're. just kind of stumbling from one place to another you know libya egypt syria with no kind of purpose no idea of what the strategic interest is and so it's kind of seen the same thing here because what is a benefit what's going to benefit america to send a bunch of cruise missiles to syria because of this chemical weapons use you know if you talk about a white wag the dog situation unfortunately we're in a we're in
a period of american history where we don't need to wag the dog you know you have miley cyrus twerking the v.n.a. is no one's talking about syria on monday so the idea or whatever other scandals there are but this one might try to cover so it's hard to understand what the thinking in the white house is you know you understand the neo conservative cobol there you samantha powers you're yeah whoever hillary clinton gets is not there anymore john kerry to a lesser extent she can and they kind of want to be they want to be the big good guy who comes in and drops bombs to the people stop killing other people but i just don't i don't see what it is you know in iraq you understood it was wrong with george bush's plan in iraq why he wanted to go you know you may have disagreed with it was wrong but at least there was something there where you can say i kind of understand where he's coming from in this case it's really hard to tell what they're doing other than grasping at straws and so it's really just i mean i'm not saying that just to slam the president saying it is really does not seem like they have articulated any kind of foreign policy whatsoever because i don't i just want to it's going to damascus here can you give me the sentiment of what the people of the of the city of damascus think about recent statements coming out of western
capitals i mean expecting cruise missiles. i would like to to be here peter and. go around the city and speak to people people seriously have strong moral and i'm not here exaggerating i've rarely have a strong moral they know that america. will at some point at them they know that they've been out war with israel for sixty years and they know that all these arab puppet countries in the region are instruments and and small tools to israel they know that american foreign policy is manipulated by by israel so they're not only surprised that they may receive strikes they have written they have seen it before people here the fathers or the sons have lived wars with israel and with and now have lived the aggression and the embargo from from america and from other western states so the moral is really high what they believe in is only their resilience
and only their own resources and the fact that they have survived wars before and that they are committed to the syrian army that they know that they are all together with the means that are available at the disposal of the syrian government right now without any foreign aid without begging for any for any for any unexpected help or conditional help from any other state they know that with the resources they have or their disposal they they will be able to survive and they will be able. to actually. change or change the amount of any such war it may it may mean transcend it will probably it may well transcend outside the syrian borders but it certainly will not result in the defeat of the syrians they were never defeated and that if you're
seeing the point i'm going to make if i go to my colon in washington in obama's world you have to destroy syria to say syria you know what i'm getting at i mean the dignitas get it because they have to destroy the entire state to win. right this goes back to dr ablow that's a point where the neo cons in the west and even the liberal party even among the democratic party think that we can bomb our way to freedom or bomb our way to democracy that's what we've done throughout the middle east we've left a legacy of that in the last hundred years certainly more poignantly in the last thirty to forty to fifty years martin dempsey joint chiefs chairman saying that we shouldn't pursue military options i think we should keep his words in mind we should also recognize that we've used chemical weapons before too certainly in iraq napalm and in phosphorous using chemical weapons and supporting saddam's use of chemical weapons in iran that news came out recently i mean the way to go in syria i was in damascus years ago and the japanese were look favorably upon because they were investing in a lot of infrastructure in syria economic development and the syrian government
syrian people appreciated that intervention if we're going to intervene let's think about really helping people beyond humanitarian aid which we have to pursue but helping people in a really substantive way you know in iraq the infrastructure is essentially the same as it was pre-invasion we have not left that country power water sanitation etc the better off if you will than the same thing is going to be let's keep it on this story because events are going to be very fast many thanks to my guests in damascus washington and in new york and thanks to our viewers for watching us here at r.t. see you next time and remember. i . i. this is a leave us so we leave this may be. the same motions to. the parties this
the reports so unless you know for instance or know i will leave them to the state department to comment on your letter pledge the money to save it is a lizard k.l.a. car is on the docket the rails are a little over a hill no more weasel words when you have a direct question lead prepared for a chase when you approach a punch be ready for a bad little freedom of speech and little further down the freedom to cross. the. legs if it was terrible to say hello i'm very sorry to take out a limb to get along here as a club life has never had sex with the perfect their lives let's give us a little blood.
evidence of a chemical attack in syria is found but no proof the government was behind it says the u.n. envoy to the country as western powers readying for a strike. washington says it has enough evidence against assad and waves away comparisons with. the us paved the way from previous military. also sectarian violence claims dozens more lives in iraq in a series of bomb attacks in baghdad a look at the ongoing price of u.s. led liberation from saddam hussein. multiculturalism fails a stress test in the united kingdom with. blocking the expansion of it calling it incompatible with.