Gen. Zinni: Two brigades could push ISIS back into Syria ‘in a heartbeat’

Bad choices and worse ones.

ZinniNew post up at Liberty Unyielding.  Enjoy!

One thought on “Gen. Zinni: Two brigades could push ISIS back into Syria ‘in a heartbeat’”

  1. J.E., this is a good commentary and it brings out important points. Now let’s go somewhere with it.

    Strategy is getting to be an over-used word these days. I will settle for “goal”. When you do not have a goal, you also do not have a strategy for achieving it.

    You have brought out this point in the Zinni interview; it reminds me of an old New Yorker cartoon. Two Eskimos on a ice flow holding knives, with a giant whale that has been cut in half. The question one asks the other is the same you have asked: “What next ?” Who knows, in the case of ISIS ?

    As stated before many times, the main problem for the United States in the Middle East is a problem it has at 1600 Pennsylvania Avenue: the Obama administration simply does not know what it wants to achieve there in the first place, other than to have these problems in Syria and elsewhere in the region go away and leave it alone. That is a goal that can be achieved by turning off the TV and going out to play golf.

    But let me qualify that. The President has one affirmative foreign policy goal, and it is to force Iran to agree to a nuclear disarmament treaty.

    And that, as it happens, is a very cherished goal. In fact, it is what he wants to rest his reputation on in the domaine of foreign affairs. It is his baby. And he wants it so bad, that all along, he has been willing to trade Syria for it.

    That is the reason for not getting involved in Syria. And aside from that there is only one other: The cat wants to eat the fish, but it does not want to get its paw wet. That explains just about everything else in actions to date with respect to the Middle East. There is just nothing else that the President wants to achieve there bad enough to get his feet wet.

    Now here, I would submit, are a few goals for America in that region that would be worth doing something to achieve:

    1. An end to Iranian ambitions to achieve dominance in the Middle East.

    2. An end to Hezbollah as a fighting force worth worrying about.

    3. And end to the killing going on everywhere, including Egypt and Gaza.

    4. Consequently, an end to ISIS.

    5. Checking renewed Russian ambitions and interference in the region.

    6. Strengthening NATO.

    You can put the Iran treaty on this list, if you wish, but I would list it last, for it is not worth sacrificing any of these other objectives.

    Now then, here is the way to go about achieving these objectives. You can call it a strategy if you want, but I think we ought reserve that work for more difficult problems.

    1. Place two carrier task force groups in the eastern Mediterranean. Keep a third flattop at Rota. Or get the French to sign on.

    2. Take the F-15 wing from England that is due to be deactivated, and send it to the RAF base in Turkish Cyprus.

    3. Suggest to Turkey that it would be a good thing for it to welcome two or three additional air-supremacy NATO combat airwings to its fields, along with some more AWACs, et cetera. Maybe a Marine expeditionary force in port for extended shore leave or exercises.

    4. Tell the Dutch to keep their Patriot missile batteries in Turkey, but turn them around to face Russia. And send more.

    5. In short, make Turkey a NATO fortress bristling with defenses all along its Black Sea and Aegean coasts.


    6. Blockade Syria and Lebanon, and stop all further arms shipments to these countries by land, air and sea.

    AND THEN, AND ONLY THEN, go to the UN Security Council with a resolution calling for an arms embargo on Syria and Lebanon, and a ban on travel there by foreigners to wage war.

    7. And oblige Turkey to ban the Russian Navy from entering the Bosphorus. Either that, or be excused from NATO.

    In short, stop Russian shipments to Syria. Get rid of the Assad regime. Get a government in Damascus that we an worth with. Help it to regain its territory and to eradicate ISIS. Drive Iran from the Levant.

    Dividends: Hezbollah dies on the vine as a fighting force of reach beyond Lebanon. It confines itself to Lebanese politics. Iran will get the hint and settle on its nuclear ambitions. The Russian Navy is indefinitely banned from the Mediterranean. President Putin becomes the object of ridicule in Russia; is jeered at sporting events, and falls from power. The war in Ukraine comes to an end. To pay for this, the US is able to cut all further military assistance to Egypt, thereby wining great good will in the Arab world and becoming there the champion of both Islam and Democracy. Al Sisi falls, and is dragged through the streets.

    What else ? China earns renewed respect for the US Navy. We give 5 aegis cruisers to the Phillipines, and there is an end to Chinese aggression in the South China Sea. we get Subic Bay and Clark AFB back, and are able to get the Marines out of Okinawa.

    The civil war in Syria is not a foreign policy nightmare for the United States. It is a foreign policy dream.

    Funny is it not – that when one truly wants to do something, a way to do it never seems so hard to find. And it does not require much strategy when one has all the means necessary at one’s disposal.

    But sadly, alas, all President Obama wants is to have his treaty with Iran, and to keep his feet dry.

    R/s TPH

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