Xylo presents: Trump 2017 – Biglier than ever


IS are very much a minor player in Afghanistan. Hard to see what this was meant to achieve militarily/strategically other than an opinion poll boost/deflection tactic/show of strength.


Haven't ISIS generally been a minor player until they're not, if you see what I mean?

Edit: are you saying you're comfortable with bombing where they're less minor players?


Outright against*


Not comfortable with bombing anything ever tbh


Fair. ISIS then - leave em to it? Or 'boots on the ground?'


Might be more to do with the blast radius being 1 mile and deafness for anyone within 2 miles


Woah were villages/towns near the caves hit?


What do you think?


An interesting thought I got from that podcast I mentioned (although it was in relation to Assad but the same applies) is that of course they should be taken down, but you absolutely can't trust the US to do so in a matter that serves the interest of the people in the area. Whenever the US get involved, they do everything in such a cack-handed manner, that they always make matters worse for the whole region. Any offensive campaign against them should be something agreed upon by the groups in the region, possibly backed up by the UN. The US going in and bombing shit on a whim without any kind of strategy helps no-one


The Afghan defence ministry have said no civilians have been killed, don't know how much you can trust that though


Ah. you're saying you have no information. Okay.


This ^. This is a solid answer. I would possibly debate the whim aspect - fair whack to suggest that this one wasn't even current Whitehouse (even though trump would benefit from approval if it was).

But I do see the conflict with US vested interests. The irking problem is that I don't see the alternative. Arming a group instead to help... well we know where that goes


The BBC article said that the locals had all moved out at the beginning of the recent campaign, so you would hope no one was affected.


Yeah they're doing clearing operations elsewhere in the area aren't they from what I've read.


You seem to be arguing this from a Obama policy stance, which was like an indefinite remote culling of Islamic extremists as and when the opportunity to drone them came along.

You could argue about the short term efficacy of it long into the night. I know people who have argued, convincingly, that the US avoided a further Afghanistan-like experience in Northern Pakistan by preventing AQ and affiliates from ever managing to set up permanent bases there. Of course occasionally they got bad intel and bombed a school or a wedding, and the perception of the remote attacks within the countries themselves is overwhelmingly negative, but who cares about a bunch of brown people eh? In the long run these places will only stop becoming recruiting grounds for extremists with sustained investment in the kind of people who aren't going to use it to wipe out an ethnic minority that isn't them.

Here's the rub though: Even if you had ideal conditions to fund and maintain democracy, economic conditions in Syria, Pakistan etc. are unlikely to ever get better than they already are. Population pressures and climate change are going to hit these places the hardest, we're beyond the point where those factors aren't going to have serious consequences now. Which means they're always going to be poverty-stricken war-torn hellholes that are deeply resentful of the West. Which means that maybe, remote bombing forever actually is the best option. That's pretty much been the US military's line of thinking for a while now.


Hypothetically, what would happen to Russia if, for whatever reason, Putin was no longer around?


This is basically a good summary of the conflict i've got in my head over this, mirroring Cut the Lights' similar note on 'they'll occasionally/more than occasionally fuck their intel up and lots of innocent people die'.

But yeah, it's that vs 'but we have to do something or it's even more fucked (maybe/surely?)'

I'm all for better options. I don't know how angry I can be at the states for their current policy on this because... I don't know what the other options are that are viable/realistic, and a lot of people getting loud about this don't seem to be able to put up any either.


Obviously a hugely reductive way to test opinion on seriously complex issues, but just so i can gauge the opinions of intelligent people whose opinions i listen to...

Direct military action in Syria...

  • Sadly necessary
  • Realistically avoidable


Votes are public.


not sure who the 'heir' is but i'd put money on their being a carbon-copy one in the wings


Depends who would replace him. Corruption is absolutely rife at all levels of Russian society and cronyism is rampant too. A decent proportion of the population either likes him (seeing him as a strong leader due to foreign policy, or believing that despite his faults he's made Russia run more smoothly than his post-USSR predecessors, the importance of which can't be ignored given what a huge and largely rural country it is), or - rather like DiSsers with Corbyn - aren't keen on him but are resigned to him because they don't think anyone else would do better.

However, there were protests across the country a few weeks ago, at which Navalny - his opposition for next year's presidential elections, running on an anti-corruption, pro-democracy platform (albeit with an ambiguous stance towards Russian nationalism...) - was detained: https://www.theguardian.com/world/2017/mar/26/opposition-leader-alexei-navalny-arrested-amid-protests-across-russia. I get the impression that Navalny's candidacy is beginning to mobilise young voters who are fed up of the status quo; I've seen lots of commentators on Russia suggesting that young people don't watch RT and instead get their info online, so state propaganda has little control/effect on them.

This is pretty interesting although it's a few years old and obviously the poll used should be taken with a pinch of salt as a lot of people are afraid to express disapproval of him:

(This is all based on reading a lot of Russia-based foreign correspondents on Twitter rather than significantly more in-depth understanding or research on the issue though... i'd be really interested to read more educated replies/links on the matter.)