TED Conversations

Mitch SMith


This conversation is closed.

Syria: What is the core principle?

I have a friend who is a Syrian ex-pat.
He runs a grocery store in my town and I meet him almost every day.
When the Syrian conflict started getting bad I asked him about it. He said:

"We have a saying - when elephants fight, the grass is killed".

He went on to say: "I have a brother in a town that is at risk .. I plan to go in through Turkey and get him out of there." .. He has not been able to do that yet. And he explained to me the factional power that most Syrians understand .. the Sunnis, the Shiites and the Alawi .. but there are also Druze, Coptics etc etc..

And now, the USA wants to throw bombs to destroy critical infrastructure - regardless of who gets killed in the process.

This is a subject that is so complex that no one can really know what is happening.

My question to the TED community is this:

What is the basic principle?

My friend alludes to elephants and grass .. that seems basic.

Is there any other reliable abstract to be had?


Showing single comment thread. View the full conversation.

  • Sep 13 2013: Mike, Please consider this, just give it some thought.

    Obama was recently caught in a Lie about the NSA. On national TV,
    -- the Jay Leno show.
    Embarrassing and quickly hidden, hopefully to be forgotten.

    The Directors of the DNI, NSA, and DHS recently were before congress,
    giving "inaccurate statements" to the body of government that has oversight.
    My understanding of "inaccurate statements" under oath, is that they lied.

    Remember these were, and still are today, President Obama's closest advisors.
    People that must provide Truthful Information, unlike those mistakes of the past.
    Otherwise innocent people die. Lots of them did diein the past.
    American's, sons and daughters.

    There are 850,000 US Gov't employees who have Top Secret clearances.
    Does that also allow them to lie to congress? ..To fellow Americans?
    To ignore their oaths to tell the truth, the whole truth, and nothing but the truth?

    "Houston, we have a problem."
    • thumb
      Sep 14 2013: yes,

      Who was it said: "Power must keep secrets"?

      Barry and David cite power as the core principle of the Syrian conflict - indeed, all wars.

      I have the notion that power has different flavours depending on how it forms-up.
      It looks like 3 main types: power by extortion, by deception, by service.
      The power that requires secrets is the power gained through deception.
      In power by extortion, only the loyalty of the military is required.
      Power by service relies on the quality of that service.
      (are there more types?)

      I have the feeling that these methods are not so easy to mix in a single leadership.
      • Sep 16 2013: Most Americans fail to know, or when they are so informed, they fail to care,
        or even to understand that their United States of America's government,
        is the World's largest WAR Arms and Ammo manufacturer and dealer.

        What does it mean?
        It means simply that the American People Don't Care.
        The American People waste their lives being strung along by their 2 party system
        who control the content of their media with paid advertising dollars.
        Law and Order has changed since the days of the Wild West,
        Today, it is Enforcement and Order.
        Justice only Bought.

        The United State government sells $Billions of dollars of weapons to very evil people
        --e.g., for example, the Syrian Rebels in their civil war with Assad, and the Saudis.

        The United States government care not how they use these weapons,
        only that the buyers remain loyal to the U.S.

        That is why the United States government's demand, that Assad stop using chemical
        weapons, is so hypocritical,

        The United States government sells the Saudis over $600 million of U.S. manufactured
        cluster bombs. Cluster Bombs far more lethal than chemical weapons. Cluster Bombs
        that are designed to kill innocent men, women, and wee children even after war is over.
        Cluster Bombs that over 100 nations have signed a treaty to outlaw, except for the one
        nation, the United States of America's government. Their Manufacturer and Salesman.

        Unknown to most American, United States government military industrial complex
        contractors, make $100s of millions of dollars selling these Cluster Bombs.

        Cluster Bombs that 100+ nations have signed a treaty to outlaw,
        With the exception of the single manufacturer, the United States of America.

        The United States government, whom we Americans no longer control.
      • Sep 16 2013: Mitch, You are so right.

        You've won the HITS THE NAIL ON THE HEAD award.
        Thank you.

        The UN report was milk-toast, as it did not assign blame.
        But then the UN leadership couldn't give them any other orders.
        And they were sent home, chased out of Syria, by Obama's early Threats.
        Sounds like a Foul Ball.
        Obama thinks "timing" is everything.

        Can anyone tell us where the Cluster Bombs were found?
        Or does no one read the news?
        Come on guys, do your research before you spew.
        • thumb
          Sep 17 2013: Hi Frank,

          I think it gets much worse than the arms industry.

          Noam Chomsky has some interesting things to say about all that, but he also reminds us that most western cultures have more "freedom" than they ever had.
          For instance, during the 60's we would not be allowed to discuss this so publicly.
          The trick is to not allow governments to wind back our hard won conditions.

          The internet changes everything .. it is the new wild-west. And it is being gradually turned into another television system - broadcast mass-mind-control.

          Pretty soon the ISPs will flex their muscle - they have been quietly setting up our dependency - with vast quantities of money flowing from main-street into cyber-street.
          Governments have been trying to catch-up and regain control, but without global jurisdiction, they are hamstrung.

          Keep an eye on the copyright/IP thing .. here's what I think:
          There is no new physical real estate for power to expand into, so all the growth is being directed into cyberspace.
          The free media is being dispossessed from their territory, just as the native peoples were dispossessed of the continents.
          But the internet does not generate real value (food/housing/clothing) .. so how can this be possible?
          How is it that we can all go off into cyberspace and produce nothing from it beside education and entertainment?
          It's the machines - they are doing all the production in the real-world.
          The machine dream was that machines would do the work and humans would get the leisure.
          But it's not working out - the machines are doing the jobs - and the jobless are not paid.
          As we enter the cyberspace new-world, we dispossess humanity.
          Power does not need humans so much any more. It's a worry.
          One must get a handle on the workings of power - value is badly served by money, it creates exiles, and exiles form tribes. Tribal dynanics need to be understood.
    • thumb
      Sep 14 2013: Barry, please give us some credit. The NSA has being spying on us since the internet became open to the public. We are all in a data base. Our best interest should be to insure our data is correct.

      Obama, Bush, Clinton, that actor fellow, what's his name, with no memory of his entire presidency, they all new what Obama knows. It's just Obama's turn in the hot seat. Give the guy a break and don't mislead the young people.
      • Sep 16 2013: Moony, You're getting better. Thank you.

        I'm beginning to see your goal, what your writing about,

        When the Presidency was a "glad-hander" job,
        things were fine. But power seems to beget power.
        Putting the President (without experience) into charge
        of the Military, is like allowing a child to play with toys.
        Bad thing happen. Over and Over.

        If Hollywood is to be believed, 24/7 there is a guy standing
        near the President with a suitcase, and inside, the button
        to push to start WW3.

        Obama is indeed the "seat warmer".
        I suppose I am only jealous of him.
        He gets a new caddy and I only get a ford.

        I believe in Achievement.
        I cannot believe in Acceptance.

        I believe money needs to be removed from Politics.
        Being the only solution.
        I also understand that is impossible.

        I believe the best thing is to try until what is possible is
        • thumb
          Sep 17 2013: It's all about the man Frank. Where does one get experience in warfare?

          6 years at the helm can form any man into a leader, even with military matters. I agree bad things could happen with the wrong man but we haven't seen that trend with this president. He did manage to make the right call on many situations, completing the task and keeping us out of an armed conflict. He is a military strategist in his own right. Let's not forget he is at his post everyday while we take the weekends off.

          The guy with the brief case also has a weapon. If anyone steps outside of protocol, they will be shot.

          Sometimes there are limits to the terms of Achievement. While you want it, so do many others. Limited resource create a bottle neck of sorts. It's like those in need of a liver transplant. There are limited available, few get them.

          Just because you feel deserving of achievement, doesn't mean you will be successful.

          Life should be more about equanimity.
      • thumb
        Sep 17 2013: It's really hard to discern real stuff in the fog.

        I don't totally agree with this guy .. but his basics are hard to knock-down.

        If you can shoot a hole in this - I'd like to know, but in the mean time, wrong or right, getting to basics like this seems worthwhile: We get lost in the side-issues .. it can be fun there, but not if it brings suffering or boredom ;) :

        (just replace the word "marx" with the words "some guy" - it helps wipe-away useless baggage.)

Showing single comment thread. View the full conversation.