Nuclear weapons deter only nuclear weapons.

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Nuclear weapons deter only nuclear weapons.

Post by Lance Kennedy » Mon Jan 08, 2018 7:32 pm

Here is a thought, to be bandied around. Considering M.A.D. (mutually assured destruction) by nuclear nations. The idea is that if two nations have nuclear weapons, they will be so terrified that they will not go to war with each other. But when I considered the history of war during nuclear times, I realised something. No two nations have ever fired nuclear weapons at each other, but conventional warfare appears undeterred.

The Soviet Union (and now Russia) has engaged in conventional warfare many times, and often fought the western allies by proxy. The USA has engaged in conventional war many times. A nation with no nuclear weapons will still fight one that has them (like Egypt and Israel). Even two nations, both with nuclear weapons, will fight each other with conventional weapons. Like India and Pakistan.

So what use are nuclear weapons? Very little, really. The only 'value' I see is to deter another nuclear armed nation using nuclear weapons against you. This may appear to be a big deal, but it also means that mutual disarmament would be of massive advantage to both. If two nations have 10,000 to 30,000 nuclear warheads each (as in cold war USA and USSR), then reduce their nuclear armament by 90% or more, the dubious benefit still remains. It seems to me that there is no rational argument against mutual reduction in the number of nuclear weapons.

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Re: Nuclear weapons deter only nuclear weapons.

Post by bobbo_the_Pragmatist » Mon Jan 08, 2018 7:34 pm

Now make an argument that supports MAD.
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Re: Nuclear weapons deter only nuclear weapons.

Post by TJrandom » Mon Jan 08, 2018 8:15 pm

Nuclear weapons may still be used against another nuclear power as a last resort when losing is imminent, or even as a preemptive loss reduction if a counter strike seems remote. Thinking of the US vs NK in both. Neither a deterrent.

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Re: Nuclear weapons deter only nuclear weapons.

Post by Gawdzilla Sama » Mon Jan 08, 2018 8:18 pm

I used to sleep right over X nuclear weapons and I was glad we had them onboard. Without them the other guys could have damaged us badly. By the same token we could do endless harm to each other if they were flung around wantonly. So MAD deterred small scale events that would have become large scale events. Balance of terror worked.
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Re: Nuclear weapons deter only nuclear weapons.

Post by Tom Palven » Thu Jan 11, 2018 3:50 pm

Saber-rattling, gunboat diplomacy? SSDD? Or something worse?
http://www.foxnews.com/world/2018/01/11 ... korea.html
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Re: Nuclear weapons deter only nuclear weapons.

Post by ElectricMonk » Thu Jan 11, 2018 4:19 pm

There is no nuclear deterrent between the US and North Korea, no degree of Mutually Assured Destruction.
We shouldn't trust that MAD doctrines will work in this case.

But on the other hand, the US has already gone through the exactly same situation when China first build Nuclear Weapons. The rhetoric on both sides was more or less the same, only China had the buffer of nearly a billion people, also called "the Yellow Peril" which (in the minds of many in the West) were just going to out-populate the earth if not curtained with nuclear Armageddon.

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Re: Nuclear weapons deter only nuclear weapons.

Post by Gawdzilla Sama » Thu Jan 11, 2018 5:42 pm

ElectricMonk wrote:There is no nuclear deterrent between the US and North Korea, no degree of Mutually Assured Destruction.
We shouldn't trust that MAD doctrines will work in this case.
I'm sorry, do you think this is some kind of contract?

But on the other hand, the US has already gone through the exactly same situation when China first build Nuclear Weapons. The rhetoric on both sides was more or less the same, only China had the buffer of nearly a billion people, also called "the Yellow Peril" which (in the minds of many in the West) were just going to out-populate the earth if not curtained with nuclear Armageddon.
Citation for that, please.
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Re: Nuclear weapons deter only nuclear weapons.

Post by ElectricMonk » Thu Jan 11, 2018 5:55 pm

MAD is a Game Theory fixture, like the prisoner's dilemma or the Ultimatum Game.
This has been studied to a degree which makes it abundantly clear what the moves are: Trump, for example, is very clearly following the Madman strategy (most likely unwittingly), which indeed is a very solid defense against an adversary like North Korea.


concerning China:

https://www.japantimes.co.jp/opinion/20 ... lekir9zKUk

https://www.nytimes.com/2017/08/10/worl ... na-us.html

https://thediplomat.com/2017/08/todays- ... m-history/


In December of 1960, the U.S. National Intelligence Estimate (NIE) warned that, “[China’s] arrogant self-confidence, revolutionary fervor, and distorted view of the world may lead [Beijing] to miscalculate risks. This danger would be heightened if Communist China achieved a nuclear weapons capability.”

...
As the NIE suggests, however, the same rogue state description fit the profile of China in the 1960s. Throughout the decade, Chinese leaders routinely dismissed the dangers of nuclear war and would stress the inevitable victory of the “people’s war” against U.S. imperialism and Soviet revisionism. At the same time, Chinese leaders greatly exaggerated the capabilities of their own nuclear program and downplayed the risks posed by potential counter force strikes against the Chinese mainland.

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Re: Nuclear weapons deter only nuclear weapons.

Post by Gawdzilla Sama » Thu Jan 11, 2018 6:13 pm

Yeah, not a contract.
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Re: Nuclear weapons deter only nuclear weapons.

Post by ElectricMonk » Thu Jan 11, 2018 6:22 pm

Gawdzilla Sama wrote:Yeah, not a contract.


better than a contract.
You can break a contract if you think that will profit you.
If you break MAD, there are only downsides.

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Re: Nuclear weapons deter only nuclear weapons.

Post by Lance Kennedy » Thu Jan 11, 2018 6:41 pm

One point I want to emphasize is that M.A.D. does not require vast numbers of warheads. If opposing sides have just a few each, the result is the same, and the consequences of a mistake much, much lower. All nuclear armed nations should be working towards a substantial reduction in nuclear arms.

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Re: Nuclear weapons deter only nuclear weapons.

Post by ElectricMonk » Thu Jan 11, 2018 6:56 pm

I disagree, Lance:
it is a question of acceptable losses, which can differ from country to country: during the Cuban Missile Crisis, Kennedy had to evoke the immutability of US PRINCIPLES, since no one believed that a US president would really be willing to sacrifice tend of millions of Americans over a Caribbean Island.
MAD is all about escalation and de-escalation: for some getting hit by a limited number of Nukes might still be something you can walk back from. And on the other hand, Nixon was trying to bluff the USSR to stop supporting the Viet Kong or less nukes would fly.

North Korea is in a weaker position, since the US might retaliate with a hit on Los Angles by "only" obliterating the biggest three NK cities, causing the rest of the country to capitulate - or turn the entire place into glass.

That is why the most important thing about MAD is to set a Red Line and make everyone believe that it is immutable.

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Re: Nuclear weapons deter only nuclear weapons.

Post by Lance Kennedy » Thu Jan 11, 2018 8:50 pm

EM

North Korea is not a good example, because the USA and its allies could turn that nation into a disaster using only conventional warfare. Nukes not needed.

On the Cuban missile crisis, the USA (and the world) escaped unscathed only by the best of luck. You may not be aware of this, but a Soviet nuclear armed submarine was on the verge of pressing the button to destroy an American fleet, and was stopped at the last moment by a man called Arkhipov.
https://en.m.wikipedia.org/wiki/Vasili_Arkhipov

The Cuban crisis came within milimeters from nuclear war and global devastation. Not good!

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Re: Nuclear weapons deter only nuclear weapons.

Post by bobbo_the_Pragmatist » Thu Jan 11, 2018 9:49 pm

Lance Kennedy wrote:One point I want to emphasize is that M.A.D. does not require vast numbers of warheads. If opposing sides have just a few each, the result is the same, and the consequences of a mistake much, much lower. All nuclear armed nations should be working towards a substantial reduction in nuclear arms.

so.......you conclude against your OP.........or is it now a tie?
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Re: Nuclear weapons deter only nuclear weapons.

Post by Matthew Ellard » Thu Jan 11, 2018 10:03 pm

Lance Kennedy wrote:One point I want to emphasize is that M.A.D. does not require vast numbers of warheads.
ElectricMonk wrote:I disagree, Lance: it is a question of acceptable losses, which can differ from country to country:
I think that Lance is right and Electric Monk is also right. The last reduction for Russia and USA reduced warheads to roughly 3,200 each and this was psychologically as well as materially enough to allow MAD to still work. It could probably be reduced again in the future. I think that in addition to acceptable losses (casualties) there is also the economic disruption that would devastate Russia and the USA.

That's what sort of makes North Korea a bit different. It only has about twenty of so "big economic" targets. Any additional nuke fired at North Korea isn't go to do much more damage.

( However small nukes are also battlefield weapons and as North Korea doesn't have NBC protected (nuclear, biological, chemical) tanks or artillery, an unlikely scenario may arise where the USA uses its smaller battlefield nukes against Nth Korean soldiers on the front, if North Korea sends off one of its Scud nukes against a Sth Korean city.)

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Re: Nuclear weapons deter only nuclear weapons.

Post by bobbo_the_Pragmatist » Thu Jan 11, 2018 10:21 pm

You know.........South Korea is not a bystander here. Absent the Nukes decapitating SK militarily, SK would defeat NK quite handily.

Matt: your ideas: if only a few dozen Nukes are needed to support MAD, and the major players have them in the 1000's, whats the inhibition to reduction in numbers? and what is the additional "X Factor" in having 1000's? Seems to me, USA should unilaterally decrease numbers, as they serve no functional purpose, allowing a nuclear MAD defense strategy to be cheaper to maintain. I also have thought the major advantage to the USA in reduced Nukes with the other holders is that they would be less likely to be stolen by terrorist factions. I am not aware of a single instance of this.......is that reasonable, or is there just a news blackout?

Good thing Nukes are basically stable and hard to set off, given the number of accidents, crashes, lost materiel.

Before we go to War with NK, seems to me we should/could put an Air Cap over the country and shoot down any missle launched....while conventional forces take them out. I heard reproted that China has warned USA that they would intervene if any Nuke Attack on NK. I really don't understand China and Russias comfort level with a Nuke Armed NK, as in its not in their interests either except as perceived a more likely threat/thorn against USA interests?

Too many moving parts.
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Re: Nuclear weapons deter only nuclear weapons.

Post by Matthew Ellard » Thu Jan 11, 2018 10:49 pm

bobbo_the_Pragmatist wrote:Matt: your ideas: if only a few dozen Nukes are needed to support MAD, and the major players have them in the 1000's, whats the inhibition to reduction in numbers?
That's not what I meant. MAD works best when bigger countries have something to lose. North Korea is a bit different as it has little to lose.

The last round of Russian/ USA warhead reduction was partially justified because aiming missiles improved so much that one small accurate warhead would hit the target rather then 10 big old style warheads having a high probability of destroying the target. This isn't something that can be applied to North Korea as it is going to target cities rather than military targets.


bobbo_the_Pragmatist wrote:Before we go to War with NK, seems to me we should/could put an Air Cap over the country and shoot down any missle launched.
I think that the USA can probably take out all North Korean missiles in flight. However they can't take out all the conventional North Korean artillery aimed at Seoul. I would think that if North Korea was launching nukes it would be simultaneously advancing on the ground. I think it is artillery that is still the real problem.

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Re: Nuclear weapons deter only nuclear weapons.

Post by bobbo_the_Pragmatist » Thu Jan 11, 2018 11:00 pm

Thanks Matt.

Again...hate the anthropomorphizing of countries. Its Kim Jong Un that has something to lose: his Friday Night Western videos and Date Night.

Artillery could cause massive civilian damage. Part of the known unknowns. I can game play the build up to the conflict where NK gives up Nukes when an air cap is established. Stings like a bitch to admit you can't defeat the USA....but do you want to lose everything instead of having everything? Well, get the important people out of Seoul, and then have at it.

On Nuclear Exchange..........seems to me you are fighting with WW2 tactics. I could be wrong...but my totally uninformed position/assumption is that an EMP blast over the USA would be the most destructive and easiest and most assured tactic for any power to take. Mushroom clouds come just from watching too many movies...........so, you could be right on what would most likely happen.....but not on what would be most pragmatic.
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Re: Nuclear weapons deter only nuclear weapons.

Post by Tom Palven » Thu Jan 11, 2018 11:20 pm

A couple of pictures of North Korea. What NK doesn't want to repeat:
http://www.globalresearch.ca/video-u-s- ... ea/5587649
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Re: Nuclear weapons deter only nuclear weapons.

Post by bobbo_the_Pragmatist » Fri Jan 12, 2018 12:06 am

Nice Link. I didn't know NK suffered a 20-25% loss of life in the Korean War. Thats what WAR is all about: what's left.

Risk assessment. It's a bitch.
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Re: Nuclear weapons deter only nuclear weapons.

Post by Matthew Ellard » Fri Jan 12, 2018 5:41 am

Tom Palven wrote:A couple of pictures of North Korea. What NK doesn't want to repeat

Tom's propaganda link
"We Killed Off – What – Twenty Percent of the Population. We Burned Down every Town in North Korea…”


You are a total idiot Tom. If North Korea didn't want to suffer casualties it should not have attacked South Korea. North Korea is still starving its people to try again with Nukes.

Do you cry into you handkerchief for Nazi Germany's casualties and blame Russia and the allies?
:lol:

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Re: Nuclear weapons deter only nuclear weapons.

Post by Lance Kennedy » Fri Jan 12, 2018 7:38 am

I am sorry for the people of North Korea. They are not so different from the people of England over hundreds of years, in which the king was venerated, and sacrifice was asked of the people. All bull-shit of course, but it went on for a long time.

Kim Jong Il is a king, because he inherited his position and is an absolute dictator. Calling him something else does not change the reality. He fits into the long and sad history of inherited royalty screwing the people.

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Re: Nuclear weapons deter only nuclear weapons.

Post by ElectricMonk » Fri Jan 12, 2018 8:12 am

I'd rather compare North Koreans to Germans at the height of Nazi Ideology frenzy: they are a bunch of supremacists who believe that every non-Korean isn't fully human.
Just like Japan, they sooner or later need a humiliating defeat to rescue them from their own ideological trap.

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Re: Nuclear weapons deter only nuclear weapons.

Post by Tom Palven » Fri Jan 12, 2018 8:29 am

"Kim's drive for a nuclear deterrent is propelled by both fear and calculation. The fear is that the Americans who detest him will do to him and his regime and his country what they did to Saddam Hussein."-- Patrick Buchanan

https://original.antiwar.com/buchanan/2 ... ins-round/
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Re: Nuclear weapons deter only nuclear weapons.

Post by bobbo_the_Pragmatist » Fri Jan 12, 2018 8:50 am

Tom Palven wrote:"Kim's drive for a nuclear deterrent is propelled by both fear and calculation.

...............and that he's Nuts. Very much from the school of Trump: never being told no.
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Re: Nuclear weapons deter only nuclear weapons.

Post by Gawdzilla Sama » Fri Jan 12, 2018 12:59 pm

I had friends who visited the Fulda Gap during our annual Reforger exercises. They would tell you that the nukes were what stopped the Red Army from plowing into western Europe.
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Re: Nuclear weapons deter only nuclear weapons.

Post by ElectricMonk » Fri Jan 12, 2018 1:53 pm

Gawdzilla Sama wrote:I had friends who visited the Fulda Gap during our annual Reforger exercises. They would tell you that the nukes were what stopped the Red Army from plowing into western Europe.


... which was another example of MAD game theory in action: the US might have been reluctant to start a nuclear war when Russian tanks start rolling into Germany. The plan was therefore to withdraw US troops, including from the nuclear missiles silos in Europe and leave the figurative keys in the ignition: German soldiers could have launched them if the existence of their country was threatened.
Making such a scenario plausible to Moscow surely did play a role in preventing a "salami tactics" steamrolling of Europe.

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Re: Nuclear weapons deter only nuclear weapons.

Post by Gawdzilla Sama » Fri Jan 12, 2018 2:15 pm

You're trying too hard.
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Re: Nuclear weapons deter only nuclear weapons.

Post by Matthew Ellard » Sat Jan 13, 2018 1:58 am

Tom Palven wrote:"Kim's drive for a nuclear deterrent is propelled by both fear and calculation. The fear is that the Americans who detest him will do to him and his regime and his country what they did to Saddam Hussein."-- Patrick Buchanan.


So you think it is OK for Kim Jong-un to starve and murder his own people, as a way of avoiding the faint possibility the Americans may do something similar in the future?

That makes no sense whatsoever.

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Re: Nuclear weapons deter only nuclear weapons.

Post by Tom Palven » Sat Jan 13, 2018 2:53 pm

North and South Korea schedule more talks:
https://www.reuters.com/article/us-nort ... SKBN1F20EE
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Re: Nuclear weapons deter only nuclear weapons.

Post by Tom Palven » Mon Jan 15, 2018 8:27 am

If one can be taught to believe absurdities, one can commit atrocities. --Voltaire

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Re: Nuclear weapons deter only nuclear weapons.

Post by bobbo_the_Pragmatist » Mon Jan 15, 2018 9:04 am

thats not what the link says at all. And even if they did, they seem not willing to do anything but give lip service....while transiting missle parts to NK and filling up oil tankers out at sea. Its like the whole world is lead by Trumps.
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Re: Nuclear weapons deter only nuclear weapons.

Post by Lance Kennedy » Mon Jan 15, 2018 7:11 pm

No, Bobbo. The whole world is led by idiots.

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Re: Nuclear weapons deter only nuclear weapons.

Post by TJrandom » Mon Jan 15, 2018 7:40 pm

Lance Kennedy wrote:... The whole world is led by idiots.


That is what Bobbo said...

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Re: Nuclear weapons deter only nuclear weapons.

Post by bobbo_the_Pragmatist » Mon Jan 15, 2018 10:39 pm

Heh, heh.........Lance finds my postings "confusing."

But just: Look.
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Re: Nuclear weapons deter only nuclear weapons.

Post by Tom Palven » Thu Jan 18, 2018 2:55 am

bobbo_the_Pragmatist wrote:thats not what the link says at all. And even if they did, they seem not willing to do anything but give lip service....while transiting missle parts to NK and filling up oil tankers out at sea. Its like the whole world is lead by Trumps.


The US, not Russia, to control Syria (except the eastern part that Bibi will add to the Golan Heights as part of Greater Israel)
https://news.antiwar.com/2018/01/17/til ... me-change/

Please tell me if my title meets your specs, Bobbo.
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Re: Nuclear weapons deter only nuclear weapons.

Post by Matthew Ellard » Thu Jan 18, 2018 3:03 am

Tom Palven wrote:The US, not Russia, to control Syria (except the eastern part that Bibi will add to the Golan Heights as part of Greater Israel)
https://news.antiwar.com/2018/01/17/til ... me-change/

Please tell me if my title meets your specs, Bobbo.


The article doesn't mention
1) Russia
2) The USA controlling Syria
3) Israel
4) The Golan Heights

The article says the USA will maintain troops so as to push against Isis, Bashar al-Assad and Iranian influence. None of which the USA has any ability to do.

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Re: Nuclear weapons deter only nuclear weapons.

Post by Tom Palven » Thu Jan 18, 2018 3:09 am

Matthew Ellard wrote:
Tom Palven wrote:The US, not Russia, to control Syria (except the eastern part that Bibi will add to the Golan Heights as part of Greater Israel)
https://news.antiwar.com/2018/01/17/til ... me-change/

Please tell me if my title meets your specs, Bobbo.


The article doesn't mention
1) Russia
2) The USA controlling Syria
3) Israel
4) The Golan Heights

The article says the USA will maintain troops so as to push against Isis, Bashar al-Assad and Iranian influence. None of which the USA has any ability to do.


Read between the lines a little and consider the context, Matt. Try not to be so literal.

Tillerson says the the Empire will topple Russia's ally, Assad.

More unsustainable investment in conquest. More death throes of a degenerate deep state.

Will Putin cave?

The game is definitely on, and Erdogan might be the joker in the deck.
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Re: Nuclear weapons deter only nuclear weapons.

Post by Matthew Ellard » Thu Jan 18, 2018 5:10 am

Matthew Ellard wrote:The article doesn't mention
1) Russia
2) The USA controlling Syria
3) Israel
4) The Golan Heights

The article says the USA will maintain troops so as to push against Isis, Bashar al-Assad and Iranian influence. None of which the USA has any ability to do.


Tom Palven wrote:Tillerson says the the Empire will topple Russia's ally, Assad.
and Lenin, and Ho Chí Minh, and Pol Pot and numerous other leaders without any ability to do so.

Tom Palven wrote: More death throes of a degenerate deep state.
Sooooo....the Secretary of State making a public announcement is now part of your magical "Deep State"? In your bizarre world, what isn't "Deep State"?

Tom Palven wrote:Will Putin cave?
You have got to be joking. Unlike you, Putin realises the USA is just another country, that can't get anything right in the Middle East and overestimates it's importance.

bobbo_the_Pragmatist
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Custom Title: bobbo da existential pragmatist

Re: Nuclear weapons deter only nuclear weapons.

Post by bobbo_the_Pragmatist » Thu Jan 18, 2018 5:25 am

Tom Palven wrote: Please tell me if my title meets your specs, Bobbo.

Which title? There are several. A more obvious mismatch once we Assume you mean Western Syria is that Syria is not contiguous to the West Bank. HEY!!!!!--->first time I get to recommend someone buy a map.==>Easier to read than a dictionary.

I'm sure we all know what you mean to say...........not at all what you do say.
Real Name: bobbo the existential pragmatic evangelical anti-theist and Class Warrior.
Asking: What is the most good for the most people?
Sample Issue: Should the Feds provide all babies with free diapers?

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