SPEED DATING FOR THE MIDDLE-AGED – Articles on getting it right.

Speed dating for the Middle Aged: articles on getting it right.

It’s the good news and the bad news. The good news is that, unlike some
of your friends, former classmates and relatives, you have actually made it to middle-age. Yeah! The bad news is if you are divorced or widowed it is harder and harder every year to get a date.

Reality folks. Bum deal. And it is true for both men and women(ha,ha!) So, on days you feel lonely and are cursing the mirror, think for a moment on the dearly departed and well….could be worse, right?

Okay, given the fact that you aren’t 25 any more, what are some of the components that make up middle-aged dating. Well, evaluation of partners is the starting point. The following article talks about the reality of how fast a person ‘sums up a future partner.’ And, wow, it’s pretty fast.

You’ve got 7 seconds to impress me: How we size up men in next to no time.
By MICHELLE O’CONNOR – http://www.dailymail.co.uk.
UPDATED: 03:47 EST, 13 December 2010

Would you pass ‘the seven-­second test’?
‘It takes only seven seconds for us to judge another person when we first meet them,’ says Linda Blair, clinical psychologist and author of Straight Talking.
‘It’s not a conscious process, so we don’t even realise we’re doing it – but it goes back to our primitive roots when we couldn’t afford to make wrong decisions.’

Under pressure: We subconsciously judge people within the first seven seconds of meeting them. Judi James, author of The Body Language Bible, agrees: ‘Judging other people in the first few seconds of meeting them is part of our survival response. So, although we might understand that it’s a flawed and prejudiced way of evaluation, we can’t stop ourselves doing it.
‘We’re looking primarily to see if we should feel threatened, but we also make several assumptions about attraction and personality. This is also known as the attribution effect.
‘Because we tend to be time-poor, we use assumption as a short-cut, meaning if you don’t get it right first time you might not get another chance.’
But she warns: ‘Although we instantly judge others, we slip up on signals we give out, meaning we lose ground by arriving at business or social events looking dour, anxious, shy or hostile, usually without realising it.
‘We’re happy to warm up as we go along, but we should put in some effort to hit the ground running – defining who we are and what we’re like accurately at first meeting.’

So, the experts in the field tell us that actually, both sexes do ‘size up’ the potential partner in less than a few seconds. That is just the first step in wanting to know you. Since we are not sixteen anymore and are in less of a hurry; generally people who are older spend more time deciding if they want to invest in the relationship or not. According to studies, women take more time than men, but men can take their time too.

What do men/women want the most? There are a lot of personal qualities that men want in women and that women want in men. These involve dependablility, truthfulness, reliability, trust, understanding, friendship and so on. However, before we even get to that level of the relationship, there has to a be a relationship to start from and that is where age plays a big part.

What Men Want: 7 Traits Men Look For In The Lady Of Their Dreams
NOV 1, 2019

For years, we’ve talked about finding the right woman — someone we can ride the waves of life with, who will stand by our side for better or for worse.
As a man, committing to The One is among the most important decisions we make in life; some may even argue it is the most important.

“A healthier and more balanced approach might be to understand that there are many people you can connect with, but that they might not all be relationship material because of one reason or another,” Melamed said. “We have many chances in life to meet and connect, it’s just whether or not we allow ourselves the opportunity to do so.”
There’s so much that can go into deciding who to share your life with, so I compiled a list of the qualities to look for whenever you feel a spark with someone new.

1. They’re Reliable.
When you’re building a life with someone, one of the key tenants of your relationship is trust. The ability to trust someone, to rely on the fact that you’ll be there for each other through the ups and downs, can be crucial in any relationship.
2. They’re Respectful.
Another foundational aspect of any healthy relationship is mutual respect. If you and your partner struggle to respect each other’s boundaries and bodies, you might not be dating your life partner.
3. They’re Supportive.
A relationship is made up of two (or more) individuals with their own dreams, goals, and desires. It’s vital that all members of a partnership are supportive of each other’s intentions in order for everyone to thrive.
4. They’re your best friend.
If you’re building a life with someone, your relationship will encompass not just the serious stuff, but the silly, trivial, more intimate moments, as well. Dating someone who is not just your partner, but your partner-in-crime can make even the smallest of moments into an adventure.
5. They listen.
Active listening — not just hearing, but taking in everything your partner is saying and engaging with it — can be a fundamental part of any working relationship, romantic or otherwise.
6. They’re self-aware.
Self-awareness in no way means perfection, but it does imply that both partners are working on themselves individually. Self-awareness can create security, which makes room for vulnerability, communication, and trust.
7. They communicate.
Say it with me for the people in the back: Open and honest communication is the foundation of any happy and healthy relationship. If you and your partner are building a life together, it’s crucial that you feel comfortable communicating with each other.
Additional reporting by Iman Hariri-Kia.
This article was originally published on May 4, 2015

A woman has to determine as quickly as possible whether the middle-aged man is chasing the dream of youth and of maybe becoming a father the first time or the 5th time. If that is the case, there is no point in chasing a guy like this because ‘younger’ is all he is looking for. On the part of the man, he needs to determine if the lady is looking to hook up with a check book. If so, regardless of how you feel about her, God forbid you should have a business or financial set back. The lady could be out the door in a nano second.

For myself, I stay pretty active physically and get to the gym a lot, watch my diet, etc. and with that (plus good genes) I’m told I don’t look my age. I may meet a guy who is very interested at first, but then after time, while I don’t announce my age over the loud speaker, by virtue of reference points and past experiences, they figure it out.

It is when this realization dawns, that I will see the men pushing away. Oh, no, she’s that old? What would people think, etc. etc. etc? As the following article suggests, it is really important to try and not take rejection personally. Realize that a lot of it has to due with the age factor, social pressures, and peoples’ natural programming to mate, procreate, etc. However, once I sense rejection once or twice, I don’t wait for the third or fourth time. We are done. As indicated before, men and women both make decisions about who they want to be with very quickly. Don’t beat the dead horse or the ‘dead bed’ as a fellow once said to me. It is not worth it. Move on quickly and give the next potential a chance.

Coping with rejection: 7 ways to deal with it
1. Don’t take it personally. Although it may feel very hurtful it is not you as a person that is being rejected. …
2. Don’t generalise. …
3. Stay positive. …
4. Let them go. …
5. Keep trying. …
6. Ghosts of the past. …
7. Be conscious about how you turn someone down.
Coping with rejection: 7 ways to deal with it – eharmony Dating …

https://www.eharmony.co.uk › dating-advice › dating-coping-with-rejection

How do you recognize the signs of rejection? Due to social pressures in our society, the signs of rejection may be very subtile (no one wants to look like the bad guy.)However, there are some pretty clear markers – such as: no eye contact. The individual never looks at you or glances your way and immediately looks away. No physical contact. The person may deliberately sit as far away from you as possible. No engagement; the person will respond but only if spoken to. They never initiate conversation. They may respond to phone calls, emails etc., but will never initiate any on their own. This can be true of romantic partners and/or same sex friends.
On the other hand, a person who is interested in knowing you will: smile when they see you, maybe wave. They will start a conversation, regardless of how brief. They find reasons to be somewhere at the same time you are there. They may make the phone call, send an email, letter, card, etc. Frankly, I have found to my surprise, these rules apply to female friends as well as male ones.

Once you have been rejected by a certain individual, there might be some changes in your life. For example: you lose 50 pounds, inherit money, win the lotto, get a big promotion, sell a book, whatever, and the person comes back, looking interested again. Just say no; don’t look back. If you weren’t good enough 50 pounds ago, or without the car, money etc., you aren’t good enough now. That man/woman is a user/taker who are looking for what they can get. Their real interest is not now and never was, you the person. Have enough self-respect to honor that and honor yourself.

Speed dating is just that, reacting with speed. We know enough now to know that others judge us; as potential partners, neighbors, employees, employers, dance partners, etc.,very quickly. We need to accept that as a fact of life, recognize that, realize when we have been ‘judged’ as not… something enough and simply move on. Stop agonizing about it. Remember, when you are on this side of the grass, it is not a bad thing. Hold on to your same-sex relationships, they could be the longest lasting ones you ever have. Develop hobbies and friends, get your hair cut, keep on self-grooming because you are worth it and stay open to the possibilities life has to offer. Be grateful and happy to be alive.

Turkey agrees to Five Day Ceasefire.

Mike Pence announces that Turkey agreed to a five-day ceasefire in its Syria assault
Deirdre Shesgreen and Kim Hjelmgaard, USA TODAYPublished 6:28 a.m. ET Oct. 17, 2019 | Updated 2:08 p.m. ET Oct. 17, 2019

The House condemned Trump’s decision to withdraw U.S. troops from Syria because now Turkey is attacking Kurds, who have been our allies against ISIS. USA TODAY

Turkey agreed to halt its military assault in Syria for five days, in a U.S.-brokered cease-fire that will allow Kurdish forces to withdraw from the Turkey-Syria border and potentially end the conflict entirely.

The deal was announced by Vice President Mike Pence, who landed in Turkey Thursday morning on a rescue mission – to salvage American interests in Syria amid an increasingly chaotic geopolitical conflict and a fierce domestic bipartisan backlash.

“It will be a pause in military operations for 120 hours,” Pence told reporters at a news conference after a four-hour meeting with Turkey’s president, Recep Tayyip Erdogan.

He said that once the Kurdish forces have withdrawn, Turkey has agreed to “a permanent cease fire” and the U.S. will work with Erdogan’s government to restore that peace and stability to the region.

President Donald Trump dispatched Pence and Secretary of State Mike Pompeo to Ankara to broker the deal a week after Turkish forces invaded northeastern Syria to attack the Kurds.

Trump touted the deal in a tweet minutes after Pence’s announcement, suggesting that his imposition of sanctions pushed Erdogan to reverse course.

“This deal could NEVER have been made 3 days ago. There needed to be some ‘tough’ love in order to get it done,” Trump tweeted. “Great for everybody. Proud of all!”

Turkey’s incursion, which began shortly after Trump ordered the withdrawal of U.S. forces from the region, has unleashed a free-for-all inside that corner of Syria, with Russia, Iran and other powers vying for influence.

Diplomacy?: Turkey’s leader rebuffs US call for Syria cease-fire, says he’ll meet Pence

Erdogan had initially rebuffed Trump’s demand for a halt to the Turkish attack, shrugging off the White House’s threats of crippling economic sanctions and saying he had no plans to pull back. Turkey views the Kurdish fighters – who helped U.S. forces battle the Islamic State – as terrorists because of their affiliation with an offshoot group known as the Kurdistan Workers’ Party, or the PKK.

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It’s not clear why he reversed course on Thursday.

Trump on Wednesday seemed to distance himself from the crisis in Syria, even as he dispatched Pence and Pompeo to solve it.

“It’s not our problem,” Trump said in the Oval Office on Wednesday.

Hours later, the House overwhelming passed a bipartisan resolution condemning Trump’s decision to withdraw U.S. troops from Syria, which critics said gave Erdogan a green light to invade territory held by the U.S.-allied Kurds. Trump’s comments only seemed to further fuel the bipartisan backlash on Capitol Hill to his troop withdrawal decision.

“What the president said today is just outrageously dangerous,” said Sen. Lindsey Graham, R-S.C. “It undercuts Pence and Pompeo. And I don’t agree with his construct that Turkey’s invasion of Syria is of no concern.”

Trump warned Erdogan “don’t be a tough guy” in a letter to his counterpart before Ankara launched a deadly incursion in northern Syria.

The Oct. 9 letter was confirmed by a senior administration official. “Let’s work out a good deal! You don’t want to be responsible for slaughtering thousands of people, and I don’t want to be responsible for destroying the Turkish economy – and I will,” Trump wrote.

BBC Turkey reported Thursday that when Erdogan received Trump’s letter he scrunched it up and threw it in the trash. He then launched Turkey’s offensive against Syria’s Kurds. Erdogan’s office did not return a request for confirmation of the incident.

On Thursday, Trump defended his decision to withdraw U.S. forces from Syria on Twitter.

“I am the only person who can fight for the safety of our troops & bring them home from the ridiculous & costly Endless Wars, and be scorned,” the president wrote. “Democrats always liked that position, until I took it. Democrats always liked Walls, until I built them. Do you see what’s happening here?”

Secretary of State Mike Pompeo, right, gives a speech as Vice President Mike Pence looks on during a luncheon at the State Department in Washington, D.C., on Sept. 20, 2019.
Secretary of State Mike Pompeo, right, gives a speech as Vice President Mike Pence looks on during a luncheon at the State Department in Washington, D.C., on Sept. 20, 2019. (Photo: AFP via Getty Images)

Trump missteps with Biden, Pelosi uses Kurd sympathies to move closer to the White House and the military locations in Turkey at risk.

While politican play with brass knuckles over who will be the next president of the US, the American military is front line and at risk. Military bases in Turkey are heavily exposed. While the attention of the public is focused on Trump and ‘what he’s done today’, the nation moves closer to a real war.

Your Air Force – From Air Force Times
With Turkey’s invasion of Syria, concerns mount over nukes at Incirlik
By: Stephen Losey   2 days ago

A U.S. Air Force F-15E Strike Eagle lands at Incirlik Air Base, Turkey, in November 2015. The deteriorating relationship between the U.S. and Turkey has led to concerns about the nuclear weapons reportedly housed there. (Airman 1st Class Cory Bush/Air Force)
The Air Force on Monday said it has made no changes to daily operations at Incirlik Air Base in Turkey even as Turkish forces continue to push into Syrian territory, which has prompted U.S. forces to pull back.

But concerns are growing over the reported presence of U.S. nuclear weapons at Incirlik, believed to be about 50 B61 gravity bombs. The New York Times on Monday reported that officials from the State and Energy departments over the weekend reviewed plans for evacuating the nuclear weapons there.

Not surprisingly, Air Force spokeswoman Ann Stefanek would not answer questions about possible nuclear weapons at Incirlik and whether they would be moved in a Monday email.

“The mission of the 39th [Air Base Wing at Incirlik] is to provide persistent surety and continuous air operations for the U.S., our allies and our partners and helps protect U.S. and NATO interests in the Southern Region by providing a responsive and operational air base ready to project integrated, forward-based airpower,” Stefanek said. But she stated there have been no daily operations changes at the base.

A senior official reportedly told the Times that the weapons “were now essentially [Turkish President Recep] Erdogan’s hostages” since removing the weapons would effectively spell the end of America’s alliance with Turkey, but keeping them there would leave them vulnerable.

The end of an era: 60,000 strong US-trained SDF partner force crumbles in a week under heavy Turkish assault
The end of an era: 60,000 strong US-trained SDF partner force crumbles in a week under heavy Turkish assault
The U.S.-trained force has been abandoned by its American partners and is under sustained assault by Turkish forces and their ragtag crew of proxy fighters — some who have reportedly fought under ISIS and al-Qaida banners.

By: Shawn Snow
The situation with Turkey, a NATO ally, has become increasingly volatile as Turkish forces tore into the Kurdish-led Syrian Democratic Forces after the U.S. pulled back and abandoned them.

A suspected Turkish artillery strike also landed about 300 meters from a U.S. commando outpost near Kobani, Syria, on Friday. Some troops and artillery experts believe the artillery strike was intentional, as the Turkish military had detailed grid coordinates showing them where American troops were. The Washington Post quoted a knowledgeable Army officer as saying artillery rounds had been fired on both sides of the outpost, creating a “bracketing effect.”

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In response to the Turkish artillery fire, arms control expert Jeffrey Lewis tweeted, “Seriously, it’s time to take our fucking nuclear weapons out of Turkey.”

Jeffrey Lewis

Seriously, it’s time to take our fucking nuclear weapons out of Turkey. https://twitter.com/paulszoldra/status/1182797475460997120

Paul Szoldra

JUST IN: DoD statement on Turkey firing artillery at US troops

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7:36 PM – Oct 11, 2019 · California, USA
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The presence of nuclear weapons at Incirlik, though never publicly confirmed or denied by the U.S. government, has long been essentially an open secret. It became even less of a secret earlier this year when a Canadian senator published, apparently by accident, a document containing the bases where the United States is keeping nuclear weapons.

In an interview this summer with Air Force Times on the future of Incirlik amid rising tensions with Turkey, former Air Force Secretary Deborah Lee James would not confirm or deny the presence of nuclear weapons there. But, hypothetically speaking, she said that if nuclear weapons did have to be removed from that base, it would be a complicated operation. It would require negotiations with the nation that would become the weapons’ new host, James said. And it would require a great deal of logistical and security work.

If the Air Force found a new nation willing to host the nukes, James said, it would have to take “the greatest of care” in their removal and transport. If the receiving base did not have the facilities or security necessary, James said, it would require a significant construction effort. And NATO would likely be involved.

“Any time nuclear weapons are moved from point A to point B, it is a major logistical challenge,” James said. “The security is enormous that goes with this.”

The question of whether nuclear weapons should remain at Incirlik took on greater urgency following the 2016 coup attempt in Turkey, during which the air base’s power was cut off by Erdogan’s government.

Concerns have only increased along with tensions between Ankara and the rest of NATO, especially as Turkey decided to accept a Russian-made S-400 air defense system in July. The U.S. and other NATO allies are concerned that Turkey’s use of the S-400 could jeopardize secrecy on the F-35 and it’s stealth capabilities.

Bringing a Russian system into the alliance could lead to data leaks and security breaches and give the Russians critical information about the F-35. And flying U.S. Air Force F-35s so close to the S-400 would make it easier for the Russians to gather data on their stealth and other capabilities.

Days after Turkey accepted the S-400, the U.S. booted the nation from the F-35 program. In response, Russia offered to sell Turkey its upgraded Su-35 fighters, and Turkey threatened to attack then-U.S.-allied Kurdish units in Syria.

Aaron Mehta of Defense News contributed to this report.

The War in Syria has spilled over into Turkey with huge immigrant populations camped at the east border of Turkey. Now Turkey fights back with a high likelihood that superpowers will join in.

Do the words Viet Nam, land war and a war you can’t win, ring any bells? According to recent journalists and their articles; the Kurds were supported by Turkey, the US and Saudia Arabia. Now Turkey is siding much more with Russian and Iran and is attacking the Kurds. Iran is on the verge of war with Saudia Arabia and we are getting caught in the middle.

BBC Article; 15/10/19 https://www.bbc.co.uk/newsround/16979186

There’s been a civil war in Syria for the last eight years, with different groups trying to seize control of the country.

The fighting has been between:

Soldiers who support the Syrian president Bashar al-Assad
Fighters known as rebels, who don’t want Assad to be in power anymore
The group that calls itself Islamic State (IS)
In the chaos of fighting between the government and anti-government fighters, IS took over large parts of Iraq and then moved into eastern Syria, where they were able to gain land and power.

By March 2019, IS had lost control of all the land they once occupied. More than 12,000 suspected IS members are now being held by Kurdish forces.

The situation is very complicated because other countries have got involved in the conflict.

The Syrian government’s key supporters are Russia and Iran, while the US, Turkey and Saudi Arabia backed the rebels. The UK, France and other western countries have also provided varying levels of support to what they consider to be “moderate” rebels.

Fighting continues. Recently, the US removed troops from north-east of the country, which gave way for Turkey to launch a military attack against Kurdish-forces in northern Syria.

According to the United Nations (UN) – a group of countries working together to try to bring peace – at least 6.2 million ordinary people have had to leave their homes inside Syria, while another 5.6 million have left to go abroad.

As Nancy Pelosi eyes the White House; the US is on the brink of war with Turkey, a once ally.

Wednesday, October 16, 2019

The US and Turkey could go to war
by Michael Rubin
April 09, 2018 11:02 AM

A U.S. soldier sits in an armored vehicle on a road leading to the tense front line with Turkish-backed fighters, in Manbij, north Syria, Wednesday, April 4, 2018.
(AP Photo/Hussein Malla)

It was the stuff of nationalist drivel and mad conspiracy, but in Turkey it was an instant best-seller. Almost 15 years ago, Turkish novelists Orkun Ucar and Burak Turna penned a thriller titled Metal Storm, which describes a U.S.-Turkey war in which the United States occupies Istanbul, a Turkish agent detonates a stolen nuclear warhead in Washington, and Russia and China ultimately come to Turkey’s rescue. While the premise was far-fetched, many Turkish commentators at the time suggested a U.S.-Turkey conflict could become reality. It is time to recognize that they were right.

No, the United States is neither going to launch a surprise attack on Turkey nor engage its putative NATO ally in the next several years, but the trajectory that President Recep Tayyip Erdogan has taken Turkey suggests that enmity and conflict, rather than partnership and cooperation, are inevitable. While unlikely, it is no longer inconceivable that Turkey and the United States would one day be shooting at each other.

Consider the path down which Erdogan has taken Turkey:
Erdogan is now friendlier toward Russia and Iran than the United States. There’s a tendency in Washington to self-flagellate and assume deterioration in relations is our fault, but it’s not. Erdogan’s shift toward Russia had nothing to do with U.S. support for the Kurds. After all, Moscow has welcomed Syrian Kurdish political leaders while Washington has acceded to Ankara’s request to keep them isolated. And when Syrian Kurds have killed invading Turkish troops, they have done so with Kalashnikovs and RPGs, weaponry they had received from Russia or its clients, not the United States. Rather, Turkey’s turn toward Russia is driven by deep-seeded and ideological anti-American animus among Turkey’s top leaders. Anti-American, anti-Western, and anti-NATO incitement are daily themes of Erdogan’s speeches.
The Turkish military is now an engine for Islamism rather than a bastion of secularism. Every officer up to lieutenant colonel has now arisen in the Erdogan era and, because of Erdogan’s manipulation of promotions, pretty much every flag officer with two, three, or four stars is now Erdogan’s man as well. Hulusi Akar, the Turkish General Staff’s commander, betrayed both colleagues and oaths for the sake of personal ambition. In recent weeks, Fetih TV showed pictures of hardline Islamist mullahs visiting Turkish military units. Dogu Perincek, the Turkish military’s philosophical guide, is a former Maoist who is fiercely anti-NATO and pro-Russian. Adnan Tanriverdi, Erdogan’s military counselor, is an Islamist who founded SADAT, which now forms the core of Erdogan’s personal militia, the Turkish equivalent of Iran’s Islamic Revolutionary Guard Corps.
There is very little discipline left in the Turkish military. Erdogan has purged most of the professional officers. Those left behind are now making videos honoring convicted mafia leaders like Sedat Peker or gang leaders like Burak Doner. While the United States may not want a shooting war with Turkey, it is conceivable that a radical Islamist within the military’s midst will undertake an action that will solicit a response.
Turkey has become a terror sponsor. Erdogan embraces Hamas’ most militant leaders and arms them. There would have been no Islamic State in Iraq and Syria had it not been for Turkey’s open door to tens of thousands of foreign fighters. Erdogan’s own son-in-law’s emails show he profited off the Islamic State while thousands perished at their hands. When Turkish journalists provided photographic proof that Erdogan was arming an al Qaeda affiliate in Syria, he had the journalists jailed. The West may cheer Saudi Crown Prince Mohammad Bin Salman for cracking down on extremism after decades of its Saudi sponsorship, but Turkey is picking up the slack in Asia, Africa, and Europe. Turkey’s financing of radical mosques now means that it is indoctrinating, funding, and training the next generation of extremists.
Turkish threats against the United States and its allies are becoming commonplace. After Houston-based Noble Energy began drilling in Cypriot waters in September 2011, Turkish Minister Egemen Bagis warned U.S. personnel not to enter the region, and said, “This is what we have the navy for. We have trained our marines for this; we have equipped the navy for this. All options are on the table; anything can be done.” Erdogan’s recent suggestions to create “an army of Islam” are, in Erdogan’s mind, not simple rhetoric.
Turkey has always been revanchist, but as Turkey’s economy falters (Turkey’s currency has lost more than half its value under Erdogan’s leadership) Erdogan has upped his claims to neighboring territory. Consider the following: Turkey occupies one-third of Cyprus, and occupies territory in both Iraq and Syria against the wishes of both those governments. In recent months, Erdogan has also laid claims to parts of Greece and Bulgaria. Again, this is not mere rhetoric: Incidents between Greece and Turkey have skyrocketed.
The West has a Turkey problem, and it is silly to pretend otherwise. Yes, Turkey is strategic, but it is lost. It has flipped into Russia’s camp, just as Egypt and Libya did during the Cold War. The difference then was that the West recognized the setback and moved to contain it; they did not pretend the alliance persisted and allow enemies open access to defense secrets nor share intelligence or latest-generation aircraft with an enemy.

While it is fashionable among diplomats and some analysts to argue that the transactional nature of Erdogan’s Turkey requires more and targeted engagement rather than coercion, such efforts have a very poor track record. Indeed, for much of the past 15 years, Turkish enmity has grown against the backdrop of NATO denial and Bush and Obama-era denial, coddling, and engagement. Rather than smart diplomacy, efforts to engage Erdogan now uncomfortably appear like efforts to coddle Saddam Hussein into moderation three decades ago. On June 15, 1990, the late Sen. Arlen Specter explained his opposition to military sanctions on Iraq. “There is an opportunity, or may be an opportunity, to pursue discussions with Iraq,” he said, “And I think that it is not the right time to impose sanctions.” When Specter took to the floor of the Senate, the notion of war with Iraq was considered crazy. But less than two months later, Saddam’s actions put the United States on war footing. What once was unimaginable became a possibility.

As Erdogan chooses his path, it behooves the United States and Europe to recognize that what once was outside the realm of possibility is now possible. And while all efforts should be taken to prevent such a scenario, at a minimum it is time to isolate rather than partner with Erdogan. It is time to remove all American personnel (and any remaining nuclear warheads) from the Incirlik Airbase and find another home, before repelling nationalist mobs at Incirlik itself becomes a flashpoint for conflict. It is essential for U.S. national security to cut Turkey off from intelligence sharing and military technology, including the F-35 Joint Strike Fighter, and recognize that prevention of conflict mandates better preparing regional states like Greece, Cyprus, Israel, Romania, Kosovo, Bulgaria, Iraq, as well as Syrian and Iraqi Kurds, to also counter the Turkish challenge. Historians can debate who lost Turkey, but what is obvious is that Turkey is not simply no longer a friend and ally, but rather it has become an adversary and potential belligerent.

Michael Rubin (@Mrubin1971) is a contributor to the Washington Examiner’s Beltway Confidential blog. He is a resident scholar at the American Enterprise Institute and a former Pentagon official.

US Military Deaths in the Middle East- Civilians – Contractors

These tables show only some of the figures of the high cost of war in the Middle East on American military, contractors and civilians.

Table 1. Direct Deaths in Major War Zones: Afghanistan & Pakistan (Oct. 2001 – Oct.
2018) and Iraq (March 2003 – Oct. 2018)2
TOTAL (rounded to nearest
147,000 65,000 268,000-
Afghanistan Pakistan Iraq Total
US Military 2,4014 4,5505 6,951
US DOD Civilian Casualties 6 15 21
US Contractors 3,937 90 3,793 7,820
National Military and Police8 58,5969 8,83210 41,72611 109,154
Other Allied Troops12 1,141 323 1,464
Civilians 38,48013 23,37214 182,272-

Figure 2. Total US Military Fatalities in Afghanistan and Iraq War Zones, 2001-2018
But deaths do not tell the entire story. Since 2001, more than 53,700 US soldiers and sailors have been officially listed as wounded in the major post-9/11 war zones.
Figure 3. US Soldiers and Sailors Wounded in Post-9/11 Wars
2001 2002 2003 2004 2005 2006 2007 2008 2009 2010 2011 2012 2013 2014 2015 2016 2017 2018
Total US Fatalities in Afghan and Iraq War Zones, 2001-2018

2007 Being the highest year with 1,000 American military casualities that year alone.


UA Troops Prepare to Leave Syria

U.S. Troops Prepare To Evacuate From Syria
October 13, 20191:00 PM ET


Enlarge this image
Turkey-backed Syrian fighters sit atop an armored personnel carrier in the southwestern neighborhoods of the border Syrian town of Tal Abyad on Sunday. The U.S. plans to evacuate its troops from northern Syria amid the Turkish offensive.
Bakr Alkasem/AFP via Getty Images
Updated at 6:49 p.m. ET
All U.S. forces involved in the anti-ISIS fight will withdraw from northeast Syria in the coming days, according to two U.S. officials close to the conflict. Only a small garrison of U.S. troops will remain at al-Tanf near Syria’s border with Iraq and Jordan.
The troops in border areas are endangered by Turkey’s incursion against Kurdish-led forces. The move is a sudden change in policy by the Trump administration.
“We’re preparing, waiting for the order,” a U.S. official close to the troops on the ground told NPR in an email. The situation is “getting untenable. Hundreds of ISIS getting free and we’re stuck between two fighting forces.”
Turkey’s rapid military offensive has put U.S. troops in significant danger. U.S. forces now have limited ability to move across northeast Syria without coming into contact with proxy fighters, many of whom are former members of ISIS and Al Qaeda, the official said. Turkey has reportedly provided the militants with armored vehicles that allow them to move quickly.

There are reports that gunfire from Turkish-backed forces has landed very close to the American forces in the region. U.S. Secretary of Defense Mark Esper would not speculate on whether the gunfire was intentional or accidental.
“We need to sort that out,” Esper said in an interview that aired Sunday morning on CBS’s Face The Nation. “We’ve given them the locations of our forces. But look, I’ve been to war. I know what war’s like. There’s a fog out there and things happen and we want to make sure we don’t put our soldiers in a situation where they could be killed or injured. … It would be irresponsible for me to keep them in that position.”
Esper said that the U.S. is preparing to evacuate U.S. troops from northern Syria. “It’ll be a deliberate withdrawal and we want to conduct it as safely and quickly as possible,” he said. “We want to make sure we de-conflict a pullback of forces. We want to make sure we don’t leave equipment behind. So I’m not prepared to put a timeline on it, but that’s our general game plan.”
In the CBS interview, Esper suggested that 1,000 troops in northern Syria will be withdrawn.
A U.S. official told NPR that the withdrawal is not as sudden as it appears. “We didn’t just wake up today and see Secretary Esper say something and start ordering up cardboard boxes and duct tape. This has been preplanned for many months,” the official said, adding that the movement has already begun and would take days.
Esper said Turkey has more than 15,000 forces involved in its offensive against the Kurds, while the U.S. had fewer than 50 troops in the immediate area of attack.
The Syrian Observatory for Human Rights, a monitoring group, says that 52 civilians have been killed since the Turkish offensive began on Wednesday. Esper said that it appears that Turkish proxy forces have committed war crimes.
President Trump has come under significant criticism by both Democrats and Republicans, who say that the U.S. has abandoned the Kurdish-led forces who have been a key ally in the fight against ISIS.
Susan Rice, former national security adviser in the Obama administration, told NPR’s Sacha Pfeiffer on Sunday’s All Things Considered that the Trump administration’s decision to withdraw troops from northern Syria is “nothing short of a self-inflicted catastrophe.”
Rice warned that absent the pressure of U.S. forces, ISIS will be able to “rejuvenate and reconstitute itself.”
In response to people who agree with Trump’s position to end U.S. involvement in “endless wars,” Rice said the American role in the Syrian conflict can’t be compared to the ground wars in Iraq and Afghanistan. “It was not a war that was costly in terms of casualties for the United States or in terms of resources.”
“Now, because of this withdrawal, all that work, all that investment is going to be at risk of loss,” she said. “There’ll be a humanitarian catastrophe for which the United States has blood on its hands. And Russia, Iran, and Assad will be the proximate beneficiaries in addition to the Turks.”
In tweets Sunday morning, Trump wrote that it was “Very smart not to be involved in the intense fighting along the Turkish Border, for a change.”
“The Kurds and Turkey have been fighting for many years,” Trump added. “Others may want to come in and fight for one side or the other. Let them! We are monitoring the situation closely. Endless Wars!”
NPR Pentagon Reporter Tom Bowman and International Correspondent Ruth Sherlock contributed to this report.

Treating Chronic pain without Opioids

In Tiny Doses, An Addiction Medication Moonlights As A Treatment For Chronic Pain
September 23, 20194:02 PM ET
Heard on All Things Considered

KCUR 89.3

Lori Pinkley of Kansas City, Mo., has struggled with chronic pain since she was a teenager. She has found relief from low doses of naltrexone, a drug that at higher doses is used to treat addiction.
Alex Smith/KCUR
Lori Pinkley, a 50-year-old from Kansas City, Mo., has struggled with puzzling chronic pain since she was 15.

She’s had endless disappointing visits with doctors. Some said they couldn’t help her. Others diagnosed her with everything from fibromyalgia to lipedema to the rare Ehlers-Danlos syndrome.

Pinkley has taken opioids a few times after surgeries but says they never helped her underlying pain.

“I hate opioids with a passion,” Pinkley says. “An absolute passion.”

Recently, she joined a growing group of patients using an outside-the-box remedy: naltrexone. It is usually used to treat addiction, in a pill form for alcohol and as a pill or a monthly shot for opioids.

Poll: Nearly 1 in 5 Americans Says Pain Often Interferes With Daily Life
Poll: Nearly 1 in 5 Americans Says Pain Often Interferes With Daily Life
As the medical establishment tries to do a huge U-turn after two disastrous decades of pushing long-term opioid use for chronic pain, scientists have been struggling to develop safe, effective alternatives.

When naltrexone is used to treat addiction in pill form, it’s prescribed at 50 mg, but chronic-pain patients say it helps their pain at doses of less than a tenth of that.

Low-dose naltrexone has lurked for years on the fringes of medicine, but its zealous advocates worry that it may be stuck there. Naltrexone, which can be produced generically, is not even manufactured at the low doses that seem to be best for pain patients.

Instead, patients go to compounding pharmacies or resort to DIY methods — YouTube videos and online support groups show people how to turn 50 mg pills into a low liquid dose.

Some doctors prescribe it off-label even though it’s not FDA-approved for pain.

University of Kansas pain specialist Dr. Andrea Nicol has recently started prescribing it to her patients, including Pinkley. Nicol explains that for addiction patients, it works by blocking opioid receptors — some of the brain’s most important feel-good regions. So it prevents patients from feeling high and can help patients resist cravings.

At low doses of about 4.5 mgs, however, naltrexone seems to work completely differently.

“What it’s felt to do is not shut down the system, but restore some balance to the opioid system,” Nicol says.

How To Teach Future Doctors About Pain In The Midst Of The Opioid Crisis
How To Teach Future Doctors About Pain In The Midst Of The Opioid Crisis
Some of the hype over low-dose naltrexone has included some pretty extreme claims with limited research to back them, like using it to treat multiple sclerosis and neuropathic pain or even using it as a weight-loss drug.

In the past two years, however, there’s been a big increase in new studies published on low-dose naltrexone, many strengthening its claims as a treatment for chronic pain, though most of these were still small pilot studies.

Dr. Bruce Vrooman, an associate professor at Dartmouth’s Geisel School of Medicine, was an author of a recent review of low-dose naltrexone research. Vrooman says that when it comes to treating some patients with complex chronic pain, low-dose naltrexone appears to be more effective and well-tolerated than the big-name opioids that dominated pain management for decades.

“Those patients may report that this is indeed a game changer,” Vrooman says. “It may truly help them with their activities, help them feel better.”

So how does it work? Scientists think that for many chronic pain patients, the central nervous system gets overworked and agitated. Pain signals fire in an out-of-control feedback loop that drowns out the body’s natural pain-relieving systems.

They suspect that low doses of naltrexone dampen that inflammation and kick-start the body’s production of pain-killing endorphins — all with relatively minor side effects.

Despite the promise of low-dose naltrexone, its advocates say few doctors know about it.

The low-dose version is generally not covered by insurance, so patients typically have to pay out of pocket to have it specially made at compounding pharmacies.

Exercising To Ease Pain: Taking Brisk Walks Can Help
Exercising To Ease Pain: Taking Brisk Walks Can Help
Advocates worry that the treatment is doomed to be stuck on the periphery of medicine because, as a 50-year-old drug, naltrexone can be made generically.

Patricia Danzon, a professor of health care management at the Wharton School at the University of Pennsylvania, explains that drug companies don’t have much interest in producing a new drug unless they can be the only maker of it.

“Bringing a new drug to market requires getting FDA approval and that requires doing clinical trials,” Danzon says. “That’s a significant investment, and companies — unsurprisingly — are not willing to do that unless they can get a patent and be the sole supplier of that drug for at least some period of time.”

And without a drug company’s backing, a treatment like low-dose naltrexone is unlikely to get the big promotional push out to doctors and TV advertisements that have turned drugs like Humira or Chantix into household names.

“It’s absolutely true that once a product becomes generic, you don’t see promotion happening, because it never pays a generic company to promote something if there are multiple versions of it available and they can’t be sure that they’ll capture the reward on that promotion,” Danzon says.

The drugmaker Alkermes has had huge success with its exclusive rights to the extended-release version of naltrexone, called Vivitrol. In a statement for this story, the company says it hasn’t seen enough evidence to support the use of low-dose naltrexone to treat chronic pain and therefore is remaining focused on opioid addiction treatment.

Pinkley says she is frustrated that there are so many missing pieces in the puzzle of understanding and treating chronic pain, but she, too, has become a believer in naltrexone.

She has been taking it for about a year now, at first paying $50 a month out of pocket to have the prescription filled at a compounding pharmacy. In July, her insurance started covering it.

“I can go from having days that I really don’t want to get out of bed because I hurt so bad,” she says, “to within a half-hour of taking it, I’m up and running, moving around, on the computer, able to do stuff.”

This story is part of NPR’s reporting project with KCUR and Kaiser Health News.

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