Closing Thought–01Mar17

Stand up and be counted!

When Obama nominated Chuck Hagel for SecDef I was excited…..you see he is a Vietnam war vet also and was an NCO during his days in the military which, in my opinion, gave him a more unique view of the situations that the SecDef would have to handle….and I was disappointed when he resigned and we can see why I was so…..Just look at the crap all these toads from the neo-lib camp have turned our foreign policy into…a joke.

Source: Say Good-Bye To Chuck – In Saner Thought

Source: Chuck Hagel–A Sign Of The Time? – In Saner Thought

Below is an interview with the ex-secretary and his advice on how the new SecDef can deal with the intricacies of his hob in the age of Trump…..

Chuck Hagel was Barack Obama’s Secretary of Defense in 2013 and 2014: a period spanning several international conflicts, including the Russian invasion of Ukraine and the apex of Syria’s civil war. Before that, he was a centrist Republican senator who was often maligned by the right flank of his own party. Few others know so intimately the challenges Trump’s DoD pick, General James Mattis, will face in his new job. Ditto the travails of centrist GOP senators, balancing party loyalty and patriotic duty. Now a senior adviser at Gallup and a distinguished executive-in-residence at Georgetown University, Hagel spoke to Daily Intelligencer by phone last week on everything from the real reason we need our NATO allies and the right way to fend off government leaks to why trade is actually a national-security issue.

Source: Ex-Pentagon Chief Hagel on How Mattis Can Stand Up to Trump

I believe that the US lost what could have become the best and most forward looking SecDef when we lost Hagel.

That’s it for me today my friends…..I will be back in true form tomorrow….until then…be well, be safe….chuq

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A Ban Of A Different Color

We all recall the day that Trump issued his new EO about the banning of people from 7 specific countries…Iraq, Syria, Iran, Libya and one and on….7 total.  We also remember the a judge issued a stay and then it was back to the drawing board.

Shortly after Trump issued his silly ban the Iraqis retaliated……

Iraq’s lawmakers on Monday backed a “reciprocity measure” that would bar Americans from entering Iraq in retaliation for President Donald Trump’s banning of Iraqis and citizens of six other majority-Muslim countries from traveling to the United States.

After this vote became public the M-IC went batcrap crazy…..they would not be able to rape the country for contractors and munitions and other assorted American expertise.  Not to mention the billions of dollars lost in profits if the Iraqi ban was upheld.

You can bet that there was a flurry of meetings at the Pentagon trying to find the right pressure to get this situation repaired……and guess what?

The clout of the M-IC is just amazing……

President Trump’s new immigration order will remove Iraq from the list of countries whose citizens face a temporary US travel ban, US officials say, citing the latest draft in circulation. Trump is expected to sign the executive order in the coming days. Four officials told the AP that the decision followed pressure from the Pentagon and State Department, which had urged the White House to reconsider Iraq’s inclusion on the list given its key role in fighting ISIS. Citizens of six other predominantly Muslim countries—Iran, Libya, Somalia, Sudan, Syria, and Yemen—will remain on the travel ban list, the officials say.

The new order includes other changes as well. The officials, who spoke on condition of anonymity because they weren’t authorized to discuss the order before it’s signed, say the 12-page document no longer singles out Syrian refugees for an indefinite ban and instead includes them as part of a general, 120-day suspension of new refugee admissions. The officials also say the order won’t include any explicit exemption for religious minorities in the countries targeted by the travel ban. Critics had accused the administration of adding such language to help Christians get into the United States while excluding Muslims. Unlike under the first order, existing visas will be honored, the officials say.

If that ban was a real concern then Iraq would still be part of it…..this moronic ban was purely arbitrary and does NOTHING to protect American national security.

This change of heart proves it.

“Money talks and bullshit walks”…..and Trump has taken a walk.

State Of The Ego Speech–2017

Last night our newly elected president gave his first speech before a joint session of Congress….it is a much anticipated speech and many were expecting good things and some not so good….

But I will be honest…I did not watch or listen to the speech….I prefer to print it out and read it for myself that way I am not biased by lip smacking pundits one way or the other…..(in case you might would like to try my technique)…..

Source: Full transcript of President Donald Trump’s first speech to Congress

Now the question is….how did he do for his first time (they say you ever forget your first time)…….I found 12 lines within the speech that I think I should highlight….

  • “When we celebrate our 250 years of glorious freedom, we will look back on tonight as when this new chapter of American greatness began.”
  • “We are a country that stands united in condemning hate and evil in all of its very ugly forms.”
  • “We cannot allow a beachhead of terrorists to form inside America. We cannot allow our nation to become a sanctuary for extremists.”
  • “We will work with our allies, including our friends and allies in the Muslim world, to extinguish this vile enemy from our planet,” referring to ISIS.
  • “Mandating every American to buy government-approved health insurance was never the right solution for our country,” he said, calling on Congress to “repeal and replace ObamaCare.”
  • “I have ordered the Department of Homeland Security to create an office to serve American victims,” he said, referring to crimes committed by undocumented immigrants. “The office is called VOICE—Victims Of Immigration Crime Engagement. We are providing a voice to those who have been ignored by our media, and silenced by special interests.”
  • “Education is the civil rights issue of our time.”
  • “We’ve spent trillions and trillions of dollars overseas, while our infrastructure at home has so badly crumbled.”
  • “People turned out by the tens of millions, and they were all united by one very simple, but crucial demand, that America must put its own citizens first, because only then, can we truly ‘Make America Great Again,'” he said, referring to his election win.
  • “We want all Americans to succeed—but that can’t happen in an environment of lawless chaos. We must restore integrity and the rule of law at our borders,” he said, promising that construction would soon start on “a great wall along our southern border.”
  • But: “I believe that real and positive immigration reform is possible, as long as we focus on the following goals: to improve jobs and wages for Americans, to strengthen our nation’s security, and to restore respect for our laws.” (Before the speech, he suggested he was softening his position on allowing more undocumented immigrants to stay.)
  • “Everything that is broken in our country can be fixed. Every problem can be solved. And every hurting family can find healing, and hope.”

This did one thing….it calmed the nerves of the freaking GOP…..they now have a vision (even a minor vision) that they can work with going forward.

Was it a brilliant speech?  Not even close but it was a pretty good speech….at least it was not a rehash of his election rhetoric….I am guessing that he finally decided to use a speech writer which was a wise choice.

I am sure that hiding in the dark corners of reality there will be some that think this was a game changer of a speech….

Get Comfortable………We Gonna Stay

We all know by now about the off the cuff comment Trump made about Iraqi oil….but in case you have been in a coma…..

One of the recurring themes of Donald Trump’s national security strategy is his plan to “take the oil” in Iraq and from areas controlled by Islamic State (Isis) extremists. It would drain Isis’s coffers and reimburse the US for the costs of its military commitments in the Middle East, the candidate insists.

At a forum hosted by NBC on 7 September, Trump suggested oil seizure would have been a way to pay for the Iraq war, saying: “We go in, we spend $3tn, we lose thousands and thousands of lives, and then … what happens is we get nothing. You know, it used to be to the victor belong the spoils.”

He added: “One of the benefits we would have had if we took the oil is Isis would not have been able to take oil and use that oil to fuel themselves.”

The idea predates Trump’s presidential campaign. As far back as 2011, he was telling the Wall Street Journal that this was his policy for Iraq. “You heard me, I would take the oil,” he said. “I would not leave Iraq and let Iran take the oil.” And he insisted to ABC News that this did not amount to national theft

(the guardian)

Of course it is being spun that he was just thinking out loud….and then news hit the fan about something that out Joint Chiefs added to the conversation…..

Joint Chiefs of Staff chairman Gen. Joseph Dunford says that the Pentagon is considering a “long-term commitment” to operations in Iraq, intending to keep troops in the country after the ISIS war, with an eye toward keeping Iraq’s military propped up.

Exactly what form this would take remains to be seen, as the US already has thousands of ground troops in Iraq, and they have already made a point to say that their existing operation has “no fixed end date.” US officials have previously indicated that the US would likely be in Iraq more or less forever, believing ISIS or something similar would crop up if the US was ever not occupying the nation.

Dunford’s comments suggest the US is considering something above and beyond this, but might portend both an increase in US military aid to Iraq and an even bigger deployment of ground troops in a nation-building capacity, though this would clearly run contrary to President Trump’s position that the US is spending too much money having troops abroad in so many different countries.

(antiwar.com)

That statement raises so many questions for us foreign policy wonks.  Will they be there to protect American businesses in the Iraqi oil industry?  If the Iraqi military will never be up to the task, then why keep pouring money down that rabbit hole?

Like I said….questions.

Pick And Choose The Intel

Our intel agencies have a plethora of analysts…none of which insert politics into their reports….they only give facts and analyses….that is until we elected a clown as president.

He wants the intel to reflect his words and policies…he does not think that facts are needed before implementing policy….his now infamous immigration ban is one of these times……

A new source of friction has emerged between President Trump and US intelligence officials, this time over his travel ban. A report out of an office in the Department of Homeland Security challenges Trump’s assertion that blocking travelers from seven Mulsim-majority countries will make the nation any safer, reports the AP. The report concludes that “country of citizenship is unlikely to be a reliable indicator of potential terrorist activity,” per the Wall Street Journal. A White House spokesman, however, dismissed the report as shoddy and politically motivated, and said the president is awaiting a more complete one that is “driven by data and intelligence and not politics,” says spokesman Michael Short.

A spokesman for the DHS acknowledged the authenticity of the report by the Office of Intelligence and Analysis, but characterized it as “commentary,” adding, “It is clear on its face that it is an incomplete product that fails to find evidence of terrorism by simply refusing to look at all the available evidence.” With his initial travel ban blocked by federal courts, Trump has promised to issue a revised order next week. And it does appear that a different intel assessment is in the works: Earlier this week, CNN quoted a senior White House official who said the DHS and the Justice Department “are working on an intelligence report that will demonstrate that the security threat for these seven countries is substantial.” The Journal is skeptical. It found that of 180 people charged with “jihadist terrorism-related crimes” in the US, only 11 were from the seven nations in question (Syria, Iraq, Iran, Libya, Yemen, Sudan, and Somalia).

This whole issue is the result of a person that refuses to listen before he speaks or acts……NOT the way to drive policy!

The malignant toads in his camp will illustrate their hatred and bigotry under some bullshit of a cautionary tale of what will happen….none of which is accurate!

Trump’s Foreign Policy #2

Yes I am a geek for foreign policy and have said about Trump, during the campaign and after he was elected, that his vision is unknown….lots of rhetoric but little substance.

I would like to see or hear an actual plan….supposedly next week he will get his plan from the generals on handling ISIS….don’t know if there will be any info on this plan or not……but I would like to hear more on his overall plans for our foreign policy….

I read a couple of articles that share my concern and my desire……

Jon Finer faults Trump for his foreign policy incoherence:

What is different is that right now not only is there no discernible doctrine guiding President Donald Trump’s foreign policy, the United States currently has no real foreign policy at all. By that I mean not that the policies are objectionable, or that the Trump team is struggling with the learning curve each new administration faces at the outset, as it reviews its predecessors’ approach and settles on its own. Rather, I mean that we are experiencing an unprecedented degree of policy incoherence on virtually every major issue the country faces.

Source: Trump’s Foreign Policy Incoherence | The American Conservative

There are questions also after the NSC shake-up and the dismissal of Gen. Flynn…….has Trump caved to the M-IC?  Or is he treading water for now?

ith President Trump’s foreign-policy team sounding a lot like President Obama’s, the new question is whether Trump has caved in to Official Washington’s powers-that-be or is biding his time for a big move,

After President Trump abruptly fired National Security Advisor Michael Flynn a week ago and senior Trump officials flew to Europe to unveil a foreign-policy agenda that sounded a lot like President Obama’s, even some Trump supporters wondered if Washington’s “shadow government” or “deep state” had triumphed over their hero.

But another interpretation is possible, that Trump understands that he first must gain control of the national-security and foreign-policy bureaucracies before he can press ahead with plans for détente with Russia and downsizing America’s vast web of military bases and geopolitical commitments. In other words, what we’re seeing may be a tactical retreat rather than a wholesale rout.

Source: Trump’s Foreign Policy: Retreat or Rout? – Consortiumnews

I am hoping that there is some word on his actual plans for that will give us an idea if we have a descent foreign policy or just a joke…..

In an exclusive interview, President Trump tells Reuters he wants the US to be “top of the pack” when it comes to nuclear weapons. It’s the first time Trump has discussed the American nuclear arsenal since becoming president. Trump says he would prefer a world with no nuclear weapons, calling it a “dream.” But in the meantime, he says the US has “fallen behind” in its nuclear arsenal. Russia is said to have 7,300 nuclear warheads to the US’ 6,970. Trump called the country’s most recent nuclear treaty with Russia, which takes effect in 2018, “just another bad deal.”

Daryl Kimball, executive director of the Arms Control Association, says both the US and Russia already have far more nuclear weapons than could ever be necessary. “The history of the Cold War shows us that no one comes out ‘on the top of the pack’ of an arms race and nuclear brinkmanship,” he says. The US is in the process of spending $1 trillion to modernize the nuclear arsenal it already has, and most experts say the country can’t afford it. Outside of nuclear weapons, Trump tells Reuters China could “very easily” solve the North Korea problem, says he’s “totally in favor” of the EU (something he bashed as recently as last month), and says he prefers a two-state solution for Israel and Palestine. Read the full piece here.

Tick Tock