Closing Thought–03Aug17

Don’t Let The Door Hit You In The Ass On The Way Out!

Yes, I know that I am a foreign policy geek!

Iran has come into the conversation from the Trump people……they have been threatened with violence even though it is obvious that they are complying with the word of the Nuke deal they signed with the US….

So I was truly surprised when McMasters fired a Iran hawk from the NSC…..

The White House has announced today that National Security Council member and top Trump adviser on Iran Derek Harvey has been fired “effective immediately.” Harvey was seen as extremely hawkish on Iran, and his firing comes amid major cabinet disagreements on Iran policy.

Harvey was said to be among the proponents for unilaterally withdrawing the US from the P%+1 nuclear deal, a position which ultimately lost out in recent weeks, as Secretary of State and Defense, Tillerson and Mattis, managed to convince Trump to take a more measured approach.

Some reports cited officials as denying that Harvey’s position on Iran was the reason for his dismissal, saying rather that he was viewed by other cabinet members as too close to Stephen Bannon. Harvey was initially hired for the council by Lt. Gen. Michael Flynn, who has also been sacked, and may not have been favored by H.R. McMaster.

(antiwar.com)

This is interesting…..was he fired because he was a hawk?  Is the NSC taking a more liberal tact on Iran?  Is the Trump White House softening its stand on Iran?

McMasters seems to be making a clean sweep in the NSC….he has fired yet another member…

National Security Adviser H.R. McMaster has sacked yet another member of the National Security Council today, with the White House announcing that the senior director for intelligence programs Ezra Cohen-Watnick has been removed from his position, with the requisite praising of his past service.

McMaster has had problems with Cohen-Watnick for awhile, trying to fire him back in March amid mounting complaints from CIA officials who didn’t like working with him. Cohen-Watnick was close with Steve Bannon and Jared Kushner, and Trump overruled McMaster on that last firing attempt.

Questions…I have questions.

At least the amateurs are being shown the door….may be a more coherent national security policy can be found.  Can anyone now spell SANITY?

That is it for my day of posting….time to kick back and enjoy some quiet contemplation……

Have a good day my friends…..Don’t forget to check out my other blog…..Gulf South Free Press……https://gulfsouthfreepress.wordpress.com/……chuq

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Trump Considers a Damn Fine Option

There have been few options in the handling of the Afghanistan War….about the only option so far is to throw more troops at the problems and pray.

But before I continue there is some sad news out of Afghanistan……

Two US soldiers were killed today just outside of the major Afghan city of Kandahar, when a suicide bomber attacked the NATO convoy they were traveling in. NATO confirmed “casualties,” but did not specify if there were any wounded on top of the two slain.

The two slain today makes nine US soldiers killed in Afghanistan so far this year, and while that’s not a lot, increased interest in putting US fighters back on the front lines has definitely made them more available targets in recent months, and this trend of casualties could be rising after dropping off in the past couple of years.

Our sympathies go out to the families.

I know that I have very little praise for our president these days….but I will say that Trump is considering an option that I can agree with in the handling of Afghanistan…..

After months of the Pentagon failing to sell a concrete plan of escalation to the White House, officials now say that the administration is considering getting back on track with a drawdown headed for a full pullout from the country after 16 years.

This is happening for the same reason the Pentagon hasn’t been able to sell the escalations, that a number of officials are unconvinced that the escalation is going to accomplish anything, and that they don’t think there’s a clear strategy for victory.

The Pentagon was more or less uniform in arguing escalations, albeit of varying sizes, and are said to be objecting to the proposed pullout as a “minority viewpoint,” warning that it does not meet the goals of the conflict.

The pullout is unlikely to be immediate, if it ultimately wins out. The plan seems to be to increase reliance on special forces and drone strikes in Afghanistan to try to make up for the largely feckless Afghan military in slowing the Taliban’s expansion across the country.

(antiwar.com)

If you would like to learn more about this turn of events…..

Source: While you were distracted by Scaramucci — Trump considered pulling out all troops from Afghanistan

The only part I do not like about this plan is that they are considering using mercenaries to do the job that our troops are now doing.

Like I said I like the idea of bring our troops home and leave Afghanistan to its own devices.

But there is always more to the story than we get……things will change…..

Stay Tuned!

World War One–A “What If”

From time to time I like to purpose a historical what if…..an alternative history if you like…..

This time it is what if the Germans had won World War One?

People who see a divine hand or the iron laws of dialectical materialism at work in human affairs bridle at the question: “What if things had turned out differently?” To EH Carr, historian of Soviet Russia, to speak of what might have happened in history, as opposed to what did happen, was just a “parlour game”. To EP Thompson, author of The Making of the English Working Class, such counterfactual speculation was “unhistorical shit”.

Other historians have confessed to being more intrigued. “The historian must constantly put himself at a point in the past at which the known factors will seem to permit different outcomes,” wrote Johan Huizinga. It is important to recognise that, at any moment in history, there are real alternatives, argued Hugh Trevor-Roper.

Source: What if the Germans had won the first world war? | Martin Kettle | Opinion | The Guardian

Source: How Germany Could Have Won World War I | The National Interest

For us historians and history geeks these types of games help the mental process……

It’s Sanctions Time Again

The US has always used economic sanctions liberally….Cuba, Iran, North Korea, Russia and most recently Venezuela.

But what does the term “economic sanctions” actually mean?

Economic sanctions are defined as the withdrawal of customary trade and financial relations for foreign and security policy purposes. They may be comprehensive, prohibiting commercial activity with regard to an entire country, like the long-standing U.S. embargo of Cuba, or they may be targeted, blocking transactions of and with particular businesses, groups, or individuals.

(Learn more)…….

Source: What Are Economic Sanctions? | Council on Foreign Relations

Now what to ask is….just how effective sanctions are as a punishment for perceived misbehaving?

Well let’s see…Cuba is still there……Iran is still there…..North Korea is still up and running….Russia will continue on and as well will Venezuela.

Next question would be…..why bother if every one is still plowing along as usual?

There is always some sort of retaliation against the US by effected countries…..take the Russian sanctions……where could this lead?

A few articles that can answer the question for you…..

Washington Pushes Harder Against Russia

By Dr. Paul Craig Roberts, July 31, 2017

On July 30 Russian President Putin finally responded to the Obama regime’s orchestrated expulsion of Russian diplomats from Washington last Christmas and illegal seizure of Russian government properties in the Washington area by evicting 750 “American diplomats,” in reality agents working to undermine the Russian government. Putin could just as well have arrested them. It only took 7 months for Russia to respond to Washington’s hostile actions against Russian diplomats.

Sabotaging Russia-US Relations for Good

By Federico Pieraccini, July 31, 2017

The Senate has overwhelmingly voted to impose new sanctions, the primary purpose of which is to deny the US President the ability to end sanctions on Russia without Moscow first demonstrating good will to resolve points of friction between the two countries.

Sanctions against China, Russia, Iran and North Korea. Part of a Global Military Agenda. Pentagon’s World War III Scenario

By Prof Michel Chossudovsky, July 29, 2017

The Congressional bill invoked respectively Tehran’s support of terrorism, Russia’s meddling in the 2016 presidential elections, and North Korea’s ICBM missile tests.

Breaking: Russia Suspends Use of US Embassy Property in Moscow

By Adam Garrie, July 29, 2017

Russian retaliation against US sanctions and the prolonged diplomatic property crisis caused by Barack Obama and prolonged under the current administration, has commenced.

Breaking: Senate Passes Russia, Iran, North Korea Sanctions Bill, 98-2!

By Daniel McAdams, July 29, 2017

The House and Senate passed “Countering America’s Adversaries Through Sanctions Act” now goes to President Trump’s desk, where he faces a damned if he does and damned if he doesn’t scenario. A veto would certainly be over-ridden, handing the president a bitter bi-partisan blow that would likely end whatever aspirations he may retain to keep his campaign promises to get along better with Russia.

Is the US Trying to Start a Hot War with Russia?

By Steven MacMillan, July 27, 2017

Tensions between Russia and the US have reached a level not seen since the height of the Cold War, with some even arguing that we have surpassed this point by now. The US is continually provoking Russia, as the hawks in Washington cannot stand the fact that Moscow has stood up to the neocons in Syria.

Finally, if these sanctions could lead to a more dangerous situation then why impose them?

Just how effective are sanctions anyway?

Middle East–One Day At A Time

I have neglected my reports on the Middle East because the sideshow in DC these days is just too damn entertaining to ignore…..I shall try to rectify my oversight.

The wars in Iraq and Syria against the arch enemy ISIS are wearing down….ISIS has all but lost the Iraqi city of Mosul and in Syria they are losing ground faster than a speeding bullet.

The ISIS bunch will be digging in and fighting a more traditional guerilla war in and around Mosul….

Islamic State militants began reinventing themselves months before U.S.-backed Iraqi forces ended their three-year reign of terror in Mosul, putting aside the dream of a modern-day caliphate and preparing the ground for a different fight.

Intelligence and local officials said that, a few months ago, they noticed a growing stream of commanders and fighters flowing out of the city to the Hamrin mountains in northeast Iraq which offer hideouts and access to four Iraqi provinces.

Source: After Mosul, Islamic State digs in for guerrilla warfare

What is really the future for the ISIS held territories?

Can we cheer the defeat of ISIS in Syria and Iraq?

What really matters is the even the “defeat” of ISIS will not bring about a peaceful region……

The fight against the Islamic State appears to be going well. On July 9, Iraqi Prime Minister Haider al-Abadi declared victory in Mosul after the city was finally retaken. The same day, the United States and Russia agreed to a cease-fire in southwestern Syria, ostensibly giving government forces and Syrian rebels a freer hand in fighting the Islamic State – not that the rebels have ever fought IS. Then on July 10, the Syrian Observatory for Human Rights told Reuters that Islamic State leader Abu Bakr al-Baghdadi was dead, as had been rumored a month ago.

These are welcome developments for the enemies of the Islamic State. But the fight is far from over.

Source: What Really Matters in the Middle East – Geopolitical Futures

The one thing we can say for certain is that the “defeat” of ISIS will give Trump a positive talking point…..something he has needed for months now….

Trump will be able to make the Middle East anew….something in his image….(now that is a scary thought for NO one has any idea what that image would be)….and toss in a little history and maybe an idea will make an appearance…(but do not hold your breath)……

President Trump got excited over a Saudi-Israeli scheme to combat Iran, but Trump’s cooperation with Russian President Putin on Syria goes in a profoundly different direction.

In the early 1920s, an ambitious young British official, Harry Philby, urged a Saudi leader (not then a king) to be bold: He could seize the leadership of the Arab world (using fired-up, Wahhabist forces), and become a true “king.” But first, it was absolutely essential he win British government support for his project; and secondly, the Saudi leader would need to change the image of his peripatetic, mounted marauders – the murderous Ikhwan. Abdul Aziz (in the West, often called Ibn Saud, the first king of Saudi Arabia) succeeded in both (though the latter, he simply had murdered by the British).

Source: Trump and the New Mideast Paradox – Consortiumnews

The Middle East is about to become more volatile than in the past (and you thought that was not possible)……

Messy will be the best description from today forward.