It’s That Regime Change Thing Again

****A bit late with so much happening this draft was moved around until a more appropriate time was found.****

At the SOTU speech brought his butt buddy Guido (yes I know that is not his name) and made sure that he got his moment in the light for Venezuela will be the next attempt at regime change….or as I call it….a colossal waste of money and people….

We Americans seem to always think that we can build a better nation for other people….and most times it is always a failure…..

Forcible regime change, or using military force to overthrow a foreign government, can be enticing when a regime appears to be threatening U.S. security. The logic is that when a regime continues to work against U.S. interests, replacing the regime can be a quick and easy way to change this pattern rather than sustained military action or diplomatic negotiation.

The problem, however, is that a resounding amount of research has shown that regime change rarely succeeds. Regardless of the goal, regime change mostly fails to produce better economic conditions, build lasting democracy or promote more stable relations to advance U.S. interests. From Haiti and the Dominican Republic in the 1910s, to South Vietnam in the 1960s, to Iraq in the 2000s, the United States failed to achieve these goals over 110 years of regime-change missions.

And when regime change does not achieve these goals, it can provoke a civil war — as it did in Congo following the regime change mission in Léopoldville (now Kinshasa) in 1960 to oust Prime Minister Patrice Lumumba — degrade respect for human rights and create more instability. Worse, rather than being a quick and easy policy success, the instability created after a regime is deposed often leads to lengthy nation-building projects that policymakers never intended.

https://www.cato.org/publications/commentary/regime-change-rarely-succeeds-when-will-us-learn

It is like a forced conversion….seldom has a lasting effect or belief…

By far the dumbest thing that Americans tend to believe is the successes of regime change……

By far the dumbest thing in all of US politics is the fact that Democrats tend to support regime change in Syria, while Republicans tend to support it more in Iran. I am not talking about the elected officials in those parties; I’m talking about the ordinary rank-and-file Joes and Janets who stand absolutely nothing to gain from toppling either Damascus or Tehran, but who have been brainwashed by lifelong media consumption into supporting one or the other anyway.

Whenever I write against the US government’s longstanding agenda to replace the leadership of Tehran with a compliant puppet regime, I know with absolute certainty that I’m going to spend the rest of my time online arguing with Trump supporters and lifelong Republicans. Whenever I write against the US government’s longstanding agenda to do the same in Syria, I know with absolute certainty that I’m going to be arguing predominantly with so-called centrist liberals.

At no time has this ever failed to occur.

View at Medium.com

The whole idea of regime change is just plain silly and at best a damn LIE.

The United States has, at various times in its history, used military force to promote regime change around the world in pursuit of its interests. In recent years, however, there has been a growing scholarly consensus that these foreign regime‐​change operations are often ineffective and produce deleterious side effects. Whether trying to achieve political, security, economic, or humanitarian goals, scholars have found that regime‐​change missions do not succeed as envisioned. Instead, they are likely to spark civil wars, lead to lower levels of democracy, increase repression, and in the end, draw the foreign intervener into lengthy nation‐​building projects.

https://www.cato.org/publications/policy-analysis/more-things-change-more-they-stay-same

But yet both parties champion one or the other…..and never half to pay for being a dismal failure.

I Read, I Write, You Know

“lego ergo scribo”

Where Oh Where Did Foreign Policy Go?

No damn secret that I spend a lot of time read, researching and writing about our foreign policy mostly those policies that effect our direction in the Middle East.

I admit it…I have NO idea what the foreign policy of Pres. Trump is exactly……hard words for wars….hard words for foreign leaders…..the embrace of long time adversaries……and a general waffling on most policies.

I have become totally confused on his, Trump, intents around the world….what is this person doing to our foreign policy?

WHEN DONALD Trump delivered his first and only major foreign policy address of the 2016 campaign on April 27 at the Mayflower Hotel in Washington, he indicated that it was time for a fundamental change in America’s approach to both its allies and adversaries. Now that the 2020 presidential campaign has begun in earnest, it’s worth looking back at that speech to measure how far he has met the goals that he set. Has Trump profoundly altered the course of American foreign policy? Or has he been a study in inconsistency?

At the outset of his 2016 speech, he declared that it was time to “shake the rust off America’s foreign policy.” He proposed to remove it by pursuing a policy of America First that would usher in a shiny new nationalism. To be sure, Trump pointed to the Cold War as an era of American greatness. But he argued that the very triumphalism that had emerged after the fall of the Berlin Wall set the stage for the disasters that ensued in the Middle East, when the George W. Bush administration set out on a quixotic quest to transform the region overnight into a bastion of Western-style democracies. The problems were only compounded by President Barack Obama’s intervention in Libya. According to Trump, “each of these actions have helped to throw the region into chaos and gave isis the space it needs to grow and prosper. Very bad.” He also noted that these actions had created a vacuum that allowed Iran to expand its reach and influence.

https://nationalinterest.org/feature/has-trump-altered-course-american-foreign-policy-124101

Thanx to Trump we have a total disruption in our foreign policy and our national interests….but why?

Disagreement and conflict plague our foreign policy discussions in the same way confusion about the nature of justice makes it difficult to make ethically informed personal decisions. Foreign policy consensus is rare in America, just as moral consensus is the stuff of fairy tales. However, difficulty in reaching agreement is no excuse to succumb to relativism or blind fatalism. Government officials, military leaders, and diplomats must still make decisions and pursue foreign policy goals despite the lack of clear, unambiguous guidance. Indeed, many disagreements in the foreign policy community arise not from a lack of clear goals, but rather from their overabundance. Prioritizing them, deciding where to dedicate significant resources and which to abandon—these are the subjects of never-ending debate in public discourse.

https://www.realcleardefense.com/articles/2020/02/07/whose_national_interest_which_foreign_policy_115030.html

I am an old fart…..plus I am an aging antiwar activist and I see the only way out of this cycle of ignorance in our foreign policy can only be saved by the Millennial Generation……(if they are up to the task)…..

In mainstream media outlets, Millennials (a generation with shockingly little wealth) have spent the last decade on a multi-industry killing spree. Now Millennials, along with neighboring Gen X and Gen Z, are coming for your politics.

In both the 2016 and 2018 elections, Gen X, Millennials, and Gen Z have combined to cast more votes than Boomers and older generations. In the 2018 midterm elections, Millennial turnout nearly doubled from the prior 2014 midterm election. Still, Millennials haven’t taken over: while 42 percent of eligible Millennials voted, that still lags behind the 64 percent of Boomers who trekked to the polls.

But as Millennials and younger generations of Americans claim a larger share of the electoral pie, the issues on which they differ from older Americans become more salient. And there are many. As Pew says in their 2018 report, “The Generation Gap in American Politics”:

Can Millennials save U.S. foreign policy?

To illustrate the direction that young would travel in foreign policy look no further than those young reps in Congress……

The plan calls for the U.S. to cease the “go-it-alone” strategy that has dominated the country’s foreign policy for decades and to instead seek rapprochement with other countries and to prioritize human rights and other areas of global cooperation.

Path to PEACE includes seven pieces of legislation calling for Congressional approval of sanctions, the end of arms sales to human rights violators, and instituting policies aimed at protecting and promoting rights of children, among other issues. 

“The United States can be an agent of peace and end the global refugee crisis if we elect members of Congress who will make this a priority,” tweeted Jetpac executive director Mohammed Missouri.

https://www.commondreams.org/news/2020/02/12/ilhan-omar-unveils-bold-proposal-us-foreign-policy-deeply-rooted-justice

For those interested in her plan for our foreign policy…..https://omar.house.gov/sites/omar.house.gov/files/wysiwyg_uploaded/OMARMN_067_xml.pdf

This plan will get my support…that is until they corporate owned Reps start “tweaking” the plan….and then I will withdraw my support…..

One last thought on Trump foreign policy……from the Orange County paper…..

President Trump campaigned on ending America’s endless wars in the Middle East and Afghanistan. Three years into his presidency, we’re not only engaged in the same dubious entanglements, but now at greater risk of conflict with Iran following the president’s killing of Iran’s Qassem Soleimani.

On Jan. 3, an American drone strike killed Soleimani, a top Iranian general, and others. Purportedly, according to Secretary of State Mike Pompeo, the strike was necessary to prevent imminent Iranian attacks against the United States. While Trump administration officials have variously defined “imminent” as meaning attacks days or weeks away, some congressional Democrats, including Sen. Tom Udall, have cast doubt on the threat.

If Trump wants to end endless wars, he should stop stumbling into another one

I Read, I Write, You Know

“lego ergo scribo”

Iraq And The US Troops

We have heard all the crazed chest thumping about the troops that Iraqis are calling to leave…..Trump and his boys have said that they would not take troops out of Iraq……and I wrote about it recently…..https://lobotero.com/2019/10/24/iraq-ya-gotta-go/

And yet they have offered to take some troops out…..

In January, the Iraqi parliament voted 170-0 for the government to seek a full pullout of all foreign troops. President Trump reacted with threats, and while Iraq’s former PM had backed away, the matter of US presence is still an issue. But weeks later, things may be changing.

Over the past week, the Pentagon has talked with senior Iraqi officials, telling them they are prepared to discuss withdrawal in some form. The US has even offered a plan for a partial pullback of troops from some parts of Iraq.

The position right now is that the US is willing to leave certain Shi’ite majority areas, and cut down the number of troops in Baghdad. The US had ruled out leaving Ayn al-Assad air base, calling that a “red line.”

That is a major shift, as previously the US position was that they would not consider any specific cuts, and rather would engage in wholesale renegotiation of all US-Iraqi ties going forward.

(antiwar.com)

It appears that it is only a good idea when it is his, Trump, idea…….

This is typical of the Trump policies….knee jerk reactions nothing substantial…..

Do not get me wrong…..any reduction of our forces anywhere in the world is an excellent idea…..this is talking about the process not the idea…..

I Read, I Write, You Know

“lego ergo scribo”

Why Tulsi And Not Murphy?

It is NO secret that Tulsi is still my candidate of choice….and yes she is still in the race……

I have been a fan for many years and became a supporter when she announced her run for the nomination.

Remember back a few years ago…..2017 to be exact….when Rep. Tulsi Gabbard went to the Middle East and met with Syria’s Assad in secret?

NO?

Funny that does not surprise me one bit.

But to help you recall that and the grief she was given for the trip…..

Congresswoman Tulsi Gabbard (HI-02) returned to Washington, DC after a week-long visit to Damascus, Aleppo, and Beirut to see and hear firsthand the impact of the war in Syria directly from the Syrian people. She heard stories of suffering, pain, courage and hope from people all across the country. She met with refugees, Syrian opposition leaders who led protests in 2011, widows and family members of Syrians fighting alongside groups like al-Qaeda, as well as those fighting on the side of the government. The Congresswoman also met with Lebanon’s newly-elected President Aoun and Prime Minister Hariri, U.S. Ambassador to Lebanon Elizabeth Richard, Syrian President Assad, Grand Mufti Hassoun, Archbishop Denys Antoine Chahda of Syrian Catholic Church of Aleppo, humanitarian workers, students, small business owners, and more.

Congresswoman Tulsi Gabbard Returns From Syria with Renewed Calls: End Regime Change War in Syria Now

I wrote about the grief that the media had given her on this trip…..https://lobotero.com/2017/04/14/tulsi-a-voice-in-the-wilderness/

I guess that some will be asking why I would bring up this flash from the past, right?

Good question.

Well, it has happened again only this time it is Senators that met with the Iranian FM in secret…..

Over this weekend, the Munich Security Conference took place, and saw a lot of comments by high profile officials from around the world. The event also led to some chances for officials to meet, including a very unusual meeting.

In a story first broken by the Federalist, Sen. Chris Murphy (D-CT) led a delegation, which also included Sens. Robert Menendez (D-NJ) and Chris Van Hollum (D-MD), as well as former Secretary of State John Kerry, to hold a secretive meeting with Iranian Foreign Minister Javad Zarif.

The US State Department denied knowledge of any such meeting, though Murphy confirmed it, saying he believes the US must talk to its enemies. This is still a huge deal, not the least of which because it puts current opposition senators who are at odds with President Trump on the situation in Iran in a room with Iran’s top diplomat.

This is almost certain to be used by the Trump Administration to accuse the Democrats of trying to undercut his foreign policy with secret meetings, and this is likely to happen whether or not the meeting actually happened. Trump was already accusing Kerry of regular meetings of this sort, suggesting it was illegal.

There remains much that’s still unknown about this meeting, most importantly what they talked about. No hints were given in the Federalist report, which instead tried to draw similarities between the meeting and pre-inauguration Trump Administration meetings with Russia. Murphy did not go into detail in early reports, and the administration similarly did not offer any indication they knew anything beyond that a meeting had taken place.

Most early coverage of the report used it to try to portray Sen. Murphy negatively. The Union Journal was quick to present this secret meeting as involving “Pro-Iranian Regime US Senator” Murphy, even while Murphy is presenting Iran as an adversary.

Secretary of State Mike Pompeo was deeply critical of the meeting, saying it might undercut US policies and sanctions against Iran and Zarif.

(antiwar.com)

So far the media has not been as outraged as it was when Tulsi met with Assad…..why is that?

My guess is that they cannot chew gum and watch politics at the same time…..the 2020 election is sucking all the air out of news on the international stage.

I am watching to see if the MSM has its finger on the pulse of the foreign policy or is it just singly focused on trying to influence the election.

I believe I know the answer…how about you?

So far we have the usual……

I Read, I Write, You Know

“lego ergo scribo”

State Department Weakness

Is there anyone that does not believe that we have a problem with cybersecurity?

God, I hope not….but in this world to stupid…we just might.

Our foreign policy is run out of the Department of State and the latest report is not glowing form their cybersecurity…..

The latest publication in a long line of reports drawing attention to the U.S. State Department’s failure to secure its information technology-dependent systems from cyberattacks reflects a general mismanagement of resources.

“Notwithstanding the expenditure of substantial resources by the Department,” reads a report State’s Office of the Inspector General released Wednesday, “the OIG continues to identify significant issues that put its information at risk.”

The report follows a Jan. 14 letter Sen. Mark Warner, D-Va., sent to Secretary of State Mike Pompeo asking what steps he’s taken to address the shortcomings detailed in previous IG reports. Warner put the letter in the context of a “long history of information breaches” at State and recent tensions with Iran.

https://www.defenseone.com/technology/2020/01/another-poor-cybersecurity-audit-state-department-draws-scrutiny/162638/

But that is not a surprise for the SecState Pompeo is considered one of the worse we have ever had to hold the position…..

How does a man like this happen? In a strange way, Pompeo is like the entire 2016 election poured into a single human skin-suit. He combines all of the calculation and misplaced ambition of Hillary Clinton with the vulgarity and dishonesty of Donald Trump. If you took DNA samples from Clinton and Trump and sent them to the lab on Isla Nublar, Pompeo is what you’d get.

Except that in one crucial aspect, Pompeo is worse.

Mike Pompeo Is The Worst

I do not agree much with the Bulwark readers but on this I have to say….well said!

The longer Pompeo stays the longer our foreign policy will suffer and the longer it will take to return our nation to the forefront of human activity.

I can understand why State is losing senior people at an alarming rate.

I Read, I  Wrote, You Know

“lego ergo scribo”

Let’s Talk National Security

National Security is always a good reliable political prop….my favorite is “all options are on the table”…..

From here on we shall call it NatSec…

What is it? This NatSec thing.

National security is a corporate term covering both national defense and foreign relations of the U.S. It refers to the protection of a nation from attack or other danger by holding adequate armed forces and guarding state secrets. The term national security encompasses within it economic security, monetary security, energy security, environmental security, military security, political security and security of energy and natural resources. Specifically, national security means a circumstance that exists as a result of a military or defense advantage over any foreign nation or group of nations, or a friendly foreign relations position, or a defense position capable of successfully protesting hostile or destructive action.

Or another look……

National security is the requirement to maintain the survival of the state through the use of economic power, diplomacy, power projection and political power. The concept developed mostly in the United States of America after World War II. Initially focusing on military might, it now encompasses a broad range of facets, all of which impinge on the non military or economic security of the nation and the values espoused by the national society. Accordingly, in order to possess national security, a nation needs to possess economic security, energy security, environmental security, etc. Security threats involve not only conventional foes such as other nation-states but also non-state actors such as violent non-state actors, narcotic cartels, multinational corporations and non-governmental organizations; some authorities include natural disasters and events causing severe environmental damage in this category. Measures taken to ensure national security include: ⁕using diplomacy to rally allies and isolate threats ⁕marshaling economic power to facilitate or compel cooperation ⁕maintaining effective armed forces ⁕implementing civil defense and emergency preparedness measures

Matters not which definition one prefers….the fact is we will soon pick a president and so far NatSec has not shown its head in the debates….if it is so damn important then why not?

… national interests are the DNA of strategy and the underlying structure upon which every nation bases its strategic thinking.  To understand America’s current actions on the international stage requires a look deeper than the partisan-inspired rhetoric in the headlines. One way to approach this is to elevate the discussion beyond threats and adversaries to an analysis of national interests.  Interests drive political decision-making and help us understand U.S. foreign policy. They describe the “why,” reveal the underlying logic, and provide the standards of measurement upon which to base decisions.

Strategic thinkers with military backgrounds often tend to fixate on threats.  Without question, at the tactical and operational level, threats provide a valuable lens.  However, when facing strategic-level complex adaptive problems, such as great power competition and trans-regional violent extremism, a focus solely on threats could quickly lead to miscalculation and loss of focus.  If this occurs, the U.S. could find itself trying to chasing competitors everywhere, thereby remaining reactive instead of proactive, hence, strategically adrift.   

Beyond this, discussion of interests is valuable because it helps strategic thinkers approach problems with a more open mind.  Fundamentally, if strategic thinkers focus on interests it helps move beyond one-dimensional discussions on positions.  Positions change, interests are less dynamic and remain more stable over time.  Where positions are solutions, interests reveal the concerns, desires, and motives that underpin those positions.

https://smallwarsjournal.com/jrnl/art/starting-why-national-security-strategy-and-americas-national-interests

Maybe if candidates put more emphasis on NatSec we could start a real conversation about it…instead of platitudes.

https://www.defensenews.com/congress/2020/01/14/national-security-has-barely-made-the-debate-stage-here-comes-the-iran-crisis/

I Read, I Wrote, You Know

“lego ergo scribo”

There Is An Afghan Deal!

Could his be the beginning of something good?

The 7-day “reduction in violence” negotiated between the United States and the Taliban is set to begin on Feb. 22, an Afghan government official who spoke on condition of anonymity told Task & Purpose on Monday.

Taliban spokesman Suhail Shaheen reported on Monday that the US and Taliban have finalized the language of the Afghanistan peace deal. The US has not confirmed this yet, but had indicated in recent days that such a deal was imminent.

Afghan CEO Abdullah Abdullah confirmed the deal is finalized, saying that his understanding is that the signature depends on the success of the reduction of violence. If all goes well, the deal should be signed by all sides by the end of February.

The exact language of the deal has never been public, though indications are that it was effectively finalized in October of last year and has not substantially changed. The deal sees the US commit to a withdrawal from Afghanistan, negotiations between the Afghan government and the Taliban, and a commitment by the Taliban to fight al-Qaeda and ISIS to keep them out of the country.

The deal should end a 19-year US occupation of Afghanistan, and bring American troops home. It is expected that NATO forces will be withdrawing with the US, and the Afghan factions will reach a power-sharing deal.

This is a good start….and I hope that it can be expanded and the US troops can finally come home for that much needed rest.

I Read, I Write, You Know

“lego ergo scribo”