What The Hell Is Going On At State?

As a degree holder in international relations and conflict management I am always interested in the doings at the State department…..since it is suppose to be the diplomatic arm of the US government it gives us wonks a scale by which we judge the actions globally of this country.

Since Pres. Trump nominated Rex Tillerson we have been struggling to get a grip on his attitudes to his new position of power.  So far I am NOT impressed.  This man is an amateur…I do not care how many companies he ran and how many trips he has made overseas….he is an amateur and needs replacing with someone with experience.

For instance. he has decided not to go to the FM meeting at NATO instead he will travel to Russia.  Russia?  Why?

Secretary of State Rex Tillerson’s travel plans aren’t sitting well with his counterparts in Europe. Tillerson will skip a NATO meeting early next month, the first time in more than a decade a secretary of state has done so, reports Reuters. On top of that, Tillerson will travel to Russia later in the month. “No matter how you spin it, this is unfortunate symbolism,” a veteran European diplomat tells Reuters, referring to the perception that the Trump White House is anti-NATO and pro-Russia. The State Department didn’t provide an official reason for Tillerson’s decision to skip the April 5-6 meeting in Brussels, notes CNN, but it appears he’s opting instead to be in Florida for Trump’s meeting with Chinese leader Xi Jinping on April 6-7.

Tillerson will, however, see foreign ministers from NATO in Washington on Wednesday in a meeting about the Islamic State, notes Politico. The semiannual planning session in Brussels will be more focused on NATO itself, and Tillerson will be represented there by Under Secretary of State for Political Affairs Tom Shannon, who served under President Obama. After the China meeting in Florida, Tillerson will attend a G7 summit in Italy on April 10-11, and the State Department says he’ll visit Moscow after that. Democrats were quick to pounce on the decision—”a grave error,” says one House lawmaker—and ABC News rounds up their criticisms.

Then there was his visit to China…..BTW he blew off part of his South Korea visit because he needed a nap……and his words while there were at best confusing…..

“You said that China-US relations can only be friendly,” Chinese President Xi Jinping said to Secretary of State Rex Tillerson on Sunday. “I express my appreciation for this.”

Beijing could not be more pleased with Tillerson’s choice of words. Chinese state media is now crowing because the American diplomat, who seemed resolute in Tokyo and Seoul, appears to have turned deferential in Beijing—perhaps unwittingly. In the Chinese capital, he repeated in public the preferred Chinese formulation of relations between the two powers. On the preceding day at a press conference with his Chinese counterpart Wang Yi, Tillerson said ties between the two countries were guided by “non-conflict, non-confrontation, mutual respect, and win-win cooperation.”

Source: Tillerson’s Deference to Beijing or Unfortunate Rookie Mistake? | World Affairs Journal

Since Trump has decided that diplomacy is not important I am guessing that the various desks with State are vacant and this leads to moronic words and actions….

His impotent tenure so far is nothing but amateur hour at the cost of the nation’s reputation…..if he is not so good at this job then why would he want to do it?

As the old saying goes: Behind every successful man there stands a woman … making him become the United States’ secretary of state. At least that’s how the adage was apparently interpreted in Rex Tillerson’s household, per an interview with Tillerson that appeared Tuesday in the International Journal Review. “I didn’t want this job. I didn’t seek this job,” says the secretary, who IJR notes seems to have a “relative disinterest in the pomp and circumstance” of the job he now holds. In fact, Tillerson reveals that pre-2017, he’d been planning on retiring this month and heading off to hang out with his grandchildren at his Texas ranch. So what changed his mind? A little finger-wagging from his wife, Renda St. Clair.

“My wife told me I’m supposed to do this,” Tillerson tells IJR, noting that St. Clair exclaimed, “I told you God’s not through with you!” when he came home “stunned” after meeting with Donald Trump post-election and finding out the then-president-elect wanted him to run the State Department. Not that Tillerson, who turns 65 on Thursday, hasn’t since come around. “She was right. I’m supposed to do this,” he says, adding he’ll stick around “at the pleasure of the president.” Read the rest of the interview—including his take on how diplomacy mixes with the “America First” concept, and how an aide says he and Defense Secretary James Mattis “get along like gin and vermouth”—at IJR.

My wife told me I wanted the job….well maybe she should have got the nod and left hubby to screw with the oil industry.
This is not the person we need as pilot of American foreign policy…..time for Trump to see the writing on the wall and replace this toad before his does some real damage….but then that may have been the plan all along.
Further reading:

Fighting The Good War

I have been teaching a class on terrorism…so I watch the studies and papers done on the subject….especially the ISIS entity…..

Since the early days of ISIS every politician worth his/her salt has thumped their chest like some sex crazed primate and predicted the defeat of ISIS and a return to normalcy (I threw that part in to see if anyone is paying attention)……and then we elected a new president and now all the players are serious about the defeat of a inhumane foe.

First let me say…BUNK!  Terror is a tactic and not an entity…we may defeat a group but not the ideas.  It makes great slogans to predict the defeat but reality is more sober than some kneejerk slogan.

I have tried to let my readers know what will happen with the defeat of ISIS…..

Source: Defeating ISIS – In Saner Thought

Slowly but slowly after many long years ISIS is being decimated in Iraq ans Syria….it has taken lots of cash and lots of bombs but there seems to be a light at the end of this nightmare……but what are we really looking at these days?

Later this month, U.S. Secretary of State Rex Tillerson plans to host a 68-nation meeting in Washington to discuss the next moves by the coalition fighting the Islamic State, a senior Trump administration official said on Thursday.

This comes as the Islamic State, an actual state with territory and population, is on the verge of extinction, but remains a threat to the U.S. and many parts of the world. Since 2014, the group’s control over people has been cut by roughly 80 percent in Iraq and 56 percent in Syria, according to our estimates. The Islamic State is also slowly but steadily losing control of its largest remaining city, Mosul. Its capital, Raqqa, has been isolated and is awaiting assault. Foreign fighter flows to the region peaked in 2016 and have drastically shrunk. Thousands of Islamic State fighters in Iraq and Syria have been killed, captured, dispersed, or driven underground.

Source: Why a Dying Islamic State Could Be an Even Bigger Threat to America | World Affairs Journal

After two  months of leadership(?) Tillerson does not exhibit much leadership and yet he is going to let the world know…..exactly what?

But say we are successful and we hand ISIS their asses on a plate…..after ISIS just what will the strategy be for fighting terrorism?

The United States is approaching a strategic pivot in its struggle against jihadist terror groups. It appears increasingly likely that ISIS will be militarily defeated, even if the precise timing remains uncertain.[1] The core of ISIS’s self-declared caliphate in Iraq and Syria will be destroyed; the group will no longer exert control over significant territory or population in those countries. ISIS will go down fighting, of course, and do enormous amounts of harm in its death throes. Yet given the formidable international forces—anchored by the U.S. military—arrayed against it, and the organization’s increasingly desperate military situation, it seems highly probable that ISIS’s days are numbered.

Source: After ISIS: U.S. Political-Military Strategy in the Global War on Terror | RealClearDefense

We, the American people, have heard it all…..the rhetoric is as thick as maple syrup in winter….so far I have not heard anything that would fill me with optimism for the future of our war on terror.

We and our allies, whoever they are, may well kick the screaming crap out of ISIS….but that will not win the war….a successful battle does not win the war.  As of yet I have not heard anything that resembles a good battle plan for the future.

Road Map To Success

WE as a country are fighting many wars around the world….and most of them are with non-state entities…ISIS, Taleban, AQ, et al……..and the way the world is shaking out this will be the future of warfare, at least as it looks today.

Our State Department (what’s left of it) and the Pentagon needs to find a doable strategy for these types of conflicts……

If, as President Obama asserted, “ideologies are not defeated by guns,” but by “better ideas,” then how should the U.S. military be used to help achieve strategic success in the growing number of protracted, irregular conflicts with ideologically-motivated violent non-state actors (VNSAs)? In Afghanistan, Iraq, Syria, Yemen, Somalia, Libya, the Philippines, and many more countries around the globe, VNSAs, motivated by religious, political, ethnic and other status-quo-challenging ideas, have been remarkably resilient, perseverant, and influential. By surviving and rapidly recovering from punishing attacks by the United States and its partners—while continuing to carry out violent agendas against local, regional, and even global adversaries—these VNSAs can credibly claim that they are succeeding strategically. With broad, ambiguous long-term strategic objectives, and an open-ended, evolving path to strategic success, the United States has generally conducted limited military operations intended to disrupt and degrade such VNSAs, followed by the hopeful but indefinite objective of “ultimately defeating” them. In view of the VNSAs’ resilience, persistence, and ideological basis for conflict, the path to strategic success for the United States has remained elusive. Although its military has achieved tactical and operational successes against such adversaries, the U.S. government has struggled to define, much less achieve, strategic success. If military success is not sufficient against ideologically-motivated VNSAs, then how can the United States achieve strategic success and what is the military’s role?

Source: Winning Indefinite Conflicts: Achieving Strategic Success Against Ideologically-Motivated Violent Non-State Actors | Small Wars Journal

Plus we are, as I have said, fighting a multi-domain war……fighting around the world……and this appears to be the way forward for the foreseeable future….we need a plan and we need a good workable plan……

U.S. Army leaders today wrestled with the challenges of equipping and supplying soldiers in what the service sees as a multi-threat battlefield of the future.

To Gen. Gustave F. Perna, the Army has grown too dependent on contractor support to sustain its combat units, a practice that has led to bad habits over the last 15 years of war.

Source: Army Leaders Search for Answers to Multi-Domain Battle | Military.com

What got me on the road to this post was something that I read in the news awhile back…..I watch conflicts around the world and the way they are fought and resolved…..and the report I read was a bit disturbing……

Donald Trump’s administration is considering a military proposal that would designate various undeclared battlefields worldwide to be “temporary areas of active hostility”, the Guardian has learned.

If approved, the Pentagon-proposed measure would give military commanders the same latitude to launch strikes, raids and campaigns against enemy forces for up to six months that they possess in Iraq, Afghanistan and Syria.

Source: Pentagon wants to declare more parts of world as temporary battlefields | US news | The Guardian

To my way of thinking this is a free ride to attack and kill with little or no oversight.

As SecState Tillerson made sure to point out……he has made it clear the diplomacy is out of the question….if that is out what then?

Secretary of State Rex Tillerson said Friday that “all of the options are on the table,” including the use of military force, to deal with the threat of North Korea and its ever-escalating weapons program.

Tillerson, making his first trip to South Korea since taking over as America’s top diplomat, visited the demilitarized zone along the border with North Korea on Friday, according to the Associated Press. He said preemptive military action against North Korea, which recently conducted a ballistic missile test, could be necessary if the repressive regime’s weapons program rises to a level “that we believe requires action.”

If diplomacy is a failure then all options are NOT on the table.

You want something to fear then I give you above for a bit of contemplation.

But it will fall on deaf ears….for most are too narrow minded to think past the headline of the day from the “Ignorati”.

Closing Time–20Mar17

Nap Time For Bonzo!

The big story of the day is the Comey testimony and Brady’s Super Bowl jersey has been found…one is news the other mindless garbage….you decide.

Ever since Trump nominated and then was approved Rex Tillerson for the position of SecState I have been a critic….I did not think that this guy has material to handle the diplomacy of this country…..

He holds few news briefings and travels with no reporters that will report on his screw ups.

Recent I read that Tillerson skipped a meeting with a prominent diplomat in DC because he was fatigued and needed a nap.  Being an old fart I understand the need for a power nap every now and then….but sometimes it is not the best time.

If you have been watching the news or even listening to the ramblings of some alt-Right asswad then you will know that we are having a bit of a problem with the North Korean situation.  So much so that Tillerson went to the region for meetings with Japan, China and South Korea…I am guessing that they were holding meetings on North Korea.

While Tillerson was in South Korea he cut his visit short because he was fatigued and needed some rest……

U.S. Secretary of State Rex Tillerson warned of nuclear war with North Korea on Friday, a grim and alarming statement not to be taken lightly. But with the American media sidelined during Tillerson’s four-day visit to Asia, it has largely fallen on the South Korean press to report on the state of the negotiations, and how the U.S. and South Korea are planning to move forward together. It is through The Korea Herald, then, that it was revealed Tillerson cut short his meetings with South Korean leaders because he was too tired.

Source: Rex Tillerson reportedly cut short badly needed diplomatic consultations about North Korea because he was tired

Fatigued?  Too tired?  He does realize that there is a nuke program that needs attention?  But nap first?  Is that his plan?  I feel as if we are in good hands (sarcasm)

I think there are two options….one–fire this toad and find someone with foreign service experience….but if that is not on the list then I suggest a supply of Red Bull or any other energy drink to help him stay awake for important stuff.

Christ!  My dog could do a better job as SecState…I know she is smarter than Tillerson and she can stay awake long enough to do her duty.

Escalate……Escalate……Dance To The Music

Afghanistan–America’s forgotten war!

Afghanistan is seldom in the news these day unless someone goes batcrap crazy and has violent breakdown.

Just a few facts about this conflict……opium production is at an all time high…..the Taleban takes in more and more territory…..USA troops are still doing what they have been doing for a decade…..surviving….making do as it were.

Plus three U.S. soldiers were wounded when their vehicle hit an improvised explosive device in eastern Afghanistan on Monday, U.S. officials said.

The Islamic State group claimed responsibility for the blast in Nangarhar province, where loyalists to the group have been operating since 2015.

We have a new president and it seems he has the same plan as his predecessor….keep on keeping on…..with one small difference……his generals want to escalate……

As a candidate, Trump was critical of America’s land wars but his generals and GOP hawks want to send more troops into Afghanistan, 16 years after 9/11.

“We made a terrible mistake getting involved in the first place,” he told CNN in October, referring to the war in Afghanistan, which he called a “mess.” “I would leave the troops there begrudgingly,” the then-presidential candidate added. “Believe me, I’m not happy about it.”

Source: Trump Has Called the Afghan War a “Mess.” His Generals Want to Escalate It.

More troops to Syria a desire to escalate in Afghanistan……and so it begins.

Given America is constantly expanding its military footprint around the world—most recently into Syria and the Central African Republic—one can be forgiven for forgetting about the longest war in the history of the United States: the war in Afghanistan. But a new column by retired colonel and professor Andrew Bacevich pulls the war back into focus, and the picture is not pretty.

Despite over 15 years of support, the government in Kabul currently controls only 63% of the country. It is likely to lose control of more territory with serious advances by Taliban forces in the last year [PDF]. The government has been rife with corruption primarily related to stealing U.S. development funds and facilitating heroin smuggling. Afghanistan remains the world capital for opium production, and is even hitting new highs.

Source: Perpetual War For Perpetual Peace In Afghanistan

This field of conflict is getting pathetic…time to declare a win and come home.

In case anyone actually cares and I doubt they do……

It’s being called an “insider attack” in some reports, but an incident today in Afghanistan’s southern Helmand Province, in which three US soldiers were shot and wounded by an Afghan soldier, does not appear to have involved an infiltrator, as most previous incidents have.

Col. Mohammad Rasool Zazai, an Afghan Army spokesman, insisted the soldier “made a mistake” and had not deliberately fired his gun. The soldier, as yet unidentified in public statements, was apparently killed in the incident.

Because of the size of the Afghan military and its low pay, recruiting standards are very low, and this has allowed a number of Taliban to infiltrate, stealing weapons or using their access as “soldiers” to carry out attacks on the rest of the Afghan security forces.

(antiwar.com)

And the song continues.

Where’s The Trump Doctrine?

I have been a critic of our new master about his ideas and his actions in the field of international relations…..I have been watching what he does and so far I still have no idea what his agenda really is….of course we all know what he has stated as his agenda but actions do not bear out those statements.

I have been reading lots of sources to see if anyone has an idea of the direction our foreign policy will eventually lead…..these two sources that I felt I needed to share for those that are in the same state of confusion as me……

Tomorrow, German Chancellor Angela Merkel will meet face-to-face with President Trump for the first time, each to take the other’s measure. Mr. Trump has previously criticized Mrs. Merkel for her open-door immigration policy and, by implication in his criticism of NATO, for Germany’s paltry defe…

Source: Where’s the Trump Doctrine? | The American Spectator

Trump has forced many long time bureaucrats, those that actually know what is what, to resign or has fired outright.

The problem is that we have a civilian run government and Trump has replaced many of those civilians with generals……where will this lead?

Here we are, two months into the Trump Administration—that’s approaching 5 percent of his first term—and Defense Secretary Jim Mattis remains the only Trump-tapped Pentagon poobah.

He’s the lone confirmed civilian appointee inside the Defense Department, according to a nifty job tracker from the Washington Post and the nonprofit Partnership for Public Service that’s tracing 53 senior Pentagon positions.

The Army secretary is listed as “WITHDRAWAL PENDING” and the Navy secretary is branded “FAILED.” Last week, reports surfaced that Trump’s choice to oversee the Air Force is in trouble. Forty-eight of the 53 posts carry the label “NO NOMINEE.”

Source: Filling in the Blanks at Trump’s Pentagon | The National Interest Blog

How long can this country’s national security be held in balance without those people that keep it so?  People that have been trained and have the experience of moving through the wheels of government….there is a time when amateurs are not the best way forward…..

There is a good reason that civilians are needed in the mix for foreign policy…..military men were not trained to do so……they are trained for war not avoiding it.

According to retired Army colonel and bestselling author Andrew Bacevich, the American military is today being used to solve problems it was not designed to solve. Current U.S. foreign policy, he said, is “based on a fundamental misunderstanding of the efficacy of military power, particularly American military power,” which leads foreign-policy elites to select objectives that do not align with our frequently misunderstood strategic reality. As a result, Bacevich concludes, “we engage in wars that are unnecessary and counterproductive, notably in large parts of the Islamic world.”

Source: Why America’s Military Shouldn’t Be Managing International Affairs | The National Interest

I know Trump won the election….big f*cking deal!

He needs to buck up and do something to help secure our security and to sure up our foreign policy….slogans are NOT the answer.  Did you understand that?  Solutions need more than some cute slogan on a hat.

What if the U.S. Invaded Syria and Nobody Noticed?

I have been watching the conflict in Syria since the beginning….I have watched the players form, fight, change sides and destroy……and in all that time the US has been slowly but slowly building up its forces in the region….as if there was something big about to happen.

We have a new president and he has promised to destroy ISIS and even considered an all out conflict in Syria….with whom we are not quite sure…..in all this time few Americans have noticed the conflict beyond some passing diatribe about the past history of the region……

The media should be covering this more

While everyone was paying attention to the latest crazy Trump story, United States Marines deployed to Syria.

Did you hear about that? If you didn’t, it’s not your fault. The news has been all Trump all the time.

Source: What if the U.S. Invaded Syria and Nobody Noticed?

What will it take to get Americans to actually care that the country is heading head long into another war that will turn into yet another quagmire?
To answer the question….NO one will notice….most are too busy with their little lives to care about our troops and their families or the damage this is doing to us internationally.