The Trumpian Foreign Policy

I admit it…..foreign policy is one of the major areas that I use to pick which candidate will get my vote….

Trump has had some good moves in my opinion….wanting to bring our troops home is an excellent start to possibly ending our many wars. Then his withdrawal from most international treaties I do not agree with on any level……

To me he does not have a solid foreign policy…it is more like a hit and miss one…..a policy of uncertainty…..

I recently read a paper from a grad student that covers this uncertainty…..

Donald Trump’s foreign policy is a matter of continuous controversy and intense scrutiny. This interest stems from the fact that the arena of international relations and the field of American foreign policy are witnessing significant alterations as a consequence of the actions of the Trump administration. The objectives of this article are to identify the defining characteristics of Trump’s foreign policy and to assess their faithfulness to traditional and modern-era foreign policy schools. The analysis puts the nature of Pax-Americana and US exceptionalism face to face with the assumption of a post-American world. It also examines the ‘Trump Doctrine’ as what Trump himself described as a ‘brand new’ foreign policy (Curran). Thus, this article reflects on the extent to which Trump is establishing a new school of American foreign policy.

Trump’s Foreign Policy Doctrine of Uncertainty

While I do not agree with much in the Trumpian foreign policy…..I would like to give a look at what a Russian “research” has to say about this foreign policy……

Trump routinely talks up both sides of every issue, and the corporate media still judge him more by what he says (and tweets) than by his actual policies. So it isn’t surprising that he is still trying to confuse the public about his aggressive war policy. But Trump has been in office for nearly three and a half years, and he now has a record on war and peace that we can examine.

Such an examination makes one thing very clear: Trump has come closer to starting new wars with North Korea, Venezuela, and Iran than to ending any of the wars he inherited from Obama. His first-term record shows Trump to be just another warmonger in chief.

Trump’s Record on Foreign Policy: Lost Wars, New Conflicts and Broken Promises

I agree with the student that wrote about the uncertainty…..while some of his promises were good to hear….his actions do not give me confidence in his ability to deal with international situations.

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“lego ergo scribo”

 

Closing Thought–06Aug20

I see the idiot Neocons are trying desperately to appear as if they are still relevant…..some in Congress demand that AJE register as a foreign agent…..

The Qatari-owned satellite news channel, Al Jazeera, is facing renewed pressure to register as a foreign agent in the US under a two-year-old law.

After a year-long push, the US Congress amended the National Defense Authorization Act (NDAA) in 2018 requiring all foreign media outlets based in America to detail their ties to foreign governments.

The law is part of the Foreign Agents Registration Act (FARA), which was adopted in 1938 to identify Nazi propaganda outlets in the US.

They are required to include, “a description of the relationship of such outlet to the foreign principal of such outlet, including a description of the legal structure of such relationship and any funding that such outlet receives from such principal.”

The signatories include US Senators Tom Cotton, Chuck Grassley, John Cornyn, Todd Young, Marco Rubio, and Ted Cruz, and Representatives Mike Johnson and Lee Zeldin.

“Qatar’s officials have said that government-controlled media is a form of ‘soft power.’ As such, one can reasonably infer that Al Jazeera is a messaging tool for the Qatari government and on its behalf has engaged in inherently political activities and sought to influence public opinion in the US,” the lawmakers wrote.

Click here to read the letter: https://www.cotton.senate.gov/

(eurasia review)

Really?

Has AIPAC registered?

I wonder how much KSA and/or UAE paid these Congress members for their assistance?

Plus maybe those Congress people should also register as members of a foreign agency.

Now look at the names that signed on to this worthless endeavor…..not one is anything but a wind bag and a spineless Neocon.

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“lego ergo scribo”

Egypt–WTF?

As a foreign policy geek I am always looking for situations that are a problem to our policies…..

Using Open Source intel….I have found a problem with our foreign policy and as a geek in international situations this worries me.

The country is a strong ally to the US right? Has been since Saddat was the leader.

As a friend they are entitled to certain perks…..like aid from the US…..in 2020 to the tune of $297.9 in economic aid in 2020 and $1.55 billion in military aid.

That much cash should give the US some pull on the actions of our ‘friends’, right?

To take a different track here…..the US is NO friend of Assad of Syria, right?  As a matter of fact we are trying everything we can short of all out invasion to end Assad’s rule of Syria, right?

Then why is a ‘friend’ sending troops to Syria to help Assad?

Egypt has reportedly sent 150 soldiers to fight alongside Bashar al-Assad‘s regime in a planned operation against against rebel forces in northwestern Syria.

Turkey’s Anadolu news agency on Thursday quoted “reliable military sources” claiming that the soldiers have been sent to Aleppo and Idlib provinces, in coordination with the Iranian Revolutionary Guard Corps (IRGC),

Iran has been a key backer of the Syrian regime since an uprising against Assad’s rule started in March 2011, sending client militias from around the world such as the Afghan Fatemiyoun and the Lebanese Hezbollah.

The Egyptian troops have been deployed to the Khan Al-Asal area of western Aleppo province and around the town of Saraqeb in southern Idlib province, the agency reported.

Saraqeb was captured by the regime in late 2019 and is on the frontline between regime and rebel forces.

The Syrian news agency Shahed also reported a Syrian opposition military source as saying that “Egyptian mercenaries had arrived to fight alongside regime forces and sectarian militias in northern Syria”.

https://english.alaraby.co.uk/english/news/2020/7/30/egypt-sends-troops-to-syria-to-fight-for-assad

Basically, our taxpayer money is inadvertently being used to prop up Assad in Syria.

Just another case for a program to upgrade our foreign policy….but sadly that will not happen any time soon…..

Not to worry though……Egypt will spend cash with Russia for fighter planes……

Russia Today quoted military sources July 27 as saying that the Egyptian army will acquire the Russian Sukhoi Su-35 fighter jet, a first for Egypt, after photos emerged of five of them heading to Egypt. Neither the Russian nor the Egyptian side has so far made any official comments on the alleged acquisition, while the United States objects to any such deals.

According to Russia Today, “The sources indicated that these heavy and long-range fighter jets would give the Egyptian army superiority in the regional sky, which is why the US strongly objected.”


Russia’s Top War website, which focuses on defense affairs, reported July 23 that the first batch of Su-35 fighters took off from the Komsomolsk-on-Amur Aviation Plant and headed to the European side of Russia, from where they will be delivered to Egypt.

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Defund Afghanistan

These days there is lots about defunding this or that…from the police to the Pentagon……check what was written about this…….

https://lobotero.com/2020/06/09/de-fund-the-pd/

As long as we are calling for all this defunding….why not defund the US longest and costliest war…Afghanistan?

As the coronavirus pandemic overwhelmed the Afghan health system in June, doctors rallied in Kabul, calling upon the International Monetary Fund to rescind a recently granted $220 million emergency loan to the Afghan government to help with the COVID-19 crisis. In support, Sayed Ekram Afazali, head of Integrity Watch Afghanistan, a local group fighting corruption, said that such “monopolization in the spending of the aid . . . creates severe vulnerabilities and it removes the trust” in the government owing to embezzlement and mismanagement. The Kabul rally is just one of many protests against government corruption in Afghanistan. Doctors in Herat, for instance, protested against unpaid salaries. In remote Ghor Province, security forces killed six protesters angry at the distribution of food aid.

These and other similar actions acknowledge a counterintuitive but simple truth: Aid to Afghanistan is accelerating state collapse because it is channeled through a government that is dysfunctional and corrupt. John Sopko, the Special Inspector General for Afghanistan Reconstruction, said the Taliban and other insurgents draw attention to government corruption and use it to “undermine public support for the government, garner recruits to their cause and weaken the government’s bargaining position during future peace negotiations.” We believe that the current system of centralized government is the cause of systemic injustices that drive this current conflict. After 20 years of this system, there are no technical fixes to corruption that could win public trust. Rather, the entire government must be defunded, dismantled, disbanded, and rebuilt anew by the Afghan people. The coming intra-Afghan dialogue will be an opportunity to do just that.

https://www.mercatus.org/bridge/commentary/defund-afghanistan

This makes perfect sense….Trump is trying to end this costly war and the Congress and Hawks are fighting that tooth and nail…..

Time for the US to come home and save the cash spent on Afghanistan….this country needs the money to repair itself and yet those idiot warmongers are looking for other spots for their expansionism.

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The Guns Of August–Part Two

A little history for this Sunday…..

The original Guns of August referred to the beginning of the Great Wat, World War One…..but this is a bit different……

30 years ago today Saddam turned his forces loose on Kuwait…and thus began the first Gulf War…..

The consequences are still reverberating three decades on, obviously in Iraq and the Middle East but also further afield, after Saddam Hussein became the first Arab leader to invade another Arab nation. On Thursday, August 2, 1990, at about 2am, 100,000 Iraqi troops and 700 tanks smashed through Kuwaiti border posts. Saddam then announced that the emir of Kuwait had been deposed and the emirate was now Iraq’s nineteenth province.

This was his second invasion of a neighbor. In September 1980 he invaded Iran believing that the rule of the ayatollahs, and their Shia branch of Islam, posed a clear and present danger to Iraq’s Sunni-dominated government.

Much of the Iranian army and air force was dependent on US spare parts and these had dried up after the fall of the Shah in 1979. Saddam believed it would be a piece of cake as much of Iran’s heavy weaponry and air power would be unusable. Initially his forces were successful, driving deep into Iran. But the Iranians fought back, launched human wave attacks against Iraqi artillery and trench warfare, reminiscent of WWI, ensued. Stalemate. The war finally ended in 1988 under a United Nations-brokered ceasefire with neither victorious, both exhausted. Kuwait had initially lent the Iraqi leader US$14 billion to help finance the conflict. Saddam believed that this debt should be written off. Kuwait refused and demanded prompt payment.

The Gulf War, 30 Years and Counting

For those that are not capable of learning with our visuals…..

Just because I can…..a look at this war from Iraq’s perspective…..it is about 20 minutes if your attention span will allow it……

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“lego ergo scribo”

How About Defunding The Pentagon

We have lots of talk these days about defunding the police…..but for me the debate should be about defunding the Pentagon……why? So much of the problems we face revolves around a department in government that is out of control….it is wasteful and corrupt.

Yes I said corrupt!

Because the defense industry owns our Congress, both Houses, it is obvious when a bill came up that would cut just 10% of the budget….read my thoughts on this……https://lobotero.com/2020/07/22/2021-ndaa/

Now to the meat of the post…..there has been calls for the defunding the Pentagon (something I can agree with but that would be another post)………

n just the past few months, Congress has appropriated nearly $3 trillion dollars to fight the economic and public health impacts of the Covid-19 pandemic. This is on top of a terrible budget deal last year that blew through spending caps imposed by the 2011 Budget Control Act. With little end in sight to the pandemic and its associated recession, Congress is likely to spend even more in the months to come.

With resources more limited than ever, areas of the budget that were off-limits for years should now be more closely scrutinized. At the top of that list should be the single largest part of the federal discretionary budget, an entire category of spending that has long been off the table: the Pentagon.

https://www.politico.com/news/magazine/2020/07/16/defund-the-pentagon-the-conservative-case-366066

I agree that the Pentagon could use some tweaking and scrutiny….it has gotten away with wasting taxpayer money for decades….time for it to tighten up……

To be fair……something more bloggers need to try…..I will give the rebuttal to the defunding call…..

Recently Politico published two opinion pieces claiming that it’s time to “defund” national defense: “Defund the Pentagon: The Conservative Case by Andrew Lautz and Jonathan Bydlak, and “Defund the Pentagon: The Liberal Case by Sen. Bernie Sanders. A provocative suggestion, but both pieces lack some information that would contribute to a richer, more informed discussion of this critically important topic.

Although sharing similar headlines, the articles advance different arguments for why defense spending should be reduced. The self-described “conservative case” argues Pentagon spending has become “bloated” and “wasteful” and that Americans can no longer afford national security at the level currently funded. The other, “liberal view” proposes that instead of funding national defense, America should focus inwardly and take care of pressing internal problems.

https://www.realcleardefense.com/articles/2020/07/25/what_the_defunding_the_pentagon_articles_dont_tell_you_115494.html

I am with those that are calling for the defund…..put of control M-IC has given us endless war and wasted money…..and unless we voters pay attention and vote these toads out of control we will continue to have endless wars and pissed away cash.

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Biden’s Foreign Policy

Another week of depending on drafts for I have 2 eye appointments and one surgery this week….

Full disclosure….as an international relations geek I use foreign policy as a ruler to measure the people running for president.

I have covered and written about what I think of Trump’s foreign policy….not very flattering in my opinion.

Now on to the Dems top candidate these days….I have written what I think about Uncle Joe’s policies…..read my thoughts here…..https://lobotero.com/2020/04/23/bidens-foreign-policy/

For his run against Trump in November Biden has put together his foreign policy team…..and that team of “experts” have gotten filthy rich with their pro war dealings……

They had been public servants their whole careers. But when Hillary Clinton lost the 2016 election, two departing Obama officials were anxious for work. Trump’s win had caught them by surprise.

Sergio Aguirre and Nitin Chadda had reached the most elite quarters of U.S. foreign policy. Aguirre had started out of school as a fellow in the White House and a decade later had become chief of staff to U.N. Ambassador Samantha Power. Chadda, who joined the Pentagon out of college as a speechwriter, had become a key adviser to Secretary of Defense Ash Carter in even less time. Now, Chadda had a long-shot idea.

They turned to an industry of power-brokering little known outside the capital: strategic consultancies. Retiring leaders often open firms bearing their names: Madeleine Albright has one, as do Condoleezza Rice and former Secretary of Defense William S. Cohen. Their strategic consultancies tend to blur corporate and governmental roles. This obscure corner of Washington is critical to understanding how a President Joe Biden would conduct foreign policy. He has been picking top advisers from this shadowy world.

https://prospect.org/world/how-biden-foreign-policy-team-got-rich/

This illustrates what a Biden presidency will look like if he gets elected…..it will be the same as Clinton, Bush, Obama….pro war and pro M-IC……money will dictate the policies.

Not something that would lead me to support this man for the presidency……any promises about ending this war or that is idle talk and a promise he will not keep.

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Is American Exceptionalism Dying?

American Exceptionalism?

Where on Earth did that term come from?

(Pause for the Google machine to engage)

It was first used 150 years ago by a Frenchman, Alexis de Tocqueville (“There is something about Americans that is exceptional”)…..

I too have written about this situation several times as well…..

https://lobotero.com/2015/03/06/the-real-american-exceptionalism-the-unz-review/

https://lobotero.com/2016/06/09/he-doesnt-believe-in-american-exceptionalism/

https://lobotero.com/2017/02/28/american-exceptionalism-and-the-beat-goes-on/

As a teacher I get to read grad students papers and I found a recent one interesting about the term American Exceptionalism…..

The romantic notion of American exceptionalism undermines the effectiveness of US foreign policy, and clinging to this outdated notion harms specific areas of international cooperation. It should by now be clear that we aren’t special, and if we run foreign policy on deluded notions and poorly-earned arrogance it will only cause harm to those forming useful coalitions and partnerships. For example, on climate change, hubris will make a new administration focus on shaming other countries, when a show of some level of stability and making real changes domestically would go a long way towards real leadership.

Alexis de Tocqueville coined the term for the U.S. over 150 years ago (“The position of the Americans is…quite exceptional”). In a much less oft quoted sentence in that same paragraph, de Tocqueville goes on to say, “Their strictly Puritanical origin, their exclusively commercial habits, even the country they inhabit…seems to divert their minds from the pursuit of science, literature, and the arts…” And yet this notion lingers, not only in political language and symbols, but at the core of foreign policy formulation

Opinion – Eulogy for American Exceptionalism

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2021 NDAA

NDAA? 

That would be the National Defense Authorization Act……for FY2021

Every year, members of the congressional armed services committees go through the long and sometimes torturous journey of assembling the National Defense Authorization Act, the annual bill that sets policy for the Defense Department. The entire process, however, is also a critical exercise in the formation of U.S. national security policy. 

The defense policy bill is so valuable to Pentagon operations that lawmakers frequently refer to it as a must-pass piece of legislation. Ideally, the NDAA debate forces lawmakers to explain why certain military investments are necessary or why a particular overseas military engagement has outlived its usefulness.

https://www.defenseone.com/ideas/2020/07/ndaa-should-prompt-rethinking-costly-us-foreign-policy/166686/

The M-IC has won the battle to keep troops fighting and dying in Afghanistan……

By a vote of 284-129, the House of Representatives soundly defeated an amendment to establish a plan to withdraw US troops from Afghanistan. A slight plurality of Democrats supported the measure, with most of the leadership opposing. All Republicans except two voted in to oppose. Libertarian Justin Amash supported the measure. The amendment to the 2021 National Defense Authorization Act (NDAA) was offered by Rep. Ilhan Omar (D-MN).

President Trump declared in late May that he wanted to withdraw all US troops from Afghanistan before the November election. Since that time, Democratic leaders have shifted to an even more hawkish position, pulling out all the stops to prevent such a move. Much of the foreign policy of the Democratic leadership has been driven by opposition to Trump’s positions, rather than by what is best for the country or what the American people desire.

American troops have been fighting in Afghanistan for 19 years, with no progress in reducing violence.

(antiwar.com)

Seems that the Dems are joining the Repubs as the warmongers…..so it really is truly a one party government……two sides same coin.

The Act is one of pure Neocon-isms…..

A $740 billion defense policy bill that President Trump threatened to veto has passed the House with a veto-proof 295-125 majority, with 108 Republicans voting in favor of the 2021 Defense Authorization Act and 43 Democrats voting against. The bill calls for military bases and other properties named after Confederate military officers to be renamed within a year, a move Trump firmly opposes, the Hill reports. It also includes a 3% pay rise for troops and allocates $1 billion to a pandemic preparedness fund.

The House bill passed with bipartisan support, although Republican lawmakers strongly objected to an amendment placing limits on the president’s ability to use the Insurrection Act to deploy troops within the US, CNN reports. The amendment passed 215 to 190, with only one Republican voting in favor. The Senate is expected to pass its version of the bill this week, which calls for the renaming of bases named after Confederate officers within three years. Trump said weeks ago that he would veto any bill that included the renaming of bases, but since the measure appears in both the House and Senate version of the defense policy bill, it is likely to remain in the final version that makes it to his desk.

Trump has said he will veto this bill…..we will see if he means what he says or was it all just theatrics?

It is time for the Congress to get real about this country and the money we throw at war…….time to defund the Pentagon…..yep…I said DEFUND the Pentagon.

Congress has appropriated nearly $3 trillion dollars to fight the economic and public health impacts of the Covid-19 pandemic. This is on top of a terrible budget deal last year that blew through spending caps imposed by the 2011 Budget Control Act. With little end in sight to the pandemic and its associated recession, Congress is likely to spend even more in the months to come.

With resources more limited than ever, areas of the budget that were off-limits for years should now be more closely scrutinized. At the top of that list should be the single largest part of the federal discretionary budget, an entire category of spending that has long been off the table: the Pentagon.

https://www.politico.com/news/magazine/2020/07/16/defund-the-pentagon-the-conservative-case-366066

I know hard to believe that I am agreeing with a conserv on the Pentagon……it worries me as well…..but matters not…..I will support a good idea no matter where it originates.

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“lego ergo scribo”

SecState Human Rights Report

Pompeo’s State Department has decided that they would cherry pick rights….proving that this admin does not believe in equality or in human rights for all…..

Human rights advocates denounced as “dangerous” a draft report released Thursday by the U.S. State Department’s controversial Commission on Unalienable Rights that paints property rights and religious liberty as “foremost among the unalienable rights that government is established to secure” while casting doubt on other liberties, including reproductive freedom.

“Make no mistake: this report was not designed with principles of equality, justice, and rights in mind. Instead, it serves as another stepping stone in the White House’s radical, isolationist, anti-rights, anti-scientific, religious agenda,” Serra Sippel, president of the Center for Health and Gender Equity (CHANGE), said in a statement.

“The Commission on Unalienable Rights is a thinly veiled religious fundamentalist panel, and the people on it should have absolutely no say about the human rights of people all over the world,” Sippel declared, calling the panel “a dangerous distraction from the fact that this administration does not believe that all people are equal and entitled to human rights.”

https://www.commondreams.org/news/2020/07/17/pompeo-panel-pushes-radical-isolationist-anti-rights-anti-scientific-religious

No should be surprised…..Pompeo is just echoing the crap he spread when he was in Congress….the only difference now is that he has a power to make some of these outdated manure into law of the land.

Even people that worked for him tried to change things……

A State Department whistleblower attempted to warn the agency’s Office of Legal Affairs about “questionable” activities involving Secretary Mike Pompeo but was “blocked” from doing so, according to the complaint.

McClatchy reported Sunday that the complaint, made public through a lawsuit filed by the watchdog group American Oversight, alleged the unnamed employee and other “eyewitnesses” were prevented from sharing concerns about Pompeo’s activities in the U.S. and abroad with superiors and legal authorities at the agency despite repeated attempts.

The State Department declined McClatchy’s request for comment on the whistleblower complaint. However, in explaining redactions made to the whistleblower complaint, the agency’s lawyers revealed that Pompeo still remains the target of at least one active investigation despite arranging the firing of the agency’s inspector general in May.

https://thehill.com/homenews/administration/508050-whistleblower-alleges-repeated-attempts-were-made-to-report-pompeos

Pompeo has given all pretense of being the chief diplomat of the US and is acting as an agent for Trump’s agenda….not the country’s agenda.

Secretary of State Mike Pompeo’s Commission on Unalienable Rights unveiled its long-anticipated report in Philadelphia, ahead of which Pompeo delivered a speech more fitting for a Trumpian candidate for president in 2024 than a person serving in the apolitical position of secretary of state. Pompeo also published an op-ed in the Washington Post in which he devoted far more space to slamming his fellow Americans for “outrageous efforts to erase American history by tearing down statues of our nation’s founders” than he did to the worst human rights abusers around the world.

In calling for a return to our founding principles, Pompeo’s Philadelphia speech acknowledged almost in passing that “at our nation’s founding our country fell far short of securing the rights of all. The evil institution of slavery was our nation’s gravest departure from these founding principles. We expelled Native Americans from their ancestral lands.” This was one step in the right direction. The United States is a stronger advocate for human rights around the world when we acknowledge our own shortcomings and invite other nations and peoples to join us striving to improve. To that end, Pompeo should also have mentioned that women were denied the right to vote until the 19th Amendment was ratified in 1920, or that two-tiered citizenship in the Jim Crow South ended only a full century after emancipation.

Mike Pompeo Has Given Up Being Secretary of State

We can only hope that come November these bigoted tools are replaced with someone with a bit of compassion and foresight.

We can make that happen but not if you do not VOTE!

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