Rest Easy, We Have A NatSec Adviser

With Bolton gone there is the hope (by some me not included ) that there will be a reset of American foreign policy…..

Tom Wright makes the case that Trump is about to make a “foreign policy pivot”:

Trump wants to write a new chapter, closing the one marked “Militarism and Maximum Pressure” and opening one called “Dealmaking and the Pursuit of the Nobel Peace Prize.” He wants a summit with Iran’s leaders and deals with the Taliban, Kim Jong Un, and Vladimir Putin on arms control. He does not care about most of the details, as long as he gets the credit.

Few of his officials are particularly enthusiastic about this pivot, but led by Secretary of State Mike Pompeo, they accept it and will seek to shape it.

The pivot metaphor has been used many times during Trump’s presidency to describe an impending change in direction, but the pivots never seem to take place. Like the expectation that Trump will eventually grow and learn while in office, the expectation that the president will become more responsible in his policies is always disappointed. It would make sense for Trump to deescalate tensions with Iran after creating the current crisis, but I see no evidence that he really intends to do this. Trump absolutely should extend New START, and without Bolton acting as an anti-arms control gremlin he could do this, but there has been no sign of interest in keeping the treaty alive. Trump should conclude negotiations to end the war in Afghanistan, but he just blew up the negotiations earlier this week. Negotiating with Iran requires ending “maximum pressure,” but so far the post-Bolton line from the administration is that “maximum pressure” isn’t going anywhere:

A Foreign Policy Pivot? I Wouldn’t Bet On It

A reset?  Not a chance!

The village peasants may now rest easy.

The revolving door at the NatSec desk is still working….Bolton Out now O’Brien in…..

President Trump has named hostage negotiator Robert O’Brien to be his new national security adviser, reports the AP. Trump tweeted Wednesday that he has “worked long & hard” with O’Brien and that “he will do a great job!” Trump’s announcement about O’Brien comes a week after he ousted John Bolton from the national security adviser’s post, citing policy disagreements. Bolton was Trump’s third national security adviser

He is a professional….maybe not my idea of a good choice but Hell NO one asked me….but that said where does he stand on some of the major issue of the day?

O’Brien – a fierce critic of former President Barack Obama – published a collection of his national security essays in 2016 called “While America Slept: Restoring American Leadership to a World in Crisis.”

Here are passages from his book that shed light on some of his views:

https://uk.reuters.com/article/uk-usa-trump-adviser-obrien-factbox/factbox-trumps-new-national-security-adviser-in-his-own-words-idUKKBN1W32P2

While he may be a pro he is in direct opposition to Trump’s ideas for making American great again….will he adjust his opinions to conform with the president or will he be a short lived adviser?

Since the only thing on Trump’s mind these days is KSA and Iran and O’Brien fits nicely with Trump’s position…..

O’Brien was a critic of the Iran nuclear deal, and sees Iran’s nuclear programme as a major threat.

“The Islamic Republic of Iran is the largest state sponsor of terrorism in the world and is building an archipelago across the Middle East using proxies and Revolutionary Guard forces from Yemen to Syria to Lebanon.”

We will see if he makes the transition from Neocon to Trump thug.

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“Lego Ergo Scribo”

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The U.S. Must…!

I always like it when a think tank issues such dire ultimatums…..this time it is the Neocon think tank, the Heritage Foundation.

The headline of the their report on the US and the recent attack on Saudi territory…..”U.S. Must Lead Strong Multinational Response To Iran’s Extortion Strategy”…….

Now for the report that made the ultimatum possible…..

Iran has openly breached the limits on uranium enrichment set by the 2015 nuclear agreement, and is escalating pressure on European signatories of the agreement to shield it from U.S. sanctions—which were re-imposed after the U.S. withdrew from the nuclear deal in May 2018. Tehran is raising the stakes of its nuclear blackmail campaign every 60 days by ratcheting up its nuclear efforts to extort concessions from France, Germany, and the United Kingdom; drive a deeper wedge between the United States and its allies; and gain bargaining leverage for eventual negotiations with Washington on the nuclear issue.

Iran’s steadily escalating nuclear noncompliance has been accompanied by an intensifying campaign of maritime threats against gulf Arab oil exports. What Tehran wants is not only sanctions relief but unquestioned acceptance of its civilian nuclear program, which it has used in the past as a fig leaf to disguise its nuclear weapons program, and which it plans to use as a pretext for the future expansion of its uranium-enrichment activities.

https://www.heritage.org/middle-east/report/us-must-lead-strong-multinational-response-irans-extortion-strategy

They violated the agreement that Trump basically cancelled when he dropped out of the process……sanctions look like extortion as well…..

Diplomacy is always preferable that armed conflict….but some think that a bullying techniques will always work when they are the single most powerful country on the planet…..and yet that seems to never work  these days.

Heritage is one of those think tanks that will take a desired conclusion and set about making the facts fit the needed end…..to be honest most think tanks operate this way.

The U.S. MUST lead the response….why?

The Saudis have the best and most of US weaponry…they have the best training and the best war chest….so again….why must the US do anything?  Plus they bought the Israeli “Iron Dome” to protect against incoming missiles….that appears to be a absolute failure.

The US military is to be used to protect the homeland….and Saudi is NOT my homeland….is it yours?

Sorry but this recent attack could be turned into one helluva conspiracy theory.

Be Smart!

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“Lego Ergo Scribo”

Foreign Policy–WTF?

When Trump was running in 2016 I did like some of his stands on the international stage but after his election I have been disappointed on many levels.

I do not agree with his constant antagonizing of Iran or the embracing of ruthless dictators like Kim, Putin and the Saudis…..to illustrate the problem……

President Trump left a group of officials in “stunned silence” last month when he called out for Egyptian President Abdel Fattah Al Sisi in a Paris hotel, the Wall Street Journal reports. “Where’s my favorite dictator?” Trump asked within earshot of several US and Egyptian officials attending the G7 summit. It was unclear whether Sisi heard Trump or was even there, but Trump’s remark highlights uneasy aspects of the US-Egypt relationship. Sisi has been accused of human-rights abuses including torture, mass imprisonment, and silencing the press since seizing power in 2013, per Business Insider. Trump’s administration hasn’t criticized the regime, which claims its actions are justified by its battle against extremists.

Now for that Tweet that explains Trump’s foreign policy……….

Donald J. Trump@realDonaldTrump·14hSaudi Arabia oil supply was attacked. There is reason to believe that we know the culprit, are locked and loaded depending on verification, but are waiting to hear from the Kingdom as to who they believe was the cause of this attack, and under what terms we would proceed!

Waiting to hear from Saudi and waiting for their instructions….think not?  Re-read the Tweet again…..Seriously?

This is pathetic that an American president would even think along these lines much less state it to the press……that is a weak man!

What can we do to explain ……

Trump called for U.S. withdrawal from Afghanistan early and often before he became president, and has expressed skepticism about the American mission there ever since. But he had also lambasted Obama, his predecessor, for “negotiating with our sworn enemy the Taliban,” and so the news that he had planned to host representatives of the Taliban in Maryland around the anniversary of the September 11, 2001 attacks, then scrubbed the plan, then spilled about it on Twitter, was dizzying for critics, supporters, and administration officials alike. As with his waffling last year on North Korean negotiations and his sharing of a classified spy-satellite photo on Twitter last week, this was another example of Trump oversharing and throwing a wrench in the diplomatic works for no apparent reason other than his self-aggrandizement. And in the case of the Taliban talks, it may have been a lie of Trumpian proportions that could lead to thousands more deaths in coming months.

https://newrepublic.com/article/155003/tragedy-trump-diplomacy

The best we can say about Trump’s foreign policy is that it is Theater of the Absurd…..

One might be forgiven for thinking that the foreign policy of the United States is some kind of theatrical performance, like a comic opera, with new characters appearing on stage willy-nilly and then being driven off after committing an incredible faux pas only to be replaced by even more grotesquely clownish figures. Unfortunately, while the musical chairs and plot twists contrived by a Goldoni or Moliere generally have a cheerful ending, the same cannot be said about what has been taking place in the White House.

http://www.unz.com/pgiraldi/trump-foreign-policy-as-theater-of-the-absurd/

In closing…the latest attack on the refinery in Saudi Arabia……

The Saudi-led military coalition battling Yemen’s Houthi movement said on Monday that the attack on Saudi Arabian oil plants was carried out with Iranian weapons and was not launched from Yemen according to preliminary findings.

Coalition spokesman Colonel Turki al-Malki said that an investigation into Saturday’s strikes, which had been claimed by the Iran-aligned Houthi group, was still going on to determine the launch location.

“The preliminary results show that the weapons are Iranian and we are currently working to determine the location … The terrorist attack did not originate from Yemen as the Houthi militia claimed,” Malki told a press conference in Riyadh.

(reuters)

Iranian weapons are not proof they, the Iranians, are behind the attack…….no more so than the US is behind all the civilian deaths in Yemen because they were killed with American weapons.

Why would we go to war so that the Saudis do not have to…..are they that big of a coward that they need out protection?

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“Lego Ergo Scribo”

An Afghanistan Update

I reported earlier today about the death of another American soldier….at the time his name had not been released……that has changed and I would like to update my report……

A Special Forces soldier, SFC Jeremy Griffin, was killed on Monday, September 16, 2019 in Afghanistan. He died of wound from small arms fire while engaged in combat operations in Wardak province, Afghanistan. He was a member of the 3rd Battalion, 1st special Forces Group based at Joint Base Lewis-McCord, Washington.

Jeremy Griffin was born in Cristobal, Panama in December 1978. He enlisted into the U.S. Army in 2004. He deployed to Iraq in 2006 and Afghanistan in 2009 with the 82nd Airborne Division. He had also served with the 7th Special Forces Group. After attending and graduating from the Special Forces Qualification Course in 2014 as a Special Forces Communication Sergeant he was assigned to 1st SFGA.

Our thoughts go out to the family.

May Sgt. Griffin Rest In Peace.

Thoughts On Afghanistan

After 18 years of war in Afghanistan could there possibly be anything that has gone unsaid?

Probably not.

But I would like to keep my readers abreast of the stuff that this war is made of……profits and death.

Speaking of deaths…….sad news…..yet another American soldier killed in fighting in Afghanistan…..

Another U.S. service member has been killed in action in Afghanistan, officials announced Monday.

The death was announced by NATO’s Resolute Support mission to the country in a press release.

A defense official told Army Times on background that the fallen soldier was a Green Beret, but did not specify the operator’s unit. A separate defense official said that there are no indications the attack was a green-on-blue incident.

“In accordance with U.S. Department of Defense policy, the name of the service member is being withheld until 24 hours after family notification is complete,” the release reads.

(Army Times)

Now that the peace process is “dead” according to Trump what will it mean for the people?

“Our only hope was peace,” Hayat Khan, the family’s 54-year-old patriarch, said Tuesday, “and that doesn’t happen now.”

President Donald Trump says the U.S.-Taliban talks on ending the fighting in Afghanistan are “dead,” deeply unfortunate wording for the Afghan civilians who have been killed by the tens of thousands over almost 18 years. Many fear his cancellation of negotiations will bring more carnage as the U.S. and Taliban, as well as Afghan forces, step up their offensives and everyday people die in the crossfire.

https://apnews.com/d619f2a9fd3b47fa812d707fafd5f146

The Taleban leader said that there could be a ceasefire….it was up to Trump…….

Taliban chief negotiator Sher Abbas Stanekzai announced on Friday that the Taliban has agreed to a complete ceasefire that was contingent on the US accepting the existing Afghan peace deal.

President Trump scrapped the Afghan deal last weekend, citing his anger at the Taliban for continuing to fight. Other US officials had cited both the lack of a ceasefire and the Taliban not making a deal with the Afghan government.

On that front, Stanekzai also noted that the Taliban has already scheduled talks with the Afghan government on September 23. It’s not clear what’s going to happen with these talks if the US peace process is “dead.”

All indications are that the Taliban were both willing for the peace deal last week, and are still willing now. The big question, then, is if President Trump will come around to the idea, or will just keep dismissing peace and choosing to continue America’s longest war.

(antiwar.com)

What about the thing that we hear very little about…the Afghan drug trade?

It is hard to be optimistic about the ongoing U.S. led peace talks with the Taliban. After nearly 18 years of conflict, the Taliban and its terrorist affiliations have proved to be impressively resilient adversaries. 

Despite significant growth in the capacity of the Afghan Government and its security forces, the Taliban still controls more territory than at any point since 2001. If Afghanistan is to ever prevail against this threat, it is imperative to understand what has enabled the Taliban to not only survive, but flourish against formidable counterinsurgency efforts. One likely source of strength is the drug trade.

The source of nearly 90% of the world’s supply of heroin, Afghanistan’s drug trade is as unique as it is vast. There are few modern examples of narco-states where drugs have become so intertwined in the political, economic and social structures of the nation.

The True Power of the Afghan Drug Trade

Someone explain our toleration to the world.

There is a glimmer of hope on the horizon.  The American people are losing interest in Afghan War……

On the anniversary of the Sept. 11, 2001, attacks in the United States, a new survey said Wednesday Americans have a very divided view on the conflict in Afghanistan — which, after 18 years, is still being fought by U.S. armed forces.

Gallup said it found more than half of Americans, 52 percent, say going into Afghanistan after the 2001 attacks was the right thing to do — a decrease of 2 percent since the pollster last asked the question in 2015. Forty-three percent said it was a mistake, up 1 percent.

https://www.upi.com/Top_News/US/2019/09/11/Americans-support-for-initial-Afghan-war-declining-survey-shows/8821568217890/

In closing…..just a reminder……

Simply put, the reason American troops are dying in Afghanistan is because they are deployed to Afghanistan. Therefore, the best way to immunize soldiers from a violent death at the hands of the Taliban is to withdraw them from Afghanistan altogether. Reports suggest that his former national security adviser John Bolton tried to dissuade Trump by planting negative stories in the press over his opposition to signing a deal with the Taliban. Some commentators have expressed relief that the ultra-hawkish Bolton was ousted from the White House before be could start a war. But it appears as though, when it came to Afghanistan, he succeeded in keeping an existing war going.

https://www.commondreams.org/views/2019/09/13/neverforget-war-afghanistan

Time for the insanity of Afghanistan to END!  And end NOW!

“Lego Ergo Scribo”

2019 Dem Candidates–Biden And Harris

The last debate was a bust…nothing has changed in the polls and in reality absolutely NO one gives a shit.

So why do I bother with this crap?

Well for one I want the voter (at least those that read IST) to have all the info about the candidates…..the media will not do it so I feel I must.

My field of interest is foreign policy and conflict management…..so let us take a look at this issue with Harris and Biden……

I will start with Harris……and I have no idea what her positions are on the fields of my interests……

Senator Kamala Harris (D-Calif.) has not made war and militarism a centerpiece of her presidential campaign. She’s given no major “foreign policy” speech, and she did not respond to a series of simple yes-or-no questions about global politics from FiveThirtyEight (Joe Biden and Pete Buttigieg were the only other major Democratic candidates to decline). On her campaign website, Harris’ only statement on “foreign policy” is just over 500 words—and it’s more a screed against Trump (he’s mentioned seven times) than a cogent vision. In the realm of international politics, she’s probably best known for saying in January that “we cannot conduct our foreign policy through tweets,” a statement that conveys nothing, other than opposition to Trump.

http://inthesetimes.com/article/22051/kamala-harris-foreign-policy-war-aipac-iran-north-korea-russia

Nothing about her makes her appealing to me as a candidate….but that is just me….

Now Biden has more public policies for me to pick at especially on the policies of foreign policy……one of the things that makes Biden unappealing to me as a candidate is the Iraq War of 2003…..

ABC/DNC debate Biden lied about his Iraq record, just like he did at the first two debates.

In the July debate, Biden claimed: “From the moment ‘shock and awe’ started, from that moment, I was opposed to the effort, and I was outspoken as much as anyone at all in the Congress.”

When he first said that, it received virtually no scrutiny except for Mideast scholar Stephen Zunes, who wrote the piece “Biden Is Doubling Down on Iraq War Lies.” Zunes outlined much of Biden’s record, including his insistence in May 2003 – months after the Iraq invasion – that “There was sufficient evidence to go into Iraq.”

Biden Taking Iraq Lies to the Max

Joe has another plan for our troops in Afghanistan….move them to Pakistan…..

Former Vice President Joe Biden has suggested essentially moving U.S. troops from Afghanistan to Pakistan, whence they could launch counter-terrorism raids over the border, as needed.

Biden, who is attempting to secure the Democratic nomination for president in the 2020 election, mentioned his plan during Thursday night’s Democratic debate in Houston.

When asked if President Barack Obama’s decision to withdraw U.S. troops from Iraq in 2011 was a mistake, Biden said no and quickly changed the topic to Afghanistan.

“We can prevent the United States from being the victim of terror coming out of Afghanistan by providing for bases — insist the Pakistanis provide bases for us to airlift from and to move against what we know,” Biden said. “We don’t need those troops there. I would bring them home.”

https://taskandpurpose.com/biden-us-troops-pakistan

As an antiwar voter nothing Biden says endears him to me for my vote…..

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Lego Ergo Scribo

Iran Did It!

For months now there has been a back and forth between the Trump admin and Iran….we have had insults back and forth….ships commandeered…….then there is the Saudis whom have feared the Iranians for decades and in gturn have helped feed the misinformation that is spread like manure…..

To make matters worse there was an attack within Saudi Arabia……

Drones launched by Yemen’s Houthi rebels attacked the world’s largest oil processing facility in Saudi Arabia and another major oil field Saturday, sparking huge fires at a vulnerable chokepoint for global energy supplies, the AP reports. It remained unclear hours later whether anyone was injured at the Abqaiq oil processing facility and the Khurais oil field or what affect the assault would have on oil production. Rising smoke from the fires at the sites could be seen by satellites in space. The attack by the Iranian-backed Houthis in the war against a Saudi-led coalition comes after weeks of similar drone assaults on the kingdom’s oil infrastructure, but none of the earlier strikes appeared to have caused the same amount of damage.

The attack likely will heighten tensions further across the Persian Gulf amid an escalating crisis between the US and Iran over its unraveling nuclear deal with world powers. First word of the assault came in online videos of giant fires at the Abqaiq facility, some 205 miles northeast of the Saudi capital, Riyadh. Machine-gun fire could be heard in several clips alongside the day’s first Muslim call to prayers, suggesting security forces tried to bring down the drones just before dawn. The fires began after the sites were “targeted by drones,” the Interior Ministry said in a statement carried by the state-run Saudi Press Agency. It said an investigation was underway

Just as Trump blames everything domestically on Obama….his Boyz blame everything that happens internationally on Iran……

Forget Yemen. This was all Iran. That was the Secretary of State Mike Pompeo’s take Saturday after drone attacks struck Saudi Arabian oil facilities and choked half the country’s crude production, the Wall Street Journal reports. Pompeo tweeted that it was “an unprecedented attack on the world’s energy supply. There is no evidence the attacks came from Yemen.” It’s unclear why he thought it was Iran and not Yemen’s Iran-backed Houthi rebels, who claimed responsibility for the attack. But the Secretary of State accused Tehran of being “behind nearly 100 attacks on Saudi Arabia” and said Iran will be “held accountable for its aggression.”

The two attacks Saturday on Saudi oil installations occurred about 500 miles from Yemen and highlighted Saudi’s weakness to drone strikes—a surprisingly cheap and effective means for Houthis to attack a more powerful enemy, the New York Times reports. The drones may have cost under $15,000 and posed a threat Saudis can’t counter, experts say. The Yemen war started in 2014 when Houthi rebels took over the nation’s capital and other territory, forcing the government into exile and drawing Arab nations (with some US support) into the conflict against the Houthis. Fallout in Yemen has become the world’s most devastating humanitarian crisis.

See what I mean?

Iran did it!

And that is how you build a case for armed intervention…..and in the mean time put a damper on the overtures that Trump had made for a meeting.

After months of saying he wants talks with Iran, President Trump said on Friday that he believes Iran’s leadership wants to have talks, and that he is trying to get them together for the UN General Assembly.

That may be overly optimistic, as Iran has long taken the same position, that talks are only possible if the US eases sanctions or returns to the P5+1 nuclear deal. Since it’s long been assumed that won’t happen, they’ve said the talks wouldn’t either.

Trump’s suggestion of a change may be based on hopeful statements from one of President Rouhani’s aides, who thought the firing of John Bolton this week meant the end of US “maximum pressure” strategy.

(antiwar.com)

Three simple words could end any chance of ending the tensions…..”Iran Did It!”

“Lego Ergo Scribo