Bolivia

Most know what a international relations geek I truly am…..but for those newbies….

If a people vote a person in office regardless of their political leanings then that nation should be left alone without interference from the US or anyone because they do not agree with the political philosophy embraced by the new leader.

For instance Chile of the 70s….voted a socialist into the office of president and the US immediately started undermining the government……in the end the president was assassinated and the people spent many decades of suppression of democratic rights…….then Venezuela under Chavez…..he was elected and he deserved a shot at leading with out interference from the corporations and the US…..and after decades of sanctions the people still do not have the rights that we Americans think we embrace….those worthless sanctions have done nothing but make the poor poorer and their suffering prolonged.

Now we have Bolivia…..before I go on……I find it interesting that the poorest countries of the Americas are interested in electing what the idiots called socialists…..could it be because the poor have been exploited by corrupt officials after so many years?

Now about Bolivia…..it has always been the poorest country in South America and pretty much all the Americas…..then they elected Evo Morales…..a socialist and the US immediately started undermining his government.

Look at Bolivia…..

Bolivia, named after independence fighter Simon BOLIVAR, broke away from Spanish rule in 1825; much of its subsequent history has consisted of a series of coups and countercoups, with the last coup occurring in 1978. Democratic civilian rule was established in 1982, but leaders have faced difficult problems of deep-seated poverty, social unrest, and illegal drug production.

In December 2005, Bolivians elected Movement Toward Socialism leader Evo MORALES president – by the widest margin of any leader since the restoration of civilian rule in 1982 – after he ran on a promise to change the country’s traditional political class and empower the nation’s poor, indigenous majority. In December 2009 and October 2014, President MORALES easily won reelection. His party maintained control of the legislative branch of the government, which has allowed him to continue his process of change. In February 2016, MORALES narrowly lost a referendum to approve a constitutional amendment that would have allowed him to compete in the 2019 presidential election. However, a 2017 Supreme Court ruling stating that term limits violate human rights provided the justification for MORALES to be chosen by his party to run again in 2019. MORALES attempted to claim victory in the 20 October 2019 election, but widespread allegations of electoral fraud, rising violence, and pressure from the military ultimately forced him to flee the country. An interim government is preparing new elections for 2020.

It is always interesting to watch the US justify the interference in the government and the state operation of countries that some do not agree with….

After the ousting of the Morales government the promised elections have taken place and once again the people of Bolivia have spoken……..

Evo Morales’ party has claimed victory in a presidential election that appears to sharply shift Bolivia away from the conservative policies of the US-backed interim government that took power after the leftist leader resigned and fled the country a year ago. The leading rival of Morales’s handpicked successor, Luis Arce, conceded defeat on Monday, as did interim President Jeanine Áñez, a bitter foe of Morales. Officials released no formal, comprehensive quick count of results from Sunday’s vote, but two independent surveys of selected polling places showed Arce with a lead of roughly 20 percentage points over his closest rival—far more than needed to avoid a runoff. Officials said final results could take days. Áñez asked Arce “to govern with Bolivia and democracy in mind,” the AP reports. Arce, meanwhile, appealed for calm in the bitterly divided nation, saying he would seek to form a government of national unity under his Movement Toward Socialism party.

“I think the Bolivian people want to retake the path we were on,” Arce declared. He oversaw a surge in growth and a sharp reduction in poverty as Morales’ economy minister for more than a decade but will struggle to reignite that growth. The boom in prices for Bolivia’s mineral exports that helped feed that progress has faded, and the coronavirus has hit the impoverished nation harder than almost any other country on a per capita basis. Nearly 8,400 of its 11.6 million people have died of COVID-19. Arce, 57, also faces the challenge of emerging from the shadow of his polarizing former boss, whose support helped the low-key, UK-educated economist. Áñez’s government tried to overturn many Morales policies and pull the country from its leftist alliances, and Morales faces prosecution on what are seen as trumped-up terrorism charges if he returns home. He said Monday in Buenos Aires that he plans to return to Bolivia. Calling for “a great meeting of reconciliation for reconstruction,” Morales said, “we are not vengeful.”

I try to be fair in my postings….so will this win by Morales be bad for the region?

Roger Cortez, a socio-economics expert, predicts problems ahead. “MAS propagates an outdated economic model based on state capitalism and the exploitation of natural resources.” In addition, he says, “the pandemic has pushed between one and two million Bolivians back into poverty.” Cortez does not think slash-and-burn farming and gene modified crops in Bolivia’s plain are sustainable either.

Mesa has promised a new economic approach, yet remained vague on details. In any case, it will prove hard to generate majorities in such a fragmented parliament. Many ordinary Bolivians, therefore, are quite pessimistic about the future. An online survey conducted by Germany’s Friedrich Ebert Foundation found that 78% of respondents see Bolivia’s situation worsening, while 57% said they expect an upshot in violence during and after the election. Meanwhile, a staggering 80% said they are concerned about the state of the economy and growing poverty.

https://www.dw.com/en/bolivias-presidential-election-could-spark-further-instability/a-55289761

On the other hand…..a look into the legacy of Morales…..the legacy of Evo Morales — who won power in South America’s poorest country, tripled its GDP, and lifted millions out of extreme poverty.

https://www.jacobinmag.com/2020/10/evo-morales-bolivia-indigenous-president-mas

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Closing Thought–22Oct20

I have had many conversations about our many many endless wars….and I am asked that if I think they are so bad how can they still be fighting wars?

I have a very clear and succinct answer…..Think Tanks.

I am not a fan of most think tanks for they paid to make manure look like sirloin…..and our wars are no different.  I gave my thoughts here on IST…..https://lobotero.com/2017/09/20/closing-thought-20sep17/

The American Conservative (yes I read a conserv publication has looked into this…..as well……

The top 50 think tanks in America, as ranked by the University of Pennsylvania’s Go To Think Tank Index, received over $1 billion from U.S. government and defense contractors. The top recipients of this funding were the RAND Corporation, the Center for a New American Security, and the New America Foundation, according to analysis by the Center for International Policy.

Donations to these think tanks came from 68 different U.S. government and defense contractor sources, under at least 600 separate donations. The top five defense contractor donors to U.S. think tanks were Northrop Grumman, Raytheon, Boeing, Lockheed Martina and Air Bus.

Top think tank funders from within the U.S. government include the Office of the Secretary of Defense, the Air Force, the Army, the Department of Homeland Security, and the State Department. The defense contractors that forked over the most to think tanks were Northrop Grumman, Raytheon, Boeing, Lockheed Martin and Airbus.

The RAND Corporation alone received over $1 billion between 2014-2019, accounting for approximately 95 percent of its funding that the report tracked. Nearly all the money came from the U.S. Department of Homeland Security ($110 million,) the U.S. Army (over $245 million,) and the U.S. Air Force (over ($281 million.)

Top 50 U.S. Think Tanks Receive Over $1B from Gov, Defense Contractors

Then there is the MSM….they hire “experts” to make these wars acceptable…..both print and broadcast….for most are now owned by the very M-IC corporations that are funding the “whitewash” of our worthless endless wars.

If instance the NYTimes has had a section called “At War”….well it has decided to drop the section altogether

Following the announcement Tuesday that the New York Times “At War” section—which has explored the “experiences and costs of war” for the past two and a half years—is ending this week, peace advocates were quick to note that the United States’ actual “forever war” outlasting a forum dedicated to covering it should be a sobering reminder of the nation’s destructive and bloody foreign policy nearly two decades after the invasions of Afghanistan and then Iraq. 

The news came just one week after Stars and Stripes provided an account of U.S. military veterans who fought in Afghanistan watching their children deploy to the same ongoing war.

https://www.commondreams.org/news/2020/10/14/imperial-irony-new-york-times-announces-halt-war-section-even-endless-us-war

The whitewash and the justification for war and the deaths of Americans proceeds…….with very little notice.

Final Thought:  Tonight is the final debate and I will offer analysis in tomorrow’s posts.

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Embargo–Going–Going–Gone

After thirteen years the UN’s arms embargo placed on Iran has now run its course and is gone….

As you would expect the warmonger-in-chief Pompeo is thumping his chest like some crazed primate….even to the point of issuing threats…..

After months of US opposition, the Iran arms embargo at the UN has expired, and despite the US opposition, UN officials are uniform in agreement that it actually has expired. Don’t tell that to the Trump Administration though, as they insist it’s still in place.

Reflecting US promises to enforce the non-existent embargo themselves, Secretary of State Mike Pompeo threatened to impose US sanctions on any nations that sell arms to Iran, or offer them training or services.

That’s been the US position since they failed to extend the embargo, but it’s not clear it will actually do anything, as the nations most likely to provide Iran with arms and services, Russia and China, will almost certainly ignore US threats the same way they do on everything else Iran-related.

Iranian officials don’t expect a huge rush to buy arms anyhow, as a decade of embargos has made them self-sufficient in a lot of things. Still, Russia and China can offer some better versions of equipment, or at a better price than Iran can make them themselves, and there is no real legal obstacle to that anymore.

The fact that the US opposes, or indeed “forbids” such sales is likely to ensure that some happen just to spite them, with Russia in particular very clear that they intended to make sales to Iran once the legal restriction was lifted.

(antiwar.com)

Parties should weigh what this cessation would mean….

European governments should carefully weigh the risks that come with the expiration of the UN arms embargo. Given the ongoing Western military support to regional partners, and the growing alignment between Israel and the Arab world, the expiration of the embargo is unlikely to alter the balance of power in the Middle East in the short term. The pragmatic way to address these concerns is by reaching side agreements with Russia and China over the timing and scope of such arms sales to Iran, in ways that prevent a rise in tension in the Middle East.

No doubt, Moscow and Beijing will sign arms deals with Tehran – and perhaps even major ones, such as those involving the Russian S-400 missile defence system, which Iran is eager to acquire. Tehran may also seek to sign deals for battle tanks, fighter jets, surface-to-air missiles, and anti-radar missile systems – which can target surface-to-air defence systems, thereby putting the forces of the US and its allies at greater risk in the Middle East. However, given precedent and a series of political and economic restraints, it is unclear whether these deals would result in delivery in the near future.

Do not expect a rush of arms sales to Iran

Now that the embargo has expired….Iran is looking at incoming cash from arms sales…..

Iran on Monday said it is more inclined to sell weapons rather than buy them, after it announced the end of a longstanding UN conventional arms embargo.

Tehran said the ban imposed more than a decade ago was lifted “automatically” as of Sunday, based on the terms of a 2015 landmark nuclear deal with world powers, from which the Islamic republic’s arch-enemy the United States has withdrawn.

“Before being a buyer in the arms market, Iran has the ability to supply” other countries, Iran’s foreign ministry spokesman Saeed Khatibzadeh told reporters.

Iran Says Will Sell More Arms Than Buy After Embargo Lifted

Will this make a difference in the Middle East say?

Will this put the brakes on troop withdrawals?

Any thought?

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Inkwell Institute Study Of War Update

I have studied war in all its forms for 40+ years…..nothing about it makes much sense these days…..but I try to keep my readers informed.

Since the 2020 election is sucking all the energy out of the foreign policy of the US…I thought I would let my readers know what was happening around the world while they were distracted by the antics of Donald the Orange.

The Chinese are testing a horrible weapon along the same vain as a cluster bomb but this is a swarm of deadly drones….

The China Academy of Electronics and Information Technology (CAEIT) has released a video of a test involving an array of 48 weaponized drones launching from the back of a truck, The South China Morning Post reports.

The drones can be seen launching from tubes, with a set of pop-out wings deploying from each right after. Troops on the ground then identify the drones’ targets on a tablet device. Each one is packed with explosives, according to The Times.

https://futurism.com/the-byte/chinese-weapon-launches-swarm-explosive-suicide-drones

Does anyone remember MAD (Mutual Assured Destruction)?

Mutual Assured Destruction (MAD) is the deterrence concept developed in the 1960s by Secretary of Defense Robert McNamara in response to the Soviet nuclear threat. For the 2020s and beyond, America should not acquiesce to entering this mutual suicide pact with Iran or North Korea.

Various formulations of MAD were based on having enough surviving weapons after a Soviet first strike to kill 1/5 to 1/3 of the Soviet population and destroy half its industry. Henry Kissinger’s response to MAD was prescient: “The doctrine of ‘assured destruction’ led to the extraordinary conclusion that the vulnerability of our civilian population was an asset reassuring the Soviet Union and guaranteeing its restraint in a crisis. For the first time, a major country saw an advantage in enhancing its own vulnerability.

MAD proponents still believe the U.S. population should remain vulnerable against large Russian and Chinese nuclear missile attacks. The proponents argue that defending against such attacks would be destabilizing, even as both adversaries continue to deploy more deadly nuclear armaments in the absence of significant U.S. defenses, and the U.S. contemplates spending hundreds of billions to modernize its own nuclear arsenal.

MAD also appears to be the only U.S. deterrent to even very small nuclear attacks from space by emerging nuclear powers Iran and North Korea. With one or at most a few space-based nuclear explosions, both adversaries could mount electromagnetic-pulse (EMP) attacks that could disable America’s electricity supply for very long times, possibly resulting in the deaths of 2/3 or more, up to 90%, of the U.S. population (well over 200 million fatalities) after a year and collapse of American society

https://www.realcleardefense.com/articles/2020/10/15/mad_is_bad_us_policy_for_iran_and_north_korea_580803.html

Recently Turkey and Greece  once again went at each other…..this time it was over gas reserves and not Cyprus….https://lobotero.com/2020/09/18/greco-turkish-tensions/

The tension calmed a bit and now it is about to flare once again…..

In a move certain to widen the rift between Turkey and its NATO allies, Turkey tested its Russian-made S-400 air defense system Friday in the latest affirmation that Ankara intends to operationalize the system.

Turkish and Russian media reports said the launch took place at a military base near the Black Sea. The test marked the first time the Turkish military fired the system it bought in 2017, ignoring years of warnings from NATO not to buy the Russian system. It comes just weeks after the system’s radar tracked a Greek F-16, earning Turkey a sharp rebuke from NATO.

https://breakingdefense.com/2020/10/turkey-tests-russian-s-400-as-tensions-with-greece-nato-spike/

Turkey has accused Greece of violations….

Those tensions had flared up over the summer, prompting a military buildup, bellicose rhetoric and fears of a confrontation between the two NATO members and historic regional rivals.

“Our Oruc Reis has returned to its duty in the Mediterranean,” Erdogan told legislators of his ruling party in a speech in parliament. “We will continue to give the response they deserve on the field, to Greece and the Greek Cypriot administration who have not kept their promises during talks within the EU and NATO platforms.”

He didn’t spell out what the promises were but Turkish officials have been accusing Greek officials of engaging in a series of “provocations” despite efforts to revive the so-called exploratory talks between the neighbors that were aimed at resolving disputes and were last held in 2016.

https://apnews.com/article/turkey-europe-recep-tayyip-erdogan-ankara-greece-9118400193af9a0048397be12830a439

Armenia and Azerbaijan are at each others throats once again…..

September 27th 2020, two countries have been battling it out for supremacy over a disputed site. The countries in question include Armenia and Azerbaijan and the dispute is related to that of region called as Nagorno-Karabakh. So, what exactly is the conflict and why exactly has an old dispute resurfaced all over again? How are the world super powers react to this?

Nagorno-Karabakh comes under the geographical jurisdiction of Azerbaijan but is administrated by groups from Armenia. A closer look on the map shows Nagorno-Karabakh is an enclave inside Azerbaijan

The current conflict began after Azerbaijan reportedly initiated an attack on civilians areas in Nagorno-Karabakh including the capital city of Stepanakert. Armenia claims it was forced to retaliate in order to protect civilians living in the area. In the following days, both sides claim to have made significant damage to the order side, with multiple narratives presenting a polarising picture of the ground reality.

Understanding the Armenia, Azerbaijan conflict

But if you are a reader of exquisite taste then you will want to read what I have to say about this conflict…..https://lobotero.com/2020/10/12/meanwhile-back-at-the-south-caucasus-conflict/

 

After The Pandemic

I am an international relations geek….foreign policy and geopolitics……and this pandemic has made some changes to the world and the policies of Trump has made changes to the geopolitical landscape…..

What will geopolitics look like after we are done with this pandemic?

I read about five possible changes to the world after we have survived the Covid-19 virus…..

There is no single future until it happens, and any effort to envision geopolitics in the wake of the Covid-19 pandemic must include a range of possible futures. I suggest five plausible futures in 2030, but obviously others can be imagined.

The end of the globalised liberal order. The world order established by the United States after World War II created a framework of institutions that led to a remarkable liberalisation of international trade and finance. Even before the Covid-19 pandemic, this order was being challenged by the rise of China and the growth of populism in Western democracies. China has benefited from the order, but as its strategic weight grows, it increasingly insists on setting standards and rules. The US resists, institutions atrophy and appeals to sovereignty increase. The US remains outside the World Health Organization and the Paris climate agreement. Covid-19 contributes to the probability of this scenario by weakening the US ‘system manager’.

1930s-like authoritarian challenge.4

China-dominated world order.

A green international agenda.

More of the same

Geopolitics after the pandemic

If you bothered to read the article then please  which possible world will we be looking at?

For me it is a China dominated world order……and possibly “More the Same”……

More thoughts of things to come….https://studies.aljazeera.net/en/policy-briefs/what-comes-after-pandemic-predicting-world-come

12 leading foreign policy pros give their look as well……

How the World Will Look After the Coronavirus Pandemic

Any thoughts?

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Let The Kids Do It

Some of those apocalyptic films have wars being fought for generations and generations….well fact is not so far off…..

Just last week our war inn Afghanistan entered into its 20th year……and soon the children of the original warriors will be fighting this conflict…..

The longest war in US history now spans generations. Service members who were deployed to Afghanistan, starting 19 years ago last week, are turning the mission over to their children. Since 2002, Master Sgt. Trevor deBoer has served three tours in what the government called the war against terrorism, Stars and Stripes reports. Spc. Payton Sluss has been deployed there as well, stationed at a base where his father served. “My feet were walking the same land you were,” Sluss told deBoer. His father said he often wondered during his tours if the US effort was making any progress. “When we started this, people asked why I was going, and my response was, ‘So my sons don’t have to fight this war,'” deBoer said. His son sees progress, however incremental, citing changes in women’s rights, free speech and education. “An inch is an inch, progress is progress no matter what,” he said. The US still suffers casualties in Afghanistan.

The job is different for this generation. Operation Enduring Freedom ended in 2014, per the New York Post. With the Taliban protecting al-Qaeda, Americans now concentrate on training local forces and rebuilding the country. “Afghanistan didn’t have a functioning toilet when I showed up,” said Capt. Bajun Mavalwalla, who arrived in 2002. When he returned as an adviser in 2012, he was amazed by the improvements. His son, also Bajun Mavalwalla, who was deployed in 2012, is more discouraged. “I wanted to go out and help people, serve my country. … I just sort of contributed to this deepening mire,” he said. The elder Mavalwalla’s view is across generations. “You have to have seen what it was 20 years ago, and then see it again 10 years later, to appreciate the improvement,” the father said. Another veteran whose son has served in Afghanistan said he just hopes his grandson won’t someday have to go fight the same battles “for the same reason.”

And yet Americans do not see the problem they are allowing to develop…..the media is to blame for making war seem somehow patriotic and romantic…..and try to ignore the conflict as often as they can.

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More Good News From Trump?

Yes I know I have been a critic of Trump since he took office….but I have also stated that I approve of his attempts to end our endless wars……and now he has made another statement that I can support….( I shall qualify that shortly)…..

He is attempting to bring home the troops from Afghanistan and Iraq….and moving some out of Germany…..

Pres. Trump wants to bring our troops home from Somalia…..Somalia?  Think Blackhawk Down…..

Bloomberg published a story on Wednesday that cited anonymous sources who said President Trump is looking to withdraw hundreds of US troops from Somalia, a war the administration has significantly escalated since 2017.

The sources said the Pentagon has begun drafting plans for the president, and discussions have involved Secretary of Defense Mark Esper, National Security Advisor Robert O’Brien, and Joint Chiefs of Staff Chairman Gen. Mark Milley.

According to the Congressional Research Service, the US currently has 700 troops in Somalia. Mostly special forces who train Somalia’s army. Most of these troops were sent to the African country by President Trump, according to the Bloomberg story.

The US is engaged in Somalia as part of its war against the militant group al-Shabab. In 2017, President Trump loosened the rules of engagement for the drone war and his administration has dropped a record number of bombs on Somalia.

In 2019, the US conducted 63 airstrikes in Somalia, the most in a single year. The first seven months of 2020 saw more US airstrikes in Somalia than were conducted during both the administrations of George W. Bush and Barack Obama, combined.

The war in Somalia is extremely underreported, and it is tough to know how damaging it has been to the civilians on the ground. US Africa Command usually claims its airstrikes only kill militants and only occasionally have to admit to civilian deaths if there is enough outcry.

(antiwar.com)

Now is this just election posturing or is he serious?

He has made promises before an election that he has not carried forward once he was placed in the seat of power for the United States.

So I ask again….can we trust him to do what he says?

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Should US Troops Remain In The Middle East?

My first reaction to that question is…Hell NO!  Their families have suffered many years and it is time for them to be reunited with their soldiers.

Bring our troops home…..and the reasons are clear.

  1. The Middle East is a small, poor, weak region beset by an array of problems that mostly do not affect Americans—and that U.S. forces cannot fix. The best thing the United States can do is leave.
  2. The immense cost and evident fruitlessness of U.S. wars in the Middle East are widely lamented in American politics, but not enough to extricate U.S. troops. And even beyond the wars, U.S. policy in the region is an expensive and unnecessary disaster.
  3. The cost of maintaining forces to protect the Middle East from itself is extraordinary, even in peacetime. Conservatively, attempting to control the Middle East costs Americans on the order of $65–70 billion dollars each year, apart from the trillions spent on wars there. The number should be closer to zero.
  4. Nothing about the Middle East warrants the U.S. investment there over the past 30 years. The few important interests there—preventing major terrorist attacks, stopping the emergence of a market-making oil hegemon, curbing nuclear proliferation, and ensuring no regional actor destroys Israel—do not require American troops.
  5. The roughly 60,000 U.S. troops in the region should leave. American efforts to manage the Middle East make nothing about oil, Israel, or terrorism better. The United States would be better off withdrawing all forward-deployed troops from the region, while maintaining access agreements for naval ports with the consent of host countries.
  6. Withdrawing ground forces from the Middle East will make it harder for the United States to start or join any wars there. Shrinking the U.S. armed forces to reflect the lack of threat from the Middle East will free up resources for any number of higher priorities at home or abroad.

Six excellent reasons for pulling US troops out of the Middle East…..[

Why are we still there?

Is it to protect Israel?  If so I say fuck them let them do their own security.

Is it to protect oil?  Again I say screw it…we do not need their oil any longer.

Is it to keep the M-IC in defense contracts and their profits rolling in?  I think I have hit on the the true reason we are still there.  The industry spends billions on Congress they want their money to be well spent….if not they move on to the next corrupt politician that will do their bidding.

Why are we still in the Middle East?

(Insert your thoughts here)

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Sanctions, What Are They Good For?

I see that Donald the Orange has once again used his favorite tool for international situations….sanctions.

This time it is sanctions used against Iran….again.

The US slapped new sanctions on Iran’s financial sector on Thursday in an attempt to further isolate the Islamic Republic’s economy. The new measures target 18 Iranian banks and subjects foreign, non-Iranian institutions to penalties for doing business with them.

“Today’s action to identify the financial sector and sanction 18 major Iranian banks reflects our commitment to stop illicit access to US dollars,” US Treasury Secretary Steven Mnuchin said in a statement.

The move comes after Washington’s European allies have been warning of the humanitarian consequences sanctions can have on Iran. The country is already facing an economic crisis due to previous US sanctions, which has been exacerbated by the coronavirus pandemic.

European countries have been at odds with the Trump administration over its Iran policy. The US has been trying to enforce measures agreed to under the 2015 nuclear deal, an agreement the US withdrew from when it reimposed sanctions on Iran in 2018.

The US says the new sanctions do not apply to transactions that involve food or medical supplies. But the sanctions will discourage foreign banks from doing any business with Iran, including humanitarian deals. Sanctions imposed on Iran since 2018 also technically have exemptions for humanitarian goods, but have caused things like medicine shortages.

The new sanctions came just a day after Iran reported its highest number of daily deaths due to coronavirus. Iranian Foreign Minister Javad Zarif responded to the new sanctions on Twitter. “Amid Covid19 pandemic, US regime wants to blow up our remaining channels to pay for food & medicine,” Zarif wrote.

(antiwar.com)

I am not a big fan of sanctions…I believe they should be used only as a deterrent…..I dislike them for they usually hurt innocent people more than the intended recipients.

I have written my feelings about sanctions…..https://lobotero.com/2019/02/05/sanctions/

Sanctions are a cheap way to try and get the targeted nations to play ball with what the US wants…..but just how effective are they?

The imposition of sanctions is a relatively inexpensive political instrument compared to armed conflict, and is more popular with the public. However, when a sanctions regime is promulgated, it is impossible to determine the exact level of measures that must be taken in order for sanctions to have an impact on the policy of the sanctioned state.

In order to determine the effectiveness of a sanctions regime, we will examine nine factors that we believe to be decisive: the economic cost to the sanctioned state; the nature of its political regime; its political and economic stability; the relationship between the sanctioning state and the sanctioned state; the type of objective; international cohesion; the phenomenon of rallying around the flag; the reputation and image of the sanctioned state; and time.

https://theconversation.com/under-what-conditions-are-international-sanctions-effective-147309

I still do not think that sanctions accomplished their intended conclusion……and do more harm than good.

So are these sanctions really all that good?

The genesis of the maximum pressure campaign as articulated by former national security adviser John Bolton and hawkish think tanks like the Foundation for Defense of Democracies, was founded upon a simplistic but appealing narrative: the Iranian Islamic regime has grand designs on the Middle East, including a kind of 21st century colonization that would swallow the region whole. Because this narrative was already fully entrenched in Washington’s security and intelligence establishment, it was a relatively easy one to sell to an administration staffed to the gills with Iran hawks. 

The main theoretical assumption underlying the maximum pressure campaign was as shallow as it was tempting: pummel the Iranian economy with so many restrictions that the ayatollahs would have no choice but to crawl back to the table on their hands and knees and negotiate a new agreement on Washington’s terms. 

However, knowing that caving to U.S. demands would leave it highly vulnerable to similar tactics in the future, the Iranian government has held firm to its original position: if the U.S. wants to talk about a bigger and better deal, it must first re-enter the original Joint Plan of Comprehensive Action (JCPOA) and compensate Tehran for its losses. The Trump administration, as can be expected, finds Iran’s demands absurd, if not insulting. Indeed, as of this writing, the White House, State Department, and Treasury are actively debating blacklisting what is left of the entire Iranian financial sector and thereby severing it from the international community. 

Punishing Iran wasn’t all it was cracked up to be

Really?  We have been punishing Iran for over 40 years and what has that lead to?

Thoughts?

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“lego ergo scribo”

It’s North Korea Again

We have not had much news abut North Korea in the last few months…all the air in reporting has been sucked out by the pandemic and the election…..so it falls on the Old Professor to bring you the news the MSM does not feel you should know.

The nuclear powers have been warned!

North Korean leader Kim Jong Un warned Saturday that his country would “fully mobilize” its nuclear force if threatened as he took center stage at a military parade in which the country unveiled what appeared to be a new intercontinental ballistic missile and other additions to its growing weapons arsenal, the AP reports. Kim, however, avoided direct criticism of Washington during the event, which celebrated the 75th anniversary of the country’s ruling party and took place less than four weeks before the US presidential election. Instead, he focused on a domestic message urging his people to remain firm in the face of “tremendous challenges” posed by the coronavirus pandemic and crippling US-led sanctions over his nuclear program.

Kim described the North’s continuing efforts to develop its nuclear deterrent as necessary for its defense and said it wasn’t targeting any specific country with its military force. But “if any force harms the safety of our nation, we will fully mobilize the strongest offensive might in a pre-emptive manner to punish them,” he said. Kim’s speech was punctuated by thousands of goose-stepping troops, tanks, armored vehicles, rocket launchers, and a broad range of ballistic missiles rolled out in Pyongyang’s Kim Il Sung Square. The weapons included what was possibly the North’s biggest-yet ICBM, which was mounted on an 11-axle launch vehicle that was also seen for the first time. The North also displayed a variety of solid-fuel weapon systems that highlighted how the North has expanded its military capabilities.

That huge rocket could be something new…..

We don’t have a name or specifications, just photos from the parade. A lot of the crowd that usually frets about North Korea’s weapons noted this to be the biggest one we saw, and seem to be drawing the conclusion that must mean it’s the most powerful and most dangerous.

Which is just a guess. Size doesn’t dictate power or level of advancement for an ICBM, and if anything this missile is just a huge version of existing designs. Presumably it will go farther because it’s got room for all that fuel, but the ICBM is still just delivering a warhead if it is used.

Since North Korea never tested such a missile, or even bragged about having it, it’s also possible that the point of this big, noticeable design was to be big and noticeable at a parade, and one for an important anniversary.

(antiwar.com)

North Korea and China have developed a more intense cooperation….

In a congratulatory message to Kim Jong Un for the founding anniversary of North Korea’s ruling party, Chinese President Xi Jinping said he intends to deepen relations with Pyongyang, North Korean state media reported on Saturday.

“We have an intent to successfully defend, consolidate and develop the China-Korea relations together with Korean comrades and propel the long-lasting and stable development of the socialist cause of the two countries,” North Korean state news agency KCNA quoted Xi as saying.

https://uk.reuters.com/article/uk-northkorea-missiles-china/chinas-xi-says-intends-to-deepen-relations-with-north-korea-kcna-idUKKBN26U2K2

Yet another front for the US and China to stand-off on.

I Read, I Write, You Know

“lego ergo scribo”