Destabilization of the Persian Gulf

The situation between Qatar and the Saudis is starting to destabilize the Middle East….a region that does not any more help in doing so.

That “Arab NATO” didn’t last very long, did it? The break with Qatar by some of its Arab brethren, including its nearest neighbors, is impressively comprehensive, involving a breach of diplomatic relations and an economic and transportation embargo. It reflects sharp divisions not only within the Arab world but even among the half dozen monarchies that constitute the Gulf Cooperation Council (GCC). The break is a resounding refutation of the notion, which was a leitmotif of President Trump’s recent trip to the region, that significant lines of conflict in the region can all be reduced to some simplistic grand division, such as of evil versus good, Shia versus Sunni, or Iran versus everyone else.

Source: Trump’s Destabilization of the Persian Gulf | The National Interest Blog

Nothing good can come from the Trump admin taking sides in this situation….

A lengthy New York Times article over the weekend touches on a contradiction in the U.S. strategy against the Islamic State in Iraq and Syria (ISIS). Even as the United States cooperates in a de facto tactical alliance with Iran against ISIS, we’re engaged in a longer-term strategy against Iranian influence in the Middle East. U.S. and Iranian-backed forces have even clashed in battlefield skirmishes in recent weeks.

Picking a fight with an implicit ally is problematic for many reasons. Perhaps most worryingly, such clashes risk sucking U.S. forces deeper into Syria’s civil war.

The article quotes Lebanese scholar Kamel Wazne’s argument that the Trump administration, with encouragement from Saudi Arabia and other Gulf States, is “turning up the heat against Iran,” and eager to prevent it from establishing “’Shiite crescent’ of influence from Iran to Lebanon” when the Islamic State is defeated. This stance, we’re told, “puts the United States at loggerheads with the pro-government alliance in Syria.”

Source: Placating the Gulf States Distorts Middle East Policy | Cato @ Liberty

The first causality of this incident is America’s top diplomat in Qatar…..

The U.S. ambassador to Qatar reportedly resigned on Tuesday over President Trump’s criticism of the Persian Gulf nation.

CNBC’s John Harwood reported that Ambassador Dana Shell Smith resigned over Trump’s attacks. Harwood cited Trump’s recent comments about Qatar, saying they undermined State Department efforts to ease tensions.

Source: US ambassador to Qatar resigns: report | TheHill

Some see a failure of this Saudi attempt…….

It has been apparent for some time that the war against the Islamic State (IS) group and its forebear al-Qaeda is by no means the only show in town in the Middle East. In fact, for most of the time, the war on terror has been a sideshow.

The attempt to bring Qatar to heel by closing its borders and effectively laying siege to it has shed light on the real forces competing for dominance of the region in the post-Western world in which we live today.

Three regional blocks are vying for control.

Source: Why the campaign against Qatar is doomed | Middle East Eye

This situation is fascinating to observe……just how it plays out is still up in the ether…..

I know it is giving me sleepless nights on the PC and the cel…but it is worth it!

Promises In The Promise Land

Leg two of Trump’s first international trip and we find our fair-haired leader in Israel and Palestine….and he did what is expected of him…..he made a speech to Israelis and then he went to the Territories to make a speech to the Palestinians…….

His speech to the Israelis is the same speech that all Americans presidents give to Israel….you are our friend….we support you….yada, yada….then he went to the PNA for his speech and I ask why?

Optimism abounds…at least in some circles……

Recent events have left Palestinians in an odd position: The absence of a clear strategy by a U.S. administration to resolve the conflict with Israel may have become the best bet for statehood they’ve had in years. This, at least, seems to be the thinking of Mahmoud Abbas, the president of the Palestinian Authority (PA), who met with U.S. President Donald Trump in the West Bank city of Bethlehem today.

Source: Could Trump Be Palestinians’ Best Hope? – The Atlantic

It, the speech, was as fucking generic as could be…..and guess what?

He promised a deal….a two state deal…..soon.

Can he deliver what so many other Americans presidents promised?

Source: Will Trump’s Middle East deal work?

And just like all his predecessors he offers NO details to the plans he says he has waiting in the wings……

President Trump arrived in Israel with big ambitions for the peace process between Israel and the Palestinians, and as with many of his biggest ambitions since taking office,, he’s shown little real indication of having a plan, let alone being willing to articulate it.

“I have heard it is one of the toughest deals of all, but I have a feeling that we are going to get there eventually, I hope,” Trump insisted. This was the sum total of what he set out, a feeling that a deal could happen eventually, or at least so he hopes.

Source: Trump Talks Israel-Palestinian Peace, Offers No Details on Plan — News from Antiwar.com

The same bullshit that is given about the situation since 1967……it is all a lie….Trump can find NO way to work the “deal” regardless of his promises.

After he leaves the region Israel will return to normal….destroying crops, stealing land and building illegal settlements……

Nothing new….the same lies and bullshit that Israel has pulled for 60 years.

A waste of time for the country and a waste of taxpayer cash.

What Is America’s Goal In The World?

During one of my classes as student asked me, during one of our “rap Sessions”, a time I set aside to talk about the day’s current events, she asked me “Just what is America’s role in the world”?

That is a damn good question….I gave her my opinion….

Trump seems to have an extreme dislike for diplomacy…..he is gutting the State Dept and trying to expand the Pentagon…..to me that says that his thought is to use force in every incident…..

I then told her to read an article by Buchanan in the American Conservative (not someone I would turn to for much opinion but this is a pretty good look at his thoughts)

For the World War II generation there was clarity.  The attack on Pearl Harbor, Dec. 7, 1941, united the nation as it had never been before—in the conviction that Japan must be smashed, no matter what.

For the World War II generation there was clarity.

The attack on Pearl Harbor, Dec. 7, 1941, united the nation as it had never been before—in the conviction that Japan must be smashed, no matter how long it took or how many lives it cost.

After the defeat of the Axis powers in 1945, however, Americans divided.

Only with the Berlin Blockade of 1948, the fall of China to Mao and Russia’s explosion of an atom bomb in 1949, and North Korea’s invasion of the South in 1950, did we unite around the proposition that, for our own security, we had to go back to Europe and Asia.

Source: What Is America’s Goal in the World? | The American Conservative

She returned to class and we spoke privately on the article…(she gets extra credit for her initiative).

The school year is drawing to an end…I hope that this young lady pursues international relations for she has a good mind and she asks questions in search of real answers not just those that will ease her mind.

Closing Thought–17May17

Ambassador Who?

Pres. Trump is lagging behind with his appointments of people to the various positions…..his latest appointment is the ambassador to the Vatican……

President Trump has settled on Callista Gingrich as the US ambassador to the Vatican, CNN reported first Sunday night, saying the choice has been made but the process has been hung up by the Office of Government Ethics, which needs to give its approval. The network reports a formal nomination of the wife of former House Speaker Newt Gingrich could come as soon as this week, with Trump wanting it to be made before his May 24 meeting with Pope Francis. That her name was being floated has been known since January—Newt himself told CNN as much shortly after Trump became president. Newt wouldn’t say much to the New York Times Sunday night beyond noting both he and his wife had been advised to “be very cautious” until an announcement was made.

The Times has more on Callista’s relationship with Catholicism: She helped Newt convert and sings in the Basilica of the National Shrine choir, but it points out she had a hand in the demise of Newt’s third marriage. An opinion piece at the National Catholic Reporter makes the case that “the Vatican cares less about the moral history of an ambassadorial nominee than it does about the nominee’s access to the decision-makers in the administration.” As for the administration, Axios contributes this to the rumor mill: “About six weeks ago … Trump told our source he was reluctant to send Callista to the Vatican because he likes seeing her husband Newt defending him on TV. Our source told the President they were sure satellite hook-ups could be arranged for Newt at the Holy See.”

Really?  He could not find anyone else?

But what can I expect?

Trump is hiring people that are not qualified for the positions that he puts them in…… so in that light I guess this is the perfect choice.

May you all have a great day and I will see you tomorrow for more stuff…..chuq

Those Deep Cuts

There is no bones about it….I do not like or agree with the decisions our president is making concerning foreign policy……I do not think that Tillerson is the right person to lead the State Department and I definitely do not agree with the purposed cuts in foreign aid that is in the new budget.

In the past the US has spent about $40 billion in foreign aid….now compare that to the approximately $660 billion for the defense budget…..foreign aid is a small amount of money spent for the good it can do.

The deep cuts proposed by Trump could do more damage than he thinks…..yes we will save a bit of cash but the loss of American aid could open up Central and South Asia to more  and more Chinese influence…..

It looks like U.S. President Donald J. Trump’s plan to reduce the foreign aid budget will come at a cost to his administration’s other aims in South and Central Asia.

Some of the cuts come as no surprise as they target programs, like climate change, that the president came into office determined to roll back. But others will undermine stated administration priorities, such as regional counterterrorism and cooperation with India.

The proposed budget will end funding completely for four strategically located countries in this region, and shrink health funding by half region-wide. The proposed budget will also eliminate two categories of aid, one known as Development Assistance and one called Assistance for Europe, Eurasia, and Central Asia (AEECA), instead using the Economic Support Fund (ESF) category as a preferred vehicle for the countries in which U.S. aid will continue.

Source: Trump to Cut Foreign Aid Budgets, Opening South and Central Asia’s Door to Chinese Influence | World Affairs Journal

Frugality is a good thing….that is until it turns on us and bites us in the ass.

And who do you will profit from this frugality?

Hint:  Will NOT be the US!

More Foreign Policy by Trump

Trump is our president and I will admit that in the beginning I was impressed with some of his rhetoric pertaining to foreign policy and world affairs….but since taking office he has crapped on any positive statements that he may made in 2016.

Once he nominated Tillerson to run the State department and then his massive cuts to the State department and the firing of all the diplomats and “experts” in the different fields I have not seen anything that is positive with his policies…if anything he is crapping on this country.

The one good thing is that I am NOT alone there are many of us that see the decline in this country because of the bad foreign polies of the Trump administration…..

While Donald Trump delighted in launching 59 cruise missiles toward Syria while eating chocolate cake at one of his resorts, Syrians, as they have for years of living under conditions of extreme violence, feared the worst.

The devastatingly bloody conflict in Syria, which the US has already been involved in for years, has left nearly 500,000 dead and nearly 2 million injured. That means that more than 1 out of every 10 Syrians has been killed or wounded, and more than 85 percent of the country is living in poverty. According to the UN, more than 6 million Syrians are displaced within their own country, and nearly 5 million have fled the country altogether and are now refugees.

As the Trump administration appears poised to become increasingly involved in Syria and the greater Middle East, what is life like under the bombs?

Source: Dahr Jamail | Former US Intelligence Officers Scathingly Critique Trump’s So-Called Foreign Policy

Trump may not be the sharpest pencil in the box when it comes to foreign policy but he could do no better than a little research on the policies of Eisenhower….Ike did do some things in world affairs that were not the best choices but at least he did what he thought was best for peace and security in a changing world…..

Former president Dwight D. “Ike” Eisenhower was the supreme commander of Allied forces during World War II and he intimately knew the brutal, devastating nature of all-out war. Ike was a believer in maintaining overpowering military strength—including a stated willingness to use nuclear weapons—but more importantly, he was a strong advocate for peace and diplomacy. Before it is too late, let us hope President Trump can learn from the policies of Eisenhower.

Source: What Trump Could Learn from Eisenhower | The National Interest Blog

Ike did have his moments that I would not approve of today….but at least he saw the need and the positive aspects of diplomacy…..something Trump and his d/bag Tillerson have not yet grasp.

This is the world we get when we vote for arrogance and ignorance.

Syria: Are They Safe Now?

Back a few years ago Hillary had the bright idea for Syria….those darn pesky “no-fly zones”…..then during the 2016 campaign season candidate Trump had another brilliant idea for Syria….”Safe Zones”……… both were ideas to protect the refugees and to make it safe for humanitarian aid…..

But enough talk….read my take for yourself……

Source: Seriously? “Safe Zones” Again? – In Saner Thought

I bring this up again because of a situation that has occurred in Syria….the regional powers in the conflict, Russia, Turkey and Iran have signed a deal to implement “safe zones” in the country…..but they are calling them “de-escalation zones”….

Russia, Iran and Turkey have signed a deal calling for the setup of so-called de-escalation zones in war-torn Syria during talks in Kazakhstan’s capital, Astana.

The signing ceremony on Thursday was briefly interrrupted as some members of the Syrian armed opposition’s delegation stormed out in protest against Iran’s participation in the deal.

Source: Regional Powers Agree on Syria ‘De-escalation Zones’ | World Affairs Journal

I have written several times about the failure of most “no-fly zones/safe zones”…whatever the Hell you want to call them.

But if you think I may be mistaken then there is a way to see what I am talking about….

Is there more to this move than what we see on the surface?

A new deal aimed at reducing violence in Syria is now in effect, but questions remain as to its implementation and its consequences.

The agreement signed on Thursday by Iran, Russia and Turkey in the Kazakh capital, Astana, is the latest in a series of ceasefire proposals aimed at ending Syria’s war, now in its seventh year.

The plan calls for the cessation of hostilities between rebel groups and forces fighting on behalf of Bashar al-Assad‘s government in four so-called “de-escalation zones” in mainly opposition-held areas of the country.

Source: Syria’s ‘de-escalation zones’ explained | Syria News | Al Jazeera

This story of “safe zones” has not been all that successful…..will this one be any different?

If history is any indication, the creation of a series of safe zones in Syria, currently being discussed by the United States, Russia, Turkey, and the war-torn country, is likely to provide little relief for hundreds of thousands of civilians on the ground.

Moscow, Ankara, and Tehran on May 4 signed a memorandum backing a Russian proposal that calls for such zones to be created in rebel-held territory in northwestern Syria. The United States said it supported any effort to de-escalate the violence in Syria, though it had “concerns” about the agreement.

Source: ANALYSIS. The ‘Very Bad History’ Of Safe Zones | World Affairs Journal

I have said before and still firmly believe that unless everyone involved in the conflict is on board with the “safe zone” thing then there is a high probability that something could go horribly wrong.

I mean the Syrian air force will still be carrying out sorties and so will the US and its allies…..one false move and this conflict could become a full blown war.

So NO this is not a step forward if anything it could become a provocation in one form or another.