The UN–Should We Go Or Should We Stay?

The Clash is blasting in the background…..

The United Nations has been a source of ridicule for Neocons for decades.

The Trump Administration has been pulling out of the major functions of the United Nations since they came to power….plus there are several functions that we have never signed up for in the past.

FYI, Politico has a slide show of all the treaties the US has not signed…..

https://www.politico.com/gallery/10-treaties-the-us-hasnt-ratified

I bring this up at this time because of something that the US ambassador to the United Nations, Nikki Haley, has said……

As Nikki Haley finishes her tenure this month, the woman who has spent the last two years representing the U.S. at the United Nations has a question for the American public: Should the U.S. remain a member?

“The American people need to decide if it’s worth it,” she said in an interview with a small group of journalists this week. There is a lot of waste and abuse at the UN, she said, and it is often “politically unfair” to the U.S. and its allies. That said, she also noted that the UN was the vehicle for imposing tough sanctions on North Korea and an arms embargo on South Sudan.

“There are rays of light,” she said. “But the verdict is still out.”

It’s easy to see where Haley is coming from — during her tenure, the UN has had to deal with scandals of the self-inflicted and political variety. It continues to suffer the repercussions of child sex abuse by UN peacekeepers. Meanwhile Russia’s veto at the Security Council, “one of the most frustrating things about the UN,” continues to protect Syria from facing accountability for chemical weapons attacks.

https://www.bloomberg.com/opinion/articles/2018-12-21/nikki-haley-asks-should-the-u-s-stay-in-the-un

It is a great question.

The UN was a grand idea that the US did not take seriously out of ignorance and arrogance.

The whole idea of the Security Council with 5 permanent members that can veto anything put before it…..a stupid idea!

So I think we should consider our membership….either take the grand plan seriously or bow out and let the rest of the world get down to business.

What say you?

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But Before Khashoggi

Closing Thought–28Dec18

By now the whole world knows the name Khashoggi…the Saudi journalist that was assassinated and dismembered by the Saudi prince…the notorious MbS…..but before that incident the Saudis struck this time on American soil, Oregon…..

It’s another controversial case involving Saudi Arabia and the US. This time, as the Oregonian reports, federal authorities think the kingdom helped a 21-year-old man awaiting trial in a fatal hit-and-run flee the United States and return home. In August 2016, police in Portland say Abdulrahman Sameer Noorah illegally swerved around traffic that had stopped to allow 15-year-old Fallon Smart to cross a boulevard. Noorah, who had been in the US studying at a local community college, hit the teen while going at least 55mph, then fled the scene before returning later, authorities say. The Saudi consulate put up $100,000 so Noorah could be released on bail in his first-degree manslaughter case. And two weeks before his trial, Noorah disappeared with help from a mysterious black SUV.

The vehicle picked up Noorah at his home and drove him to the parking lot of a nearby business, where he cut off the tracking monitor on his ankle and discarded it. He hasn’t been seen since, though the Saudi government informed the US last year that he is back in Saudi Arabia. The best guess by federal authorities is that the Saudis arranged the SUV, got Noorah a fake passport, and got him out of the country on a private carrier. “We’re doing everything we can to get him back,” a US marshal official tells the newspaper. A lawyer for victim Fallon’s family asks, “Why isn’t the Saudi government respecting our justice system?” Click for the full story, which notes that this isn’t the first time that Saudi Arabia bailed Noorah out of legal trouble in the US.

Apparently the Saudis do not have to play by the same rules as the rest of the world.

These bastards are like the Israelis…they think they can get away with murder (pun intended)….and the rest of the world owes them something…..

Look under the international rocks….there you will find the slime and slugs of the world…..the Saudis are NOT our friends or ally.

An Education Of A President, Et Al

I make NO mistake that I do not think that this president has any idea what he is doing when it comes to the proper use of the intel gathered by our agencies…..now to be fair I do not know if he is just lazy and ignorant or he truly believe some of the spineless crap he is doing and saying…..

But as usual the old professor is here to help (even if it is for someone that I do not support in any way shape or form)…..there is now a short paper on the use of intel for policymakers……

It’s 9:00 pm somewhere in the trenches of the national security bureaucracy. You are a mid-level policymaker and are scrambling to prepare for the big National Security Council meeting in the morning, when principals will debate and decide the U.S. course of action for the crisis du jour. You need to write a ‘read-ahead’ paper and be able to convincingly brief your principal and maybe even the National Security Council on the state of play in the conflict, policy options based on that analysis, pros and cons of each option, and to ultimately make a recommendation. You, however, have not been reading your intelligence — and you do not even know where to start.

Sure, your intentions were good. But the time-sucking reality of recurring crises, endless paper churn, non-stop meetings, and ensuring you are invited to said meetings (with the correct location and a speaking role) overwhelmed you. You have cancelled more morning briefs than you have held. Piles of unopened daily intelligence readbooks spill out of your safe. You can barely remember the names of the analysts supporting you, let alone how to contact them (they went home for the night hours ago, FYSA). You’ve skated by through weeks of interagency meetings with your three trusty talking points, but now, when the analytic rubber hits the policy road, you realize you do not sufficiently understand the issues at play, nor what options the United States could or should pursue to address them. You, my mid-level policymaking friend, lack intelligence.

https://warontherocks.com/2018/11/intelligence-and-you-a-guide-for-policymakers/

This should be required reading if you are a policymaker……someone has got to step up and insert some sanity back into the policies that this country is embracing…..and at the same time dragging it into the pit.

I will be sending it to my representatives….not that it would do much good…..but at least they cannot claim ignorance as they often do.

Right?

Outlook For Foreign Policy

I have nit taken a close look at our foreign policy in the last month or so…..and as we get closer to the end of the year I would like to look at our policies…..

We must look at our foreign policy under Pres. Trump…..his administration, his foreign policy…..

President Donald Trump’s recent statement on the Jamal Khashoggi killing by Saudi Arabia’s Crown Prince might well be considered a metaphor for his foreign policy. Several commentators have suggested that the text appears to be something that Trump wrote himself without any adult supervision, similar to the poorly expressed random arguments presented in his tweeting only longer. That might be the case, but it would not be wise to dismiss the document as merely frivolous or misguided as it does in reality express the kind of thinking that has produced a foreign policy that seems to drift randomly to no real end, a kind of leaderless creative destruction of the United States as a world power.

http://www.unz.com/pgiraldi/u-s-foreign-policy-has-no-policy/

Trump’s lack of experience at foreign policy and hiring yes men instead of experienced international relations people has made our foreign policy unexceptional…….

President Donald Trump’s campaign and years in office thus far have elicited plenty of pre-mortems on his foreign policy, as well as postmortems on the “liberal international order,” on which he is allegedly turning his back. International relations scholars, foreign policy think-tankers, and journalists continue to debate the nature of this order, whether it actually existed and was a force for good, and Trump’s influence on American grand strategy.

In the last two months alone, four books on the subject have been released, all of them by renowned scholars. Arguing that the U.S. grand strategy of the last three decades has failed and is ripe for re-thinking are Harvard University’s Stephen M. Walt with The Hell of Good Intentions: America’s Foreign Policy Elite and the Decline of U.S. Primacy and the University of Chicago’s John J. Mearsheimer with The Great Delusion: Liberal Dreams and International Realities. On the liberal internationalist side is the Brookings Institution’s Robert Kagan with The Jungle Grows Back: America and Our Imperiled World and Ivo H. Daalder’s and James M. Lindsay’s The Empty Throne: America’s Abdication of Global Leadership.

https://www.theamericanconservative.com/articles/making-american-foreign-policy-unexceptional/

Dear Supreme Leader has tried doing the same things as past admins have done and expecting a different outcome simply because he is Trump…..

After a week of insisting that a meeting with Putin on the sidelines of the G20 meeting in Argentina was going to happen, President Trump at the last minute sent out a Tweet explaining that due to a Russia/Ukraine dispute in the Sea of Azov he would no longer be willing to meet his Russian counterpart.

According to Trump, the meeting had to be canceled because the Russians seized three Ukrainian naval vessels in Russian waters that refused to follow instructions from the Russian military. But as Pat Buchanan wrote in a recent column: how is this little dispute thousands of miles away any of our business?

https://original.antiwar.com/paul/2018/12/03/trump-foreign-policy-doing-the-same-thing-and-expecting-a-different-result/

The Midterms are over and now time to look at the foreign policies that should be coming to a president near you…..

On the day after the U.S. midterm elections, European politicians and analysts are bracing for disruption from Donald Trump that will be even greater than what he has perpetrated so far. Their concerns are well-founded, for reasons related both to the election result and to Trump’s methods of operation.

Some now-familiar characteristics of Trump’s presidency, especially pertaining to foreign relations, are relevant. Trump places highest priority on applause from his political base, which means he cares little about damage to national interests so long as the applause keeps coming. He has become, with much practice, a master in the art of distraction and diversion through manufactured crises and outrageous statements. Crisis and outrage have positive value for him. And his overall approach to foreign relations has largely been one of knocking down and destroying things, especially anything institutional or multilateral. Even when a constructive result finally comes, as with North American free trade, it is only after the storm and stress of a Trump-manufactured crisis.

https://nationalinterest.org/blog/paul-pillar/post%E2%80%93election-foreign-policy-trouble-35477

American Policies In The Middle East

I have been following the policies of the US in the Middle East for decades…..and nothing has really changed in all that time….plus in the last two years these policies have become less visible than in the past…..

The policies after the end of the Cold War have changed little over the years…..

In the absence of strong American leadership, now spanning two administrations, the future of the region hinges on what local powers define as priorities, and how they go about trying to achieve them. Even if Washington decides to wake up, it will now find it far more difficult than in the past to assert itself.

https://www.theatlantic.com/ideas/archive/2018/11/where-us-middle-east/574747/

There are many actors in the Middle East but the US is only a minor player…

The Middle East’s geographical and strategic uniqueness has made every great power in history to seek to advance its interests in the region. Yet, the region constitutes the greatest single reserve of oil in the world, which has made it a regular source of foreign interference in the post-World War II era. In addition to its geographical and strategic uniqueness, the Middle East is the birthplace and spiritual center of the world’s three most important monotheistic religions. Due to its geopolitical importance, any inter- and intra-state conflict in the Middle East has the potential not only for destabilizing the region as a whole or upsetting the regional balance of power but also affecting global stability. After employing the Regional Security Complex Theory (RSCT) in order to define and delimit the region of the Middle East, the chapters of this book address the question of regional order, examine how regionalism and globalism feature in Middle Eastern integration processes, explore regional bids for hegemony, and investigate the approaches and policies of major international actors.

https://www.e-ir.info/publication/conflict-and-diplomacy-in-the-middle-east-external-actors-and-regional-rivalries/

Where Will The Failure Be?

The Middle East has been the graveyard of American presidents…..pick a president and they failed in the Middle East…..and believe it or not Donald Trump will be NO different…..

The Middle East has a century old tradition of being the political graveyard of American and British political leaders. The list of casualties is long: Lloyd George, Anthony Eden, Jimmy Carter, Ronald Reagan, Tony Blair and George W Bush. All saw their careers ended or their authority crippled by failure in the region.

Will the same thing happen to Donald Trump as he struggles with the consequences of the alleged murder of Jamal Khashoggi? I always suspected that Trump might come unstuck because of his exaggerated reliance on a weak state like Saudi Arabia rather than because of his supposed links to Russia and Vladimir Putin. Contrary to the PR company boosterism of Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman (MBS) and his ambitious projects, Saudi Arabia has oil and money, but is demonstrably ineffective as an independent operator.

https://www.counterpunch.org/2018/10/23/the-middle-east-not-russia-will-prove-trumps-downfall/

I have watched the Russia thing as being the downfall of this president….I do not see it….Russia will always be there….the Middle East will be Trump’s Waterloo……

The problem is that those people that Trump thinks is the Middle East, the authoritarians, and to ignore the events taking place will be the final downfall…..

Two perfect storms have struck the Arab world in the past decade. In 2011, in what was at first optimistically called “the Arab Spring,” popular uprisings unseated autocrats across the region. Hopes ran high that these peaceful protest movements would usher in a new era of democracy in the Middle East. But except in Tunisia, they ended in turmoil or deadly civil wars. Then, in 2014, the region’s leaders were dealt another blow when the price of oil plummeted, threatening the basic model of governance on which their power rested. Low oil prices since have made it difficult for regimes to fund bloated budgets, buy off elites, and hold up long-postponed reforms. This is not a temporary aberration: it is unlikely that the price of oil will ever again rise to its pre-2014 levels.

On the surface, many Arab states appear to have weathered these two storms—however shakily. But there is more turbulence ahead. The shocks of 2011 and 2014 were just the first symptoms of a deeper transformation under way in the region: the fundamental bargain underpinning stability in Middle Eastern states is coming undone, and unless regional leaders move quickly to strike new bargains with their citizens, even larger storms will come.

https://www.foreignaffairs.com/articles/middle-east/2018-10-15/next-arab-uprising

He and his team have been promising their Middle East peace plan and for nearly 2 years we have NO idea what it is….but take their word for it will be a good deal.

Iran: Here We Go Again

Voting has ended and we await the result…….The midterms were all consuming for the media…there were events on the international stage that flew under the MSM radar……

1979–Iranian rebels storm and occupy the American embassy in Tehran……and began 40 years of diplomatic bullsh*t….under Obama there was a deal struck by what is called the P5+1 that would limit and end Iranian search for nukes……but then we elected a “deal maker” and nothing is good enough…..

The Trump administration on Friday announced the reimposition of all US sanctions on Iran that had been lifted under the 2015 nuclear deal. The sanctions will take effect Monday and cover Iran’s shipping, financial, and energy sectors, the AP reports. It’s the second batch of penalties the administration has reimposed since President Trump withdrew from the landmark deal in May. With limited exceptions, the sanctions will penalize countries that don’t stop importing Iranian oil and foreign companies that do business with blacklisted Iranian entities, including Iran’s central bank, a number of private financial institutions, and state-run port and shipping companies. Secretary of State Mike Pompeo, who released a list of 12 demands Iran must meet if it wants the sanctions lifted, said they’re “aimed at fundamentally altering the behavior of the Islamic Republic of Iran.”

The sanctions include ending support for terrorism, ending military engagement in Syria, and completely halting its nuclear and ballistic missile development. “Maximum pressure means maximum pressure,” Pompeo said. Pompeo said eight nations, which other officials identified as US allies such as Italy, India, Japan, and South Korea, will receive temporary waivers allowing them to continue to import Iranian petroleum products for a limited period as long as they end such imports entirely. Treasury Secretary Steven Mnuchin said 700 more Iranian companies and people would be added to the sanctions lists under the reimposed sanctions. Pompeo and Mnuchin both said the sanctions will have exceptions for humanitarian purchases. (Hawks in Congress want to get tougher on Iran.)

Yep under Trump we have gone back in time to the days of protests and hard feelings toward the US by Iranians…..

What’s new? A 40-year analysis of Iran’s economic performance and regional policy reveals little to no correlation between the two, as Tehran has continued to pursue policies it deems central to its national security no matter its degree of economic wellbeing at home.

Why does it matter? The Trump administration hopes that sanctions will force Iran to curb its regional activities. But data shows that outcome is uncertain as changes in Iran’s wealth have had little impact on the direction or capabilities of its regional policy. Sanctions risk empowering harder-line officials in the Islamic Republic and prompting them to lash out, exacerbating regional tensions.

What should be done? The U.S. optimally should leverage its sanctions to de-escalate regional tensions. That requires acknowledging Iran’s legitimate security concerns as long as Iran acknowledges those of its regional rivals. However unlikely at this time, the U.S., Iran and Gulf Arab states should take steps to build a more stable regional security architecture.

https://www.crisisgroup.org/middle-east-north-africa/gulf-and-arabian-peninsula/iran/b64-illogic-us-sanctions-snapback-iran

There are many setbacks that these sanctions could aggravate….

https://www.crisisgroup.org/middle-east-north-africa/gulf-and-arabian-peninsula/iran/regional-risks-rising-us-iran-rivalry

https://www.globalresearch.ca/new-iran-sanctions-risk-long-term-us-isolation/5658745

Pompeo has stated that these sanctions will not hurt the Iranian people….

As the Trump Administration reimposes all nuclear sanctions on Iran beginning Monday, there is a substantial difference between the narrative of “toughest ever” sanctions and the reality that most of the world has no intention of complying with US demands this time.

This has Secretary of State Mike Pompeo trying to argue that Iran knows how decisive these sanctions are, and further emphasizing that some countries need “a little bit more time” to stop buying Iranian oil.

Pompeo is also trying to defend the humanitarian issues of these sanctions, saying that they will not hurt the ordinary Iranian. This is clearly untrue, as the sanctions are hurting aid groups importing medicine, and forcing the public to be increasingly dependent on the Iranian government, the only group with the size, and money, to weather the immediate attempts to halt banking contacts.

This is a typical Neocon LIE!  Sanctions always hurt the people of the sanctioned country.

As the reader can see there are few that see any upside to re-imposing of crippling sanctions…….there is NO upside……

The next round of economic sanctions on Iran, which will start going into effect on Nov.4, will mainly target the country’s oil and gas industries. These sanctions were eased after the 2015 signing of the Joint Comprehensive Plan of Action (JCPOA), commonly known as the Iran nuclear deal, but are being phased back in following President Donald Trump’s decision to withdraw from the accord six months ago.

Trump’s goal in reinstituting the sanctions is to kill the nuclear deal, to bring Iran’s economy to the point of total collapse, to contain Iran’s regional involvement in Syria, Iraq and Yemen, and, in spite of Washington’s denials, presumably to celebrate the collapse of Iran’s ruling regime. The White House’s official position is that, by increasing economic and political pressure, it aims to bring Iran back to the negotiating table in order to replace the JCPOA with a new deal that bears Trump’s name.

https://www.reuters.com/article/us-mousavian-iran-commentary/commentary-five-reasons-why-trumps-iran-sanctions-will-fail-idUSKCN1N42QY

AS I have written there are few that see any upside to these sanctions…..and some even think that it will bite the US in the ass in the long run…..

Me?  I cannot say for certain….it does not look good…..