Stand Off In Syria?

ISIS has been defeated in Syria, at least as a serious force for evil….there will always be the d/bags in small numbers…..the question is….what will the US do?

US military intentions in Syria have never been exactly transparent, but are becoming ever less so, as Pentagon officials loudly declare ISIS to have been “defeated” in the country, but insist that they intend to remain.

This could be a bit of an international problem…..for you see the US was NEVER invited to join in the fun of a war….we decided to just show up and play…..

This is a potential major legal issue, because Syria never authorized the US invasion in the first place. US officials always presented the authorization as being UN resolutions supporting the fight against ISIS, but that would no longer apply.

Moreover, Russian Foreign Minister Sergey Lavrov has pointed out that Secretary of State Tillerson has repeatedly assured him that the “only” US goal in Syria is to fight ISIS. This is adding to Russian concerns about what the US is actually planning on doing next.

Secretary of Defense James Mattis is trying to present this as keeping “ISIS 2.0” from coming into existence. While this is also the pretext for staying in Iraq, there is a major difference between a permanent deployment in Iraq that the US-backed government there supports, and trying to stay in Syria forever despite explicit opposition from the Syrian government.


Can the US just decide where we would put troops without permission of the host country?

There is another potential problem looking with our decision… see Syria, a sovereign nation, has asked Iran for its help with all the rebel problems it is having….that will put them in direct conflict with US forces in Syria and Iran and Syria both are not happy with the US statement…..

With ISIS on the brink of defeat, Tehran and Damascus say the next phase of the conflict in Syria is for the “resistance forces” to confront the U.S. military and its local allies, particularly the Syrian Democratic Force (S.D.F.). They have dialed up anti-American propaganda and warn that a “direct confrontation” with the U.S. will be necessary if Washington decides to keep its troops in Syria for the long haul.

This situation could turn into a neocon dream come true….an excuse to directly go after Iran.

Now would the perfect time for the special envoy that Tillerson has already said is not needed.

This situation if not tempered could be the next big fight that some in Congress are looking for….we cannot let it happen.


Our Foreign Policy Sucks…..Part Deux

I have been a critic of the foreign policy of this country for decades……and now is NO different except it has gotten worse with each passing  day since January.

I recently made the observation….”our foreign policy sucks”……

Source: Our Foreign Policy Sucks! – In Saner Thought

After Bush then Obama and Clinton some were hoping for a new role for the US in global leadership…….

Jake Sullivan, a former senior foreign policy adviser to Hillary Clinton, is the Lowy Institute’s 2017 Distinguished International Fellow. This article is based on a lecture delivered at the National Gallery of Victoria, Australia on 15 June.

Three basic premises that formed the foundation of American foreign policy since 1945 are now in doubt.

First, the premise that our alliances are a strategic asset, and not a liability, for the US. Second, the premise that values as well as interests matter in the conduct of our foreign policy. Third, and most important, the premise that American foreign policy should operate on the positive-sum logic that we are safer, stronger, and more prosperous when we contribute to making others safer, stronger, and more prosperous.

Source: A New Argument for American Global Leadership | RealClearDefense

I do not see a leadership role with the team that Trump has installed to run our foreign policy establishment…..

The SecState, Tillerson, show moments of clarity but then he slips back into the “yes man” status that Trump needs for his ego….he is witnessing the lessening of the US in the diplomatic field allowing the Pentagon to act mas a de facto State Department……

Defending his boss recently against charges that he’s heading up an incredible shrinking State Department, strategic adviser R.C. Hammond opined that the Secretary Rex Tillerson is thinking like a cowboy. Comparing words to bullets, he said “You carry a revolver with only six shots, and you don’t waste your bullets.”

Fair enough. Successful secretaries of State husband their resources and invest in issues that are strategic and strike at the right time. But five months in, and based on our long tenures at the State Department under both Republican and Democratic administrations, it seems pretty clear that at least in five cases, Tillerson’s gun jammed or the rounds he fired went wide of their mark. Presumably he has yet to use the sixth bullet — a frank conversation with the president about his presumed aspirations to be a consequential secretary of State. Will he?

Source: The incredible shrinking Rex Tillerson: Can secretary of State reclaim his job?

Now it appears the the UN ambassador, Nikki Haley, is trying to act like a surrogate SecState……she needs to remember that she works for the State Department and not herself…….

Secretary of State Rex Tillerson doesn’t seem to enjoy being America’s top diplomat. He finds himself isolated in Foggy Bottom and not getting much love or cooperation from the White House. President Donald Trump often contradicts Tillerson’s statements on major issues, like the dustup between the Saudis and Qatar, in such a way as to indicate that Tillerson doesn’t have much influence over U.S. policy. Trump’s choice for the far less important post of ambassador to the United Nations seems to be having a much better time. Nikki Haley is speaking out frequently on issues such as human rights, Israel, Iran, and Syria in ways that make it clear that, like some of her predecessors, she understands that the U.N. post is the ideal bully pulpit. In an administration in which the country’s putative top diplomat is struggling to manage his department rather than advocating for U.S. values, Haley has become a kind of alternative secretary of state.

Source: Nikki Haley: Secretary of State Alternative? | National Review

With the horrible decisions that Trump is making on the international stage is doing nothing to make the US appear strong….

Donald Trump does not travel well. At his first major summit, he was too tired to walk through the Sicilian streets with the other G7 leaders, and took to his golf cart. He literally pushed aside the prime minister of a small European country to stand at the head of the pack. He found himself in a minority of one over the Paris climate accord, rejecting arguments that he was ceding world leadership to China. And he was irritated by all the tough-guy talk from France’s president, Emmanuel Macron, who boasted to a French newspaper that his white-knuckle handshake with Trump was “a moment of truth”.

When he returned home, Trump’s response was to embrace his isolation. “I was elected to represent the citizens of Pittsburgh, not Paris,” he declared as he pulled out of the Paris agreement, barely a month ago.

Source: How Trump’s foreign policy threatens to make America weak again | US news | The Guardian

In short it will be a very long 4 years for American prestige and foreign policy…..the question should be will it ever reclaim it’s place internationally?

My thought….Not at this rate of decline.

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

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.

Donald of Arabia

He Came….He Saw….He Gave A Speech!

Pres. Trump has made his first international trip as the leader of the free world and he decided to start with Saudi Arabia….why?

Has there been a more disgusting spectacle during the four months of this presidency than the sight of Donald Trump slobbering all over the barbarous Saudi monarch and his murderous family of petty princelings? It’s enough to make any normal American retch, especially when one remembers what Trump said about them during the election:

“Saudi Arabia and many of the countries that gave vast amounts of money to the Clinton Foundation want women as slaves and to kill gays. Hillary must return all money from such countries!”

Source: Donald of Arabia: A Disgusting Spectacle by —

His main concern should have been to try and end the bloody attacks on Yemen….but instead it is about sending them more cash and resources so they can continue to “confront terrorism”……

There are good reasons why we should not be massaging their genitals for them…..

Source: 10 Reasons Trump Should Not Strengthen U.S.-Saudi Ties | Alternet

One of the only things that this trip will accomplish is to tap down the conversation around the Russian stuff… least for a couple of days….it will not go away just not be the lead unless something major breaks….

The biggest lie was told not by Trump but by the moron the  hued to be SecState, Tillerson…..Tillerson said on “Fox News Sunday” that the visit was meant to confront the threat of terrorism. He said that human rights would improve as security and stability in the region did.

Now that is the whopper of the trip so far!  (just re-read the 10 reasons in above link)

And then Andrea Mitchell of MSNBC stated the Trump now feels like he understands the Middle East….seriously?  After two days he fully understands?  I lived and worked in the Middle East for 3 years and there are times when I do not fully understand the Middle East… this dude is si sharp that he has it all at hand now after two days……

May I interject here…BULLSHIT!

And we all wait.

Foreign Policy Is Off With A Bang

We enter into our third week of thew Trump presidency….and the area that I was most concerned with, foreign policy, is making news….lots of news.

To begin with we have a new SecState……

The Republican-led Senate has confirmed Rex Tillerson as President Trump’s secretary of state, the AP reports. Senators voted 56-43 largely along party lines to approve Tillerson’s nomination to be the nation’s chief diplomat. Most Senate Democrats opposed Tillerson’s nomination, angering Republicans who considered the former Exxon Mobil CEO to be highly qualified for the post.

That was the only thing that could inaccurately be called “good news”…..

Then the president spent some time on the phone with PM of Australia and the president of Mexico……

For decades, Australia and the U.S. have enjoyed the coziest of relationships, collaborating on everything from military and intelligence to diplomacy and trade. Yet an irritable tweet President Donald Trump fired off about Australia and a dramatic report of an angry phone call between the nations’ leaders proves that the new U.S. commander in chief has changed the playing field for even America’s staunchest allies.

Prime Minister Malcolm Turnbull was left scrambling to defend his country’s allegiance to the U.S. after The Washington Post published a report on Thursday detailing a tense exchange that allegedly took place during the Australian leader’s first telephone call with Trump since he became president. During the call, the Post reported, Trump ranted about an agreement struck with the Obama administration that would allow a group of mostly Muslim refugees rejected by Australia to be resettled in the United States. The newspaper said Trump dubbed it “the worst deal ever” and accused Turnbull of seeking to export the “next Boston bombers” — a reference to Tamerlan and Dzhokhar Tsarnaev, U.S. citizens born in Kyrgyzstan who set off explosives at the 2013 Boston marathon.

Next up was a threat to the Mexican president…..

President Trump threatened in a phone call with his Mexican counterpart to send US troops to stop “bad hombres down there” unless the Mexican military does more to control them, according to an excerpt of a transcript of the conversation obtained by the AP. The excerpt of the call did not make clear who exactly Trump considered “bad hombres”—drug cartels, immigrants, or both—or the tone and context of the remark, made in a Friday morning phone call between the leaders. It also did not contain Mexican President Enrique Pena Nieto’s response. Still, the excerpt offers a rare and striking look at how the new president is conducting diplomacy behind closed doors. Trump’s remark suggest he is using the same tough and blunt talk with world leaders that he used to rally crowds on the campaign trail.

“You have a bunch of bad hombres down there,” Trump told Pena Nieto. “You aren’t doing enough to stop them. I think your military is scared. Our military isn’t, so I just might send them down to take care of it.”

And now for the chest thumping toward Iran…….

President Trump’s national security adviser said the US is “officially putting Iran on notice,” without specifying exactly what that means, Reuters reports. According to NBC News, Michael Flynn made the remark during a “surprise appearance” at a White House press briefing Wednesday. It was spurred by a recent Iranian missile test that Flynn characterized as “destabilizing activity.” While Flynn didn’t offer specifics on how the US may respond, three senior administration officials tell CNN they are “considering a whole range of options,” including everything from economic sanctions to military action.

If these situations are true then I would say that we are off to a rough 4 years internationally….

They All Come Crawling

Just a couple of days ago the US announced to the world that there was a deal on the nukes and Iran……immediately the world reacted…….some were pleased others were worried.  Then there is the US Congress and the GOP which instantly went into a stroke and started the usual chorus of condemnation.

Days after the announcement there was a steady parade of US officials begging forgiveness from Israel for the deal.  Kerry had to make a stop over in Israel to take his tongue lashing from Netanyahu……..Obama called to be sure that BiBi got the word from him and not from some other source and now SecDef Carter will make his trip to Israel bearing gifts………

The US has offered to increase military aid to Israel by another $1.5 billion per year to ease tensions over the nuclear deal with Iran, media has reported. Defense Secretary Ash Carter is expected to make the offer during next week’s visit to Tel Aviv.

The proposed increase would see Israel getting an additional squadron of F-35 fighter jets, funding for research and development of missile defense systems, and ammunition to replenish the stocks used in last year’s bombing of Gaza, Israeli sources told Jerusalem Post.

Under the current arrangement, Israel is receiving $3 billion a year, most of which is used to purchase US military hardware such as fighter jets and missile defense systems. Israeli and US officials have been discussing increasing the amount of aid to anywhere between $4.2 and $4.5 billion per year, sources familiar with the talks told the New York Times.

The US must make nice with Israel……which brings me to a point……

After the deal announcement was made I heard several opponents say that the US had caved to Iran and others…………that we had somehow kowtow to the whims of Iran……..

Americans, some of them, are pissed that the US must crawl to Iran to make this deal……..but wait……..all this trying to make nice with Israel….is that not the same thing as the previous situation mentioned?  Are we NOT kowtowing to Israel?  Are we not crawling to them like they own us?

The Right wing and some Dems want the US to be strong and not be pushed around by others…….but yet it is somehow okie dokie to be pushed around by Israel…….why is that?

Why are Americans perfectly fine with Israel tells us what to do and how we should do it?

US Foreign Policymakers Cannot Be Trusted by Sheldon Richman —

If you have become a regular follower of IST then you are well aware that I have zero confidence in our foreign policy ‘experts’…….and respect them even less.

My biggest bitch is these people are dinosaurs……….they are trying to plug-in Cold War solutions to today’s world…….their solutions are falling dead from the start and yet they still think we are still dealing with situations in a vacuum tube world……

Finally, others are starting to see what I have been going on about for years.  With an election approaching I still do not see a candidate that is capable of dealing with 21st century problems with 21st century solutions……neither party will get this world back to a sane footing…..

Some in the media have called 2016, the Foreign Policy Election…….if so then I suggest that you pray for the country…..there is NO one running at this time that has even the slightest knowledge of foreign policy or international relations…..Clinton has some experience but I do not trust her to make the right choices…….

Do not take my word for it… on…….


US Foreign Policymakers Cannot Be Trusted by Sheldon Richman —