Rest Easy, We Have A NatSec Adviser

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

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

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

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

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

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

A reset?  Not a chance!

The village peasants may now rest easy.

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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“Lego Ergo Scribo”

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The U.S. Must…!

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

The U.S. MUST lead the response….why?

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

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

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

Be Smart!

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“Lego Ergo Scribo”

Foreign Policy–WTF?

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

What can we do to explain ……

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

(reuters)

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

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

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“Lego Ergo Scribo”

Thoughts On Afghanistan

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

Probably not.

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

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

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

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

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

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

(Army Times)

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

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

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

https://apnews.com/d619f2a9fd3b47fa812d707fafd5f146

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

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

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

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

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

(antiwar.com)

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

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

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

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

The True Power of the Afghan Drug Trade

Someone explain our toleration to the world.

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

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

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

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

In closing…..just a reminder……

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

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

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

“Lego Ergo Scribo”

That Damn “Libya Model”

This term is getting a workout from dear president Trump…it is one of the insults he has used to explain why Bolton had to resign…..He slammed a mistake Bolton made early in his tenure at the White House when he discussed a “Libyan model” in the context of North Korea — which that country took as a sign that its leadership could meet the fate of former Libyan strongman Moammar Gadhafi. 

He is conflating two events a  2003 decision  and the civil war that killed Qaddafi……

Let me offer a free lesson in international relations for our dear president…..

After the U.S.-led invasion of Iraq toppled President Saddam Hussein in 2003, Libya’s leader Col. Moammar Gadhafi feared he might be next. On Dec. 19, 2003, Gadhafi announced he intended to rid Libya of its weapons of mass destruction.

Within a few months, Libya handed over vast amounts of equipment, documents and centrifuges — all of which were flown out of the country, mostly to Oak Ridge, Tenn. Gadhafi allowed international inspectors into Libya, and, in about two years, they certified that Libya’s nuclear weapons program was no more. Full destruction of Libya’s chemical weapons program was due to be completed by 2016.

This event might have had a round about consequence in the civil war and eventual death of Qaddafi…but that would take a whole bunch of research.

Fast forward to 2011, when the Arab Spring uprisings roiled the Middle East. Riots broke out across the country, including in the eastern Libyan city of Benghazi. On March 19 of that year, the U.S. and its European allies – the very powers Gadhafi sought to cultivate by foreswearing nukes – launched a seven-month bombing campaign — ostensibly to stop attacks on civilians but in reality to topple his regime. On Oct. 20, 2011, Gadhafi was found hiding in a drainage ditch in Sirte after rebels overran the coastal city. He was beaten senseless by a crowd and shot dead.

And that was what was meant when Bolton mentioned the ‘Libya Model’…..

Only some amateur would conflate the two situations….and a bigger idiot that would do so in the press where he can be fact checked and proven to be uninformed on international issues.

Now Mr. President you may return to your normal daily consumption of shitty news and Tweeting all about it.

Be Smart!

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Class Dismissed!

“Lego Ergo Scribo”

Then There Is Iran

Ever since Trump came to the power seat in DC Iran has been on his lips. First it was the treaty for their nukes which he decided was bad for no other reason than it was an Obama policy….and then it was more sanctions and then the hard fighting words began in essence the attempt to bully.

Now Trump is open to a meeting at the UN with Iran and on cue the Neocons went batcrap crazy probably one reason Bolton lost his job….and now more news about Iran.

Bolton’s firing may signal willingness to offer concessions

Saying he believes that the US sanctions and pressure have put Iran in a very tough position, President Trump continued to suggest that talks could be held soon. Interestingly, reports also suggest he may be considering some concessions.

A $15 billion EU line of credit to Iran in return for oil sales, an effort to get them around near-term economic problems, seems the most likely immediate move, with Trump and Mike Pompeo both considering giving France permission to do it.

Iran has suggested they would only be open to talks in the event the US lifted sanctions on them. Incredibly, it does appear that this too is under consideration, as Trump is very hopeful for talks, and might actually be willing to do something to make that happen.

The clearest indication of this might be the sacking of John Bolton this week. Bolton was working openly against all of these concessions, and fighting against the Iran talks in general. Trump may have believed getting Bolton out of the way was a necessary first step.

(antiwar.com)

Seriously?

This is a repeat of the North Korean gambit.

Lots of tough talk and insults and then a simpler message of a willingness to meet and talk.

As we inch closer to an armed conflict military leaders have made it clear what they want…..

In an open letter, the former officers said President Donald Trump made it clear that “there is no broader strategy to his desire for military conflict with Iran” and warned that it was “past time for Congress to step in and stop Trump’s constitutionally unsupported march to war.” The letter was organized by retired Maj. Gen. Paul Eaton of the progressive group VoteVets and its nonprofit affiliate, the Vet Voice Foundation.

“A full-scale military conflict with Iran would be a huge and costly undertaking,” the letter reads. “It’s a lesson we’ve learned before as a nation, at great cost. The wars in Iraq and Afghanistan have cost us a lot in blood and treasure. We know that war with Iran would require hundreds of thousands of American service members to deploy and could result in even larger numbers of American casualties and injuries ― alongside an unknown number of civilian deaths.”

That Foggy Mountain Breakdown–Afghanistan

There is a wealth of opinions on the breakdown of the talks between the US and the Taleban…..all said the common opinion is that Trump was right cancel these talks for it gives the US time to revamp its Afghan strategy…..

U.S. President Donald Trump announced on Saturday that he had called off talks with the Taliban at Camp David. The meeting had probably been arranged to finalise a deal for the start of a U.S. troop withdrawal from Afghanistan.

The deal apparently had four main pillars: a Taliban guarantee not to allow foreign fighters to use Afghanistan to launch attacks outside the country; the withdrawal of U.S. and NATO forces; an intra-Afghan dialogue; and a permanent ceasefire.

The question marks over that plan are the credibility of any Taliban commitments, the exclusion of the Afghan government from the peace talks, and what happens next.

These problems are well known to any observer of Afghanistan and certainly to the U.S. lead negotiator, Zalmay Khalilzad. He may well have reached the best deal he could with the Taliban, but that doesn’t mean it was one worth taking. Fortunately, U.S. Secretary of State Mike Pompeo and Trump seem to have a perspective that’s different from the negotiating team’s.

https://www.realcleardefense.com/articles/2019/09/11/the_breakdown_of_ustaliban_talks_buys_time_to_reset_the_afghanistan_strategy_114737.html

Was Trump right to cancel these talks?

The new peace agreement thus far, painstakingly negotiated by U.S. envoy Zalmay Khalilzad – a skilled former ambassador to Afghanistan, Iraq and the United Nations – was between the U.S. and the Taliban only. The Camp David meeting was supposed to be a turning point, wherein the Afghan government of President Ashraf Ghani and the Taliban could come together, echoing former President Bill Clinton’s bringing together of the Palestinian Liberation Organization and the government of Israel in 2000, also at Camp David. (That attempt, too, died stillborn.)

The deal on the table reportedly included a U.S. withdrawal of its 14,000 troops, including a down-payment of around 5,000 leaving within a few months after the accord was completed. The Taliban were to provide guarantees that there would be no return to creating “safe havens” for groups like al-Qaeda and the Islamic State (which is rising in prominence within Afghanistan). There was also a provision to free thousands of Taliban prisoners being held by the Afghan government. All of this was to be cemented with a prolonged cease-fire – and it was that portion of the agreement that the Taliban failed to honor, continuing their attacks and killing another U.S. service member last week.

https://www.bloomberg.com/opinion/articles/2019-09-09/trump-was-right-to-cancel-the-taliban-talks

One of the media’s main sticking points is that there was NO Afghan government representation…..but once the US takes it on the lame the Taleban will once again become the government in power in Afghanistan.

Really the only thing to worry about is to take measures to assure the US that there will be no safe haven for terrorists like AQ and ISIS.

The governmental form matters not….for Afghanistan will be Afghanistan.

“Lego Ergo Scribo”