The Monroe Doctrine

Over the weekend my daughter and granddaughter stopped by for a visit…..and we did what we always do….schmooze……I asked my granddaughter how school was going and she said that she was studying the Monroe Doctrine in her American History class……..I asked her what her lessons said about the document…..after she gave the whole thing I told her that it was very simplistic and she asked about more info for she had to do a report…..

After our talk I thought since I like to torture my readers with historic perspectives that this subject would be a good post here on IST….

After some thought I realized that few Americans realize what the document is all about….I mean it was quoted during the Cuban missile crisis as a reason for the US response….

Shall we look at the Doctrine?

In his December 2, 1823, address to Congress, President James Monroe articulated United States’ policy on the new political order developing in the rest of the Americas and the role of Europe in the Western Hemisphere.

The statement, known as the Monroe Doctrine, was little noted by the Great Powers of Europe, but eventually became a longstanding tenet of U.S. foreign policy. Monroe and his Secretary of State John Quincy Adams drew upon a foundation of American diplomatic ideals such as disentanglement from European affairs and defense of neutral rights as expressed in Washington’s Farewell Address and Madison’s stated rationale for waging the War of 1812. The three main concepts of the doctrine—separate spheres of influence for the Americas and Europe, non-colonization, and non-intervention—were designed to signify a clear break between the New World and the autocratic realm of Europe. Monroe’s administration forewarned the imperial European powers against interfering in the affairs of the newly independent Latin American states or potential United States territories. While Americans generally objected to European colonies in the New World, they also desired to increase United States influence and trading ties throughout the region to their south. European mercantilism posed the greatest obstacle to economic expansion. In particular, Americans feared that Spain and France might reassert colonialism over the Latin American peoples who had just overthrown European rule. Signs that Russia was expanding its presence southward from Alaska toward the Oregon Territory were also disconcerting.

I then found an article…an updated look, if you will at the document.

Revealing his “deal making” chops, the Donald started, even before the election, by giving Czar Vlad a greenlight for his conquest of Crimea and the Ukraine, getting, in return, Czar Vlad’s help in the election.

Source: Old Whine, New Orange Bottle – LA Progressive

Soon we will have brand new spanking president….will he use the doctrine in his sweep of international relations?

Class dismissed!

Syria–The Nation

For a couple of years the Us and its allies in NATO have been bombing the crap out of the country trying desperately to bring down the group commonly known as ISIS….let’s us say that it is final and ISIS is destroyed what of the future of Syria?

Not long ago I offered a post on the future of Syria…

Source: Does Syria Have A Future? – In Saner Thought

I said that the future of Syria did not have much of a bright spot….and then I read a report by the Rand Corporation…….

This paper offers recommendations for U.S. policy for a postconflict transition in Syria that prevents state collapse, reduces the potential for the recurrence of war, and defeats terrorist groups that have taken hold in the country. These three objectives, we suggest, are best achieved by working with Russia and through the United Nations Security Council, especially in the absence of a regional consensus to end the war. Furthermore, Syria’s political culture and modern history reflect a tradition of centralization and nationalism, which should be acknowledged in postconflict planning. In contrast, policies that seek to divide the country or deliberately or inadvertently weaken or destabilize state institutions — such as support for armed groups that carry out attacks against the state or postconflict governance and reconstruction plans that overemphasize local governance at the expense of the state — may ultimately prove counterproductive in preventing a return to conflict and violence.

The analysis and recommendation presented in this paper should be of interest to policymakers, media, and scholars who specialize in U.S. foreign policy, Syria, and the Middle East.

Source: Preventing State Collapse in Syria | World Affairs Journal

The problem with this paper is that it assumes that there is a state apparatus remaining in place.

I do not see it.

If and when this fight is over then there is still so many groups that live in various parts of the country and they will demand many things from any remaining Syrian state…..if the state is not willing to grant these concessions then the fighting will start up once again.

I fear that without much more diplomatic input this situation will be self-perpetuating….and a deadly situation.

There is a reason for my pessimism…..

Report: Syria is emerging as the newest and most important safe haven for al-Qaeda as the radical Salafi-jihadi ideology threatens to subvert the pluralistic and nationalist goals of the 2011 Syrian Uprising. And it is Bashar al-Assad who is directly responsible for creating the conditions that are empowering al-Qaeda in Syria, as the policies pursued by his government are creating the sociopolitical conditions for extremism to thrive. – Tahrir Institute for Middle East Policy

Only time will tell the fate of Syria…..and the fates are not smiling on it.

Even the major players can be at odds over the future……

The differences between the Russians, the Turks, and the Iranians in Syria are slowly surfacing and gaining greater weight. An Iranian news site — TABNAK

Source: Syria and the Complex Geostrategic Game of Russia-Turkey-Iran | Middle East Briefing

A game that the Syrians will lose in the end.

Is A Bipartisan Foreign Policy Possible?

This world, the one that Trump is about to inherit, is a confusing and dangerous one….what is needed by this country is a Bi-Partisan foreign policy….one that both sides of the coin can agree on and work at keeping the country and the world a safer place….(a pipe dream in the making I fear)

But with the atmosphere in DC these days is that a realistic dream?

This report was authored by none other than a Clinton appointee, Albright….she is a neocon no matter anything else and this is her take on the possibility….

With dangers growing around the world, it’s more urgent than ever.

Seventy years ago this week, as the Truman administration was defining its approach to the Cold War, Republican Senator Arthur Vandenberg coined a phrase and proclaimed a principle: “politics stops at the water’s edge.” Vandenberg acknowledged that Americans had “earnest, honest, even vehement” differences on foreign policy. But, he wrote, “so long as we can keep partisan politics out of foreign affairs, it is entirely obvious that we shall speak with infinitely greater authority abroad.”

Following the most divisive presidential campaign in our country’s modern history, calls for bipartisanship may seem old-fashioned and naïve. But a bipartisan approach to foreign policy is achievable and remains essential for our security at home and stability around the globe.

Source: Yes, a Bipartisan Foreign Policy Is Possible—Even Now – POLITICO Magazine

A very optimistic appraisal….I think personally that it is nothing more than wishful thinking….but to be fair we will not know for sure until 20Jan and the days after the coronation.

10 Conflicts to Watch in 2017

This is an FYI piece….we have a new prez and the chances of an engagement that could turn ugly at the drop of a hat.

This is just a list of those possibilities…..

From Turkey to Mexico, the list of the world’s most volatile flashpoints got a lot more unpredictable this year.

The world is entering its most dangerous chapter in decades. The sharp uptick in war over recent years is outstripping our ability to cope with the consequences. From the global refugee crisis to the spread of terrorism, our collective failure to resolve conflict is giving birth to new threats and emergencies. Even in peaceful societies, the politics of fear is leading to dangerous polarization and demagoguery.

It is against this backdrop that Donald Trump was elected the next president of the United States — unquestionably the most important event of last year and one with far-reaching geopolitical implications for the future. Much has been said about the unknowns of Trump’s foreign-policy agenda. But one thing we do know is that uncertainty itself can be profoundly destabilizing, especially when it involves the most powerful actor on the global stage. Already, jittery allies from Europe to East Asia are parsing Trump’s tweets and casual bluster. Will he cut a deal with Russia over the heads of Europeans? Will he try to undo the Iran nuclear accord? Is he seriously proposing a new arms race?

Source: 10 Conflicts to Watch in 2017 | Crisis Group

Now you have NO reason to be surprised when one of these blows up in our faces…..

A “Fighting” American Speaks

Everybody has an opinion on what to do in Syria….these “ideas” range from “making sand glow” to full engagement to “get the Hell out”….

I read an interesting thought by someone who has actually fought in Syria….I trust his thoughts more so than those of people that have never fought in a war…..in my opinion those that stayed home have nothing to say worth listening to….but I digress…

This is from a soldier that was fighting with the Kurds……

“This reminds me of when I was fighting ISIS,” Robert Amos told me, improbably, one sunny September day as we rode in a white Jeep through the streets of downtown Washington, DC. The vehicle was packed with four elderly Kurdish passengers in sweaters and suit jackets, members of the American Kurdish Information Network, a nonprofit organization. They complained in their native Kurmanji dialect about the broken air conditioner, and Amos occasionally chimed in with phrases that he learned during six months he spent as a soldier with the People’s Protection Units, or YPG, the predominately Kurdish militia that controls a 200-mile stretch of territory in northern Syria known as Rojava.

Source: This American Fought ISIS. Now He’s Trying to Get Washington to Untangle Its Syria Policy | Mother Jones

Every “lawmaker” should heed the words of this person….since NONE of them had enough guts to fight and die in this conflict (well maybe not all)….commonsense is needed….and commonsense does not inhabit Washington on any level.

Waiting For The Hammer To Drop

As I wait for our new prez to make his first foreign policy decision I thought I would give my readers something to consider in this world that we have created……

This world and its situations fall into what I call a “gray zone”…..meaning that at any one given time or one given situation the entire world could explode in all out war…..kinda like the assassination in Sarajevo in 1914…..

Don’t think the fad for “draining the swamp” began on the campaign trail with Donald Trump.  It didn’t, although the “swamp” to be drained in the days after the 9/11 attacks wasn’t in Washington; it was a global one.  Of course, that’s ancient history, more than 15 years old.  Who even remembers that moment, though we still live with its fallout — with the hundreds of thousands dead and the millions of refugees, with Islamophobia and ISIS, with President-elect Trump, retired Lieutenant General Michael Flynn, and so much more?

In the never-ending wake of one of the most disastrous wars in American history, the 2003 invasion and occupation of Iraq, it’s hard to imagine any world but the one we have, which makes it easy to forget what the top officials of the Bush administration thought they would accomplish with their “Global War on Terror.”  Who remembers now just how quickly and enthusiastically they leapt into the project of draining that global swamp of terror groups (while taking out the Taliban and then “decapitating” the Iraqi regime of Saddam Hussein)?  Their grandiose goal: an American imperium in the Greater Middle East (and later assumedly a global Pax Americana). They were, in other words, geopolitical dreamers of the first order.

Source: Tomgram: Nick Turse, Special Ops, Shadow Wars, and the Golden Age of the Gray Zone | TomDispatch

When the lines between war and peace become so blurred that one small occurrence could be devastating to the world……this calls for thought and knowledge or the worse could happen.

This is a report issued by International Crisis Group……a group that I have worked with in the past…..takes a look at these lines and possible ways to remain safe during these days…..

Is a more connected world a safer and more resilient one, or is it more brittle and fragile? It all depends on how we organize our defense. But the failure to stem the rise of terrorism over the past 15 years suggests we’ve not got it right. How can we restructure our defense systems to take into account the immense changes taking place, and the blurring distinction between war and peace?

Today’s defense model is one of state-centric centralized defense. Each state is expected to protect its citizens against external threats by deterring state-to-state aggression and by intervening in those states whose failure provides a safe haven to non-state enemies.

Source: When the Line Between War and Peace Becomes Blurred, How Do We Keep Ourselves Safe? | Crisis Group

Please…all you that worship at the crown of Trump…I am NOT saying that I think Trump will start world war 3…only that we need a new more up-to-date model if we are to remain safe and secure in this ever changing world…..if that is what you want to ad then may I suggest that you move on to a more conducive site for your thinking…Infowars or some such nonsense.

Dark Days For “Moderates”

There has been an incident on the international stage that could have far ranging consequences……and NO it is not this story……

Looks like police in France have finally caught up with the Kardashian robbers. Officials say 16 people have been arrested in connection with the Oct. 3 robbery at a Paris residence of Kim Kardashian West, who was tied up and locked in a bathroom by armed attackers who made off with an estimated $10 million in jewelry, the BBC reports. The New York Daily News reports that the suspects have not yet been charged, but they can be held for at least 96 hours under French law. Kardashian West, who recently spoke out about the terrifying experience for the first time, may be asked to identify the suspects in a lineup presented via video feed.

The reason I point out this story is that it got more attention than something that could be a thorn in Trump’s ass after 20Jan17…….please someone, anyone explain why this celeb is so goddamn important!

Yet another “Flash” for the MSM……mindless bullsh*t.

This report could be a lot more troubling than the antics of a ignorant celeb……

Former Iranian president Akbar Hashemi Rafsanjani, a pugnacious moderate who survived for decades despite challenging his own turbaned elite, died on Sunday after suffering a heart attack.

Rafsanjani, who was 82, was a pivotal figure in the foundation of the Islamic republic in 1979, and served as president from 1989 to 1997.

Rafsanjani’s death is a huge loss for both reformists and moderates, as he stood as a pillar for the two camps.

Rafsanjani emerged as a moderate counter-figure to the ultra-hardliners clustered around Ahmadinejad — under whom Iran’s relations with the West plummeted — and criticised the crackdown that followed Ahmadinejad’s disputed re-election in 2009.

His voice was a voice of moderate thought within the government of Iran…..with him gone the hard-liners may once again rule the roost…..and that could be a problem for the incoming admin…..