Foreign Policy Spotlight

Yes I am a foreign policy geek…..I studied international relations and conflict management in college……so this whole impeachment thing centers around our foreign policy….and there is where I want to approach this…not from some legalese point of view but the actions within our foreign policy.

In case you hadn’t noticed (and not to notice you’d have to be blind), we’re not exactly alone in this country anymore. We were true pioneers in what might be considered a great American tradition of interfering in the affairs of other nations – think about just how radically the U.S. meddled in other democratic lands like Iran or Guatemala once upon a time.  Now, it’s being taken up big time here by others. Whether we’re talking about the Russians in the 2016 elections, the Ukrainians in the upcoming one, or Saudi royals looking into the Twitter accounts of possible critics to suppress while conducting espionage here on American soil, there seems to be quite a crowd of countries and interested foreign parties jostling illegally for advantage in the good old US of A.

Worse yet, much of that jostling is happening in ways hardly noticed that still pass for perfectly legal, ones that won’t land any country’s representatives (or their lobbyists) in trouble, no less in the clinker here. TomDispatch regular Ben Freeman has been following the all-too-legal part of the growing story of foreign interference in American domestic affairs for some time now. Back in February 2019, for instance, he wrote for this site about the money trail that leads from autocratic allies in the Middle East directly to Washington’s most prestigious think tanks and so into the heart and soul of the Washington establishment. Today, he and Ryan Summers, both with the Foreign Influence Transparency Initiative at the Center for International Policy, consider just how ripe the country’s political system is for foreign interference in ways that don’t even faintly break the law. Believe me, it’s a hell of a hellish tale to tell.

How To Make American Foreign Policy Yours

Trump’s idea of foreign policy is to spread chaos and hope something positive comes out of the confusion…..this technique is shredding what use to be a viable foreign policy….now we have hit and miss situations.  Actually that is not some idle chit chat…..there is a need to study this behavior……(chaos theory describes the behavior of certain nonlinear dynamical systems that may exhibit dynamics that are highly sensitive to initial conditions (popularly referred to as the butterfly effect). As a result of this sensitivity, which manifests itself as an exponential growth of perturbations in the initial conditions, the behavior of chaotic systems appears to be random. This happens even though these systems are deterministic, meaning that their future dynamics are fully defined by their initial conditions, with no random elements involved. This behavior is known as deterministic chaos, or simply chaos. Since the International System can be considered a nonlinear dynamic system, it is reasonable to take this theory into account for the study of the International Order.)

Thanx to this confusion the US seems to be losing the war on tyranny……

We are at war, under siege from a global alliance that runs from Pyongyang to Havana and Caracas. At the moment we are losing, having failed to bring down the leaders of our main adversaries: Kim Jong Un in North Korea, Nicolás Maduro in Venezuela, and Ali Khamenei in Tehran, despite monster demonstrations in the latter two countries. We have also failed to support the huge crowds clamoring for greater freedom in Hong Kong, although the regime in Beijing has canceled its law enabling it to transfer dissidents to the mainland.

We are losing because there is a growing sensibility on the conservative side of the political spectrum that the United States is simply too precious and good to sacrifice lives and coin to save failed (and continuously failing) cultures from themselves.

It is not in our national interest to be aggressively internationally engaged, they claim. This attitude is exacerbated by the sensibility on the extreme left-wing, which is increasingly defining the Democratic Party, that American ideals are a myth, its founding an act of injustice and original sin, and the projection of power on their basis an immoral fraud. Namely, it is not in the interests of the world for the U.S. to be aggressively engaged.

I do not necessarily agree with this article…but I do see where they are coming from and can see the worry that is building.

I Read, I Wrote, You Know

“Lego Ergo Scribo”

“East Of Suez” Moment For The US

Endless wars…..countless civilian casualties…..a feckless foreign policy……all point to the US losing its influence in the Middle East.

US foreign policy nerds are seeing a change in the policies of the US towards the region of the Middle East….

President Trump’s abrupt withdrawal of all U.S. troops in northeastern Syria brings to mind Great Britain’s 1968 retreat “East of Suez.” It marked an inflection point, a final abandoning of empire given London’s limited financial resources, lapsed political will and heightened anti-colonial hostility. 

The United Kingdom came to terms with a diminished global role from positions “East of Suez” – i.e., beyond the Suez Canal – and left it to America be the guarantor of the post-World War II international order.

Is the U.S. approaching its own “East of Suez” moment? In the U.S. case, the result is not a consequence of decline per se, but of radically altered U.S. domestic political circumstances (e.g., “America First”) and deepened multi-layered conflict in the region. For better or worse, President Trump’s determination to reduce troops deployed overseas, from Afghanistan to Syria, is part of an effort to make good on campaign pledges. Explaining his troop reductions in northeast Syria, Trump reiterated this imperative: “I campaigned on the fact that I was going to bring our soldiers home.”

Trump’s decision to remove US troops from Northern Syria has many pundits and analysts asking…..”what are the options for the US in the Middle East?

The U.S. decision to suddenly leave Syria has been excoriated as a betrayal yet also received some praise for ending the relationship with the Syrian Democratic Forces, which Turkey accuses of being linked to the Kurdistan Workers Party. That means the U.S. decision to leave Syria can be viewed through the lens of reversing an Obama-era policy of working with the Syrian Democratic Forces (SDF) instead of the Syrian rebels. But if anyone thought the United States was pivoting toward opposing the Assad regime and Iran, that isn’t the case. Assad, Iran, Russia and Turkey are swooping in to grab the spoils.

It’s no use arguing over what might have been in eastern Syria. The war is over and the United States has to decide what its role is after Syria. This could become a key point in U.S. foreign-policy history—the bookend to George H. W. Bush’s “new world order” where America eschews its role as global hegemon, or global policeman, as it has sometimes been seen. This could also be a domino effect, causing the United States to lose more influence in Turkey, in Iraq, and potentially the Gulf as well.

Does not appear that our options are anything to be optimistic about…..

Trump’s capitulation to Erdogan on Syria does mkake the region more secure…no it will open up the possibility of more wars popping up….

The crisis has long been brewing. For years, Turkey has wanted to create a buffer zone inside Syria, both for its security and to resettle the more than two million refugees who crossed the border to flee Syria’s eight-year civil war. Even more, Erdoğan has wanted to wipe out the Kurdish militia in Syria which he views as a threat because of its ties to a Kurdish movement in Turkey. Kurds are the largest minority in Turkey and a large voting bloc; a militant faction has sought autonomy or an independent Kurdistan that would unite Kurds across Turkey, Syria, Iraq, and Iran. The United States held off Erdoğan as long as it needed Syria’s feisty Kurds to fight ISIS on the ground, with backup from American air power. All the other U.S.-backed rebel groups failed, disintegrated, or turned into warlords.

That’s right….a creation of more wars in the Middle East……

The complexity of the crisis can create cognitive dissonance. What if I desperately wish to end our endless wars but I also care about the fate of Kurdish and other Syrian civilians? What if I wish U.S. hadn’t invaded these countries in the first place but I now worry that Trump’s recklessness will make matters worse?

There is a coherent strategy that can cut this Gordian knot, but it involves imagining a new U.S. foreign policy based on diplomacy and humanitarian initiatives.

Further Reading: 

Smoke Signals in the Next Middle East War

I do not foresee any change in the standing on war in the region….if anything I think it could get worse until the US finds its foreign policy compass and steps in to make diplomacy the rule of the day….not the bullets.

I Read, I Wrote, You Know

“Lego Ergo Scribo”

Tulsi Wants A Foreign Policy Debate

As a foreign policy/international relations wonk I would love to have a debate that focuses on the candidates ideas in foreign policy….so far the DNC has been quiet on this front.

The DNC recently voted down a debate on climate change, a topic that gets more and more important as the years go by, I expect them to do something similar with the idea of a foreign policy debate……

My candidate is calling for the same thing….a debate night that focuses solely on foreign policy……

Rep. Tulsi Gabbard (Hawaii), a 2020 Democratic White House hopeful, is calling for a debate centered exclusively on foreign policy, saying the current format doesn’t do voters justice.

“It would be very valuable for voters to have a foreign policy focused debate, period,” Gabbard told Hill.TV during an interview that aired on Thursday.

Gabbard, who served in Iraq as a member of the National Guard, said voters, including those in the military, “deserve more than just having one or two foreign policy-related questions in a two-hour long debate,” adding that not nearly time enough time is allotted to the complex issue.

“It does not do the issue justice, it does not do our service men and women justice, who have to live with the consequences of who are commander in chief is and it doesn’t do justice for the American people,” she said.

The Democratic National Committee (DNC) has faced growing calls to hold single-issue presidential debates, but so far it has rejected those efforts.

I do not see many of the candidates running that could hold their ground on foreign policy…..Biden, Tulsi and possibly Bernie are the only ones that I think could do a good job on the topic…..the rest would be floundering around trying to find their footing.

Since this country is ass deep in endless wars then a foreign policy debate and how the candidates would handle world affairs if elected should be paramount.

Tulsi as a active service member knows the necessity for a stable foreign policy……

Her policies are explained……

Then there is the Vote Smart site……Tulsi’s numerous speeches on foreign policy…..

Be Smart!

Learn Stuff!


“Lego Ergo Scribo”

Africa Loves China

Recently Chief of Staff Bolton made a speech outlining the new US policy for Africa…and as usual I had to write about it……

According to the US point of view China is trying to get one up on the US in Africa….

A look at African natural resources distribution…..

Image result for Africa natural resources map images

But is all the US predictions actual fact or something more fanciful….

At the September 2018 Forum on China-Africa Cooperation (FOCAC) in Beijing, African Union Chairperson and Rwandan President Paul Kagame lauded the Chinese aid and investment strategy in Africa as a source of “deep transformation”. Kagame argued that the cooperation between China and Africa is based on mutual respect and is for the benefit of both partners. This sentiment is perhaps shared by most African heads of states and governments if their attendance of the summit is anything to go by.

However, despite the African leadership’s embrace of China as a valued partner, the view that Beijing is a “predatory” actor in Africa, attempting to recolonise the continent is also ubiquitous in foreign policy circles, media narratives and academia.

All I want Americans to realize is that….not everything you hear is accurate….especially from this White House.

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.

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.

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?

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.

The Weasel Or The Walrus

It is not a secret that I have not been a supporter of US UN ambassador, Nikki Haley (the Weasel), I thought she was the wrong person to represent the US at the UN and so far I was correct in my belief.

Then there is Trump’s new national security adviser and ex-UN ambassador John Bolton (the Walrus)…..another person that I had no confidence in when at the UN and less so as the adviser to the president.

But of the two which is the scarier?  The Weasel or the Walrus?

In the Trumpean world of all-the-time-stupid, there is, however, one individual who stands out for her complete inability to perceive anything beyond threats of unrelenting violence combined with adherence to policies that have already proven to be catastrophic. That person is our own Ambassador to the United Nations Nikki Haley, who surfaced in the news lately after she unilaterally and evidently prematurely announced sanctions on Russia. When the White House suggested that she might have been “confused” she responded that “With all due respect, I don’t get confused.” This ignited a firestorm among the Trump haters, lauding Haley as a strong and self-confident woman for standing up to the White House male bullies while also suggesting that the hapless Administration had not bothered to inform one of its senior diplomats of a policy change. It also produced a flurry of Haley for higher office tweets based on what was described as her “brilliant riposte” to the president.

Trump is hiring nothing but extreme war mongers for his foreign policy team and that does not bode well for the country and the world.

Besides it has been said that the Weasel is the most popular politician in the US…….

US Ambassador to the UN Nikki Haley is America’s most popular politician according to a study by Quinnipiac University, CNNreported yesterday.

Haley is viewed positively by some 63 per cent of US voters, while only 39 per cent gave their approval of US President Donald Trump. Haley’s popularity also stretched to both sides of the political spectrum, with 75 per cent of Republicans, 55 per cent of Democrats and 63 per cent of Independents supporting the former South Carolina governor. She was only exceeded by former president Barack Obama, who was still held in high regard by some 66 per cent of voters.

The UN envoy has taken strong stands in favour of Israel, particularly in the aftermath of the US’ recognition of Jerusalem as the Israeli capital in December. When the UN General Assembly voted to condemn the Trump administration’s decision, Haley slammed the global forum as ungrateful for US contributions to the organisation.

That is a scary thought……the Weasel as the most popular politician …..

Questioning US seriousness in ME | Arab News

In the past I have been a very loud critic of US Middle East foreign policy……my contention is that the US does not understand the complexities of a tribal society….I then set about to write a piece to help my readers, who were interested, to learn why I say this…..after many hours or research and note taking I cam upon I piece that did a better job then I was doing……..

Since the US will not try to curb its involvement in the Middle East people will be reading and hearing about the region for a very long time… why not understand what is happening?

The better informed the better citizen you will become…….


Questioning US seriousness in ME | Arab News.

How America Became the World’s Policeman: Newsroom: The Independent Institute

Yesterday’s attempt to have people look into the world of economics was a total bust……so today I will return to what I know best… relations…..

When I was active with lecturing I seem to always get the same question…….how did America become the police man of the world?  And since starting a blog the question persists……it is an excellent question……with as many answers.

I was researching the other day and came across this article…….it is pretty good and can help answer the gnawing question…….


How America Became the World’s Policeman: Newsroom: The Independent Institute.

Looking For The Linchpin

NOTE:  I wrote this post about a month ago…..could not post it for all the scandals that were made up and I had to respond……and now Turkey has exploded so I guess I should post this before more happens……

There is a theory in international relations called the linchpin theory….basically, it is an occurrence, a small occurrence, that could explode into a society ending situation……a couple of good examples are WW1 and the Arab Spring…..

First linch pin was on 20 June 1914 a Bosnian student assassinated one of the heirs to the Austr0Hungarian empire in Sarajevo, Bosnia……after the killing there was a period of back and forth diplomatic adventures….and it slowly broke down to an alignment of countries that lead to the first great war of the 20th century…..July of 1914 the Austro-Hungarians decided to punish Serbia for the act of assassination….the Russians could not chance losing their influence in the Balkans decided to come to the rescue of Serbia…..then like dominoes countries fell into the trap of war……France, then Germany, then England and the Turks and much later the USA……in the end it changed the face of Europe forever……and in the end the Ottoman Empire was gone…..imperial Russia gone…….Austro-Hungarian collapsing….and all with a total of about 3 million dead……..because of one minor situation……the assassination was the linchpin needed…..

My second example is the recent Arab Spring of a year ago……The term “Arab Spring” was an invention by the media to conjure up visions of the revolt by Eastern European countries against the authority of the USSR……the revolts across North Africa and the Middle East encompassed almost every country in the region….Tunisia, Algeria, Libya, Egypt, Jordan, Iraq and to a lesser extent in countries like Bahrain, Oman even the authoritarian state like Saudi Arabia was not exempt….there were many things that added fuel to the fire of revolt….unemployment, economic inequalities, extreme poverty, political corruption and human rights violations…….. but it all began with the actions of one man…….

The catalyst for the current escalation of protests was the self-immolation of Tunisian Mohamed Bouazizi.  Unable to find work and selling fruit at a roadside stand, on 17 December, a municipal inspector confiscated his wares.  An hour later he doused himself with gasoline and set himself afire.  One seemingly minor situation and the man became the face of a region ripe for change……..he was the linchpin that started a region on a path to revolt and change…….

Now in today’s world where high unemployment, austerity, corruption, class divisions getting deeper, I believe it is only a matter of time before there is a global situation and it will begin with a single seemingly unimportant occurrence…….and I believe it will originate in the Middle East…….

I have been an observer of the situations in the ME for over thirty years….first as a student then as an participant in the region and now I research every aspect of the area daily for hours….and in my research I have found a couple of areas that could be the linchpin I search for……the Middle East is one, most accurately, the area around Southeast Syria, Lebanon, Israel and the Occupied Territories….it is a volatile region and could be the linchpin….but it is also too damn obvious…..but the area that I feel could be the best chance of being the linchpin that starts a war of no end and total destruction…….

…..(insert drum roll and trumpet blasts)………

The area between the two seas……the Black sea and The Caspian……

Why?  This region is full of hatred for one group or another…..Chechens hate Russians, Armenians hate Turkey, There is South Ossetia within the borders of Georgia wanting independence, there are Kurds within the borders of most of the area’s countries and they have an argument with Turkey, then within Russian there is Dagestan that is a smoldering problem waiting for more fuel, Russia has had its nose disjointed by what they called an Azerbaijan snub, plus the government is cracking down on the press and other civil liberties…..very little of this region can be called stable and there is the rub…

This is the area that could produce the next history altering conflict….it bears watching.