America’s Lost Tradition on Non-Intervention

My regulars know of my interest in foreign policy and international relations.  After my stint in Vietnam (2 1/2 years) I went to university and majored in international relations and after my war experience I became one who believes in non-intervention……that is diplomacy should be exhausted before the consideration of going to war is even on the table……

From the beginning of this country we were following a non-interventionist road….and after WW1 that path became closed and the interventionists, war profiteers, have rule foreign policy ever since……

I found an interesting article that covers this situation from a historical perspective (and you know how I enjoy those?)….

By implicitly criticizing U.S. interventionism, President Trump’s inaugural speech drew denunciations from the Washington establishment as a dangerous deviation, but his message actually fit with U.S. traditions

Although the media trashed Donald Trump’s inaugural address as radical and scary to the United States and the world, his views on American security policy nevertheless may be closest to that of the nation’s founders than those of any U.S. president since the early 1800s.

In his speech, the new president pledged that, “We do not seek to impose our way of life on anyone, but rather to let it shine as an example for everyone to follow.”

Source: America’s Lost Tradition on Non-Intervention – Consortiumnews

I still believe that diplomacy should be the first order of any international policies….even in the age of ISIS (please I am NOT talking about negotiating with terrorists…if you cannot understand that the move the Hell on)……

The only people that profit from the state of the world these days are the war profiteers…..the rest if us are just scared.

Why NATO Needs A European Pillar

If you followed the last election then know that our newly elected president has no love for NATO…..he even called it “obsolete”…..

There is a scramble going on the try and find a way to preserve the organization if the US somehow takes a powder and leaves the European allies high and dry.

Below is a opinion from the International Crisis Group (ICG) on the situation with NATO……

If Europe tries to protect the alliance only by ‘buying’ American commitment through increased defence spending, it will fail.

Europeans have every reason to worry about U.S. President Donald Trump. He has declared NATO “obsolete.” He’s spoken more glowingly about Russian President Vladimir Putin than about most Western European leaders. And he’s suggested he will apply his transactional vision of diplomacy to his country’s alliances. A president who has unabashedly made “America First” his guiding principle is telling Europeans America’s commitment to them will depend on their willingness to pay for it.

The Continent’s leaders should listen carefully. For too long, European countries have not been serious enough about their own defence; most spend much less than the two per cent of GDP goal set by NATO. If they do not change course, a president who has little understanding of soft power and, in his own words, only respects “strength,” will not take them seriously.

Source: Why NATO Needs A European Pillar | Crisis Group

Although it is early in the presidency of Trump….but so far the fate of NATO is still up in the air.

Going After Li’l Kim

Since the inauguration of Trump there has been an uptick in the “fighting” words toward a couple of countries that we only mentioned in passing before that….China and North Korea.

But it is North Korea that has gotten more attention in the media and the bobble-heads……their nuke program, missile tests, and other assorted “problems”….

But what does all this attention mean?

According to Trump…TROUBLE!

U.S. President Donald Trump said Monday he will deal with North Korea “very strongly,” calling the communist regime a “big, big problem” after Pyongyang carried out the latest ballistic missile launch.

“Obviously North Korea is a big, big problem and we will deal with that very strongly,” Trump said during a joint news conference at the White House with Canadian Prime Minister Justin Trudeau in response to a question about the most important national security matters facing him.

Source: Trump Vows to Deal with North Korea ‘Very Strongly’ After Missile Launch | World Affairs Journal

Below is an alternate look at the situation with North Korea…not a typical MSM blow back……

Less than a month into the Trump presidency, North Korea is looming as a major flashpoint after the Pyongyang regime test fired a new intermediate-range ballistic missile on Sunday. The test takes place amid mounting tensions between the US and China, North Korea’s ally, over trade, monetary policy, Taiwan and territorial disputes in the South China and East China seas.

The launch drew immediate condemnation by Japanese Prime Minister Shinzo Abe, who was visiting with Trump at the president’s Mar-a-Lago estate in Florida. At a joint press conference Sunday night, Abe called the missile test “absolutely intolerable.” Trump declared that the US was “behind Japan, its great ally, 100 percent.” The US, Japan and South Korea have called an emergency session of the UN Security Council to discuss North Korea.

Source: US drumbeat for action against North Korea – World Socialist Web Site

I have written about NK whenever I felt there was something brewing that needs attention….recently there was a news story that NK could see a regime change and soon….

https://lobotero.com/2017/02/01/closing-thought-01feb17/

Was this story just propaganda or is the story just wishful thinking?

My point is that NK is getting more and more press….and to what end?  Is this something that we Americans should be concerned with or is it just a diversion from some other situation?

What say you?

The Foreign Policy Legacy of Barack Obama

Barack Obama has left the building and in slinks the new lord and master…..and now he will set about to secure his place in history…but what will his legacy be?

When his rule began I told my readers not to expect too much change with his presidency…few listened and those then set about whining about the journey he laid forth for the country in foreign policy…..

Below is a wealth of links for those interested in the Obama foreign policy legacy…..read then you decide for yourself……

When Barack Obama became president of the United States, few would have guessed that he would be followed by an administration touting nationalism and protectionism. What happened? World Politics Review has compiled 24 articles that trace Obama’s foreign policy legacy and what it means for the Trump era.

Source: The Foreign Policy Legacy of Barack Obama

I was so critical in the early days that Daily Kos did everything but ban me from the site because I would not tuck my tail and follow them into the abyss….

I cannot wait until the Trump years are behind us and I can write about his legacy….that is if there is a world left to write about…..but that is a post for another day.

But guess what?  So far Trumpie boy is no different than the last 2 presidents…..

“Let me begin by saying that although this has been billed as an anti- war rally, I stand before you as someone who is not opposed to war in all circumstances,” Illinois State Senator Barack Obama said in 2002. Later in the same speech: “What I am opposed to is a dumb war.”

Although elected president at least in part on his image as “the peace candidate,” Obama owned eight years of constant war. He waffled on then partially reversed the withdrawal from Iraq negotiated by his predecessor. He stretched the eight-year Afghanistan war to 16 years and counting. He began or expanded operations in Pakistan, Libya, Syria, Somalia and Yemen, escalating even to extra-judicial assassinations of American citizens.

Source: Trump’s Foreign Policy: Obama’s Third Term, Bush’s Fifth by — Antiwar.com

But the more I think about it….it may not be that difficult after all…..

It’s Iran Again

Iran pretty much fell off the radar there for about a year but then we had an election and the winner has started saying one thing then another….and when you have leaders in DC with nicknames like “Mad Dog” then there has got to be chest thumping about Iran…..

I was taking notes to write this post and then decided I would do it another way because in the last week or so everybody has had an opinion on Iran and how to handle the situation…..

So to make it easier on me and for my readers I will give you links on this issue and you decide what you want to know……get caught up before the fall…..

The Trump administration is exploring ways to break Russia’s military and diplomatic alliance with Iran in a bid to both end the Syrian conflict and bolster the fight against Islamic State, said senior administration, European and Arab officials involved in the policy discussions. – Wall Street Journal (subscription required)

President Trump’s tough talk on Iran is winning him friends in the Arab world, but it also carries a significant risk of conflict with a U.S. rival that is now more powerful than at any point since the creation of the Islamic republic nearly 40 years ago. – Washington Post

New sanctions that the Trump administration imposed on Friday to punish Tehran’s latest ballistic missile test marked the beginning of what officials called the end of an era in which the United States was “too tolerant of Iran’s bad behavior.” – New York Times

Iran on Saturday began extensive military exercises in a defiant response to a week of warnings from the Trump administration, including new sanctions, with a senior Iranian military commander calling the actions “futile” and threatening to “rain” missiles down on the country’s enemies. – Washington Post

Defense Secretary Jim Mattis described Iran as the world’s greatest sponsor of terrorism on Saturday, but he emphasized that there was no pressing need for the United States to beef up its military presence in the Persian Gulf region. – New York Times

Until President Trump’s inauguration, Iran’s clerics felt comfortable leading worshipers in a chorus of “Death to America” while simultaneously signing a $16.6 billion deal with Boeing. Now, the establishment is treading carefully, with even most hard-liners concerned that the smallest provocation could lead to military conflict. – New York Times

Iran is set to boost its crude output next month and a deadline to bid for oil and gas fields has been pushed back, a top Iranian oil official was reported as saying Saturday, amid fears a recent missile test could lead to new U.S. measures that would deter foreign companies from investing in the nation’s petroleum. – Wall Street Journal (subscription required)

Donald Trump jetted off Friday for his first weekend away from the White House after his first two weeks in office, capping off 14 days in which his administration moved aggressively to move on his campaign promises and take shots at the Obama era. Yet, as the president heads for his Mar-a-Lago retreat in South Florida, his first two weeks produced little clarity about the next four years. – Roll Call

Speaker Paul Ryan (R-Wis.) says the Iran deal negotiated by the Obama administration is likely to remain in place. – The Hill

A member of the House Armed Services Committee is urging the Trump administration to build a new ballistic missile defense system in the Middle East to counter Iranian aggression and defend U.S. allies, according to communications to the White House obtained by the Washington Free Beacon. – Washington Free Beacon

Iran’s nuclear chief says it will have 60 percent more stockpiled uranium than it did prior to the landmark 2015 agreement with world powers after a shipment expected later this week. – Associated Press

Editorial: Iran’s missile launch is a deliberate effort to test the seriousness of the new U.S. Administration. Iran may now decide to test the White House again on how far it is willing to go to enforce the meaning of “on notice.” The more unequivocal the Administration’s response, the sooner Tehran will get the message that, this time, it faces a U.S. government that means what it says. – Wall Street Journal (subscription required)

Editorial: Rolling back the gains Iran has made across the Middle East in the past decade will be, at best, a work of years. To succeed, the Trump administration will have to clarify priorities: Russia, which it regards as a potential ally in the region, has become Iran’s strategic partner. Leaving the Syrian regime of Bashar al-Assad in place will lock in Iranian domination where it matters most. Until it has a strategy for addressing such challenges, the administration will find it hard to impress the mullahs. – Washington Post

John Bolton writes: Time always works on the side of nuclear proliferators, and the Iran deal is providing the ayatollahs with protective camouflage. Every day Washington lets pass without ripping the deal up is a day of danger for America and its friends. We proceed slowly at our peril. – Wall Street Journal (subscription required)

Fred Fleitz writes: Putting Iran on notice is significant because it signals the return to the global stage of a strong and decisive United States prepared to reinstate the successful national-security strategy of President Ronald Reagan: “peace through strength.” Such a jolt to the international order could convince rogue states such as Iran and North Korea to dial back their destabilizing behavior and possibly agree to talks to address regional concerns about their missile and weapons-of-mass-destruction programs. – National Review Online

As Iran tries to calibrate how to deal with President Trump, its supreme leader, Ayatollah Ali Khamenei, in caustic comments to air force commanders, thanked the new American leader for revealing “the real face” of the United States. – New York Times

Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu on Monday urged Western leaders to follow U.S. President Donald Trump in imposing fresh sanctions against Iran. – Wall Street Journal (subscription required)

Sanctions the Trump administration imposed on Iran after the country conducted another ballistic missile launch are more symbolic than punitive, a former Obama administration Treasury Department official said Monday. – The Weekly Standard

James Rubin writes: Republicans and Democrats can and should agree on the broad thrust of U.S. policy toward Iran’s nuclear program and Russia’s international aggression. For one day at least, that is possible. – Politico

Mark Dubowitz and Behnam Ben Taleblu write: The administration could also accelerate the process, both technical and diplomatic, of getting America’s Middle East partners and allies to integrate existing ballistic missile defense systems. But most important, the U.S. can respond against future missile tests by targeting sectors of the Iranian economy that underwrite, procure, produce, develop, and house those capabilities. – The Hill

See what I mean?  Anyone with a keyboard has a better idea…..

On The Barbary Coast

Most Americans do not realize that the US involvement in the Arab world is over 200 years old…..its involvement began with the very founding of the country after the great Revolution of independence…..

As usual I cannot help myself…..you will get a bit of my usual historic perspective…….

The US involvement in the Arab world began with its confrontation with the Barbary republics of North Africa……

These actions were called “the Barbary Wars”……

  • The Berber Muslim states of northwest Africa—Tripoli, Algiers, Tunis, and Morocco, collectively known as the Barbary States—regularly attacked ships in the Mediterranean, demanding tribute from various countries.
  • President Jefferson’s administration refused to give the tribute and went to war in the Mediterranean in 1800, ending in an American victory and a treaty of peace in 1805.
  • After the First Barbary War, the United States found its attention diverted to its deteriorating relationship with Great Britain, and the Barbary States took this opportunity to resume attacking American and European merchant vessels in the Mediterranean Sea.
  • The Second Barbary War occurred in 1815 under President Madison’s administration again as a result of piracy in the Mediterranean. Like the first war, the second war ended in victory for the United States and granted it full shipping rights in the Mediterranean Sea.

The First Barbary War…..

The First Barbary War (1801–1805), also known as the Tripolitan War or the Barbary Coast War, was the first of the two wars fought between the United States and the Northwest African Berber Muslim states, known collectively as the Barbary States. These included Tripoli, Tunis, and Algiers, which were quasi-independent entities nominally belonging to the Ottoman Empire, along with (briefly) the independent Sultanate of Morocco. Pirate ships and crews from the Barbary States regularly attacked and captured ships in the Mediterranean, extorting ransom for the lives of captured sailors and demanding tribute from various countries to avoid further attacks.
The war began when Thomas Jefferson became president of the United States in 1800 and refused to pay the Barbary States a tribute, the amount of which was greatly increased upon his election. Upon Jefferson’s refusal, Yusuf Karamanli, the Pasha (or Bashaw) of Tripoli, declared war on the United States; however, Algiers and Tunis did not follow their ally in Tripoli. In response, Jefferson sent a U.S. naval fleet to the Mediterranean on May 13, 1801, under the command of Commodore Richard Dale. Throughout the war, the U.S. navy bombarded the various fortified cities along the coast and maintained a blockade in Tripoli’s harbor. After a stunning defeat at Tripoli and wearied from the blockade and raids, Yussif Karamanli signed a treaty ending hostilities on June 10, 1805, and the United States was given fair passage through the Mediterranean.
(boundless.com)
Seldom is the end of this conflict covered beyond…the US won the engagement….but there was so much more to this……
In agreeing to pay a ransom of $60,000 for the American prisoners, the Jefferson administration drew a distinction between paying tribute and paying ransom. At the time, some argued that buying sailors out of slavery was a fair exchange to end the war. William Eaton, however, remained bitter for the rest of his life about the treaty, feeling that his efforts had been squandered by the state department diplomat Tobias Lear. Eaton and others felt that the capture of Derna should have been used as a bargaining chip to obtain the release of all American prisoners without having to pay ransom. Furthermore, Eaton believed the honor of the United States had been compromised when it abandoned Hamet Karamanli after promising to restore him as leader of Tripoli. Eaton’s complaints generally went unheard, especially as attention turned to the strained international relations which would ultimately lead to the withdrawal of the U.S. Navy from the area in 1807 and to the War of 1812
(wikipedia)
But this was NOT the end of our conflict in this region…..Pres. Monroe had to deal with it also……

After the First Barbary War, the United States found its attention diverted to its deteriorating relationship with Great Britain over trade with France, which culminated in the War of 1812. The Barbary pirate states took this opportunity to resume their practice of attacking American and European merchant vessels in the Mediterranean Sea and holding their crews and officers for ransom.

The Second Barbary War, also known as the Algerine or Algerian War, occurred in 1815 under President Madison’s administration. At the conclusion of the War of 1812, the United States returned to the problem of Barbary piracy, and on March 3, 1815, Congress authorized deployment of naval power against Algiers. By the final week of June, the U.S. navy had won several battles at sea and reached the coast of Algiers. The United States initiated negotiations and made demands for compensation, and the Algerians signed a treaty under which they agreed to return all American captives and pay $10,000 for seized shipping. The treaty guaranteed no further tributes by the United States and granted the United States full shipping rights in the Mediterranean Sea.

(boundless.com)

As you can see Monroe did not compromise the status of the US at the end of this conflict as Jefferson had with the 1st war…..
But there is so much more to these wars that our history does not teach us…that is unless one is a grad student……
Here are some interesting and little known facts about the First Barbary War.
I do so enjoy teaching little known history to my readers….I know sometimes my historic perspectives are a pain in the ass but knowledge is well worth any momentary discomfort….
Class Dismissed!

Trump And The Wars

When Obama was elected he inherited two wars, Afghanistan and Iraq, there were others but those two are the longest running we have….in 2016 when Trump was elected president he inherited two wars, Afghanistan and Iraq….yep same two wars.

Maybe he could actually try and do something constructive about these two…..my guess is that he will do what the other one did….escalate and nothing…..

But let’s look at the longest war in American history…other than the War on Drugs….Afghanistan…..and possibly answer one important question….To What End?

Do you remember that war we launched in response to the September 11 attacks more than 15 years ago? You would be forgiven for assuming that the United States has long closed the chapter on Afghanistan, the longest military campaign in the country’s history. Outside of an opening question by U.S. Senator John McCain (R-Ariz.), Secretary of Defense-designate James Mattis was not asked about Afghanistan during his three-hour confirmation hearing—a vivid illustration that most of Congress have moved on from the issue.

The war in Afghanistan is not only still going on; it is going strong. Former President Barack Obama increased U.S. military involvement in the war during his final year in office. The Afghan security forces—designed to be America’s ticket out of the war—are performing valiantly, but are taking so many casualties from the Taliban that Washington has had to slow down the pace of American withdrawals. Indeed, when the next administration is fully in place, it will inherit a war that the American people have all but forgotten—but that U.S. soldiers on the ground and pilots in the air are still very much involved in.

Source: Still at War in Afghanistan, but to What End? | RealClearDefense

Then there is America’s second longest war….Iraq…..

Last week, President Trump ordered his national security team to undertake a 30-day review of the nation’s strategy to combat ISIS.[i]  However, in just the 11 days since he took office, Trump has already jeopardized the hard-earned gains of the last two years against ISIS in what has been the central theater of the campaign: Iraq.

Last week, the new Commander-in-Chief doubled down on his campaign riff that America should have “taken Iraq’s oil” – this time while standing in front of a wall of fallen CIA officers, idly musing “maybe you’ll have another chance.”  Then on Friday, he banned nationals from the seven countries, including Iraq, from entering the U.S. for 90 days.  Yesterday, Iraqi’s Parliament responded in kind – voting to block U.S. citizens from entering Iraq.

Source: President Trump Needs to Reverse Course on Iraq – and Fast. | RealClearDefense

our president has made several statements about the situation in Iraq….one was that we should just take their oil and the other was to keep Iraqis from our shores…..he has made others but those two made the most stir.

Now that he is in the Big Chair maybe it would be a good idea to know something more about these countries than their names…