Closing Thought–07Dec16

75 years ago day……

Today we commemorate the “Day of Infamy”…..the Japanese attack on our naval base at Pearl Harbor….they also attacks a few other installations but Pearl Harbor was the biggie for them……the day we entered into the conflict known as “World War 2″…….

Please take a moment and remember those brave men, 2403 total, that gave their lives on this day……they should NEVER be forgotten!

We are also in the middle of commemorating the 100 years that it has been since the start of another “Great War”….World War One…the war that gave us the world we now live in……

The world as we know it today began with the 1st World War…..and sadly…not much has changed…..

As this year closes out I want to remember the horrible battles and the massive deaths of that war and that year, 1916…..the Battle of the Somme, Verdun, the Alps, etc…….

Spend a few minutes of your time and see what the soldiers a hundred years ago faced…..

Source: Overview of 1916 During World War 1

Thanx for your time….please take some time to remember these braves souls also….

We should NEVER forget the sacrifices that our troops have made over the years…….and are still making…..we owe them so much…..and we remember so little.

Iraq/Syria Update–07Dec16

How soon our minds wander……

As an analyst of the Middle East I am ashamed of myself for allowing the silliness around the election and the after math to consume my thoughts…..I will try to make things right….today I will start a regular update on the situations in Iraq and Syria…and the region.

Iraq

As Iraqi security forces wage a grinding house-to-house battle to push the Islamic State out of Mosul, the U.N. High Commissioner for Refugees (UNHCR) is rushing to prepare for a potential mass exodus of up to 700,000 mainly Sunni civilians. But winter is closing in, funds are short, and the head of the UNHCR mission is worried that the international community and the Iraqi government could be overwhelmed by events, possibly setting the stage for renewed sectarian tension. – Foreign Policy’s The Cable

Iraqi army said on Wednesday that Islamic State militants launched an overnight attack against security forces in the southeastern part of Mosul, a day after the troops advanced deeper into the city. – Associated Press

Syria

Syrian government forces pushed deeper into Aleppo on Wednesday, seizing areas around the medieval citadel whose narrow streets had long given rebels cover, pro-government websites and conflict monitors reported. – New York Times

The United States is discussing with Syrian rebels their surrender and evacuation from Aleppo, as Russia on Tuesday threatened the imminent “elimination” of anyone who refuses to leave the city. – Washington Post

U.S. Secretary of State John Kerry said he and his Russian counterpart will speak this week as a fierce bombing campaign backed by Moscow continues in Aleppo, fueling diplomatic arguments and straining prospects for talks. – Wall Street Journal (subscription required)

The House passed a defense bill last week that included language giving the incoming Trump administration the authority to send shoulder-fired antiaircraft missiles to rebel groups fighting in Syria. While the bill provides certain restrictions for transferring the controversial weapons, known as MANPADS or Man Portable Air Defense Systems, it represents a significant shift from prior iterations of the legislation. – Washington Post

Vladimir Putin is seizing on President-elect Donald Trump’s pledge to reverse U.S. policy on Syria to press for a military victory that could mark Russia’s return as a great-power rival in the wider Middle East. – Bloomberg

Secretary of State John Kerry has resumed bilateral negotiations with Russia over the Syrian civil war, despite Russia’s refusal to make the policy changes that Kerry demanded when he canceled talks in October – Washington Examiner

Israel’s military attacked an airport in Damascus near Syrian President Bashar al-Assad’s palace early on Wednesday morning, Arab media reported, in what appeared to be the second air strike by Israel inside Syrian territory in less than a week. – Financial Times

Michael Weiss and Hassan Hassan write: Deterrence, by way of fait accompli, has worked so far. Explicit deterrence will work still better. At the end of the day, the choice is not whether the U.S. stays in Syria or leave, it is whether it stays or, eventually, is forced to come back. – The Daily Beast

I shall try to keep my readers updated as often as possible…..it is important because we have troops fighting and dying in these regions….but I am assuming that Americans actually give a crap……

Trump’s Tulsi Gabbard Factor

Yipee!  Today is “cyber-Monday” so internet will slow to a snails pace….so I will be posting a small amount today…hopefully tomorrow will be better.

I admit I was a Bernie supporter basically because he was an non-interventionist….when he sold out to the Dems I switched to the Green Party……during Bernie’s run up to the nomination a Rep named Tulsi Gabbard was one of his best surrogates….and she was asked to meet with Trump by his camp (say what?)

I have been concerned with Trump’s possible climbing into bed with the M-IC….but on a bright note he has had a face to face with Gabbard…

Could this be a vision of the future form a Trump foreign policy?

By inviting in Rep. Tulsi Gabbard, a Democrat hostile to “regime change” wars, President-elect Trump may be signaling a major break with Republican neocon orthodoxy and a big shake-up of the U.S. foreign policy establishment, writes Robert Parry.

Two weeks after Donald Trump’s shocking upset of Hillary Clinton, the imperious and imperial neoconservatives and their liberal-interventionist understudies may finally be losing their tight grip on U.S. foreign policy.

The latest sign was Trump’s invitation for a meeting with Rep. Tulsi Gabbard, D-Hawaii, on Monday. The mainstream media commentary has almost completely missed the potential significance of this start-of-the-work-week meeting by suggesting that Trump is attracted to Gabbard’s tough words on “radical Islamic terrorism.”

Source: Trump’s Tulsi Gabbard Factor – Consortiumnews

Now the question is…is this a positive sign or just window dressing?

Trumpism Meets Neoliberalism

The election has me wondering where this country is heading……do we talk Trump at his word during the campaign or will he become more pragmatic in his approach to governing?

This is the same thing I did when Obama was elected…..I dissected his appointees to try and see just what to expect from his administration….why should I not do the same for Pres. Trump?

Will the neoliberals keep their stranglehold on our foreign policy?  Will Trump have his own version of foreign policy?

As Donald Trump builds his cabinet and staff, it’s already clear that the White House will host both neoliberal Republican elites and advocates of the racist ideology on which Trump ran his campaign. The merger of their two ideologies — each of them dangerous on its own — will not only result in horrific policies but could also prompt a dangerous transformation of the ideology that governs the center of power in Washington.

Source: The Cabinet From Hell: Trumpism Meets Neoliberalism

It is still early in his admin…..his decisions on the cabinet will go a long way to determine if there is a changer brewing or more of the same…..

Closing Thought–23Nov16

Justice……

There is a group that tries to keep the world safe from a/wads and murders in nations…..the ICC…..

After WW2 and the founding of the UN the world attempted to find a way to make those that commit atrocities to be held accountable for their crimes…..

Most of history’s worst killers have gone unpunished. Josef Stalin said, “A single death is a tragedy, a million deaths is a statistic.” The ICC represents a strong and growing commitment by the international community to end impunity for atrocity crimes in the 21st Century.

After violent armed conflicts or other massive assaults on civilian populations, many countries remain mired in cycles of violence and retribution. Prosecuting individuals for atrocity crimes can:

  • Achieve justice for the victims and for society and help create respect for the rule of law;
  • Counter attempts to blame nations or ethnic, religious, or other groups as a whole for the crimes of individuals;
  • Isolate and incapacitate criminal leaders so that they can be removed from active political participation;
  • Acknowledge and condemn the suffering of victims and survivors;
  • Establish an accurate historical record; and
  • Act as a deterrent to future criminals.

These benefits can be advanced by the mere existence of the ICC. States will be encouraged to investigate and prosecute atrocity crimes because, if they do not, the ICC may find it necessary to pursue its own investigations and prosecutions.

Personally, I think it is a good idea…this would try to hold people like Stalin, Hitler, Mussolini et al responsible for their actions…..the problem is not all countries signed onto the ideal……like the US.

Recently some Africa countries that had signed are pulling their signatures because they say that 3rd world countries are targeted while others seem to skate from facing justice…..(below is a post that I did on this situation)…..

Source: Is Justice Truly Blind? – In Saner Thought

It appears that another country has decided to pull their signature also….Russia…..

Source: Russia withdraws signature from international criminal court statute | World news | The Guardian

This institution has not lived up to the promises it made to the international community….countries like the US did not sign on because of many reasons but the biggest in my mind is that they do bot want to be held accountable for their actions……

I think that if a country signs on to the UN then it must also sign on to the ICC of their UN application will not be processed.

Dreaming Up a Reason for NATO’s Relevance

As the process continues…the search for the perfect government…..I will leave most of it behind and return to my love of foreign policy.

During the run up to the final result of the past election Mr. Trump showed some contempt for NATO…..I will agree some what with his take on the organization…..

There was a time when NATO was to be the front line on a perceived expansion of the USSR…Western Europe was paranoid after the debacle of WW2…..

Mr. Trump has cast shadows on the relevancy of NATO…..could he be right?

A few months ago during the seemingly endless U.S. election, Donald Trump said NATO is not a gift that America can keep giving. In his stated view, the other member states should make a greater financial contribution (the U.S. currently contributes 70 percent of NATO’s budget) and, if not, they could not expect automatic protection in the face of an attack.

On Nov. 13, after Trump’s victory, NATO Secretary General and former Norwegian Prime Minister Jens Stoltenberg wrote a think piece in the U.K.’s Observer newspaper, and acknowledged the need for more widespread contributions while crying up the historic importance and future need for NATO by citing growing Russian “assertiveness” (diplo-speak for “aggression”) and the threat from international terrorism.

Source: Dreaming Up a Reason for NATO’s Relevance – Consortiumnews

But what exactly is Trump’s stand on NATO?  His speeches will leave an interested party a bit confused……

Source: What’s Trump’s Position on NATO?

After reading this post…I am NO closer to knowing what he will do with NATO…..how about you?

It is still too early to tell what Trump’s foreign policy will be…..can he do all the stuff that he promised while running?

Let’s say he cannot deliver….will his supporters hold that against him?

As it appears today…the answer is NO.

I am beginning to think that there is something very simple about his appeal…..something that I am not too thrilled with the thought.

Isolationist or Imperialist?

I will be posting this week on my favorite subject…..foreign policy……the new prez is an unknown quantity and his policies have not been given a fair judgment by the analysts…..

We have been listening to all sides on this debate….some claim that Trump will be an isolationist…..and others think he will continue the line of psuedo-imperialism……he has said so much in the days of the campaign that few know for sure what we are getting when it comes to foreign policy.

I have said several times….his appointments to DoD and State will be very telling in the direction he wants this country to travel…..

What comes next? Two foreign policy scenarios for a Trump presidency.

In the hit musical Hamilton, King George, newly estranged from the revolutionary American colonies, challenges his former subjects to justify their choice. “What comes next?” he asks, “You’ve been freed. Do you know how hard it is to lead? You’re on your own. Awesome, wow! Do you have a clue what happens now?”

We might well ask the same question.

The unexpected elevation of Donald Trump to the Presidency presents a failure for pollsters, a reorientation of American politics, and raises the fundamental question of what kind of policies a Trump administration is likely to pursue. On foreign policy, Trump’s statements throughout the campaign have been profoundly incoherent, ranging from more traditional hawkish Republican views on issues like the Iran deal, to more unorthodox, restrained views on Syria and other Middle Eastern conflicts, to his more conciliatory approach to Russia and truly bizarre fixation with Russian strongman Vladimir Putin.

Source: Isolationist or Imperialist? | Cato @ Liberty

Analysts such as myself are waiting for the hammer to drop…..his appointees will be that hammer and foreign policy will be the nail….the fave for SecState does not fill me with optimism….

Please NO excuses…..comment on the two types of foreign policy….our citizens will have to enforce whatever set of policies this new prez has eventually decided on as his……