From The Ashes

I have been a critic of the so-called “security contractors”….these people are nothing more than mercenaries….hired soldiers to fight wars for the rich and powerful…..they fight for money not some noble excuse like fighting communism or terrorism…..money is the only motivation.

To save space and my typing finger I will send you to an op-ed I recently wrote on this subject…..

Source: Rise of the American Mercenary – In Saner Thought

After so much bad PR the mercenaries in the Blackwater group changed their name to Xe and then sort of dropped off the world stage press coverage….

But did they?

Appears Blackwater guys have been working off the radar so to speak……

On Jan. 11, 2017, Intelligence Online — a professional journal covering the world’s intelligence services — revealed that the pilots of Air Tractor attack planes flying from Al Khadim air base in Libya are private contractors working for Erik Prince, the founder of the company formerly known as Blackwater.

War Is Boring’s own sources in Libya confirmed the assertion. Our sources said that the pilots flying the United Arab Emirates Air Force IOMAX AT-802 Air Tractors — converted crop-dusters — are mercenaries and aren’t Arabs.

Source: Erik Prince’s Mercenaries Are Bombing Libya

Once again we have an American company supplying mercenaries to fight in wars…an American company profiting off of the science of war….just an extension of the M-IC.

There use to be a punishment for fighting in a war that was not of your home nation…loss of citizenship…may I suggest that it is time for this to be reconsidered.

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!

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…..

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.

The Importance of Diplomacy

It is no secret to anyone that stops by IST that I am antiwar and have been since the 1970’s…..

I believe that armed conflict should be the last resort after all other paths have been explored….

I believe the US has fought enough wars and spent way too much cash in supplying the goods for war…..I would hope that we could find a new president that thinks diplomacy is a better way to solve international problems…..

Well that wish will not be found this time around for we elected a person that sole joy in life is the accumulation of wealth….and what better way to acquire those profits than….WAR?

A progressive foreign policy must entail sustained efforts by the US government and NGOs to advance the human good in every way possible. This would include helping to negotiate and enforce treaties to eliminate weapons of mass destruction; working to end conflicts and rebuild war-torn societies; promoting sustainable development at the grassroots level; and providing emergency humanitarian assistance to societies ravaged by disease, ecological disaster, or state collapse. And while there is much that Americans can do to advance these objectives, they should do so, whenever possible, under the auspices of the United Nations and other multilateral organizations. Given the historical record, many nations have good reason to be wary of unilateral US efforts, even those dubbed “humanitarian.”

Source: The Importance of Diplomacy in a World of Multiple Power Centers | The Nation

Commandos Without Borders

Most of the knowledgeable world has heard of Doctors Without Borders…..medicos that travel the world bring medical care to those in need….well there is a commando without borders….they bring death and destruction to the world…

I read many international publications looking for news that may not be available to my readers here in the US…..a pretty good site is the French site Le Monde…..the below article takes a look at our troops and their use in Africa to fight the forces of “evil”…..

Al-Qaeda doesn’t care about borders. Neither does the Islamic State or Boko Haram. Brigadier General Donald Bolduc thinks the same way.

“[T]errorists, criminals, and non-state actors aren’t bound by arbitrary borders,” the commander of Special Operations Command Africa (SOCAFRICA) told an interviewer early this fall. “That said, everything we do is not organized around recognizing traditional borders. In fact, our whole command philosophy is about enabling cross-border solutions, implementing multi-national, collective actions and empowering African partner nations to work across borders to solve problems using a regional approach.”

Source: Commandos without borders, by Nick Turse (Le Monde diplomatique – English edition, December 2016)

My question is…..Is this the best use of our military?