2020 And Foreign Policy

This is not a prediction but rather a question to the Dems that will be running for the nomination.

Will the candidates run on any foreign policy chops?

After two years in office, President Trump finally made his first trip to visit U.S. forces in the field in Iraq. Having announced the withdrawal of American troops from Syria and a drawdown in Afghanistan, going to Iraq—where he is likely to maintain a U.S. military presence—probably made political sense. But, by visiting troops, what he plans to bring home is also a politically astute move, a fact that likely will not be lost on Trump’s challengers in 2020.

Indeed, the future of the United States’ role in Afghanistan—now America’s longest war at 17 years and still counting—will likely be a major issue in the 2020 Presidential campaign. By now dragging on 10 years longer than our second longest war in Vietnam, it appears to have come to a similarly inconclusive stalemate: Our adversaries (the Taliban) cannot win while American troops are on the ground, but our efforts to Afghanize the war and rebuild the Afghan government and nation have also come to naught.

https://www.realcleardefense.com/articles/2019/01/10/in_2020_will_candidates_campaign_on_foreign_policy_114094.html

So far the only candidate that has shown any interest in foreign policy is Tulsi Gabbard…..

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What Of The Middle East?

There is all kinds of news breaking almost daily….from the antics of some moronic actor to the sexual exploits of singer to rapes and misadventures to the president’s legal problems and in all that the Middle East continues to boil and ignite….

Since the MSM will not go there then I shall…..

What are the options for the US in the region….(this from a site Small Wars)…….

Before he resigned, former Defense Secretary James Mattis was reportedly working in conjunction with the Department of State to revise US policy in the Middle East.  Whatever vision Mr. Mattis had will have likely died when he left office – but he had the right idea in undertaking a review. Our strategic situation in the region has changed since the turn of the century, but our basic strategy has remained largely intact. That is not necessarily a good or bad thing, but it does suggest that a review of political-military strategy in the region is prudent.

Militarily, we maintain a series of major bases in Bahrain, Kuwait, Turkey, and Iraq with smaller support presence in Jordan, Qatar, and Israel. We have also maritime prepositioned equipment in Diego Garcia in the Indian Ocean and maintain a forward deployed naval presence in the region headquartered in Bahrain. Diplomatically and militarily our strategic agreements are bilateral, as they are in the Pacific and the Indian Oceans. There is no NATO-like alliance in the region.

https://smallwarsjournal.com/jrnl/art/americas-strategic-options-middle-east

Seriously! The US has been meddling in the affairs of the Middle East for 40 years (some say longer than that)…..the question then is…..have we learned anything in all that time?

With the surprise announcement of the withdrawal of U.S. forces in Syria, and to a lesser extent, the announcement of a drawdown of 7,000 U.S. troops from Afghanistan, many interventionist critics who had tolerated Donald Trump’s ineffectual strikes against Assad and peace talks with the Taliban seem to have reached a boiling point. But even after Trump defended his position and said Iran “can do what they want there” in Syria, Secretary of State Mike Pompeo and National Security Advisor John Bolton have undercut the clarity of what seemed like a presidential decree mandating a withdrawal.

The Trump administration’s policy in Syria seems to have reverted back to its normal state of political and strategic ambiguity. While the U.S. has begun to remove some assets from northern Syria, Bolton told Israeli officials that a full withdrawal will once again be conditions-based and Pompeo implied that such a withdrawal will be contingent on keeping a “coalition against Iran together.” The rapturous flood of criticism against the original decision from the media, the Washington commentariat, and the U.S. foreign policy establishment, followed by the resignation-in-protest of Defense Secretary James Mattis, seems to have softened Trump’s determination to withdraw.

https://nationalinterest.org/blog/middle-east-watch/what-should-we-learn-40-years-us-intervention-middle-east-41542

From where I sit the answer to the question is ….not a damn thing! We keep going in and making things worse than before we showed up…..and for that reason Americans are starting to tire of all US adventurism…….

As is typical with many secretaries of state who deliver speeches in foreign lands, Pompeo’s remarks were full of the kinds of anecdotes and flowery rhetoric only a quintessential American exceptionalist could love. He talked about the United States as “ a force for good ” in the region, one willing and ready to stand by its partners during a time of crisis. 

Rosy words of American do-gooderism, however, don’t tell us much of anything about whether the United States has learned the hard lessons that it needs to learn in order to avoid another decade of being entrapped in the Middle Eastern quicksand. In fact, from Pompeo’s words, Washington is not only failing to learn and adapt, but is dangerously close to repeating the same poor judgment. The American foreign-policy apparatus, articulated throughout Secretary Pompeo’s trip to the region, has completely misdiagnosed why the Middle East is such a violent, hyper-competitive, and dysfunctional place

https://nationalinterest.org/blog/skeptics/americans-are-tired-middle-east-mayhem-41837

Nothing the government says bears out in reality……our interference only makes matters worse….time for the US to stay out of the region and let the people decide what is best for them not what is best for the US.

The US has few options anymore in the Middle East…….

The Trump Administration has expressed the intention to create a Sunni Arab alliance aimed at countering Iranian influence in the Middle East through the establishment of MESA, often referred to as the “Arab North Atlantic Treaty Organization (NATO)[1].” Prospective MESA member states are Saudi Arabia, Bahrain, Qatar, Kuwait, the United Arab Emirates, Oman, Jordan, and Egypt. Such an alliance would constitute a unified bloc of U.S.-backed nations and theoretically indicate to the Iranian government that a new, highly coordinated effort to counter Iranian influence in the region is taking shape.

https://www.realcleardefense.com/articles/2019/01/08/options_for_the_us_middle_east_strategic_alliance_114084.html

Time to come home and leave the region to its own devices.

Summits: Garbage In, Garbage Out

Our Beloved Supreme Leader just had a horrible and unproductive meeting (some call it a “summit”) with North Korea’s Kim…..but to listen to his rhetoric it was a success with the Dems trying to hang some criminality around his neck……but what of the so-called “summits”…….

Let’s step back to the beginning……

As far as is known, the first professional diplomatic corps appeared in the Byzantine Empire following the collapse of Rome in 476 AD. Byzantium established the world’s first department of foreign affairs, developed strict and complex diplomatic protocols, and actively sought intelligence about friend and enemy alike. Surrounded by enemies, Byzantium needed all the skill in diplomacy it could muster.

The art of diplomacy was carried to the next higher (some might say lower) plane in Italy during the fifteenth and sixteenth centuries. The Italian city-states of the era engaged in constant intrigues against each other. During this era, diplomacy became identified with behind-the-scenes scheming, duplicity, and double-dealing. Niccolo Machiavelli of Florence, whom many consider the father of “realist” views of the international system, stressed in his book The Prince (1532) that rulers should use whatever means they had at their disposal to stay in power.

https://www.diplomaticourier.com/from-ancient-greek-diplomacy-to-modern-summitry/

Summits and summitry have their uses in a modern foreign policy…a constructive foreign policy (there’s the rub….we, the US, no longer has a constructive foreign policy)…….

It should not be regarded as an instant elixir for the assuagement of crises to dissimulate relief from the realities of inter-governmental ailment (1979, p. 186).

To begin with, this essay will discuss both on some of the possible strengths and flaws of the different types summits. It also argues on how summitry can be infused as a tool of a constructive means of diplomacy and it will also unearth some factors that could help determine the success of summits. The first part of this essay discusses on how summitry could be a tool in the engagement of public diplomacy and followed by with an insight on how timing is crucial in initiating a summit. Meanwhile, the second part of this essay details on how summitry could provide an opportunity for state leaders to administrate and show their capabilities in winning a summit.

https://www.ukessays.com/essays/politics/summitry-analysis-diplomacy-7750.ph

This is where the Trump summits go off the rail…..a summit should NOT be an elixir for a solution to whatever problem it tries to address.

And yet Trump himself billed his “summits” as a solution to North Korea’s rush to nuke weapons…..

So far nothing but a few exchanged “love” between the two leaders and the search for nukes continued…

Summits are a diplomatic tool not necessarily the end of the search of solutions to problems….something someone needs to teach to our president….maybe then he would stop embarrassing the country on the world stage.

Closing Thought–08Mar19

There have been stories of insurgents around the world that use child soldiers……from Africa to the sand of the deserts of the Middle East….child soldiers are still a problem….I have written about this situation before……

https://lobotero.com/2015/08/04/isis-child-soldiers/

https://lobotero.com/2017/05/08/child-soldiers-reloaded/

I bring this up again because the study made of child soldiers involved in war worldwide……

The number of child soldiers involved in conflicts globally has increased 159 percent within five years, with almost 30,000 verified recruitment cases since 2012, Child Soldiers International, a London-based human rights organization, said in a press release on Monday, February 11.

“Ongoing conflicts in the Middle East and persistent unrest in Somalia, South Sudan, DR Congo, Central African Republic and elsewhere are all leaving children increasingly exposed to recruitment,” the release said. “Boys and girls are routinely being used as fighters and at checkpoints, as informants, to loot villages and as domestic and sexual slaves.”

Child Soldiers International analyzed United Nations annual reports on Children and Armed Conflict issued in 2013-2018, recording 29,128 verified cases of child recruitment in 17 countries. Even though a significant number of cases usually take place in Africa, about half of them happen outside the continent, in countries like Syria, Iraq, Myanmar, and Colombia.

https://thedefensepost.com/2019/02/11/child-soldiers-global-increase/

Child recruitment in 17 countries……that should be unacceptable to the world….but instead they look the other way and allow this assault on childhood go unpunished.

Time to go and do what my Honey needs me to do….the garden needs work before the veggies go in…..

Later my friends.

A Pacific NATO

Closing Thought–07Mar19

I was watching an interview on MSNBC of Rep. Moulton (D-Mass) when Trump was in North Korea and he was asked how he would handle NK and its nukes and the pressure that China is exerting in the region…..he stated that he would set up a Pacific NATO to deal with the problem……

A Pacific NATO?

Really?

I got to checking if he was just spouting crap or if there was such a creature……

While Europe’s importance to the United States is declining, Asia figures to continue to grow in importance to the security and stability of the US.  The primary reason for this increasing focus on Asia is the incredible rise of Chinese power in recent decades.  Should China decide to pursue its ambitions in the region aggressively, it will force the US and its regional allies to react in concert with one another.  In fact, China poses a much greater threat to the US’ position in Asia than the Soviet Union ever did in Europe, given the fact that China’s potential economic and military power is much greater than the Soviet Union’s ever was.  Moreover, Asia is now the world’s leading economic center, so its stability has an influence on the rest of the world, much as Europe’s stability did a century ago.  With arms spending in Asia soaring, and with a number of dangerous flashpoints across the region, this stability is in serious jeopardy.

https://www.isa-world.com/news/

https://isnblog.ethz.ch/uncategorized/pacific-nato

Is a NATO like organization possible for the Pacific region?

John Mearsheimer argues: “There is already substantial evidence that countries like India, Japan, and Russia, as well as smaller powers like Singapore, South Korea, and Vietnam, are worried about China’s ascendancy and are looking for ways to contain it. In the end, they will join an American-led balancing coalition to check China’s rise, much the way Britain, France, Germany, Italy, Japan, and eventually China, joined forces with the United States during the Cold War to contain the Soviet Union.”

This is at odds with most analyses which postulate that Asia is not ripe for a NATO style containment block against China. For instance, in summing up the conventional wisdom on the subject, the Council on Foreign Relations’ Stewart Patrick opined last summer that: “Despite its strategic ‘rebalancing’ toward Asia, the United States is unlikely to sponsor a collective defense organization for the Asia-Pacific, for at least three reasons: insufficient solidarity among diverse regional partners, fear of alienating China, and the perceived advantages of bilateral and ad-hoc security arrangements.”

https://thediplomat.com/2014/04/is-an-asian-nato-possible/

Let me add my two cents……

We already have an empire building organization with NATO….do we truly need another for the rest of the world to worry about?

Just another organization that can help the M-IC expand and grow even richer than they are now….and that would make the possibility of further conflicts more possible.

So NO! There is no need for another NATO!

Closing Thought–06Mar19

We Americans are proud of our rights….especially our freedom of the press thing……but where does the US fall in the grand scheme of freedom of the press?

There is a World Press Index…..

Freedom of the press. 1. Norway 2. Sweden 3. Netherlands 4. Finland 5. Switzerland 6. Jamaica 7. Belgium 8. NZ 9. Denmark 10. Costa Rica 11. Austria 12. Estonia 13. Iceland 14. Portugal 15. Germany ……40. United States……140. China……..(World Press Freedom Index)

Those “socialist” countries of Scandinavia lead the way in freedom of the press……but don’t tell conservatives and the GOP for it will screw up their rhetoric and narrative for decades.

All this is Making America Great Again, Mr. Trump……and you make it great again by attacking one of our best freedoms?

You people, Trump supporters, are a bunch of deluded slugs if you believe a word of the Trump Lie Machine.

So I have said…so I have written!

Turn The Page!

Sub-Continent Slow Boil

Things got a bit warm between India and Pakistan…..first a suicide attack within India and then India hits a camp within Pakistan and two Indian jets are shot down and a pilot captured…..then the back and forth about Kashmir and the rhetoric around the captured pilot…..https://lobotero.com/2019/02/20/the-sub-continent-smolders/

To ease the rising tensions the PM of Pakistan Khan has decided to return the Indian pilot……

Imran Khan has kept his promise. On Thursday, Pakistan’s prime minister vowed to release Wing Commander Abhinandan Varthaman, who’d been captured after his MiG-21 jet was shot down Wednesday by a Pakistani fighter over the disputed Kashmir territory. And on Friday, Khan made good, with video showing the 38-year-old fighter pilot walking over the border near the Pakistani town of Wagah, per Reuters. The Washington Post notes Varthaman was dressed in a “sharp suit” as he crossed back into India with lots of security nearby and hundreds of cheering Indians waiting to greet him.

“It is good to be back in my country,” were his reported first words, an official told the media, per NDTV. Even though Pakistan and India have long been fighting over Kashmir, Varthaman’s plane was the first to be shot down in such an “aerial dogfight” between the two countries in nearly a half-century, the Post notes. The pilot was said to have chewed and swallowed some of the maps and other sensitive papers in his possession after his plane crashed to keep them out of the wrong hands. Many hope that the pilot’s release will tamp down the India-Pakistan tensions that’ve been escalating over the past couple of weeks. Varthaman will be debriefed and checked out by doctors, Indian officials say.

Pilot is home but the tension remain high with cross border shelling…..

A Pakistani government official says Indian troops with heavy weapons have “indiscriminately targeted border villagers” along the two nations’ Line of Control in the Himalayan region of Kashmir, killing a boy and wounding three others. The official, Umar Azam, said Saturday that Pakistani troops are “befittingly” responding to the Indian fire, per the AP. He says several homes were destroyed in Pakistan’s part of Kashmir, which is split between them and claimed by both in its entirety. Pakistan and India have fought two of their three wars over Kashmir since their independence from British rule in 1947.

Saturday’s exchange of fire came a day after Pakistan handed over captured Indian pilot Abhinandan Varthaman to India as a “gesture of peace” to defuse tensions between the nuclear-armed neighbors over the disputed Kashmir region. Meanwhile, officials say two siblings and their mother have been killed in cross-border shelling between Indian and Pakistani soldiers in disputed Kashmir. Indian police say the three died overnight after a shell fired by Pakistani soldiers hit their home in the Poonch region near the so-called Line of Control that divides the Himalayan territory of Kashmir between the two nuclear-armed rivals.

The world can only hold its breath and hope a peaceful solution can be found for this region does not need another war.