That Global Minimum Tax

Biden’s Sec Treasury recently proposed a policy that I can get on-board with (there are some few that I can support)…….

Now it appears that more and more countries are signing on to this policy…..
Some 130 countries have backed a global minimum tax as part of a worldwide effort to keep multinational firms from dodging taxes by shifting their profits to countries with low rates. The agreement announced Thursday by the Organization for Economic Cooperation and Development also provides for taxing the largest global companies in countries where they earn profits through online businesses but may have no physical presence. The agreement followed a proposal from President Biden for at least a 15% rate, an initiative that propelled the talks toward meeting a deadline for a deal by the middle of this year. The deal now will be discussed by the Group of 20 countries at meetings later this year, the AP reports, in hopes of finishing the details in October and implementing the agreement in 2023.
 
Under the deal, countries could tax their companies’ foreign earnings if they go untaxed through subsidiaries in other countries. That would remove the incentive to use accounting and legal schemes to shift profits to low-rate countries, since the profits would be taxed at home anyway. Not all of the 139 countries that joined the talks signed on to the deal. The proposal to tax countries where they have sales but no physical presence, which would require countries to sign up for a multilateral convention, excluded extractive companies such as oil and mining and regulated banks. The deal now faces more technical work and review by the Group of 20 countries. In the US, Biden has proposed a 21% minimum rate on overseas earnings of big US companies to deter them from shifting profits to tax havens. Biden’s US tax would need to be approved by Congress.
Like I said….I believe this is a much needed tax policy….
 
We will see just how effective it truly is or is this just a tactic to quell some larger issues.
 
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Biden-Putin Gab Fest

Yesterday the leaders of Russia and the US had a couple of talks….and they went something like this…..

President Biden spoke to the media after meeting Vladimir Putin in Geneva Wednesday—and he said he had assured the Russian leader that his agenda “is not against Russia or anybody else. It’s for the American people.” Putin, who held the first press conference, said Biden was “very different from Trump.” Highlights from Biden’s conference:

  • “Human rights will always be on the table.” Biden said he had raised human rights issues including Alexei Navalny and the cases of Trevor Reed and Paul Whelan, two former Marines now in Russian prisons, the Guardian reports. “Human rights will always be on the table,” Biden said.
  • Action on cyberattacks. Biden said he agreed with Putin to have more discussions on cyberattacks, including ransomware attacks, the AP reports. He said 16 kinds of critical infrastructure, including energy and water systems, should be considered off-limits to cyberattacks “period.” “I pointed out, if they violate basic norms, we will respond,” Biden said.
  • “I did what I came to do.” Biden described the overall tone of the summit as “positive” and said much was achieved, the Guardian reports. “I did what I came to do,” he said.
  • “Devastating” consequences if Navalny dies. Biden told reporters that Russia is “desperately trying to maintain its standing” as a major world power and losing this status would be among the consequences Moscow could face it if continues to interfere in elections—or if Navalny dies in prison. “I made it clear to him the consequences would be devastating,” Biden said.
  • “There were no threats.” Biden said no “threats” were made during the summit, “just simple assertions made.” He said the coming months will be a test of whether progress can be made. “It was … somewhat colloquial, and we talked about basic, basic fundamental things,” he said, per CNN. “I think the last thing he wants now is a cold war,” he said of Putin.
  • Capitol comparison “ridiculous.” Biden said Putin’s comparison of Russia’s jailing—or worse—of political opponents to charges against Capitol rioters was “ridiculous.”
  • “This isn’t about trust.” ABC reports that when Biden was asked if he thought he could now trust Putin, he said the summit wasn’t about trust. “This is about self-interest and verification of self-interest,” he said. Biden put his sunglasses on and started walking away from the podium after a reporter asked he if had reconsidered his 2011 remarks that Putin has no soul, the Guardian reports.
  • One last exchange. Biden had a testy exchange with reporters after walking away from the podium, the BBC notes. He told a reporter that his remarks did not mean that he was confident Putin would change his behavior. “If you don’t understand that, you’re in the wrong business,” he said when asked by CNN’s Kaitlin Collins how he could consider the summit a success when Putin came out of it still denying responsibility for cyberattacks and other actions.
  • An apology. The AP reports that Biden tried to make peace with reporters before boarding Air Force One. “I shouldn’t have been such a wise guy with the last answer I gave,” he said, expressing regret for being “short” with Collins.

And Putin rattled on…..this is the short version of his ramblings…..

Vladimir Putin gave the first press conference following his talks with President Biden, and it stretched nearly an hour. Highlights:

  • He was asked about which topics were discussed in detail, and he said Ukraine was not one of them.
  • The Guardian reports Putin said he and Biden agreed their ambassadors—the Russian ambassador to the US, Anatoly Antonov, and the US ambassador to Russia, John Sullivan—will resume their posts and diplomatic duties. The two have for months been at home in their respective countries over friction.
  • CNN asked if the tone of the meeting was hostile or friendly, and whether Russia committed to stopping cyberattacks on US. Per CNN’s translation, Putin said, “I don’t think there was any kind of hostility … I think many of our positions are divergent but … I think it was very constructive.”
  • On the cybersecurity front, he said both sides agreed to begin negotiations on the issue. The BBC reports Putin said Russia has “provided exhaustive information” to the US regarding alleged cyber attacks and has received no response.

When asked about Alexei Navalny, Putin declined to speak his name, but said, “This person knew that he violated the law that exists in Russia and he is a repeated offender. He knew full well that he was wanted but nevertheless he came back to Russia and he deliberately wanted to be arrested. He did what he wanted to do.”

  • Putin characterized the talks as “efficient, substantive, specific, and aimed at achieving results.”
  • Putin issued what the BBC terms “a rare compliment,” calling Biden an “experienced statesman” and saying that they had detailed discussions for two hours, which he would not be able to do with most politicians. “He is very different from President Trump,” Putin said.
  • He said he was offered no invitation to the White House and extended no invite to Biden, and that the “right conditions” would be needed to get to that stage.

My biggest problem was with Biden’s piece of fecal matter on human rights…..those rights are violated by our so-called allies and we praise their democracy….this is my biggest problem with Biden and his gang of slugs.

The only thing this chin wag did was provide a photo op for the two leaders…..chest thumping at its best.

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Those Iranian Sanctions

Since 1979 there has been sanctions imposed on Iran by the US…..those and more continue until today…..some say there are “hundreds” of sanctions in place to punish Iran for various transgressions…..

Secretary of State Antony Blinken said even if the US rejoins the Iran nuclear deal, known as the JCPOA, “hundreds” of sanctions would still remain on Iran, including Trump-era measures.

“I would anticipate that, even in the event of a return to compliance with the JCPOA, hundreds of sanctions remain in place, including sanctions imposed by the Trump administration,” Blinken told a Senate hearing.

Blinken’s remarks are just his latest bad faith comment about the indirect negotiations between the US and Iran that have been ongoing since April. Because the Biden administration refuses to lift all Trump-era sanctions, the talks are being dragged out.

Blinken and other Biden officials justify their refusal to lift all of Trump’s sanctions by claiming they will only lift measures that are “consistent” with the economic relief Iran expects from the JCPOA. “If they are not inconsistent with the JCPOA, they will remain unless and until Iran’s behavior changes,” Blinken said.

The Trump administration imposed an enormous number of sanctions on Iran. Some were implemented over Tehran’s nuclear program, while others were put in place over claims of “terrorism” and alleged human rights violations. From the start of negotiations, the Biden administration has been clear that it is not going to lift all human rights and terror sanctions.

Since the US is the party that violated the JCPOA in the first place, and Iran is still technically in compliance, Tehran is calling on Biden to lift all of Trump’s sanctions if he is serious about reviving the deal. The fact that Iran is negotiating at all is a major concession. But if the talks don’t go anywhere due to the US’s refusal to lift enough sanctions, the Biden administration will undoubtedly blame it on Iran.

(antiwar.com)

Forty plus years of sanctions and what has it accomplished?

Very little to be honest.

I do not believe that sanctions are an effective tool in most cases….my thoughts here…..https://lobotero.com/2019/10/03/sanctions-and-tariffs/ and here……https://lobotero.com/2020/10/14/sanctions-what-are-they-good-for/

Sanctions hurt people that they say would help their lives get better…..instead it punishes civilians for the stuff their leaders do…..

Not the best way to win friends and influence people while they are struggling under the weight of sanctions.

So yes our Iran policy is seriously flawed…..

U.S. Iran policy is marred by many flaws, and some of the worst are threat inflation, imperial arrogance, and hypocrisy. Alarmist media reporting routinely overstates the threat that Iran poses to the US and the world, and hawkish politicians and pundits are only too eager to use this alarmism to agitate for more aggressive policies and to scuttle ongoing diplomacy. Even when Iran behaves like a normal state and abides by international law, their actions are spun as being somehow menacing and challenging to the United States. At the same time, the US tramples on the rules of the system that it claims to uphold so that it can pursue its economic war against Iran. The economic war itself is an illegitimate policy of collective punishment that the US has been waging for the last three years in a vain bid to compel deeper concessions from their government, and after almost half a year Biden has done nothing to change that policy. If we are ever going to have a peaceful and sane policy towards Iran, all of these flaws need to be rooted out.

Flaws in US Iran Policy

Flaws that NO one is willing to change or even review.

After 40+ years and nothing has changed in Iran….so what part of those sanctions are successful?

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Why I Hate The 24 Hour News Cycle

AS a political activist on many levels I enjoyed reading the news and write about what was happening here in this country and around the world….and then in 1980 Ted Turner started CNN and I was thrilled at the opportunity to have news whenever I wanted it….a writers dream.

That was then and this is now.

The media has become the driving force of the hegemony……Media hegemony is a perceived process by which certain values and ways of thought promulgated through the mass media become dominant in society.

Media hegemony has been presented as influencing the way in which reporters in the media – themselves subject to prevailing values and norms – select news stories and put them across.

Take the recent news about the pandemic…

A poll found that 13% of respondents overall said they will “definitely not” be vaccinated, signaling that significant hurdles remain in the nation’s vaccination campaign. (KHN is the editorially independent newsroom of KFF, an endowed nonprofit organization providing national information on health issues.)

Among all groups, Republicans and white evangelical Christians were the most likely to say they will not get vaccinated, with almost 30% of each group saying they will “definitely not” get a shot.

Now if these fools have decided not to get vaccinated then no amount of endless positive news on a loop will change their minds and yet I am still hearing the same news over and over.

If these people want to be stupid then I say screw them and move on.

And this is not the only time the MSM has beat a story to death to fill air time.

The media wants to drive the conversation no matter the issue…they are creating news instead of reporting it.

How can this be?

First of all thank the toads in the Clinton admin….they helped corporations buy the news so they can make the news.

As a news junkie there is only so much redundancy I can tolerate.

Then it is the constant use of the term “jab”….apparently the MSM thinks that we Americans cannot grasp the term inoculation…..then there is the term “the Big Lie” in constant use….first which Big Lie there have been so many…..second why must the attempt to invalidate an election be dumbed down to a two word slogan?

Apparently our attention span is worse than that of a goldfish and we are to be treated like a 4 year old.

Then there is the attention paid to pure bullsh*t like anything to do with celebs or anything that does NOTHING to effect your day.

Just a few things that makes me hate the 24 hour news cycle.

I have found that some of the English channels of international news organizations are more unbiased than anything here in the US.

Again all these ‘news’ organizations are nothing more than the propaganda arm of the government.

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The League Of Democracies

This is a brilliant idea (sarcasm) of the Biden admin….bringing together all the democracies in a summit atmosphere…..I comment on the idea when it was first announced…..https://lobotero.com/2021/02/03/a-summit-for-democracy/

This sounds like a con job as usual….it will be nothing more than rhetoric from the Cold War….and will not really be about ‘democracy’ at all…..

Reliable reports continue to circulate that President Biden intends to call for a “summit of democracies” to convene this summer, although concerns that such a large gathering might become a super-spreader of the coronavirus may delay those plans. The implicit goal is to create a political, diplomatic (and eventually a military) bloc of democratic countries to contain the power and influence of the two leading authoritarian states, Russia and China, and to counter the supposedly surging appeal of authoritarianism globally. It is a concept that is deeply flawed both conceptually and in terms of execution. Indeed, the pursuit of this pernicious chimera has the potential to poison America’s already fragile relations with several important countries and to heighten risks to the security and well-being of the American people.

Biden and key advisers highlighted their wish to create a league of democracies (under Washington’s benevolent leadership, of course) even before the administration took office. Biden himself gave the proposal considerable prominence during the 2020 presidential election campaign. He and other officials also have exhorted Washington’s existing democratic alliance partners to create a common front against both Moscow and Beijing.

In remarks delivered on December 28, the president-elect stated that “as we compete with China and hold China’s government accountable for its abuses on trade, technology, human rights, and other fronts, our position will be much stronger when we build coalitions of like-minded partners and allies to make common cause with us in defense of our shared interests and values.” Biden added that “on any issue that matters to the U.S.-China relationship,… we [the United States] “are stronger and more effective when we are flanked by nations that share our vision for the future of our world.”

The Fraudulent ‘League of Democracies’ Scheme

This is a waste of time and energy……for the US turns a blind eye to nations that pretend to be a democracy while committing heinous crimes against people.

US needs to cease being a huge hypocrite on the world stage…..how can we truly be a world leader when the word ‘democracy’ means NOTHING to us?

This is a pathetic attempt to bolster the station of the M-IC…..not about the people of any given country.

It is about profit over people…..the usual crap we pretend is democracy.

A League of Democracies is a huge con job.

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“lego ergo scribo”

Why The Defense Budget Never Goes Down

As you know I believe the US spend way too much taxpayer money on weapons and so-called defense.

The Pentagon is a problem….a problem we refuse to solve.

A sad indictment of the system…..we spend over $700 billion a year on the Pentagon and they seldom ever pass an audit of their practices and expenditures…..

When the Pentagon launched its first-ever independent financial audit back in 2017, backers of accountability in government welcomed it as a major step for a department with a track record of financial boondoggles.

But the Defense Department failed that audit – and the next two as well. Now lawmakers are introducing a bipartisan bill that would impose a penalty for any part of the department, including the military, that fails to undergo a “clean” audit.

“The Pentagon and the military industrial complex have been plagued by a massive amount of waste, fraud and financial mismanagement for decades. That is absolutely unacceptable,” said Sen. Bernie Sanders, I-Vt., who co-sponsored the bill with Sen. Chuck Grassley, R-Iowa, along with Sens. Ron Wyden, D-Ore., and Mike Lee, R-Utah.

Despite having trillions of dollars in assets and receiving hundreds of billions in federal dollars annually, the department has never detailed its assets and liabilities in a given year. For the past three financial years, the Defense Department’s audit has resulted in a “Disclaimer of Opinion,” meaning the auditor didn’t get enough accounting records to form an assessment.

https://www.npr.org/2021/05/19/997961646/the-pentagon-has-never-passed-an-audit-some-senators-want-to-change-that

And yet they get increasingly more and more cash…..

If the taxpayer truly wants to know where their money is spent and wasted….then  look no further than the Pentagon.

I have written many times about the extreme money that the US throws at the Pentagon…..after the fall of the Soviet Union one would think that without a major competitor on the international stage we could save some cash and lessen the cash thrown at the Pentagon….but that has not happened…..why is that?

It is not rocket science….the M-IC needs an enemy and the government will create a threat as needed….

Strange, isn’t it? Our secretary of state emphatically claims that China has been acting “more aggressively abroad” and behaving “increasingly in adversarial ways.” No, he insists, we’re not exactly at the edge of a new cold war or planning, in the style of the last century, to “contain China.” All this country is doing is “uphold[ing] this rules-based order — that China is posing a challenge to. Anyone who poses a challenge to that order, we’re going to stand up and — and defend it.” Ah, you remember that “rules-based order,” don’t you? The one this country has sponsored in this century with an endless series of losing wars across the Greater Middle East and Africa, right?

Our secretary of defense, mentioning no country by name (cough, cough, but you know which one he has in mind), recently said: “I’ll never forget the valor that I saw and the lessons that I learned as a commander in Iraq and CENTCOM. But the way we’ll fight the next major war is going to look very different from the way we fought the last ones.” (The assumption being, of course, that such a war will indeed be fought.) And the Pentagon is already focusing its energy on just such a possible future war against “near-peer competitors” from the Arctic to the South China Sea. Even President Biden, addressing Congress and the nation, emphasized that “we’re in competition with China and other countries to win the twenty-first century.”

Why the Pentagon Budget Never Goes Down

There you have it…..what was once the USSR is now China…..

Just think what this country could do with $700 billion it would save with some reduction to the funds at the Pentagon…..

Just a thought!

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“lego ergo scribo”

Thou Shall Not Deal With China

The war hawks are revving up their misinformation machine against China (the new enemy we must fear) and the nation has been expanding their influence around the world to include Africa…..and that expansion worries the US and plays into the hands of the war hawks.

The new SecState has issued a warning to Africa….

Secretary of State Antony cautioned Africa about China’s role in the continent in virtual talks with Nigeria and Kenya on Tuesday.

Responding to questions, Blinken said he hoped African countries would keep their “eyes wide open” when approaching relationships with other nations.

“We’re not asking anyone to choose between the United States or China, but I would encourage you to ask those tough questions, to dig beneath the surface, to demand transparency, and to make informed choices about what is best for you and your countries,” he said.

Beijing is involved in infrastructure projects across Africa, which the US views as a threat to American influence. President Biden has floated the idea of the US and its allies starting a global infrastructure project to rival China’s, which is known as the Belt and Road Initiative.

Biden has portrayed the US-China relationship as an ideological battle between “democracy” and “autocracy.” With this view in mind, it’s no wonder the US aims to compete with China in every theater it can.

China is also being used to justify domestic infrastructure projects. President Biden cited the need to compete with Beijing as the reason to pass his massive $2.3 trillion infrastructure plan.

(antiwar.com)

That sounded like a ‘veiled threat’ to me….a threat is a threat regardless of the wording.

Let me see China is offering to build roads and other infrastructure projects to help the economy of ma nation and the US offers up special ops soldiers and armament.

Looks like China is winning more friends than the US.

Here’s a thought…maybe the US should find an alternative to armed conflict…look beyond the profit margins of the M-IC and offer the other nations ways to benefit the people and not the dictators and autocrats that ‘run’ most of these countries.

I know I am one voice in the wilderness against the M-IC and its aims of destruction and profit…I have been since 1972 and will remain so until I am gone.

I Read, I Write, You Know

“lego ergo scribo”

A Cold War Reboot?

I admit it I am old…..I lived through the original Cold War for most of my life and even witnessed the death of the old Soviet Union….when the USSR died it was hailed as a new beginning of a world that would be at peace and prosperous.

Well the world got more prosperous thanks in part to the advent of globalization….the peace part has yet to be achieved.

While we await the promise of peace the US is stirring the pot for a reboot of the policies of the Cold War.

This time the new ‘enemy’ is China…..

There has been lots of rhetoric around the ‘China Problem’…..and now the Senate has made it official that we are rebooting the Cold War….

The Senate Foreign Relations Committee announced a new piece of bipartisan legislation to confront China through prioritized military spending and more arms sales in the Indo-Pacific, sanctions, money for “democracy promotion” in Hong Kong, and other areas where the US seeks to counter Beijing.

The legislation still needs to go through the Committee before being introduced in the Senate, but a draft of the bill, titled the Strategic Competition Act of 2021, was released by Senator Bob Menendez (D-NJ), the Committee chairman. Menendez negotiated the bill with Committee Ranking Member Jim Risch (R-ID).

In a release on the Committee’s website, the 281-page bill was described as the “first major proposal to bring Democrats and Republicans together in laying out a strategic approach towards Beijing — and assuring that the United States is positioned to compete with China across all dimensions of national and international power for decades to come.” Menendez is convening a Committee meeting on April 14th for a vote on the legislation.

The bill calls for the US to strengthen military ties in the Indo-Pacific through arms sales. The bill reads: “The United States should design for export to Indo-Pacific allies and partners capabilities critical to maintaining a favorable military balance in the region, including long-range precision fires, air and missile defense systems, anti-ship cruise missiles, land attack cruise missiles, conventional hypersonic systems, intelligence, surveillance, and reconnaissance capabilities, and command and control systems.”

Senate Unveils Sweeping Legislation to Confront China

The Cold War will be rebranded  as well as the reboot…..

When it comes to future conflicts or present-day war games, they have all the advantages and we have none! Or as Eric Edelman, a former undersecretary of defense for policy, told CNN recently, “Russia and China are playing a home game, we are playing an away game.” And mind you, we’re talking about a home game that could stretch from the Baltic Sea and the Arctic regions of Eurasia to the South China Sea. Those two “near-peer rivals” (as the U.S. military has taken to calling them) seem to have all the luck. I mean, count on one thing: imagined future flare points for conflict – “a fictional global crisis erupting on multiple fronts” in those war games – won’t be in the Caribbean, off New York City, or near the Baja Peninsula. As a result, the US will have to be fully prepared, at staggering expense, to deploy and support forces thousands of miles away for the future conflicts the Pentagon is now imagining.

Fortunately, that military is, it seems, planning ahead for just such a future. As CNN’s Barbara Starr recently reported, this summer it’s going to engage in highly classified computer war games with two near-peer enemies with fictional names. No one, however, should doubt for a second that they will be China and Russia. This will happen just as the next Pentagon budget is being set in place and, in a recent exercise gaming out a future conflict against such adversaries, an anonymous Defense Department official confirmed to Starr that “we found the Blue Team, the US and allies, kept losing.”

The Cold War, Rebooted and Rebranded

We are returning to the ‘good old days’ of the Cold War…..that will mean more and more taxpayer cash will flow into the Pentagon and the rest of the nation will suffer.

Time to invest in some form of diplomacy….and leave the weapons and threats aside……but sadly talk does not equate into profit for the defense industry….and we all know it is more about that than the good of the nation.

I Read, I Write, You Know

“lego ergo scribo”

The “Quad”

What the Hell is the “Quad”?

The Quad – shorthand for the Quadrilateral Security Dialogue – said in the first of five points in the statement that: “We bring diverse perspectives and are united in a shared vision for the free and open Indo-Pacific. We strive for a region that is free, open, inclusive, healthy, anchored by democratic values, and unconstrained by coercion.”

“We support the rule of law, freedom of navigation and overflight, peaceful resolution of disputes, democratic values, and territorial integrity,” the statement says later.

“We will continue to prioritise the role of international law in the maritime domain, particularly as reflected in the United Nations Convention on the Law of the Sea (UNCLOS), and facilitate collaboration, including in maritime security, to meet challenges to the rules-based maritime order in the East and South China Seas,” they added.

https://www.msn.com/en-xl/news/other/quad-summit-backs-democratic-indo-pacific-region-cites-chinese-aggression/ar-BB1ewCTX

Let’s be real….this is all about China….they cm add all the flowery words to the mission statement but in the end it is about confrontation with China.

The summit not only issued a formal statement. Unusually also, Biden and the prime ministers of India, Australia and Japan—Narendra Modi, Scott Morrison and Yoshihide Suga respectively—put their names to an opinion piece published prominently in the Washington Post on Sunday. The comment is replete with cynical motherhood statements about their advocacy of democracy, action on climate change and COVID-19 vaccines, and commitment to “an Indo-Pacific region that is free, open, secure and prosperous.”

However, while China is not mentioned, it dominated the discussion at the summit. The pledges by the four leaders to pursue regional co-operation, partnership and engagement do not, of course, extend to Beijing. Buried in the various public statements were thinly-veiled references to Chinese coercion—from the US that has routinely waged war and ousted governments to advance its imperialist interests—and the need to uphold “freedom of navigation”—that is, for the US Navy to provocatively intrude into waters around Chinese-controlled islets in the South China Sea.

https://www.wsws.org/en/articles/2021/03/16/quad-m16.html

No matter how flowery and forward thinking the statement may sound….make no mistake that it is all about China and the confrontation of the PRC.

Same old song!  Nothing changes!

I Read, I Write, You Know

“lego ergo scribo”

What To Do In The Middle East

Most regulars know that my studies and career was rooted in the Middle East…..it is time I got back to watching the events in the region.

We have a new president and the question is….will there be an adjustment in the Middle East.

The Brookings Institution offers a few ideas for our new president……

For over a decade, the United States has sought to wind down the wars in Afghanistan and Iraq, reduce its military footprint in the Middle East, and redirect scarce resources to Asia. Global and regional trends reinforced this American desire to reduce the priority of the Middle East in its global strategy, and the military “pivot” is well underway. The challenge for American policy is how to protect its remaining and still important interests in that region in an era of austerity and fierce power competition, both in the region and globally. The incoming Biden administration should not waste the window for a reset.

Gulf Arab partners, facing fiscal constraints from lower energy prices and the COVID-19-induced global recession, are more open to conflict resolution in the proxy wars they hagve been fighting across the region. But their relative penury will also impede their ability to invest in stabilizing weaker neighbors, including key states like Jordan and Egypt. Meanwhile, the Islamic Republic of Iran is sanctioned to the hilt, and used to wielding regional influence on the cheap. Thus the balance of power in the region may even favor the Iranians as the pandemic begins to recede. The Biden team must set aside the Trump administration’s fruitless “maximum pressure” in favor of the mix of intelligence cooperation, diplomacy, financial and military tools that can effectively deter or disrupt subversive Iranian activity while incentivizing Tehran’s return to the nuclear negotiating table. And the Pentagon must undertake a zero-based review of its force presence in the Persian Gulf region to ensure it is both efficient and effective in fulfilling its core missions there.

The United States must rebuild what has historically been its most effective tool in the Middle East: diplomacy, especially in advancing conflict resolution. In Yemen and Libya, there might now be opportunities to pull competing regional powers out of the fighting and negotiate power-sharing governments that promote stability and reduce freedom of action for Islamist terrorist movements. Washington cannot let Israelis and Palestinians stew in their stalemated conflict — but rather than trying to reconvene talks, it should take a long-term approach to rebuilding foundations for compromise between the two societies while insisting that they both abjure destabilizing unilateral actions, and work to improve freedom, security, and prosperity for those living with the conflict every day.

Finally, the Biden administration must reestablish clear boundaries in relationships that were deeply unbalanced by President Donald Trump’s careless approach. Israel, Saudi Arabia, and the United Arab Emirates (UAE) all have questions about the extent and durability of American security commitments to their neighborhood, and all three prefer to keep the U.S. closely engaged. Washington can pursue necessary de-escalation and nuclear diplomacy with Iran while engaging these key partners about where American interests begin and end, and where partners’ own preferences and behaviors present real obstacles to closer cooperation. As in all healthy relationships, honest communication and clear boundaries are essential to maintain mutual respect and good feeling.

What to do – and what not to do – in the Middle East

I disagree with almost everything that is written by this think tank…..especially the statement on the Israeli/Palestinian problem…..”Washington cannot let Israelis and Palestinians stew in their stalemated conflict — but rather than trying to reconvene talks, it should take a long-term approach to rebuilding foundations for compromise between the two societies while insisting that they both abjure destabilizing unilateral actions, and work to improve freedom, security, and prosperity for those living with the conflict every day.”

Really?

If they want a long term solution then maybe the place to start is with Israel.  The theft of land, destruction of crops, the hijacking of humanitarian funds, the random of harassment and arrests and those damn settlements would be a good start.

None of that means a damn thing….for the Biden admin will do business as it has been done for 50 years….especially in the Middle East.

The Biden admin is change that will not change.

I Read, I Write, You Know

“lego ergo scribo”