Category Archives: Foreign Policy

American Foreign Policy: The Problem of Applying the Monroe Doctrine Everywhere, by Doug Bandow

Empires are hard to maintain, probably impossible. From Doug Bandow at antiwar.com:

When the new American nation was created, it was a lightweight in an international political game dominated by heavyweights. The U.S. was forced to develop a serious, measured, and realistic foreign policy.

The colonists outlasted the British during the Revolution in part because the New World revolt triggered an Old World war, in which the United Kingdom also had to fight France and Spain, which allied with the colonies. London’s North American battle became secondary. Yet French and Spanish assistance for the colonists remained limited, intended only to weaken the UK. The absolute monarchies did not desire a strong, independent republic on a continent where Paris and Madrid still possessed colonies.

It was a dangerous world for the weak, young nation. Nevertheless, the purchase of Louisiana from France in 1803 removed one threat from the continent. America survived – barely – another military round with Britain in 1812. A decade later colonial revolts against Spain seemed to dispatch the last serious regional rival.

President James Monroe then announced in 1823 that European efforts to recapture old or conquer new colonies would be seen as exhibiting “the manifestation of an unfriendly disposition toward the United States.” At the same time, he publicly eschewed intervention in European affairs.

This was pure chutzpah, given America’s evident lack of a military capable of enforcing such sentiments. Nevertheless, the proclamation was a fine effort to bolster US security. Europe, the fount of war for centuries, should stay out of Washington’s neighborhood. And the US would not get entangled in the Old World’s endlessly disastrous conflicts.

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The Trump Administration’s Human Rights Confidence Game: Targeting Adversaries, Excusing Allies, by Doug Bandow

The Trump administration wields human rights as a cudgel; there’s no genuine concern for anyone’s human rights. From Doug Bandow at antiwar.com:

Promoting human rights is a central tenet of US foreign policy. Sometimes. In practice, Washington is most enthusiastic about defending life, liberty, and happiness where America has the least clout. And American policymakers most often remain silent when allied governments, whom the US could most influence, are detaining, torturing, and murdering opponents.

The Trump administration has taken this approach to an extreme, losing all credibility on the issue. For President Donald Trump and Secretary of State Mike Pompeo human rights are a weapon to be used against adversaries. When friends are the abusers, the issue is quietly and speedily dismissed, never to be mentioned again.

Last week Pompeo presented the conclusions of his Commission on Unalienable Rights at the United Nations, attempting to shape the definition of human rights. The US was joined by 56 other nations in affirming that “Certain principle are so fundamental as to apply to all human beings, everywhere, at all times.”

It was a grand gesture. However, few robust liberal democracies that respect human rights joined Pompeo. Indeed, 46 of the supporting countries were rated not free or partly free by the group Freedom House: Afghanistan, Albania, Armenia, Bahrain, Burundi, Burkina Faso, Colombia, Democratic Republic of the Congo, Djibouti, Ecuador, Egypt, Gambia, Gabonese Republic, Georgia, Haiti, Honduras, Hungary, Iraq, Ivory Coast, Jordan, Kosovo, Kuwait, Lebanon, Liberia, Libya, Madagascar, Malawi, Maldives, Mauritania, Moldova, Morocco, Niger, North Macedonia, Philippines, Rwanda, Saudi Arabia, Senegal, Serbia, Sierra Leone, Sudan, Togo, Uganda, Ukraine, United Arab Emirates, Uzbekistan, and Zambia.

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Leaked Docs Expose Massive Syria Propaganda Operation Waged By Western Govt Contractors & Media, by Ben Gray

The Syrian war has always been an Anglo-American regime change operation. From Ben Gray at grayzone.com:

Western government-funded intelligence cutouts trained Syrian opposition leaders, planted stories in media outlets from BBC to Al Jazeera, and ran a cadre of journalists. A trove of leaked documents exposes the propaganda network.

Leaked documents show how UK government contractors developed an advanced infrastructure of propaganda to stimulate support in the West for Syria’s political and armed opposition.

Virtually every aspect of the Syrian opposition was cultivated and marketed by Western government-backed public relations firms, from their political narratives to their branding, from what they said to where they said it.

The leaked files reveal how Western intelligence cutouts played the media like a fiddle, carefully crafting English- and Arabic-language media coverage of the war on Syria to churn out a constant stream of pro-opposition coverage.

US and European contractors trained and advised Syrian opposition leaders at all levels, from young media activists to the heads of the parallel government-in-exile. These firms also organized interviews for Syrian opposition leaders on mainstream outlets such as BBC and the UK’s Channel 4.

More than half of the stringers used by Al Jazeera in Syria were trained in a joint US-UK government program called Basma, which produced hundreds of Syrian opposition media activists.

Western government PR firms not only influenced the way the media covered Syria, but as the leaked documents reveal, they produced their own propagandistic pseudo-news for broadcast on major TV networks in the Middle East, including BBC Arabic, Al Jazeera, Al Arabiya, and Orient TV.

These UK-funded firms functioned as full-time PR flacks for the extremist-dominated Syrian armed opposition. One contractor, called InCoStrat, said it was in constant contact with a network of more than 1,600 international journalists and “influencers,” and used them to push pro-opposition talking points.

Another Western government contractor, ARK, crafted a strategy to “re-brand” Syria’s Salafi-jihadist armed opposition by “softening its image.” ARK boasted that it provided opposition propaganda that “aired almost every day on” major Arabic-language TV networks.

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The US’ Hybrid War On Russian Energy Targets Germany, Belarus, And Bulgaria, by Andrew Koryobko

The US is waging a war on Russian energy supplies to Europe, and it may not be as futile as many people believe. From Andrew Koryobko at oneworld.press:

The US is ruthlessly waging an intense Hybrid War on Russian energy interests in Europe by targeting the Eurasian Great Power’s relevant projects in Germany, Belarus, and Bulgaria, banking on the fact that even the partial success of this strategy would greatly advance the scenario of an externally provoked “decoupling” between Moscow and Washington’s transatlantic allies.

The Newest Front In The New Cold War

The New Cold War is heating up in Europe after the US intensified its Hybrid War on Russian interests there over the past two months. This proxy conflict is being simultaneously waged in Germany, Belarus, and Bulgaria, all three of which are key transit states for Russian energy exports to the continent, which enable it to maintain at least some influence there even during the worst of times. The US, however, wants to greatly advance the scenario of an externally provoked “decoupling” between Moscow and Washington’s transatlantic allies which would allow America to reassert its unipolar hegemony there even if this campaign is only partially successful. This article aims to explore the broad contours of the US’ contemporary Hybrid War strategy on Russian energy in Europe, pointing out how recent events in those three previously mentioned transit states are all part of this larger plan.

Germany

From north to south, the first and largest of these targets is Germany, which is nowadays treating Russian anti-corruption blogger Navalny. The author accurately predicted in late August that “intense pressure might be put upon the authorities by domestic politicians and their American patrons to politicize the final leg of Nord Stream II’s construction by potentially delaying it as ‘punishment to Putin’”, which is exactly what’s happening after Berlin signaled that it might rethink its commitment to this energy project. America isn’t all to blame, however, since Germany ultimately takes responsibility for its provocative statements to this effect. Dmitri Trenin, Director of the Carnegie Moscow Center, published a thought-provoking piece titled “Russian-German Relations: Back To The Future” about how bilateral relations will drastically change in the aftermath of this incident. It’s concise and well worth the read for those who are interested in this topic.

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The World Has Gone Absolutely Insane! by the Saker

There may be some residual sanity out there, but you have to look pretty hard for it. From the Saker at unz.com:

We all know that we are living in crazy, and dangerous, times, yet I can’t help being awed at what the imperial propaganda machine (aka the legacy ziomedia) is trying to make us all swallow. The list of truly batshit crazy stuff we are being told to believe is now very long, and today I just want to pick on a few of my “favorites” (so to speak).

First, of course, comes the “Novichok Reloaded” scandal around the alleged poisoning of the so-called “dissident” Alexei Navalnyi. I already mentioned this absolutely ridiculous story once, so I won’t repeat it all here. I just want to mention a few very basic facts:

  • Navalnyi is pretty much a discredited non-entity in Russia. “Putin” (because this is how the imperial propaganda machine always personalizes the evils of Russia: “Putin” did this or that, as if Putin was personally in every alleged Russian evil deed) had absolutely and exactly zero reasons to harm Navalnyi in any way. I would even add that IF Navalnyi was poisoned in Russia (which I do not believe) then the FSB screwed up by not offering him 24/7 protection, especially in the current political climate (i.e. struggle for the completion of North Stream 2).
  • The Empire always likes to produce a “sacrificial lamb” to symbolize the putative evil of the nation which dares to resist. In Iran it was Neda, in Kuwait the infamous “incubator babies”, in Syria anonymous kids killed by Russian gas, and in Russia it was Nemtsov (did not really work) and now Navalnyi (I wonder who the sacrificial lamb will be in Belarus (Tikhanovskaia?). The FSB should have seen this coming, especially after Nemtsov.

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Sinophobia, Lies and Hybrid War, by Pepe Escobar

The US government is in full propaganda mode against China and seems to be just itching for a fight, a fight it can’t win. From Pepe Escobar at thesaker.is:

It took one minute for President Trump to introduce a virus at the virtual 75th UN General Assembly, blasting “the nation which unleashed this plague onto the world”.

And then it all went downhill.

Even as Trump was essentially delivering a campaign speech and could not care less about the multilateral UN, at least the picture was clear enough for all the socially distant “international community” to see.

Here is President Xi’s full statement. And here is President Putin’s full statement. And here’s the geopolitical chessboard, once again; it’s the “indispensable nation” versus the Russia-China strategic partnership.

As he stressed the importance of the UN, Xi could not be more explicit that no nation has the right to control the destiny of others: “Even less should one be allowed to do whatever it likes and be the hegemon, bully, or boss of the world .”

The US ruling class obviously won’t take this act of defiance lying down. The full spectrum of Hybrid War techniques will continue to be relentlessly turbo-charged against China, coupled with rampant Sinophobia, even as it dawns on many Dr. Strangelove quarters that the only way to really “deter” China would be Hot War.

Alas, the Pentagon is overstretched – Syria, Iran, Venezuela, South China Sea. And every analyst knows about China’s cyber warfare capabilities, integrated aerial defense systems, and carrier-killer Dongfeng missiles.

For perspective, it’s always very instructive to compare military expenditure. Last year, China spent $261 billion while the US spent $732 billion (38% of the global total).

Rhetoric, at least for the moment, prevails. The key talking point, incessantly hammered, is always about China as an existential threat to the “free world”, even as the myriad declinations of what was once Obama’s “pivot to Asia” not so subtly accrue the manufacture of consent for a future war.

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Those Who Destroyed Yemen Must Be Prosecuted for War Crimes, by Doug Bandow

Helping one of the most corrupt governments on the planet wage a war on one of the poorest countries on the planet is a war crime for which US officials must be called to account. From Doug Bandow at theamericanconservative.com:

That includes prominent American officials. Punishing the perpetrators is the only way to restore our credibility.

Workers search through debris at a warehouse, after it was reportedly hit in an airstrike by the Saudi-led coalition, in the Yemeni capital Sanaa on July, 2, 2020. (Photo by MOHAMMED HUWAIS/AFP via Getty Images)
The Kingdom of Saudi Arabia recently announced that it was providing $204 million in aid for the impoverished and war-ravaged country of Yemen. That sounds generous, but it’s the Saudi royals themselves who are responsible for most of the death, destruction, starvation, and disease in Yemen, in which 80 percent of the population, some 24 million, need outside assistance.

Riyadh has spent more than five years conducting a brutal air campaign intended to restore a pliant regime to power. The claim that the Kingdom is generously helping the needy is a bit like a man murdering his parents only to throw himself on the court’s mercy since he is an orphan. If Saudi Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman wanted to help the Yemeni people, he would simply end the war.

But he won’t, at least in part because the Trump administration is underwriting the Saudi government’s murderous campaign. Why is the president forcing Americans to assist the Saudi royals, who respect no political or religious liberty and kidnap, imprison, and murder their critics? President Donald Trump appears to be almost bewitched by the licentious and corrupt Saudis.

Washington sold Saudi Arabia planes and munitions used to kill thousands of Yemeni civilians. American personnel serviced and refueled the same planes, as well as providing intelligence to assist in targeting Saudi strikes. That makes U.S. officials complicit in war crimes committed day in and day out for more than five years.

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Two Paradigms Clash: Offers for U.S.-China-Russia Partnership That Won WWII or Hellish Plunge Into WWIII, by Matthew Ehret

We can live together or die together, those are the choices. From Matthew Ehret at strategic-culture.org:

The Pentagon’s new military report on China released on September 1st has demonstrated that the outdated and deadly Cold War mentality which has wrought such destruction upon the world since the end of WWII has not only become more deeply embedded into the psyche of dominant foreign policy officials in the Pentagon, it demonstrated that the current American establishment is totally unfit to survive in today’s nuclear age. In our nuclear age, Hobbesian laws of the jungle will only result in mass extermination. If we are to survive beyond the coming decade, it is high time that a higher moral paradigm befitting of human dignity becomes hegemonic.

If one wishes to play the role of Alice and join the tea party which these Pentagon Mad Hatters are hosting, one would be expected to believe that the belligerent aggressor in the Pacific theater is not the America which has spread its military tentacles around China’s backyard since Obama’s Asia Pivot that was announced in 2012, but rather China itself. The authors of the Pentagon report assert that it is China who is interested in expansionism, overthrowing the “rule of law”, conquering the weak of the Pacific and overtaking the US as a globally hegemonic power, both militarily and with their Belt and Road Initiative, which the Washington Consensus has labelled a debt trap.

More recently, Pompeo has sent Undersecretary of State Keith Krach to Taiwan to belligerently organize bilateral free trade deals and several military deals worth $7 billion which the current basket-case leadership of Taiwan is all too happy to oblige.

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A Peace Deal Like No Other, by Philip Giraldi

President Trump and Mike Pompeo are trying to set up an Israeli/Arab alliance against Iran. From Philip Giraldi at unz.com:

Much ado about nothing, but Act 2 is coming up

It is odd that the White House is gloating over its claimed peace agreement in the Middle East at the same time as one of the signatories is bombing Syria, Lebanon and Gaza. It all suggests that peace in the region will exclude designated enemies and the friends of those enemies, since the ties among the three parties – Israel, United Arab Emirates (UAE) and Bahrain – is transparently in part an offensive alliance directed against Iran and its friends, to include Syria and Lebanon. A significant amount of the horse trading that preceded the gala signing ceremony in the White House involved who would get what advanced American weapons down the road. The UAE wants F-35 fighter bombers while Israel is already asking for $8 billion for more top-level weapons from the U.S. taxpayer to maintain its “qualitative edge” over its new found friends.

For the more sagacious readers who chose to ignore what took place, a short recap is in order. Last Tuesday President Trump hosted a White House signing ceremony during which Israel established formal ties with the two Arab states. The agreement was dubbed the Abraham Accord because it purports to build on the foundation provided by the fraternity, as one might put it, of the three Abrahamic religions, namely Judaism, Christianity, and Islam. More specifically, it created the mechanism for diplomatic, economic, and cultural ties between Israel and the two Arab countries. It should be observed that both the UAE and Bahrain are close to being client states of the U.S. Bahrain is in fact the home port of the U.S. Fifth Fleet that operates in the region and it also hosts headquarters of the U.S. Naval Forces Central Command (NAVCENT). Both countries have long had de facto semi-secret relations with Israel on security issues and Israelis have been able to travel to them as long as they do not do so on an Israeli passport. And they both also know that the road to improving already good relations with Washington passes through Israel.

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The Syria Boondoggle: Who’s Ready to Die in Vain? by Danny Sjursen

It’s a senseless tragedy when a soldier dies in conflict that has no goal or end-state. Such is the fate of many of America’s forever war fighters. From Danny Sjursen at antiwar.com:

Mark my words: an American soldier will soon die for next to nothing in Syria. Here’s a mission that takes all the absurdity of America’s post-9/11 wars of choice to their logical conclusion. As such, this muddled and aimless operation must stand forever tall in the pantheon of U.S. foreign policy folly – right up there with the three Seminole Wars (1817-18, 1835-42, 1855-58, 1,608 dead troops); Nicaraguan “Banana Wars” (1910, 1912-25, 1927-33, 159 dead); the Russian Civil War’s “Siberia” intervention (1918-20, 424 dead); “Desert One” botched Iran hostage rescue (1980, 8 dead); Beirut “peacekeeping” (1982-84, 265 dead); the Grenada invasion (1983, 19 dead); and Somalia (1992-94, 43 dead). So, in Trump’s defense – and that of the Washington crowd that’s repeatedly pressured him to stay the Syria course – his latest folly is in good company.

Of course, US service-members have already died in Syria – about ten so far. Not that many Americans much noticed. When the last soldier died in a “very unfortunate mishap,” General Kenneth P. Ekman, deputy commander of Combined Joint Task Force Operation Inherent Resolve (the ongoing mission in Iraq and Syria) assured reporters that there were “no indications that any Russian activity existed in the area” or that the patrol was “anything other than a normal patrol.” Have no fear though, since Ekman added that the deceased was “important to the mission.”

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