Category Archives: Foreign Policy

America Has Become a Total Joke, by Michael Krieger

The below picture of Trump with his hands on the orb of oleaginous homage honoring ostentatous oil oligarchs is worth a million words and a billion laughs. From Michael Krieger at libertyblitzkrieg.com:

I’ve stopped calling what our government has done a cover-up. Cover-up suggests a passive activity. What they’re doing now I call aggressive deception.

– Former Senator Bob Graham, co-chair of Congress’s 9/11 Joint Inquiry

This country is becoming a total joke and it’s not merely because of Donald Trump. While he’s certainly becoming a key player in our national embarrassment, this country’s decent into a reckless Banana Republic has been a long time coming.

Let’s take stock of where things stand in mid-2017. Our opposition Democratic Party (Hillary in a leather jacket yelling about Russia) is a joke. Our corporate media is a joke. Our foreign policy is a joke. Our economy is a joke. Our justice system is a joke. It’s all a joke, and it might even be somewhat humorous if it wasn’t so incredibly dangerous.

Today’s post will focus on Trump’s recent visit to Saudi Arabia, a revolting spectacle which I could barely bring myself to follow. It all started Saturday morning as I tried to enjoy a beautiful day with my growing family and parents who were in town for a visit. My day was more or less ruined upon witnessing the appalling scene of Trump and his top advisors dancing with the rulers of the terrorist sponsoring state of Saudi Arabia while clutching swords. I’m sorry for doing this to you, but in case you missed it.

Then there was the speech. It was an inspiring display of soaring oratory if empty platitudes and belligerent neocon foreign policy is your thing. On various occasions Mr. Trump alluded to the fact that the U.S.-Saudi alliance was a “partnership based on shared interests and values.” Which got me thinking…which of the following was he referring to exactly.

 

Or perhaps it’s just a partnership based on oil and imperial ambitions. Nah, don’t be a conspiracy theorist.

To continue reading: America Has Become a Total Joke

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Donald of Arabia: A Disgusting Spectacle, by Justin Raimondo

It‘s hard to argue with Justin Raimondo on this one. From Raimondo at antiwar.com:

This is the worst yet

Has there been a more disgusting spectacle during the four months of this presidency than the sight of Donald Trump slobbering all over the barbarous Saudi monarch and his murderous family of petty princelings? It’s enough to make any normal American retch, especially when one remembers what Trump said about them during the election:

“Saudi Arabia and many of the countries that gave vast amounts of money to the Clinton Foundation want women as slaves and to kill gays. Hillary must return all money from such countries!”

And then there was this tweet:

“Tell Saudi Arabia and others that we want (demand!) free oil for the next ten years or we will not protect their private Boeing 747s. Pay up!”

Now Trump’s son in law, Jared Kushner, is calling up Lockheed-Martin to get a discount for the Saudis, personally brokering the biggest arms deal in US history. What a difference a presidency makes!

The old Trump told us that the Saudis were “mouth pieces, bullies, cowards,” who were “paying ISIS,” but now they’re our partners in the “war on terrorism.” Why it seems like only yesterday that he was calling out Saudi princes like Alwaleed bin Talal for thinking they can “control our US politicians” – today he’s kowtowing to them.

Most tellingly, it was Trump who made a campaign issue out of the missing 28 pages redacted from the Joint congressional report on the 9/11 terrorist attacks. In calling for their release, he painted a scenario in which the Saudi royals assisted the hijackers and said:

“You know, it’s sort of nice to know who your friends are, and perhaps who your enemies are.”

Does Trump know who are our friends and who are our enemies?

While the US government, under both Trump and Obama, has routinely maintained that Iran is the biggest exporter of terrorism, that is utter nonsense: the Saudis easily outdo the mullahs of Tehran. Riyadh funds radical madrassas throughout the world that preach pure hatred of the West: they are incubators of terrorism, and have been wreaking havoc from one end of the globe to the other for decades. The terrorist groups that have destroyed Syria are the progeny of the Saudis, and their allies among the Gulf states.

To continue reading: Donald of Arabia: A Disgusting Spectacle

Media to Trump: Don’t Cozy Up to Dictators–Unless They’re the Right Dictators, by Adam Johnson

The US has a long and inglorious history of supporting dictators that toe the US line and opposing those who don’t. President Trump continues the tradition. From Adam Johnson at fair.org:

After a series of friendly gestures by President Donald Trump toward Filipino President Rodrigo Duterte and Egypt’s Abdel Fattah el-Sisi over the past few months, US media have recoiled with disgust at the open embrace of governments that ostensibly had heretofore been beyond the pale.

“Enabling Egypt’s President Sisi, an Enemy of Human Rights,” was the New York Times‘ editorial position (4/4/17)—followed by “Donald Trump Embraces Another Despot” (5/1/17). A week later, Sen. John McCain (R.-Ariz.) lectured Secretary of State Rex Tillerson on the Times op-ed page (5/8/17) on “Why We Must Support Human Rights.”

“How Trump Makes Dictators Stronger” was Washington Post columnist Anne Applebaum’s lament (5/1/17).

“Trump keeps praising international strongmen, alarming human rights advocates,” reported an upset Philip Rucker (Washington Post, 5/2/17). Post contributor Tom Toles (5/2/17) added, “Trump invites ruthless dictators to the White House.” Trump had gone too far, was the media message, crossing a line with his enthusiastic outreach to brutal tyrants.

So the Trump administration’s announcement of a plan for not just a friendly visit to Saudi Arabia—scheduled for May 20–21—but also the sale of up to $300 billion in weapons to the oppressive regime, must have provoked the same outcry from these critics, right?

Actually, no. Thus far, the LA Times, CNN, NBC, MSNBC, CNN, ABC and CBShaven’t reported on Trump’s massive arms deal with Saudi Arabia, much less had a pundit or editorial board condemn it.

Saudi Arabia’s war on Yemen has killed at least 10,000 civilians, resulted in near-famine conditions for 7 million people and led to a deadly cholera epidemic—all made possible with US weapons and logistical support.

John McCain, whose New York Times op-ed was unironically shared by dozens of high-status pundits, aggressively backs Saudi Arabia’s brutal bombing of Yemen, and has called for increased military support to the absolute monarchy.

To continue reading: Media to Trump: Don’t Cozy Up to Dictators–Unless They’re the Right Dictators

He Said That? 5/21/17

From Otto von Bismarck, (1815-1898), Prussian statesman:

The secret of politics? Make a good treaty with Russia.

Sounds like good advice today.

Why is Trump rewarding Saudi war crimes with more weapons? by Kristine Beckerle

The US is helping Saudi Arabia fight a war against its much neighbor, Yemen, that may amount to genocide. From Kristine Beckerle at thehill.com:

Why is Trump rewarding Saudi war crimes with more weapons?
© Getty Images

Last October, the Saudi Arabia-led coalition bombed a funeral hall in Yemen’s capital, Sanaa, killing and wounding hundreds of people.

“The scene was catastrophic,” one survivor told me.  “Beyond what I can explain to you or describe … There were burned bodies and dead bodies all over the hall.”

Soon after that unlawful bombing, the Obama administration suspended the sale of nearly $400 million in weapons to Saudi Arabia.

It was a recognition, a long time in coming, that the coalition’s military campaign in Yemen had devastated the country, killed thousands of civilians and brought it to the brink of famine.

After the funeral bombing, unlawful airstrikes continued, but the decision to suspend arms sales sent an important message to the Saudis. President Trump, in his first trip abroad as president, is going to send an alternative, deeply troublesome message.

While in Riyadh this weekend, Trumpreportedly plans to announce more than $100 billion in arms deals to Saudi Arabia — nearly as much as President Obama authorized during his eight years in office.

The deals include Raytheon bombs, Lockheed Martin missile defense systems and BAE combat vehicles, and some of the weapons whose sales had been suspended.

The scars of unlawful airstrikes can be found across Yemen, where the Saudi-led coalition has carried out scores of attacks that hit homes, schools, markets, and hospitals since March 2015, when it began its military campaign against the Houthi armed group and forces loyal to the former longtime president Ali Abdullah Saleh. 

Human Rights Watch has documented 81 apparently unlawful coalition attacks over the last two years, many possible war crimes. In almost two dozen of these cases, including the attack on the funeral hall, we were able to identify the US weapons that were used.

To continue reading: Why is Trump rewarding Saudi war crimes with more weapons?

The Real Danger From Trump Is Ignored, by Sheldon Richman

Trump’s evolving polices in the Middle East pose more danger than anything he might have done with the Russians. From Sheldon Richman at antiwar.com:

While the chattering classes spend all their time rehashing Donald Trump’s alleged – there’s a word you don’t much see in the media anymore – coordination with Russians over their alleged – there it is again – hacking of the Democrats’ email, a story with far more ominous implications is being ignored. I refer to Trump’s trip, beginning today, to Saudi Arabia and Israel.

Whatever Trump might have done with the Russians, if he did anything at all, it has none of the potential for death and destruction that his meddling in the Middle East has. He is doing far more than doubling down on what his predecessor, Barack Obama, did. For a guy who promised to concentrate on domestic matters, he’s sure engaging in a lot of empire preservation. But, then, some of us are not surprised. His words were never to be trusted.

The two most destabilizing countries in the Middle East are Saudi Arabia and Israel. Both want to reduce Iran to insignificance, and that starts with getting rid of Iran’s ally, Syrian ruler Bashar al-Assad. Trump says he wants to concentrate on ISIS and not Assad, but his actions belie his words. Witness his launch of 59 Tomahawk missiles at a Syrian airbase after unproved and seriously challenged assertions that Assad used chemical weapons against Syrians. U.S. forces have also hit pro-Assad forces twice in recent months, including on Thursday.

The “radical Islamic” Saudi antipathy to Assad and its sympathy for the various stripes of bin Ladenites are well-known. So is that fact that Israeli leaders have more than once said they prefer militant Sunni Muslims (like al-Qaeda) to Shiites, that is, Iran. For nearly three years the Saudis have been committing genocide against the people of Yemen – indispensably facilitated by the US government – in the name of fighting al-Qaeda’s adversary, the Houthis, who practice a form of Shia Islam but who are not Iranian proxies. Obama signed on to the Saudis’ war to ease their discomfort over the Iran nuclear deal.

All this is apparently fine with Trump. After all, he demonizes Iran every chance he gets. He would agree with Barack Obama, who told an interviewer some years ago that removing Assad would have the benefit of harming Iran. Hillary Clinton agreed.

To continue reading: The Real Danger From Trump Is Ignored

 

He Said That? 5/19/17

President John F. Kennedy’s “Peace Speech,” at American University, June 10, 1963, mentioned in “The Russian Obsession Goes Back Decades“: