Category Archives: Foreign Policy

Mike Pompeo’s Latest Rant Demonstrates That the CIA is Far More Unreasonable Than North Korea, by Adam Garrie

It’s hard to see how negotiations will ever be on the table for the US with any of its adversaries—Russia, North Korea, Iran—as long as Mike Pompeo has a place in the Trump administration. From Adam Garrie at lewrockwell.com:

The question as to whether the DPRK is willing to engage in broad dialogue with potential international partners, has been answered. Last week, the DPRK sent an open letter to multiple governments, including the US ally, Australia, in which Pyongyang asked to form a united front against Donald Trump’s aggressive stance towards Pyongyang. Australia, in taking an overly literal reading of North Korea’s letter, threw away a chance to reply to Pyongyang. Had Australia engaged with Pyongyang, this would have literally been the beginning of dialogue between North Korea and a stanch US ally in the Pacific. The short-sighted attitude of the Canberra, demonstrates that when North Korea does reach out to countries in an unexpected way, this attempt to establish lines of dialogue is essentially met with a cynical and obstinate attitude that doesn’t get anyone anywhere. Dialogue is never easy in such situations, but all countries owe it to the wider cause of world peace to try. Australia foolishly read North Korea’s letter as a kind of ‘geo-political prank’, where in fact it was a thorny olive branch.

While North Korea has recently stated that they will not negotiate its nuclear programme until Pyongyang possesses the ability to strike all of the US mainland with nuclear missiles, the reality behind such dramatic remarks is far more mundane.

All negotiations in difficult situations have a cat and mouse element to them, with the roles of feline and rodent, often swapping by the day, if not by the hour. North Korea’s actions are often far more reasonable than their words. The fact that the DPRK did reach out to a US ally, demonstrates that they are ready for dialogue now. The fault here, therefore lies with those who refused to respond.

Furthermore, with North Korea months away from reaching the final stage of its nuclear development, by Pyongyang’s own admission, the treat to refrain from dialogue until such a state is reached, is becoming increasingly moot in any case.

To continue reading: Mike Pompeo’s Latest Rant Demonstrates That the CIA is Far More Unreasonable Than North Korea

 

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Dying for the Empire Is Not Heroic, by Sheldon Richman

The usual tributes were paid to the four Green Berets who were killed in Niger, but nobody was asking what the US was doing in Niger. From Sheldon Richman at antiwar.com:

Predictably, the news media spent most of the week examining words Donald Trump may or may not have spoken to the widow of an American Green Beret killed in Niger, in northwest Africa, in early October. Not only was this coverage tedious, it was largely pointless. We know Trump is a clumsy boor, and we also know that lots of people are ready to pounce on him for any sort of gaffe, real or imagined. Who cares? It’s not news. But it was useful to those who wish to distract Americans from what really needs attention: the U.S. government’s perpetual war.

The media’s efforts should have been devoted to exploring – really exploring – why Green Berets (and drones) are in Niger at all. (This is typical of the establishment media’s explanation.)

That subject is apparently of little interest to media companies that see themselves merely as cheerleaders for the American Empire. For them, it’s all so simple: a US president (even one they despise) has put or left military forces in a foreign country – no justification required; therefore, those forces are serving their country; and that in turn means that if they die, they die as heroes who were protecting our way of life. End of story.

Thus the establishment media see no need to present a dissenting view, say, from an analyst who would question the dogma that inserting American warriors into faraway conflicts whenever a warlord proclaims his allegiance to ISIS is in the “national interest.” Patriotic media companies have no wish to expose their audiences to the idea that jihadists would be no threat to Americans who were left to mind their own business.

To continue reading: Dying for the Empire Is Not Heroic

The Phony Islamic State Gets Plastered, by Eric Margolis

For years the US used ISIS as a regime-change agent in Syria, all the while claiming they were tough, tenacious, and hard to beat. Then Russia came along, and with allies Syria, Iran, and Hezbollah, started pushing ISIS around. All of sudden, the US started having some success against ISIS, too. From Eric Margolis at lewrockwell.com:

The so-called Islamic State organization was primarily a bogeyman encouraged by the western powers.  I’ve been saying this for the last four years.

I asserted, as a former soldier and war correspondent, that IS would collapse like a wet paper bag if proper western ground forces attacked their strongholds in Syria and Iraq.  This week, the western powers and their local satraps finally took action and stormed the last IS stronghold at Raqqa.  To no surprise, IS put up almost no resistance and ran for its miserable life.

The much-dreaded IS was never more than a bunch of young hooligans and religious fanatics who were as militarily effective as the medieval Children’s Crusade.

In the west, IS was blown up by media and governments into a giant monster that was coming to cut the throats of honest folk in the suburbs.

IS did stage some very bloody and grisly attacks – that’s what put it on the map.   But none of them posed any mortal threat or really endangered our national security.   In fact, the primary target of IS attacks has been Shia Muslims in the Mideast.

Many of the IS attacks in North America and Europe were done by mentally deranged individuals or were initiated by under-cover government provocateurs, such as the 1993 bombing of New York’s World Trade Center.  IS was notorious for falsely taking credit for attacks it did not commit.

Other ‘lone wolf’ attacks were made by Mideasterners driven to revenge after watching the destruction by the US and its allies of substantial parts of their region.  Think Iraq, Syria, Yemen, Somalia, Libya, Afghanistan, parts of Pakistan, and the murderous brutality of Egypt’s-US backed regime.

IS appears to have been shaped by western intelligence in an effort to duplicate its success with the Afghan mujahidin in the mid 1980’s that helped defeat the Soviet Union.  CIA, Pakistani and Saudi intelligence, and Britain’s MI-6 recruited some 100,000 volunteers from across the Muslim world to wage jihad in Afghanistan.  I observed this brilliant success first hand from the ranks of the mujahidin.

To continue reading: The Phony Islamic State Gets Plastered

The First Amendment is Under Serious Assault in Order to Stifle Anti-Israel Boycotts, by Michael Krieger

Yet another area governments are sticking their noses into when they have no business doing so. In this instance their abridging First Amendment rights. From Michael Krieger at libertyblitzkrieg.com:

Assaults on freedom speech can be found in many aspects of American life these days, but one specific area that isn’t getting the attention it deserves relates to boycotts against Israel. Increasingly, we’re seeing various regional governments requiring citizens to agree to what essentially amounts to a loyalty pledge to a foreign government in order to participate in or receive government services.

I’m going to highlight two troubling examples of this, both covered by Israeli paper Haaretz. The first relates to Kansas.

From the article, In America, the Right to Boycott Israel Is Under Threat:

The First Amendment squarely protects the right to boycott. Lately, though, a legislative assault on that right has been spreading through the United States –  designed to stamp out constitutionally protected boycotts of Israel…

Over the past several years, state and federal legislatures have considered dozens of bills, and in some cases passed laws, in direct violation of this important ruling. These bills and laws vary in numerous respects, but they share a common goal of scaring people away people from participating in boycotts meant to protest Israeli government policies, including what are known as Boycott, Divestment, and Sanctions (BDS) campaigns.

Today, the ACLU filed a lawsuit challenging one of those laws — a Kansas statute requiring state contractors to sign a statement certifying that they do not boycott Israel, including boycotts of companies profiting off settlements in the occupied Palestinian territories.

We are representing a veteran math teacher and trainer from Kansas who was told she would need to sign the certification statement in order to participate in a state program training other math teachers. Our client is a member of the Mennonite Church USA. In response to calls for boycott by the church and members of her congregation, she has decided not to buy consumer goods and services offered by Israeli companies and international companies operating in Israeli settlements in the occupied Palestinian territories. Our client is boycotting to protest the Israeli government’s treatment of Palestinians and to pressure the government to change its policies.

To continue reading: The First Amendment is Under Serious Assault in Order to Stifle Anti-Israel Boycotts

Winning in Africa, by Brian Cloughley

How many Americans know that the US military has 46 bases in Africa? What are they doing there? From Brian Cloughley at strategic-culture.org:

On October 4 in Niger in central Africa four American special forces soldiers were killed in an ambush by “fifty fighters, thought to be associated with ISIS [Islamic State], a US official said.” In the course of the attack, one US soldier was left behind when the others withdrew, and was subsequently found dead. Nigerien soldiers were also killed, and it is interesting to examine how US media outlets recorded this aspect of what was obviously a disaster for US Africa Command, AFRICOM, the organisation headquartered, bizarrely, in Germany, that has 46 military bases (that we know of) in that continent. (Niger, incidentally, is twice the size of Texas.)

ABC News reported that “a soldier from Niger also died from the attack” while CBS thought that “four Nigerien soldiers died,” and Stars and Stripes went with “several.” CNN’s tally was five but the New York Times didn’t mention Nigerien soldiers at all. Fox News, surprisingly, said that four were killed, as did the Washington Post and the Los Angeles Times, which even expanded to record that there had been eight Nigerien soldiers wounded.

It isn’t to be expected that the US media would ever concern themselves with deep research into how many foreign soldiers are killed in any of the countries in which the US is involved in armed conflict, but the sloppy reporting is a good indicator of the shrug factor.

And the western media continues to shrug about the deep involvement of the US military and the CIA in countries throughout Africa.

President Donald Trump claims he would win an IQ contest against his Secretary of State, Rex Tillerson (how bizarre and nationally demeaning that a President of the United States of America can stoop to such childish yah boo behaviour), but it’s a fair bet he would not be able to identify on a blank map of Africa the countries in which his armed forces are at present engaged in various degrees of conflict. As recorded by Alexis Okeowo in the New Yorker, “Publicly, Africa may not be on the radar of the Trump Administration, but it is a priority for the US military. At the moment, seventeen hundred members of the Special Forces and other military personnel are undertaking ninety-six missions in twenty-one countries, and the details of most are unknown to Americans.”

To continue reading: Winning in Africa

Emails Reveal Bill Clinton Met With Vladimir Putin Just Before Uranium One Deal, by Tyler Durden

The Uranium One scandal is not going away. First, it’s simple. Nefarious Russians who were under investigation by the FBI gave the Clinton Foundation and Bill Clinton a lot of money while Hillary Clinton, as Secretary of State, was on a committee that okayed the sale of 20 percent of US uranium capacity to a Russian firm. Second, the Democrats and the press have been demonizing Russia for so long that they can’t turn around and say, “But the Russians are okay when Hillary and Bill take a lot of money from them.” Third, the Clintons have had an incredible run, since the 1990s, of scandals they’ve managed to sweep under the rug. Everybody’s luck runs out sooner or later, and the Clintons have been living on borrowed time. From Tyler Durden at zerohedge.com:

If President Trump or anyone even remotely close to his presidency, including his best friend from 2nd grade that he hadn’t seen in 40 years, sought to meet with key Russian nuclear officials, in Moscow, just months before the federal government approved a very controversial deal handing Vladimir Putin 20% of U.S. uranium reserves, despite an ongoing investigation into Russian fraud, bribery, extortion and money laundering, it would be the only story played on a 24 x 7 loop on CNN and MSNBC.

Ironically, that is exactly what new emails dug up by The Hill show that Bill Clinton did in June 2010, just months before the Uranium One deal was approved by a committee on which his wife, then Secretary of State Hillary Clinton, sat.  Oh, and did we mention that Bill’s Clinton Foundation just happened to collect millions of dollars in bribes donations from Russian sources and Uranium One shareholders shortly after his Moscow meetings?

As you will recall, the Committee on Foreign Investment in the United States (CFIUS), approved the Uranium One transaction in October 2010.  According to new emails revealed by The Hill, just months before that approval, Bill Clinton sought permission from the State Department, run by his wife at the time, to meet Arkady Dvorkovich, a top aide to then-Russian President Dmitri Medvedev and one of the highest-ranking government officials to serve on Rosatom’s board of supervisors, the company which was ultimately approved to purchase Uranium One.

As he prepared to collect a $500,000 payday in Moscow in 2010, Bill Clinton sought clearance from the State Department to meet with a key board director of the Russian nuclear energy firm Rosatom — which at the time needed the Obama administration’s approval for a controversial uranium deal, government records show.

Arkady Dvorkovich, a top aide to then-Russian President Dmitri Medvedev and one of the highest-ranking government officials to serve on Rosatom’s board of supervisors, was listed on a May 14, 2010, email as one of 15 Russians the former president wanted to meet during a late June 2010 trip, the documents show.

“In the context of a possible trip to Russia at the end of June, WJC is being asked to see the business/government folks below. Would State have concerns about WJC seeing any of these folks,” Clinton Foundation foreign policy adviser Amitabh Desai wrote the State Department on May 14, 2010, using the former president’s initials and forwarding the list of names to former Secretary of State Hillary Clinton’s team.

To continue reading: Emails Reveal Bill Clinton Met With Vladimir Putin Just Before Uranium One Deal

McCain As Metaphor, by Justin Raimondo

Insanity may not be repeating the same thing and expecting a different result, but it’s certainly idiocy, an idiocy of which John McCain is the living embodiment. From Justin Raimondo at antiwar.com:

Some people are living symbols, sheer embodiments of a concept that fits their persona as snugly as their skin: e.g. the Dalai Lama personifies Contemplative Piety, Harvey Weinstein is the incarnation of Brazen Vulgarity, and John McCain’s very person exudes the sweaty blustery spirit of Empire. His entire history – born in the Panama Canal zone, son of an admiral, third-generation centurion, the War Party’s senatorial spokesman – made it nearly impossible for him to be other than what he is: the country’s most outspoken warmonger and dedicated internationalist.

As George Orwell remarked, “After forty, everyone has the face they deserve,” and in McCain’s case this is doubly true. That Roman head, fit for a coin of high denomination, looks as if it might sprout a crown of laurel leaves at any moment:  Grizzled brow, wrinkled with the tension of an inborn belligerence, eyes alight with a perpetual flame of self-righteous anger, McCain is Teddy Roosevelt impersonating Cato the Elder. In the extreme predictability of his warlike effusions, he’s become a bit of a cartoon character. Who can forget his enthusiastic rendition of “Bomb bomb bomb Iran!” to the tune of “Barbara Ann”?

The Senator from Arizona represents something relatively new on the American scene: the emerging class of colonial administrators, Pentagon contractors, and high-ranking military personnel, and their families, many of them stationed overseas. These people have a material interest in the expansion of our role as global cop, they number in the tens of thousands, and they are strategically placed in the social order, with enough social power to constitute an influential lobby.

To continue reading: McCain As Metaphor