Category Archives: Foreign Policy

US Duplicity over Golan Demolishes Posturing on Crimea, by Finian Cunningham

Hypocrisy, the name is US foreign policy. From Finian Cunningham at strategic-culture.org:

US Duplicity over Golan Demolishes Posturing on Crimea

In a controversial snub to international law, the United States signaled last week that it is moving to officially recognize the Golan Heights as part of Israeli territory. If the US does so, then it forfeits any moral authority to sanction Russia over allegations of “annexing Crimea”.

In its annual US State Department report, the section dealing with the Golan Heights reportedly refers to the contested area as “Israeli-controlled”, not “Israeli-occupied”. The change in wording deviates from United Nations resolutions and international norm which use the term “Israeli-occupied” to designate the land Israel annexed from Syria following the 1967 Six Day War.

Israel has occupied the western part of the Golan since 1967 as a spoil from that war. In 1981, Tel Aviv formally annexed the Syrian territory. However, the UN Security Council in 1981, including the US, unanimously condemned the annexation as illegal. The resolution mandates Israel to return the land to Syria which has historical claim to the entire Golan. The area of 1,800 square kilometers is a strategic elevation overlooking the northern Jordan Valley.

If Washington confirms its recent indications of recognizing the Golan as officially part of Israel, the development would mark an egregious flouting of international law.

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America’s Venezuela Strategy: Coup By Sheer Narrative Control, by Caitlin Johnstone

Can the US government change a government by making up a story? We’ll find out in Venezuela. From Caitlin Johnstone at caitlinjohnstone.com:

The Trump administration is working to overthrow the government of Venezuela. They are not at this time doing this by military invasion, nor by funneling thousands of armed militants into the country, nor even solely with starvation sanctions and CIA ops. The first and foremost means of overthrowing Venezuela’s government currently being utilized by the United States government is the low-risk, low-cost plan to simply control the stories that everyone tells themselves about who is in charge in Venezuela.

Adept manipulators understand that humans are storytelling animals. The only thing keeping the powerful powerful, keeping money operating the way it operates, and keeping government running the way it runs is the stories we all agree to tell each other about those things. If everyone collectively decided today that poker chips are the new currency and Kim Kardashian is the Supreme Ruler of the Entire World, those stories would be the new reality, and tomorrow we’d all be doing whatever Empress Kim commands and Las Vegas would be the new Wall Street.

The Trump administration is exploiting this exact principle in Venezuela by singling out some guy named Juan and calling him Mister President, despite the fact that he’s never received a single vote for that office and holds no actual power. If they can persuade enough Venezuelans (particularly the ones with the big guns) and the rest of the world’s governments to do the same, then Guaido will indeed become the functional president of the country.

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We Are Going To Lose The Coming War With China, by Kurt Schlichter

The US has been unable to subdue the junior varsity: Afghanistan, Iraq, Syria, Yemen, Somalia, and Libya. It’s a pipe dream to think it can defeat Russia or China, especially on their home territory. From Kurt Schlichter at theburningplatform.com:

We Are Going To Lose The Coming War With China

Nations famously tend to always try to fight the last war, and what America is preparing to do today with the newly assertive China is no exception. The problem is our last war was against primitive religious fanatics in the Middle East and China is an emerging superpower with approaching-peer level conventional capabilities and an actual strategy for contesting the United States in all the potential battlespaces – land, sea, air, space and cyber. America is simply not ready for the Pacific war to come. We’re likely to lose.

In Desert Storm, Saddam Hussein was dumb enough to choose to face a U.S. military that was ready to fight its last war. That last war was the Cold War, where the Americans were prepared to fight a Soviet-equipped conscript army using Soviet tactics. And Saddam, genius that he was, decided to face America and its allies with a Soviet-equipped conscript army using Soviet tactics, except fractionally as effective as the Russians. It went poorly. I know – I was there at the VII Corps main command post as his entire army was annihilated in 100 hours.

Chances are that the Chinese will not choose to fight our strengths. In fact, those chances total approximately 100%.

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Real Reason Trump Wants to Ban Huawei: US Wants to Spy and China Won’t Cooperate, by Mike “Mish” Shedlock

Huawei’s technology is for the most part better than its American counterparts, and unlike its counterparts, it won’t let the US government use its technology to spy. From Mike “Mish” Shedlock at moneymaven.io:

The UK, Germany, India, and the United Arab Emirates are among the countries resisting US pressure to Ban Huawei.

The New York Times reports U.S. Campaign to Ban Huawei Overseas Stumbles as Allies Resist.

Over the past several months, American officials have tried to pressure, scold and, increasingly, threaten other nations that are considering using Huawei in building fifth-generation, or 5G, wireless networks. Mike Pompeo, the secretary of state, has pledged to withhold intelligence from nations that continue to use Chinese telecom equipment. The American ambassador to Germany cautioned Berlin this month that the United States would curtail intelligence sharing if that country used Huawei.

But the campaign has run aground. Britain, Germany, India and the United Arab Emirates are among the countries signaling they are unlikely to back the American effort to entirely ban Huawei from building their 5G networks. While some countries like Britain share the United States’ concerns, they argue that the security risks can be managed by closely scrutinizing the company and its software.

The United States is not ready to admit defeat, but its campaign has suffered from what foreign officials say is a scolding approach and a lack of concrete evidence that Huawei poses a real risk. It has also been hampered by a perception among European and Asian officials that President Trump may not be fully committed to the fight.

Mr. Trump has repeatedly undercut his own Justice Department, which unveiled sweeping criminal indictments against Huawei and its chief financial officer with accusations of fraud, sanctions evasion and obstruction of justice. Mr. Trump has suggested that the charges could be dropped as part of a trade deal with China. The president previously eased penalties on another Chinese telecom firm accused of violating American sanctions, ZTE, after a personal appeal by President Xi Jinping of China.

One senior European telecommunications executive said that no American officials had presented “actual facts” about China’s abuse of Huawei networks.

The UK, Germany, India, and the United Arab Emirates are among the countries resisting US pressure to Ban Huawei.

The New York Times reports U.S. Campaign to Ban Huawei Overseas Stumbles as Allies Resist.

Over the past several months, American officials have tried to pressure, scold and, increasingly, threaten other nations that are considering using Huawei in building fifth-generation, or 5G, wireless networks. Mike Pompeo, the secretary of state, has pledged to withhold intelligence from nations that continue to use Chinese telecom equipment. The American ambassador to Germany cautioned Berlin this month that the United States would curtail intelligence sharing if that country used Huawei.

But the campaign has run aground. Britain, Germany, India and the United Arab Emirates are among the countries signaling they are unlikely to back the American effort to entirely ban Huawei from building their 5G networks. While some countries like Britain share the United States’ concerns, they argue that the security risks can be managed by closely scrutinizing the company and its software.

The United States is not ready to admit defeat, but its campaign has suffered from what foreign officials say is a scolding approach and a lack of concrete evidence that Huawei poses a real risk. It has also been hampered by a perception among European and Asian officials that President Trump may not be fully committed to the fight.

Mr. Trump has repeatedly undercut his own Justice Department, which unveiled sweeping criminal indictments against Huawei and its chief financial officer with accusations of fraud, sanctions evasion and obstruction of justice. Mr. Trump has suggested that the charges could be dropped as part of a trade deal with China. The president previously eased penalties on another Chinese telecom firm accused of violating American sanctions, ZTE, after a personal appeal by President Xi Jinping of China.

One senior European telecommunications executive said that no American officials had presented “actual facts” about China’s abuse of Huawei networks.

Empire of Absurdity: Recycled Neocons, Recycled Enemies, by Danny Sjursen

The American empire is crumbling, as have the empires before it. From Danny Sjursen at antiwar.com:

There are times when I wish that the United States would just drop the charade and declare itself a global empire. As a veteran of two imperial wars, a witness to the dark underside of America’s empire-denial, I’ve grown tired of the equivocation and denials from senior policymakers. The U.S. can’t be an empire, we’re told, because – unlike the Brits and Romans – America doesn’t annex territories outright, and our school children don’t color its colonies in red-white-and-blue on cute educational maps.

But this distinction, at root, is rather superficial. Conquest, colonization, and annexation are so 19th century – Washington has moved beyond the overt and engages in the (not-so) subtle modern form of imperialism. America’s empire over the last two decades – under Democrats and Republicans – has used a range of tools: economic, military, political, to topple regimes, instigate coups, and starve “enemy” civilians. Heck, it didn’t even start with 9/11 – bullying foreigners and overturning uncooperative regimes is as American as apple pie.

Still, observing post-9/11, post-Iraq/Afghanistan defeat, Washington play imperialism these days is tragicomically absurd. The emperor has no clothes, folks. Sure, America (for a few more fleeting years) boasts the world’s dominant economy, sure its dotted the globe with a few hundred military bases, and sure it’s military still outspends the next seven competitors combined. Nonetheless, what’s remarkable, what constitutes the real story of 2019, is this: the US empire can’t seem to accomplish anything anymore, can’t seem to bend anybody to its will. It’s almost sad to watch. America, the big-hulking has-been on the block, still struts its stuff, but most of the world simply ignores it.

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Moving Forward, Iran Outflanks the U.S. in Iraq and Beyond, by Tom Luongo

Sanctioning Iran is not going as envisioned and hoped for by the Trump administration. From Tom Luongo at tomluongo.me:

Iran has successfully navigated the first phase of its resistance to U.S. sanctions pressure. The U.S. State Department has admitted it’s goal of reducing Iran’s oil exports to zero is not feasible.

The goal now is a 25% drop to 800,000 barrel per day. And that is no joke. It’s a big drop from where Iran was looking to produce in the coming years under the auspice of the JCPOA.

The U.S. will not stop until all avenues have been exhausted or Trump fires his current cabinet.

Iran’s total non-oil exports have suffered as well, since gas condensate exports have also dropped along with the crude oil numbers.

But Iran is finding friends in other places. They are currently finalizing a free trade agreement with the Eurasian Economic Union (EAEU) with Belarus leading the talks at the 15th meeting between their Joint Economic Committee.

Iran’s non-oil exports, however, are still just one-fifth of their peak exports. Like Russia it is working quickly with regional partners to change that dynamic.

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Time Runs Out on U.S. Opposition to Nordstream 2, by Tom Luongo

The battle over Nordstream 2 is yet another indication that the US empire is splintering. From Tom Luongo at tomluongo.me:

The Nordstream 2 pipeline represents the last stand of U.S. influence over the internal affairs of Europe.

Once finished it will stand as a testament to the fundamental split between the European Union and the United States.

Europe will this as its first successful defense of its newly-declared independence. And the U.S. will have to come to terms with no longer having control overseas.

This is a theme repeating itself all around the world right now.

Your view of Nordstream 2 depends on who you are.

If you are the U.S. it is a massive rebuke of the post-WWII institutional order mostly paid for by the U.S. to rebuild Europe and protecting it from the scourge of the U.S.S.R.

From Europe’s perspective it’s, “Job well done and all that but Russia isn’t a threat anymore and it is time for us to come out from underneath the U.S.’s shadow.”

And if you are Russia Nordtream 2 is the wedge driving these two adversaries apart while improving national security on your western border.

Europe has imperial ambitions of its own and Nordstream 2 is a very important part of that. Those ambitions, however, are not in line with those in the U.S., particularly under the “leadership” of Donald Trump.

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