What’s behind the widespread unrest in Iraq and Lebanon? From Reese Erlich at antiwar.com:
Once again, people in the Middle East want democratic reforms and an end to corruption and foreign domination.
Hundreds of thousands of Iraqis and Lebanese have been demonstrating in the streets against corruption and for democratic rights. The protesters come from all economic classes and religious/ethnic groups.
Like the Arab Spring uprisings that began in 2010, these protests are spontaneous and without traditional leaders. And they are sending corrupt political parties and foreign powers scrambling to manipulate the protests for their own nefarious ends.
The current protests raise many of the same issues as the Arab Spring, says David Dunford, a former US ambassador to several Middle East countries and author of From Sadat to Saddam: The Decline of American Diplomacy in the Middle East.
“People in both countries are sick and tired of sectarian jockeying and foreign influence,” he tells me in a phone interview.
In my opinion, the uprisings expose false logic of the vacuum theory, which posits that US military withdrawal automatically benefits the villain du jour, whether Russia, Iran, or China. Instead, the protests show that the people of the Middle East don’t want domination by Washington, D.C., or any outside power.
The US doesn’t have clean hands in Central America, and its interventions there have something to do with the flow of people trying to cross the southern border. From César Chelala at antiwar.com:
On March 11, 1999, President Bill Clinton took an unprecedented step. During a four-nation visit to Central America, he expressed regret for the role the United States had played in a brutal counter-terrorism campaign that had caused the deaths of thousands of civilians in Guatemala’s civil war.
President Clinton’s apology followed the publication of the findings of an Independent Historical Clarification commission, which concluded that U.S. government support to the Guatemalan military was responsible for most of the human rights abuses committed during the 36-year war in which 200,000 people died.
The human rights abuses were also detailed in The Guatemala Truth Commission report which was coordinated by Guatemalan Bishop Juan Gerardi, who was brutally murdered. According to the report, children were killed, abducted, forcibly recruited as soldiers and sexually abused. Fetuses were cut from their mothers’ wombs and young children were thrown alive into pits.
The direct and indirect costs of the war on terror have been staggering. From Jessica Corbett at commondreams.org:
“The numbers continue to accelerate, not only because many wars continue to be waged, but also because wars don’t end when soldiers come home.”
A U.S. Army soldier fires an M4 carbine rifle during partnered live fire range training at Tactical Base Gamberi, Afghanistan on May 29, 2015. (Photo: Capt. Charlie Emmons/U.S. Army/Flickr/cc)
The so-called War on Terror launched by the United States government in the wake of the Sept. 11, 2001 attacks has cost at least 801,000 lives and $6.4 trillion according to a pair of reports published Wednesday by the Costs of War Project at Brown University’s Watson Institute for International and Public Affairs.
“The numbers continue to accelerate, not only because many wars continue to be waged, but also because wars don’t end when soldiers come home,” said Costs of War co-director and Brown professor Catherine Lutz, who co-authored the project’s report on deaths.
“These reports provide a reminder that even if fewer soldiers are dying and the U.S. is spending a little less on the immediate costs of war today, the financial impact is still as bad as, or worse than, it was 10 years ago,” Lutz added. “We will still be paying the bill for these wars on terror into the 22nd century.”
Is there method to President Trump’s madness? That’s a question people have been asking for the last three years. Sylvain LaForest claims there is. From LaForest at orientalreview.org:
The timing is right for everyone to understand what Donald Trump is doing, and try to decrypt the ambiguity of how he is is doing it. The controversial President has a much clearer agenda than anyone can imagine on both foreign policy and internal affairs, but since he has to stay in power or even stay alive to achieve his objectives, his strategy is so refined and subtle that next to no one can see it. His overall objective is so ambitious that he has to follow random elliptic courses to get from point A to point B, using patterns that throw people off on their comprehension of the man. That includes most independent journalists and so-called alternative analysts, as much as Western mainstream fake-news publishers and a large majority of the population.
Posted in Foreign Policy, Geopolitics, Governments, History, Intelligence, Media, Military, Politics
Tagged Banks, Israel, Kim Jong Un, North Korea, President Trump, Russia, Syria, Venezuela, Vladimir Putin
Who makes the ultimate decisions on US foreign policy, the president or the bureaucrats? From Moon of Alabama at moonofalabama.com:
NBC News is not impressed by the first day of the Democrats’ impeachment circus. But it fails to note what the conflict is really about:
It was substantive, but it wasn’t dramatic.In the reserved manner of veteran diplomats with Harvard degrees, Bill Taylor and George Kent opened the public phase of the House impeachment inquiry into President Donald Trump on Wednesday by bearing witness to a scheme they described as not only wildly unorthodox but also in direct contravention of U.S. interests.
“It is clearly in our national interest to deter further Russian aggression,” Taylor, the acting U.S. ambassador to Ukraine and a decorated Vietnam War veteran, said in explaining why Trump’s decision to withhold congressionally appropriated aid to the most immediate target of Russian expansionism didn’t align with U.S. policy.
But at a time when Democrats are simultaneously eager to influence public opinion in favor of ousting the president and quietly apprehensive that their hearings could stall or backfire, the first round felt more like the dress rehearsal for a serious one-act play than the opening night of a hit Broadway musical.
“In direct contravention of U.S. interests” says the NBC and quotes a member of the permanent state who declares “it is clearly in our national interest” to give weapons to Ukraine.
But is that really in the national U.S. interest? Who defined it as such?
John Brennan, former head of the CIA, is the man behind Russiagate. As such, he deserves a suite in the gray-bar hotel, not a cushy sinecure on MSNBC. From Aaron Maté at realclearinvestigations.com:
In the waning days of the Obama administration, the U.S. intelligence community produced a report saying Russian President Vladimir Putin had tried to swing the 2016 election to Donald Trump.
The January 2017 report, called an Intelligence Community Assessment, followed months of leaks to the media that had falsely suggested illicit ties between the Trump campaign and the Kremlin while also revealing that such contacts were the subject of a federal investigation. Its release cast a pall of suspicion over Trump just days before he took office, setting the tone for the unfounded allegations of conspiracy and treason that have engulfed his first term.
What was Brennan’s motive? Among the possibilities is hostility within his camp toward Michael Flynn (foreground), Trump’s future reform-minded national security adviser.
Posted in Foreign Policy, Geopolitics, Government, History, Intelligence, Investigations, Media, Politics
Tagged CIA, John Brennan, President Trump, True Russiagate scandal
One huge benefit of Trump’s presidency is that it’s exposed the Deep State for everyone except those who refuse to look. From Ryan McMaken at mises.org:
One of the best side effects of the Trump presidency has been the hostility of the so-called “deep state” or “intelligence community” directed at the president.
This, in turn, has led many Americans to realize that America’s powerful, un-elected secret police agencies serve an agenda all their own, and that they choose sides in political controversies. Consequently, polls show one’s views of the CIA and the FBI depend largely on one’s ideological bent. Polls from Fox News and NBC news in recent years show that as various government bureaucracies have ratcheted up their hostility to Trump, more Democrats and Hillary Clinton voters have said they trust the CIA and the FBI.
Why the president and this deep state should be at odds has never been obvious to casual observers. Last month, however, in an article titled “Trump’s War on the ‘Deep State’ Turns Against Him,” the New York Times at last explained that there is indeed very real enmity between Trump and agencies such as the CIA and the FBI. The Times contends that Trump “went to war with the professional staff” of the intelligence agencies and the State Department.
Posted in Foreign Policy, Geopolitics, Government, Insurrection, Intelligence, Media, Military, Politics
Tagged CIA, Deep State, John Brennan, President Trump