Category Archives: Geopolitics

A Budget without Russians: The Empire’s Nightmare, by Fred Reed

Fred Reed laments the absurdity of the present hysteria about Russia. From Reed on a guest post at theburningplatform.com:

Methinks the insane hysteria over Russia needs to stop. It probably will not. For reasons of domestic and imperial politics the American public is again being manipulated into a war frenzy by Washington and New York. It is stupid, without justification, and dangerous.

The silliness over Russia is, obviously, part of the Establishment’s drive to get rid of Trump. Yes, the man is erratic, contradictory, shoots before he aims, backs off much of what he has promised, and may be unqualified as President–but that is not why Washington and New York want to get rid of him. It is about money and power, as is everything in the United States. Wall Street, the Pentagon, the Neocons, and the Empire run America. Trump has threatened their rice bowls.

Consider:

He has threatened to cut the F-35, a huge blow to Lockheed-Martin and hundreds of subcontractors; to pull US troops out of South Korea, a blow to the Empire; to end the wars, a blow both to the Empire and the military industry getting rich from them; to pull troops out of Okinawa, crippling the Empire in the Pacific; to start a trade war with China with a forty-five percent tariff of Chinese goods, threatening American corporations with factories there; and to chase out illegal immigrants, an important source of cheap labor to businesses. He has called NATO “obsolete,” when leaving it would be the death knell of the Empire; and threatened to establish good relations with Russia, when the lack of a European enemy would leave NATO even more obviously unnecessary.

Thus New York and its branch operation in Washington resuscitate Russia as a bugbear to terrify the rubes,meaning most of the public. Money. Power. Empire.

To continue reading: A Budget without Russians: The Empire’s Nightmare

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Donald Trump, Saudi Arabia, and the Petrodollar, by Nick Giambruno

The petrodollar has been the anchor of the world’s dollar-reserve currency system since Nixon abandoned the last vestige of the gold standard in 1971. It has also been a huge boon for the US, and abandonment of it will make it much harder for Americans to live beyond their means. From Nick Giambruno at internationalman.com:

Obama pulled out his veto pen 12 times during his presidency.

Congress only overrode him once…

In late 2016, Obama vetoed the Justice Against Sponsors of Terrorism Act (JASTA). The bill would allow 9/11 victims to sue Saudi Arabia in US courts.

With only months left in office, Obama wasn’t worried about the political price of opposing the bill. It was worth protecting Saudi Arabia and the petrodollar system, which underpins the US dollar’s role as the world’s premier currency.

Congress didn’t see it that way though. Those up for reelection couldn’t afford to side with Saudi Arabia over US victims. So Congress voted to override Obama’s veto, and JASTA became the law of the land.

The Saudis, quite correctly, see this as a huge threat. If they can be sued in US courts, their vast holdings of US assets are at risk of being frozen or seized.

The Saudi foreign minister promptly threatened to sell all of the country’s US assets.

Basically, Saudi Arabia was threatening to rip up the petrodollar arrangement, which underpins the US dollar’s role as the world’s premier currency.

Donald Trump and the Saudis

Unlike every president since the petrodollar’s birth, Donald Trump is openly hostile to Saudi Arabia.

Recently he put this out on Twitter:

Dopey Prince @Alwaleed_Talal wants to control our U.S. politicians with daddy’s money. Can’t do it when I get elected.

The dopey prince that Trump is referring to is Al-Waleed bin Talal, a prominent member of the Saudi royal family. He’s also one of the largest foreign investors in the US economy, particularly in media and financial companies.

The Saudis openly backed Hillary during the election. In fact, they “donated” an estimated $10 million–$25 million to the Clinton Foundation, making them the most generous foreign donors.

To continue reading: Donald Trump, Saudi Arabia, and the Petrodollar

 

How We Got Here The Misuse of American Military Power and The Middle East in Chaos, By Danny Sjursen

A devastating critique of the repeated failures of US foreign and military policy in the Middle East, from Army Major Danny Sjursen at tomdispatch.com:

The United States has already lost — its war for the Middle East, that is. Having taken my own crack at combat soldiering in both Iraq and Afghanistan, that couldn’t be clearer to me. Unfortunately, it’s evidently still not clear in Washington. Bush’s neo-imperial triumphalism failed. Obama’s quiet shift to drones, Special Forces, and clandestine executive actions didn’t turn the tide either. For all President Trump’s bluster, boasting, and threats, rest assured that, at best, he’ll barely move the needle and, at worst… but why even go there?

At this point, it’s at least reasonable to look back and ask yet again: Why the failure? Explanations abound, of course. Perhaps Americans were simply never tough enough and still need to take off the kid gloves. Maybe there just weren’t ever enough troops. (Bring back the draft!) Maybe all those hundreds of thousands of bombs and missiles just came up short. (So how about lots more of them, maybe even a nuke?)

Lead from the front. Lead from behind. Surge yet again… The list goes on — and on and on.

And by now all of it, including Donald Trump’s recent tough talk, represents such a familiar set of tunes. But what if the problem is far deeper and more fundamental than any of that?

Here our nation stands, 15-plus years after 9/11, engaged militarily in half a dozen countries across the Greater Middle East, with no end in sight. Perhaps a more critical, factual reading of our recent past would illuminate the futility of America’s tragic, ongoing project to somehow “destroy” terrorism in the Muslim world.

To continue reading: How We Got Here The Misuse of American Military Power and The Middle East in Chaos

Democratic Ex-Dove Proposes War on Iran, by Nicolas J.S. Davies

A Democratic, liberal fixture wants to hand Donald Trump an open invitation to wage war on Iran. It is never a good idea for Congress to unilateral relinquish its powers to declare war, regardless of the Congress, the war, or the president. From Nicolas J.S. Davies at antiwar.com:

Rep. Alcee Hastings has sponsored a bill to authorize President Trump to attack Iran. Hastings reintroduced H J Res 10, the “Authorization of Use of Force Against Iran Resolution” on Jan. 3, the first day of the new Congress after President Trump’s election.

Hastings’s bill has come as a shock to constituents and people who have followed his career as a 13-term Democratic Member of Congress from South Florida. Miami Beach resident Michael Gruener called Hastings’s bill, “extraordinarily dangerous,” and asked, “Does Hastings even consider to whom he is giving this authorization?”

Fritzie Gaccione, the editor of the South Florida Progressive Bulletin noted that Iran is complying with the 2015 JCPOA (Joint Comprehensive Plan of Action) and expressed amazement that Hastings has reintroduced this bill at a moment when the stakes are so high and Trump’s intentions so unclear.

“How can Hastings hand this opportunity to Trump?” she asked. “Trump shouldn’t be trusted with toy soldiers, let alone the American military.”

Speculation by people in South Florida as to why Alcee Hastings has sponsored such a dangerous bill reflect two general themes. One is that he is paying undue attention to the pro-Israel groups who raised 10 percent of his coded campaign contributions for the 2016 election. The other is that, at the age of 80, he seems to be carrying water for the pay-to-play Clinton wing of the Democratic Party as part of some kind of retirement plan.

To continue reading: Democratic Ex-Dove Proposes War on Iran

 

The Sooner We are Rid of Him, the Better, by the Bionic Mosquito

The Bionic Mosquito saves SLL the trouble of writing a scathing piece on one of the planet’s more execrable human beings: John McCain. From the Bionic Mosquito at lewrockwell.com:

 My own view is that this planet is used as a penal colony, lunatic asylum and dumping ground by a superior civilisation, to get rid of the undesirable and unfit. I can’t prove it, but you can’t disprove it either.

– Christopher Hitchens*

I will suggest this is certainly true for much of official Washington. I can prove it.

John McCain gave a speech at the Munich Security Conference (I can rest my case now, I think). What is the Munich Security Conference?

The Munich Security Conference is an annual conference on international security policy and has been taking place since 1963. …Each year it brings together about 350 senior figures from more than 70 countries around the world to engage in an intensive debate on current and future security challenges.

Nothing fishy going on here…

Since 2009, the conference awards the Ewald von Kleist Award:

The award will be given to prominent individuals who have made an outstanding contribution to peace and conflict resolution.

The theme of the conference is peace through dialogue. At least that’s what they claim. Instead, everything you need to know about the true purpose of this conference is wrapped up in the name of the first recipient of this annual award: Henry Kissinger.

Now, returning to McCain’s speech:

My friends: In the four decades I have attended the Munich Security Conference, I cannot recall a year where its purpose was more necessary or more important.

So, it wasn’t more important when US blockades starved 500,000 Iraqi children? It wasn’t more important before the US invaded Iraq and Afghanistan? It wasn’t more important when the western attendees of this conference made rubble out of several North African, Middle Eastern and Central Asian countries? It wasn’t more important when McCain and his cohorts decided to turn Ukraine into a war zone?

To continue reading: The Sooner We are Rid of Him, the Better

Trump’s ISIS Plan: Another US Invasion? by Ron Paul

The military wants to send thousands of troops to Syria. That would be incredibly stupid. From Ron Paul at ronpaulinstitute.org:

Just over a week into the Trump Administration, the President issued an Executive Order giving Defense Secretary James Mattis 30 days to come up with a plan to defeat ISIS. According to the Order, the plan should make recommendations on military actions, diplomatic actions, partners, strategies, and how to pay for the operation.

As we approach the president’s deadline it looks like the military is going to present Trump with a plan to do a whole lot more of what we’ve been doing and somehow expect different results. Proving the old saying that when all you have is a hammer everything looks like a nail, we are hearing increasing reports that the military will recommend sending thousands of US troops into Syria and Iraq.

This would be a significant escalation in both countries, as currently there are about 5,000 US troops still fighting our 13-year war in Iraq, and some 500 special forces soldiers operating in Syria.

The current Syria ceasefire, brokered without US involvement at the end of 2016, is producing positive results and the opposing groups are talking with each other under Russian and Iranian sponsorship. Does anyone think sending thousands of US troops into a situation that is already being resolved without us is a good idea?

In language reminiscent of his plans to build a wall on the Mexican border, the president told a political rally in Florida over the weekend that he was going to set up “safe zones” in Syria and would make the Gulf States pay for them. There are several problems with this plan.

To continue reading: Trump’s ISIS Plan: Another US Invasion?

 

The “Russia Scare” Coalition: ISIL’s “Useful Idiots”?, a National Interest Editorial

To dampen charges that he’s a Russian puppet, Mr. Trump and his administration only have to start sounding like neocons. That may have already begun. Buy joining the “Russia Scare” coalition will probably have a number of perhaps unintended and definitely detrimental consequences for the US. From the National Interest Editorial board at nationalinterest.org:

The turmoil surrounding Lt. Gen. Michael Flynn’s resignation and wider allegations of links between President Donald Trump, his campaign and Russia seems to have made a strong impression in Moscow. Many there had already calibrated initially unrealistic expectations after Mr. Trump’s initial weeks in office; recent events have tempered even these more limited ambitions. Hopes have long faded that Washington would become a Russian ally in Syria, pursue cooperative military action against ISIL, or delink the conflict in Ukraine from the wider U.S.-Russia relationship.

Still, until recently, sober voices on Russia’s television talk shows were a clear minority. Arguing that Russia would have to demonstrate its commitment to working with the United States through concrete actions, and that Moscow could not seek a new beginning while continuing to deny its involvement in the fighting in the Donbas and to engage in dangerous close encounters in the air and at sea, was unpopular. In the last few days, however, the optimistic view that Trump will simply “deliver the goods” to Russia has largely disappeared.

As Soviet media used to say, this is not accidental. According to Western news reports, the Kremlin has encouraged Russian media to scale back their coverage of America’s new president and his administration. While President Putin’s press spokesman Dmitry Peskov has denied any such instruction, Russia’s media have in fact redirected their attention to other issues, giving scant air time to Mr. Trump’s comments about Russia during his latest press conference and to separate meetings between Secretary of State Rex Tillerson and Chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff General Joseph Dunford with their Russian counterparts. That said, Mr. Peskov may not have been involved in issuing directions like this—though such a directive could come only from Russia’s presidential administration.

To continue reading: The “Russia Scare” Coalition: ISIL’s “Useful Idiots”?