Category Archives: Governments

Is Trump’s Agenda Being Eclipsed? by Patrick Buchanan

President Trump’s Afghanistan strategy: four or eight more years of prolonged indecision. From Patrick J. Buchanan at buchanan.org:

“I have not become the King’s First Minister in order to preside over the liquidation of the British Empire,” said Winston Churchill to cheers at the Lord Mayor’s luncheon in London in November 1942.

True to his word, the great man did not begin the liquidation.

When his countrymen threw him out in July 1945, that role fell to Clement Attlee, who began the liquidation. Churchill, during his second premiership from 1951-1955, would continue the process, as would his successor, Harold Macmillan, until the greatest empire the world had ever seen had vanished.

While its demise was inevitable, the death of the empire was hastened and made more humiliating by the wars into which Churchill had helped to plunge Britain, wars that bled and bankrupted his nation.

At Yalta in 1945, Stalin and FDR treated the old imperialist with something approaching bemused contempt.

War is the health of the state, but the death of empires.

The German, Austro-Hungarian, Russian and Ottoman empires all fell in World War I. World War II ended the Japanese and Italian empires — with the British and French following soon after. The Soviet Empire collapsed in 1989. Afghanistan delivered the coup de grace.

Is it now the turn of the Americans?

Persuaded by his generals — Mattis at Defense, McMasters on the National Security Council, Kelly as chief of staff — President Trump is sending some 4,000 more U.S. troops to Afghanistan to augment the 8,500 already there.

Like Presidents Obama and Bush, he does not intend to preside over a U.S. defeat in its longest war. Nor do his generals. Yet how can we defeat the Taliban with 13,000 troops when we failed to do so with the 100,000 Obama sent?

The new troops are to train the Afghan army to take over the war, to continue eradicating the terrorist elements like ISIS, and to prevent Kabul and other cities from falling to a Taliban now dominant in 40 percent of the country.

To continue reading: Is Trump’s Agenda Being Eclipsed?

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Everyone Is Wrong About North Korea, by Darius Shahtahmasebi

Let’s see, 75 years ago the US bombed the living crap out of North Korea, and it is now threatening to do so again. North Korea has bombed nobody since the Korean Armistice. The US has bombed numerous countries and replaced their regimes. Yet, it’s the “irrational” North Koreans who threaten the peace of the entire world by threatening to retaliate if attacked, and US demands that North Korea give up its means of defending itself are wholly rational. From Darius Shahtahmasebi at  lewrockwell.com:

Imagine a world where one country – country X – is bombing at least seven countries at any one time and is seeking to bomb an eighth, all the while threatening an adversarial ninth state – country Y – that they will bomb that country into oblivion, as well. Imagine that in this world, country X already bombed country Y back into the Stone Age several decades ago, which directly led to the current adversarial nature of the relationship between the two countries.

Now imagine that country Y, which is currently bombing no one and is concerned mostly with well-founded threats against its own security, threatens to retaliate in the face of this mounting aggression if country X attacks them first. On top of all this, imagine that only country Y is portrayed in the media as a problem and that country X is constantly given a free pass to do whatever it pleases.

Now replace country X with the United States of America and country Y with North Korea to realize there is no need to imagine such a world. It is the world we already live in.

As true as all of this is, the problem is constantly framed as one caused by North Korea alone, not the United States. “How to Deal With North Korea,” the Atlantic explains. “What Can Trump Do About North Korea?” the New York Times asks. “What Can Possibly Be Done About North Korea,” the Huffington Post queriesTime provides 6 experts discussing “How We Can Solve the Problem” (of North Korea). “North Korea – what can the outside world do?” asks the BBC.

To continue reading: Everyone Is Wrong About North Korea

 

The Revolution Betrayed, by Justin Raimondo

Once upon a time Justin Raimondo mistook Donald Trump for a revolutionary. Trump was never a revolutionary, he’s too interested in his own power for that. Time will tell, but don’t bet the ranch that he turns into a neocon lapdog, either. From Raimondo at antiwar.com:

The exit of Steve Bannon, the President’s political strategist, from the White House and his return to Breitbart.com marks the defeat, if not quite the end, of the “isolationist” America First faction within the Trump administration. It is a victory for what I call the Junta – the coterie of generals who now surround President Trump, and appear to have captured the conduct of American foreign policy. It is a victory, in particular, for Gen. H. R. McMaster, who took over the National Security Agency after Michael Flynn’s ouster, and who is the architect of the “new” Afghanistan strategy – the one that is merely a reiteration of the old strategy.

Bannon has been a particular target of the liberal media, which is responsible for labeling him as an advocate of the so-called “alt-right.” Yet there is exactly zero evidence of this allegiance in his public pronouncements, and his most recent interview – with the liberal journal, The America Prospect – has him characterizing them as a sad “collection of clowns.” Not that this will deter Bannon’s critics, who uniformly fail to mention what really set him apart from your run-of-the-mill Republican operative, and that is his foreign policy views.

The day before his ouster, the New York Times reported on Bannon’s “dovish” views:

“From Afghanistan and North Korea to Syria and Venezuela, Mr. Bannon, the president’s chief strategist, has argued against making military threats or deploying American troops into foreign conflicts.

“His views, delivered in a characteristically bomb-throwing style, have antagonized people across the administration, leaving Mr. Bannon isolated and in danger of losing his job. But they are thoroughly in keeping with his nationalist credo, and they have occasionally resonated with the person who matters most: President Trump.”

Bannon’s views on the Korea “crisis” are reported on with a particularly dramatic display of eyebrow-raising: why, he even proposed withdrawing US troops from the Korean peninsula in exchange for North Korea’s denuclearization! (A proposal advanced in this space on more than one occasion.)

It’s delightful to hear that Bannon describes General McMaster is the leader of the “globalist empire project” – a project, one might add, that many of us hoped might be dismantled during a Trump presidency.

To continue reading: The Revolution Betrayed

Trump’s Turn To Lie About Afghanistan, by Matthew Hoh

Afghanistan seems like one big never-ending lie, so why should Trump be any different? From Matthew How at antiwar.com:

There has never been progress by the U.S. military in Afghanistan, unless you are asking the US military contractors or the Afghan drug barons, of whom an extremely large share are our allies in the Afghan government, militias and security forces, there has only been suffering and destruction. American politicians, pundits and generals will speak about “progress” made by the 70,000 American troops put into Afghanistan by President Obama beginning in 2009, along with an additional 30,000 European troops and 100,000 private contractors, however the hard and awful true reality is that the war in Afghanistan has only escalated since 2009, never stabilizing or de-escalating; the Taliban has increased in strength by tens of thousands, despite tens of thousands of casualties and prisoners; and American and Afghan casualties have continued to grow every year of the conflict, with US casualties declining only when US forces began to withdraw in mass numbers from parts of Afghanistan in 2011, while Afghan security forces and civilians have experienced record casualties every year since those numbers began to be kept by the UN.

Similarly, any progress in reconstructing or developing Afghanistan has been found to be near existent despite the more than $100 billion spent by the United States on such efforts by the Special Inspector General for Afghan Reconstruction (SIGAR). $100 billion, by the way, is more money than was spent on the Marshall Plan when that post-WWII reconstruction plan is put into inflation adjusted dollars. Oft repeated claims, such as millions of Afghan school girls going to school, millions of Afghans having access to improved health care and Afghan life expectancy dramatically increasing, and the construction of an Afghan job building economy have been exposed as nothing more than public relations lies. Often displayed as modern Potemkin Villages to visiting journalists and congressional delegations and utilized to justify continued budgets for the Pentagon and USAID, and, so, to allow for more killing, like America’s reconstruction program in Iraq, the reconstruction program in Afghanistan has proven to be a failure and its supposed achievements shown to be virtually nonexistent, as documented by multiple investigations by SIGAR, as well as by investigators and researchers from organizations such as the UN, EU, IMF, World Bank, etc.

To continue reading: Trump’s Turn To Lie About Afghanistan

How The Elites Are Divorcing From Reality: The Economist’s “What If”, by Gefira

Europe is beyond saving. Give it a year and nobody will show French President Emmanuel Macron walking on water. From gefira.org:

The Western globalist elites have not digested Trump’s victory or Brexit yet. They are having a hard time dealing with their ideological failures, and when the reality dares not to comply with their day dreaming, they go online and create a parallel world, where their “expert” predictions always turn right and their failures cannot be questioned. The Economist‘s portal named “what if”, a neo-liberal, wishful thinking echo chamber, is the point in case.

Its latest piece1)attributes magical powers to the new hero of the elites, Emmanuel Macron, who soundly defeated “evil” Marine Le Pen in May. For The Economist, Macron is nothing short of Jesus as he was correspondingly depicted on the monthly’s cover walking on water:

The hypothetical scenario of Macron’s success is based on magical reforms that will somehow create enormous numbers of jobs after an initial friction and fix the out-of-control state budget. The text provides no answer how exactly all this is going to be done. The happy predictions do not stop there. Macron’s miracle, would turn France into another Silicon Valley, a paradise for start-ups. Does it not make us think back to the internet bubble of the 90s? After “making France great again” and defeating Marion Maréchal-Le Pen, Marine’s niece (who for the record has already retired from politics, but don’t tell The Economist, it’d break their narrative, they need an evil antagonist), Macron’s magic would next make Europe great again. Academic papers on the “French Renaissance” are beginning to appear, says the article’s author, an intellectual liberal himself and Macron’s flunky. He speaks of “EU-funded military operations in the Sahel”, because clearly that’s what Europe needs most. Why, destabilizing surrounding countries has worked very well so far, hasn’t it? Islamic terrorism isn’t even touched in the article, so we gather it will magically disappear as will the problems of the banlieu which do not deserve much mention either. Here, too, no solution is offered, just pure magic.

To continue reading: How The Elites Are Divorcing From Reality: The Economist’s “What If”

Gavekal On The Coming Clash Of Empires: Russia’s Role As A Global Game-Changer, by Charles and Louis-Vincent Gave

This is an excellent survey of the world’s geopolitical landscape SLL has seen; long but worth the read. From Charles and Louis-Vincent Gave at Gavekal via zerohedge.com:

Carthago Est Delenda

Carthage must be destroyed”. Cato the elder would conclude his speeches in the Roman Senate with the admonition that salt should be spread on the ruins of Rome’s rival. Listening to the US media over these summer holidays from Grand Lake, Oklahoma, it is hard to escape the conclusion that most of the American media, and US congress, feels the same way about Russia. Which is odd given that the Cold War supposedly ended almost 30 years ago.

But then again, a quick study of history shows that clashes between land and sea-based empires have been a fairly steady constant of Western civilization. Think of Athens versus Sparta, Greece versus Persia, Rome versus Carthage, England versus Napoleon, and more recently the US versus Germany and Japan (when World War II saw the US transform itself from a land-based empire to a sea-based empire in order to defeat Germany and Japan), and of course the more recent contest between the US and the Soviet Union.

The maritime advantage

Such fights have been staples of history books, from Plutarch to Toynbee. Victory has mostly belonged to the maritime empires as they tend to depend more on trade and typically promote more de-centralized structures; land-based empires by contrast usually repress individual freedoms and centralize power. Of course the maritime power does not always win; Cato the elder did after all get his wish posthumously.

With this in mind, consider a mental map of the productive land masses in the world today. Very roughly put, the world currently has three important zones of production, with each accounting for about a third of world GDP.

  1. North and South America: This is a sort of island and is not reachable by land from the rest of the world. It constitutes the heart of what could be called the current “maritime” empire.
  2. Europe ex-Russia: This is an economic and technological power as large as the US but a military minnow. Its last two wars have been fought between the then dominant maritime power (the US), first against Germany, then the Soviet Union to gain the control of the so called “old continent”.
  3. A resurgent Asia: Here China is playing the role of the “land-based challenger” to the “maritime hegemon.”

To continue reading: Gavekal On The Coming Clash Of Empires: Russia’s Role As A Global Game-Changer

After Fake Promises of Transparency, NAFTA Negotiations Start in Secrecy. And Lobbying is Heating Up, by Wolf Richter

Meet the new trade agreement, same as the old trade agreeement. From Wolf Richter at wolfstreet.com:

Americans aren’t allowed to know what’s being negotiated at their expense.

The first round of re-negotiating the North American Free Trade Agreement between the US, Canada, and Mexico began on Wednesday and is scheduled to last through Sunday. And the one thing we know about it is this: Despite promises in March by US Trade Representative Robert Lighthizer (USTR) that the negotiations would be transparent, the USTR now considers the documents and negotiations “classified” and they’ll be cloaked in secrecy.

But corporate lobbyists have access. And they’re all over it.

The Electronic Frontier Foundation put it this way:

Once again, following the failed model of the Trans-Pacific Partnership (TPP), the USTR will be keeping the negotiating texts secret, and in an actual regression from the TPP will be holding no public stakeholder events alongside the first round. This may or may not set a precedent for future rounds, that will rotate between the three countries every few weeks thereafter, with a scheduled end date of mid-2018.

But during his confirmation hearing in March, Lighthizer had promised to make the negotiations transparent and to listen to more stakeholders and the public. The EFF reported at the time that in response to Senator Ron Wyden question – “What specific steps will you take to improve transparency and consultations with the public?” – Lighthizer replied in writing (emphasis added):

“If confirmed, I will ensure that USTR follows the TPA [Trade Promotion Authority, aka. Fast Track] requirements related to transparency in any potential trade agreement negotiation. I will also look forward to discussing with you ways to ensure that USTR fully understands and takes into account the views of a broad cross-section of stakeholders, including labor, environmental organizations, and public health groups, during the course of any trade negotiation.

He said that “we can do more” to ensure that we “have a broad and vigorous dialogue with the full range of stakeholders in our country.”

Senator Maria Cantwell tried to have Lighthizer address the skewed Trade Advisory Committees that currently advise the USTR, by asking:

“Do you agree that it is problematic for a select group of primarily corporate elites to have special access to shape US trade proposals that are not generally available to American workers and those impacted by our flawed trade deals?”

To continue reading: After Fake Promises of Transparency, NAFTA Negotiations Start in Secrecy. And Lobbying is Heating Up