Did President Trump just change foreign policy in place since WWII? From Tom Luongo at tomluongo.me:
Over the weekend I asked whether Donald Trump had risen to the level of Grey Champion. A few days later Trump takes to Twitter and puts a big line item in his resume.
There have been signs of change coming since Trump rightly refused to go to war with Iran over their shooting down an unmanned U.S. drone.
Starting with a major shake up of his cabinet by firing National Security Director John Bolton to his tepid response to the Houthi attack on the Saudi Aramco Abqaiq facility, Trump has sought to defuse a situation that had flown way to close to the sun and threatened to burn millions.
These five tweets taken in context of the past few days, however, blow the lid off a number of narratives as well as ongoing operations.
Posted in Foreign Policy, Geopolitics, Government, Governments, Military, Politics, War
Tagged Impeachment, Iran, Israel, Middle East, President Trump, Russia, Saudi Arabia, Syria, Turkey
What are China’s intentions, for its own people and the rest of the world? From Patrick J. Buchanan at buchanan.org:
With the fall of the Nationalist government of Chiang Kai-shek, the defeat of his armies and the flight to Formosa, that was the question of the hour in 1949. And no one demanded to know more insistently than the anti-Communist Congressman John F. Kennedy:
“Whatever share of the responsibility was Roosevelt’s and whatever share was (General George) Marshall’s, the vital interest of the United States in the independent integrity of China was sacrificed, and the foundation was laid for the present tragic situation in the Far East.”
Tragic indeed was the situation. The most populous nation on earth, for which America had risked and fought a war with the Japanese Empire, had been lost to Stalin’s empire.
A year after Peking fell to Mao Zedong, Chinese armies stormed into Korea to drive the Americans back from the Yalu River and back across the 38th parallel, threatening to throw them off the Peninsula.
Saudi Arabia has the world third largest defense budget, $68 billion, with which it buys some of the world’s best weapons, but it can’t stop a drone and missile attack on one of its most valuable oil installation. The Houthi attack, if it was indeed the Houthis, may be the moment when the world first became generally aware of a development in the making since World War II: the decentralization of cheap but very violent weaponry. The implications are enormous. From Conn Halinan at antiwar.com:
For all their overwhelming firepower, the U.S. and its allies can cause a lot of misery in the Middle East, but still can’t govern the course of events.
In many ways it doesn’t really matter who – Houthis in Yemen? Iranians? Shiites in Iraq? – launched those missiles and drones at Saudi Arabia. Whoever did it changed the rules of the game, and not just in the Middle East. “It’s a moment when offense laps defense, when the strong have reason to fear the weak,” observes military historian Jack Radey.
In spite of a $68 billion a year defense budget – the third highest spending of any country in the world – with a world-class air force and supposed state-of-the-art anti-aircraft system, a handful of bargain basement drones and cruise missiles slipped through the Saudi radar and devastated Riyadh’s oil economy. All those $18 million fighter planes and $3 million a pop Patriot antiaircraft missiles suddenly look pretty irrelevant.
We should have listened to George. From Doug Bandow at theamericanconservative.com:
It’s haunting how accurately our first president predicted our “foreign entanglements” with Riyadh.
President Donald Trump wants to outsource U.S. policy to Riyadh. After the recent attack on Saudi Arabia’s oil fields, he tweeted that his administration was “locked and loaded,” but was “waiting to hear from the Kingdom as to who they believe was the cause of this attack, and under what terms we would proceed!” He later ordered American forces to Saudi Arabia to garrison the Middle East’s most brutally repressive and dangerously aggressive state.
Since he himself ventured to Riyadh in 2017—his first foreign trip—Trump has consistently sacrificed America’s national interests in catering to the preferences of the Saudi royal family. His administration backed the regime’s brutal attack on Yemen, ignored Riyadh’s continuing support for Islamic radicalism, and said little about their mounting human rights violations. Now he is acting as if American armed forces constitute the royals’ personal bodyguards, at the crown prince’s beck and call.
Posted in Foreign Policy, Geopolitics, Governments, History, Military, Politics
Tagged George Washington, Iran, Israel, Middle East, Saudi Arabia, Syria
Some skepticism that the Houthis were behind the attack on the Saudi Arabian oil installation is certainly justified, but it may not have been Iran, either. From Eric S. Margolis at lewrockwell.com:
The Mideast has its own variety of crazy humor. The Saudis have been blasting and bombing wretched Yemen, one of this world’s poorest nations, since 2015.
These US-supported attacks and a naval blockade of Yemen imposed by Saudi Arabia and its sidekick ally, the United Arab Emirates, have caused mass starvation. No one knows how many Yemenis have died or are currently starving. Estimates run from 250,000 to one million.
The black humor? The Saudis just claimed they were victims of Iranian `aggression’ this past week after the kingdom’s leading oil treatment facility at Abqaiq was hit by a flight of armed drones or cruise missiles. The usual American militarists, now led by State Secretary Mike Pompeo after the demented warmonger, John Bolton, was finally fired, are calling for military retaliation against Iran even though the attack was claimed by Yemen’s Shia Houthi movement.
If the Houthis were indeed behind the Saudi Arabian oil installation attack, even if they used Iranian technology they are an object lesson in the ongoing decentralization of violence. It’s been happening, mostly under the radar, for decades—decentralized individuals and groups using relatively inexpensive weapons to stymy and in some cases defeat well-armed governments. From Pepe Escobar at thesaker.is:
The Yemeni Shiite group’s spectacular attack on Abqaiq raises the distinct possibility of a push to drive the House of Saud from power
A Yemeni Shiite man holds his weapon and a flag with an Arabic inscription reading ‘Disgrace is far from us,’ as he takes part in a religious procession held by Houthi rebels to mark the first day of Ashura. Photo: Hani Al-Ansi/dpa
We are the Houthis and we’re coming to town. With the spectacular attack on Abqaiq, Yemen’s Houthis have overturned the geopolitical chessboard in Southwest Asia – going as far as introducing a whole new dimension: the distinct possibility of investing in a push to drive the House of Saud out of power.
Blowback is a bitch. Houthis – Zaidi Shiites from northern Yemen – and Wahhabis have been at each other’s throats for ages. This book is absolutely essential to understand the mind-boggling complexity of Houthi tribes; as a bonus, it places the turmoil in southern Arabian lands way beyond a mere Iran-Saudi proxy war.
Still, it’s always important to consider that Arab Shiites in the Eastern province – working in Saudi oil installations – have got to be natural allies of the Houthis fighting against Riyadh.
Houthi striking capability – from drone swarms to ballistic missile attacks – has been improving remarkably for the past year or so. It’s not by accident that the UAE saw which way the geopolitical and geoeconomic winds were blowing: Abu Dhabi withdrew from Crown Prince Mohammad bin Salman’s vicious war against Yemen and now is engaged in what it describes as a “peace-first” strategy.
President Trump put all his chips on Israel and Saudi Arabia in the Middle East. Recent events indicate that may not have been the smartest bet. From Raúl Ilargi Meijer at theautomaticearth.com:
Those winds just keep on shifting, no matter that the western press either doesn’t see them shift, doesn’t recognize them for what they are, or chooses to ignore them. But these winds bring tidings of a tectonic plate-shaking shift in the global political climate.
The fires in Saudi oil installations, whether they were caused by drones or missiles, and whoever fired those, are a major story, and rightly so, because they could shake up economies in drastic ways. But they may still, not be the biggest story after all.
Last Tuesday, Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu announced his intention to annex the Jordan Valley (already occupied territory, 65,000 Palestinians and 11,000 Israeli settlers live there). He did that to steal votes from the far right in next Tuesday’s (Sep. 17) Knesset election. “Bibi” also called Donald Trump his “friend” every second word for that same purpose. Trump responded in kind. He may come to regret that. Choose your friends wisely. Bit of background from RT: