Many think tanks do very little thinking. From Dave DeCamp at antiwar.com:
The Institute for the Study of War (ISW) released a report on November 21sttitled “Russia’s Dead-End Diplomacy in Syria.” The report focuses on Russia’s role in supporting Syrian President Bashar al-Assad and calls for the U.S. to maintain a presence in Syria.
The ISW presents itself as a “non-partisan, non-profit, public policy research organization.” In reality, the ISW is a neocon think tank funded by some of the country’s largest defense contractors. The ISW has a significant influence in Washington, and its chairman even has direct access to President Trump.
The report argues that Assad does not have the resources to regain and maintain control of the rest of Syria and that his victory would not bring stability. As far as Russia’s role, the report says, “The Kremlin seeks to thwart any Western effort to replace Assad and to instead reach a superficial political settlement that legitimizes his regime and neutralizes his opposition.”
Posted in Cronyism, Foreign Policy, Geopolitics, Government, Imperialism, Military, Politics, War
Tagged Bashar al-Assad, Institute for the Study of War, Neoconservatives, Syria
The blob’s prescription for the Middle East was the same as it was for Vietnam: fail harder! From Andrew Bacevich at theamericanconservative.com:
After all the failure, they still look at our wars in the Middle East as some kind of golden age.
Credit: U.S. Air Force/Flickr
I wish to call attention to an instructive essay about U.S. policy in the Middle East—instructive in the sense that it reveals the utterly impoverished nature of establishment thinking on this subject. The title of the essay is “The US Has One Last Chance to Halt Its Withdrawal from the Middle East.” The author is a former deputy assistant secretary of defense, who shall remain nameless since I bear him no ill will. Let us refer to him simply as X, in honor of George Kennan, author of a famous 1947 essay offering counsel on how to deal with the Soviet Union. Kennan published that essay under the pseudonym X. And so shall I refer to the author of “One Last Chance.”
Kennan’s purpose was to sound the alarm regarding the Soviet threat and to propose what came to be called the strategy of Containment. The purpose of our present-day Mr. X is to sound the alarm about the United States lowering its profile in the Middle East. To avert that prospect, he proposes what can only be termed a strategy of staying-the-course-while-ignoring-the-facts.
The Deep State has wanted to get rid of Syria’s Bashar al-Assad for a long time. From Brad Hoff at libertarianinstitute.org:
Rare admissions from deep within the Washington blob…
First, all the way back in 2005 — more than a half decade before the war began — CNN’s Christiane Amanpour told Assad to his face that regime change is coming. Thankfully this was in a televised and archived interview, now for posterity to behold.
Amanpour, it must be remembered, was married to former US Assistant Secretary of State James Rubin (until 2018), who further advised both President Obama and former Secretary of State Hillary Clinton.
The differences between real whistleblowers and pseudo-whistleblowers, from Karen Kwiatkowski at lewrockwell.com:
Ed Snowden’s new book “Permanent Record” is out. A friend of mine sent me this non-review review by Paul Davis. As with so many things, the Washington Times is wrong about Ed Snowden too.
The Times is in a strange competition with its similarly flawed near-peer, the Post, to be the DC voice for more war, more government, more surveillance, and more prisons. These elite mouthpieces surely sense that most people don’t actually like war, government, surveillance and prisons. They also sense that those folks are not buying their papers, and thus the editors remain heavily focused on the elites crowded inside the beltway. This convergence allows us a great deal of insight into the minds of our would-be rulers, and I thank both papers for their contribution to our study.
The Deep State continues to try to preclude every option but war with Iran for Trump. From Robert Bridge at strategic-culture.org:
Should we chalk it up to coincidence theory that just days after Trump gives John Bolton the boot as his National Security Adviser, Iran is blamed for an attack on a Saudi oil facility, forcing Washington to forego any hope of peace with Tehran?
One day before Bolton’s abrupt departure from the White House, Trump had reportedly discussed with his security advisers the possibility of easing sanctions on Tehran in an effort to create the “right conditions” for a possible meeting with Iranian President Hassan Rouhani at the United Nations later this month.
“We’ll see what happens,” Trump told reporters last week. “I do believe they’d like to make a deal.”
Now we may never know how things may have turned out because one week later that comment looks like a page torn from ancient history.
On Saturday, Yemen Houthi rebels claimed responsibility for sophisticated drone attacks on the Saudi Aramco oil factory, which is situated deep inside the country, more than 1,000 kilometers away from the Yemen border. If the claims are true, it would mark a serious turning point in the four-year military ‘intervention’, which has seen US- and British-backed Saudi forces take a heavy-handed approach to extricating the rebels from the capital, Sanaa.
Posted in Foreign Policy, Geopolitics, Governments, History, Intelligence, Military, War
Tagged Iran, Neoconservatives, Oil installation, Saudi Arabia, Yemen
Either the sanctions will be lifted on Iran or sooner or later, the US will be at war with Iran. From Ron Paul at ronpaulinstitute.org:
The recent attacks on Saudi oil facilities by Yemeni Houthi forces demonstrate once again that an aggressive foreign policy often brings unintended consequences and can result in blowback. In 2015 Saudi Arabia attacked its neighbor, Yemen, because a coup in that country ousted the Saudi-backed dictator. Four years later Yemen is in ruins, with nearly 100,000 Yemenis killed and millions more facing death by starvation. It has been rightly called the worst humanitarian catastrophe on the planet.
But rich and powerful Saudi Arabia did not defeat Yemen. In fact, the Saudis last month asked the Trump Administration to help facilitate talks with the Houthis in hopes that the war, which has cost Saudi Arabia tens of billions of dollars, could finally end without Saudi crown prince Mohammad bin Salman losing too much face. Washington admitted earlier this month that those talks had begun.
The surprise Houthi attack on Saturday disrupted half of Saudi Arabia’s oil and gas production and shocked Washington. Predictably, however, the neocons are using the attack to call for war with Iran!
Sen. Lindsay Graham, one of the few people in Washington who makes John Bolton look like a dove, Tweeted yesterday that, “It is now time for the US to put on the table an attack on Iranian oil refineries…” Graham is the perfect embodiment of the saying, “when all you have is a hammer, everything looks like a nail.” No matter what the problem, for Graham the solution is war.
John Bolton has been consistently and spectacularly wrong about virtually everything, which explains his success in Washington. From Martin Sieff at strategic-culture.org:
John Bolton was only national security adviser of the United States for less than18 months but it felt as if he had been there forever. And we are not – alas – done with him yet.
The first thing to be said about Bolton’s fall is that it was entirely consistent with his lifelong pattern. He went reluctantly and departed with all the grace of a cockroach. He showed no loyalty or even courtesy to the president who raised him from being an aged, deserved has-been to briefly being one of the most powerful men on the planet. He could never be graceful or grateful, never be a gentleman. He could never simply shut up.
John Bolton was never a genius: Though like all his neoconservative friends he imagined himself to be. It was always the childish fantasy of a creepy little psychopath who never grew up, always a lie.
For decades, the cockroaches and spiders in the most obscure recesses of all the conservative, libertarian and liberal-progressive think tanks sprinkled across Washington like smallpox scabs spoke with awe of Bolton’s brilliant brain, his remorseless work ethic and his capacious memory. They were only exposing their own even greater mediocrity.
For Bolton always lacked any form of judgment, wisdom, discernment or restraint. He had a simplistic rigid mind that never learned any anything good that was new and never forget everything that was old and vile.