foreign policy

Business As Usually for the US Empire Under Trump

Now I know it is shocking to read an article title such as this with a Republican in the White House. With all of Trump’s talk of trying not to get bogged down in Middle East conflicts and business of empire, he is doing a terrible job so far.

Save maybe his stance toward Russia, Trump’s administration is continuing to signal that not much is going to change in the next four years.

Starting with his first week in office, Mr. Trump signed off on the raid in Yemen without any intelligence which left civilians dead, including the young daughter of previously slain Anwar Al-Awlaki. This raid was a sloppy mess, producing no usable intel and included even a US casualty; the US Navy Seal Trump attempted to use as a political chess piece at his first speech to Congress.The target of the raid was not even killed, as in early March he released audio taunting the president.

Trump’s next Clinton-like idea came in the form of “safe zones” in Syria. An idea which much like Clinton’s “no-fly zone” would need to be administered over sovereign Syrian terrorist. All to help destabilize the hold the government has on it’s own country there.

Moving to this week, we see the rest of the policy coming into form. I previously wrote about the US airstrikes in Mosul that killed dozens of civilians. Well, that number is now in the HUNDREDS and has been confirmed by coalition forces. Any idea that Trump would be shifting policy in Iraq seemed to go out the window when the man that Trump defers to on all things military, General Mattis, stated that US troops will need to stay in Iraq “for years”. This will not be nation-building Mattis says, but just “stabilization”. We don’t know to pull out like that wimp Obama and create another vacuum for ISIS to fill…

As we move to the African continent, we are introduced to the great military mind US African Commander Gen. Thomas Waldhauser. This genius is petitioning the president to keep US forces in Libya to help combat ISIS, which has a presence of 200 total men in a country the size of the Northeast. This is to help “stabilize” the nation, and also to keep Russia from influencing the government there. Something that is supposed to the job of the United States.

Commander Walhauser also wants expanded presence in Somalia. Doubling down on the Syria-type engagement strategy here. Arming rebels, embedding US Special Forces, airstrikes and drones. This keeps the Marines off the ground and allows for some PR space back home.

As you can see from the laundry list of bad ideas, not much is going to change under Trump. Not that this is shocking to anyone. If anything, it helps to highlight how the empire works. No matter who is sitting in the Oval Office, the policy stays the same.

The only saving grace with Trump was supposed to be his views on Russia and NATO. But even that seems to just be window dressing. Yes, he is annoying our NATO and EU allies with his brash behavior during his meeting with German Chancellor Merkel and his applause for Brexit. But this isn’t keeping his underlings from moving the status quo forward.

Newly confirmed Ambassador to the UN Nikki Haley can be found on video threatening sanctions on Russia unless they “give back” Crimea and “leave” Ukraine:

Lets not forget about the rouge-element within Congress in the form of John McCain. Sen. McCain has been cheer-leading for more NATO expansion in eastern Europe, including the welcoming of Montenegro into the alliance. A move that will surely be approved by Congress and the president, no matter what Rand Paul’s feelings are on the subject.

Sen. McCain has become the leading voice for Neo-Conservative, Liberal-Internationalist wing of Washington with Trump in office. Just this Friday, McCain spoke out in Brussels repeating his support for more EU and NATO cooperation in the region. Going as far as to say that the world “cries out for American and European leadership” and that “The New World Order is under enormous strain”. Music to my ears but disaster in McCain’s eyes.

As the Trump presidency continues to unfold, focus at least some of your attention away from the dumpster-fire which is domestic politics, and watch to see if there is any change in the foreign policy of the Empire.

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Rand Paul Ties Foreign Aid to Gay Rights

Per the Bloomberg article,

“I would think we’d give to a lot of countries that don’t have good records on gay rights,” Paul told me. “I mean, any Muslim country probably has an abysmal record. Obviously, I’m not a big fan of most aid to begin with, so would I tie aid to behavior? Absolutely. For example, I introduced an amendment in the foreign relations committee to not give aid to countries that will put people to death for changing your religion in interfaith marriage. I’d be happy to say, for countries that punish you for homosexuality, too. Do any of them put people to death for that in Muslim countries? I’d be happy to say no.”

Tunisian Terror Attack Suspects Trained in U.S. “Liberated” Libya

After NATO “liberated” the country by becoming the air force for the same extremists American fought in the Iraq War, the country of Libya has been a training ground for these types of guys. But remember what Hillary Clinton said:

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From AP:

The two gunmen who killed 21 people at a museum in Tunis trained in neighboring Libya before carrying out the deadly attack and were known to authorities, Tunisian security officials said Friday.

The attack at the National Bardo Museum Wednesday has raised concerns about the spread of extremism in North Africa and particularly in Tunisia — the only country to emerge from the 2011 Arab Spring uprisings with a functioning democracy.

American Troops Back in Harms Way in Iraq: Helicopters Return to Combat

Mitchell Prothero and Jonathan Landay break the story over at McClatchy Newspapers. Obama and most Americans believe that American troops won’t need to go back to Iraq to defeat ISIS. That’s why public support is high for intervention in Iraq; because the majority of Americans believed that drones and “aid” to the Iraq army would be the extent of our involvement.

This escalation exposes that myth, and makes the cause for non-intervention. There is no solution. You can’t defeat a insurgency that grows with every bomb dropped on a Sunni village. The only way to bring “control” to Iraq is to re-invade. And for what? What does that accomplish? It didn’t work the first time. It wasn’t until the Sunni tribal leaders turned their backs on Al Qaeda In Iraq that some semblance of order returned to the Northern Iraq. The country will still never be the same.

So what does our government do? The predictable thing. It puts American troops back in harms way. These Apache helicopters can be shot down from the ground. Unlike the F-15s & drones. ISIS has already produced a booklet on how to shoot them down! What happens when a pilot is taken hostage and beheaded? You know what will happen. Not one American will blame the sociopaths in the Pentagon for sending troops back into a lawless piece of sand that has no national interest to America. Please read the full scoop below:

— The United States sent attack helicopters into combat against Islamic State targets west of Baghdad on Sunday, the first time low-flying Army aircraft have been committed to fighting in an engagement that the Obama administration has promised would not include “boots on the ground.”

The U.S. Central Command, in a statement about U.S. activities against the Islamic State in Iraq and Syria, provided few specifics about the helicopters. But they were likely AH-64 Apache attack helicopters, which were deployed to Baghdad International Airport in June to provide protection for U.S. military and diplomatic facilities.

Until Sunday, U.S. airstrikes in Iraq have been limited to fast-moving Air Force and Navy fighter aircraft and drones. But the use of the relatively slow-flying helicopters represents an escalation of American military involvement and is a sign that the security situation in Iraq’s Anbar province is deteriorating. Last week, the Islamic State militants overran numerous Iraqi bases and towns and were becoming a widespread presence in Abu Ghraib, the last major town outside of Baghdad’s western suburbs.

Jeffrey White, a former senior Defense Intelligence Agency analyst who closely follows developments in Iraq, said the use of helicopter gunships by the United States means that U.S. troops effectively are now directly involved in ground battles.

“It’s definitely boots in the air. This is combat, assuming U.S. Army guys were flying the helicopters,” said White, a defense fellow at the Washington Institute for Near East Policy, a center-right policy institute. “Using helicopter gunships in combat operations means those forces are in combat.”

Moreover, the Obama administration’s decision to authorize the use of U.S. helicopter gunships indicates that nearly two months of U.S.-led airstrikes by fixed-wing fighters and bombers have failed to stop the Islamic State from massing ground troops and launching offensive operations, he said.

“It means however we were applying air power previously didn’t work to stop them from putting together offensive actions. One of the hopes was that using air power would impede them from using offensive operations,” White said. “But apparently, they have been successful in doing that despite the airstrikes.”

At the time the Apache squadron was deployed to Iraq, Pentagon officials said the aircraft would be used to protect American military and diplomatic facilities at the airport and the U.S. Embassy in Baghdad.

But the advance by the Islamic State into the Abu Ghraib area just outside the airport complex threatens to put the militants within rocket and artillery range of the facility, which houses hundreds of U.S. military advisers and a joint operations center. Any sustained shelling would likely force a closure of the airport, posing a hazard not only for American troops working in the joint operations center, but for plans to evacuate U.S. diplomatic personnel.

Although the administration has repeatedly said that no “ground forces” would be used in the fight against the Islamic State, the use of the AH-64 represents a blurring of that promise.

The helicopters carry a two-man crew and with their missiles and powerful canon, increase the amount and accuracy of the firepower that the U.S. military can bring to bear against the Islamic State in support of Iraqi ground troops. But because helicopters fly relatively “low and slow,” the Obama administration is taking on greater risk in terms of exposing U.S. forces to casualties, White said.

“The Iraqi air force just lost a brand new Russian helicopter (to Islamic State ground fire). So it’s significantly higher risk for whoever is flying the mission,” said White. “It’s certainly crossing another threshold. The U.S. is conducting strikes that are directly involved in combat.”

In its announcement, Central Command said the U.S. had employed “bomber, fighter and helicopter aircraft” to attack six targets northeast of Fallujah and southeast of Hit, both Islamic State-occupied towns in Anbar. It also said an Islamic State Humvee had been destroyed northeast of Sinjar, in northern Iraq.

In Syria, the Central Command said, U.S. aircraft struck Islamic State positions described as northwest of Mayadin and northwest of Raqqa. The targets included “a large ISIL unit” and “six ISIL firing positions,” the Central Command said.

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After Pretending to Care About Egyptian Democracy, the U.S. Back to Openly Supporting Tyranny.

Glenn Greenwald at The Intercept does a great job summing up the last 3 years of US policy towards Egypt, and how the wishes of the Egyptian people are the last thing on the list.

ISIS: Blowback of a Greedy Foreign Policy

Two excellent articles on the history/creation of ISIS.

ISIS: Made in Washington, Riyadh – and Tel Aviv

“ISIS didn’t just arise out of the earth like some Islamist variation on the fabled Myrmidons: they needed money, weapons, logistics, propaganda facilities, and international connections to reach the relatively high level of organization and lethality they seem to have achieved in such a short period of time. Where did they get these assets?”

The History of the Islamic State

“The document that follows offers a brief history of the Islamic State entity and the method by which US policies under both Bush and Obama facilitated its growth, primarily through the opening of power vacuums created via ill-advised and ruinous imperialist policies. The underlying irony of this story is that George W. Bush fabricated a premise for invading Iraq under the assumption that Saddam Hussein was harboring al Qaeda operatives, and what has resulted from the events set in motion by the US invasion is the fall of a significant portion of Iraq to an organization even worse than al Qaeda, and the establishment of a jihadist haven the likes of which bin Laden could have only dreamed.”

New Iraqi President & PM: the New U.S. Puppets

Now that Maliki has overstayed his welcome, the Obama administration has backed the new president of Iraq, Fouad Massoum. The U.S. backed his campaign for president prior to the election, but now that ISIS is taken control of major parts of the country, they are actively attacking Maliki. Remember, Maliki was the U.S.’s choice to run the supposedly “coalition” government of Iraq after 2003. All Maliki did was place Shite politicians in power and drag the country into a civil war. Complete with an almost complete “cleanse” of the Sunni from Baghdad. The real fight in Iraqi politics will be the team of new president Massoum, a Kurd, and new PM Haider al-Abadi, against the Sunni tribes of the north and ISIS. There might also be some interesting developments when the government of the State of Iraq tries to take back control of the oil field now being controlled by the Kurds. Massoum’s ethnicity is sure to make that conflict interesting.

The threat to the region is ISIS. Created by the US destabilization over two decades, US arming of rebels in Syria, the violent removal of Sunnis from the capital area of the Iraq, and direct support from Sunni governments in the region. At the same time the U.S. fights ISIS for control of the oil (through relations with the Kurd), its largest ally in the region backs ISIS.

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Hillary Clinton: The Neocons Choice for President

Great two party system we got here. If you want a foreign policy of Bush, McCain (and Obama)….vote for Hilary Clinton.

“Mark Salter, a former chief of staff to Senator McCain and a neocon fellow traveler, said that in the event of a  (Rand) Paul nomination, “Republican voters seriously concerned with national security would have no responsible recourse” but to support Mrs. Clinton for the presidency.”

“National Security” means intervention around the globe. Toppling governments we don’t like, installing one of our own. Forcing Washington’s influence on countries for economic power and control. I mean, it’s not like we can trade with people right?

The reactionary crises around the globe at the moment are instances of blowback from the last two decades of intervention on the behalf of powerful lobbies. Our “freedom” has nothing to do with it. I sure felt like my freedom to bbq on the 4th of July was heightened because we invaded Panama back in the 80’s to secure the PANAMA canal. Don’t get me started on how free the overthrow of the elected government in Ukraine made me feel.

Democrats and Liberals. Wake up. Don’t vote for Hillary Clinton for some reaction to Republican politics or because she is on the blue team. She loves war. As much as the “baby killer” G.W. did.

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William Polk’s Take on Iraq 3.0

“The diplomat and scholar William R. Polk (right) first wrote about the Middle East in The Atlantic back in 1958, in an article called “The Lesson of Iraq.”… Now he is back with an assessment of how the United States ended up in the situation it now confronts throughout the Middle East, and what if anything it might do to improve—or at least avoid worsening—its and the region’s prospects.”

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