Category Archives: Foreign Policy

NEW COLUMN (UPDATE @7/23): Truman Would Have Agreed With Trump On The CIA In Syria

Donald Trump, Foreign Policy, History, Middle East, Russia, The State

“Truman Would Have Agreed With Trump On The CIA In Syria” is the current column, now on Townhall.com. An excerpt:

Said the president: “For some time I have been disturbed by the way CIA has been diverted from its original assignment. It has become an operational and, at times, a policy-making arm of the Government. … [T]his quiet intelligence arm of the President has been so removed from its intended role that it is being interpreted as a symbol of sinister and mysterious foreign intrigue.”

This dire warning about the propensity of the Central Intelligence Agency to go rogue came from Harry S. Truman.

Truman’s call to “limit the CIA role to intelligence” was published in December 22, 1963, by the Washington Post (WaPo). The same newspaper is now decrying Presidents Trump’s decision to “end the CIA’s covert program to arm and train moderate Syrian rebels battling the government of Bashar al-Assad, a move long sought by Russia, according to U.S. officials.”

The move is a good one. The WaPo threw Russia into the reportorial mix purely to sully President Trump (and due to the intellectual deficiencies of correspondents incapable of teasing apart policy from political intrigue).

The 33rd U.S. president, a Democrat before the great deformation of that party, was first to issue the warning against the agency he had established. Not only was the newly founded intelligence arm of President Truman mutating into “a policy-making arm of government,” but it was “a subverting influence in the affairs of other people,” he cautioned.

In 1963, Truman was meditating on restoring the monster he had created “to its original assignment” of intelligence gathering in the raw. The CIA’s sole purpose was to keep the president apprised of information unfiltered, un-politicized.

In 2017, Trump is dealing with a genie too powerful to beat back into the bottle: a mutated swamp creature.

So, is this a screeching U-turn in Trump’s foreign policy? Who know, but in Syria, at least, President Trump is inching closer to delivering on a campaign promise. …

… READ THE REST. “Truman Would Have Agreed With Trump On The CIA In Syria” is now on Townhall.com.

For those who missed the latest column, first on American Thinker; the Mercer Column can be read on Townhall.com, the Unz Review, a little later on Daily Caller, Liberty Conservative, and others. And it’s always posted eventually on IlanaMercer.com.

UPDATE I (Facebook):  “What a superb angle, Ilana! Invoking Truman’s warning about ‘The Company’ is brilliant,” writes author Bill Scott.

UPDATE II (7/23):
John McCain:

The CIA Has Become A Policy-Making Arm Of Government, Warned Harry Truman

Donald Trump, Foreign Policy, Government, Intelligence, Middle East, Russia

“President Trump has decided to end the CIA’s covert program to arm and train moderate Syrian rebels battling the government of Bashar al-Assad,” declared the Washington Post. The paper quickly went on to qualify that this was “a move long sought by Russia” [and, for this reason, suspect] Its source? The usual anon “U.S. officials.”

Limiting the role of the CIA was also something Harry Truman sought (hat tip to Myron Pauli) and expressed in the same newspaper now condemning Trump for scaling back the CIA’s covert operations in Syria:

The Washington Post
December 22, 1963 – page A11

Harry Truman Writes:
Limit CIA Role
To Intelligence

By Harry S Truman
Copyright, 1963, by Harry S Truman


INDEPENDENCE, MO., Dec. 21 — I think it has become necessary to take another look at the purpose and operations of our Central Intelligence Agency—CIA. At least, I would like to submit here the original reason why I thought it necessary to organize this Agency during my Administration, what I expected it to do and how it was to operate as an arm of the President.
I think it is fairly obvious that by and large a President’s performance in office is as effective as the information he has and the information he gets. That is to say, that assuming the President himself possesses a knowledge of our history, a sensitive understanding of our institutions, and an insight into the needs and aspirations of the people, he needs to have available to him the most accurate and up-to-the-minute information on what is going on everywhere in the world, and particularly of the trends and developments in all the danger spots in the contest between East and West. This is an immense task and requires a special kind of an intelligence facility.
Of course, every President has available to him all the information gathered by the many intelligence agencies already in existence. The Departments of State, Defense, Commerce, Interior and others are constantly engaged in extensive information gathering and have done excellent work.
But their collective information reached the President all too frequently in conflicting conclusions. At times, the intelligence reports tended to be slanted to conform to established positions of a given department. This becomes confusing and what’s worse, such intelligence is of little use to a President in reaching the right decisions.
Therefore, I decided to set up a special organization charged with the collection of all intelligence reports from every available source, and to have those reports reach me as President without department “treatment” or interpretations.
I wanted and needed the information in its “natural raw” state and in as comprehensive a volume as it was practical for me to make full use of it. But the most important thing about this move was to guard against the chance of intelligence being used to influence or to lead the President into unwise decisions—and I thought it was necessary that the President do his own thinking and evaluating.
Since the responsibility for decision making was his—then he had to be sure that no information is kept from him for whatever reason at the discretion of any one department or agency, or that unpleasant facts be kept from him. There are always those who would want to shield a President from bad news or misjudgments to spare him from being “upset.”
For some time I have been disturbed by the way CIA has been diverted from its original assignment. It has become an operational and at times a policy-making arm of the Government. This has led to trouble and may have compounded our difficulties in several explosive areas.
Some of the complications and embarrassment I think we have experienced are in part attributable to the fact that this quiet intelligence arm of the President has been so removed from its intended role that it is being interpreted as a symbol of sinister and mysterious foreign intrigue—and a subject for cold war enemy propaganda.
With all the nonsense put out by Communist propaganda about “Yankee imperialism,” “exploitive capitalism,” “war-mongering,” “monopolists,” in their name-calling assault on the West, the last thing we needed was for the CIA to be seized upon as something akin to a subverting influence in the affairs of other people.
I well knew the first temporary director of the CIA, Adm. Souers, and the later permanent directors of the CIA, Gen. Hoyt Vandenberg and Allen Dulles. These were men of the highest character, patriotism and integrity—and I assume this is true of all those who continue in charge.
But there are now some searching questions that need to be answered. I, therefore, would like to see the CIA be restored to its original assignment as the intelligence arm of the President, and that whatever else it can properly perform in that special field—and that its operational duties be terminated or properly used elsewhere.
We have grown up as a nation, respected for our free institutions and for our ability to maintain a free and open society. There is something about the way the CIA has been functioning that is casting a shadow over our historic position and I feel that we need to correct it.

No wonder The Swamp hates POTUS. Trump wants to downsize National Security Council & CIA & seek peace in Syria.

Bravo! Delivering on a campaign promise, #POTUSTrump ‘ends covert CIA program to arm anti-Assad rebels in Syria.’

Guess Whose Vast Special Ops Activity ‘Interferes’ In 137 Countries? Not Russia’s!

Bush, Communism, Foreign Policy, IMMIGRATION, Iraq, Islam, Terrorism

By Dr. Boyd D. Cathey

I would like to turn, first, to a significant, if very little-known, aspect of how our foreign policy functions: our nation’s wide-ranging “special operations” activities throughout the world.

Noted author on international affairs Nick Turse explores in detail this topic, examines its history and the exponential expansion of “special ops” activity, and raises some fundamental questions about its future use and its place in this country’s overall global strategy.

The major question, then, is whether the new Trump administration, with its mandate to review and redefine American priorities under the rubric of “America First,” will or even can integrate this nation’s vast special ops activity within a clear and realistic vision, reflecting President Trump’s enunciated agenda.

Is it advisable, the question should be asked, for American “advisors” to be on the ground in approximately 137 foreign countries … from East Timor to Malawi? Are our immediate interests and objectives clearly defined in each region where our special ops exist? And just what is our overall strategy dictating these interventions? Are we or should we be, indeed, the “world’s policeman”?

Except for North Korea, and China, the old international Communist threat ceased to exist long ago; true, a virulent form of Marxism continues to thrive in various incarnations, including most especially here (e.g., on campuses, in the media, in Hollywood, in Democratic Party enclaves) in the United States and in Western Europe. But the much larger, international threat to “peace” comes from global Islamic expansion and resultant terrorism, in Europe, in Africa, and increasingly, in America.

The United States has not won, outright, a major war since the end of the World War II. Yes, the Communists were fought to a shaky standstill in Korea, but American involvement in Vietnam was not exactly a shining success. The initially successful invasion of Iraq and intervention in Afghanistan have not yet produced the promised “democratic” triumphs heralded by the Bush administration. And the results of the tenures of Bill Clinton (Bosnia, Kosovo) and Barack Obama (Libya, Egypt) were, arguably, worse.

What, also, is the role of special ops in a world where mass immigration continues to dislocate traditional cultures and Islamic terrorism erupts in Western nations, largely as a result? These are critical questions that should be addressed.

Next, I’d like to direct you to a speech Vladimir Putin gave to the United Nations in September 2015. I think it quite instructive to compare this fascinating presentation, which is literally filled with substantial, if debatable, insights and observations, with speeches given by most of the other leaders in the world today. And I would suggest that Putin’s clear-headed approach to issues, certainly as he sees them, is one major reason why he emerged as one of the globe’s most important leaders, after the collapse of the old Soviet Union and the precipitous decline, economically and politically, of Russia under Boris Yeltsin.

Embedded in his particular vision for his nation in the post-Communist world there are insights and ideas that should be examined closely by the West. On display through his words are the experience and lessons learned by a former mid-level KGB officer who, yes, served the Soviet state in Dresden during the Cold War, but then not only renounced the KGB but helped defeat its attempted military coup to retake power in August 1991 … the lesson learned that inherent religious faith and nationalism are a much stronger and more profound force than Communist ideology … the lesson learned that worldwide Islamic terrorism can only be defeated by a worldwide cooperative effort … and the lesson learned that New World Order managerial globalism dehumanizes whomever it touches and destroys those traditions and that independence that make men truly human and free.

Debatable, yes; but certainly words to seriously consider.

*****

~ Dr. Boyd D. Cathey is an Unz Review columnist, as well as a Barely a Blog contributor, whose work is easily located on this site under the “BAB’s A List” search category. Dr. Cathey earned an MA in history at the University of Virginia (as a Thomas Jefferson Fellow), and as a Richard M Weaver Fellow earned his doctorate in history and political philosophy at the University of Navarra, Pamplona, Spain. After additional studies in theology and philosophy in Switzerland, he taught in Argentina and Connecticut before returning to North Carolina. He was State Registrar of the North Carolina State Archives before retiring in 2011. In addition to writing for The Unz Review, Cathey writes for The Abbeville Institute, Confederate Veteran magazine, The Remnant, and other publications in the United States and Europe on a variety of topics, including politics, social and religious questions, film, and music.

If Only Trump Had Russia Expert Stephen Cohen Speak For Him

Donald Trump, Foreign Policy, Media, Politics, Russia

Witnessed today, explains Stephen Cohen, professor emeritus of Russian studies at Princeton University, is “A new detente, anti-cold war partnership between Presidents Trump and Putin. Attempts to sabotage it [continue to] escalate. … [Still], this is the most fateful meeting between an American and Russian president since the wartime. The reason being that the relationship between the two countries is so dangerous right now. Trump could have been cowed by the Russia Gate attacks on him, yet he was not. Trump was politically courageous.”

Important things were decided upon. The president emerged as a statesman, contends Cohen, who had witnessed other summits with Russians under previous American presidents, including Bush I.

Professor S. Cohen is the man who ought to be speaker for the Trump Admin on Russian affairs, but he won’t be, because the president has surrounded himself with philosophical enemies, daughter included.