Category Archives: Foreign Policy

Unchanging Foreign Policy

Foreign Policy, libertarianism, Middle East, War

Why are we still at war in Afghanistan?

Why are we dropping bombs in Afghanistan?

Why have we been “helping” Afghanistan for 10 years or more?

Why is anyone giving the time of day to Carly Fiorina or armchair warrior Marco Rubio, when they’re both spoiling for fights that’ll dwarf the wars Obama has waged on Libya, in Syria and Afghanistan?

Why is Rand Paul the only one asking?


WOLF BLITZER: Let me get your reaction to what we just heard from the executive director of Doctors Without Borders, who doesn’t believe it was a mistake, that it was deliberate, that it was potentially a war crime. Your reaction?

PAUL: You know, there’s been a lot of confusion in the response. Was it an accident or was it done on purpose? It appears as if the coordinates were given to somebody, because they kept repeatedly bombing the same site. But I think it goes to a bigger question, and this is a question that President Obama should have to answer, why are we still at war in Afghanistan? What is the U.S. objective? What’s the U.S. mission? And why are we bombing anybody in Afghan?

I think we had a clear cut mission after 9/11, but that’s been long gone for many years now. And I think really that the Afghans need to step up and defend themselves. But there’s no reason for the U.S. to be involved there at all at this point. And tragic accidents will happen when you’re involved with war, but I don’t see why we’re still involved in Afghanistan.

BLITZER: Well, I’m going to get to that in a moment, but you’re a physician, you’re a doctor, do you agree with the executive director of Doctors Without Borders that in addition to the U.S. investigation, the NATO investigation, the Afghan investigation, there should also be an impartial outside international investigation?

PAUL: Yes, I don’t mind an outside international investigation, but somebody needs to step up and say, why are we there and what is the policy? Doctors and hospitals should never be targeted, and so that’s completely unacceptable. But if it’s an accident, it’s still a bad policy because why are we dropping bombs in Afghanistan. We’ve been helping them for 10 years or more. They should step up and they should be able to combat against any insurgency. And there is not a clear-cut U.S. role. And if we’re to be back at war in Afghanistan, the president should come to Congress and ask for permission, and we should say why we are at war and have a debate over that, but we shouldn’t be in perpetual war all around the globe.

BLITZER: The argument is, if the U.S., the NATO allies, were to completely pull out, it would be a disaster. The Taliban, potentially, could take over and Afghanistan would be back to where it was before 9/11.

PAUL: Well, I guess my question would be, why? We’ve given them billions and billions of dollars. We’ve spent more in Afghanistan than we did in the Marshall Plan. Why can’t they defend themselves after a decade? Will we have to defend them in perpetuity? No, I don’t think we should have a perpetual war over there and I think often people will not stand up and defend themselves if we’re doing the defending. So they are doing more of the ground activity, but I think their entire defense, minus maybe some armaments and some support, but really we should not be at war in Afghanistan. They should be able, after a decade or more, to defend themselves.

BLITZER: What about the Russian involvement in Syria right now? If you were president of the United States, what would you do about that?

PAUL: Well, I think the first thing that’s very, very important is to have open lines of communication. We have some in the primary, Carly Fiorina mostly, who says she doesn’t want to talk to Putin and she’s ready to use force against the Russians. Well, man, are we lucky she wasn’t president during the Cold War because we did keep open lines of communication throughout the Cold War. We’re in very close proximity over there. and the last thing we need is an accident where we shoot down one of the Russians or vice versa. So I think we need to know where everyone is flying, what everyone’s role is and if we can find common ground with trying to destroy ISIS. And I’m very worried about an accident happening over there and I’m also very worried about some Republicans who want to have no dialogue, because that’s a recipe for a disaster.

[13:20:10] BLITZER: So you basically want — what you’ve described in the past to me as a noninterventionist policy. You’re not an isolationist, but you want to be really careful about the U.S. getting involved in places like Afghanistan, Iraq, Syria, other international hot spots?

PAUL: But the interesting thing, it’s kind of the opposite of isolationism. I’m for diplomatic engagement. The people like Carly Fiorina, they want to diplomatically isolate us and not have any discussions with Putin. I think that is very much a mistake. So I’m for diplomatic engagement. I am for being involved. And I am for saying, you know what, let’s be very careful that we don’t do something rash that might start world war three.

And let’s also realize from history how we got to this point. Saddam Hussein, once he was toppled, made Iran stronger. Iran and Iraq are now allies. They’re also allies with Syria. Now they’re allied with Russia. So I would argue that the Iraq War was a mistake and it actually enabled Russia to become stronger in the region, and that’s what we need to think about before we topple another dictator, what are the unintended consequences of toppling dictators in the Middle East?

BLITZER: If you were elected president, on a domestic issue, what, if anything, would you do to tighten up gun control issues in the United States?

PAUL: Well, I think it’s a terrible tragedy and, you know, my heart goes out to the families. I’ve got a couple kids in college and in high school, and I can’t imagine, you know, something like that happening in a school. But the thing is, they already have universal registration in Oregon. They have significant gun registration laws. And I just don’t think that more controls are the answer.

I do think that we should not preannounce to the public, to the potentially crazy and homicidal people out there that there are places they can go to shoot people. And that’s what we’ve done with our schools. We say, well, there are no armed guards, there are no armed teachers, there are no armed off duty policemen, and I think that’s a mistake. I think we should do the opposite. I think we should announce across America that there are not going to be gun-free zones where you can go and shoot people. And I think if we did, that there is some deterrent effect.

I believe the same for our commercial airliners. After 9/11, I was a big proponent of making sure our pilots were armed and I have bills now to try to facilitate that. I want every potential jihadists and terrorist in the world to know that our pilots are armed and that if you come into the cockpit, you will be shot. And so I think there is a deterrent effect from guns. There obviously is the destruction when a crazy people uses a gun, but there also can be deterrents from guns. And I saw an example yesterday. I think it was a vo-lock (ph) conspiracy website was talking about many instances where shooters have been stopped by having an armed person in the right place at the right time. BLITZER: Senator Paul, thanks very much for joining us.

Via CNN.

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Good Vs. Bad Collateral Damage; American Vs. Russian Killing

Foreign Policy, Middle East, War

From Afghanistan comes news of the toll the US’s ongoing, indiscriminate bombing is taking on the long-suffering people of the region: “Possible US airstrike in Afghanistan kills at least 19 at Doctors Without Borders hospital.”

Deranged ex-military men such as Col Ralph Peters, David Hunt or Oliver North will make the case that a good country killing (US) is not the same as a bad country killing (Russia in Syria). Homegrown chicken-hawks like Chucky Krauthammer will concur.

Tell that to those whose lungs are airless, whose hearts are not beating, and whose eyes and limbs are missing. They are not free and will never be free.

Via Target Liberty (where you can also catch “Lady Di of The Papacy,” if you missed it elsewhere):

Médecins Sans Frontières said 37 people were seriously wounded, 19 medical staff among them.
“We are deeply shocked by the attack, the killing of our staff and patients and the heavy toll it has inflicted on healthcare in Kunduz,” said Bart Janssens, director of operations for MSF.

“We do not yet have the final casualty figures but our medical team are providing first aid and treating the injured patients and MSF personnel and accounting for the deceased.”

Is should be noted that this US bombing attackkilled more innocents than Christopher Harper-Mercer did this week at Umpqua Community College in Roseburg, Oregon.

Just hours before the incident, on Friday evening, the US state department issued a joint statement with the government’s of France, Germany, Qatar, Saudi Arabia, Turkey and the UK castigating Russia for causing “civilian casualties [which] will only fuel more extremism and radicalisation,” reports FT.

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No Wonder Assad Needs A Sugar Daddy

Foreign Policy, Islam, John McCain, Middle East, Neoconservatism, Russia

Crazy neoconservative John McCain has repeated his crazy talk to the effect that Bashar Assad is the father of ISIS. The guy doesn’t know Shia from Shinola. As an Alawite, Al-Assad belongs to the opposing, Shia strand of Islam.

Like the Iranians, Assad is enemy of ISIS. (Another forgetful folk are the Israelis, who’ve forgotten that Assad’s grandfather, a wise man, was a Zionist.)

The neocons destabilized the Middle East all by their lonesome. Now American mainstream think tanks are framing strongman Assad for what they wrought and have trained their sights on him. The neocon ghouls are just waiting for a clueless clown like Marco Rubio to oblige them with a war on Syria.

Assad knows he and his family are at the mercy of loons like McMussolini; that his wife and kids will live and die by the say-so of the fools. Any wonder Assad has wisely sought out the Russians to help him stay alive?

McCain’s vacation pictures to Syria, in 2013, were snapped by his then ISIS pals. Don’t believe me? Read on.

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Marco Rubio’s Insane Ideation

Elections, Foreign Policy, Neoconservatism, Republicans, Russia

If America busies itself not with war, but with commerce, the shift in prestige will be away from politicians and back to The People and the private economy. At bottom, what neoconservative Macro Rubio is petrified about—reflexively, not consciously—is no longer being a politician in the country that is the number one bully of the world. What will the likes of Rubio and others like him do? Their ambitions will be stymied.

Marco Rubio’s rabid neoconservative ideation surfaced during the second primary season Republican debate, at the Ronald Reagan Presidential Library in Simi Valley, California:


Well, first of all, I have an understanding of exactly what it is Russia and Putin are doing, and it’s pretty straightforward. He wants to reposition Russia, once again, as a geopolitical force.

He himself said that the destruction of the Soviet Union — the fall of the Soviet Union was the greatest geopolitical catastrophe of the 20th century, and now he’s trying to reverse that.

He’s trying to destroy NATO [boohoo]. And this is what this is a part of. He is exploiting a vacuum that this administration has left in the Middle East.

Here’s what you’re gonna see in the next few weeks: the Russians will begin to fly — fly combat missions in that region, not just targeting ISIS, but in order to prop up Assad.

He will also, then, turn to other countries in the region and say, “America is no longer a reliable ally, Egypt. America is no longer a reliable ally, Saudi Arabia. Begin to rely on us.”

What he is doing is he is trying to replace us as the single most important power broker in the Middle East, and this president is allowing it. That is what is happening in the Middle East. That’s what’s happening with Russia, and…

Incidentally, CNN must have done a fair job at the debate, because Sean Hannity was going blotto on the radio, dismissing the event as no more than the political equivalent of Vince McMahon’s World Wrestling Entertainment. Juxtapose CNN’s relaxed timing with dominatrix Megyn Kelly’s whipping the men into shape—and the dialogue encouraged between candidates last night looks like another positive feature of the event. I agree with Donald Trump that the event was too long.

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At Simi Valley, Jingoism, Military Offensives, Military Build Up & An Arms Race Trump

Elections, Foreign Policy, Iran, libertarianism, Middle East, Military, Neoconservatism, Republicans

The second primary season Republican debate took place at the Ronald Reagan Presidential Library in Simi Valley, California. It didn’t disappoint. It was, as one commentator ventured, the Super Bowl of politics.

The matinee sported the least popular candidates, cobbling together a meager one percent in the polls (two are at … zero). The debate, however, was probably the more substantive of the two sessions. (Alas, as beautifully as CNN had staged the Presidential Library, the rendition of the national anthem was G-d awful. Apparently, they could not find a decent singer in Simi Valley, although, according to Yelp, there are plenty performing arts and opera studios in the vicinity.)

CNN certainly put Fox News to shame. Unlike the first primetime Republican debate, in Cleveland, Ohio, where anchor Megyn Kelly took center stage and singled out Donald Trump for a splenetic attack; CNN’s Jake Tapper (moderator), chief political correspondent Dana Bash, and Hugh Hewitt of the Salem Radio Network, concentrated the debate on the issues and the individuals behind the lecterns. (As always, nothing their in-house studio pundits predicted or advised prior to the debate transpired.)

Ms. Bash briefly did a Kelly, when she attempted to tap Jeb Bush’s anger over a quip Donald Trump had once made about Jeb’s Mexican wife influencing his perspective on immigration. Trump refused to grovel. This was good. However, he did show contrition over unkind cuts he had made about Carly Fiorina’s face. Fiorina could have cracked a smile (or maybe she couldn’t, given the possible nip-and-cuts to The Face).

Fiorina—whom media types like moron S. E. Cupp keep calling “Carly,” for some reason—is indubitably a clear and logical thinker, with a facility with the English language. What a shame that her words are those of a consummate neoconservative who wants to commit the country to a buildup of a military that is already the largest in the world, America’s, and an arms race with China and Russia.

The matinee featured two senators and two governors: the sitting senator from South Carolina, Lindsey Graham, and the former senator from Pennsylvania, Rick Santorum, as well as the sitting governor of Louisiana, Bobby Jindal, and former New York Governor George Pataki.

Pataki, it was noted, had refused to take the Trump Pledge, saying that even if Trump were the Republican nominee, he, Pataki, would not support him.

Jindal’s introduction bears repeating:

“I don’t have a famous last name. My daddy didn’t run for president. I don’t have a reality TV show. I’ll tell you what I do have, I’ve got the backbone, I’ve got the bandwidth, I’ve got the experience to get us through these tough times, to make sure that we don’t turn the American dream into the European nightmare.”

When challenged about his violation of Ronald Reagan’s 11th Commandment—against attacking fellow Republicans—Bobby Jindal responded speedily to say Donald Trump, whom he has been savaging, was neither a Republican or a conservative and would eventually implode. About the man currently in office Jindal’s remark had me laughing:

“Obama has declared war on trans fats and a truce with Iran. Think about that. He’s more worried about Twinkies than he is about the ayatollahs having a nuclear weapon.”

Jindal on immigration: Without assimilation immigration is invasion.

Lindsey Graham’s case of War Tourette’s is only getting worse.

Ask him about immigration and the answer is: We’ll fix it by going to war against ISIS.

Ask him about the economy and the answer is: 10,000 American boots on Iraq’s blood-soaked soil.

Ask him about the year of the political outsiders and his chances as an insider and the answer is: Let’s get on with winning a war, any war. Give me waaaaaaaar.

Follow up with, “Why do Republican voters view your service in government as a liability and not an asset?” and Graham replies: “Obama is making a mess of the world … I am so ready to get on with winning a war …”

With Lindsey, all roads lead to war.

It didn’t help that Graham derisively paired libertarians with vegetarians when appealing to the different constituencies that would warm to his war-all-the-time Tourette’s.

Graham is the consummate globalist. He did, however, surprise by declaring that birthright citizenship was “bastardizes citizenship.” Unlike equal-opportunity fencer Scott Walker who perceives a problem on the Canadian border, Graham, who decried birthright tourism, conceded to never meeting an illegal Canadian. Too true.

American and European governments have settled comfortably into a pattern of using the funds they extract from their overburdened taxpayers to promiscuously promote the welfare of citizens the world over. This flouts the mandate of every government! In this context, Santorum made a very important point relevant to all the communities currently being flooded by the decree of D.C., Brussels and Berlin:

“This debate should not be about what we’re going to do with someone who’s here illegally; this debate should be about what-what every other debate on every other policy issue is in America. What’s in the best interest of hardworking Americans? What’s in the best interest of our country.”

That’ll be the day.

As was the case with the Republican candidates in the previous election cycle (Mitt Romney included), no foreign policy learning curve is evident among this crop.

Indeed, by the time the two grueling sessions ended, well into the night, all 15 Republican candidates—bar Rand Paul and, to a degree, Donald Trump—had asserted that American exceptionalism lay in leading the world not in technological innovation, comity, commerce and as exemplars of individual rights—but by projecting America’s military power the world over. Somehow, the candidates viewed the US government’s bankruptcy as having no bearing on their unanimous plans for an arms race with Russia and China and renewed military offensives in the Middle East.

Rand Paul came as close as possible to the libertarian ideal on all wars, the drug war too: refrain from a rash foreign policy, engage with Russia and China, talk to the Mullahs before you “bomb, bomb, bomb, Iran” (a jingle popularized by jingoist John McCain), leave drug policy to the states (not ideal, for consumption is to be left to the individual, but better than most). To not have signed on to the bombing of Assad was a good thing. Have we learned nothing about the perils of toppling dictators, only to see the rise of barbarians worse than their predecessors?

That was Rand Paul. He did alright.

Sadly, Trump fell for the Hugh Hewitt gambit: Instead of standing with Ron Paul’s foreign policy (and capturing the Left), Trump went on to condemn the Republicans on the podium for their (short-lived) wisdom of voting against the bombing of Syria.

Rand Paul and Donald Trump excepted, all subscribe to the hackneyed lies about the root-causes of Middle-East instability and why the region’s populations are on the move (naturally, the magnet of western welfare went unmentioned): They assert Bashar Hafez al-Assad needs to be removed, when in fact he was the source of stability in Syria, much as Saddam Hussein was in Iraq.

If Assad is the reason Syrian, Iraqi and Libyan populations are emigrating en masse (NOT)—then America’s lack of a more energetic involvement in Iraq and Syria the candidates consider the solution to the problem.

Neoconservatives are still in the business of creating their own parallel reality and forcing us to inhabit the ruins.

Unless in defense of the realm, Americans are not keen on more of the same foreign-policy folly. Let us keep our military mitts to ourselves. Let us defend our own borders. That, it would seem, is the prevailing sentiment among Republicans, although not among the establishmentarians who occupied the Reagan Library for the debate.

Oh, and did I mention that, while he’s demeanor was very good, Donald Trump made absolutely no attempt to show some familiarity with the issues? Trump might want to rethink this approach, for it belies the candidate’s claim to have surrounded himself with the best people possible, or to have good judgement.

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Why Scott Walker Is A Two Percenter

Conservatism, Elections, Europe, Foreign Policy, IMMIGRATION, Middle East, Neoconservatism

Off the top of my head, let me share the unintelligent blather of Scott Walker, the man I call The Equal Opportunity Fencer (read why). Unlike the pundits who are ALWAYS wrong (as illustrated in 2004 ), yet keep returning to the national stage for encores—the base seems to have wizened up to neoconservatives like Walker. I’m really buoyed by the lack of support the likes of Walker and Bobby Jindal are getting from the GOP base: two and zero percent, respectively, in the latest Washington Post-ABC News Poll.

Oblivious to the poor marks his opinions have received from the public, Walker waffled to Sean Hannity about the refugees currently immobilizing life in Germany, Hungary, Austria ect.

First there were the obligatory expressions of empathy for the incomers. Not a word of sympathy was offered up by the host or his guest for the Europeans whose communities are being flooded by decree from Brussels and Berlin.

Next came Walker’s neocon, hackneyed lies about the root-causes of the migration problem (naturally, the magnet of welfare went unmentioned): Bashar Hafez al-Assad needs to be removed (Really? He was the source of stability in Syria, much like Saddam Hussein was in Iraq).

If the root causes of refugee influx into Europe is America’s lack of a more energetic involvement in Iraq and Syria—then Walker has the solution the Republican base is rejecting: back in we go.

Not for nothing is Walker a two percenter. Unless in defense of the realm, Americans are not keen on more of the same foreign-policy folly. Let us keep our military mitts to ourselves. Let us defend our own borders. That’s finally the prevailing sentiment among Republicans.

What else did Walker do to promote his brand of stupidity? For having the perspicacity to see something unique in the Trump phenomenon, GOPers have been maligned by pundits as stupid, ignorant, mere reality show watchers. Walker does not go so far. But he does dismiss the undeniable fact that Republicans are seething with good, honest rage. To the contrary, claimed Walker, singing from the same hymn sheet Republicans sang from in the last election cycle. The people are never angry. (What’s wrong with righteous anger? Nothing!). The people only want brainiacs like him to stop the gridlock and “get things done.”

Fuck off, Scott walker. As I read it, the base wants government to reverse the things it has done; to repeal laws, wars, and to do no harm.

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