Category Archives: Middle East

That’s Why We Elected Him: TRUMP Was OUR President, Not The World’s Tool

Bush, China, COVID-19, Donald Trump, Foreign Policy, Middle East

Coming from the liberal Economist, an accounting of Donald Trump’s foreign policy achievements carries more force. While to me, this is a list of Trump’s achievements, to the Economist, it is a list of the president’s failures. (Inquiring minds should always read the reasonable opposition, which means sources outside America.)

Before cussing him out, they write: “Donald Trump has given American foreign policy a bracing bolt.

The area where Mr Trump has shaken things up most is in relations with China, the single biggest issue in American foreign policy. Such a rattling may have been coming anyway because of China’s growing aggression. But Trumpists believe the president’s new realism marked a decisive break with the Democrats’ tendency to favour process over outcomes.

According to this narrative, Americans naively thought that opening up to China and letting it join the WTO in 2001 would in time encourage it to become more liberal and democratic. The opposite has happened. China exploited the West’s openness in order to steal its intellectual property. Under its increasingly authoritarian president, Xi Jinping, it has become a fiercer economic rival, as well as a more powerful one. It has continued to build up its armed forces and to bully its neighbours. It was left to Mr Trump to challenge the idea that this was unstoppable.

Toughness towards China has become a rare area of bipartisan consensus in America. The administration has started to shift attitudes elsewhere, too. It successfully urged Britain to shun Huawei, a Chinese telecoms giant, for its 5G telecoms network. More allies are expected to fall into line. Mr Pottinger says that Europe is “18-24 months behind us, but moving at the same speed and direction”. In Asia, America’s embrace of the phrase “a free and open Indo-Pacific”, expressing resistance to Chinese hegemony, has found favour from India to Indonesia, much to China’s annoyance. …

COVID-related:

Mr Trump’s response to covid-19 has shown this approach at its worst. In the midst of a global pandemic he chose to attack and abandon the World Health Organisation, the body responsible for tackling such crises. Where the world would normally expect America to take a lead, or at least to try to, it found an administration more interested in blaming others and shunning global efforts. Something similar goes for the greater crisis beyond covid, that of climate change: a repudiation of international efforts and wilful negligence at home. Every such American retreat from the international system is seen in Beijing as a chance to advance China’s claims.

It’s the platform Trump was elected on: look after neglected and impoverished Americans. America First.

The second area of damage is Mr Trump’s sidelining of his allies, who have frequently had no prior warning of major developments such as America’s abandoning of the Kurds in Syria or its reduction of forces in Germany. America’s alliances can act as a force-multiplier, turning its quarter or so of world GDP into a coalition accounting for some 60% of the world economy, far harder for China or Russia (neither of which has a network of permanent allies) to resist. Yet Mr Trump has taken allies for granted and belittled their leaders while flattering Presidents Putin and Xi. Foreign-policy get-togethers are awash with worries over “Westlessness”.

Amazing: Our allies seem to think that the role of an American government is to work for them, instead of for the American People.

My take on the Kurds, for whom I feel enormously, is a little unusual, articulated in “Bush Betrays The Kurds” and “Masada On Mount Sinjar“: Israel was missing in action on the Yazidi’s Masada odyssey and on matters Kurd. The Kurds are Israel’s responsibility. READ.
Similarly, the Palestinian refugees should have been a regional problem, in particular, the problem of the wealthy Arab countries.

 

UPDATED: If They Can’t Kill Directly, US Neocons Steal From Iranians To Starve ‘Em

Barack Obama, Foreign Policy, Iran, Justice, Middle East, Military, Neoconservatism, Political Economy

If they are not permitted to invade countries not theirs, US neoconservative, Deep-State establishments, like the U.S. Justice Department, find ways to kill indirectly.

From their standpoint, American men and matériel should be allowed to reach all corners of the world. If they can’t move in directly for the kill, these mercenaries will find ways to kill indirectly.

The neoconservative faction is unperturbed by the fact that Iran has been crippled economically; that millions live below the poverty line there because of constant economic sanctions, cheered by chubby Michael Pompeo, US secretary of state.

Likewise, under Barack Obama’s reign of terror abroad—the Iranian currency lost 65 percent of its value and endured a SWIFT and devastating eviction from the Society for Worldwide Interbank Financial Telecommunication.

Iranians are starving, due to sanction. So, what does the US do? Steal the oil they own and are trying to sell to stay alive.

On Friday, the DoJ announced the U.S. had seized more than 1.1 million barrels of petroleum, owned by the Iranian Revolutionary Guard Corps, from four merchant tankers bound for Venezuela.

“The government announced today that it has successfully executed the seizure order and confiscated the cargo from all four vessels, totaling approximately 1.116 million barrels of petroleum. With the assistance of foreign partners, this seized property is now in U.S. custody,” reads a statement from the Department of Justice.
“These actions represent the government’s largest-ever seizure of fuel shipments from Iran.”

… A seizure order for the cargo from all four vessels was issued by U.S. District Court Judge Jeb Boasberg of the U.S. District Court for the District of Columbia,” reads the statement.

The nature of the political dispensation in Iran is none of America’s business. Poverty and hunger are widespread in “rich” America. Iranians do not fix on invading us and replacing our immiserating leaders.

Image: 57 Million Below the Poverty Line

UPDATE (8/17):
Facebook has censored my anti-starving-Iran post: https://lnkd.in/grX-57k My anti-starving-and-stealing-from-Iran blog post is here. Who would have thunk? It’s a pretty conventional, anti-starving-Iranian position, common among principled libertarians

Iranians have not killed and maimed and terrorized Americans; Saudi Arabians have!! For another, why suddenly such belief in what US intelligence “says” a/b anything? Lastly: regional conflicts. Let Israel & Saudis police their neighborhoods.

UPDATED (1/16): NEW COLUMN: Should The U.S. Be The Globe’s Judge, Jury & Executioner?

Foreign Policy, Intelligence, Iran, Iraq, Middle East, Ron Paul, War

NEW COLUMN is: “Should The U.S. Be The Globe’s Judge, Jury & Executioner?” It’s currently on The Unz Review, WND and “The Ludwig von Mises Centre for Property & Freedom.”

An excerpt:

Qassim Soleimani, an Iranian major general, was assassinated by a U.S. drone air strike, at the Baghdad International Airport (BIAP). Soleimani was traveling with one Abu Mahdi al-Muhandis. Al-Muhandis was an Iraqi, born and bred. He was even elected to the Iraqi Parliament, in 2005, until the U.S. intervened. (Yes, we intervene in other nations’ elections.)

Iraq’s caretaker prime minister, Adel Abdul Mahdi, was furious, denouncing “What happened [as] a political assassination.” Unanimously, Iraqi lawmakers “responded to the Soleimani assassination by passing a nonbinding resolution calling on the government to end foreign-troop presence in Iraq.”

Yes, it’s a complicated region. And America, sad to say, still doesn’t know Shia from Shinola.

The consensus in our country is that “Soleimani deserved to die.” That’s the party-line on Fox News—and beyond. It’s how assorted commentators on all networks prefaced their “positions” on the Jan. 3 killing of this Iraqi-born, Iranian general.

Even Tucker Carlson—the only mainstream hope for Old Right, anti-war, America-First columns like this one—framed the taking out of Soleimani as the killing of a bad guy by good guys:

“There are an awful lot of bad people in this world. We can’t kill them all, it’s not our job.”

However you finesse it, the premise of Tucker’s assertion is that the American government, and the smart set who live in symbiosis with it, gets to adjudicate who’s bad and who’s good in the world.

The debate is only ever over whether the U.S. government should or shouldn’t act on its divine rights as transnational judge, jury and executioner, never over what’s right and what’s wrong.

Stateside, the only inquiry permissible is a cost-benefit calculus. Will the assassination of Soleimani, a military official of a sovereign state, and an avid and effective slayer of Islamic State terrorists—pay strategic dividends for America in the long run?

This is crass pragmatism bereft of principle. It’s currently on display everywhere, even surfacing on BBC News, where a female analyst, an American, was deploying the childish “bad man” meme to outline America’s Disneyfied foreign policy.

This angels-and-demons production always starts with the prototypical evil dictator who was alleged to be messing with his noble people, until the avenging, angelic empire sent a drone to the rescue.

Again, even Tucker, whose antiwar credentials in recent years have been impeccable, conceded that this Soleimani guy probably needed killing, which is the same thing Iraqis old enough to remember America’s destruction of Iraq, circa 2003, would say about President George W. Bush, Dick Cheney, Don Rumsfeld and Ms. Rice.

So, who’s right? Or, is blind patriotism predicated on accepting that it is up to the U.S. government and its ruling elites to determine who lives and who dies around the world? …

… READ The Rest. The complete column, “Should The U.S. Be The Globe’s Judge, Jury & Executioner?“, is currently on The Unz Review, WND and “The Ludwig von Mises Centre for Property & Freedom.”

UPDATED I (1/16):Mercer has written one of her best and most well balanced …” on Soleimani and US foreign policy.”

UPDATE II: 

“The reverend name is Ibrahim Naseir. His church in Aleppo was destroyed by NATO-sponsored fundamental Jihadists. The same terrorists who almost ethnically cleansed Syrian Christians from their towns and cities. General Soleimani crushed those Jihadists.”

Why President Trump Has Struggled To Interest Voters In Ending America’s Futile Wars

Donald Trump, Foreign Policy, Iraq, Middle East, War

“The wars in Iraq and Afghanistan have cost most Americans nothing.” says The Economist. Relatively few Americans have been personally touched. “That is why they continue.”

For once, the left-liberal magazine credits President Trump for trying to bring an end to what are “unproductive conflicts” [to put it mildly].

… [the] country has been remarkably unscathed by two decades at war. Iraq and Afghanistan vets represent much less than 1% of the population. America lost eight times as many soldiers in Vietnam, in less than half the time, when its population was two-thirds the current size. The number of recent wounded is correspondingly modest and most have been looked after with immense skill and no expense spared, as is right. Otherwise, few Americans have been touched by the conflicts at all.
… the wars have been funded by debt. Most Americans have had little reason to think their country is even at war. And lucky them because war is hell. But this disconnect helps explain why the country’s civil-military relations are as distant as they are. It also helps explain how America came to be locked in such long and largely unproductive conflicts in the first place. Its voters started to reckon with the rights and wrongs of the Vietnam war—then demand accountability for it—only after they felt its sting. By contrast Donald Trump, who almost alone among national politicians decries the latest conflicts, has struggled to interest voters in them—or indeed end them.

Though mostly wrong on the details, the president raises an important question of the long wars. What have they achieved? After thanking Mr Butler and Mr Dwyer for their service on Veterans Day (a ritual neither wounded man greatly enjoys, incidentally), their well-wishers might want to ponder that.?

MORE.

* Image courtesy The Economist.