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Reasons to Risk Nuclear Annihilation

By Robert Parry | Consortium News | November 8, 2016

Obviously, I never wanted to see a nuclear war, which would likely kill not only me but my children, grandchildren, relatives, friends and billions of others. We’d be incinerated in the blast or poisoned by radiation or left to starve in a nuclear winter.

But at least I always assumed that this horrific possibility would only come into play over something truly worthy, assuming that anything would justify the mass extinction of life on the planet.

Now, however, Official Washington’s neocons and liberal interventionists are telling me and others that we should risk nuclear annihilation over which set of thieves gets to rule Ukraine and over helping Al Qaeda terrorists (and their “moderate” allies) keep control of east Aleppo in Syria.

In support of the Ukraine goal, there is endless tough talk at the think tanks, on the op-ed pages and in the halls of power about the need to arm the Ukrainian military so it can crush ethnic Russians in eastern Ukraine who dared object to the U.S.-backed coup in 2014 that ousted their elected President Viktor Yanukovych.

And after “liberating” eastern Ukraine, the U.S.-backed Ukrainian army would wheel around and “liberate” Crimea from Russia, even though 96 percent of Crimean voters voted to leave Ukraine and rejoin Russia – and there is no sign they want to go back.

So, the world would be risking World War III over the principle of the West’s right to sponsor the overthrow of elected leaders who don’t do what they’re told and then to slaughter people who object to this violation of democratic order.

This risk of nuclear Armageddon would then be compounded to defend the principle that the people of Crimea don’t have the right of self-determination but must submit to a corrupt post-coup regime in Kiev regardless of Crimea’s democratic judgment.

And, to further maintain our resolve in this gamble over nuclear war in defense of Ukraine, we must ignore the spectacle of the U.S.-backed regime in Kiev wallowing in graft and corruption.

While the Ukrainian people earn on average $214 a month and face neoliberal “reforms,” such as reduced pensions, extended years of work for the elderly and slashed heating subsidies, their new leaders in the parliament report wealth averaging more than $1 million in “monetary assets” each, much of it in cash.

A Troubling Departure

The obvious implication of widespread corruption was underscored on Monday with the abrupt resignation of former Georgian President Mikheil Saakashvili who was the appointed governor of Ukraine’s Odessa region.

A scene from "Dr. Strangelove," in which the bomber pilot (played by actor Slim Pickens) rides a nuclear bomb to its target in the Soviet Union.

Though Saakashvili faces charges of abusing power back in Georgia, he was nevertheless put in charge of Odessa by current President Petro Poroshenko, but has now quit (or was ousted) amid charges and counter-charges about corruption.

Noting the mysterious wealth of Ukraine’s officials, Saakashvili denounced the country’s rulers as “corrupt filth” and accused Poroshenko and his administration of sabotaging real reform.

“Odessa can only develop once Kiev will be freed from these bribe takers, who directly patronize organized crime and lawlessness,” Saakashvili said. Yes, that would be a good slogan to scribble on the side of a nuclear bomb heading for Moscow: “Defending the corrupt filth and bribe takers who patronize organized crime.”

But the recent finger-pointing about corruption is also ironic because the West cited the alleged corruption of the Yanukovych government to justify the violent putsch in February 2014 that drove him from office and sparked Ukraine’s current civil war.

Yet, the problems don’t stop with Kiev’s corruption. There is the troubling presence of neo-Nazis, ultranationalists and even Islamic jihadists assigned to the Azov battalion and other military units sent east to the front lines to kill ethnic Russians.

On top of that, United Nations human rights investigators have accused Ukraine’s SBU intelligence service of hiding torture chambers.

But we consumers of the mainstream U.S. media’s narrative are supposed to see the putschists as the white hats and Yanukovych (who was excoriated for having a sauna in his official residence) and Russian President Vladimir Putin as the black hats.

Though U.S. officials, such as Assistant Secretary of State Victoria Nuland, helped organize or “midwife” the coup ousting Yanukovych, we are told that the Ukraine crisis was a clear-cut case of “Russian aggression” and Crimea’s decision to secede (and rejoin Russia) was a “Russian invasion” and an “annexation.”

So, all stirred up with righteous indignation, we absorbed the explanation that economic sanctions were needed to punish Putin and to destabilize Russian society, with the hoped-for goal of another “regime change,” this time in Moscow.

We weren’t supposed to ask if anyone had actually thought through the idea of destabilizing a nuclear-armed power and the prospect that Putin’s overthrow, even if possible, might lead to a highly unstable fight for control of the nuclear codes.

Silencing Dissent

Brushing aside such worries, the neocons/liberal-hawks are confident that the answer is to move NATO forces up to Russia’s borders and to provide military training to Ukraine’s army, even to its neo-Nazi “shock troops.”

After all, when have the neocons and their liberal interventionist sidekicks ever miscalculated about anything. No fair mentioning Iraq, Afghanistan, Libya or other lucky countries that have been on the receiving end of a benighted “regime change.”

An American who protests or even mentions the risk of nuclear war is dismissed as a “Kremlin stooge” or a “Putin puppet” or a “useful fool” repeating “Russian disinformation” and assisting Moscow’s “information war” against the U.S. government.

But if you’re still a bit queasy about risking nuclear annihilation to keep some Ukrainian kleptocrats in power, there is the other cause worth having the human race die over: protecting Al Qaeda terrorists and their “moderate” rebel comrades holed up in east Aleppo.

Since these modern terrorists turn out to be highly skilled with video cameras and the dissemination of propaganda, they have created the image for Westerners that the Syrian military and its Russian allies simply want to kill as many children as possible.

Indeed, most Western coverage of the battle for Aleppo whites out the role of Al Qaeda almost completely although occasionally the reality slips through in on-the-ground reporting, along with the admission that Al Qaeda and its fellow fighters are keeping as many civilians in east Aleppo as possible, all the better to put up heartrending videos and photos on social media.

Of course, when a similar situation exists in Islamic State-held Mosul, Iraq, the mainstream Western media dutifully denounces the tactic of keeping children in a war zone as the cynical use of “human shields,” thus justifying Iraqi and U.S. forces killing lots of civilians during their “liberation.” The deaths are all the enemy’s fault.

However, when the shoe is on the Syrian/Russian foot, we’re talking about “war crimes” and the need to invade Syria to establish “safe zones” and “no-fly zones” even if that means killing large numbers of additional Syrians and shooting down Russian warplanes.

After all, isn’t the protection of Al Qaeda terrorists worth the risk of starting World War III with nuclear-armed Russia? And if Al Qaeda isn’t worth fighting a nuclear war to defend, what about the thieves in Ukraine and their neo-Nazi shock troops? Calling Dr. Strangelove.

November 8, 2016 Posted by | Militarism | , , | Leave a comment

The Neocon-Liberal alliance: Clinton coalition that could trigger WWIII

By Neil Clark | RT | November 8, 2016

hil-e1478542286292The 2016 US Presidential election has seen a coming together of hard-core Bush-era neocons and the anti-Bush liberal-left in support of the candidacy of Hillary Rodham Clinton.

The unofficial coalition, which looks likely to help propel the Democratic nominee to the White House (if the polls are to believed), will have surprised many, but it’s not the first time self-identified progressives have – wittingly or unwittingly – aided the cause of the most reactionary people in western politics.

The neocons: a group of ultra-hawkish hard-right imperialists, who are quite happy for the US to illegally invade other sovereign states and drop bombs all over the world. The liberal-left: who profess their support for human rights, internationalism and progressive causes.

At first sight, these two groups don’t appear to have much in common. But the truth is the liberal-left have for a long time been the accomplices of the endless war lobby.

Think back to 1999 and the US-led bombing of Yugoslavia. Never mind that the Balkan state was a multi-party democracy that operated an economy with very high levels of public/social ownership: the liberal-left cheered as bombs rained down on Belgrade, Nis and Kragujevac. Many ‘progressives’ swallowed hook, line and sinker the lurid claims of a ‘genocide’ being committed in the province of Kosovo, which were later dismissed by a UN court.

Although it was promoted as a ‘humanitarian’ venture, the bombing of Yugoslavia was in fact a hard-right project pushed by fiercely anti-socialist/anti-communist Cold War warriors.

It’s worth noting the names on the Executive Committee of the ‘Balkan Action Committee’ which lobbied hard for war against Yugoslavia in 1999. They included Richard Perle, Paul Wolfowitz and Donald Rumsfeld – three men we would all hear a lot more from in the build-up to war with Iraq.

The liberal-left were also broadly on board for the invasion of Afghanistan in 2001, an assault we were told would greatly help women’s rights.

However, in 2003, there was a break between most of the liberal-left and the neocons over the invasion of Iraq. This military aggression, unlike the one against Yugoslavia, was led by a Republican president. George W. Bush, the man at the helm, was too much of a Texan ‘redneck’ for educated liberal-leftists to support.

Progressives who had no problem with backing an illegal war against Yugoslavia, found they did have a problem backing an illegal war against Iraq.

In the end, the only ‘liberals’ who supported the Iraq invasion were neo-cons masquerading as liberals, and we all saw through their disguise.

In 2011, though it was ‘business as usual’ for the neocon/liberal-left alliance as a ‘nice’ Democrat administration helped destroy Libya – the country which had the highest living standards in Africa – and whose ‘tyrannical’ government provided free health care, education, and electricity to all of its citizens.

Again, this was a military assault which was pushed by neocons, the same crowd who’d lobbied for war against Yugoslavia and Iraq. Once again the liberal-left didn’t seem to notice, or indeed to care, who was behind it.

The toppling of Muammar Gaddafi (the latest neocon-designated ‘New Hitler’ who was hell-bent on ‘genocide’), would lead to a more democratic Libya with major advances in human rights, liberal-leftists assured us. In fact, the NATO attack on Libya turned the country into a failed state and a haven for jihadists.

Hillary Clinton, as Secretary of State in 2011, played a prominent role in the destruction of Libya – so much so that Wikileaks founder Julian Assange, in a recent interview with John Pilger, has labelled it ‘Hillary’s war.’

But Libya has been quietly forgotten during the Presidential election campaign, as indeed has the Iraq war.

Liberal-leftists who couldn’t bear the sight of George W. Bush are lining up with pro-Iraq war hawks to try and get HRC elected.

Film-maker Michael Moore, who made the fiercely anti-Bush documentary, Fahrenheit 9-11, finds himself on the same side as Bush’s speechwriter David Frum and Robert Kagan, co-founder of the Project for the New American Century. That would have seemed unthinkable a few years back, but it’s happening today, folks.

Why are America’s liberal-left doing this? It’s not as if Trump or Clinton are the only options: Dr Jill Stein’s policies on social justice, war and peace, and climate change are far more progressive than Clinton’s. Why, instead of backing Stein, are they enabling Washington’s war lobby again, just as they did in 1999 and in 2011 during the bombing of Libya? Don’t they ever learn their lesson? How naive are liberals to be fooled by the sudden neo-con concern for ‘women’s rights’ and the rights of immigrants and gay people?

Make no mistake, the PNAC crowd are backing Clinton, not because they are appalled at sexist/racist or politically incorrect statements made by Donald Trump, but because they believe HRC will be the candidate who is more likely to continue the policy of endless war. More specifically, in regards to Syria, they want a US President who will prioritize on toppling the secular government of President Assad – not defeating ISIS. Trump’s great ‘crime’ in their eyes is that he does want to prioritize on ISIS – and horror of horrors – to work with Russia to defeat terrorism.

As America goes to the polls today, the stakes could not be higher. Clinton’s support for the imposition of a No-Fly Zone against Russian and Syrian aircraft risks starting World War Three, and the deaths of potentially hundreds of thousands, if not millions of people.

Is that what the ‘progressives’ who are lining up with the destroyers of Iraq really want?

Follow Neil Clark on Twitter @NeilClark66

Read more:

Milosevic exonerated, as the NATO war machine moves on

November 8, 2016 Posted by | Deception, Militarism, Timeless or most popular | , | 2 Comments

Another U.S. Massacre in Afghanistan

By Jacob G. Hornberger | FFF | November 7, 2016

The latest massacre of many innocent people by U.S. forces in Afghanistan provides another demonstration as to why it is imperative that the American people stop deferring to the authority of the national security state and demand the immediate withdrawal of all U.S. forces from Afghanistan.

In a war that has now gone on for 16 years, U.S. forces just killed at least 32 more civilians, many of whom were children. Another 25 people were wounded. Of course, this is on top of all the wedding parties, hospitals, and other victims of U.S. bombing attacks that have brought the death toll from U.S. interventionism in Afghanistan to more than 200,000, not to mention the wounded, maimed, homeless, and refugees. In the last seven days alone, 95 civilians have been killed in Afghanistan and 111 injured.

How many of those 30 people, including the children, who are now being buried had anything to do with the 9/11 attacks? It is a virtual certainty that none of them did.

How did this latest U.S. massacre occur? Afghan government forces, assisted by U.S. troops, decided to raid a home in a densely populated neighborhood in a village where a Taliban commander was supposedly having a meeting. The soldiers got trapped in a narrow dead-end street, where they began taking enemy fire from surrounding homes.

So, what did they do? Naturally, to save their lives, they called in air strikes, which necessarily involved firing missiles into the neighborhood, which killed those 32 people, including children.

The U.S. military’s position is the standard one: The military regrets the loss of innocent life but, they say, they didn’t really have a choice. If they didn’t fire the missiles, the U.S. and Afghan troops would be killed. If they did fire the missiles, the innocent people living in the neighborhood would die. Not surprisingly, the military chose to protect the lives of the soldiers at the expense of those innocent people living in the neighborhood.

But let’s be mindful of an important fact: If U.S. troops had not still be intervening in Afghanistan, there never would have been a U.S. bombing raid on that neighborhood.

How do the people who survived the massacre feel about what happened? Not surprisingly, they were chanting “Death to America!” Americans should think about that the next time there is a terrorist attack in the United States.

Despite the bombing attack, two U.S. soldiers — Captain Andrew Byers and Sgt. First Class Ryan Gloyer — were killed in the battle.

What did they die for? No, they did not die protecting our freedom or keeping us safe. That’s nothing but pabulum for the families of those two soldiers — to make them feel okay about losing their loved ones. They died for nothing, the same thing that those 58,000 plus U.S. soldiers died for in Vietnam.

Freedom and security of the American people have nothing to do with America’s 16-year war in Afghanistan. The Taliban are not coming to get us, any more than the North Vietnamese were coming to get us. The conflict in Afghanistan is nothing more than a civil war, one in which one side is battling to oust a regime that has been installed into power by the U.S. government.

Once the U.S. presidential race is over — a race in which the 16-year-old war in Afghanistan has barely been mentioned — the American people need to demand an immediate end to the U.S. occupation of Afghanistan. Continued U.S. interventionism is accomplishing nothing positive and is only pouring fuel on the fire, making matters worse for everyone, including innocent women, children, and others in Afghanistan.

November 8, 2016 Posted by | Illegal Occupation, Militarism, Timeless or most popular, War Crimes | , | 1 Comment

Clinton, Reno and Waco: the Real Story

By Michael Leon | CounterPunch | November 8, 2016

In Sidney Blumenthal’s book The Clinton Wars (Farrar, Straus and Giroux, 2003) he includes a passages summing up the 1993 Waco tragedy.

Writes Blumenthal (page 54):

“On February 23, 1993 agents of the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco and Firearms surrounded a compound outside Waco, Texas, housing a cult group called the Branch Davidians. Its leader, Vernon Howell, who called himself David Koresh after the biblical King David and Cyrus the Great, preached to his small band of followers that the federal government was the source of evil in the world and that they themselves represented the forces of goodness. All women were sexually shared with him as his ‘wives.’ Apocalyptic war must be waged against the government to bring about the reign of peace on earth and the second coming of the Messiah, who was himself. He stockpiled an arson of weapons. There were reports of sex abuse of children. In their effort to storm the compound four federal agents were killed. The FBI took the place of the ATF and returned on April 19, lobbing tear gas and bulldozing into the building. Suddenly, a fire consumed it. Eighty-nine people were killed, including Koresh and the children.”

Blumenthal also points out that despite criticism mostly from the political right the Clinton administration was exonerated of all charges and that the Branch Davidians were found to have to have been responsible for their own demise in the fire.

The timing of this published version of events at Waco by a key Clinton player is apropos. This spring marked the tenth anniversary of this infamous domestic slaughter, though it has been rarely acknowledged as a slaughter by the few remembrances published in April.

In memory of the 84 people killed at Waco, the standard narrative as promulgated by Blumenthal merits a challenge.

I remember Waco. In April 1993, I wrote a letter of encouragement to Attorney General Janet Reno urging her to stand tall in the shower of condemnation following the deadly FBI assault.

The media, President Clinton and government spokespersons had assured the public that in so many words the Branch Davidians were a bunch of gun-stocking, child-molesting, religious crazies, and that one David Koresh was a dangerous and depraved cult leader.

Taking the broadcast media and government spokespersons at face value I sympathized with Reno, the BATF, and the FBI in their apparent attempt to rescue children from the throes of a bunch of religious whackos. And I had little good will for the efforts of the religious-minded in general, much less these benighted clowns from Texas.

But the Waco attack and its aftermath demonstrate that a bias against the religious-minded among us can be as blinding and deafening as any religious dogma.

A gentle, earnest, and mildly unorthodox group of Americans gathering together and searching for meaning in their lives was deprived of their civil liberties, their religious community center, their home and their lives, and many of the grieving survivors were imprisoned, lied to and slandered afterwards.

Why? Because to make money in Texas some of the religious group sold and bought guns, and then reportedly screwed around with some of the guns making semi-automatics into automatics–not an exceedingly rate occurrence in Texas. And, it was reported as Blumenthal noted, that in accordance with their interpretation of Biblical scripture, David Koresh had parent-sanctioned sexual relationships with teenage women in the community in an apparent effort to repopulate the planet in their reading of God’s Biblical Prophecy. Hardly capital offenses.

Setting the Record Straight

Reno wrote me back a brief note a few weeks later that she supported a full investigation into the events and circumstances of the two deadly government assaults on Waco. Not surprisingly, the subsequent government-sponsored investigations –including former Republican Senator John Danforth’s (as special counsel for the department of Justice)–exonerated the BATF and FBI.

And a bullying political offensive launched by congressional Democrats in the 1995 Joint Sub-Committee Hearings, (with detestable performances by then-Rep. Chuck Schumer D-New York and Rep Tom Lantos D-California) aimed to head off the political damage to the Clinton administration through a mean-spirited attempt to smear anyone as part of the “lunatic fringe” who dared to question the BATF and FBI and ultimately the Clinton administration for its 1993 killing of 80 innocents.

Denial of civil liberties, rampant and deadly police/military power, cover-ups, and bullying political offensives. Does that sound like anything happening today? It surly does, except in 1993 we had an opposition party (as wrong-headed in most other matters as they were and are) with the requisite backbone to come out and call a spade a spade, and not be bullied into silence. Judged solely in terms of guts, a solid sense of right and wrong, and the truth of conviction, I will take the 1993-94 Republicans over today’s supine Democrats any day.

For the record, we can remember Waco by considering the following points of an alternative narrative of the FBI attack that is overwhelmingly supported by the evidence:

–The reported Koresh sexual irregularities were not under the jurisdiction of the BATF and FBI, and no evidence of sexual abuse was ever made public. The allegations were simply reported in the press after being pushed by some in the Waco religious community with a theological ax to grind against Koresh and echoed by the Clinton administration, and then becoming conventional wisdom.

–The whole pre-February 28 investigation and raid smelled of a political stunt against an easy target designed to protect and enhance the reputation of a near-rogue agency, the BATF. Basically, the BATF were looking for a loud and safe gunfight.

–That the FBI lied about the lethality of the CS gas (a type of tear gas) used against the Branch Davidian community center banned by the Geneva Convention for use in warfare.

–The FBI lied about the presence of fragmentation grenades at the scene, which have no use except to kill people.

–The FBI lied about shooting machine gun fire into the building.

–The FBI initially lied to Janet Reno about babies being beaten by the Branch Davidians.

For insightful analyses of Waco, recommended reading is: David Thibodeau. “A Place Called Waco” (BBS, 1999), lauded by Howard Zinn as “An extraordinary account of one of the most shameful episodes in recent American history.” And, James Tabor and Eugene Gallagher. “Why Waco, Cults and the Battle for Religious Freedom in America” (University of California Press, 1995), described by Ramsey Clark as “a critically important book… ”

But it is a film that graphically illustrates the horror of the attacks and the mendacity of the government line–the Grammy-winning, Oscar-nominated documentary “Waco: The Rules of Engagement (1997),” (www.waco93.com). To this day the executive producer Dan Gifford, a former reporter for ABC, CNN and the McNeil Lehrer Report, remains incensed at the way critics of the government assaults on Waco, including him, have been painted out-of-hand as somehow belonging to the lunatic fringe sympathetic to blowing up federal buildings.

Politics and Violence

Waco, Ruby Ridge, MOVE, Wounded Knee, Kent State, Jackson State, deadly attacks on citizens working for labor and civil rights, and the numerous wars against perceived international enemies of the moment. Government violence is government violence, irrespective of whom the victims are; and in this case that still directly affects the lives of 100s the American left and liberal/left’s response has been inadequate to hostile.

One historical truth is that the raison d’etre for war and government violence generally is a damn lie.

In 1994, with memories of Waco and the Republican and citizens’ vocal challenges to the Waco murders ringing in the political culture, Republicans swept into control of the Senate and House.

For Democrats today, there is perhaps a political lesson to be learned –Speak the truth loudly to those in power, and speak out for the victims of violence. For the survivors and the victims of Waco, there should have been a loud acknowledgment of the truth at Waco: You were murdered because you were different and were thought to be an easy target for a duplicitous and violent federal agency.

In Gifford’s film Waco: The Rules of Engagement, a powerful interview segment presents a sympathetic Sheriff Jack Harwell of McLennan County, Texas nearly in tears as he speaks of his experience with the Branch Davidians: “They were all good people. They had different beliefs than others, different beliefs than I have, maybe different beliefs than you have in their way of life, especially in their religious beliefs. But basically they were good people I was around them quite a lot. They were always nice, mannerly, they minded their own business. They were always clean, and courteous. I liked them.”

In the face of continued government violence and its intimate relative, mendacity, one can take solace in the fact that in the work of a handful of people of all political stripes who identified with the victims of violence the truth can still emerge.

Democrats seeking the truth about war today and the path to an election victory in 2004 can take a cue from Waco–the American electorate does not like liars and accessories to mass killing in charge of its government. But the truth needs to be told.

A version of this article was published by CounterPunch in June 2003.

November 8, 2016 Posted by | Civil Liberties, Deception, Timeless or most popular | , , | 1 Comment

Raqqa rift: State Dept says US leaves once ISIS ousted, military plan to hold & govern city

RT | November 8, 2016

US officials are split over the future of Raqqa, Syria, with some claiming all international forces will leave the city once it is freed from terrorists, and others announcing plans to stay to ‘govern’ it along with Turkey.

As Syrian Kurdish and Arab fighters, backed by US advisers and coalition airstrikes, slowly advance on the Islamic State (IS, formerly ISIS/ISIL) stronghold of Raqqa, US officials have been voicing their opinions on what will happen to Raqqa once it is liberated. The US State Department says that after the terrorists are defeated, all foreign forces will leave the city to let the Syrians run it.

“How the liberation takes place, how we get local governance re-established after the liberation: our expectation, as has been elsewhere, is that outside forces would then withdraw,” US State Department spokesman Mark Toner said in a daily press briefing on Monday. He then clarified that US forces will supervise the re-establishment of local authority in the city, but other than that will not intervene in its governance.

“We don’t want to see semi-autonomous zones. The reality is, though, as territory is liberated from [Islamic State], you’ve got to get some kind of governance back into these areas, but by no means are we condoning… any kind of semi-autonomous areas in northern Syria.

“Ultimately, we want to see a sovereign, intact Syria,” Toner stressed.

The US military’s position, however, differs slightly from that of the State Department.

“The coalition and Turkey will work together on the long-term plan for seizing, holding and governing Raqqa,” US General Joseph Dunford, chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff said on Sunday, following a meeting with his Turkish counterpart General Hulusi Akar in Ankara.

He went further, saying that taking and holding Raqqa requires a “predominantly Arab and Sunni Arab force.”

“And there are forces like that. There is the moderate Syrian opposition, the vetted Syrian forces and the Free Syrian Army forces, and there is some initial outreach to forces in Raqqa proper,” the general added.

Syrian political analyst, Taleb Ibrahim, called these statements “a language for war,” and said the US has no right to impose any governance in Syria given the fact that it is an independent state which has a government, while the United States have never even received permission from Syrian authorities to participate in the conflict on Syrian land.

“I don’t think this is an appropriate language and it indeed is not the language of peace. It is not a language of political resolution, it is not a language for reconciliation – it is a language for war, it is a language for making new maps [in] the Middle East which were called in the past time the maps of blood,” Ibrahim said.

“This indicates a very dangerous concept and I am very much concerned about the future of Syria… They are intervening illegally in an independent state which has a government, an elected president and a real authority on the ground. But [the US uses Islamic State] as justification to occupy large areas of Syria for their geopolitical goals,” he noted.

Dr. Max Abrahms, assistant professor of public policy in the department of political science at Northeastern University, said the US is counting their chickens before they are hatched, deciding the fate of Raqqa at this stage.

“It’s almost premature to talk about governance. This Raqqa mission is going to take a long time,” Abrahms told RT.

The Syria Democratic Forces, or SDF, an alliance of predominantly Kurdish fighters and Arab tribal militia, is currently advancing on Raqqa. While the US has been supporting the SDF with weapons and airstrikes, General Dunford said he does not see the group as capable of governing Raqqa after the fighting is over.

“We always knew the SDF wasn’t the solution for holding and governing Raqqa. What we are working on right now is to find the right mix of forces for the operation.” He added that in deciding what these “right forces” are, the US military will rely on none other than Turkey.

“They will be helpful in identifying the right forces to do that,” he said.

Turkey, meanwhile, has been vocally opposing the SDF, or rather the dominant part of it – the YPG militia – from being the leading force in the Raqqa operation. Ankara sees the group as an extension of the outlawed Kurdistan Workers Party (PKK) and is worried that Kurdish advances in Syria will inflame a three-decade-old Kurdish insurgency in Turkey and lead to the establishment of a Kurdish state.

Turkish General Akar once again told Dunford on Sunday of Turkey’s frustration at the presence of Kurdish forces in Manbij, a strategically important northern Syrian city, whose liberation prompted Turkish intervention, as it is close to the Turkish border. Earlier this Tuesday, alluding to the YPG, Turkish Foreign Minister Mevlut Cavusoglu said Ankara wants to ensure that the “wrong groups” do not participate in the Raqqa operation, and most importantly do not enter the city, although they may take part in the siege. He warned that Turkey was “taking measures” to guarantee this outcome, but did not specify what measures exactly, Reuters reported.

The Kurds themselves have been calling Turkey an “obstacle” to the attack on Raqqa all along, with SDF official Rezan Hiddo warning the group would halt the advance on Raqqa if Turkish forces moved against the Kurds in northern Syria, which even the US State Department sees as possible.

“Any attempt by Turkey to make an aggression against Manbij will certainly impede liberation of Raqqa and we will not remain silent. Our priority is confronting Turkey’s aggression against Manbij. The ball is now in the coalition’s court and its seriousness will be shown in forcing the Turks to withdraw from the region,” Hiddo was quoted as saying by Fars News Agency.

The US State Department says that in this “complicated climate,” the US will try and “keep pressure on what is the common enemy here, which is [Islamic State],” but Max Abrahms believes it is not likely they will succeed.

“I think that the US is really just trying to placate Turkey [but] I think that there’s a real concern that Turkey is going to go on the offensive even more on Kurdish fighters,” he stated.

The SDF has meanwhile moved south towards the city despite fierce resistance from IS militants. Alliance forces captured at least 10 villages and advanced on two fronts, including at least 10 kilometers (six miles) south towards the city from the towns of Ein Issa and Suluk, SDF spokeswoman Jihan Sheikh Ahmed told AFP on Tuesday.

In both locations, the SDF is still some distance away from Raqqa, but the offensive is said to be going according to plan. The SDF says it has some 30,000 fighters taking part in the operation dubbed “Wrath of Euphrates,” aiming to surround and isolate terrorists inside Raqqa before launching an assault on the city itself. The US-led coalition said it carried out 16 airstrikes on Islamic State positions on Sunday, hitting the group’s tactical units and several car bombs near Ein Issa.

November 8, 2016 Posted by | Illegal Occupation, Militarism, War Crimes | , , , , | Leave a comment

Huma Abedin, Hillary Clinton and the American Deep State

By Federico PIERACCINI | Strategic Culture Foundation | 08.11.2016

Weiner, Sexting and Emails

It all started with the FBI investigation regarding a ‘sexting‘ scandal. A 15-year-old girl reported having received compromising photos from Anthony Weiner, former husband of Hillary Clinton’s top advisor Huma Abedin. It is the type of situation where the person of interest’s computing devices are reviewed by the FBI to check the contents for clues or evidence. The problem is that Anthony Weiner’s computer is not just like any other but rather one that he shared with his then wife, Huma Abedin. From the small amount of information leaked, it seems that the New York FBI division charged with investigating the affair has for a long time been silent over the enormous 650,000 email archive found. That was until a few days ago, when the director of the FBI revealed, with a letter to Congress, that this data was considered relevant to the ongoing investigation regarding Hillary Clinton and her private email server. It is a huge revelation given the few days left before the elections, causing huge problems for the Democratic campaign.

The more appropriate question to ask is why the director of the FBI, James Comey, decided to inform Congress. The most likely answer points to a leak that would have otherwise caused irreparable damage the reputation of the FBI. Had the new information about Clinton been withheld by the FBI, then it is easy to imagine that the reaction would have been far worse for Comey than the criticism he is currently enduring.

The FBI and Wikileaks

While it is easy to assume that senior federal employees are mostly expressions of political interests, Andrew McCabe being an indicative example, it is unlikely that there is a complete control of all the employees of a large agency like the FBI. This is essentially what the story of Anthony Weiner, former husband of Abedin, centers on. Fox News reported that the FBI detachment in New York had for months ignored the email archive in the computer thanks to the plausible excuse of the lack of a mandate. It almost looks as if the FBI had managed to conceal this new discovery for a long time. It is a fact that in the past Clinton has repeatedly been saved from catastrophe, managing to block federal investigations and forcing the FBI chief to a ridiculous testimony before Congress in order that she not be investigated. It is her trail of scandals that has outraged many federal agents and members of the intelligence community. More than one source has revealed that the Bureau was facing the risk of an internal revolt driven by agents eager to release to the American public basic information regarding an ongoing investigation on one of the presidential candidates.

Therefore it is very difficult to believe that 650,000 emails were found on Abedin’s computer that were of little significance or even irrelevant. Otherwise what sense would there be in trying to keep them hidden? Evidently the agents working on the case have discovered explosive information.

Who is Huma Abedin?

Huma Mahmood Abedin is a good starting point down the rabbit hole of dirty and dangerous money. Born in 1976 in the United States, she moved with her family to Saudi Arabia two years later, returning to the US at the age of 18 to enrol at George Washington University. Certainly more interesting is the story of her parents, both Muslims and both heavily involved in Muslim Brotherhood networks as well as opaque financing mechanisms to structures linked Al Qaeda. How the daughter of two such controversial characters could come to occupy such an important role explains how deep down the rabbit hole this story goes.

To understand the influence of Abedin on Hillary Clinton, just think of all the latest scandals involving Clinton that revolve around the funding and indirect support of radical Islamist groups. From Libya to Egypt to Syria and Iraq, the trail of the State Department and the Clinton Foundation is everywhere. It is no wonder that a family like the Abedins have been able to forge such important friendships as the one with the possible future president of the United States. Abedin seems likely to be an intermediary connecting worlds that are adjacent but never fully overlapping. No American could ever accept the idea that alongside the next POTUS could be a person deeply embedded in such a milieu. But that is how it is. On September 11, 2001, for example, Abedin was simultaneously working for the Clinton Foundation as well as a charity subsequently discovered to be a front for money laundering on behalf of Bin Laden, as covered by Newsweek. The day when the twin towers collapsed, the current top advisor to the probable next US president was working for an organisation indirectly linked to Al Qaeda.

The American Deep State

When addressing the topic of Huma Mahmood Abedin, top advisor to Hillary Clinton, it is good to ask how deep we are willing to go to discover the mechanisms of American power, penetrating into the dark caverns and complex entrails of a state within a state, the so-called deep state.

To answer this question, it is good to define it. Generally, when we talk about the deep state, it means the various branches of power. The best known are certainly the military-industrial complexenergy giantsWall Street, the mainstream news media, extremist groups like the Muslim Brotherhood and its Wahhabi ideology, in addition to foreign lobbies, especially the Israeli and Saudi lobbies. Their interests are mainly based around the accumulation of money and their ability to generate more of it to buy influence.

Generally the major representatives of deep-state interests are the so-called think-tanks. These organisations, made up of experts and former members of the public and private sectors, exist primarily to influence and condition the political discussions, favoring the interests of their funders, which not surprisingly are precisely the industries and people related to the various branches of American power. As a result, think-tanks have now taken on a more central role in defining the domestic and foreign-policy postures of the United States.

Of course money also buys people in addition to associations. This is the case with direct donations to the election campaigns of senators and members of Congress by the giants of the deep state. Large companies, banks, financial institutions and the military industry use think-tanks, the media and politicians through their money with only one purpose: to protect and nurture their interests and their vision of the state within the state. Put simply, their objective is to continue to enrich themselves at the expense of taxpayers.

Wahhabism, the Muslim Brotherhood and the Deep State

In addition to the neo-conservative and liberal factions, as well as the Israel lobby, we find the ideological component of Wahhabi Islam and the Muslim Brotherhood participating in the US political system, playing an important role in the fashioning of American foreign policy. Suffice it to say that this trio has for more than two decades completely dominated the choices about foreign policy of the United States, with dire consequences. The Muslim Brotherhood, a creation inspired by the British MI6 in the early 1900s to fight nationalism and Arab governments with communist inclinations, quickly became the spiritual fathers of the Afghan freedom fighters. It is a monster that has continued to morph in our day from the Taliban in Afghanistan to Al Qaeda in the late 1990s to the 2000s, and currently metamorphosing into Al Nusra Front/Daesh. Of course in each of its historical iterations, Islamic extremism has been fomented and directed against nations hostile to American imperialism.

In recent years the once peaceful Arab Spring turned into violent riots thanks to the ideological inspiration of movements such as Saudi Wahhabism or the Muslim Brotherhood. This distorted view of Islam has often been the catalyst transforming initially peaceful movements into violent anti-government clashes. The Wahhabi ideology and the Muslim Brotherhood’s political interpretation of Islam unites such capitals as Riyadh, Doha and Ankara with those fighting for the Islamic caliphate, namely Al Nusra Front/Al Qaeda. US geopolitical ambitions have increased over the years through terrorist attacks and the consequent destabilization of nations opposed to Washington. The use of terrorism as a geopolitical weapon is not new for the United States when one remembers the stay-behind networks that operated in Europe during the Cold War.

This conglomerate of power has in the last 30 years guided American foreign policy, justifying interventions in foreign countries under the pretext of fighting terrorism (Libya, Iraq, Afghanistan), or by using terrorism as a tool of destabilization (Syria, Egypt, Yemen). Consequently, the Wahabi/Brotherhood component continues to play to this day a major role in the constant quest for global supremacy by the US deep state.

Clinton Foundation, Huma Abedin and US Deep State

The deep corruption that permeates the deep state has consistently enabled countries like Saudi Arabia, Qatar and Turkey to buy modern and advanced means of warfare produced in the US. A summary of the so-called pay-to-play scheme goes as follows: money comes into the coffers of the Clinton Foundation thanks to generous donations from Riyadh and Doha, and in return they are cleared by the State Department (headed for many years precisely by Clinton) for the sale of weapons. It is a simple mechanism that satisfies everyone: the foreign countries are able to get their hands on advanced weapons to be employed in future bloody wars; the weapons traders receive hundreds of millions of dollars in contracts; and the Clinton Foundation, as payment, receives millions of dollars in donations.

In a rather agreeable arrangement, the arms manufacturers earn back the money invested in election campaigns many times over, thanks to the resulting lucrative contracts closed with foreign countries. The consequences of such a wicked arrangement have been seen in wars of aggression by the Saudis against the Yemenis and the Turks against the Kurdish minority, all thanks to weapons sold by Washington. Another aspect of this arrangement relates to the sale of weapons to terrorists in the Middle East from the US thanks to the sponsorship of the Gulf nations. It is an evil system that in addition to enriching the producers of American weapons, as well as the Clinton Foundation together with satisfying the regional allies of the US, uses Gulf nations to provide cover to the US to directly provide advanced weaponry to terrorists. A typical example of this perverse arrangement is easily verifiable in the events in Benghazi, which still awaits truth and justice.

Consequences

The drama around the emails contained on the computer of Huma Abedin and her ex-husband is probably attributable to the concrete risk that all this mess gets uncovered, including the unspeakable role of Clinton and her foundation in international terrorism. It remains to be seen in this complicated journey into the deep state what role the FBI and Donald Trump are playing. Although personally I have many doubts about the figure of Trump, one thing I am quite certain of is that a vast chasm separates him from the center of America’s deep-state establishment. While Clinton is a direct product of this tumor, Donald Trump comes from another set of circumstances, marshalling around him that patriotic feeling that many, even within the US government, are beginning to feel, particularly given that America’s international credibility, together with its confidence domestically, has collapsed dramatically.

Despite the constant efforts of the mainstream media to refute this representation of reality, the feeling is increasingly common in the minds of Americans that much of what ails the country today is this degenerate web of economic, political and strategic corruption. Many Americans are tired of seeing their nation fighting senseless wars far away from home without any real threat to their national security but with costs in the order of trillions of dollars.

Conclusions

The United States has been flirting immorally and illegally with organizations dedicated to terrorism, thanks to the many deep-state links. Such collusion existed before and after September 11, subsequently triggering the Arab Spring and destabilizing countries like Libya, Syria and Iraq. What we have seen in the last few days with Comey’s revelations may represent a veritable Pandora’s box. It is impossible to determine whether this scandal will eventually overwhelm Hillary Clinton. Perhaps the leaders of the deep state have decided to destroy the nomination of the Democratic nominee in favor of Donald Trump. Or maybe not; right now every hypothesis is valid. But if Trump wins on November 8, it may represent the triumph of the American people’s will to discard once and for all anything that even remotely smells of the ‘deep state’, the redolence of which hangs heavily over Clinton and her aide Huma Mahmood Abedin.

November 8, 2016 Posted by | Corruption, Deception, False Flag Terrorism, Militarism, Timeless or most popular, War Crimes | , , , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

Leave those kids alone! Thousands of schoolchildren being spied on without their knowledge

RT | November 8, 2016

At least 1,000 schools have installed software that allows teachers to monitor their students’ internet activity, but most schools have failed to inform youngsters that they are being watched.

According to a report by civil liberties watchdog Big Brother Watch, several secondary schools in England and Wales have installed the Classroom Management Software in more than 821,000 devices owned by the institutions and by pupils themselves.

The tool can allow teachers to monitor the screens on every single desktop in the classroom, as well as access the students’ internet browsing history and alert staff of “signs of extremism and radicalization.”

Campaigners were shocked to find that of the few institutions (149) able to provide Acceptable Use policies on their management of the software, over 80 percent did not give detailed information on the monitoring process.

Big Brother Watch believes although the software may have a role to play in keeping students safe, children and parents should be advised about the privacy settings of the program.

“Finding the balance between keeping pupils safe online without impinging on their right to privacy is a challenge for every school,” said the group’s chief executive Renate Samson.

“But encouraging schools to track and monitor pupils creates a worrying precedent, particularly if pupils and parents are being left in the dark.

“As technology in the classroom becomes the norm, schools must ensure they don’t become modern day panopticons, where children grow up believing their every digital move is being watched.”

It cost the taxpayer a total of £2 million (US$2.48 million) to install the controversial software. More is spent each year on maintenance and subscription fees.

November 8, 2016 Posted by | Civil Liberties, Deception, Full Spectrum Dominance | , | Leave a comment

Israeli forces demolish residential buildings in occupied East Jerusalem neighborhoods

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Ma’an – November 8, 2016

JERUSALEM – Israeli authorities Tuesday morning demolished two residential buildings in the occupied East Jerusalem neighborhoods of Wadi al-Jouz and al-Issawiya for building without Israeli-issued licenses.

Locals told Ma’an that Israeli forces escorted two excavators to the Wadi al-Jouz neighborhood at 4 am. Israeli soldiers were also deployed throughout the alleys of the neighborhood, before surrounding a three-story building as Israeli excavators tore it down.

According to locals, the building consisted of stores on the ground floor, apartments on the second, while the third floor was still under construction.

Local sources highlighted that the stores on the first floor contained food supplies belonging to Palestinian families, adding that Israeli forces demolished the stores without allowing families to remove their supplies.

The demolition occurred after the building was constructed without Israeli-issued building permits, locals said, much like most of East Jerusalem as the process to obtain the permits are often time-consuming and expensive.

After Israeli forces completed the demolition in Wadi al-Jouz, they headed to the neighborhood of al-Issawiya and demolished a residential building, claiming it was lacking Israeli-issued building permits, according to locals.

Member of a local committee in al-Isawiya, Muhammad Abu al-Hummus, told Ma’an that the building was a two-story building, still under construction.

According to Abu al-Hummus, the first floor consisted of commercial stores, while the second served as a residential floor.

A spokesperson for the Jerusalem municipality was not available for immediate comment.

Demolitions in the occupied West Bank and East Jerusalem have seen an unprecedented surge in recent months, with the number of structures demolished in the first half of 2016 already well exceeding the total number of demolitions carried out in all of 2015.

More than 1,383 Palestinians have been displaced since the beginning of 2016 as a result of demolitions in the occupied territory, compared to 688 Palestinians displaced over the entirety of 2015, according to UN documentation.

Israel rarely grants Palestinians permits to build in ‘Area C’ of the West Bank — the area under full Israeli security and civilian control — and East Jerusalem, though the Israel’s Jerusalem municipality has claimed that compared to the Jewish population, they receive a “disproportionately low number of permit applications from Palestinian communities,” which they boasted “see high approval ratings.”

However, testimonies collected by the Applied Research Institute – Jerusalem (ARIJ) in the East Jerusalem neighborhood of Silwan found that the procedures to apply for Israeli-issued building permits were lengthy, sometimes lasting for several years, while the application costs could reach up to 300,000 shekels ($79,180).

As four out of five of Palestinians in East Jerusalem live under the poverty line, applying for costly building permits is nearly impossible, and only seven percent of Jerusalem building permits go to Palestinian neighborhoods.

November 8, 2016 Posted by | Ethnic Cleansing, Racism, Zionism | , , , , , | Leave a comment

Oh, What a Lovely War!

Delusional foreign policy could bring disaster

By Philip Giraldi • Unz Review • November 8, 2016

The American people don’t know very much about war even if Washington has been fighting on multiple fronts since 9/11. The continental United States has not experienced the presence a hostile military force for more than 100 years and war for the current generation of Americans consists largely of the insights provided by video games and movies. The Pentagon’s invention of embedded journalists, which limits any independent media insight into what is going on overseas, has contributed to the rendering of war as some kind of abstraction. Gone forever is anything like the press coverage of Vietnam, with nightly news and other media presentations showing prisoners being executed and young girls screaming while racing down the street in flames.

Given all of that, it is perhaps no surprise that both Hillary Clinton and Donald Trump, neither of whom has served in uniform, should regard violence inflicted on people overseas with a considerable level of detachment. Hillary is notorious for her assessment of the brutal killing of Libya’s Moammar Gaddafi, saying “We came, we saw, he died.” They both share to an extent the dominant New York-Washington policy consensus view that dealing with foreigners can sometimes get a bit bloody, but that is a price that someone in power has to be prepared to pay. One of Hillary’s top advisers, former Secretary of State Madeleine Albright, famously declared that the deaths of 500,000 Iraqi children due to U.S. led sanctions were “worth it.”

In the election campaign there has, in fact, been little discussion of the issue of war and peace or even of America’s place in the world, though Trump did at one point note correctly that implementation of Hillary’s suggested foreign policy could escalate into World War III. It has been my contention that the issue of war should be more front and center in the minds of Americans when they cast their ballots as the prospect of an armed conflict in which little is actually at stake escalating and going nuclear could conceivably end life on this planet as we know it.

With that in mind, it is useful to consider what the two candidates have been promising. First, Hillary, who might reasonably be designated the Establishment’s war candidate though she carefully wraps it in humanitarian “liberal interventionism.” As Senator and Secretary of State, Hillary Clinton has always viewed a foreign crisis as an opportunity to use aggressive measures to seek a resolution. She can always be relied upon to “do something,” a reflection of the neocon driven Washington foreign policy consensus.

Hillary Clinton and her advisors, who believe strongly in Washington’s leadership role globally and embrace their own definition of American exceptionalism, have been explicit in terms of what they would do to employ our military power. She would be an extremely proactive president in foreign policy, with a particular animus directed against Russia. And, unfortunately, there would be little or no pushback against the exercise of her admittedly poor instincts regarding what to do, as was demonstrated regarding Libya and also with Benghazi. She would find little opposition in Congress and the media for an extremely risky foreign policy, and would benefit from the Washington groupthink that prevails over the alleged threats emanating from Russia, Iran, and China.

Hillary has received support from foreign policy hawks, including a large number of formerly Republican neocons, to include Robert Kagan, Michael Chertoff, Michael Hayden, Eliot Cohen and Eric Edelman. James Stavridis, a retired admiral who was once vetted by Clinton as a possible vice president, recently warned of “the need to use deadly force against the Iranians. I think it’s coming. It’s going to be maritime confrontation and if it doesn’t happen immediately, I’ll bet you a dollar it’s going to be happening after the presidential election, whoever is elected.”

Hillary believes that Syria’s president Bashar al-Assad is the root cause of the turmoil in that country and must be removed as the first priority. It is a foolish policy as al-Assad in no way threatens the United States while his enemy ISIS does and regime change would create a power vacuum that will benefit the latter. She has also called for a no-fly zone in Syria to protect the local population as well as the insurgent groups that the U.S. supports, some of which had been labeled as terrorists before they were renamed by current Secretary of State John Kerry. Such a zone would dramatically raise the prospect of armed conflict with Russia and it puts Washington in an odd position vis-à-vis what is occurring in Syria. The U.S. is not at war with the Syrian government, which, like it or not, is under international law sovereign within its own recognized borders. Damascus has invited the Russians in to help against the rebels and objects to any other foreign presence on Syrian territory. In spite of all that, Washington is asserting some kind of authority to intervene and to confront the Russians as both a humanitarian mission and as an “inherent right of self-defense.”

Hillary has not recommended doing anything about Saudi Arabia, Qatar and Turkey, all of which have at one time or another for various reasons supported ISIS, but she is clearly no friend of Iran, which has been fighting ISIS. As a Senator, she threatened to “totally obliterate” Iran but she has more recently reluctantly supported the recent nuclear agreement with that country negotiated by President Barack Obama. But she has nevertheless warned that she will monitor the situation closely for possible violations and will otherwise push back against activity by the Islamic Republic. As one of her key financial supporters is Israeli Haim Saban, who has said he is a one issue guy and that issue is Israel, she is likely to pursue aggressive policies in the Persian Gulf. She has also promised to move America’s relationship with Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu to a “new level” and has repeatedly declared that her support for Israel is unconditional.

One of Hillary’s advisors, former CIA acting Director Michael Morell, has called for new sanctions on Tehran and has also recently recommended that the U.S. begin intercepting Iranian ships presumed to be carrying arms to the Houthis in Yemen. Washington is not at war with either Iran or Yemen and the Houthis are not on the State Department terrorist list but our good friends the Saudis have been assiduously bombing them for reasons that seem obscure. Stopping ships in international waters without any legal pretext would be considered by many an act of piracy. Morell has also called for covertly assassinating Iranians and Russians to express our displeasure with the foreign policies of their respective governments.

Hillary’s dislike for Russia’s Vladimir Putin is notorious. Syria aside, she has advocated arming Ukraine with game changing offensive weapons and also bringing Ukraine and Georgia into NATO, which would force a sharp Russian reaction. One suspects that she might be sympathetic to the views expressed recently by Carl Gershman in a Washington Post op-ed that received curiously little additional coverage in the media. Gershman is the head of the taxpayer funded National Endowment for Democracy (NED), which means that he is a powerful figure in Washington’s foreign-policy establishment. NED has plausibly been described as doing the sorts of things that the CIA used to do.

After making a number of bumper-sticker claims about Russia and Putin that are either partially true, unproven or even ridiculous, Gershman concluded that “the United States has the power to contain and defeat this danger. The issue is whether we can summon the will to do so.” It is basically a call for the next administration to remove Putin from power—as foolish a suggestion as has ever been seen in a leading newspaper, as it implies that the risk of nuclear war is completely acceptable to bring about regime change in a country whose very popular, democratically elected leadership we disapprove of. But it is nevertheless symptomatic of the kind of thinking that goes on inside the beltway and is quite possibly a position that Hillary Clinton will embrace. She also benefits from having the perfect implementer of such a policy in Robert Kagan’s wife Victoria Nuland, her extremely dangerous protégé who is currently Assistant Secretary of State for European and Eurasian Affairs and who might wind up as Secretary of State in a Clinton Administration.

Shifting to East Asia, Hillary sees the admittedly genuine threat from North Korea but her response is focused more on China. She would increase U.S. military presence in the South China Sea to deter any further attempts by Beijing to develop disputed islands and would also “ring China with defensive missiles,” ostensibly as “protection” against Pyongyang but also to convince China to pressure North Korea over its nuclear and ballistic missile programs. One wonders what Beijing might think about being surrounded by made-in-America missiles.

Trump’s foreign policy is admittedly quite sketchy and he has not always been consistent. He has been appropriately enough slammed for being simple minded in saying that he would “bomb the crap out of ISIS,” but he has also taken on the Republican establishment by specifically condemning the George W. Bush invasion of Iraq and has more than once indicated that he is not interested in either being the world’s policeman or in new wars in the Middle East. He has repeatedly stated that he supports NATO but it should not be construed as hostile to Russia. He would work with Putin to address concerns over Syria and Eastern Europe. He would demand that NATO countries spend more for their own defense and also help pay for the maintenance of U.S. bases.

Trump’s controversial call to stop all Muslim immigration has been rightly condemned but it contains a kernel of truth in that the current process for vetting new arrivals in this country is far from transparent and apparently not very effective. The Obama Administration has not been very forthcoming on what might be done to fix the entire immigration process but Trump is promising to shake things up, which is overdue, though what exactly a Trump Administration would try to accomplish is far from clear.

Continuing on the negative side, Trump, who is largely ignorant of the world and its leaders, has relied on a mixed bag of advisors. Former head of the Defense Intelligence Agency General Michael Flynn appears to be the most prominent. Flynn is associated with arch neocon Michael Ledeen and both are rabid about Iran, with Flynn suggesting that nearly all the unrest in the Middle East should be laid at Tehran’s door. Ledeen is, of course, a prominent Israel-firster who has long had Iran in his sights. The advice of Ledeen and Flynn may have been instrumental in Trump’s vehement denunciation of the Iran nuclear agreement, which he has called a “disgrace,” which he has said he would “tear up.” It is vintage dumb-think. The agreement cannot be canceled because there are five other signatories to it and the denial of a nuclear weapons program to Tehran benefits everyone in the region, including Israel. It is far better to have the agreement than to scrap it, if that were even possible.

Trump has said that he would be an even-handed negotiator between Israel and the Palestinians but he has also declared that he is strongly pro-Israel and would move the U.S. Embassy to Jerusalem, which is a bad idea, not in America’s interest, even if Netanyahu would like it. It would produce serious blowback from the Arab world and would inspire a new wave of terrorism directed against the U.S.

Regarding the rest of the Middle East, Trump would prefer strong leaders, i.e. autocrats, who are friendly rather than chaotic reformers. He rejects arming rebels as in Syria because we know little about whom we are dealing with and find that we cannot control what develops. He is against foreign aid in principle, particularly to countries like Pakistan where the U.S. is strongly disliked.

In East Asia, Trump would encourage Japan and South Korea to develop their own nuclear arsenals to deter North Korea. It is a very bad idea, a proliferation nightmare. Like Hillary, he would prefer that China intervene in North Korea and make Kim Jong Un “step down.” He would put pressure on China to devalue its currency because it is “bilking us of billions of dollars” and would also increase U.S. military presence in the region to limit Beijing’s expansion in the South China Sea.

So there you have it as you enter the voting booth. President Obama is going around warning that “the fate of the world is teetering” over the electoral verdict, which he intends to be a ringing endorsement of Hillary even though the choice is not nearly that clear cut. Part of the problem with Trump is that he has some very bad ideas mixed in with a few good ones and no one knows what he would actually do if he were president. Unfortunately, it is all too clear what Hillary would do.

November 8, 2016 Posted by | Militarism, Timeless or most popular, Wars for Israel | , , , , , | 1 Comment