Monday 23rd of October 2017

bummer !...

bummer

WASHINGTON — As a candidate, President Trump disparaged NATO as a musty relic of old thinking, an alliance focused on long-gone adversaries rather than new-era threats, a burden that drained American resources on behalf of ungrateful partners who did not pay their share. In a word:“obsolete.”

That was then. After 82 days in office, Mr. Trump officially pronouncedNATO rehabilitated, taking credit for transforming it into a modern, cost-sharing, terrorism-fighting pillar of American and European security. “I said it was obsolete,” the president noted on Wednesday as he hosted NATO’s secretary general. “It’s no longer obsolete.”

Never mind that the alliance has changed very little if at all in the last three months, and that whatever modest changes have been made were in train long before Mr. Trump entered the doorway of the White House. After weeks of being lobbied, cajoled and educated by the leaders of Britain andGermany, not to mention “my generals,” as he likes to call his national security team, Mr. Trump has found fresh virtue in a venerable organization.

“Nothing has changed at NATO in the last 80 days,” said Ivo Daalder, a former ambassador to NATO under President Barack Obama and now president of the Chicago Council on Global Affairs. “It’s gratifying to see the president affirming that NATO is ‘no longer obsolete’ — it never was. Perhaps the one important thing that has changed in the last 80 days is that as president, Mr. Trump has come to appreciate the importance of this alliance and how it contributes to security and stability in Europe and beyond.”

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Mr. Trump’s about-face on NATO was only part of a day of flip flops at the White House. Within a matter of hours, the president determined that China is not a currency manipulator after all, embraced the Export-Import Bank that he once called unnecessary and suggested he might keep Janet Yellen, the Federal Reserve chairwoman he said he would replace after her term expired. Most striking, he pivoted 180 degrees on Russia, lashing it for supporting rogue nations after years of praising President Vladimir V. Putin.

Read more:

https://www.nytimes.com/2017/04/13/world/europe/nato-trump.html

The whole purpose of the shift in Trump's drumming is to save his own arse.

 

pissing on donald from across the atlantic...

Britain’s spy agencies played a crucial role in alerting their counterparts in Washington to contacts between members of Donald Trump’s campaign team and Russian intelligence operatives, the Guardian has been told.

GCHQ first became aware in late 2015 of suspicious “interactions” between figures connected to Trump and known or suspected Russian agents, a source close to UK intelligence said. This intelligence was passed to the US as part of a routine exchange of information, they added.

Over the next six months, until summer 2016, a number of western agencies shared further information on contacts between Trump’s inner circle and Russians, sources said.

The European countries that passed on electronic intelligence – known as sigint – included Germany, Estonia and Poland. Australia, a member of the “Five Eyes” spying alliance that also includes the US, UK, Canada and New Zealand, also relayed material, one source said.

Another source suggested the Dutch and the French spy agency, the General Directorate for External Security or DGSE, were contributors. 

read more:

https://www.theguardian.com/uk-news/2017/apr/13/british-spies-first-to-s...

changing views more often than underwear...

In decades to come, historians will identify this past week as one of the most seminal in post-war history, placing particular emphasis when they do on the actions of one of the most unstable, unpredictable and capricious presidents ever to occupy the White House.

Prior to his election, those who allowed themselves to believe that Trump's lack of political experience and ideologically-driven worldview were strengths that would go a long way to giving birth to the multipolar world that is long overdue, those people have reason to be nursing a sense of crushing disappointment over the political disaster that is currently unfolding, one that may well translate into a military disaster if allowed to continue on its current trajectory.

Indeed, it is hard at this stage to avoid the feeling that Trump and his administration are actually itching for military confrontation with Russia. Like a child discovering matches for the first time, the 45th president appears a leader who after ordering a missile strike for the first time can't wait to order more.

It is a feeling reinforced by the meeting between US Secretary of State Rex Tillerson and his Russian counterpart Sergei Lavrov in Moscow, which sadly was not the success a planet desperate for peace and stability was hoping for. Despite the cordial tone and atmosphere surrounding the talks, they ended with no resolution and no serious moves towards de-escalation.

read more:

https://sputniknews.com/analysis/201704131052609162-trump-administration...

pissing everywhere like a tom cat...

Whether a nuclear war breaks out within the next few days or not – the despicable fact remains, that the entire world is being held hostage by American military madness.


It seems only a matter of time before the US finally triggers a war with any number of foreign states that it designates as "enemies" – North Korea, Syria, Iran, Russia or China.

 

Or any other state whom Washington deems to be a "threat" in its paranoid hegemonic view of the world. The common denominator here is US military aggression.

And what makes US military power so dangerous is that the people who run that country are, to be blunt, so stupid – full of their own delusion self-righteousness and ignorance.

US news outlet NBC is reporting that the Trump administration is ready to launch pre-emptive military strikes on the Democratic People's Republic of Korea. Meanwhile, North Korea says that it is prepared to pre-empt any US strikes with a nuclear attack on America or its allies in response to what Pyongyang says is provocative aggression.

read more:

https://sputniknews.com/columnists/201704141052647961-world-held-hostage...

depending on which foot he gets up with in the morning...

Here's the Commander-in-chief of the Beautiful Piece of Chocolate Cake School of Foreign Policy, expanding on his next move regarding North Korea.

"We are sending an armada. Very powerful. We have submarines. Very powerful. Far more powerful than the aircraft carrier. That I can tell you."

As if bombing nuclear-armed North Korea would be as much of a piece of cake as Tomahawking a semi-deserted air base in Syria. But then, that's the beauty of a box of chocolates foreign policy; you never know what you're gonna get.


NATO was "obsolete." Then it was "no longer obsolete." China was a currency manipulator. Then it was no longer a currency manipulator. There would be no more adventures in the Middle East. Then it's back to pulling a Hillary and bombing Syria. Russia was supposed to be a partner – basically in oil and gas deals, while a Kissingerian Divide and Rule remix would try to unravel the Russia-China strategic partnership. Then Russia is bad because supporting "animal" (sic) Assad.

 

Some (other) things never change. Iran will continue to be demonized. The NATO-GCC combo will continue to be bolstered. The House of Saud terrorizing Yemen will continue to be a close GWOT (Global War on Terror) ally.

It's as if the whole dysfunctional Trump administration machine has become a prisoner of its non-stop duty to justify the Tomahawks-with-chocolate Commander-in-Chief's about turns and blatant lies, whereas its previous strength derived from exposing the lies and the hypocrisy inbuilt in the US establishment/deep state nexus.

Xi is on the phone

Russian intelligence may have well inferred – correctly – that the main goal of Secretary of State "T. Rex" Tillerson's visit to Moscow was to quiet down the high-stakes game as much as possible as Trump moves to a face off with Pyongyang. Washington simply cannot handle multiple, simultaneous crises in Syria, Ukraine, North Korea, the South China Sea, Afghanistan. The possible deadline is May 9; the South Korean presidential election that could stop any attack by the US on North Korea in its tracks

read more: 

https://sputniknews.com/columnists/201704131052616502-trump-foreign-poli...

the great sleight-of-hand of deception...

The 2016 election constituted one of the great populist uprisings of American history. A large segment of the electorate rose up against American elites and many of their underlying governing nostrums—globalism, lax border control, free trade, American military adventurism, a wariness toward nationalism, the cozy relationship between Big Government and Big Finance. It’s an open question whether President Trump, who ran against those nostrums, will govern as he campaigned. There are sound reasons to believe he will abandon many of his campaign pronouncements and meld his populist rhetoric with more establishmentarian actions. If so, his political story could become one of the great sleight-of-hand perpetrations of the American experience.

It may be instructive, in any event, to look at the other great populist uprisings of our history by way of a comparative analysis. Herewith then is a list of the country’s five most powerful waves of populism.

Andrew Jackson: We can’t understand Jackson’s populism without understanding how Thomas Jefferson set the stage for his emergence. The country’s first dominant party was the Federalists, unabashedly elitist in its advocacy of a strong federal government and a strong executive within that government. The greatest Federalist was Alexander Hamilton, who had argued during the Constitutional Convention that presidents should hold office until they died. Jefferson set himself foursquare against the Hamiltonian ethos. Following his 1800 presidential victory, he killed the Federalist Party and put to rest its brand of power consolidation.

But that irrepressible figure Henry Clay fashioned a successive political philosophy he called the American System—a governmental commitment to public works designed to pull the nation up from above. It included federal support for roads, bridges, canals, and even a national university. It also included high tariffs to plenish federal coffers (to pay for those public works) and to protect fledgling U.S. industries. It embraced the kind of national bank that Hamilton had fostered in his day. Finally, Clay wanted to sell public lands in the West at high prices to generate federal funds and bolster federal power.

 

Read more:

http://www.theamericanconservative.com/articles/the-five-most-powerful-p...

he lied and we knew he did...

 

Make No Mistake, We Are Already at War in Syria


Trump's anti-war promises were just glib campaign rhetoric.


 

Something peculiar happens to American presidents after they take office on January 20.

Campaign promises to right the easily perceived misdirections in foreign policy are abandoned, and the new program for dealing with the rest of the world winds up looking very much like the old one. Bill Clinton was an anti-Vietnam War draft dodger who preached the moral high ground for going to war before he turned around and got involved in the Balkans while also bombing Sudan and Afghanistan. George W. Bush promised non-interference and no nation-building overseas, but 9/11 converted him into an exemplar of how to do everything wrong as he sank into the quagmires of Iraq and Afghanistan.

Barack Obama’s margin of victory in 2008 was likely due to the perception that he was the peace candidate, particularly in contrast to his opponent Senator John McCain, but he wound up deeper in Afghanistan, out of, and then back into Iraq, interfering in Syria, and bringing about disastrous regime change in Libya while also allowing relations with Moscow to deteriorate. Donald Trump has surrounded himself with generals after promising no deeper involvement in foreign wars and the generals are telling him that winning wars only requires more soldiers on the ground and just a little more time and effort to stabilize things, all of which are self-serving formulae for policies that have already failed.

And then there are the perennial enemies, with Iran at the top of the list while Russia and China play supporting roles. Some would blame the foreign policy orientation on the Deep State, which certainly is suggestive, but I rather suspect that the flip-flops of recent presidents are also based on some other elements. First, none of them has been a veteran who experienced active duty, which makes war an abstraction observed second hand on PowerPoint in a briefing room rather than a reality. And second, the shaping of their views can be directly attributed to the pervasiveness of the establishment view on the appropriate role for the United States in the world.

Sometimes referred to as America’s “civil religion,” one can also call it “American exceptionalism” or the “leadership of the free world” or even “responsibility to protect” but the reality is that a broad consensus has developed in the United States that enables serial interventionism with hardly a squeak of protest coming from the American people.

Donald Trump has been in office for five months and it would appear that at least some of the outlines of his foreign policy are beginning to take shape, though that may be exaggeration as no one seems to be in charge. The “America First” slogan seemingly does not apply to what is developing, as actual U.S. interests do not appear to be driving what takes place, and there does not seem to be any overriding principle that shapes the responses to the many challenges confronting Washington worldwide.

The two most important observations that one might make are both quite negative. First, lamentably, the promised détente with Russia has actually gone into reverse, with the relationship between the two countries at the lowest point since the time of the late, lamented Hillary Rodham Clinton as Secretary of State. Second, we are already at war with Syria even though the media and Congress seem blissfully unaware of that fact. We are also making aggressive moves intended to create acasus belli for going to war with Iran, and are doubling down in Afghanistan with more troops on the way, so Donald Trump’s pledge to avoid pointless wars and nation-building were apparently little more than glib talking points intended to make Barack Obama look bad.

The situation with Russia can be repaired as Vladimir Putin is a realist head of state of a country that is vulnerable and willing to work with Washington, but it will require an end to the constant vituperation being directed against Moscow by the media and the Democratic Party. That process could easily spin out for another year with all parties now agreeing that Russia intervened in our election even though no one has yet presented any evidence that Russia did anything at all.

Syria is more complicated. Senators Tim Kaine and Rand Paul have raised the alarm over American involvement in that country, declaring the U.S. military intervention to be illegal. Indeed it is, as it is a violation of the United Nations Charter and the American Constitution. No one has argued that Syria in any way threatens the United States, and the current policy is also an affront to common sense: like it or not Syria is a sovereign country in which we Americans have set up military bases and are supporting “rebels” (including jihadis and terrorists) who are seeking to overthrow the legitimate government. We have also established a so-called “de-confliction” zone in the southeast of the country to protect our proxies without the consent of the government in Damascus. All of that adds up to what is unambiguously unprovoked aggression, an act of war.

read more:

http://www.theamericanconservative.com/articles/make-no-mistake-we-are-already-at-war-in-syria/

Note that today's Trump "misogynist" tweet has to be seen as a distraction from the main political game. See also: 

time for the USA to stop the bullshit...

 

 

his new allies...

 

President Trump, a man of few allegiances who seized control of the Republican Party in a hostile takeover, suddenly aligned himself with Democrats on Wednesday on a series of key fiscal issues — and even gave a lift to North Dakota’s embattled Democratic U.S. senator.

Trump confounded his party’s leaders when he cut a deal with Democratic congressional leaders — “Chuck and Nancy,” as the president informally referred to them — on a short-term plan to fund the government and raise its borrowing limit this month.

The president’s surprise stance upended sensitive negotiations over the debt ceiling and other crucial policy issues this fall and further imperiled his already tenuous relationships with Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell (R-Ky.) and House Speaker Paul D. Ryan (R-Wis.).

The episode is the latest turn in Trump’s separation from his party as he distances himself to deflect blame for what has been a year of gridlock and missed opportunities for Republicans on Capitol Hill. It follows a summer of presidential stewing over McConnell and Ryan, both of whom Trump views as insufficiently loyal and weak in executing his agenda, according to his advisers.

read more:

https://www.washingtonpost.com/powerpost/house-prepares-for-harvey-relie...

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