Dog Brothers Public Forum

HOME | PUBLIC FORUM | MEMBERS FORUM | INSTRUCTORS FORUM | TRIBE FORUM

Welcome, Guest. Please login or register.
September 25, 2017, 09:11:35 PM

Login with username, password and session length
Search:     Advanced search
Welcome to the Dog Brothers Public Forum.
104823 Posts in 2391 Topics by 1093 Members
Latest Member: Cruces
* Home Help Search Login Register
+  Dog Brothers Public Forum
|-+  Politics, Religion, Science, Culture and Humanities
| |-+  Politics & Religion
| | |-+  US Foreign Policy
« previous next »
Pages: 1 ... 14 15 [16] Print
Author Topic: US Foreign Policy  (Read 151556 times)
Crafty_Dog
Administrator
Power User
*****
Posts: 41108


« Reply #750 on: December 15, 2016, 09:34:15 AM »

This article engages with some deep and important points-- respect for that!-- but I would like to see it address why, given Europe's dramatic failure to meet its commitments for military spending, why the US should not consider exactly what the article mentions-- the idea of an alliance with Russia to balance against China.

Given the PROFOUND questions in play, it is more than a little unfortunate that Trump has acted, and is acting in ways that allow questions concerning his motivations to take form.
==============================================================

Saving Europe From Itself—Again
A Russian aggressor could drive through NATO’s weak center or bite off its edges piece by piece.
By Mark Helprin
Updated Dec. 14, 2016 11:40 p.m. ET
126 COMMENTS

Though Europeans bridle when confronted with the possibility that Americans have something to offer, the Champs Élysées is not called Unter den Linden, and the Thousand-Year Reich and Warsaw Pact are no more, because—intelligently, successfully, and sacrificially—the U.S. came three times to Europe’s aid.

But for the past quarter-century the U.S. has had no effective, proactive strategy in regard to the defense of Europe. Should it not awaken to this with strategic clarity and resolve, the price may be beyond calculation.

Although the Continent is dangerously weakened by ideological fevers, economic malaise and the importation of bereft masses from war-crazed cultures, keep your eye upon the sparrow—a resurgent, revanchist Russia, which with continued success in recobbling its lost empire will look westward to the rich lands between it and the Atlantic. Rather than arriving late as in the two world wars, the U.S. should take military and diplomatic measures now to deter yet another catastrophe.


The North Atlantic Treaty Organization was able to keep the Soviets at bay because its nuclear forces and resolution were at least equal to those of the U.S.S.R.; its powerful conventional elements were properly positioned opposite their adversaries; its command structure was unified; and American echelons were deployed in strength.

Despite the dissolution of the Warsaw Pact, the migration of most of its members to NATO, and the U.S.S.R.’s collapse, the European military balance is shifting toward Russia. While the U.S. has reduced the number of its nuclear weapons, failed to modernize them, and pacified its nuclear doctrines, Russia has cut less, steadily modernized, and promiscuously issued nuclear threats.

Some examples in regard to conventional forces: In 1987 the U.S. had 354,000 military personnel in Europe and surrounding waters, and 735 combat aircraft. Now it deploys 40,450 and 130, respectively. Between 1987 and 2015, Great Britain’s main battle tanks have dwindled to 227 from 1,200, France’s to 200 from 1,340, and Germany’s to 306 from 4,887. Britain’s combat aircraft have fallen to 194 from 596, France’s to 360 from 520, and Germany’s to 235 from 604.

Given the strategic chaos in the Mediterranean, it is astounding that while in 1985 the U.S. Sixth Fleet often comprised two aircraft carriers, six nuclear submarines, and 28 other warships, during most of the Obama administration it had been reduced to one virtually unarmed command ship.

Though to save themselves the Europeans must be pressured to increase defense expenditures, threatening publicly and without warning to refrain from U.S. treaty obligations, and eight years of military retreat under President Obama, have emboldened Russia and pushed Europe further into creating a European defense separate from NATO. Herding 28 countries into a coherent military structure is difficult enough without adding another level of command. And even if the possibility of aligning with Russia to balance out China were not met with Russian betrayal, the price would be Western Europe, which is obviously unacceptable.

Were Europe merely to meet its minimum spending targets, military outlays would increase by 59%, or $87 billion annually. This close to $1 trillion over a decade would bolster its capacities and also allow for a richer variety of equipment, which—though more costly and unwieldy—would provide different tools for different problems, with multiple types, ranges, and heat and radar signatures vastly complicating an enemy’s planning.

But reconstituting NATO’s strategic and conventional forces is not in itself sufficient to counter Russia’s carefully executed incremental strategies. Russia treats firmness as provocation justifying further Russian aggression, and sees fecklessness as an invitation to the same. Adding to the general instability, de facto U.S. abandonment of tactical nuclear weapons while Russia retains them removes NATO’s option of limited escalation, forcing it to rely on either its weakened conventional defenses or all out nuclear brinkmanship. To counter this, NATO needs a new form of flexible military-diplomatic response. To wit, a massive, newly deployed force that can quickly and with precise calibration respond to provocation, and with similar agility ease off in response to accommodation.

No such structure now exists, due to NATO’s overall weakness and to the scattered deployment of its components, suitable to the defense of each individual nation more than to defeating an attack upon its center. Germany’s rapid westward conquests in both world wars might not have occurred had British armies not been sitting off to the side in England. This bitter lesson, leading to the success of strong central deployment in the Cold War, has now been forgotten. As NATO’s capabilities have contracted, the accession of new members has expanded its continental defense perimeter by 83%. The product of these two deficiencies is vulnerability similar to that of the interwar years of the 1920s and ’30s.

An aggressor can drive through NATO’s weakly defended center or bite off its weakly defended edges piece by piece (starting, perhaps, with the Baltic republics). Concentrating the main NATO force near Russia’s borders would make them simultaneously too provocative and too vulnerable. Massing them in Germany would rob them of the ability to move in response to Russian action except to the Russian periphery.

Better to base NATO’s main “column” in Germany and (a major diplomatic challenge) France. In response to Russian provocation, French-stationed forces could then be moved eastward—in a clear and substantive signal—and moved back just as easily. Tripwire forces could be sent to the Baltic and Poland as they are now (though now, with insufficient backing other than general nuclear warfare, Russia need not take them too seriously). Meanwhile, NATO’s center would be massively defended, which is the heart of the matter and the best insurance against Russian adventurism.

Mr. Helprin, a senior fellow of the Claremont Institute, is the author of “Winter’s Tale,” “A Soldier of the Great War” and the forthcoming novel “Paris in the Present Tense.”
Logged
bigdog
Power User
***
Posts: 2268


« Reply #751 on: December 16, 2016, 12:47:03 PM »

http://warontherocks.com/2016/12/the-return-of-hard-power/
Logged
G M
Power User
***
Posts: 15174


« Reply #752 on: December 17, 2016, 12:01:15 PM »


It is very interesting and I will comment after digesting it.

China has serious internal stability issues. This fuels China's aggressive behavior in the South China sea. Building China's internal perception of a strong, rising power is what gives the CCP it's legitimacy with the population. Failure to maintain it's legitimacy could be fatal to the current power structure. So, China is motivated to act aggressively, and not back down in a scenario that offers a loss of face for the power structure. Keep in mind that despite all the money China has dumped into upgrading it's military, it spends even more on internal security. The power vacuum of "leading from behind" has further fueled China's aggressiveness. Obama has left Trump a ticking bomb.

« Last Edit: December 17, 2016, 12:03:38 PM by G M » Logged
G M
Power User
***
Posts: 15174


« Reply #753 on: December 19, 2016, 08:55:47 PM »

http://www.mediaite.com/online/obama-heads-to-golf-course-after-receiving-reports-on-berlin-attack-and-russian-ambassador-death/




Obama Heads to Golf Course After Receiving Reports on Berlin Attack and Russian Ambassador Death
by Justin Baragona | 4:05 pm, December 19th, 2016
2863

Well, this is what one would call bad political optics.

With the dual breaking news events surrounding potential terrorism and a foreign diplomat being shot to death, White House pool reports showed that President Barack Obama headed to a country club in Hawaii near his rental house, where he is vacationing.

The first email shows that Obama has directed his staff to keep him updated on the situation in Turkey regarding the assassination of the Russian Ambassador.

    From the White House, per Principal Deputy Press Secretary Eric Schultz:

    “This morning the President was briefed by his National Security Team on the assassination of the Russian Ambassador to Turkey in Ankara today. The President directed his team to provide updates as warranted.”

    Meanwhile, at 10:10 a.m. in Kailua, the press van prepares to depart the rental house where we’ve been holding.

In a following email, we are informed that Obama is leaving the rental home to go play golf.

    The President and his motorcade departed the Kailua neighborhood where the First Family rents a vacation home at 10:21 a.m. Spectators on the street threw shakas and recorded photos or video on cell phones as the motorcade made the 10-minute drive to Mid-Pacific Country Club, where the President will be golfing under cloudy skies.

The times listed are local Hawaii time. Obama’s motorcade left his vacation home at 3:21 PM ET.

Currently, the news is dominated by both the assassination in Turkey, which could have large-scale implications on foreign policy and relations, and multiple deaths in Berlin via a truck driving through a market in an incident reminiscent of the Nice terror attack.

Needless to say, there will be a lot of negative attention given to Obama playing golf in the immediate aftermath of these horrific, and potentially history-altering, events.
Logged
Crafty_Dog
Administrator
Power User
*****
Posts: 41108


« Reply #754 on: December 20, 2016, 12:42:43 PM »

This thread is for substantive issues.  Obama ducking work yet again belongs on the Glibness thread.
Logged
Crafty_Dog
Administrator
Power User
*****
Posts: 41108


« Reply #755 on: December 21, 2016, 07:16:30 AM »


http://www.hoover.org/research/new-american-grand-strategy
Logged
Crafty_Dog
Administrator
Power User
*****
Posts: 41108


« Reply #756 on: December 23, 2016, 11:47:14 PM »

https://www.policyed.org/intellections/no-empty-threats/video?utm_source=facebook&utm_campaign=intellections&utm_content=foreign-policy-empty-threats&utm_medium=paid
Logged
Crafty_Dog
Administrator
Power User
*****
Posts: 41108


« Reply #757 on: December 25, 2016, 04:04:57 PM »


The Trump Doctrine: A Work in Progress
Geopolitical Weekly
December 20, 2016 | 08:02 GMT Print
Text Size
Commentators among the Washington establishment have been quick to dismiss President-elect Donald Trump's foreign policy moves outright over the past few weeks, but his actions merit deeper exploration than knee-jerk disbelief. (JEFF SWENSON/Getty Images)

By Reva Goujon

The world is in a "frenzy of study," Henry Kissinger said in a recent interview. At home and abroad, strategists and pundits are trying to piece together a blueprint of American foreign policy under U.S. President-elect Donald Trump from a stream of tweets, some campaign slogans, a few eye-catching Cabinet picks, meetings at Trump Tower, and a pingpong match already underway with Beijing. Highbrow intellectualism can be a handicap in this exercise. Commentators among the Washington establishment have been quick to dismiss Trump's foreign policy moves outright as erratic and self-serving over the past few weeks. In an op-ed entitled "Trump Failed His First Foreign Policy Test," for instance, columnist David Ignatius admonished the president-elect for the "hot mess" his phone call with Taiwanese President Tsai Ing-wen precipitated. Trump makes people uncomfortable. It's what he does best, in fact. But how this quality applies to foreign policy is a question that merits deeper exploration than knee-jerk displays of stricken disbelief. After all, as Kissinger noted in his Dec. 18 interview, "a president has to have some core convictions."

So what are Trump's? From what we can discern so far from his upbringing, the trajectory of his career and the profiles of those who have infiltrated his inner circle, Trump prizes business acumen and a "killer" instinct for managing affairs. He has enough corporate firepower in his Cabinet to fill the next Forbes' list. By nominating ExxonMobil CEO Rex Tillerson as secretary of state, he has demonstrated his belief that tough deal-making — identifying sources of leverage and showing a willingness to use them — is the secret to running a country and presiding over the international system. Trump does not fear nationalism; he sees it as the natural and rightful path for every state, the United States included, to pursue in protecting its interests. He also seems to have internalized the idea that the United States is losing its competitiveness and that internationalist foreign policy is to blame. Finally, Trump apparently believes that U.S. foreign policy has become too predictable and overwrought with diplomatic formality. Better to say it like it is and call out institutions and conventions that have outlived their usefulness.

This, at least, is the worldview at a distance. When we come in for a closer look, however, some of the cracks come into clearer view. In 1953, General Motors Co. CEO Charles Wilson was asked in his Senate confirmation hearing to become President Dwight D. Eisenhower's secretary of defense whether his decisions in office could end up harming his company. He answered that they might but that he could not imagine such a scenario since "for years I thought what was good for the country was good for General Motors and vice versa." In fact, what is good for a business will not always be congruent with the national interest. A company is answerable to its shareholders, just as a president is answerable to some degree to Congress and the American public. But the mission of the CEO — maximizing value for its shareholders — entails different considerations when pursuing the raison d'etat and preserving a social contract with a nation's citizenry. The latter entwines economic arguments with the social and moral obligations of the state, a nebulous territory where inefficiencies, compromise and the social consequences of massive deregulation are unavoidable.

Driving a Hard Bargain

Trump sees it as his mission to repair the social contract with the American public by bringing manufacturing jobs back to the United States. This will be easier said than done, however. Across-the-board tariffs against big trading partners, such as China, might have worked 20 years ago but not in today's globalized environment. Raising import tariffs now could cause the price of goods no longer produced domestically to skyrocket and disrupt international supply chains, turning many U.S. businesses into pawns in various overseas trade wars.

It could be argued that China depends more heavily on exports than the United States does and cannot afford to risk its vital supply lines in a major confrontation with the world's most powerful navy. This, in effect, leaves Washington with the upper hand in its trade tussle with Beijing. In the search for additional leverage against China, Trump has shown a willingness to expire Washington's "one-China" policy, a holdover from the Cold War that dodged the question of Taiwan's statehood to drive a wedge between the Soviets and Communist China.

But that's just one side of the equation. China has twin imperatives to maintain access to export markets and raw materials and to prevent an outside power from blockading its northern coast through the Taiwan Strait. If Trump's policies interfere with these objectives, Beijing has levers it can pull to retaliate. Should the United States play the Taiwan card to try to exact economic concessions from Beijing, China can strong-arm U.S. companies operating on the mainland. Beijing can also use its enormous economic clout over Taiwan — whose semiconductor manufacturing and assembly industry is tightly intertwined with the mainland — to threaten a disruption to the global tech supply chain. Furthermore, as its recent seizure of an unmanned U.S. naval drone illustrated, China can flex its maritime muscle, albeit cautiously, to raise the stakes in a trade dispute with the United States. Though Trump would rather leave it to regional stakeholders such as Japan and South Korea to balance against Beijing, his compulsion to correct the United States' trade relationship with China will draw him into stormy security waters in the Pacific.

A Different Kind of Negotiation

Just as Trump regards the one-China policy as a relic of the Cold War worth revisiting, he intends to update Washington's relationship with Moscow. As Trump sees it, the United States is not fighting an existential battle with Russia deserving of Cold War-era collective security commitments. Russia is no longer preoccupied with forging an empire under an ideology that is anathema to Western capitalism. Instead, Moscow is focused on the more basic task of constructing a national identity and insulating the state and its borderlands from Western encroachment in anticipation of greater domestic turmoil to come. As Kissinger recently put it, Russian President Vladimir Putin is like one of Fyodor Dostoevsky's characters, for whom "the question of Russian identity is very crucial because, as a result of the collapse of communism, Russia has lost about 300 years of its history." If Russia were to try to build a state by expanding its already sprawling territory, nationalism would not be enough to hold it together. Consequently, Putin is trying to defend the areas surrounding his country and compel the West to recognize and respect that sphere of influence.

Taking a less alarmist view of Russia's intentions, the Trump administration sees an opening to develop a new understanding with Moscow, one that could put to rest the question of Crimea and perhaps recognize Russia's influence over eastern Ukraine. Syria, a peripheral issue for both Moscow and Washington, would be recognized as such. Since sanctions are a drag on business and Russia sorely needs investment, Trump could ease the measures to get a dialogue moving on what an understanding would look like without sacrificing the U.S. military presence along Europe's eastern flank.

Should Tillerson be confirmed as secretary of state, Trump would rely on his knowledge of Kremlin personalities and their internal feuds to advance the negotiations. After all, if a company needs good inroads with the Kremlin to do business in Russia, the same must go for a government that wants to negotiate with Moscow. But negotiating access to Russia's Arctic shelf on ExxonMobil's behalf is not the same as conducting talks centered on Russia (or China, for that matter) trying to get the West out of its backyard.

Russia has no illusion that a shuffle of personalities in the White House will reverse U.S. policy and cede the former Soviet sphere to it. The United States will still be compelled to keep a check on Russia's moves in Europe just as Moscow will maintain its levers across several theaters, from cybersecurity to arms control to proxy wars in the Middle East. Though Trump's administration may change the tone of the conversation and broach the topic of tactical concessions, Russia will still be driven by an unrelenting distrust of Western intentions that will keep defenses up on both sides. Nonetheless, the very notion of a private bargain developing between Washington and Moscow will inject uncertainty into long-standing collective security arrangements as the European Continent is undergoing another Machiavellian moment in history where the assertion of state interests is breaking the bonds of its flawed union.

An Unlikely Precedent

Despite the changes that Trump will doubtless bring to the presidency, his foreign policy is not as unprecedented as the world's pundits may claim. The bridge between President Barack Obama's foreign policy doctrine and the one evolving under Trump is not entirely sturdy, but the foundation is there. As president, Obama was a realist. He considered it his mission to rebalance the United States after the country had overextended itself fighting wars in the Islamic world. His resistance to expanding U.S. military commitments in the Middle East was deeply ingrained; as he said in an interview in The Atlantic, "it is literally in my DNA to be suspicious of tribalism." He held strong convictions that the United States would once again be trampled under a sectarian horde in the Middle East if it tried to extend its ambitions beyond the more immediate and visible threat of the Islamic State. He also pressured even close U.S. allies such as the United Kingdom to pay their fair share in security commitments because, as he put it, "free riders aggravate me." Obama was a follower of 20th-century American theologian Reinhold Niebuhr, who held a rather Hobbesian view of the world as a struggle among self-interested groups. (It was Niebuhr who wrote, "God, grant me the serenity to accept the things I cannot change, the courage to change the things I can, and the wisdom to know the difference.") The current president built a foreign policy on extreme restraint while addressing his own set of geopolitical anachronisms: the United States' relationships with Iran and Cuba.

But Obama, unlike Trump, applied an internationalist lens to his realist views. He wanted his allies to pay their share but was resolute in keeping the U.S. security umbrella over their heads. He viewed foreign trade as a means to build alliances and contain conflicts. Still, protectionism was already well underway during Obama's tenure. Since the 2008 financial crisis, the United States has led G-20 countries in carrying out discriminatory trade measures on selective industries (particularly metals), according to a report by Global Trade Alert. At the same time, Obama saw that the world was changing with technology and that old jobs would give way to advances in manufacturing. He preferred to think in longer horizons, at times to his own detriment: For Obama, the long-term impact of climate change was existential compared with the short-term threat posed by the Islamic State.

By contrast, Trump's realism is steeped in nationalism and tends to be more myopic in assessing threats. His solution to displaced American labor is to punish foreign trade partners rather than to retool the workforce to adapt to demographic and technological change. Under Trump, climate change concerns will take a back seat to the more immediate desires to ease regulations on business. Rather than play a restrained globalist role, the next president would sooner respect countries' rights to defend themselves, irrespective of the long-term consequences of undermining time-honored collective security arrangements. Though a departure from an already defunct two-state solution in Israel's favor acknowledges the current reality, it also risks further destabilizing the balance of power in the Middle East as Turkey continues its resurgence and multiple civil wars rage on. A short-term escalation with Beijing over trade and Taiwan could cost Washington a much bigger strategic discussion over China's attempts to achieve parity with the United States in numerous spheres, from cyberspace to the seas.

Keeping the World on Its Toes

Perhaps the greatest difference between the Obama and Trump foreign policies lies in what may be Trump's biggest virtue: his unpredictability. Obama has been criticized as overly cautious in his foreign policy and thus too much of a known entity for U.S. adversaries. Trump, on the other hand, gives the impression that he is willing to throw caution to the wind and rely on instinct in shaping foreign policy. This matters immensely for U.S. allies and adversaries alike that have to be kept on their toes in developing their long-term strategy while avoiding the unexpected with the world's superpower.

Regardless of who occupies the presidency, the United States' strong geopolitical foundation gives it options. As opposed to more vulnerable countries in less forgiving locales, the United States, buffered as it is by two vast oceans, can debate the merits of isolationism and intervention. George Kennan, a diplomat during the Cold War era, may have captured the immense power of the country's unpredictability best:

    "[American democracy is like] one of those prehistoric monsters with a body as long as this room and a brain the size of a pin: He lives there in his comfortable primeval mud and pays little attention to his environment; he is slow to wrath — in fact, you practically have to whack his tail off to make him aware that his interests are being disturbed; but, once he grasps this, he lays about him with such blind determination that he not only destroys his adversary but largely wrecks his native habitat."

Aloofness in international affairs is a geopolitical luxury, but it cannot be taken for granted. That may be the basis for the Trump doctrine.
Logged
Crafty_Dog
Administrator
Power User
*****
Posts: 41108


« Reply #758 on: December 27, 2016, 08:07:11 PM »

http://www.nationalreview.com/article/443347/obama-foreign-policy-ignores-human-nature-time-tested-truths?utm_source=Sailthru&utm_medium=email&utm_campaign=Daily%20Trending%20Email%20Reoccurring-%20Monday%20to%20Thursday%202016-12-27&utm_term=NR5PM%20Actives
Logged
ccp
Power User
***
Posts: 7430


« Reply #759 on: December 29, 2016, 03:44:33 PM »

All we have heard for 8 yrs is that what we really need are *statesmen* who can give us diplomacy, diplomacy and more diplomacy.  The Left lectured us that we just need more of this

diplomacy, diplomacy and more diplomacy.
diplomacy, diplomacy and more diplomacy.
diplomacy, diplomacy and more diplomacy.
diplomacy, diplomacy and more diplomacy.

Now 5 minutes before he exits Obama is giving everyone the finger.

Thanks for your diplomacy BROCK!
Nobel prize winner.  If only the world was smart enough to appreciate your genius.  God , can we make it till the 20th?

From another compost this one the Huffington one:

Brock "lowers the boom":
http://www.huffingtonpost.com/entry/obama-sanctions-russia-over-election_us_586560e7e4b0d9a5945a9b3a?17ybfuwv2i4jqncdi

Funny how cyber security only became a top priority once it hurt the Democrat Party.  Last I heard we still don't have our power gird protected against and EMP.  

If you ask me  OBama  looks more like a coward then a tough guy, by getting pissy as he is heading for the exits after 8 yrs of selling us out.

« Last Edit: December 29, 2016, 03:52:06 PM by ccp » Logged
G M
Power User
***
Posts: 15174


« Reply #760 on: December 29, 2016, 09:13:09 PM »


David Burge
‏@iowahawkblog
Russia invades Crimea: oh well
Russia shoots down airliner: mistakes happen
John Podesta falls for phishing scam: RESTART THE COLD WAR



All we have heard for 8 yrs is that what we really need are *statesmen* who can give us diplomacy, diplomacy and more diplomacy.  The Left lectured us that we just need more of this

diplomacy, diplomacy and more diplomacy.
diplomacy, diplomacy and more diplomacy.
diplomacy, diplomacy and more diplomacy.
diplomacy, diplomacy and more diplomacy.

Now 5 minutes before he exits Obama is giving everyone the finger.

Thanks for your diplomacy BROCK!
Nobel prize winner.  If only the world was smart enough to appreciate your genius.  God , can we make it till the 20th?

From another compost this one the Huffington one:

Brock "lowers the boom":
http://www.huffingtonpost.com/entry/obama-sanctions-russia-over-election_us_586560e7e4b0d9a5945a9b3a?17ybfuwv2i4jqncdi

Funny how cyber security only became a top priority once it hurt the Democrat Party.  Last I heard we still don't have our power gird protected against and EMP.  

If you ask me  OBama  looks more like a coward then a tough guy, by getting pissy as he is heading for the exits after 8 yrs of selling us out.


Logged
Crafty_Dog
Administrator
Power User
*****
Posts: 41108


« Reply #761 on: January 10, 2017, 08:53:31 PM »


Understanding America's Global Role in the Age of Trump
Geopolitical Weekly
January 3, 2017 | 08:07 GMT Print
Text Size
A Trump supporter holds a campaign prop of former U.S. President Ronald Reagan in November 2016 in Grand Rapids, Michigan. President-elect Donald Trump has invoked Reagan's policy of "Peace Through Strength." (JEFF KOWALSKY/AFP/Getty Images)

By Rodger Baker

The New Year, of course, is a time when many reflect on the past and look toward the future. The past provides potential lessons and cautions for those who would seek to find tomorrow's solutions in yesterday's actions. In his 1994 book Diplomacy, former Secretary of State Henry Kissinger wrote: "The study of history offers no manual of instructions that can be applied automatically; history teaches by analogy, shedding light on the likely consequences of comparable situations. But each generation must determine for itself which circumstances are in fact comparable."

While Kissinger is explicit on the importance of studying and applying history to policy, he is as insistent that history not be misapplied, that the assessment of the past not lead to false conclusions for the present or the future. Today, the concept of "Peace Through Strength" popularized by President Ronald Reagan in the 1980s is emerging as a mantra of the incoming Trump administration, its advisers and supporters. The risk of raising iconic personalities and policies from American history is that lessons may inadvertently be misapplied. The concepts may be sound, but the interpretation and application in a different context may lead to wildly different results.

Peace Through Strength

"Peace Through Strength" was a cornerstone of the Reagan administration, an assertion that an economically and militarily strong United States was necessary to ensure peace and stability internationally by demonstrating the futility of challenging U.S. power. But times have changed, the world system is far different than it was during the Cold War, threats have evolved, and the mythos of Reagan has perhaps superseded the reality of history. It is worth considering what Peace Through Strength meant in the past, what it may mean in the present, and perhaps most important, just how one measures American strength in the modern era.

It is hard to reconcile some current policy proposals — rolling back free trade, increasing tariffs, pulling back on the U.S. global role and leaving allies to their own defense — with the underpinnings of the Reagan-esque Peace Through Strength, which encouraged free trade, an activist foreign policy and the strong support of distant allies. But it is also a very different moment in history.

Reagan came to office at a time of double-digit interest rates and chaotic oil markets, in a binary world of the U.S.-led West versus Soviet East, and on the heels of a major U.S. intelligence reassessment of the Soviet nuclear and conventional threat. The structure of the U.S. economy was still based on manufacturing with a strong export component, and the coming computer revolution was just beginning. Reagan even noted in his 1983 State of the Union address that "To many of us now, computers, silicon chips, data processing, cybernetics, and all the other innovations of the dawning high technology age are as mystifying as the workings of the combustion engine must have been when that first Model T rattled down Main Street, U.S.A.," a comment that seems rather quaint given today's technology-driven lives.

In the Soviet Union, Reagan had a single major foreign threat to contend with, and he coupled his push for missile defense systems (to negate the advantage in Soviet missiles) with calls for reductions in nuclear arms. Peace Through Strength was intended to deter conventional and nuclear attacks against the United States and its allies by the Soviet Union and its allies.

In his March 1983 Address to the Nation on Defense and National Security, Reagan explained Peace Through Strength as the application of a policy of deterrence. "Since the dawn of the atomic age, we've sought to reduce the risk of war by maintaining a strong deterrent and by seeking genuine arms control. 'Deterrence' means simply this: making sure any adversary who thinks about attacking the United States, or our allies, or our vital interests, concludes that the risks to him outweigh any potential gains. Once he understands that, he won't attack. We maintain the peace through our strength; weakness only invites aggression."

Two months earlier, in his State of the Union Address, Reagan had highlighted the dual economic and military components of a policy of Peace through Strength. "Our strategy for peace with freedom must also be based on strength—economic strength and military strength. A strong American economy is essential to the well-being and security of our friends and allies. The restoration of a strong, healthy American economy has been and remains one of the central pillars of our foreign policy." The dual concepts of a strong domestic American economy and a strong defense capability were tied together into a single strategy with a global focus.

The incoming U.S. administration has picked up on these two themes and revived the Peace Through Strength concept. The focus is on rebuilding the American economy through manufacturing, infrastructure development and tax reform, and on strengthening American defense in part through an expansion of nuclear capacity. But the conditions are different now. Manufacturing and exports are no longer as important to the U.S. economy, technology has created entire new sectors of economic activity, and trade patterns have expanded into massive networks spanning continents. Interest rates in double digits when Reagan took office are barely rising above record lows today, and oil prices remain hovering near lows, while U.S. domestic production is on the rise. Technology has advanced the tools of warfare and disruption into the cyber realm, reducing the speed and confidence of identifying the perpetrator and altering the perception of risk and reward for state powers as well as non-state actors.

And, of course, there is no Soviet Union. Rather than a single superpower adversary, the United States faces the emergence of several regional powers, none exactly an opponent, but each seeking to assert its own interests in the face of the single remaining global hegemon. The threat is seen less as a battle between nuclear-armed superpowers than as a struggle against non-state actors with a very different risk-reward calculus. It is not clear, for example, that a strong nuclear force will deter terrorist attacks by non-state actors and their sympathizers. Even the large-scale U.S. military response in Afghanistan after the 9/11 attacks did not stop the later emergence of the Islamic State or its promotion of militant attacks against American allies, interests and homeland.

Reagan's Peace Through Strength was more than simply about making America great: Reagan asserted America was already great but just faced some problems. His policy was about making America strong internally and externally so it could carry out its broader global mission of spreading democracy. Underlying Reagan's policies was the recognition that American exceptionalism derived not only from its being powerful, but from its responsibility to spread the American system to other countries. In the super hero trope, great responsibility came with great power.

Beacon vs. Missionary

Exceptionalism has long been a conceptual underpinning of American foreign and domestic policy. America's founding myths perpetuate the idea that this is a unique country, one that has refined a system of government and personal freedoms that are not merely the result of local conditions, but universal in application. The debate among American leadership, as Kissinger highlighted, has long centered on whether to be the light on the hill, semi-isolated but a shining beacon for others to emulate, or to be the active crusading missionary, taking a direct role in bringing American principles and systems to the world.

Reagan was no isolationist; he did not seek retrenchment or withdrawal from the global role of the United States. Instead, he promoted internationalism, free trade, active financial and defense support of allies, and a hands-on approach to world affairs. The Reagan administration sought through strength a greater capacity to fulfill what he saw as the U.S. role as the leader of the West, the bringer of democracy, and the guiding light to the world.

It is this broader mission that appears, at least on the surface, to be lacking in the incoming administration's expression of Peace Through Strength. America is exceptional, but exceptional and alone, responsible for itself but not others. The goal is to make America great, but it is unclear to what end. In part this may be the wide swing reaction to the perception that the current Obama administration often appeared to focus on the interests, concerns, or verbal preferences of others over those of the United States. In times of transition the pendulum often swings wide before it moves a back a little toward the center. Reagan's policies were a far cry from those of his predecessor, and Barack Obama shaped himself as the antithesis of what was derided as the cowboy-esque tendencies of the George W. Bush administration. In each case, though, the realities of the global system ultimately tempered at least some of the rhetorical and ideological differences, or at least their application.

Perhaps the biggest challenge currently is simply understanding just how to measure American power in the modern world. During the Cold War, the intelligence community produced so-called "net assessments" and National Intelligence Estimates for the president and the administration to measure the net balance between different aspects of American and Soviet power and those of their alliance structures. These included economic, social, political and, of course, military comparisons, though the latter frequently defaulted to bean-counter comparisons of the numbers of systems rather than providing a holistic look at their overall effectiveness. The dissolution of the Soviet Union and the Communist bloc gave rise to a clear preponderance of U.S. economic, cultural, political and militarily power.

But that massive gap is narrowing, not necessarily due to a decline in overall U.S. strength, but rather to the rise of regional powers — notably China and the re-emergence of Russia, but also smaller regional groupings that have been growing economically and militarily. Many worldwide argue that the United States should no longer be the default global leader, that other countries have the right to take their turn at broader international leadership, and that U.S. ideals are not universal and so should not be asserted as such. The diffusion of global power is also creating a diffusion of global ideals. Global and domestic resistance to perceived over-globalization is strong, and the ability of the United States to assert its ideals and its right to lead the global system is increasingly challenged from without and within.

In relative strength, the United States is losing ground, particularly by measures from the beginning of the post-Cold War period. But that does not mean that any other single power will soon overtake the United States. The United States remains the single largest economy and the single most powerful military force in the world. The question is perhaps not whether the United States has strength, but how it intends to apply that strength, and whether the United States has vision beyond itself.

Logged
Crafty_Dog
Administrator
Power User
*****
Posts: 41108


« Reply #762 on: February 02, 2017, 09:02:04 PM »

Trump Embraces Pillars of Obama’s Foreign Policy

By MARK LANDLER, PETER BAKER and DAVID E. SANGERFEB. 2, 2017
Continue reading the main story
Share This Page

    Share
    Tweet
    Email
    More
    Save

Photo
Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu delivers a speech during a memorial ceremony for Ron Nahman, the founder of Ariel, one of the largest Israeli settlements in the occupied West Bank on Thursday. Credit Jack Guez/Agence France-Presse — Getty Images

WASHINGTON — President Trump, after promising a radical break with the foreign policy of Barack Obama, is embracing key pillars of the former administration’s strategy, including warning Israel to curb construction of settlements, demanding that Russia withdraw from Crimea and threatening Iran with sanctions for ballistic missile tests.

In the most startling shift, the White House issued an unexpected statement appealing to the Israeli government not to expand the construction of Jewish settlements beyond their current borders in East Jerusalem and the West Bank. Such expansion, it said, “may not be helpful in achieving” the goal of peace.

At the United Nations, Ambassador Nikki R. Haley declared that the United States would not lift sanctions against Russia until it stopped destabilizing Ukraine and pulled troops out of Crimea.

On Iran, the administration is preparing a set of economic sanctions that are similar to what the Obama administration imposed just over a year ago. The White House has also shown no indication that it plans to rip up Mr. Obama’s landmark nuclear deal, despite Mr. Trump’s withering criticism of it during the presidential campaign.
Continue reading the main story
The Trump White House
Stories about President Trump’s administration.

    Melania Trump’s Absence From Washington Raises Questions About Her Role
    FEB 2
    New C.I.A. Deputy Director Had Leading Role in Torture of Detainees
    FEB 2
    Trump Looks to Another Finance Veteran for Senior Role
    FEB 2
    Pointing to Trump, Groups Reject U.S. Aid to Fight Extremism
    FEB 2
    For Europe, There’s a New Threat in Town: The U.S.
    FEB 2

See More »

ADVERTISEMENT
Continue reading the main story

New administrations often fail to change the foreign policies of their predecessors as radically as they promised, in large part because statecraft is so different from campaigning. And of course, today’s positions could shift over time. But the Trump administration’s reversals were particularly stark because they came after days of tempestuous phone calls between Mr. Trump and foreign leaders, in which he gleefully challenged diplomatic orthodoxy and appeared to jeopardize one relationship after another.

Mr. Trump, for example, made warmer relations with Russia the centerpiece of his foreign policy during the campaign, and European leaders were steeling for him to lift the sanctions that they and Mr. Obama imposed on President Vladimir V. Putin after he annexed Crimea. But on Thursday, Mr. Trump’s United Nations ambassador, Ms. Haley, sounded a lot like her predecessor, Samantha Power.

“We do want to better our relations with Russia,” Ms. Haley said in her first remarks to an open session of the United Nations Security Council. “However, the dire situation in eastern Ukraine is one that demands clear and strong condemnation of Russian actions.”

Similarly, Mr. Trump presented himself during the campaign as a stalwart supporter of Israel and sharply criticized the Obama administration for allowing the passage of a Security Council resolution in December that condemned Israel for its expansion of settlements.

“While we don’t believe the existence of settlements is an impediment to peace,” the White House press secretary, Sean Spicer, said in a statement, “the construction of new settlements or the expansion of existing settlements beyond their current borders may not be helpful in achieving that goal.”

The White House noted that the president “has not taken an official position on settlement activity.” It said Mr. Trump would discuss the issue with Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu of Israel when they meet Feb. 15, in effect telling Mr. Netanyahu to wait until then. Emboldened by Mr. Trump’s support, Israel had announced more than 5,000 new homes in the West Bank since his inauguration.

Mr. Trump shifted his policy after he met briefly with King Abdullah II of Jordan on the sidelines of the National Prayer Breakfast — an encounter that put the king, one of the most respected leaders of the Arab world, ahead of Mr. Netanyahu in seeing the new president. Jordan, with its large Palestinian population, has been steadfastly critical of settlements.

The administration’s abrupt turnaround also coincided with Secretary of State Rex W. Tillerson’s first day at the State Department and the arrival of Defense Secretary Jim Mattis in South Korea on his first official trip. Both men are viewed as potentially capable of exerting a moderating influence on the president and his cadre of White House advisers, though it was unclear how much they had to do with the shifts.

With Iran, Mr. Trump has indisputably taken a harder line than his predecessor. While the Obama administration often looked for ways to avoid confrontation with Iran in its last year, Mr. Trump seems equally eager to challenge what he has said is an Iranian expansion across the region, especially in Iraq and Yemen.
Get the Morning Briefing by Email

What you need to know to start your day, delivered to your inbox Monday through Friday.
Receive occasional updates and special offers for The New York Times's products and services.

    See Sample Manage Email Preferences Privacy Policy

In an early morning Twitter post on Thursday, Mr. Trump was bombastic on Iran.

“Iran has been formally PUT ON NOTICE for firing a ballistic missile,” he wrote. “Should have been thankful for the terrible deal the U.S. made with them!” In a second post, he said wrongly,  (MARC:  FY Pravda on the Hudson!!!) “Iran was on its last legs and ready to collapse until the U.S. came along and gave it a life-line in the form of the Iran Deal: $150 billion.”

Still, the administration has been careful not to specify what the national security adviser, Michael T. Flynn, meant when he said on Wednesday that Iran had been put “on notice” for its missile test and for its arming and training of the Houthi rebels in Yemen.

The new sanctions could be announced as soon as Friday. But most experts have said they will have little practical effect, because the companies that supply missile parts rarely have direct business with the United States, and allies have usually been reluctant to reimpose sanctions after many were lifted as part of the 2015 nuclear accord.

Ali Akbar Velayati, an adviser to Iran’s supreme leader, replied, “This is not the first time that an inexperienced person has threatened Iran,” according to the semiofficial Fars news agency. “The American government will understand that threatening Iran is useless.”

Some analysts said they worried that the administration did not have tools, short of military action, to back up its warning.  (MARC:  I share this concern)

“Whether the Trump administration intended it or not, they have created their own red line,” said Aaron David Miller, a senior fellow at the Woodrow Wilson International Center for Scholars. “When Iran tests again, the administration will have no choice but to put up or shut up.”

Mr. Netanyahu will cheer Mr. Trump’s tough tone with Iran. But the American statement on settlements may force him to change course on a delicate domestic issue. His coalition government seemed to take Mr. Trump’s inauguration as a starting gun in a race to increase its construction in occupied territory.

After Mr. Trump was sworn in, the Israeli government announced that it would authorize another 2,500 homes in areas already settled in the West Bank, and then followed that this week with an announcement of 3,000 more. On Wednesday, Mr. Netanyahu took it a step further, vowing to build the first new settlement in the West Bank in many years.

For Mr. Netanyahu, the settlement spree reflects a sense of liberation after years of constraints from Washington, especially under Mr. Obama, who, like other presidents, viewed settlement construction as harmful to the chances of negotiating a final peace settlement. It is also an effort to deflect criticism from Israel’s political right for Mr. Netanyahu’s compliance with a court order to force several dozen families out of the illegal West Bank outpost of Amona.

Mr. Trump had also promised to move the American Embassy from Tel Aviv to Jerusalem. But in recent weeks, the White House slowed down the move, in part out of concern that it would cause a violent response.

The policy shifts came after a turbulent week in which Mr. Trump also clashed with the leaders of Australia and Mexico over one of the most fraught issues of his new presidency: immigration. He defended the tense exchanges as an overdue display of toughness by a United States that has been exploited “by every nation in the world, virtually.”

“They’re tough; we have to be tough. It’s time we’re going to be a little tough, folks,” he said at the prayer breakfast Thursday. “It’s not going to happen anymore.”

Yet later in the day, the White House felt obliged to put a more diplomatic gloss on events. Mr. Spicer said Mr. Trump’s call with Prime Minister Malcolm Turnbull of Australia had been “very cordial,” even if Mr. Trump bitterly opposed an agreement negotiated by the Obama administration for the United States to accept the transfer of 1,250 refugees from an Australian detention camp.

A senior administration official disputed a report that Mr. Trump had threatened to send troops to Mexico to deal with its “bad hombres.” The official said that the conversation with President Enrique Peña Nieto had been “actually very friendly,” and that Mr. Trump had been speaking in jest.
Logged
Crafty_Dog
Administrator
Power User
*****
Posts: 41108


« Reply #763 on: February 03, 2017, 08:06:49 AM »

http://www.jpost.com/Opinion/Column-one-The-Trump-way-of-war-480439

Logged
ccp
Power User
***
Posts: 7430


« Reply #764 on: February 03, 2017, 12:38:36 PM »

Risk of war going way up?

http://www.wnd.com/2017/02/michael-savage-cautions-trump-about-inner-circle/
Logged
Crafty_Dog
Administrator
Power User
*****
Posts: 41108


« Reply #765 on: February 06, 2017, 09:47:31 PM »

Glick quotes this article as support of her hypothesis:

https://www.wsj.com/articles/trump-administration-looks-at-driving-wedge-between-russia-and-iran-1486342035
Logged
Crafty_Dog
Administrator
Power User
*****
Posts: 41108


« Reply #766 on: February 10, 2017, 11:34:10 AM »

 By Peggy Noonan
Feb. 9, 2017 7:48 p.m. ET
233 COMMENTS

Let’s step back from the daily chaos and look at a big, pressing question. Last fall at a defense forum a significant military figure was asked: If you could wave a magic wand, what is the one big thing you’d give the U.S. military right now?

We’d all been talking about the effects of the sequester and reform of the procurement system and I expected an answer along those lines. Instead he said: We need to know what the U.S. government wants from us. We need to know the overarching plan because if there’s no higher plan we can’t make plans to meet the plan.

This was freshly, bluntly put, and his answer came immediately, without pause.

The world is in crisis. The old order that more or less governed things after World War II has been swept away. The changed world that followed the fall of the Berlin Wall is also over.

    Make Inaugurals Dignified Again

    Advice for the new president on his first day—and for the media covering it.

    Click to Read Story

    Shining a Light on ‘Back Row’ America

    Chris Arnade, a photographer whose travels and pictures reveal an America that is battered but standing, a society that is atomized but holding on.

    Click to Read Story

    The Smartest Thing I Heard in 2016

    In July, South Carolina Sen. Tim Scott told me this was an ‘unpollable’ election. He was spot on.

    Click to Read Story

    Advertisement

    What Trump Got That Romney Didn’t

    Trump, unlike Romney, understands that ideology isn’t enough to provide the unity America needs.

    Click to Read Story

More By Peggy Noonan

We’ve been absorbing this for a while, since at least 2014, when Russia invaded Crimea. But what plan are we developing to approach the world as it is now?

I always notice that a day after a terrible tornado hits the Midwest the television crews swarm in and film the victims picking through what’s left. People literally stand where their house was, their neighborhood was. In shock, they point at some flattened debris and say, “That was our living room.” They rummage around, find a photo. “This was my son’s wedding.”

That’s sort of what a lot of those interested in foreign policy have been doing in recent years—staring in shock at the wreckage.

But something has to be rebuilt. Everyone now has to be an architect, or a cement-pourer, or a master craftsman carpenter.

It’s been instructive the past week to reread a small classic of statecraft, “Present at the Creation” by Dean Acheson, published in 1969. As undersecretary and then secretary of state he was involved in the creation of the postwar order.

After the war the world was in crisis, much of it in collapse. “The period was marked by the disappearance of world powers and empires, or their reduction to medium-sized states, and from this wreckage emerged a multiplicity of states . . . all of them largely undeveloped politically and economically. Overshadowing all loomed two dangers to all—the Soviet Union’s new-found power and expansive imperialism, and the development of nuclear weapons.” The Cold War had begun. China was in civil war, about to fall to communism. Europe’s economy had been destroyed. Europe and Asia were “in a state of utter exhaustion and economic dislocation.” The entire world seemed to be “disintegrating.”

What came after the crisis was the Marshall Plan, in which the U.S., itself exhausted by the war, helped its allies, and enemies, survive and resist communism. The objective, as the Truman administration declared it, was not relief but revival—spending American money to bring back agriculture, industry and trade. New financing was needed from Congress, in amounts then thought impossible—hundreds of millions that became billions.

It was an effort appropriate to its time. Apart from its essential good—millions didn’t die of starvation, nations such as Greece did not fall to communism—it brought America more than half a century of the world’s sometimes grudging but mostly enthusiastic admiration. They now knew we were not only a powerful nation but a great people. This was not unhelpful in times of crisis down the road.

It is exciting at a time like this to read of the development of a successful foreign-policy effort from conception to execution. And—how to say it?—Acheson’s first-rate second-rateness is inspiring. This was not a deeply brilliant man, not a grand strategist, but more a manager who was a good judge of others’ concepts. He could see facts—he had sturdy sight—and spy implications. He had the gift of natural confidence. He could also be clueless: One of his most respected aides was the Soviet spy Alger Hiss.

But Acheson was gutsy, willing to throw the long ball, and a first-rate appreciator of the gifts of others. He thought George Marshall, who preceded him as secretary of state, the greatest American military figure since George Washington. He is moving on the subject of Harry Truman. You are lucky if you can love a president you serve, and he did. Unlike FDR, Truman was not devious but plain in his dealings; also unlike FDR, he was not cold at the core but available. After Truman left office, a friend of Acheson’s, visiting the new White House, was told as a man went into the Oval Office: “Oh, he’s going in to cheer up the president.” Acheson’s friend replied, “That’s funny, in our day the president used to cheer us up.”

Acheson: “Harry S. Truman was two men. One was the public figure—peppery, sometimes belligerent, often didactic, the ‘give-’em-hell’ Harry. The other was the patient, modest, considerate and appreciative boss, helpful and understanding in all official matters, affectionate in any private worry or sorrow.” Truman “learned from mistakes (though he seldom admitted them), and did not waste time bemoaning them.”

What is inspiring about Acheson’s first-rate second-rateness is that he’s like a lot of those we have developing foreign policy right now.

Acheson, though he did not present it this way, provides useful lessons for future diplomats in future crises.

• Everyone’s in the dark looking for the switch. When you’re in the middle of history the meaning of things is usually unclear. “We all had far more than the familiar difficulty of determining the capabilities and intentions of those who inhabit the planet with us.” In real time most things are obscure. “We groped after interpretations of [events], sometimes reversed lines of action based on earlier views, and hesitated before grasping what now seems obvious.” “Only slowly did it dawn upon us that the whole world structure and order that we had inherited from the nineteenth century was gone.”

• D on’t mess things up at the beginning. Acheson’s insight was that it wouldn’t work to put forward the Marshall Plan and then try to sell it to the public. The way to go was to explain to Congress and the public the exact nature of the crisis. This, he believed, would shock both into facing facts. While they were doing that, a plan to deal with the crisis was being developed. “We could not afford a false start.”

• Be able to see your work soberly. Keep notes so history will know what happened. “Our efforts for the most part left conditions better than we found them,” Acheson says. Especially in Europe, which was dying and went on to live.

• Cheer up. Good things can come of bad times, great things from fiercely imperfect individuals.

• Even though you’ll wind up disappointed. All diplomats in the end feel frustrated over missed opportunities and achievements that slipped away. “Alas, that is life. We cannot live our dreams.”

Still to be answered: What is America’s strategy now—our overarching vision, our big theme and intent? What are the priorities? How, now, to navigate the world?

That soldier needs an answer to his question: What do you need from us? What’s the plan?
Logged
Crafty_Dog
Administrator
Power User
*****
Posts: 41108


« Reply #767 on: February 27, 2017, 09:32:03 AM »

https://www.prageru.com/courses/foreign-affairs/why-america-must-lead
Logged
Crafty_Dog
Administrator
Power User
*****
Posts: 41108


« Reply #768 on: March 07, 2017, 06:53:29 AM »



Very interesting read:

http://www.aei.org/publication/securing-asias-mediterranean/?utm_source=paramount&utm_medium=email&utm_content=AEITODAY&utm_campaign=030717
Logged
Crafty_Dog
Administrator
Power User
*****
Posts: 41108


« Reply #769 on: March 14, 2017, 05:09:40 PM »

http://www.aei.org/publication/boltons-foreign-policy-priorities/
Logged
Crafty_Dog
Administrator
Power User
*****
Posts: 41108


« Reply #770 on: March 14, 2017, 05:14:01 PM »

http://thestrategybridge.org/the-bridge-index
Logged
Crafty_Dog
Administrator
Power User
*****
Posts: 41108


« Reply #771 on: March 17, 2017, 01:53:09 PM »

WTF?

http://www.tabletmag.com/jewish-news-and-politics/227526/obamas-foreign-policy-wizards
Logged
ccp
Power User
***
Posts: 7430


« Reply #772 on: March 17, 2017, 01:55:33 PM »

 huh angry
Logged
bigdog
Power User
***
Posts: 2268


« Reply #773 on: March 30, 2017, 03:21:28 PM »

http://chargedaffairs.org/on-china-and-russia-strategy-for-the-new-administration/

"...the United States should work to improve relations between Russia and countries adverse to China such as Japan, South Korea, and Vietnam, at least on the economic front."
Logged
ccp
Power User
***
Posts: 7430


« Reply #774 on: March 30, 2017, 03:26:30 PM »

Bigdog posts:

http://chargedaffairs.org/on-china-and-russia-strategy-for-the-new-administration/

"...the United States should work to improve relations between Russia and countries adverse to China such as Japan, South Korea, and Vietnam, at least on the economic front."

ccp responds:

About the author of above post:

http://chargedaffairs.org/author/caleb-marquis/

John Bolton on threats to US.  He seems to categorize China and Russia as long term threats vs more immediate threats such as terrorism, N Korea
He might well agree with Caleb Maruis on some of hs strategy which is kind of vague :

http://www.breitbart.com/radio/2017/02/23/bolton-trump-needs-long-term-strategy-keep-russia-check-europe-middle-east/

I tried to find something written on Rex Tillerson's views on Russia China and all that comes up is mostly LEFTist slanted criticism:

"Tillerson skips Nato for meeting with Putin" etc.
Logged
Crafty_Dog
Administrator
Power User
*****
Posts: 41108


« Reply #775 on: March 30, 2017, 07:44:44 PM »

Thank you CCP
Logged
Crafty_Dog
Administrator
Power User
*****
Posts: 41108


« Reply #776 on: April 03, 2017, 07:35:29 PM »

Have not read this yet but it looks promising.

https://thestrategybridge.org/the-bridge/2017/3/27/in-the-mind-of-the-enemy
Logged
Crafty_Dog
Administrator
Power User
*****
Posts: 41108


« Reply #777 on: April 11, 2017, 12:00:13 PM »

https://amgreatness.com/2017/04/10/trumps-realism-america-first-not-america-alone/
Logged
G M
Power User
***
Posts: 15174


« Reply #778 on: April 16, 2017, 04:59:35 PM »

http://www.thediplomad.com/2017/04/climbing-out-of-obama-foreign-policy.html

Sunday, April 16, 2017
Climbing out of the Obama Foreign Policy Hole (Part 2)

A bit over three years ago I posted a piece titled "Climbing Out of the Obama Foreign Policy Hole." It was one of several in which I surveyed the disaster that was our foreign policy under the late, unlamented Obama misadministration, and provided some general prescriptions, and made the following observation,

our president should matter more to foreigners than to us. We hear nonsense from progressives about the president "running the country." Wrong! Our presidency was not designed to run the country--anybody who thinks that it was has not read the Constitution. The executive branch is not the country. The president must concentrate on the executive branch and the main tasks assigned it by the Constitution. Instead of promoting disastrous health care initiatives, listening to every phone call in Iowa, using the IRS to suppress dissent, beating up on Israel, yammering about fictitious global climate change, or demanding a costly and pointless relabeling of food products in the supermarket, the President should focus on his primary responsibility, the national defense. We must have a military capability second to none, and, in fact, greater than any foreseeable coalition of powers that might oppose us. We must stand with our allies; our word must be a gold coin; our enemies and friends must know we say what we mean and mean what we say, to wit, we have the biggest gun and will pull the trigger. The enemy is real and dangerous--a look at the forcibly altered NYC skyline should be proof enough of that. The "end of history" silliness should have died in the rubble of the Twin Towers.

I had written one earlier than that, some four years ago (time flies!) in which I also focussed on,

the disaster that is Obama's foreign policy, a policy of defeat. In its defense, let me say that to call it a policy designed for America's defeat gives it too much credit. My experience at State and the NSC, has shown me that most Obamaistas are not knowledgable enough to design anything. Foreign policy for the Obama crew is an afterthought. They really have little interest in it; many key jobs went vacant for months at State, DOD, CIA, and the NSC. The Obama foreign policy team is peopled by the "well-educated," i.e., they have college degrees, and as befits the "well educated" in today's America, they are stunningly ignorant and arrogant leftists, but mostly just idiots. They do not make plans; they tend to fly by the seat of their pants using a deeply ingrained anti-US default setting for navigation. They react to the Beltway crowd of NGOs, "activists" of various stripes, NPR, the Washington Post and the New York Times. Relying on what they "know," they ensure the US does not appear as a bully, or an interventionist when it comes to our enemies: after all, we did something to make them not like us. Long-term US allies, e.g., Canada, UK, Israel, Japan, Honduras, Colombia, on the other hand, they view as anti-poor, anti-Third World, and retrograde Cold Warriors. Why else would somebody befriend the US? Obama's NSC and State are staffed with people who do not know the history of the United States, and, simply, do not understand or appreciate the importance of the United States in and to the world. They are embarrassed by and, above all, do not like the United States. They look down on the average American, and openly detest any GOP Congressman or Congresswoman  . . . They have no problem with anti-American regimes and personages because overwhelmingly they are anti-American themselves
As we come up on the 90th day of the Trump administration (Only three months! Time crawls!) are we making progress in climbing out of the hole Obama made for us?

I think the answer is, "yes."

In just a scant ninety days, Trump has reestablished the USA as a force with which to be reckoned. It is a remarkable achievement, and one done solely on the basis of leadership. Even under the miserable Obama reign, the USA was the world's foremost economic and military power--at least on paper. We, however, had Obama, Clinton, and Kerry as the architects of a bizarre foreign policy which in essence assumed that the US had to atone for past sins, and should adopt a foreign policy worthy of perhaps Liechtenstein (I mean no offense to Liechtenstein), and not worry about whether America was "winning." We caught an eight-year "glimpse" into what a post-America world would look like. As I have said before, (here, here, for example) Russia parlayed its much weaker hand into a winning one on the basis of superior leadership on the part of Putin and Lavrov; they, and all our other rivals, knew how to take advantage of the foreign policy clown car careening around in DC.

You can have aircraft carriers, stealth bombers, the US Marine Corps, and an awesome fleet of nuclear subs but if leadership is missing, you got blather, you got convoluted word salads, you got angst, you got, well, you got dystopian Obama World in which our enemies ran amok while we ran amuck. To repeat, what was missing was American leadership. That's no longer the case.

As I have noted before, you can like Trump or not, you can agree with him or not, but the man makes decisions, and moves on. I don't see the "flip-flops" that some of his old critics greet with the same glee that  some of his old supporters bemoan. If these first there months are any indication, I think he will prove a master negotiator and game changer in the foreign policy arena. Trump is not flip-flopping, the world is; it is coming his way, not the other way round.

The Russians and the Chinese certainly have taken note of the change in Washington, and I suspect that the regimes in Iran, North Korea, Cuba, and Venezuela, and the fetid leaders of ISIS and the other radical Islamist death cults have, as well. We can see positive change all around; we see it in the willingness of the Chinese to work much more energetically to control Krazy Kim and deal with the unbalanced nature of our bilateral trade, we see it in the Russian acquiescence to our blasting their Syrian ally, we even see it on our border where illegal crossings have plummeted as the coyotes fear the new sheriff.

I am optimistic that we have begun the long climb out of the Obama foreign policy hole.
Logged
Crafty_Dog
Administrator
Power User
*****
Posts: 41108


« Reply #779 on: April 22, 2017, 03:38:34 AM »

 By Daniel Henninger
April 19, 2017 7:01 p.m. ET
265 COMMENTS

After 59 Tomahawk missiles landed on a Syrian airfield, followed by the dropping of a 21,600-pound bomb on Islamic State’s hideouts in Afghanistan, the world has begun to ask: What is Donald Trump’s foreign policy? And so the search begins by pressing what Mr. Trump has done so far against various foreign-policy templates. Is he a neoconservative, a Scowcroftian realist or a babe in the woods?

We know this is a fool’s errand. There will be no Trump Doctrine anytime soon, and that’s fine. The Obama Doctrine, whatever it was, left his successor a steep climb in the Middle East and Asia. It is difficult to find doctrinal solutions for issues that everyone calls “a mess.” It is possible, though, to see the shape of an emerging strategy.

The place to look for that strategy is inside the minds of Defense Secretary Jim Mattis and National Security Adviser H.R. McMaster.

During his Senate confirmation hearings, Mr. Mattis said something that jumped out at the time. He called the North Atlantic Treaty Organization “the most successful military alliance probably in modern history, maybe ever.”

This was in notable contradistinction to the view of his president that NATO was obsolete. Then last week, after meeting with NATO Secretary General Jens Stoltenberg, President Trump said of the alliance: “I said it was obsolete. It’s no longer obsolete.”

Let’s set aside the obligatory sniggering over such a remark and try to see a president moving toward the outlines of a foreign policy that, for a president who likes to keep it simple, may be described with one word: allies.

NATO emerged as a formal alliance after World War II. Less formally, the U.S. struck alliances with other nations to base troops and ships, as in the Persian Gulf.

After the Soviet Union dissolved in 1991, foreign-policy thinkers began to debate the proper role of the U.S. as the world’s only superpower. Liberals argued that maintaining the U.S. at the apex of this alliance system was, well, obsolete. Instead the U.S. should act more like a co-equal partner with our allies, including international institutions such as the United Nations.

The idea of a flatter alliance structure, or leading from behind, came to life with the Obama presidency. It doesn’t work.

If indeed Jim Mattis and H.R. McMaster are the architects of an emerging Trump foreign policy, their most formative experiences, in Iraq, may shape that policy.

After the Iraq War began in 2003, the U.S. tried to defeat the enemy essentially with brute force. Serving in different areas of Iraq—Gen. Mattis in Anbar province and then-Col. McMaster in the city of Tal Afar—the two men realized that force alone wasn’t winning. Instead, they sought, successfully, to gain buy-in from the local populations and tribal leaders. In return for that buy-in, U.S. forces provided security to their new allies.

The difficult and ultimately tragic question was, what happens after the U.S. leaves? In strategic terms: How does the U.S. stabilize a volatile world without becoming a permanent occupying force?

Last month, Gen. McMaster brought onto the NSA staff Nadia Schadlow, who has thought a lot about that question. Her assignment is to develop the National Security Strategy Report. The title of her just-released book, “War and the Art of Governance: Consolidating Combat Success Into Political Victory,” summarizes its core idea:

Unlike its pullout from Iraq, the U.S. has to remain involved—engaged—in the turbulent political space that always exists between conflict and peace, a space filled with competition for influence and power. What Gens. Mattis and McMaster learned in the wake of Iraq is that if you make allies, you should keep them.

Thus, Vice President Mike Pence stood at the DMZ across from North Korea reconfirming the U.S.’s alliance with South Korea. A day later, he did the same in Japan.

Mr. Trump met in recent weeks with King Abdullah of Jordan, President Abdel Fattah Al Sisi of Egypt and, most importantly, Saudi Arabia’s Deputy Crown Prince Salman. This week, Mr. Trump called to congratulate Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan on his referendum “victory.”

These are the Middle East’s “tribal leaders,” or allies, whose buy-in will be necessary if the U.S. is to consolidate gains from the military strikes in Syria and Afghanistan—possibly with the partition of Syria into three tribal sectors.

Russia has separated itself by choosing instead an alliance with Iran to create a Russo-Iranian Shiite crescent extending across the Middle East to the Mediterranean.

The Mattis-McMaster foreign policy taking shape looks like a flexible strategy born of military experience in fast, fluid circumstances—our world. It is based on both formal and mobile alliances with partners willing to use diplomatic, financial, political and, if necessary, military pressure to establish stable outcomes. The word “abandon” doesn’t fit here.

Some might say that sounds like the U.S. leading alongside. With one big difference: The U.S. is in fact leading.

Write henninger@wsj.com.
Logged
Crafty_Dog
Administrator
Power User
*****
Posts: 41108


« Reply #780 on: April 28, 2017, 09:17:02 PM »

The Man Who Saved Europe the Last Time
Konrad Adenauer restored democracy to Germany and helped unify a devastated Continent.
Konrad Adenauer (second from left), Sept. 21, 1949, with the high commissioners of the occupation (left to right), America’s John J. McCloy, Britain’s Sir Brian Robertson and France’s André François-Poncet.
Konrad Adenauer (second from left), Sept. 21, 1949, with the high commissioners of the occupation (left to right), America’s John J. McCloy, Britain’s Sir Brian Robertson and France’s André François-Poncet. Photo: Bettmann Archive
By Henry A. Kissinger
April 28, 2017 6:10 p.m. ET
6 COMMENTS

The attribute of greatness is reserved for leaders from whose time onward history can be told only in terms of their achievements. I observed essential elements of Germany’s history—as a native son, as a refugee from its upheavals, as a soldier in the American army of occupation, and as a witness to its astonishing renewal.

Only a few who experienced this evolution remain. For many contemporary Germans, the Adenauer period seems like a tale from an era long transcended. To the contrary, they live in a dynamic established by Konrad Adenauer, a man whose lifespan, from 1876 to 1967, covered all but five years of the unified German national state first proclaimed in 1871.

Devastated, impoverished, partitioned, the Federal Republic came about after World War II by the merger of the American, British and French zones of occupation, containing just two-thirds of Germany’s prewar population. Five million refugees from Germany’s prewar territories needed integration; they agitated for the recovery of lost territories. The Soviet occupation zone, containing 18 million people, was turned into a communist political entity.

The Federal Republic’s advent capped a century of discontinuity. The Empire after Bismarck had felt beleaguered by the alliances surrounding it; the Weimar Republic after World War I had felt abused by an imposed peace settlement; Hitler had sought an atavistic world dominion; the Federal Republic arose amid a legacy of global resentment.

The newly elected German Parliament chose Adenauer as chancellor by a margin of just one vote on Sept. 15, 1949. Shortly afterward, on Nov. 22, 1949, he signed the Petersberg Agreement with the three Allied high commissioners, conferring the attributes of sovereignty on the Federal Republic but withholding its premise of juridical equality. The center of its mining activity, the Ruhr, remained under special Allied control, as did the industrial Saar region along the French border. Adenauer’s acquiescence to these terms earned him the sobriquet from his opposition “Chancellor of the Allies.”

In his first formal encounter with the three high commissioners, on Sept. 21, 1949, Adenauer demonstrated that he would accept discrimination but not subordination. The high commissioners had assembled on a carpet; to its side, a place for Adenauer had been designated. The chancellor challenged protocol by stepping directly onto the carpet facing his hosts.

From this posture, Adenauer heralded a historic turning point. The new Federal Republic would seek, in his words, “full freedom” by earning a place in the community of nations, not by pressure or by seizing it. Calling for an entirely new conception of foreign policy, Adenauer proclaimed the goal of “a positive and viable European federation” to overcome “the narrow nationalistic conception of the states as it prevailed in the 19th and 20th century . . . in order to restore the unity of European life in all fields of endeavor.”

Adenauer’s conduct reinforced his rejection of European history. Tall, erect, imperturbable, his face immobile from an automobile accident in his youth, he exuded the serenity of the pre-World War I world that had formed him. Equally distinctive was his sparse speaking style. It conveyed that unobtrusiveness and performance, not exhortation or imposition, were to be the operating style for the new Germany.

Winston Churchill had made a comparable proposal for Europe two days before in Zurich, but Churchill was not in office then. Governing amid defeat and division, Adenauer had proposed an indefinite (possibly permanent) partition of his country while integrating it into a nascent European structure. The country whose nationalism had precipitated two world wars would henceforth rely on partnership with its erstwhile enemies.

The turn westward proved fundamental. The choice of Bonn as the new capital, located in the westernmost part of Germany, with close links to Western Europe, was symbolic. Adenauer convinced the Parliament to select Bonn because, as he said sardonically, he wanted the capital to be in the wine region, not amid potato fields, and not least because his home village of Rhöndorf (population of about 1,000) was not suitable for a capital.

It required all of Adenauer’s personality and stature to implement these visions. Opposition came largely from the Social Democratic Party, which, while pro-democracy, insisted on a national policy of neutrality. The opposition included vestiges of German conservatives, one of whose spokesmen was Heinrich Brüning, the chancellor whose overthrow in 1932 had opened the way for Hitler.

Adenauer proved adamant. He made democratic regeneration his first priority as the precondition to integration into Europe. A renewed reputation for reliability was essential. Maneuvering between the superpowers would destroy confidence and repeat historical tragedies.

Adenauer’s foreign policy was founded on the moral imperative of democracy. He envisaged a relentless progression toward the twin goals of a security partnership with America and political integration with Europe.

The Petersberg Agreement of 1949 was followed by negotiations over European defense, spurred by the Korean War and the Soviet military buildup in Central Europe. As NATO was forming, Adenauer urged the European nations to pool their efforts into the European Defense Community. After the French Assembly rejected this concept, Adenauer in 1954 agreed to the Paris Accords, which ended West Germany’s occupation, affirmed its sovereignty, and opened the way to its national membership in NATO. The culmination was Adenauer’s 1955 visit to Washington. When the German national anthem was played as he visited the Tomb of the Unknown Soldier, Adenauer described it as the most moving moment of his life.

European integration followed a comparable, in retrospect inevitable, sequence. From France and Germany’s 1951 agreement to establish the Coal and Steel Community to the Treaty of Rome in 1957, which established the European Economic Community, Adenauer, working with wise French leaders, overcame one of world history’s once-hereditary national animosities.

Within the space of six years, Adenauer had moved his country from an outcast to an equal member in political and security arrangements unprecedented in European history. This was made possible by a spirit of American creativity which, in the Marshall Plan and the origination of NATO, overcame America’s pre-World War II isolationism.

The U.S. became Germany’s principal link to security through NATO, and to economic recovery through the Marshall Plan. France, as the link to the European Community, played a comparable role. In America, John Foster Dulles symbolized the relationship; in France, President Charles de Gaulle. They both represented to Adenauer elements capable of stabilizing the inevitable storms the future might hold. In that sense, Adenauer viewed Europe as a potential corrective to the fluctuations into which global responsibilities and a certain inherent restlessness on occasion drew the U.S. When, in 1956, Guy Mollet, France’s prime minister, stressed a gap between the obligations of NATO and American conduct in the Suez Crisis, Adenauer defended the existing structures as flexible enough to recover shared vitality: “Europe will be your revenge,” he said.

I had the privilege of hearing Adenauer’s vision in several conversations with him over a 10-year period. His courtesy and serenity were his most memorable traits. Our first meeting took place in 1957, shortly after a Soviet ultimatum threatening Berlin. Adenauer concentrated on the nightmare of everyone privy to nuclear planning: whether any U.S. president would actually bring himself to unleash the catastrophe on which NATO nuclear strategy was based. Since the official answer was formal but the actual one would depend on unknowable contingencies and personalities, he raised the question at every subsequent meeting.

Another major issue preoccupying Adenauer was geopolitical evolution. Did I realize that a break between China and Russia was imminent? The West should prepare for that contingency and not provide too many temptations to its adversaries by its divisions. He construed surprised silence as assent and, on his first visit to the White House in 1961, repeated the prediction, adding, to an astonished President Kennedy: “Professor Kissinger agrees with me.”

In 1962, as part-time consultant to President Kennedy, I was asked during a crisis to reassure Adenauer about America’s determination and capacity to defend Berlin and support Germany. I had been briefed to present details of some nuclear capabilities and deployments on a personal, presidential basis—information which, at that time, was shared with only the U.K.

As I began my presentation of the political issues, Adenauer interrupted: “They have already told me this in Washington. If it did not convince me there, why would it convince me here?” I replied that I was an academic, and a government employee only a quarter of my time. Adenauer was nonplussed. In that case, he replied: Let us assume you will convince me three-quarters of the way.

But when I presented the military briefing, Adenauer was transformed—partly because of the enormous gap in the West’s favor that it demonstrated, but above all because of the confidence President Kennedy had shown in him. It turned into the warmest of all my meetings with him.

A moving aftermath followed some decades later. I received a letter whose sender I did not recognize. He had served as an interpreter during that conversation (though German is my native language, I generally conduct official conversations in English because my vocabulary is more precise, especially on technical matters). Adenauer had given me his word of honor not to distribute the nuclear information I had shared with him. The interpreter informed me that he had, in fact, given a full record of my briefing to Adenauer, who had instructed him to destroy the nuclear portion out of respect for his word of honor.

The historic German-American partnership that began with the Adenauer chancellorship proceeded from almost diametrically opposed starting points. Adenauer assumed office at probably the lowest point of German history. The U.S. was at the zenith of its power and self-confidence. Adenauer saw his task as rebuilding Christian and democratic values through new designs for traditional German and European institutions. America had equally grand objectives and, at times, pursued them with insistent certainty. For Adenauer, the reconstruction of Europe was the rediscovery of ancient values; for America, the implementation of prevailing ones. For Adenauer to succeed, it was necessary to stabilize the soul of Germany; for America, to mobilize existing idealism. Occasionally there were strains, especially when American optimism overestimated the scope for more-fragile structures and divergent historic memories.

The Atlantic relationship between Bonn and Washington transformed, however, the shattered world it inherited and helped create a half-century of peace between major powers.

This system is now under stress from simultaneous upheavals on several continents. Can it heal a fractured world by rediscovering the conviction and creativity with which it was built?

Mr. Kissinger served as national security adviser and secretary of state under Presidents Nixon and Ford. This is adapted from an April 25 speech to the Konrad Adenauer Foundation.

Appeared in the Apr. 29, 2017, print edition.
Logged
bigdog
Power User
***
Posts: 2268


« Reply #781 on: May 30, 2017, 02:56:24 PM »

http://foreignpolicy.com/2017/05/26/trump-is-playing-the-international-strategy-game-like-a-novice-among-experts/

« Last Edit: May 30, 2017, 07:02:25 PM by Crafty_Dog » Logged
G M
Power User
***
Posts: 15174


« Reply #782 on: May 30, 2017, 04:34:00 PM »


Another author who appears to have been in a coma the last eight years.
Logged
DougMacG
Power User
***
Posts: 9066


« Reply #783 on: May 30, 2017, 04:44:52 PM »


I disagree with the conclusions made in the article.

I can't see light between what America wanted from Germany and what Merkel said following the meetings, "Europe must take its fate into its own hands".  About time.

I can't imagine ISIS being more scared at any other time or how they would be under any other President.  Must give Trump credit for Mattis appointment, words, strategy and  the delegation of power to carry out the policies.

I can't see a way China could feel more pressure to cooperate.  We will see on NK and the 'Taiwan to Singapore' Sea.

I can't imagine betting odds against North Korea's future being higher under any other leadership change of any other country.

Israel hasn't had a better friend in a long time, if ever.  All these things subject to change.

The perception of having a screw loose or being a loose cannon might scare American media and establishment analysts, but it scares rivals and enemies too.

The worst foreign policies I feared with Trump do not appear to be coming true, trade wars and isolationism.

I hate Reagan analogies, but Reagan-critic analogies might be appropriate:
'His [Reagan's] policies are his policies are dangerously wrong.'
"in the next year, it will become more apparent that the program he offers is leading us in the wrong direction."

Reagan's foreign policy is "heading us into very serious trouble ... From the time Mr. Reagan came in, he has evidenced publicly a basic hostility to the Soviet Union ... It is exceedingly unfortunate and dangerous ... "
When asked if he still considers Reagan "an amiable dunce"...
"Those words were uttered two years ago at a private gathering and were never intended for publication." "I would never speak disrespectfully of a president--in public."
https://www.washingtonpost.com/archive/politics/1983/12/15/clark-clifford-says-reagan-can-be-beaten/8915a1e4-3b23-41f6-bb23-67b98000a910/

How's the Brezhnev doctrine doing now?   )
Logged
Crafty_Dog
Administrator
Power User
*****
Posts: 41108


« Reply #784 on: May 30, 2017, 07:14:37 PM »

As this forum itself voluminously attests, I certainly agree with this article that America's geopolitical position is very bad. 

I agree with GM that the author seems to have slept through the Obama era.

Though he regularly trips over his shoelaces with regular unforced errors, in the big picture Trump is getting some very important things right.

A) We are badly overextended and our military badly underfunded.  We are no longer in the bi-polar world of the Cold War, or the uni-polar era of Clinton and Bush.  Putting aside articulating my seething anger at Obama I would say that we are now in a multi-polar world facing, in no particular order:

1) Russia;
2) the Russian-Iranian Axis from the Indian Ocean to the Baltic Sea;
3) Iran going nuke;
4) the Arab middle east circling the drain
5) Afpakia a clusterfuck that we can't leave and in which we can't stay
6) North Korea going nuke;
7) China--including its slow motion seizure of the waters of one third of the world's trade;
Cool Europe imploding demographically, militarily, economically, and psychologically;
9) the Democrats-- who are determined to leave our military underfunded and to bring down Trump by any means necessary

This is more than we can handle.  We need to figure out how to shorten this list.

Any suggestions BD?
Logged
bigdog
Power User
***
Posts: 2268


« Reply #785 on: May 31, 2017, 10:41:53 AM »

I am rather busy at the moment, but will try to respond with actual detail this weekend.

In the short term, I think you miss some threats, and overstate one. I would add India's relations with both China and Pakistan, and I think you overlook the domestic threat of the right in your focus on the left.

I agree with your concern about the size of the military budget, but it is not merely the Dems who are at fault (necessarily): http://www.defenseone.com/ideas/2017/05/trump-administration-just-missed-its-best-shot-military-buildup/138254/?oref=d-river but see https://warontherocks.com/2017/05/is-trumps-350-ship-navy-on-the-rocks-the-politics-promise-and-perils-of-shipbuilding/



As this forum itself voluminously attests, I certainly agree with this article that America's geopolitical position is very bad. 

I agree with GM that the author seems to have slept through the Obama era.

Though he regularly trips over his shoelaces with regular unforced errors, in the big picture Trump is getting some very important things right.

A) We are badly overextended and our military badly underfunded.  We are no longer in the bi-polar world of the Cold War, or the uni-polar era of Clinton and Bush.  Putting aside articulating my seething anger at Obama I would say that we are now in a multi-polar world facing, in no particular order:

1) Russia;
2) the Russian-Iranian Axis from the Indian Ocean to the Baltic Sea;
3) Iran going nuke;
4) the Arab middle east circling the drain
5) Afpakia a clusterfuck that we can't leave and in which we can't stay
6) North Korea going nuke;
7) China--including its slow motion seizure of the waters of one third of the world's trade;
Cool Europe imploding demographically, militarily, economically, and psychologically;
9) the Democrats-- who are determined to leave our military underfunded and to bring down Trump by any means necessary

This is more than we can handle.  We need to figure out how to shorten this list.

Any suggestions BD?

Logged
G M
Power User
***
Posts: 15174


« Reply #786 on: May 31, 2017, 05:49:41 PM »

"I think you overlook the domestic threat of the right in your focus on the left."

Do tell.
Logged
Crafty_Dog
Administrator
Power User
*****
Posts: 41108


« Reply #787 on: June 05, 2017, 04:49:24 PM »

http://www.atimes.com/article/trump-triumphant-major-reduction-geopolitical-risk-underway/
Logged
Crafty_Dog
Administrator
Power User
*****
Posts: 41108


« Reply #788 on: June 19, 2017, 10:58:55 AM »

https://www.nytimes.com/2017/06/19/us/politics/world-leaders-wary-of-trump-may-have-an-ally-congress.html?ribbon-ad-idx=3&rref=politics&module=Ribbon&version=context&region=Header&action=click&contentCollection=Politics&pgtype=article
Logged
Crafty_Dog
Administrator
Power User
*****
Posts: 41108


« Reply #789 on: July 01, 2017, 01:16:33 PM »

http://thehill.com/policy/defense/340330-possible-war-authorization-repeal-reflects-growing-shift-in-gop
Logged
Crafty_Dog
Administrator
Power User
*****
Posts: 41108


« Reply #790 on: July 10, 2017, 03:16:34 PM »

I have a lot of respect for this author.

There are other threads where this could fit as well, but I put it here:

http://www.nationalreview.com/article/449318/war-powers-congress-commander-in-chief-constitution-iraq-libya-syria-aumf-federalist-society
Logged
DougMacG
Power User
***
Posts: 9066


« Reply #791 on: July 10, 2017, 04:33:05 PM »

I have a lot of respect for this author.

There are other threads where this could fit as well, but I put it here:

http://www.nationalreview.com/article/449318/war-powers-congress-commander-in-chief-constitution-iraq-libya-syria-aumf-federalist-society

Very good piece but the question isn't settled.  I was wondering these same questions for the upcoming war in N. Korea, not directly mentioned in the piece.  War wasn't declared in Korea last time around either.  http://www.history.com/this-day-in-history/truman-orders-u-s-forces-to-korea-2

From the article:  "President Obama did not seek congressional authorization for the Libya campaign, just as President Clinton did not seek it for the bombings in the Balkans, and President Reagan did not seek it prior to the invasion of Grenada. After insisting as candidate Trump that Obama needed Congress’s assent to attack regime targets in Syria, President Trump has attacked regime targets in Syria without Congress’s assent. Congress’s war powers seem not to be much of a hindrance on the executive."

The President has a bias in the matter of divided powers and the Congress has little or impact on the decision after the fact.  We should have congressional declarations of war in place on all our sworn enemies.  I assume they skip that because it would not pass.

The President can get around that requirement when the country is under threat (like Grenada for example?) but the results would be better if the country was committed beyond merely the judgment of the commander in chief.

"where the use of force is clearly in America’s vital interests, congressional war powers — used to issue a powerful endorsement of a clear, necessary mission — can help us achieve something that has eluded us since 1945: victory."


Interesting terminology from Andrew McCarthy:
"... radical Islam — ... I prefer to call “sharia supremacism”

« Last Edit: July 10, 2017, 04:39:11 PM by DougMacG » Logged
G M
Power User
***
Posts: 15174


« Reply #792 on: July 17, 2017, 01:48:58 PM »


It is very interesting and I will comment after digesting it.

China has serious internal stability issues. This fuels China's aggressive behavior in the South China sea. Building China's internal perception of a strong, rising power is what gives the CCP it's legitimacy with the population. Failure to maintain it's legitimacy could be fatal to the current power structure. So, China is motivated to act aggressively, and not back down in a scenario that offers a loss of face for the power structure. Keep in mind that despite all the money China has dumped into upgrading it's military, it spends even more on internal security. The power vacuum of "leading from behind" has further fueled China's aggressiveness. Obama has left Trump a ticking bomb.



http://www.abc.net.au/news/2017-07-14/sleepwalking-to-world-war-three-stan-grant/8710390

Are we sleepwalking to World War III?
ANALYSIS
The Link By Stan Grant
Updated Sat at 12:10pm

 Officer Cadets on Parade at the Australian Defence Force Academy (ADFA) in Canberra
PHOTO: Is Australia fully prepared for a 21st Century conflict? (Australian Defence Force)
MAP: Australia
Australia is plunging headlong into catastrophe and we are utterly unprepared. In fact, we may be past the time when we can prepare.

The time-bomb is ticking and it will explode in our lifetimes.

All certainty will be lost, our economy will be devastated, our land seized, our system of government upended.

This isn't mere idle speculation or the rantings of a doomsday cult, this is the warning from a man who has made it his life's work to prepare for just this scenario.

Admiral Chris Barrie was chief of Australia's Defence Force between 1998 and 2002.

He has seen war and sent troops into battle.

Now, he says we are sleepwalking towards a conflict that will alter the world as we know it.

Australia, he says, will be invaded. He fears for the country his grandchildren will inherit.

History doesn't repeat but it does rhyme

 Admiral (ret.) Chris Barrie talks to Stan Grant over Korean bbq
PHOTO: Admiral (ret.) Chris Barrie says a misunderstanding or miscalculation could tip the region over the edge. (ABC News)
Admiral Barrie delivered his warning to me over a Korean barbeque meal in Western Sydney.

I was interviewing him for The Link to get his assessment of the North Korean nuclear threat, but his fears expand far beyond the hermit kingdom.

Over kimchi and slices of beef, Admiral Barrie guided me through our region's many tripwires.

A miscalculation or misunderstanding, he said, could tip us over the edge, countries would be backed into corners and we have no way right now of talking our way out.

This is a warning that comes from our past, and if unheeded, will shatter our future.

"History doesn't repeat but it does rhyme."

That quote is often attributed to the great American writer Mark Twain, but its sentiment speaks to us through the ages.

History can appear as inevitable even as we fail to see it.

The French diplomat and political scientist, Alexis de Tocqueville, said of the French Revolution:

"Never was any such event, stemming from factors so far back in the past, so inevitable and yet so completely unseen."
In a new century, simmering tensions and geo-strategic alliances would tip the world into all-out war.

Historian Christopher Clarke's book Sleepwalkers reveals how the assassination of Habsburg heir, Archduke Franz Ferdinand, on June 28 1914 in Sarajevo triggered a domino effect that pitted the reigning global power Britain against the rising Germany.

The world thought it couldn't happen — Germany and Britain were each other's single biggest trading partners; the royal families were blood relatives — yet it did.

How? Clark says political leaders become hostage to events.

"Causes trawled from the length and breadth of Europe's pre-war decades are piled like weights on the scale until it tilts from probability to inevitability," he wrote.

Admiral Chris Barrie says he has been reading Clark's book and thinking how events then mirror events now.

He is not the only one.

The Thucydides Trap

 Franz Ferdinand and wife Sophie
PHOTO: Archduke Franz Ferdinand in Sarajevo in June 1914, shortly before he was assassinated. (Imperial War Museum)
Founding dean of the Harvard University Kennedy School, Graham Allison, fears the world is lurching towards conflict unseen since World War II.

He puts his case in a new book, Destined for War: Can America and China escape Thucydides' Trap?

Thucydides? He was the Greek Historian whose writings about war 2,000 years ago resonate still.

"It was the rise of Athens and the fear this instilled in Sparta that made war inevitable," he writes.

Then it was Athens-Sparta. In 1914 it was Germany-Great Britain and now China-United States.

"As far ahead as the eye can see, the defining question about global order is whether China and the US can escape Thucydides's trap. Most contests that fit this pattern have ended badly," Allison writes.
On the current trajectory, Allison says, war is "not just possible, but much more likely than currently recognised".

Any clash between the US and China is potentially catastrophic, but as much as we may try to wish it away, right now military strategists in Beijing and Washington are preparing for just an eventuality.

Global think tank the Rand Corporation prepared a report in 2015 for the American military, its title could not have been more direct — War with China: Thinking Through the Unthinkable.

It concluded that China would suffer greater casualties than the US if war was to break out now. However, it cautioned, that as China's military muscle increased so would the prospect of a prolonged destructive war.

Where would such a conflict spark?

Many potential faultlines

 Satellite image of Subi Reef, one of China's artificial islands in the South China Sea
PHOTO: A satellite image of Subi Reef which appears to show anti-aircraft guns and a weapons system. (CSIS AMTI: Reuters)
The entire Asia region is a tinderbox.

Historian Michael Auslan, thinks Asia is so potentially unstable and insecure that he has questioned the very future of the region in his new book, The End of the Asian Century.

War and economic stagnation are the two biggest risks, Auslan identifies.

"Here be dragons," he writes.

Mr Auslan reminds us the Asia-Pacific is the most militarised region in the world, it's home to some of the world's largest armies, technologically advanced fighting machines, nuclear armed states and added to that a massive American military presence.

To the military muscle add the incendiary mix of history: old bitter enmities, existential stand offs, and a fierce competition for scarce resources.

The faultlines are many: India-Pakistan, North and South Korea, China-Japan.
Much of these simmering tensions coalesce around territorial disputes notably the Diaoyu-Senkaku islands claimed by Japan and China and the islands of the South China Sea.

It is these disputes that most observers fear could escalate.

China has dredged up sand to expand the islands, building runways and harbours potentially to deploy fighter jets and war ships.

Mr Auslan points out that militarising the islands not only allows China to project power but bolsters legal claims of territorial control.

The US has demanded the right of freedom of navigation through the islands and to fly over the disputed territory.

Tension has ebbed and flowed, at one point in 2016, a Chinese state-run newspaper declared war as "inevitable".

But is it?

Has the first 'shot' already been fired?

 Cyber war
PHOTO: Cyberspace is expected to be the frontline in any confrontation. (Reuters: Rick Wilking)
Some fear the war has already begun — in cyberspace.

The US reports massive hacking by groups controlled by the Chinese military.

In 2015 the Obama administration revealed that Chinese hackers had hacked government personnel files potentially exposing every US state employee.

But what of a shooting war?

Certainly the world is very different to the time of Thucydides.

Even compared to 1914, we are a more interconnected, economically entwined global community.

Since the 1960's peace in Asia has allowed unprecedented growth.

Chinese scholar Wu Zurong, in a 2015 article for Foreign Policy magazine called No Thucydides Trap, wrote of how globalisation and the links between China and the US mitigates war.

China, he wrote, seeks "a modern relationship ... a win-win scenario".

In a speech in the United States in 2015 China's President, Xi Jinping, spoke of an opportunity for the two powers to boost global security but he also issued a warning.

"Should they enter into conflict or confrontation, it would lead to disaster for both countries and the world at large," he said.
Admiral Barrie has looked at how the world can avoid its sleepwalk to disaster.

This week he joined with fellow Australian National University scholars, Roger Bradbury and Dmitry Brizhinev, for an article in The Conversation that measured what they termed "hawkishness" — a preparedness for war — with risk.

They found that a little bit of risk aversion significantly increases the chances of peace.

"Hawkishness alone", they wrote, "will not lead to war unless risk aversion is also low."

Simply put, how willing are countries to avoid war? How much do they fear the consequences?

Risk on the rise

 Soldiers in blue and white camo helmets and fatigues march past a tank and Chinese flags, lined up perfectly, and holding guns.
PHOTO: China has been increasing it military power. (AP: Vincent Yu)
In Asia there are many unknowables. Who is prepared to say for certain, that Kim Jong-un will not launch a nuclear strike?

Would a downed plane in the South China Sea push China and the US over the brink?

Would an attack in Kashmir bring the nuclear armed stand-off between India and Pakistan to the brink?

What would happen in Taiwan declared independence?

What's to stop any of this happening?

As Mr Auslan writes:

"Risk that should be falling is instead rising. As Asia's nations become wealthier and have more resources to devote to their militaries, they seem less interested in avoiding confrontation."
Personally, as someone who has reported across Asia for two decades and lived many years in China, I err on the side of peace.

America is crucial to the stability of the region and we cannot afford for it to retreat or to weaken its resolve. I don't believe it will.

China for all its military build-up, knows it still cannot compete with US firepower.

Yet, people with far more experience in matters of war than I, fear the worst. People like Admiral Chris Barrie.

How does Allison answer his question: can America and China escape the Thucydides trap?

He believes our fate depends on realism on all sides, vital interests must be clearly defined, America must strengthen its democracy and China address its failures of governance - threats come from within.

There is a need, he writes, for great thinkers to devise a grand strategy.

Allison concludes with a quote not from Thucydides but Shakespeare, our destiny lies "not in our stars, but in ourselves".

I can think of something else Shakespeare wrote in Macbeth:

"And all our yesterdays have lighted fools.

"The way to dusty death."
Logged
Crafty_Dog
Administrator
Power User
*****
Posts: 41108


« Reply #793 on: July 24, 2017, 10:59:42 AM »

Putin Faces Off Against America’s Founding Fathers
By Reva Goujon
VP of Global Analysis, Stratfor
Reva Goujon
Reva Goujon
VP of Global Analysis, Stratfor
Russia's active reinforcement of the perception that the United States is weak and distracted has only spurred a natural rebalancing of power between the executive and legislative branches, just as the framers of the U.S. Constitution intended.
(JIM LO SCALZO/AFP/Getty Images)
Connections

    Articles

    Regions & Countries

    Topics

    Themes

As the political theater surrounding the United States and Russia builds once again, now is as good a time as any to step back from the daily drama and make sense of the dynamics and characters at play. Though Russia is exceptionally good at crafting its foreign policy and positioning itself in multiple conflicts to better bargain with the United States, its efforts have yet to produce any tangible results. In fact, Russia's active reinforcement of the perception that the United States is weak and distracted has only spurred a natural rebalancing of power between the executive and legislative branches, just as the framers of the U.S. Constitution intended.

Syria: The Land of Opportunity and Constraint

The most recent act of the unfolding drama began about a month ago on the crowded Syrian battlefield. Loyalists were busy trying to blaze a path from their western strongholds to the Iraqi border in the east, an endeavor Iran supported in hopes of realizing its own strategic goal of creating a land bridge between Tehran and the Mediterranean coast. Meanwhile, the United States was attempting to forge ahead with its fight against the Islamic State in Raqqa, as Russia searched for an opportunity to use its central role on the Syrian stage to bring about a crisis in order to re-engage Washington in negotiation. The scene was set for a head-on collision.
The United States has made clear that it not tolerate any attempt to interfere with the Raqqa offensive.

And it came on June 18 when the United States, already irritated by loyalist attacks against its rebel allies near the strategic town of Tabqa, shot down its first Syrian Su-22 warplane targeting rebels in the area. The bold move sent a clear message: Washington would not tolerate any attempt to interfere with the Raqqa offensive. Russia quickly seized on the opportunity, condemning the shootdown the following day, suspending deconfliction channels with the United States and threatening to strike U.S. coalition aircraft west of the Euphrates River. (Moscow had sung a similar tune in early April on the heels of a showy U.S. strike on a Syrian air base in response to a chemical weapons attack by the loyalists.)

Washington scrambled to insulate its forces in Syria as U.S. Secretary of State Rex Tillerson led the charge to mend ties with Russia. But the White House's need to show its European partners that it did not intend to take a softer stance on Ukraine complicated matters. At the time, U.S. President Donald Trump was hosting his Ukrainian counterpart, Petro Poroshenko, in Washington before making a special trip to Poland to reassure Eastern Europe that he would not strike a grand bargain with Moscow.

Nevertheless, the United States and Russia found room to cooperate. At Trump's first face-to-face meeting with Russian President Vladimir Putin, the two leaders not only agreed to implement a cease-fire in southwestern Syria but also proposed broader opportunities for collaboration, including the formation of a joint cybersecurity unit.

Of course, plenty of problems came with this new show of friendship between the United States and Russia. Even if Moscow proved capable of holding back its Iranian and Syrian partners in the race to the Iraqi border — which repeated cease-fire violations and Iran's rejection of the deal certainly call into question — it wasn't clear whether the Kremlin actually could be trusted to uphold its end of the bargain. Moreover, the irony of the Trump administration working with Moscow in cybersecurity amid allegations of Russian interference in last year's U.S. election was not lost on the American public, and the president eventually retracted the idea in a tweet. (If anything, Russia will rely more heavily on cyberwarfare and the ambiguity it affords to compete with its adversaries as its own structural weaknesses worsen in the coming years.)

Still, from Russia's point of view, it had given the United States a carrot — the offer of cooperation in Syria — and it expected something in return, and fast. So the Kremlin began lambasting the White House for failing to deliver a particularly low-hanging fruit: the return of Russian diplomatic compounds in New York and Maryland that the U.S. government had seized during the final weeks of President Barack Obama's administration in response to Russian election meddling. (Moscow is suspected of using the compounds to collect intelligence against sensitive U.S. targets.)

Amid Russia's vocal demands that the United States return the compounds or face retaliation in kind, the news cycle continued to center on a bizarre cast of characters, from Donald Trump Jr. to a former Soviet counterintelligence officer who attended a meeting in Trump Tower during the presidential campaign to discuss the potential transfer of damaging information about Hillary Clinton "as part of Russia and its government's support for Mr. Trump." The optics did not look good for the White House, to say the least. The administration had made another attempt to heal relations with Russia, had struck a flimsy Syrian cease-fire already fraught with violations, had become mired in another scandal tracing back to Russian election meddling, and had to deal with a pushy Putin demanding concessions with little regard for the blowback building against the U.S. president.

Building Up Russia's Foreign Policy Reserve

From Putin's perspective, however, this was a White House too politically befuddled and strategically hamstrung to make worthwhile concessions, such as lifting the most damaging sanctions against Russia or pulling back NATO's presence on its doorstep. So, for the time being, he might as well add to the turmoil consuming Washington by reinforcing the perception that the White House was being led by a weak and impressionable president, all while positioning Russia in other arenas in which the United States faced budding crises. Moscow followed a similar strategy when it reinforced its relationship with Tehran during Iran's standoff with the United States over its nuclear program and when it entrenched itself in the Syrian civil war as Washington focused on combating the Islamic State. By presenting itself as part of the solution to the United States' thorniest foreign policy problems, Russia hoped to use its position to steer Washington toward meaningful concessions.

In the months ahead, North Korea and Venezuela will bear watching for signs of Russia's strategy at work once more. As it did during the Cold War, and as China is still doing today, Russia is trying to use North Korea as a buffer between itself and U.S.-backed South Korea. Pyongyang looks to Moscow for food imports, fuel and coal exports, employment for migrant workers, and critical infrastructure development. Though Russia boasts far less economic influence over North Korea than China does, it is gathering just enough leverage there to ensure that the United States must factor in Moscow's cooperation — or obstruction — while shaping its policies toward Pyongyang. Washington will thus have to face off against both Beijing and Moscow as it works to exhaust its economic and diplomatic options against Pyongyang in the U.N. Security Council, all while carefully studying the consequences of taking military action against North Korea without the buy-in of the region's biggest players.

Meanwhile, in the United States' own backyard, Russia has placed itself at the center of a raucous power struggle in Venezuela. In part, Moscow hopes to protect its energy investments in the country while using the political crisis to obtain additional mineral concessions. But by quietly negotiating an asylum deal for Venezuelan President Nicolas Maduro, staying close to Cuba and forging strong ties with key figures like Venezuelan Defense Minister Vladimir Padrino Lopez, Russia is also ensuring that any emergency exit from the crisis is buoyed by a Russian-made life jacket. And given Venezuela's location particularly close to home, the United States has little choice but to consider Russia's role in any solution it formulates to contain the fallout from Caracas' troubles in Washington's Caribbean sphere of influence.

Congress, the President and U.S. Foreign Policy

In many ways, Moscow stands to benefit from Washington's distractions and from its own involvement in global conflicts. But those gains won't come without a price. Though the White House maintains its desire for a friendly relationship with the Kremlin — in spite of a scandal-ridden campaign trail and little Russian will to make the kinds of strategic concessions needed to justify warmer relations — an emboldened U.S. Congress is working to insulate the country's democratic institutions, protect its foreign alliances and keep Russian ambitions in check.

The centerpiece of lawmakers' efforts is a piece of Senate legislation, currently mired in the House of Representatives, that could greatly reduce the president's authority in direct dealings with Russia. As drafted, the bill requires the White House to notify Congress of any intent to ease sanctions against Russia and sets forth a timeline for lawmakers to approve or reject such action. It also codifies into law five of Obama's executive orders levying sanctions against Russia for its activities in Ukraine and the U.S. election, thereby preventing Trump from lifting them through his own executive order. The scope of the sanctions, moreover, is expanded to include the rail and mining sectors while threatening to slap punitive measures against any firm participating in energy projects involving Russia. (The last point, likely to be amended, has already caused an uproar among U.S. energy companies and European leaders who don't want sanctions to interfere with large projects already underway, leaving room for foreign competitors to swoop in.) By draining the ink from the executive's pen, the bill — if passed and upheld against a potential presidential veto with a two-thirds majority — would mean that even soothing "irritants" in the U.S.-Russia relationship, such as the diplomatic compounds issue, would be subject to legislative review.

The ebb and flow of the intragovernmental tussle over U.S. foreign policy is shaped in large part by the makeup of the government and the geopolitical climate of the day. The Founding Fathers designed the U.S. Constitution to give the president ample foreign policy power as commander-in-chief, along with the ability to negotiate treaties and appoint diplomats. At the same time, Congress holds the power of the purse, as well as the authority to declare war, approve treaties and presidential appointments, and maintain oversight of the administration. U.S. history is replete with examples of Congress inserting itself into foreign affairs, from the Senate's infamous rejection of the Treaty of Versailles in 1919 to the passage of the War Powers Resolution of 1973, requiring the president to consult with lawmakers before sending troops to war and end military action if Congress refuses to declare war or authorize the use of force.

The flexible definition of these powers creates a healthy tension between the legislative and executive branches. For example, the president can avoid formal treaties — and by extension, the need for the Senate's approval — by signing international agreements through executive order instead. For instance, both the Paris Agreement on climate change and the Joint Comprehensive Plan of Action (JCPOA) on Iran's nuclear program were executive agreements, not formal treaties. Worried that the Obama administration would yield too much ground in its talks with Iran, Congress took steps to codify into law sanctions implemented by executive action, erecting more legal barriers to lifting them. For this reason, Obama was unable to repeal sanctions against Iran when the JCPOA was signed in 2015; rather, he signed an executive order supported by the president's national security waiver to simply stop enforcing existing legislative measures against Iran. As a result, the deal was struck, and the potential for a military confrontation with Tehran was dramatically reduced. The tradeoff, however, was that the use of executive action made the deal more vulnerable to the actions of future presidents, who have the power to decide whether to keep the agreement in place.

Senate Foreign Relations Committee Chairman Bob Corker, a Republican who played a role in expanding congressional oversight over Washington's Iran policies, has said point-blank that "it's been my goal as a chairman just to bring back [Congress'] equivalent status to the executive branch." He has cited the Senate bill on Russia as yet another way of doing that. Unsurprisingly, Corker's sentiment has deepened the sense of unease in the White House, which prefers to retain its executive privilege in shaping the United States' relationship with Russia. With Moscow embedded in several conflict zones central to Washington's interests, the administration argues, the White House needs the flexibility to negotiate with the Kremlin without Congress' interference.

Of course, this is an argument to be expected of any U.S. presidency. Bold foreign policy moves, after all, are often essential to protecting the nation's interests, and being hampered by a large, unwieldy legislature answerable to local constituencies doesn't necessarily allow for that kind of agile policymaking abroad during periods of such geopolitical complexity. But the Trump administration's unique and multifarious relationship with Russia is diluting this executive appeal. And regardless of the president's policy preference, many of Moscow's demands are fundamentally at odds with Washington's imperative to keep Russian ambitions in check and to maintain the alliance structure that emerged from World War II. The Kremlin can do much to disrupt the seat of U.S. power in Washington. But it cannot break the system of checks and balances so cleverly institutionalized by America's founding fathers.
Logged
Crafty_Dog
Administrator
Power User
*****
Posts: 41108


« Reply #794 on: July 28, 2017, 05:32:16 AM »

The Axis of the Sanctioned
Jul 28, 2017
By Jacob L. Shapiro

Albert Einstein’s definition of insanity was doing the same thing repeatedly and expecting a different result. In January 2002, U.S. President George W. Bush famously declared Iraq, Iran and North Korea the axis of evil in his State of the Union speech. This week, with the passage of a bill to impose expanded sanctions on Russia, Iran and North Korea, the U.S. has effectively replaced the axis of evil with the axis of the sanctioned – the only difference being that Russia has replaced Iraq on the list of sinners. But if Washington is expecting to see different results this time around, it’ll soon learn how misguided this expectation is.

The U.S. House of Representatives approved the sanctions bill on July 25 with an overwhelming majority (419-3). It was passed by the Senate on July 27 by an equally decisive margin (98-2). Because of the strong majority with which it passed both the House and the Senate, it’s unlikely President Donald Trump can veto the bill.

All three countries targeted by the legislation have been the subject of sanctions before. Many have debated whether this tool is an effective way to influence a country’s actions. A study updated in 2009 and published by the Peterson Institute for International Economics examined 174 case studies and determined that sanctions were partially successful 34 percent of the time. According to the study, the success rate varied based on the goal. If the goal was modest and specific, such as the release of a political prisoner, the success rate approached 50 percent. But if the goal was regime change or significant policy reforms, the success rate was only 30 percent.

The bottom line is that sanctions are an ineffective way of achieving foreign policy objectives in two-thirds of cases, according to this study. They can be a powerful tool, alongside other measures, to encourage a country to halt a certain action, but on their own they can achieve little and might actually make a situation worse.

Sanctions Won’t Change Reality

It is with that in mind that the geopolitical implications of the sanctions bill should be evaluated. Of the three countries included in the bill, Russia has drawn the most attention because of the Russian cloud that has cast a shadow over Trump’s administration since he came to office. But the bill was originally designed to levy new sanctions against Iran; North Korea was also subsequently added. These three countries arguably represent the United States’ most significant geopolitical challenges today. They also happen to be intractable issues that the U.S. does not currently have the will or power to change in any meaningful way – and sanctions won’t alter that reality.

Consider North Korea. The U.S. has been hoping that partnering with China and expanding international sanctions against North Korea, which has already been subject to sanctions for decades, could convince the regime to stop its pursuit of nuclear weapons. The existing sanctions were ineffective, in part because the regime is willing to endure some discomfort to ensure its survival, and giving up its weapons program could put that in jeopardy. China, meanwhile, is either unwilling or unable to bring Kim Jong Un to heel. In the first half of this year, it even increased its exports to Pyongyang by 20 percent year on year, according to a report by the Korean International Trade Association on July 26. (The same report also indicated that Chinese imports from North Korea have decrease by 24.3 percent in the same period.)

The Chinese government itself has also reported increased exports to North Korea in the first and second quarters of 2017. Trump even accused China on Twitter last month of not living up to its sanction pledges against North Korea.

The U.S. is beginning to get the impression that Beijing isn’t willing to apply financial pressure on Pyongyang, and some say the next step should be to impose sanctions against China. But sanctions won’t force China to handle the problem the way the U.S. wants. The dirty little secret is that China’s prestige as the chief negotiator with Pyongyang far outweighs its actual power. That becomes abundantly apparent in situations such as these.

Shared Enemy

Or consider Iran, which has been a foreign policy disaster for the United States since the 1953 military coup that the U.S. helped organize. Many believe the “unprecedented” sanctions (as they were described by U.S. officials at the time) imposed in 2010 have been effective. After all, just five years after they were implemented, Iran signed the much-maligned nuclear deal. Proximity, however, is not causality. Iran did not capitulate because of sanctions.
 
Iranian President Hassan Rouhani (C) arrives at parliament ahead of presenting the proposed annual budget in the capital, Tehran, on Jan. 17, 2016, after sanctions were lifted under Tehran’s nuclear deal with world powers. ATTA KENARE/AFP/Getty Images

This is not to say sanctions were irrelevant. They were no doubt painful for the Iranian economy, and they became a major political issue in Tehran. But what compelled Iran to sign the deal was that Iran’s strategic plans were disrupted after the Syrian war broke out. In 2010, a Shiite arc of influence, led by Iranian-backed proxies, seemed poised to spread from Tehran all the way to the Mediterranean. But then Bashar Assad’s government came under attack in Syria, and it continues to fight a bloody civil war that has permanently fractured the country. More important, out of the ashes of the U.S. intervention in Iraq, a force arose that would eventually become the Islamic State.

It’s this reality – not the economic impact of sanctions, significant as it may have been – that convinced Iran to enter into the nuclear deal. Iran was wary of a potential Sunni Arab power rising on its border, one with an ideology that saw Iran as an enemy equal to if not greater than the West. The rise of IS meant that suddenly the United States and Iran had a common enemy; IS threatened the national security interests of both countries.

Now that the Islamic State is on the defensive, the subtle ties between these strange bedfellows are beginning to show signs of fraying – on both sides. The issue is that Iran wants to be the dominant power in the Middle East, while the United States doesn’t want any single country to control the region. Defeating Iran by military force is not a realistic option for the Middle East, and by toppling Saddam Hussein’s regime in 2003, the U.S. eliminated the natural balance to Iranian power in the region. The U.S. is trying to reconstruct a regional balance of power to deal with Iran, but the Saudis are weak, the Turks have little desire or need to enter the fray at this point, and no one else is up to the task. Sanctions are not going to induce Iran to stop testing ballistic missiles or to stop funding its proxy groups throughout the region; in fact, they may have the opposite effect.

Easier Said Than Done

And then there’s Russia, which has become something of a U.S. media obsession. Like George W. Bush and Barack Obama before him, Trump came to office hoping to build a better relationship with Russia, only to realize it’s much easier said than done. Trump may have thought that a positive personal relationship with Russian President Vladimir Putin was going to be enough to accomplish what his predecessors couldn’t. But niceties don’t change the fact that Ukraine is a national security interest to Russia, and that the United States – even under Trump – has shown no signs of bending on the Ukraine issue. In fact, Trump has met with Ukraine’s president and has declared his support for Ukraine multiple times. The State Department’s new special representative to Ukraine even said July 25 that the U.S. might consider providing Kiev with defensive arms.

The sanctions bill won’t convince Russia that it can abandon Kiev to the West’s orbit, and it may even embolden Ukraine. It may be coincidence, but Ukraine’s recent decision to cut off electricity to Donetsk, amid other markers of tension, suggests that these sanctions could encourage Kiev to push back against Russia with an expectation of U.S. support. Russia will have to retaliate in some way. In light of this possible escalation, we at GPF may even have to re-examine our forecast for 2017, which saw Ukraine as a frozen conflict.

This is not to say that sanctions are ineffective or that they don’t have any geopolitical import. They do, and we’ll be publishing more on their impact in the near term. But by relying on sanctions that have had only a marginal effect in the past, the U.S. is insisting on forcing square pegs into round holes. That will have ramifications, but the underlying problems – North Korea’s pursuit of nuclear weapons, Iran’s pursuit of regional hegemony and Russia’s need to maintain Ukraine as a buffer – will remain long after these sanctions are lifted.

The post The Axis of the Sanctioned appeared first on Geopolitics | Geopolitical Futures.
Logged
Crafty_Dog
Administrator
Power User
*****
Posts: 41108


« Reply #795 on: August 01, 2017, 02:25:40 PM »

A Perfect Storm Is Brewing in U.S. Foreign Policy
By Reva Goujon
VP of Global Analysis, Stratfor
Reva Goujon
Reva Goujon
VP of Global Analysis, Stratfor
The White House's pledge to put
(P_WEI/Getty Images)


The White House's pledge to put "America First" in its policymaking implies that the president has a responsibility to prioritize his country's problems over the rest of the world's. But making good on that promise isn't as easy as it sounds. After all, the foreign policies of great powers are crafted, not imposed.

If we can assume that every nation follows its own interests, we can also expect the executor of its foreign policy to make sense of a complex geopolitical landscape by internalizing the imperatives and constraints shaping the behavior of itself and its peers. In part this means identifying potential points of competition and collaboration, giving priority to the issues that pose a strategic threat to the republic. It also means teasing out and testing implications, determining the most critical points of stress that demand attention. Excessive ambition, whether driven by egotism or romanticism, will inevitably seep into the foreign policy realm, but it can be tamed. And the greater the power, the more tools at its disposal to form a policy designed to subtly steer its adversaries and allies toward its desired course without any party losing face.

Of course, this approach doesn't preclude conflict. A successful foreign policy, however, will anticipate, manage and even harness clashes to ensure a balance of power that is ultimately intended to preserve the might of the republic. The unique collection of foreign policy challenges facing the United States today will require a particularly deft hand to address as Washington looks to parse the unavoidable disputes from the avoidable ones, and to prepare Americans for them. But the ongoing power struggle between the ideologues and professionals on the White House's policy team seems certain to only intensify, leaving little room for strategic planning and ample room for error in some of the world's most pressing conflicts.
If It Ain't Broke, Don't Fix It

Consider Venezuela, where a government led by the narco politicians largely responsible for the economy's self-destruction is using a constituent assembly to create a one-party state. Naturally the United States doesn't want a failed Venezuelan state to destabilize its Caribbean sphere of influence. Unfettered narco states thrive on American drug consumption and create a robust market for arms traffickers, which in turn spawns violent crime and waves of migration. Even during the reign of Colombian drug kingpin Pablo Escobar, the United States managed to find institutional partners in Bogota with which to join forces and tackle the multidimensional threat posed by the narco state. Imagine how difficult it will be to do the same in Caracas once narco politicians have formalized their position in power, all while persistent clashes between security forces and protesters give rise to humanitarian calls for an intervention.

Though policymakers in Washington feel compelled to respond to this blatant power grab, the nature of their response matters tremendously. By all appearances, the U.S. administration is preparing new hard-hitting sanctions that set Venezuela's all-important energy sector, in addition to specific individuals, in their crosshairs. The sanctions could target the state-run Petroleos de Venezuela, ban U.S. light crude exports to Venezuela and cut off Venezuelan oil imports; such comprehensive measures would essentially accelerate the country's downward spiral. Depending on the sanctions' scope, dollars from Venezuela's vital oil trade will dry up, severe shortages in basic goods will become intolerable, unrest will intensify, and splits within the ruling party, military or both will risk the government's collapse, creating a mess that no one player will be willing or able to clean up.

So, the United States will have to weigh its options. Does it make strategic sense to exacerbate the Venezuelan crisis, knowing that there are still other, larger foreign policy matters that need Washington's attention? Or should it avoid a premature crash by incrementally increasing sanctions, undermining the most incorrigible elements in Caracas, and working with those desperate enough to strike a deal to create a softer landing for the Caribbean state?

Iran can be seen through a similar lens. The past week has brought to light a particularly raucous debate within the White House over whether the executive branch would consider Iran to be in compliance with the Joint Comprehensive Plan of Action. The deal's five other signatories, the International Atomic Energy Agency and foreign policy professionals within the administration — Secretary of State Rex Tillerson, National Security Adviser H.R. McMaster and Secretary of Defense James Mattis, to name a few — maintain that Tehran is abiding by the terms of the agreement. But President Donald Trump and a group of like-minded staffers seem determined to make the case that Iran is not in compliance with the deal's stipulations, and they have raised the prospect of the United States' unilaterally withdrawing from the deal when it reviews Iran's compliance again in 90 days.

Rather than basing this assessment on the deal's actual terms, the president and his allies have founded their position on the United States' other grievances with Iran, including its weapons testing and support of regional militant groups, as well as a general belief that Tehran should be treated as an axis of evil. But does it make strategic sense to abandon the agreement, when doing so will renew the prospect of a military confrontation in the Persian Gulf and when the United States lacks the European support needed to keep effective sanctions in place against Iran? Or will Washington take into account that the Iranian government will not be easily uprooted by force, is serious enough about keeping the nuclear deal in place and already has its hands full in competing with its neighbors for influence? If the United States' goal is to avoid further destabilizing the Middle East while it has so many other foreign policy conundrums to grapple with, then relying on the more subtle tools of covert intelligence to maintain oversight of Iran's nuclear program while playing off existing tensions between Iran and the Middle East's major Sunni powers may be a more effective way to keep Tehran's ambitions in check than single-handedly reigniting a nuclear crisis that could easily consume the United States' military capacity.
When It Comes to Russia, Proceed With Caution

Meanwhile, for all the recent drama surrounding the U.S.-Russia relationship, Washington's policy toward Moscow is fairly straightforward. Aware of the internal issues it faces in the coming years, the Kremlin is trying to reach an understanding with the United States and the West at large that recognizes Russia's sphere of influence in the former Soviet Union. For instance, by trying to draw the line at NATO's expansion and persuade the West to lift its sanctions, Moscow hopes to insulate itself from the United States and its allies while it is still powerful enough to do so.

To this end, Russia has devoted a considerable amount of energy to inserting itself into conflicts where the United States has a vested interest. There, Moscow believes, it can build a collection of carrots and sticks that it can use to steer Washington toward more fruitful negotiations. The United States isn't pitted against Russia in an ideological war, as it was during the Cold War, and there is certainly room for cooperation between them in some areas of mutual interest. But Russian concessions — even on tactical matters — often come with hefty price tags attached, and selling out European allies on Moscow's doorstep is simply too steep a cost for Washington to pay. Even without the immense complications created by Russia's information operations against the U.S. administration and by Congress' growing compulsion to check the president's influence over Washington's Russia policy, Moscow and Washington will remain fundamentally at odds with each other on several fronts. Nevertheless, the United States will need to stay alert to areas of emerging conflict where Russia will attempt to throw a wrench in Washington's plans — not least of which is North Korea.
The Real Fight Is in Asia

When it comes to Venezuela, Iran and Russia, the United States still has options in how it chooses to proceed. Depending on how carefully it weighs the implications of its own actions, it can either exacerbate or temper the threats stemming from each country. North Korea, on the other hand, leaves the United States with dangerously little room to maneuver.

Pyongyang and Washington have passed the point of viable negotiation. North Korea is on track to develop a nuclear deterrent, and as it nears the point of possessing a reliable nuclear weapon and delivery system capable of striking the continental United States, Washington will be compelled to seriously consider military action against it. That decision will fall to the Trump administration, perhaps within the next 18 months. In trying to forgo military action, the United States will be forced to rely on China's and Russia's cooperation in sanctions or covert action intended to destabilize the North Korean government and thwart its nuclear ambitions. Yet even as Washington pursues this policy out of diplomatic necessity, it knows it is unlikely to bear fruit. Because as much as they dislike the idea of a nuclear North Korea on their doorstep, China and Russia do not want to face the broader repercussions of an unstable Korean Peninsula or open the door to a bigger U.S. military footprint in the region.

And so, the two states will try to get as much as they can out of negotiations with the United States as they try to push Washington toward inaction. Unable to rely on the clout of China and Russia to moderate North Korea's behavior, the United States will resist their demands to curb its military presence in the Asia-Pacific as the North Korean nuclear threat mounts. Washington's need to address the North Korean threat will thus clash with Beijing's own imperative to consolidate its maritime sphere of influence, raising the stakes in an increasingly complicated conflict zone.

The beat of the war drums in Northeast Asia is deafening compared with the low rumble emanating from Venezuela, Iran and Russia. But it is the confluence of these crises — some of which are more avoidable than others — that risks creating a foreign policy cacophony that even the political squabbles in Washington won't be able to drown out in the months to come.
Logged
Crafty_Dog
Administrator
Power User
*****
Posts: 41108


« Reply #796 on: August 09, 2017, 10:57:57 PM »

https://geopoliticalfutures.com/special/gpf-fall-2017-conference.html
Logged
ccp
Power User
***
Posts: 7430


« Reply #797 on: August 11, 2017, 03:54:24 PM »

   “Every bureaucracy in Washington has its own culture. Some of them, like the State Department, have several sub-cultures. The overwhelming political perspective of the career employees of the State Department is liberal Democrat. It affects their policy in virtually every aspect.”

After watching the parade of State people paraded on CNN and MSNBC  this is plainly obvious.


http://www.breitbart.com/radio/2017/08/11/john-bolton-inexplicable-to-say-iran-in-compliance-with-nuclear-agreement/
« Last Edit: August 26, 2017, 07:10:47 AM by Crafty_Dog » Logged
Crafty_Dog
Administrator
Power User
*****
Posts: 41108


« Reply #798 on: August 30, 2017, 08:06:47 AM »

A Nietzschean Lesson on the Use and Abuse of History
By Reva Goujon
VP of Global Analysis, Stratfor

Friedrich Nietzsche's observations about the misuse of history to sow chaos in the present hold as true today as they did in the 19th century when he wrote them.
(Stratfor)

A lot of history is being casually tossed around these days. We see it from energized segments of the "alt-right" throwing up Nazi salutes, calling for a "revolution" against "the Bolsheviks" and marching to chants like "Jews will not replace us." We see it from their anti-fascist adversaries on the left, branding themselves antifa, a movement that draws its roots from the Antifaschistische Aktion resistance from 1930s Germany. We see it from world leaders when Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan brazenly calls his German and Dutch counterparts Nazis and fascists and when U.S. President Donald Trump ardently defends Confederate statues as symbols of "heritage not hate." We see it from jihadist groups like the Islamic State when a member of the Barcelona attack cell calling himself Abu Lais of Cordoba spookily reminds Spanish Christians to remember "the Muslim blood spilled" during the Spanish Inquisition as the group fights to reincorporate "Al Andalus" into a revived caliphate.

The Third Reich. The Bolshevik Revolution. The American Civil War. The Spanish Inquisition.  This is heavy, heavy history. Yet in the words of some actors, some of the darkest days of our historical memory seem to take on a weightless form in today's angst-ridden political discourse. While jarring to observe, this kind of historical levity is to be expected whenever the world moves through a major inflection point. When more wretched periods of history lie just beyond the horizon of the current generation, they become fuzzy, impersonal anecdotes rather than visceral memories that impress upon everyday lives. And when the future looks especially bleak to that same generation, a raucous few can capture the minds of many by plunging deep into the depths of a blemished history to conjure up leaders and legends that, with a bit of polishing and dusting off, can serve as the unadulterated icons of a new world order.
Today's antifa movement models itself after Germany's anti-fascists in the 1930s.

Today's antifa movement in the United States models itself after Germany's anti-fascists in the 1930s.
(Public domain)

The reasoning behind the tactic is fairly simple. Leaders and movements that try to implement a revisionist agenda in the world crave two things: credibility and power. If the masses can be seduced by a narrative with historical legs (however flimsy those legs may be), then power will presumably follow. And if credibility does not come naturally, then the amassing of state power enables the distortion of facts and silencing of critics. After all, mimicking history is a far easier strategy to pursue than trying to understand and innovate yourself out of the deeper problems of the present.

At the same time, history is just as important to internalize in tense times like these. How else will current and future generations learn from and avoid the mistakes of their past?

Tackling the Dilemma of History

It is this very dilemma of how to responsibly treat history that German philosopher Friedrich Nietzsche tried to tackle in an essay titled "On the Use and Abuse of History for Life" as part of his Untimely Meditations series. When Nietzsche published this work in 1873, just two years following German reunification led by Otto Von Bismarck, he described himself as "out of touch with the times." While most everyone around him was celebrating the music of Richard Wagner and erecting monuments to the heroes of the Franco-Prussian War in the act of knitting together a unified German state, Nietzsche was a bit of a wreck thinking about all the ways this exercise in German nationalism could go terribly awry. His musings on the role history should play in audacious political times are particularly apt in today's "historical fever."

Nietzsche argues that the fundamental purpose of history should be for life. And as we live, we must understand our past without becoming enslaved to it. To underscore the importance of living in the present, he describes with envy the "unhistorical" beast, grazing among a herd in a valley with finite horizons on all sides, living in an eternal state of forgetfulness. In contrast to the human, ever-burdened by the past, the honest beast lives blissfully, as a child does, freeing the mind to think and achieve great things. "The person who cannot set himself down on the crest of the moment, forgetting everything from the past, who is not capable of standing on a single point, like a goddess of victory, without dizziness or fear, will never know what happiness is. … And no artist would achieve his picture, no field marshal his victory, and no people its freedom, without previously having desired and striven for them in that sort of unhistorical condition."

The opposite of the unhistorical mind is the superhistorical being, one who takes history much too seriously and thus feels little point to living in the present. In between these two minds are the more even-minded and optimistic historical beings — those who use history to serve the living. They look to the past with reverence to understand the present and to frame a vision for the future.

Nietzsche then goes on to describe the three approaches to history: Monumentalism, Antiquarianism and Criticism. No single approach is the right one; each can be used in combination and at an appropriate time and context. If misused, however, "destructive weeds" will sprout and pull society down into chaos.

The Monumentalists are on a historical search for glory. This can be a dangerous exercise, for if the past is viewed as something that can be imitated and reinterpreted into something more beautiful, then it can easily fall into a trap of "free poeticizing" by people serving up mythic fictions to "weakly cultured nations" craving hope and direction. In a prophetic peering into the Third Reich, Nietzsche warns that the Monumentalists are most dangerous as superhistorical people when they are not anchored to a particular place. When saturated in a myth of cultural superiority and lacking in geopolitical boundaries, "less favored races and people" roam around, "looking for something better in foreign places," and competition and warfare ensures. While such thinking in the past has fueled foreign adventurism and destructive wars, the Monumentalists today are more concerned about a nativist agenda on their home turf. Chants by the alt-right like "our blood, our soil" and campaigns against "cultural Marxism" taking over the world stem from a stubbornly anchored place and people who believe their white, European-derived race is being diluted by "the other," who belong on the other side of the fence.


The Antiquarian, like the Monumentalist, tends to look at history through rose-colored glasses, but wants to preserve the past in a traditionalist, literalist sense rather than use history to generate life. "Man envelopes himself in a moldy smell" and steeps himself so deeply in the past that he will take little interest in what lies beyond the horizon. The modern jihadist drawn to the Islamic State banner can be seen through this lens, believing that a return to a seventh-century Islamic way way of life will restore virtue in man and glory to the Islamic world.

The third approach to history that Nietzsche describes is the critical one. He writes that a person must have the power to break with the past in order to live. This, he argues, can be done by "dragging the past before a court of justice" to look at history with a critical eye. In describing a "first and second nature," he describes how a generation that looks at its past and can recognize its ills alongside its virtues sets the stage for the next generation to study its past with a healthier, more critical view of history, and thus society is better off in the long run. In this thought, Nietzsche may have been a tad idealistic. In reality, as we can see today, several decades is long enough to wear down the critical eye and blur our historical memory for the worse.
The Limitations of the Critical Approach

The critical method may appear like the most pragmatic and reasoned approach to history, but here, too, we must be careful. To make the point that we can never fully internalize the time, place and conditions of our past to perfectly understand it, Nietzsche dramatically asserts that "objectivity and justice have nothing to do with each other." One can "interpret the past only on the basis of the highest power of the present."

This lesson in critical history is an important one for the modern-day globalist fighting to extinguish resurgent flames of nationalism. While the 20th century horrors of unhinged nationalism need to be represented in starkly honest terms to prevent a repeat of the past, it is just as important to remember the economic, social and security conditions that give rise to those ideological currents in the first place. Nationalism is a natural product of the human condition and need not be blanketly vilified in all forms. While some German integrationists want to remain committed to a docile existence in the European Union, German students may tire of history books that overly fixate on the catastrophe of the Third Reich. While the message "Never forget!" matters, there comes a time when rational people looking for purpose and seeing problems with the current order want a fuller historical understanding of their past to comprehend who they are and where they come from instead of drowning themselves in guilt.

Nietzsche also warns against taking science and a purely empirical approach to life too far. The German thinker, best known for the declaration "God is dead," was of course speaking at a time in European history when rationalism and scientific thought were celebrated by philosophers as the great escape from religion's straitjacket. The nuance to Nietzsche's argument is often lost, however. Nietzsche himself was an atheist, but he warned that if we went too far down the critical path and didn't leave any room for the Antiquarian memory, then we would strip society of religion, art and other enigmatic instincts that humans need to make sense of the inexplicable. As he put it, "all living things need an atmosphere around them, a secret circle of darkness" or else European culture would face a catastrophe in suffering the perils of nihilism. If Nietzsche were alive today, he would probably argue that overzealous technologists intent on erasing borders in an ever-globalizing world were setting it up for a violent clash.
Heeding Nietzsche's Warning

Nietzsche would also see the jumbled historical references feeding into today's political discourse as a gross abuse of history warning of much bigger problems ahead. In every camp of Monumentalists and superhistorians, there are some whose egos and visions are so big that they believe that the entire passage of history is to serve their modern agenda. Nietzsche saw this type in his day as well:

"Arrogant European of the nineteenth century, you are raving! Your knowledge does not complete nature, but only kills your own. For once, measure your height as a knower against your depth as a person who can do something. Of course, you clamber on the solar ray of knowledge upward towards heaven, but you also climb downward to chaos."

In fact, chaos is exactly what many modern-day radical Monumentalists are seeking. If one assumes an apocalyptic view of the world, as many among the alt-right and some within a rapidly thinning camp of ultranationalists in the White House have openly espoused, then their energy and focus will be on tearing down the current order at whatever cost to energize the masses to engage in their so-called revolution. To complete this aim, enemies need to be invented, the intelligentsia needs to be condemned and history needs to be revised. And whether they know it or not, the motto of the modern-day Monumentalist, in Nietzsche's words, will be the following: "Let the dead bury the living."
Logged
Crafty_Dog
Administrator
Power User
*****
Posts: 41108


« Reply #799 on: September 05, 2017, 11:11:56 AM »

http://www.jpost.com/Opinion/North-Koreas-ultimatum-to-America-504213
Logged
Pages: 1 ... 14 15 [16] Print 
« previous next »
Jump to:  

Powered by MySQL Powered by PHP Powered by SMF 1.1.21 | SMF © 2015, Simple Machines Valid XHTML 1.0! Valid CSS!