Sunday, August 6, 2017

Alastair Crooke — Playing Politics with the World’s Future

The aim has been to see President Trump hog-tied, and “tarred and feathered” for his “risky behavior” on Russia. This aim simply has overpowered any other considerations – such as likelihood that the outside world will conclude that America’s ability to pursue or even to have a foreign policy is non-existent in the face of its internal civil war. It is a key juncture. For an overwhelming majority of Democratic and Republican Senators and Congressmen, bringing down “The Donald” is all – and the devil take the consequences for America, in the world.…
When asked whether the bill took account of European Union’s interests, one of the main authors, Senator John McCain, R-Arizona, said simply: “Not that I know of. Certainly not in the portion of the bill I was responsible for.”
Another of the bill’s author, Bob Menendez, D-New Jersey, laconically replied to the same question: “Not much, to be honest with you.”
McCain carelessly then quipped that essentially that it was “the job of the E.U. to come around to the legislation, not for the legislation to be brought around to them.”…
Blunder upon blunder.
Last Tuesday, President Trump, standing beside Lebanese Prime Minister Saad Hariri heaped Lebanon with praise: “Lebanon is on the front lines in the fight against ISIS, al-Qaeda and Hezbollah,” Trump said. Hariri had – delicately – to correct the President: Hizbullah is a member of his governing coalition, and is a part of his government, and is his ally in parliament. Actually, Lebanon is fighting ISIS and al-Qaeda in Syria, precisely via Hezbollah.
But this trivial incident should not be written off as some distracted President “mis-speaking”: rather it is symptomatic of how dysfunctional the West Wing has become in respect to the Middle East. There seems to be no adult in the team – just jaundiced ignorance that does not bother to try to understand Middle East complexities.
I would hardly call it a trivial incident. Hezbollah is central to the situation in the Middle East, in particular owing to the relationship of Israel to the parties and Israel's influence on the US.

It gets worse. The US is out to lunch.

Consortium News
Playing Politics with the World’s Future
Alastair Crooke | founder and director of the Conflicts Forum, and former British diplomat and senior figure in British intelligence and in European Union diplomacy

See also

There is no "US strategy." Rather there is a war among factions of the American elite that is devoid of coherent foreign and military policy and strategy. It was already obvious under Obama that there is no one in charge. Obama was unable or unwilling to assert his command, and Trump is following him in that.

Moon of Alabama
New Sanctions Against Russia - A Failure Of U.S. Strategy


The US dilemma is simple: the Cold War is long over, and so is the Post Cold War, and a complete reform of the US armed forces is clear long overdue and yet also politically impossible. Right now the US armed forces are the bizarre result of the Cold War, the “war on the cheap” years and of failed military interventions. In theory, the US should begin by deciding on a new national security strategy, then develop a military strategy in support of this national security strategy, followed by the development of a military doctrine which itself would then produce a force modernization plan which would affect all aspects of military reform from training to force planning to deployment. It took the Russians over a decade to do this, including a lot of false starts and mistakes, and it will take the Americans at least as long, or even more. Right now even the decision to embark on such a far reaching reform seems to be years away. For the time being, garden variety propaganda (“we’re number one, second to none!!”) and deep denial seem to be the order of the day. Just as in Russia, it will probably take a truly catastrophic embarrassment (like the first Russian war in Chechnya) to force the US military establishment to look reality in the eye and to actually act on it. But until that happens, the ability of US forces to impose their domination on those countries which refuse to surrender to various threats and sanctions will continue to degrade.
The Vineyard of the Saker
The end of the “wars on the cheap” for the United States
The Saker

It’s been noted that in that in mid-July Commerce Secretary Wilbur Ross would complain about the trade gap with China in unusually blunt terms. This event was followed by a statement made by a CIA senior analyst Michael Collin who would announce that China’s growing confidence and resolve fueled by Washington’s inaction against Beijing over the past several years, has become a major concern in Washington. He also remains convinced that China poses a greater threat to the US than Russia.
From the CIA’s point of view, «China is undermining the US-led international order that has brought peace and stability in Asia over the past 40 years. Beijing is seeking to usurp American power and influence in the region».
In turn, CIA’s Director Mike Pompeo announced his belief that China has the capacity to present greater rivalry to America than Iran or Russia over the medium and long term.… 
Trump’s advisers are still unable to formulate measures they are going to introduce against China due to the complicated situation around the DPRK, notes Politico, while citing two officials in the Trump administration. However, the stated measures are supposed to “punish” China for its rapid development. Among the measures under consideration, according to the above mentioned report, there are trade restrictions, along with economic sanctions....
Washington’s Sanctions Spree is About to Hit China
Greta Mauthner

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