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Britain, U.S. sending planes, troops to deter Russia in the east

Reuters  /  October 26, 2016

Britain said on Wednesday it will send fighter jets [see note] to Romania next year and the United States promised troops, tanks and artillery to Poland in NATO's biggest military build-up on Russia's borders since the Cold War.

Note: Britain has around 126 Eurofighter Typhoons in operation, but only 40 are available for immediate use. 32 of those are based in the UK for domestic defence, 4 are patrolling the Falklands, and 4 are supporting NATO's air-policing mission over the Baltic states of Estonia, Latvia and Lithuania.

Germany, Canada and other NATO allies also pledged forces at a defense ministers meeting in Brussels on the same day two Russian warships armed with cruise missiles entered the Baltic Sea between Sweden and Denmark, underscoring East-West tensions.

In Madrid, the foreign ministry said Russia had withdrawn a request to refuel three warships in Spain's North African enclave of Ceuta after NATO allies said they could be used to target civilians in Syria.

The ships were part of an eight-ship carrier battle group - including Russia's sole aircraft carrier Admiral Kuznetsov - that is expected to join around 10 other Russian vessels already off the Syrian coast, diplomats said.

NATO Secretary-General Jens Stoltenberg said the troop contributions to a new 4,000-strong force in the Baltics and eastern Europe were a measured response to what the alliance believes are some 330,000 Russian troops stationed on Russia's western flank near Moscow.

"This month alone, Russia has deployed nuclear-capable Iskander missiles to Kaliningrad and suspended a weapons-grade plutonium agreement with the United States," Stoltenberg said, also accusing Russia of continued support for rebels in Ukraine.

Those ballistic missiles can hit targets across Poland and the Baltics, although NATO officials declined to say if Russia had moved nuclear warheads to Kaliningrad.

NATO's aim is to make good on a July promise by NATO leaders to deter Russia in Europe's ex-Soviet states, after Moscow orchestrated the annexation of the Crimea peninsula in 2014.

NATO's plan is to set up four battle groups with a total of some 4,000 troops from early next year, backed by a 40,000-strong rapid-reaction force, and if need be, follow-on forces.

As part of that, U.S. Secretary of Defense Ash Carter announced a "battle-ready battalion task force" of about 900 soldiers would be sent to eastern Poland, as well as another, separate force equipped with tanks and other heavy equipment to move across eastern Europe.

"It's a major sign of the U.S. commitment to strengthening deterrence here," Carter said.

Britain's Defence Secretary Michael Fallon said Britain would send an 800-strong battalion to Estonia, supported by French and Danish troops, starting from May. The United States wants its troops in position by June.

London is also sending Typhoon fighter aircraft to Romania to patrol around the Black Sea, partly in support of Turkey.

"Although we are leaving the European Union, we will be doing more to help secure the eastern and southern flanks of NATO," Fallon said.


Others NATO allies joined the four battle groups led by the United States, Germany, Britain and Canada to go to Poland, Lithuania, Estonia and Latvia. Canada said it was sending 450 troops to Latvia, joined by 140 military personnel from Italy.

Germany said it was sending between 400 and 600 troops to Lithuania, with additional forces from the Netherlands, Norway, Belgium, Croatia and Luxembourg.

Stoltenberg said allies' commitments would be "a clear demonstration of our transatlantic bond." Diplomats said it would also send a message to Republican presidential nominee Donald Trump, who has complained that European allies do not pay their way in the alliance.

For the Kremlin, the U.S.-led alliance's plans are already too much given Russia's grievances at NATO's expansion eastwards, although Stoltenberg denied going too far.

But NATO's troop announcements in the Baltic states and Poland were partly overshadowed by the dispute about whether Spain should refuel the Russian warships, which was later resolved by Moscow's decision to withdraw its request.

NATO's tensions with Russia have been building since Crimea and the West's decision to impose retaliatory sanctions.

But the breakdown of a U.S-Russia brokered ceasefire in Syria on Oct. 3, followed by U.S. accusations that Russia has used cyber attacks to disrupt the presidential election, have signaled a worsening of ties.

Even before the break down of the Syrian ceasefire, Russian President Vladimir Putin suspended a treaty with Washington on cleaning up weapons-grade plutonium, signaling he was willing to use nuclear disarmament as a new bargaining chip in disputes with the United States over Ukraine and Syria.

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Six NATO nations eager to increase Black Sea presence

RT  /  September 26, 2016

US, Turkey and Poland are among the NATO member states which confirmed their readiness to dispatch naval units to the Black Sea in 2017, boosting the alliance’s presence in the region, according to NATO Secretary General Jens Stoltenberg.

Stoltenberg noted “progress” in strengthening NATO’s presence in the Black Sea Region in his statement after the meeting of the block’s defense ministers in Brussels on Wednesday.

“With a Romania-led multi-national framework brigade on land and we’re working on measures in the air and at sea,” he said.

According to the secretary General, several member-states “indicated their willingness to contribute to our presence in the Black Sea region on land, at sea and in the air, including Canada, Germany, the Netherlands, Poland, Turkey and the US.”

“Other allies are also looking into how they can contribute,” he added.

The plans on enhancing Black Sea presence will be finalized during another meeting on NATO ministers in February.

Following Crimea’s reunification with Russia, NATO has been increasingly concerned about the Black Sea is turning into a “Russian lake.”

Since the spring of 2014, NATO warships, including missile cruisers from the US and other allied nations, have been patrolling the Black Sea on a rotational basis, never leaving the area unattended.

NATO decided to increase their presence in the Black Sea during a summit in Warsaw in July, calling it a response to Russia’s increasing military capabilities and is a gesture of support to its Eastern European members.

READ MORE: Lithuania aims to spend $115m on air-defense system amid NATO build-up in Eastern Europe

The military beef-up in the region is expected lead to the creation of NATO’s Black Sea Fleet to be formed by member-states with direct access to the sea.

Stoltenberg also said that 17 NATO countries will delegate their units to join the four multinational ground battalions to be deployed in Poland and the Baltic State early next year.

The battalions will be led by the US, UK, Canada and Germany, while the countries sending their forces included France, Poland, Albania, Romania, Croatia and others.
The Secretary General stressed that NATO was monitoring the movement of Russian vessels in the Baltic Sea.

"I can confirm that two Russian warships have recently entered the Baltic Sea, and NATO is monitoring this movement in the way we always do," he said. 

However, Stoltenberg stressed that, despite its buildup in Eastern Europe, the alliance is ready for dialogue with Moscow.

"We are concerned about Russia's behavior. Bur dialogue is even more important when tensions run high. And allies stand ready to hold an ambassadorial meeting of the NATO-Russia Council in the near future," he said.

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My head is still buzzing from our government's "no contact position" when they announced several weeks ago to disengage with Russia .........but then again, I can't comprehend how you "lead from behind". Either They are a hell of a lot smarter than this farmer, or they are just as bad as their record is on the world stage. I don't remember previous administrations loosing allies to China and Russia , and act as if nothing is wrong or amuck.  

Edited by gearhead204
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On 10/26/2016 at 9:52 PM, gearhead204 said:

My head is still buzzing from our government's "no contact position" when they announced several weeks ago to disengage with Russia .........but then again, I can't comprehend how you "lead from behind". Either They are a hell of a lot smarter than this farmer, or they are just as bad as their record is on the world stage. I don't remember previous administrations loosing allies to China and Russia , and act as if nothing is wrong or amuck. 

Easy,  no military experience, no real concept of global politics, no idea of the repercussions of their actions, no aides,commanders or staff that are NOT yes men. EPA closing or regulating to extinction of factories and materials to build and upgrade weapons systems (the Detroit Arsenal was the last facility to actually manufacture Abrams MBT now only limited rebuilds of M1 MBT's) Generally a Russian / Chinese co operation pact is a big mistake for us.

Frighteningly our current administration and possible our next make decisions under the Kum-by-ya rules of  Berkley and the lyrics of John Lenons "Imagine"


Edited by 41chevy
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17 hours ago, kscarbel2 said:

In America, Detroit is more dangerous than Syria at night......and yet we do nothing about that. Based on our cues overseas, why hasn’t our government requested that NATO send troops from member states to Detroit, or have the United Nations send peacekeepers?

No need.  Detroit has already been secured by the Democrats.  The populace is pretty much reduced to a compliant, dependent, proletariat with low expectations.

Edited by grayhair

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Does Illinois not have a national guard?....I would think that would be safer for all involved parties, I know if the UN or NATO sent troops to our county it wouldn't be a very pretty sight.  

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GH 204,All these "world leaders" are exponentially smarter than this welder/trucker/gearhead too! I can't speak intelligently on the world situation, it makes my head explode! But from my many deliveries around metro Detroit in the 90s and early 2000s I feel a fabricator making/ installing, burglar bars could have made a killing there ( if he lived) of course!😁...or a truck tire repairman!

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Does America Know What It's Doing in the Middle East?

Christopher Preble, The National Interest  /  October 26, 2016

The United States has been heavily involved in the greater Middle East, including the Persian Gulf, parts of North Africa, the Horn of Africa and Afghanistan in Central Asia, for over forty-seven years.

The U.S. foreign policy establishment seems determined to stay there for at least another half century, despite that fact that our strategic objectives are unclear at best, and our ability to achieve much beyond short-term military successes has proved wanting.

U.S. officials established an active military presence in the Persian Gulf in 1979 following the overthrow of the Shah of Iran, and the Soviet invasion of Afghanistan. Subsequently, the worst-case scenarios were averted—the collapse of the House of Saud, a Soviet victory in Afghanistan, and Saddam Hussein in possession of Kuwaiti oil fields.

But Americans’ memories are also punctuated by tragedies and setbacks, from the Beirut bombing and the Mogadishu firefight, to the more recent disastrous war in Iraq and the ongoing fight against ISIS. These episodes often overshadow the day-to-day courage and sacrifice, as well as the individual acts of heroism, by the members of the U.S. military tasked with bringing order to a notoriously disordered part of the world.

Taken together, the missteps and follies evoke manager Casey Stengel’s question of the members of the 1962 Mets: “Can’t anybody here play this game?

The difference, among many, is that the Mets were an expansion club, cobbled together from the castoffs from other Major League Baseball teams. The U.S. national security state of 2016 is a well-established juggernaut, nearly seven decades in the making. A team built for both speed and power, and that is able to draw on the vast wealth and talent of the United States of America, shouldn’t strike out so often, or make so many errors in the field.

And yet it does. Andrew Bacevich connects the dots in his latest book, America’s War for the Greater Middle East.

A recurrent theme not covered in the review is the treatment of U.S. military officers who had the misfortunate of being on the wrong end of various tragedies. These include the 1983 Marine Barracks bombing in Beirut, the 1987 missile attack on the USS Stark, the 1996 attack on the Khobar Towers in Saudi Arabia and the 2000 suicide boat attack on the USS Cole in the Gulf of Aden. In each case, the post-incident reviews singled out the local commanders—Marine Col. Timothy Geraghty, the Stark’s Capt. Glenn R. Brindel, Air Force Brig. Gen. Terry Schwalier, and Navy Capt. Kirk Lippold, respectively—for failing to do more to prevent the attacks; the civilian policymakers responsible for putting U.S. military personnel in such vulnerable places, and in the service of dubious or ill-defined objectives, evaded accountability. Bacevich, a graduate of West Point and a Vietnam combat veteran, doesn’t conceal his contempt for this double standard.

He also shows that even clear-cut military victories have repeatedly failed to produce enduring strategic gains for the United States. Operation Desert Storm, the U.S.-led mission that evicted Iraqi forces from neighboring Kuwait, was portrayed as a victory so decisive that it paved the way to more frequent military interventions in the future.

But George H. W. Bush, who allowed himself moments of euphoria, admitted to his diary that the war had not, in fact, produced “a clean end.”

Bacevich observes, “within Iraq, U.S. intervention had produced conditions conducive to further violence and further disorder.” Twelve years later, the second Iraq War removed the murderous tyrant but unleashed bedlam. Similarly, in Afghanistan, a well-executed plan drove Al Qaeda out of the country, and their Taliban hosts out of power, but did not bring peace or order.

And yet a number of George W. Bush administration officials, foreign-policy elites and hawkish pundits believe that we had won in Iraq, and that victory is attainable in Afghanistan. Their faith in the efficacy of U.S. military power is as strong now as when Charles Krauthammer declared in January 2002 that “Afghanistan demonstrated that America has both the power and the will to fight, and that when it does, it prevails.”

From this logically flows the corollary, so evident in the narratives surrounding the United States’ many failures then and since: if we don’t achieve our objectives, it’s because we lacked the will to win.

Alas, it’s not that simple. It should be obvious by now that more U.S. troops deployed and more patience on the part of the American people will not fix what ails the region. More effort is meaningless if you’re playing with a flawed game plan.

Which brings us back to Casey Stengel. As the Mets compiled more losses than any other team in MLB history in 1962, he wondered aloud why they played so badly and what, if anything, he could do to fix it. Unfortunately, no such soul-searching is evident among the DC establishment, in part because there is no accountability. They continue to write columns for major newspapers, and they comprise the army of talking heads who grace our televisions 24/7. The American people seem generally disinterested in distant battles or in challenging those responsible for waging them.

That’s a recipe for continued disappointment—and occasional disaster.

Christopher A. Preble is vice president for defense and foreign policy studies at the Cato Institute.

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A New Poll Shows America's Reluctance for New Foreign Adventures

Daniel DePetris, The National Interest  /  October 27, 2016

Republicans and Democrats disagree on pretty much everything, but there is one broad policy area where the GOP and Democratic establishments are actually more in tune with one another than commonly thought when it comes to foreign policy. The men and women who have dominated the foreign-policy conversation for the last three administrations—statesmen and stateswomen like Madeleine Albright, Samantha Power, the late Richard Holbrooke, Donald Rumsfeld and Paul Wolfowitz—have proven to be strong proponents of the theory of American exceptionalism.

The narrative is as basic as it is alluring: as the strongest and most powerful country in the world and as the beacon of hope and democracy for those struggling for freedom and justice, only the United States has the ability to provide the resources, political will and strength to solve problems. If the United States doesn’t them, nobody else will. Dictators need to be kept in check, if not overthrown; the Responsibility to Protect doctrine is an inalienable component of being an American; averting atrocities and crimes against humanity need to be prevented; the stability of the world is contingent on the spread of democratic values and free-market principles; and the United States is the sole guarantor of international peace and security.

A new and comprehensive poll conducted by the Charles Koch Institute and the Center for the National Interest, however, suggests that these elite convictions are not necessarily shared by much of the American public. On issue after issue—from infrastructure to jobs, from tax rates to terrorism—the public wants to focus on practical measures that directly impact their lives. Military intervention abroad is not considered to be one of them. Accordingly, the poll reveals just how wide the gap has become between the foreign-policy establishment in Washington (what Deputy National Security Adviser Ben Rhodes famously called “the Blob”) and average Americans. 

  • 51.1 percent of the Americans surveyed in the Koch poll believe that the next commander-in-chief should use less U.S. military force abroad, compared to 24 percent who say that Washington should use force more often.
  • 41 percent want European members of NATO to increase their own defense spending and start carrying their own weight.
  • 49 percent agree with the notion that the 2003 invasion of Iraq made the United States less safe.

  • 39 percent of Americans don’t think the 2011 in intervention in Libya made any difference to U.S. security at all.

  • 51 percent don’t want any U.S. ground troops deployed in Syria compared to 23.5 percent who are supportive of the idea.
  • 63 percent don’t believe it’s wise for the United States to provide Saudi Arabia with more military support in its military engagement in Yemen.

  • 23 percent want the United States to simply withdraw from the conflict altogether.

And in one of the most important findings that is applicable to a President Hillary Clinton or a President Donald Trump, an overwhelming majority (80 percent) agree that the president—regardless of who that may be—should be required to make its case before members of Congress and receive congressional authorization for the use of military force before the U.S. military is deployed in any operations.

To put it another way, the American people are becoming increasingly impatient with the way the executive branch has expanded its war powers at the expense of the Congress—a body that under the U.S. Constitution is invested with the power to declare war or provide the commander-in-chief with the approval to use force overseas.

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The Clumsy Case for U.S. Intervention in Syria

John Allen Gay, The National Interest  /  October 27, 2016

Those who advocate a deeper U.S. intervention in Syria against Bashar al-Assad’s regime have a difficult case to make. The risk that such an intervention would lead to a serious showdown with Russia is real. Russian air, land and naval forces are all present in Syria, meaning there is a real chance American strikes would inadvertently kill Russian personnel or destroy their equipment. Even if this doesn’t happen, Russia surely won’t be happy with an attack on its ally, and may take steps to respond, in Syria or elsewhere. A direct confrontation with a nuclear-armed great power would be the most serious crisis in U.S. national security since the end of the Cold War. Intervention advocates owe it to the public to take these concerns into account, and show that in spite of them, war is still the best choice. Specifically, they need to prevail on three points:

• First, they must explain how they intend to control the risks of confrontation with Russia over Syria in the wake of a U.S. attack, particularly if Russia takes steps to escalate.

• Second, they must identify vital U.S. interests at stake in Syria that justify taking such risks, especially given the chance that Russia will act against U.S. interests elsewhere.

• Third, they must show that intervention will be effective in defending those interests.

An argument that fails on any of these three points needs to go back to the drawing board, as an intervention that is ineffective, that risks uncontrolled escalation, or that is not tied to vital American interests is simply not worth the danger.

Unfortunately, a recent, widely praised essay calling for intervention fails on all three points, and fails by default: it does not attempt to explain how to control escalation, what critical American interests intervention would serve, or why intervention would be effective.

Writing in the Washington Post, former anti-ISIS coalition head Gen. John Allen and respected terrorism expert Charles Lister state that “it is time for the United States to act more assertively on Syria.” Specifically, we should “save Aleppo” by giving moderate rebels more weaponry, and giving it to them faster than we’ve done before; at the same time, we should initiate a new push for a cease-fire in Syria “in which flagrant violations will be met with targeted U.S. military consequences.” This, they argue, “would almost certainly result in the eventual use of targeted, punitive force in Syria” by a U.S.-led “coalition of the willing.” The coalition’s attacks ought to hit “Syrian military facilities and assets involved in supporting the bombardment of civilians, such as military airfields, aircraft, weapons stores and artillery positions,” and also may include “a task force of regional Special Operations forces, which could play an advisory role in assisting vetted opposition groups in attacking regime assets.”

So what about the risks of confrontation with Russia? Allen and Lister acknowledge them, but they offer no account of how these risks are to be controlled: “We should expect the possible intentional co-mingling of Syrian and Russian forces and assets as a deterrent [against a strike]. While this may complicate targeting strategies, we should not miss the opportunity to hit offending Syrian elements and units, while sustaining counter-Islamic State operations elsewhere.” Given the confusion and uncertainty that pervade warfare, there is some chance we’d accidentally kill Russians; Allen and Lister’s wording also does not rule out attacks on key targets where we know Russians will be killed. Either way, their assessment of Moscow’s motives in Syria suggests escalation is a real possibility: “Russia will determinedly protect its interests by any means.” What if those means include, as Russian military officials have hinted, shooting down American aircraft? How would we respond?

If a spiraling confrontation resulted, it’s worth remembering that Russia’s large nuclear arsenal makes it the only country that can pose a truly existential threat to the United States. But Russia can challenge the United States with actions that stop far short of nuclear war. Within Syria, for example, it could turn its air-defense radars on American aircraft operating against Islamic State, and it could encourage Assad to do the same, forcing American pilots to choose between attacking those radars, operating under the threat of “ambush . . . ‘with virtually no warning,’” or accepting a less efficient standoff anti-ISIS campaign. (The latter option would seriously hinder Allen and Lister’s goal of “sustaining counter-Islamic State operations elsewhere.”) Outside Syria, Russia could ratchet up tensions in Europe, conduct cyberattacks, accelerate its disinformation campaigns, or cozy up with China (which would also be unhappy with an American strike). Iran, too, would be furious after a U.S. strike on Assad, would be at risk of losing personnel in that strike, and would have its own (less dangerous) methods for responding.

But of course, foreign policy is risky business, and severe risks like these can sometimes be justified if the interests at stake are sufficiently valuable. What crucial U.S. interests are at risk in Syria? Allen and Lister don’t say directly, although they warn that “the consequences of continued inaction are dreadful.” The consequences include that “the world will not forgive us for our inaction,” that Assad will not move toward transition, and that the fight against ISIS, a mere “symptom of the civil war,” would thus be stalled. Further, an opposition defeat in Aleppo “would dramatically empower extremist narratives. Groups linked to al-Qaeda would reap the rewards of our shortcomings.” They offer “four justifiable objectives” for an intervention: “to end mass civilian killing; to protect what remains of the moderate opposition; to undermine extremist narratives of Western indifference to injustice; and to force Assad to the negotiating table.” And, in closing, they add that “the credibility of the United States as the leader and defender of the free world must be salvaged from the horrific devastation of Syria. It is not too late to enforce international law and norms.”

Let’s unpack these one by one. What will happen to American citizens, their freedom, and their prosperity if “the world will not forgive us”? Who speaks for “the world,” and what consequences do they impose on the unshriven? If the world is capable of punishing the United States for not punishing Assad, wouldn’t the world also be capable of dealing with Assad itself? There may be particular people in the world who are angered, such as extremists. But it’s not certain that losing in Aleppo will “dramatically empower extremist narratives,” or at least not ones about the United States. The whole point of Al Qaeda, for example, was a strategic calculation that the United States, as the patron of Middle Eastern regimes, would never allow Islamic extremists to prevail, and should therefore be attacked first. It is a narrative of American action, not American inaction; extremist narratives like these won’t be empowered by American inaction. Further, the significant extremist presence among the rebels, including in Aleppo, is no secret. A defeat might just as well discourage the extremists’ potential supporters, as has been the case with ISIS; the forces that actually caused the defeat (Assad, Iran, Russia, Hezbollah and so forth), rather than a third party like the United States, would be natural targets for any extremists who are energized by losing.

What about the need to transition Assad from power? America has survived forty-five years of rule by one Assad or another in Syria. Assad’s continued role does close some pathways to peace, and continued conflict there does have negative consequences for American interests. Proxy fighting and refugee flows have destabilized the regional order. The deepening Russian and Iranian roles have permanently made the eastern Mediterranean a bit less safe for American presence. But none of these are vital dangers to America; the same is true of the other risks Allen and Lister identify, such as mass killings or the defeat of moderates among the opposition.

And what of the dangers to American credibility? Daryl Press’s research on credibility has suggested that “power and interests in the current crisis - not past actions - determine the credibility of a threat.” And America’s power and interests in Syria are each limited, the former by the Russian presence and the situation’s complexity, the latter by the limited damage events in Syria can cause to America itself. That gets to the most serious gap in Allen and Lister’s argument: whether intervention would be effective. At no point do they explain how it will be. They talk about past failures of other U.S. policy approaches, and add that although they’ve said there will be no military solution in Syria, “the Russians and their allies have pushed the military dimension of the crisis to strengthen the regime’s political position.” They discuss how resilient and brutal the Russians have been in pursuing their goals, and note that the Russians do not expect the United States to escalate the conflict. They then step down from the strategic to the operational level, and discuss ways the United States can escalate, things it should destroy, people it should arm and that the regime might divert forces away from Aleppo.

It’s implied that these actions would lead Assad to negotiate a lasting cease-fire. But whether that’s true is the real question. If anything, Allen and Lister’s essay suggests it might not be: statements like “Russia has shown a remarkable capacity to dig in behind bad policy and fight under adversity” create doubts that even high costs imposed directly on Russia would work.

And credibility of the sort Press was talking about—power and interests—is key in coercive warfare. The Russians certainly have credibility in Syria; they’ve invested treasure and even a little blood in defending Assad. Compare that to our side: even intervention advocates emphasize the use of indirect force via proxies or very limited direct force (words like “unbelievably small,” “targeted” and “pinprick” are common). And those who do call for direct force tend to favor using standoff weapons that don’t put American forces in harm’s way. But as Dianne Pfundstein Chamberlain observed in the National Interest in July:

It is precisely because such instruments are relatively cheap and easy for the United States to employ that they will fail to convince the Syrian regime and other actors to come to the table, because they signal to the parties on the ground that the United States is not highly motivated to change the targets’ behavior. If it were, the United States would be willing to opt for a much more costly and risky instrument.

We would be, in other words, proclaiming our unwillingness to escalate. If that is our goal, our prior actions in Syria have been sufficient. If anything, the preferences revealed by U.S. and Russian behavior in Syria suggest that the Russians would be more willing to tolerate escalation, and thus that the United States would be forced to blink first in a crisis. This would hardly show America to be “the leader and defender of the free world.”

Taking these dynamics into account, an effective intervention would rest on a view that the United States is so much stronger than Syria that even a low-cost, low-risk effort would still compel Syria to change course, and that Russia, in spite of the balance of interests, would not call our bluff by imposing costs and risks that overshadow our limited stake in Syria. Advocates of an intervention have yet to show that this is plausible.

John Allen Gay is executive director of the John Quincy Adams Society, a national network of student groups centered on a vision of foreign policy restraint. He is a former managing editor of the National Interest.


“Wherever the standard of freedom and independence has been or shall be unfurled, there will her heart, her benedictions and her prayers be. But she goes not abroad in search of monsters to destroy. She is the well-wisher to the freedom and independence of all. She is the champion and vindicator only of her own. ”

John Quincy Adams, Independence Day, 1821


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RT  /  November 2, 2016

The US will have to negotiate with Russia on finding solutions to international issues as no state is now able to act alone, the Russian foreign minister said, adding that problems in bilateral relations began to mount long before the Ukrainian crisis broke out in 2014.

The international community should not play by Washington’s rules despite the US being a great power, Russian Foreign Minister Sergey Lavrov said on Wednesday, referring to a recent statement by President Vladimir Putin.

“Two or three months ago US President Barack Obama said it is they who set the rules,” Lavrov said.

“If our American partners think so, they will go through quite painful periods of realizing [the fact] that no one in this world could act alone any longer,” he added.

Both Washington and Moscow are destined “to negotiate anyway,” the foreign minister said, adding “the sooner it happens, the better.”

US-Russia relations are now at their lowest point since the Cold War.

Lavrov added that, contrary to widespread opinion, the problems did not surface overnight, but rather began long before the 2014 ‘Euromaidan’ coup in Ukraine that toppled the elected president, Viktor Yanukovich.

“[The problems] emerged when the US saw … President Putin restoring independence in our foreign policy,” Lavrov said. The Russian president’s course, Lavrov emphasized, implies taking into consideration partners’ interests but “not lining up after a leader who is confident of his exceptionalism.”

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(I posted here because the film relates to the "League of Nations", predecessor to the United Nations.)

This is a great video. I'm sure many have never seen a film of Hoover or heard him speak. He was one of the great presidents.

As Archie and Edith Bunker once sang, "we could use a man like Herbert Hoover again."

Boy the way Glenn Miller played
Songs that made the Hit Parade
Guys like us we had it made
Those were the days.

And you knew who you were then
Girls were girl and men were men
Mister, we could use a man like Herbert Hoover again

Didn't need no welfare state
Everybody pulled his weight
Gee our old Lasalle ran great

Those were the days!


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5 hours ago, j hancock said:

Supposedly that was J. Edgar Hoover, FBI Director from 1935-1972.

The 1961 film says it is hosted by Herbert Hoover (1874-1964).

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1 hour ago, kscarbel2 said:

The 1961 film says it is hosted by Herbert Hoover (1874-1964).

I agree. 

The J. Edgar response was the answer to dirtymilkman's questions that has since been removed from the post.

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Like many elder Americans born in the 1920s and 1930s, I've long been an admirer of Herbert Hoover. So I found this live footage of him and his thoughts are great interest. I'm a deep admirer of history.

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Gearhead, the port of Tampa Florida recently upgraded its facility so it could serve the largest container ships and cruise lines. The new multi-million dollar cranes came from China!

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Top U.S. general: ‘no defense’ against Russian cruise missiles

Defense News  /  April 5, 2017

U.S. Air Force Gen. John Hyten, commander of U.S. Strategic Command, told lawmakers that the U.S. and its allies have “no defense” against recently deployed Russian cruise missiles, according to AFP.

During a Tuesday hearing of the Senate Armed Services Committee, Hyten raised concerns over ground-launched cruise missiles positioned by Moscow. The missiles have been deployed in the Volgograd region as well as a second, unidentified site, according to the New York Times.

"We have no defense for it, especially in defense of our European allies," said Hyten. "That system can range and threaten most of the continent of Europe depending on where it is deployed. ... It is a concern and we're going to have to figure out how to deal with it as a nation," he added.

The ground-launch missiles deployed were considered a violation of the Intermediate-Range Nuclear Forces Treaty by the Obama administration when the missiles were tested in 2014. The 1987 treaty bans land-based intermediate-range missiles.

Russian officials have claimed they are not in violation of the treaty, blaming instead the United States for non-compliance. Hyten did highlight that Russia is cooperating with another treaty known as New START. That pact requires Russia and America to reduce the number of deployed warheads to 1,550 by February 2018.

Hyten also raised concerns over Russia's overall modernization efforts of its nuclear arsenal. He additionally warned of growing threats to American military and intelligence satellites, citing Russian and Chinese efforts to target U.S. spacecraft in the event of armed conflict. 

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Former U.S. President Jimmy Carter says would travel to North Korea

Reuters  /  October 22, 2017

NEW YORK (Reuters) - Former U.S. President Jimmy Carter said he would be willing to travel to North Korea on behalf of the Trump administration to help diffuse rising tensions, The New York Times reported on its website on Sunday.

“I would go, yes,” Carter, 93, told the Times when he was asked in an interview at his ranch house in Plains, Georgia whether it was time for another diplomatic mission and whether he would do so for President Trump.

Carter, a Democrat who was president from 1977 to 1981, said he had spoken to Trump’s National Security Adviser Lt.-Gen. H. R. McMaster, who is a friend, but so far has gotten a negative response.

”I told him that I was available if they ever need me,” the Times quoted Carter as saying.

Told that some in Washington were made nervous by Trump and North Korean leader Kim Jong Un’s war of words, Carter said “I‘m afraid, too, of a situation.”

”They want to save their regime. And we greatly overestimate China’s influence on North Korea. Particularly to Kim,” who, Carter added, has ”never, so far as I know, been to China.”“And they have no relationship. Kim Jong-il did go to China and was very close to them.”

Describing the North Korean leader as “unpredictable,” Carter worried that if Kim thinks Trump will act against him, he could do something pre-emptive, the Times reported.

“I think he’s now got advanced nuclear weaponry that can destroy the KoreanPeninsula and Japan, and some of our outlying territories in the Pacific, maybe even our mainland,” Carter said.

In the mid 1990s, Carter traveled to Pyongyang over the objections of President Bill Clinton, the Times report said, and struck a deal with Kim Il Sung, grandfather of the current leader.


Jimmy Carter Lusts for a Trump Posting

Maureen Dowd, The New York Times  /  October 21, 2017

PLAINS, Ga. — Most people would run away screaming at the thought of working for a boss who humiliates subordinates in public, throttles them in private, demands constant flattery, spends all day watching cable TV and behaves in a wildly unpredictable way.

And yet, there is someone who is eager to work for President Trump.

Curious, but it’s a Democrat. And even curiouser, it’s a fellow member of the presidents club. And curiousest, it’s someone whom Trump has disparaged on Twitter as one of the worst presidents in history.

Miracles can happen. No one knows that better than Jimmy Carter, who defied all odds 40 years ago to leap from his peanut farm to the White House and defied all odds again two years ago to beat brain cancer.

The 93-year-old would like to pull another rabbit out of a hat — just not a killer rabbit — and enter into a productive partnership with Donald Trump over North Korea. When you think about it, though, it makes sense. One of the basic premises of the CarterCenter is that you should talk to dictators.

The closest our two countries had come until now to resuming the Korean War was in 1994. Carter flew into Pyongyang on his own over the objections of President Bill Clinton and struck a deal with Kim Il-sung, the grandfather of the current leader, Kim Jung-un, and the man the grandson models himself on — right down to his hairstyle. North Korea secretly cheated on the deal by pursuing another path to a bomb just four years later.

So is it time for another Carter diplomatic mission, and would he do it for Trump, his polar opposite in so many ways?

“I would go, yes,” he said, wearing a big “JC” belt buckle and sipping coffee in his ranch house, which is chockablock with Carter family paintings and with furniture he made himself, including his four-poster bed. Rosalynn sits nearby, chiming in slyly at moments.

I told him that the big shots in Washington were terrified about the childish, bellicose tit-for-tat tweeting battle between the Dotard and Little Rocket Man.

“I’m afraid, too, of a situation,” he said. “I don’t know what they’ll do. Because they want to save their regime. And we greatly overestimate China’s influence on North Korea. Particularly to Kim Jong-un. He’s never, so far as I know, been to China.” (Who knows if he made a surreptitious trip.) Carter continued, “And they have no relationship. Kim Jong-il did go to China and was very close to them.”

Carter said that the “unpredictable” Kim Jong-un makes him more nervous than his father, Kim Jong-il, and that if the young leader thinks Trump will act against him, he could do something pre-emptive. “I think he’s now got advanced nuclear weaponry that can destroy the KoreanPeninsula and Japan, and some of our outlying territories in the Pacific, maybe even our mainland,” Carter explained.

He said he has talked to Lt. Gen. H. R. McMaster, Trump’s national security adviser, who is a good friend, including at Zbigniew Brzezinski’s funeral when McMaster asked to sit next to Carter, but has so far gotten a negative response.

“I told him that I was available if they ever need me,” he said.

When I asked about Trump’s souring our image in the world, Carter defended his successor.

“Well, he might be escalating it but I think that precedes Trump,” he said. “The United States has been the dominant character in the whole world and now we’re not anymore. And we’re not going to be. Russia’s coming back and India and China are coming forward.”

Holy malaise.

He also said he liked Trump’s initiative reaching out to Saudi Arabia. He doesn’t know Jared Kushner but is not totally dismissive of the idea that the son-in-law could succeed where others have failed.

“I’ve seen in the Arab world, including the Palestinian world,” he said, “the high esteem that they pay to a member of one’s own family.”

Indeed, Carter was harder on Obama during the interview than he was on Trump. Both Carter and Trump had stern, demanding fathers. “Daddy expected me to be perfect,” Carter told me. “So I obeyed his orders and his wishes.”

Saying that he did not think “there’s much hope now that Israelis will ever permit a two-state solution,” he knocked Obama on the Middle East: “He made some very wonderful statements, in my opinion, when he first got in office, and then he reneged on that.”

Recalling that “we have 22 votes in our family and Obama got all 22 of them,” he complained that Obama had “refused” to talk to North Korea more, and then Carter lamented the fact that Obama joined in the bombing of Yemen, which Carter says is the most interesting place he’s ever been. (He even tried chewing khat, an addictive shrub that acts like amphetamines.)

I asked if he had Obama’s email address.

“No,” he said flatly.

I wondered about his relationship with other presidents, given his body language in the famous picture where he stood off to the side, which he told Brian Williams was deliberate because “I feel that my role as a former president is probably superior to that of other presidents.”

“I had my best relationship, when he was in office, with George H. W. Bush,” he said.

Carter is also not as bothered as some by Trump’s Putin bromance. “At the CarterCenter,” he said, “we deal with Putin and the Russians quite frequently concerning Syria.”

Did the Russians purloin the election from Hillary?

“Rosie and I have a difference of opinion on that,” he said.

She looked over archly. “They obviously did,” she said.

He said: “I don’t think there’s any evidence that what the Russians did changed enough votes, or any votes.”

Rosalynn pressed, “The drip-drip-drip about Hillary.”

Carter noted that in the primary, “We voted for Sanders.”

I asked the famously ethical Carter what he made of Obama’s post-presidential string of $400,000 speeches.

“I don’t care if he gets rich or Clinton gets rich or whatever,” he said. “I don’t want to get into a bragging position; I’m not trying to do that. But I announced when I was defeated I was not going to be on corporate boards, I was not going to try to enrich myself with speeches. I was patterning my policy after Harry Truman.”

When I compared the Clinton Foundation with the CarterCenter, Carter noted: “Rosie and I put money in the CarterCenter. We never take any out.”

I wondered how the starchy Carter, who put out a White House edict that nobody could fly first class, felt about the louche Trump White House, where conflict of interest has been replaced by confluence of interest.

“I think the media have been harder on Trump than any other president certainly that I’ve known about,” Carter replied. “I think they feel free to claim that Trump is mentally deranged and everything else without hesitation.”

Since Rosalynn’s focus as first lady was mental health, I asked her if we should break the last taboo and let presidents have a White House shrink.

“I think it might help them,” she said with a smile.

She told me that she was left out of a first ladies lunch held by Michelle Obama on the issue of mental health, making it clear that she was still hurt.

On the issue of tearing down Confederate statues, the former president mused: “That’s a hard one for me. My great-grandfather was at Gettysburg on the Southern side and his two brothers were with him in the Sumter artillery. One of them was wounded but none of them were killed. I never have looked on the carvings on Stone Mountain or the statues as being racist in their intent. But I can understand African-Americans’ aversion to them, and I sympathize with them. But I don’t have any objection to them being labeled with explanatory labels or that sort of thing.”

On the issue of N.F.L. players kneeling, Carter was less sympathetic: “I think they ought to find a different way to object, to demonstrate. I would rather see all the players stand during the American anthem.”

I asked if he thought the president was deepening racial divisions. “Yes, I think he is exacerbating it,” he said. “But maybe not deliberately.”

As a genuinely pious man, how does he feel about the Two Corinthians president bonding with evangelical voters, who do not desert Trump no matter how coarse his language or how upsetting the “Access Hollywood” tape was. Don’t the evangelicals seem cynical to stick?

“Apparently not,” he replied.

In “The Art of the Deal,” Trump wrote that Carter came to his office to ask for $5 million for his presidential library.

Trump was impressed that Carter had “the nerve, the guts” to ask for something so “extraordinary,” but didn’t give it to him.

“He bragged about it,” Carter said wryly. “That was one of his major selling points: ‘I turned down Jimmy Carter.’”

But now the indefatigable Carter is back with another nervy proposal.

Will Trump bite?


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We re just a step  away  from eating rice no factories  producing our goods everything  is imported  from China hell even trumps hats are China made but if you look hard enough you can find 3 american  makers yet oh well we ll soon be on a reservation  as all the illegal s take over.the political parties  all suck there  the 1 percent  and don't give a damn about us and the young ones are too busy on social  media  to see what's going on  said my 2 cents

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