24 May 2016

The hazards of speaking from a teleprompter ...

U.S. President Barack Obama said Tuesday during his visit to Vietnam—a nation still suffering from a U.S. invasion that lasted 20 years—that big nations should not bully smaller ones. ... 
Obama alluded to China’s recent actions in the South China Sea, when he made his bully remark[.]

Obama In Vietnam ‘Big Nations Should Not Bully Smaller Ones’

(Unless the bigger nation is the U.S.A., of course.)

31 October 2015

Vietnamization 2.0

Andrew Bacevich has an important article now up on TomDispatch.com, On Building Armies (and Watching Them Fail): Why Washington Can’t 'Stand Up' Foreign Militaries, which is highly recommended reading.

Likening present U.S. efforts to build national military forces in Afghanistan and Iraq --- that are capable of protecting present governments --- to the five-year "Vietnamization" wind-down period of the U.S. war in Viet Nam, Bacevich makes a very strong case for his central fact:
Indeed, the United States would be better served if policymakers abandoned the pretense that the Pentagon possesses any gift whatsoever for “standing up” foreign military forces. Prudence might actually counsel that Washington assume instead, when it comes to organizing, training, equipping, and motivating foreign armies, that the United States is essentially clueless.

07 September 2015

A Question about Ron Wyden's Intelligence

The charges in the Indictment that the defendants planned and waged aggressive wars are charges of the utmost gravity. War is essentially an evil thing. Its consequences are not confined to the belligerent states alone, but affect the whole world. To initiate a war of aggression, therefore, is not only an international crime; it is the supreme international crime differing only from other war crimes in that it contains within itself the accumulated evil of the whole.
— Reading of the Judgment, 22 Nuremberg Trial Proceedings 427 (30 September 1946)

* * * * *

Congress is expected to vote this week on legislation that would undo the agreement between Iran and the P5+1 nations, negotiated on the U.S. behalf by the Obama Administration. Enough Senators have announced that they will vote against the bill to ensure that Mr. Obama's promised veto of the bill if it passes will be upheld in the Senate.

But there are not yet enough Senators on board to ensure that the bill simply does not pass, making a veto and subsequent lobbying unnecessary. One of the Senators who has not yet taken a position is Oregon's Ron Wyden, regarded by the Administration as one of its most difficult "gets."

25 March 2015

U.S., Russia, and Ukraine: The Heartland

[Editor's note: This article began as a comment on an excellent article entitled, The Saker interviews Paul Craig Roberts. But because The Vineyard of the Saker is still shaking out the bugs from its new website, this was too long to be continued so I publish it here. I agree with Mr. Roberts on most points, but I disagree on his statement that U.S. "hostility toward Russia goes back to the Wolfowttz Doctrine."]

The U.S. government hostility to Russia and its interest in Ukraine demonstrably predate the Wolfowitz Doctrine. Bear in mind here that Barack Obama learned his geopolitics from the Russia-hating former National Security Advisor Zbigniew Brzezinski and still consults with him.

American foreign policy since World War II has been haunted by a pseudoscience called geopolitics with its corresponding geostrategy that attaches inordinate strategic importance to Eurasia. For an excellent and well-written critique of those concepts that should substantially aid understanding, see this thoroughly-referenced U.S. Army War College Quarterly paper by Christopher Fettweiss from 2000.

24 September 2014

Samantha Power Does Comedy Too

"And in the face of Russia’s continued aggression and blatant disregard for the UN Charter ..."
—  Samantha Power

Samantha is the U.S. Permanent Representative to the United Nations. She delivered a comedic performance in the U.N. Security Council chamber on August 28, 2014, an absolute tour de farce.

That was my birthday and I watched it live on cable TV. So thanks, Samantha; you've got a great future as a stand-up comedian, maybe in a comedy team with your boss, John Kerry? He's done some some nice riffs along the same line.

18 September 2014

Knocking the Paint Off Sen. Merkley and Sen. Wyden's Peace Credentials

This post is to place on the record that both Senator Ron Wyden and Senator Jeff Merkley were placed on notice at about 4 a.m. on September 18, 2014 of the facts stated in my emails to them, reprinted below. That was many hours before both joined a majority of the Senate in authorizing President Obama to provide weapons and training to the Syrian opposition, ostensibly to fight the "terrorist organization," the Islamic State of Iraq and the Levant (ISIL), also known as the Islamic State.

That authorization was tucked in yesterday as an amendment to H.J.Res. 124 --- Continuing Appropriations Resolution, 2015, and became section 149 in the bill that passed the House a few hours later. The Senate passed the same bill today unaltered, without any debate allowed. That was a decidedly sneaky ambush method for Congress to authorize war against Syria, obviously designed to avoid public participation.

The authorization unless vetoed by President Obama plainly constitutes a declaration of war against the the nation of Syria.

UPDATE 1: Oregon's Representatives in the House voted as follows on the Bill, by district number:

27 August 2014

News Sources for Conflicts in the West Asia/Eurasia Zone

Originally published 27 August 2014; last updated 10 November  2014.

(You can search just the web sites listed on this page via https using a Google Custom Search Engine at U.S. Foreign Wars. Note that this search omits the sources whose titles below are preceded by an asterisk (*).)

I have a perhaps morbid fascination with U.S. foreign wars because of my involuntary 27-month participation in one of them, in Viet Nam, which was the defining experience of my adult life. The kid who went over there never came back, and all that jazz.

So keeping up with America's many ongoing foreign wars of aggression (most being fought by proxy) and what leads to such wars is one of my abiding interests.