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.