The Iran Nuclear Agreement is Unfixable

Emad IRBM at launch

Iranian Emad IRBM at launch
Photo Credit: Wikimedia commons/Tasnimnews/Mohammad Agah

Much has been said recently  about President Trump’s decertification of Iran’s compliance to the Joint Comprehensive Plan of Action, the JCPOA. The Europeans are uniformly opposed to what Trump has done, and of course Democrats consider Trump’s action to be a great blunder. Yet, the most accurate evaluation is probably from a former U.S. Ambassador to the U.N., John Bolton. His view is the JCPOA is completely flawed and fundamentally unfixable.

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What Democrats Are Ignoring About Russia

Vladimir Putin, President (for life?) of the Russian Federation

Vladimir Putin, President (for life?) of the Russian Federation
DailyPnut.com

While Democrats continue to obsess  over imaginary connections between Donald Trump and the Russian Federation, they seem to pay little attention to what the Russians actually are doing, and what their motivations might be. Yet, as current events involving North Korea and China remind us, allowing wishful thinking about our foreign adversaries to blind us to their very real threats is the height of folly. Chickens almost always come home to roost

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The Real “Colluders” With Russia

Progressive conspiracy theorists.

Progressive conspiracy theorists.
(c) Can Stock Photo / Frostie

Even now,  despite the lack of any shred of evidence, Democrats and their media allies are pushing the meme that Donald Trump or members of his administration are really Russian agents. They do this apparently for two major reasons. First, they would dearly love to generate an upwelling of public demands for Trump’s impeachment and removal from office.  Second, and just as important for them, they need to create a public narrative about how they so thoroughly lost the elections of 2016, which were about far more than just Donald Trump. In a phrase from the Chinese, they have lost — at least temporarily — “the Mandate of Heaven.”

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Historical Lessons on Economics and Politics

Revolutionary Images: Lessons to be avoided like the plague!

Revolutionary Images: Lessons to be avoided like the plague!
Left: A barricade erected by revolutionaries in Moscow, 1905. Wikimedia Commons / Imperial War Museum
Right: People’s Liberation Army entering Beijing, 1949. Socialist Worker

How to further the conversation between progressives and neoliberals? That was the the question I left with you at the end of my last post. The fact we desperately need such a conversation is underlined by the almost hysterical reaction of the American Left to the election of Donald Trump. From their reaction, one would think Trump is one of the Four Horsemen of the Apocalypse. Either that or he is merely a Russian agent.

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How Should the U.S. React to Foreign Challenges?

Aspects of U.S. Foreign Relations
Top (Left to Right):
U.S. Army soldiers in Ramadi, August 2006   Wikimedia Commons / Air Force Tech Sgt. Jeremy T. Lock
Container ship from Asia     Flickr.com / Peter Kaminsky
Center: U.N. General Assembly Hall    Wikimedia Commons / Flickr (Patrick Gruben)
Bottom (Left to Right):
Russian Sukhoi Su-24M: Russian workhorse in Syria  Wikimedia Commons / Alexander Mishin, © A. Mishin
Obama discussing Syria and ISIS with Putin, 9/29/2015   Wikimedia Commons / Kremlin.ru

In my last post,  The U.S. Interactions With Other Nations, I presented the case for why the United States should remain fully engaged with the rest of the world, whether by trade, military alliances, or by actual combat against lethal adversaries. Such engagements should not and need not be for the cause of imposing our own ideologies or values on others, but to protect against hostile enemies or to enrich our own country by trade. Neither do we have to abandon our altruism in dealing with other countries, as we can certainly offer trade, knowledge and technology that would be as useful to other countries as they are for us.

Assuming the case for international engagement has been made, I wish in this post to offer a neoliberal (i.e. conservative) vision of how such engagements should proceed.

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The U.S. Interactions With Other Nations

United Nations Headquarters in New York City

United Nations Headquarters in New York City
Wikimedia Commons / Neptuul

Very little divides American citizens more  than questions about how the U.S. should interact with other nations. This has always been true about questions of national security for most of my not inconsiderable lifetime of 70 years. Lately, it has also become true about questions of international trade. What general rules should the U.S. follow in reacting and adapting to the challenges of other nations? It might be popular nowadays to assert the U.S. should not engage in nation building, but should that always be the case?

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U.S. Detente With Russia?

Secretary of State Designate Rex Tillerson, then ExxonMobil CEO, with President Vladimir Putin of the Russian Federation on April 16, 2012

Secretary of State Designate Rex Tillerson, then ExxonMobil CEO, with President Vladimir Putin of the Russian Federation on April 16, 2012
Wikimedia Commons / premier.gov.ru

The Democratic Party  has found a new enemy in Vladimir Putin, President of the Russian Federation. The Russian hacking of Hillary Clinton’s email server along with that of the Democratic Party, which supplied Wikileaks with damaging information about Hillary Clinton and her campaign, provided Democrats with a convenient narrative for why Clinton lost the election.  More than that, when coupled with Donald Trump’s many ill-considered approving remarks about Putin, this narrative gives Democrats such as Rep. John Lewis (D-GA) an excuse to declare Trump’s presidency to be illegitimate.

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Iran Stretches Its Offensive Cyber Muscles

The flags of bitter enemies: Iran left, Saudi Arabia right

The flags of bitter enemies: Iran left, Saudi Arabia right
Wikimedia Commons

Sometime in the middle of this last November,  someone, almost certainly the Islamic Republic of Iran, conducted destructive cyber attacks on key, vital computer systems of the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia. The blowback is likely to be considerable and is also likely to be a considerable headache for the incoming Trump administration. Indeed, the potential for a military confrontation involving the United States should Iran and the Saudis come to blows is not at all negligible.

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The Ruins of Obama’s Catastrophic Foreign Policy

President Obama meets with Russian President Vladimir Putin to discuss Syria and ISIS, September 29, 2015

President Obama meets with Russian President Vladimir Putin to discuss Syria and ISIS, September 29, 2015
Wikimedia Commons/Kremlin.ru

No American president in my lifetime has had a foreign policy that has been as complete and total a failure as that of Barack Obama. Every foreign affair problem he has touched has turned to worms. The failures have mounted to such an extent that the very existence of our country is threatened. Most Americans would probably consider my last sentence to be extreme hyperbole, but taking a look at each of the threats against us, I can not see how the threats against us could be judged as anything less than existential.

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Clinton and Trump on Foreign Policy

Donald Trump and Hillary Clinton take the stage at the third and final Presidential debate.

Donald Trump and Hillary Clinton take the stage at the third and final Presidential debate.

The differences between Donald Trump and Hillary Clinton on foreign policy appear to be more than they actually are. However, this fact has been muddled by the necessity for Clinton to appear to agree with President Obama’s failing foreign policy, together with the need to look different from Trump. Nevertheless, one has to question Clinton’s competence from her own record as Secretary of State.  Continue Reading…

Russia Stable in the Short Term; The Long Term Is Something Else

Russia and its western "Near Abroad"

Russia and its western  “Near Abroad”
Map courtesy of Google Maps

Russia is becoming a major danger to the rest of the world on a par with ISIS because of their “Russian World” project. The term “Russian World” should be understood to mean that part of the world  culturally dominated by Russian civilization. Unfortunately, in the view of the Russian Federation’s President, Vladimir Putin, and a great many other Russians, Russia lost governmental control over a very large portion of the Russian World with the dissolution of the Soviet Union on the day after Christmas in 1991. What seemed like a Christmas gift to NATO and the West, was a chilling humiliation for the new Russian Federation.  Continue Reading…

Is Putin Secure?

The headquarters for the Russian Federal Security Service (FSB) at Lubyanka Square in Moscow in the same building that used to be the HQ of the KGB.
Wikimedia Commons/NVO

There is some doubt about whether Vladimir Putin will remain President of the Russian Federation, effectively Russia’s dictator, for much longer. In a post on The American Interest website entitled The Siloviki Coup in Russia,  Ms. Karina Orlova informs us a very slow moving coup is proceeding in Russia. It is being conducted by the Federal Security Service of the Russian Federation, often referred to by the Latin alphabet initials of its Russian name as the FSB. (using the Cyrillic alphabet the initials are ФСБ. Remember that when you are looking at photos of Russian police in action. If they are wearing flack jackets with that on the back, you know they are FSB, the main successors of the old KGB.

Russian FSB officers at the Domodedovo airport

Russian FSB officers at the Domodedovo airport blast caused by suicide bombers linked to the al-Qaeda-linked Caucasus Emirate.
Wikimedia Commons/RIA Novosti archive/Andrey Stenin / Андрей Стенин

Orlova calls this slow coup the Siloviki coup ( silovik, siloviki plural, is the Russian word for a government official) because high ranking Russian officials are being taken out of their positions, sometimes by forced retirements and sometimes by accusations of criminal acts and imprisonments.      Continue Reading…

Iran: Existential Enemy of the West (among others)

On top, Ali Khamenei, the Supreme Leader of Iran, meeting with Chinese President Xi Jinping on January 23, 2016. On bottom, Iranian President Hassan Rouhani meeting with Russian President Vladimir Putin on September 13, 2013. Iran, China, and Russia are all strategic allies.

On top, Ali Khamenei, the Supreme Leader of Iran, meeting with Chinese President Xi Jinping on January 23, 2016. On bottom, Iranian President Hassan Rouhani meeting with Russian President Vladimir Putin on September 13, 2013. Iran, China, and Russia are all strategic allies.
Photo Credits: Top: Wikimedia Commons/Khamenei.ir , Bottom: Wikimedia Commons/Kremlin.ru

Despite President Barack Obama’s fondest hopes, after Iran secured its nuclear agreement with the West, it began to show itself as a particularly virulent enemy of the West. As noted in the illustrations above, Iran is an informal strategic ally of two other militarily powerful states generally hostile to U.S. and Western interests: Russia and China.  Continue Reading…

The Legacy of 9/11/2001

The North face of the Two World Trade Center (south tower) immediately after being struck by United Airlines Flight 175

The North Face of Two World Trade Center (south tower) immediately after being struck by United Airlines Flight 175.
Wikimedia Commons/Robert on Flickr

It has been fifteen years to the day since the brutal attacks by Islamic jihadists on the Twin Towers in New York City, the Pentagon across the river from Washington, DC, and the aborted attack  on the nation’s Capitol that ended in an aircraft crash in a deserted field in Stonycreek Township near Shanksville, Pennsylvania. The civilian toll of dead (2,977) exceeded all the casualties suffered by U.S. armed forces and civilians (2,403) in the Japanese attack on Pearl harbor, 60 years before.

The remains of 6, 7, and 1 World Trade Center on September 17, 2001

The remains of 6, 7, and 1 World Trade Center on September 17, 2001
Wikimedia Commons/U.S. Navy, Chief Photographer’s Mate Eric J. Tilford

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