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The Turkish army did not invade Syria to attack the Kurds. That’s simply not true. The actual target of the Turkish operation (Peace Spring) was a group of separatist militants (The YPG) who have waged a bloody 30 year-long terrorist war on the Turkish state killing upwards of 40,000 people. With the assistance of US Special Forces, the YPG has seized most of the territory east of the Euphrates River including the area along Turkey’s southern border. Turkey could not allow a hostile militia to occupy towns and cities along its border any more than the United States could allow members of al Qaida to occupy bases along the Mexican border. It’s a matter of national security. The YPG was given the choice to either voluntarily withdraw or be removed by force. The United States would not have acted any differently.

The media would like people to believe that the Turkish incursion was driven by a pathological hatred of ethnic Kurds, but this isn’t true either. Keep in mind that 18 percent of Turkey’s population, roughly 14 million people, is Kurdish. If Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan wanted to launch a war on Kurds, he didn’t have to go through the trouble of crossing the border to do so. He could have attacked them in his own country and been done with it. But that is not what Erdogan is doing. The Turkish operation is focused on one particular group, the People’s Protection Units or YPG, who rebranded themselves as the Syrian Democratic Forces (SDF) to conceal the fact that they are the Syrian affiliate of the notorious PKK, the Marxist-Leninist group that is on the US State Department’s list of terrorist organizations. Washington formed an alliance with this sketchy group to achieve its strategic objectives in Syria while avoiding US casualties. The obvious downside of the arrangement is that, in exchange for their assistance, the US has helped to create an autonomous Kurdish statelet at the center of the Arab world that is vehemently opposed by every other country in the region. As you can see, the strategy was poorly-thought out from the beginning which is why it nearly exploded into a full-blown crisis.

Fortunately, President Trump was smart enough to respect Turkey’s legitimate security concerns and withdraw US troops from the conflict zone 20 miles deep into Syria. In doing so, Trump avoided a tragic and unnecessary conflagration with its 67-year NATO ally, Turkey. Not surprisingly, the US Congress, the foreign policy establishment and virtually the entire media lined up against Trump’s withdrawal proposal preferring instead to engage in a potentially catastrophic confrontation with Turkey rather than make reasonable and entirely painless concessions to a vital strategic partner in the region. Is it any wonder why US foreign policy is such a hopeless shambles?

In any event, the media has convinced the American people that Trump should not withdraw the troops. Instead, the US should remain in Syria in order to plunder Syria’s oil, defend its terrorist friends, and make a general nuisance out of itself for the foreseeable future. This is madness. The position of the United States is not only morally abhorrent it is also strategically absurd. Turkey is not only an ally, it is also a critical landbridge between Europe and Asia, an indispensable part of Washington’s “pivot” strategy. Turkey has emerged as the southern corridor’s primary ‘energy hub’, the vital crossroads for Middle East and Asian gas pipelines headed for the European market. Imagine if Turkey chose to abandon the dollar in future energy transactions delivering a blow to the dollar’s status as the world’s reserve currency. Such a move would unavoidably put pressure on the sale of US Treasuries which rely on the recycling of dollars into US debt markets. Is Washington willing to forgo its “exorbitant privilege” to defend its fledgling proxy army in Syria? The idea is ridiculous.

Even so, there is no denying that the American people have been effectively bamboozled by the media’s relentless disinformation campaign. According to a University of Michigan critical issues poll, a mere 21 percent of Americans support Trump’s plan to withdraw troops from northern Syria. In contrast, more than twice as many respondents (46%) oppose withdrawing US troops. (33% either ‘don’t know’ or are ‘indifferent’) What are we to make of these results given the fact that a clear majority of Americans are sick and tired of the country’s endless wars and foreign interventions?

It’s not hard to explain. Propaganda works, that’s all one needs to know. The media was given the task of garnering support for an unpopular and counterproductive military occupation, and they succeeded. The majority of people now believe that withdrawing US troops is “betraying the Kurds” which is a tacit admission of cowardice and disloyalty. Therefore, we must keep troops in Syria. End of story.

But what if we can show that Turkey is not attacking the Kurds, and that the US should not be supporting groups that are on its own list of terrorist organizations, and that, most importantly, the US deployment in Syria, however small, is still the main obstacle to peace in the country? Would that change any minds?

We have already mentioned that there are roughly 14 million Kurds living in Turkey all of who enjoy the same rights and benefits as other Turkish citizens. And while its true that the Kurds have suffered persecution in the past, it is also true that ” there are more than 100 Kurdish politicians serving in the Turkish Parliament, more than 10,000 Kurdish soldiers serving in the Turkish Army, more than 4 million marriages between Turks and Kurds, and the Director of Turkey’s National Intelligence Agency is Kurdish.”

Erdogan’s AK Party also passed reforms that provide Kurds with “the right to education in Kurdish in private schools, the right to choose Kurdish as a selective course in public schools, the right to use Kurdish names in official documents, the right to have election campaign materials in Kurdish, (and) the establishment of a public television channel …which broadcasts only in Kurdish 24/7,.” (The Daily Sabah)

Does this sound like a government that hates the Kurds enough to wage war on them?

Of course not. And then there’s the checkered history of the YPG which has its own bloody baggage to deal with. Take a look at this excerpt from an article in The Nation that sheds a bit of light on the activities of this shadowy group:

“The Kurdish militia that supplies the ground troops in the US air war against the Islamic State has been a systematic violator of human rights in the area it controls in northern Syria, causing the displacement of tens of thousands of Arabs and even more massive flight by Kurds from the region….

As the collaboration with the United States increased in 2015, the YPG stepped up its expulsion of Arabs from the northern border area. This peaked in mid-2015 with the displacement or denial of return of at least 60,000 Arabs after the YPG captured Tal Abyad on the Turkish border, according to Sa’ad Shwish, exiled head of the local governing council in Raqqa.

The pace of the expulsions picked up dramatically after the United States began joint operations against the Islamic State in Syria in mid-2015, as the Kurdish militia threatened Arabs with air strikes if they didn’t leave their villages. While they slowed in 2016, expulsions continue even as the militia turns on its political rivals and jails, tortures, or expels them….

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For the last two and a half years, the Democrats have led the country on a wild goose chase that has been a complete waste of time and achieved absolutely nothing. The absurd conspiracy theory that the President of the United States was an agent of the Kremlin has been thoroughly debunked by the Mueller Report which states that there was neither “coordination” nor “conspiracy with the Trump campaign and Russia.” Even so, congressional Democrats– still determined to destroy Trump by whatever means possible– have switched from the “collusion” allegations to vicious attacks on Attorney General William Barr and demands for Trump’s tax returns.

The ease with which the Dems have shifted from their ridiculous claims that Trump was “Putin’s stooge” to this new round of vitriolic accusations and mud-slinging, shows that party leaders have not only lost touch with reality, but also, that they have no interest in governing the country. The Democratic party in its current form, is less a political organization than it is a permanent inquisition led by duplicitous vipers (Adam Schiff, Eric Swalwell, Jerry Nadler) who feel entitled to use the Justice System to pursue their own petty political vendetta against a Beltway outsider who had the audacity to win the 2016 presidential election and whose views on foreign policy do not jibe with those of their elite paymasters.

The damage the Democrats (and their allies in the FBI and media) have done to the country is incalculable, but even worse, is the damage they’ve done to their own party. By focusing exclusively on Donald Trump and the fictitious Russian boogieman, the Democrats have betrayed the trust of the people who supported their respective campaigns with the implicit understanding that they would work for the progressive reforms that improve the lives of ordinary working people and not behave like hectoring, obstructionist crybabies who refuse to respect the outcome of elections if the winner is not to their liking. These are the people who have been hurt most by the Russiagate fiasco, the people who thought their Democratic candidates actually wanted to run the country, but soon discovered that those same representatives would rather spend all of their time chasing Russian ghosts down a rabbit hole.

Here’s an excerpt from an article by Andrew McCarthy that helps to explain what the Russia probe was really all about:

“Russiagate has always been a political narrative masquerading as a federal investigation. Its objective, plain and simple, has been twofold: first, to hamstring Donald Trump’s capacity to press the agenda on which he ran….and ultimately, to render him unelectable come autumn 2020….

The Russia counterintelligence probe, based on the fraudulent projection of a Trump-Putin conspiracy, was always a pretext to conduct a criminal investigation despite the absence of a predicate crime. The criminal investigation, in turn, was always a pretext for congressional impeachment chatter. And the congressional impeachment chatter is a pretext for the real agenda: Making Trump an ineffective president now, and an un-reelectable president 18 months from now.

They try to make it look like law. It has always been politics.” (“Russiagate: Law in the Service of Partisan Politics”, Andrew McCarthy, National Review)

Indeed, Russiagate “has always been politics”, but the quality of our politics has deteriorated significantly in the last few years, a point that’s worth mulling over for a minute or two. For nearly three years we’ve seen one party rip up the rulebook and engage in a full-blown, scorched earth, no-holds-barred blitzkrieg on the president of the United States. At no time has there been any effort to discuss issues, ideals, policies, or competing visions of the future. Instead, every ounce of energy has been devoted to inflicting maximum damage on the man who, many Democrats think, is deserving of whatever horrendous reprisal they direct at him.

The Democrats have made no secret of their hatred for Trump or their desire to drive him from office. They have openly supported the dirty tricks, the hyper-ventilating headlines, and the relentless smear campaigns that have been aimed at him from Day 1. Through Russiagate, the Dems have tried to frame Trump as a backstabbing traitor who sold out his country to a foreign power, but now that Mueller has proved that Trump was falsely accused, the Dems have deftly switched to another line of attack altogether. This isn’t how sincere liberals fight to implement a plan for progressive change. This is how unprincipled mercenaries pursue the politics of personal destruction. There’s a big difference.

This isn’t about Trump. Trump could be the worst president in history, and it still wouldn’t excuse the contemptible way he’s been treated. Is it ever acceptable to spy on a presidential campaign, to insert confidential informants who try to entrap campaign assistants to gather information that can be used to intimidate, blackmail or impeach the president? Is it ever acceptable to leak classified information to the media as part of a malignant scheme to destroy a candidate’s reputation? Is it ever acceptable to enlist senior-level officials at the FBI, CIA and NSA to prevent a candidate from being elected or to engage in a stealth campaign of slanders, smears and innuendo that cast a shadow over the legitimacy of the government?

No, it’s not acceptable. Never.

What we’ve seen in the last few years is not only unacceptable, it’s also degraded our politics and divided the country into rival camps. We’ve come to expect that every morning will bring some new crisis centered on Trump’s latest tweet followed by hours of incendiary coverage on the cable news channels, all aimed at throwing more gas on the raging fire that’s engulfed the country. And, of course, no one scandal has consumed more time or been more inflammatory than the Russia probe. Here’s how The Nation’s Stephen Cohen sums it up in a recent article:

“Now in its third year, Russiagate is the worst, most corrosive, and most fraudulent political scandal in modern American history. … these Russiagate allegations… continue to inflict grave damage on fundamental institutions of American democracy. They impugn the integrity of the presidency and now the office of the attorney general. They degrade the many Democratic members of Congress who persist in clinging to the allegations and thus the Democratic Party and Congress. And they have enticed mainstream media into one of the worst episodes of journalistic malpractice in modern times.

Russiagate’s unproven allegations are an aggressive malignancy spreading through America’s politics to the most vital areas of national security policy.” (“Russiagate Zealotry Continues To Endanger Western National Security”, Stephen Cohen, The Nation)

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Sometime in the next 4 weeks, the Justice Department’s inspector general will release an internal review that will reveal the origins of the Trump-Russia investigation. Among other matters, the IG’s report is expected to determine “whether there was sufficient justification under existing guidelines for the FBI to have started an investigation in the first place.” Critics of the Trump-collusion probe believe that there was never probable cause that a crime had been committed, therefore, there was no legal basis for launching the investigation. The findings of the Mueller report– that there was no cooperation or collusion between the Kremlin and the Trump campaign– seem to underscore this broader point and suggest that the fictitious Trump-Russia connection was merely a pretext for spying on the campaign of a Beltway outsider whose political views clashed with those of the foreign policy establishment. In any event, the upcoming release of the Horowitz report will formally end the the first phase of the long-running Russiagate scandal and mark the beginning of Phase 2, in which high-profile officials from the previous administration face criminal prosecution for their role in what looks to be a botched attempt at a coup d’etat.

Here’s a brief summary from political analyst, Larry C. Johnson, who previously worked at the CIA and U.S. State Department:

“The evidence is plain–there was a broad, coordinated effort by the Obama Administration, with the help of foreign governments, to target Donald Trump and paint him as a stooge of Russia. The Mueller Report provides irrefutable evidence that the so-called Russian collusion case against Donald Trump was a deliberate fabrication by intelligence and law enforcement organizations in the US and UK and organizations aligned with the Clinton Campaign.” (“How US and Foreign Intel Agencies Interfered in a US Election”, Larry C. Johnson, Consortium News)

Bingo. Attorney General William Barr has already stated his belief that spying on the Trump campaign “did occur” and that, in his mind, it is “a big deal”. He also reiterated his commitment to thoroughly investigate the matter in order to find out whether the spying was adequately “predicated”, that is, whether the FBI followed the required protocols for such spying, or not. Barr already knows the answer to this question as he is fully aware of the fact that the FBI used information that they knew was false to obtain warrants to spy on the Trump campaign. Having no hard evidence of cooperation with the Kremlin, senior-level FBI officials and their counterparts at the Obama Justice Department used parts of an “opposition research” document (The Trump Dossier) that they knew was unreliable to procure warrants that allowed them to treat a presidential campaign the same way the intelligence agencies treat foreign enemies; using electronic surveillance, wiretapping, confidential informants and “honey trap” schemes designed to gather embarrassing or incriminating information on their target. Barr knows all of this already which is why the Democrats are doing everything in their power to discredit him and have him removed from office. His determination to “get to the bottom of this” is not just a threat to the FBI, it’s a threat to multiple agencies that may have had a hand in this expansive domestic espionage operation including the CIA, the NSA, the DOJ, the State Department and, perhaps, even the Obama White House. No one knows yet how far up the political food-chain the skulduggery actually goes, but Barr appears to be serious about finding out.

Here’s Barr again: “Many people seem to assume that the only intelligence collection that occurred was a single confidential informant….I would like to find out whether that is in fact true. It strikes me as a fairly anemic effort if that was the counterintelligence effort designed to stop the threat as it’s being represented.”

In other words, Barr knows that the Trump campaign was riddled with spies and he is going to do his damnedest to find out what happened. He also knows that the FISA warrants were improperly obtained using the shabby disinformation from an opposition research “hit piece” (The Steele Dossier) that was paid for by Hillary Clinton and the DNC, just like he knows that government agents had concocted a strategy for leaking classified information to the media to fuel the public hysteria. Barr knows most of what happened already. It’s just a matter of compiling the research in the proper format and delivering it in a way that helps to emphasize how trusted government agents abused their power by pursuing a vicious partisan plot to either destroy the president’s reputation or force him from office. Like Barr said, that’s a “big deal”.

The name that seems to feature larger than all others in the ongoing Trump-Russia saga, is James Comey, the former FBI Director who oversaw the spying operations that are now under investigation at the DOJ. But was Comey really the central figure in these felonious hi-jinks or was he a mere lieutenant following directives from someone more powerful than himself? While the preponderance of new evidence suggests that the FBI was deeply involved, it does not answer this crucial question. For example, just this week, a report by veteran journalist John Solomon, showed that former British spy Christopher Steele admitted to Deputy Assistant Secretary of State Kathleen Kavalec that his “Trump Dossier” was “political research”, implying that the contents couldn’t be trusted because they were shaped by Steele’s political bias. Kavalec passed along this information to the FBI which shrugged it off and then, just days later, used the dossier to obtain warrants to spy on members of the Trump campaign. Think about that for a minute. The FBI had “written proof …. that Steele had a political motive”, but went ahead and used the dossier to procure the warrants anyway. That’s what I’d call a premeditated felony.

But evidence of wrongdoing is not proof that Comey was the ringleader, he was just the hapless sad sack who was left holding the bag. The truth is, Comey was just a reluctant follower. The real architect of the Trump-Russia treachery was the boss-man at the nation’s premier intelligence agency, the CIA. That’s where the headwaters of this shameful burlesque are located, in Langley. More on that in a minute, but first check out this excerpt from an article at The Hill which sums up Comey’s role fairly well:

(There) “will be an examination of whether Comey was unduly influenced by political agendas emanating from the previous White House and its director of national intelligence, CIA director and attorney general. This, above all, is what’s causing the 360-degree head spin.

”There are early indicators that troubling behaviors may have occurred in all three scenarios. Barr will want to zero in on a particular area of concern: the use by the FBI of confidential human sources, whether its own or those offered up by the then-CIA director. …

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Your Geopolitical Quiz for the Day:

Two countries are embroiled in a ferocious rivalry. One country’s meteoric growth has put it on a path to become the world’s biggest economic superpower while the other country appears to be slipping into irreversible decline. Which country will lead the world into the future?

Country A builds factories and plants, it employs zillions of people who manufacture things, it launches massive infrastructure programs, paves millions of miles of highways and roads, opens new sea lanes, vastly expands its high-speed rail network, and pumps profits back into productive operations that turbo-charge its economy and bolster its stature among the nations of the world.

Country B has the finest military in the world, it has more than 800 bases scattered across the planet, and spends more on weapons systems and war-making than all the other nations combined. Country B has gutted its industrial core, hollowed out its factory base, allowed its vital infrastructure to crumble, outsourced millions of jobs, off-shored thousands of businesses, plunged the center of the country into permanent recession, delivered control of its economy to the Central Bank, and recycled 96 percent of its corporate and financial profits into a stock buyback scam that sucks critical capital out of the economy and into the pockets of corrupt Wall Street plutocrats whose voracious greed is pushing the world towards another catastrophic meltdown.

Which of these two countries is going to lead the world into the future? Which of these two countries offers a path to security and prosperity that doesn’t involve black sites, extraordinary rendition, extrajudicial assassinations, color-coded revolutions, waterboarding, strategic disinformation, false-flag provocations, regime change and perennial war?

China’s Belt and Road Initiative: A Tectonic Shift in the Geopolitical Balance of Power

Over the weekend, more than 5,000 delegates from across the world met in Beijing for The Second Belt and Road Forum For International Cooperation. The conference provided an opportunity for public and private investors to learn more about Xi Jinping’s “signature infrastructure project” that is reshaping trade relations across Europe, Asia, Latin America and Africa. According to journalist Pepe Escobar, “The BRI is now supported by no less than 126 states and territories, plus a host of international organizations” and will involve “six major connectivity corridors spanning Eurasia.” The massive development project is “one of the largest infrastructure and investment projects in history, ….including 65% of the world’s population and 40% of the global gross domestic product as of 2017.” (Wikipedia) The improvements to road, rail and sea routes will vastly increase connectivity, lower shipping costs, boost productivity, and enhance widespread prosperity. The BRI is China’s attempt to replace the crumbling post-WW2 “liberal” order with a system that respects the rights of sovereign nations, rejects unilateralism, and relies on market-based principles to effect a more equitable distribution of wealth. The Belt and Road Initiative is China’s blueprint for a New World Order. It is the face of 21st century capitalism.

The prestigious event in Beijing was barely covered by the western media which sees the project as a looming threat to US plans to pivot to Asia and become the dominant player in the most prosperous and populous region in the world. Growing international support for the Chinese roadmap suggests that Washington’s hegemonic ambitions are likely to be short-circuited by an aggressive development agenda that eclipses anything the US is currently doing or plans to do in the foreseeable future.

The Chinese plan will funnel trillions of dollars into state of the art transportation projects that draw the continents closer together in a webbing of high-speed rail and energy pipelines (Russia). Far-flung locations in Central Asia will be modernized while standards of living will steadily rise. By creating an integrated economic space, in which low tariffs and the free flow of capital help to promote investment, the BRI initiative will produce the world’s biggest free trade zone, a common market in which business is transacted in Chinese or EU currency. There will be no need to trade in USD’s despite the dollar’s historic role as the world’s reserve currency. The shift in currencies will inevitably increase the flow of dollars back to the United States increasing the already-ginormous $22 trillion dollar National Debt while precipitating an excruciating period of adjustment.

Chinese and Russian leaders are taking steps to “harmonize” their two economic initiatives, the Belt and Road and the Eurasian Economic Union (EAEU). This will be a challenging task as the expansion of infrastructure implies compatibility between leaders, mutual security guarantees, new rules and regulations for the common economic space, and supranational political structures to oversee trade, tariffs, foreign investment and immigration. Despite the hurtles, both Putin and Xi appear to be fully committed to their vision of economic integration which they see as based on the “unconditional adherence to the primacy of national sovereignty and the central role of the United Nations.”

It comes at no surprise that US powerbrokers see Putin’s plan as a significant threat to their regional ambitions, in fact, former Secretary of State Hillary Clinton admitted as much in 2012 when she said, “It’s going to be called a customs union, it will be called the Eurasian Union and all of that, but let’s make no mistake about it. We know what the goal is and we are trying to figure out effective ways to slow down or prevent it.” Washington opposes any free trade project in which it is excluded or cannot control. Both the EEU and the BRI fall into that category.

The United States continues to demonize countries that simply want to use the market to improve the lives of their people and increase their prospects for prosperity. Washington’s hostile approach is both misguided and counterproductive. Competition should be seen as a way to improve productivity and lower costs, not as a threat to over-bloated, inefficient industries that have outlived their usefulness. Here’s an excerpt from an article that Putin wrote in 2011. It helps to show that Putin is not the scheming tyrant he is made out to be in the western media, but a free market capitalist who enthusiastically supports globalization:

“For the first time in the history of humanity, the world is becoming truly global, in both politics and economics. A central part of this globalization is the growing importance of the Asia-Pacific region as compared to the EuroAtlantic world in the global economy. Asia’s rise is lifting with it the economies of countries outside Asia that have managed to latch onto the “Asian economic engine”….The US has also effectively hitched itself to this “engine”, creating an economic and financial network with China and other countries in the region…

The “supercontinent” of Eurasia is home to two-thirds of the world’s population and produces over 60 percent of its economic output. Because of the dramatic opening of China and the former Soviet Union to the world, almost all the countries in Eurasia are becoming more economically, politically, and culturally interdependent. …

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Why did Robert Mueller end the Russia investigation when he did? He could have let it drag it out for another year or so and severely hurt Trump’s chances for reelection. But he didn’t do that. Why?
Of course, we’re assuming that the investigation was never intended to uncover the truth. If it was, then Mueller would have interviewed Julian Assange, Craig Murray and retired members of the Intelligence Community (Ray McGovern, Bill Binney) who have shown that the Podesta emails were leaked by an insider (on a thumbdrive) not hacked by foreign agents. Mueller would have also seized the servers at DNC headquarters and done the necessary forensic investigation, which he never did. He also would have indicted senior-level agents at the FBI and DOJ who improperly obtained FISA warrants by withholding critical information from the FISA court. He didn’t do that either. Mueller did none of these things which simply proves that his final report was what many people had expected from the very beginning; a purely political document that twists the truth to achieve Mueller’s particular objectives. But to understand what those objectives are, we need to determine what the real goals of the investigation were. So, here they are:
  1. To help sabotage Trump’s political agenda
  2. To create a cloud of illegitimacy over Trump’s election
  3. And to prevent Trump from implementing his plan to normalize relations with Russia.
These were the real objectives of the investigation, to create a forth branch of government (Special Counsel) that had the power to keep Trump permanently on the defensive while the media made him out to be either an unwitting accomplice in Russian espionage or, even worse, a traitor. The aim was to reign him in and keep the pressure on until a case could be made for his impeachment. Mueller played a key role in this travesty. His assignment was undermine Trump’s moral authority by brandishing the cudgel of criminal indictment over his head. This is how a D.O.J. appointee, who had never held public office in his life, became the most powerful man in Washington.
My question is simply this: Why did Mueller give up all that power when he did?
I think I can answer that, but first, we need a little more background. Check out this quote from candidate Trump in 2016:
“We will pursue a new foreign policy that finally learns from the mistakes of the past…We will stop looking to topple regimes and overthrow governments…. Our goal is stability not chaos, because we want to rebuild our country [the United States]… We will partner with any nation that is willing to join us in the effort to defeat ISIS and radical Islamic terrorism …In our dealings with other countries, we will seek shared interests wherever possible and pursue a new era of peace, understanding, and good will.”
Imagine how terrified the foreign policy establishment must have been when they heard Trump utter these words. No more regime change wars? Are you kidding me? That’s what we do: Regime-Change-Is-Us., and now this upstart, New York real estate tycoon is promising to do a complete 180 and move in another direction altogether. No more destabilizing coups, no more bloody military interventions, instead, we’re going to work collaboratively with countries like Russia and China to see if we can settle regional disputes and fight terrorism together? Really?
At the same time Trump was promising this new era of “peace, understanding, and good will,” Hillary Clinton was issuing her war whoop at every opportunity. Here’s candidate Hillary trying to drum up support for taking on the Russians in Syria:
“The situation in Syria is catastrophic. And every day that goes by, we see the results of the Assad regime in partnership with the Iranians on the ground, and the Russians in the air…When I was Secretary of State, I advocated and I advocate today a no-fly zone and safe zones.”
Interesting, isn’t it? Here’s Hillary, the “liberal” Democrat, pushing for a no-fly zone in Syria even though the Chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff, General Joseph Dunford, stated clearly that “Right now… for us to control all of the airspace in Syria would require us to go to war against Syria and Russia.” In other words, if Hillary had been elected, she was all ready to flip the switch and start WW3 ASAP. Is it any wonder why the establishment loved her?
“We have to work more closely with our partners and allies on the ground,” boomed Hillary, meaning that she fully supported the continued use of jihadist proxies in the fight against Assad. “I do think the use of special forces, the use of enablers and trainers in Iraq, which has had some positive effects, are very much in our interests, and so I do support what is happening.”
War, war and more war, that’s the Hillary Doctrine in a nutshell.
It was Hillary’s relentless hawkishness that pushed leftists into the Trump camp, not that they ever believed that Trump was anything more than what he appeared to be, an unprincipled narcissist with an insatiable lust for power. But they did hope that his dovish comments would steer the country away from nuclear annihilation. That was the hope at least, but then everything changed. And after it changed, Mueller released his report saying: “Trump is not guilty after all!”
So, what changed?
Trump changed.
Think about it: In mid December 2018, Trump announced the withdrawal of all U.S. troops in Syria within 30 days. But instead of withdrawal, the US has been sending hundreds of trucks with weapons to the front lines. The US has also increased its troop levels on the ground, the YPG (Kurdish militia, US proxies) are digging in on the Syria-Turkish border, and the US hasn’t lifted a finger to implement its agreements with NATO-ally Turkey under the Manbij Roadmap. The US is not withdrawing from Syria. Washington is beefing up its defenses and settling in for the long-haul. But, why? Why did Trump change his mind and do a complete about-face?
The same thing happened in Korea. For a while it looked like Trump was serious about cutting a deal with Kim Jong un. But then, sometime after the first summit, he began to backpeddle. He never honored any of his commitments under the Panmunjom Declaration and he never reciprocated for Kim’s cessation of all nuclear weapons and ballistic missile testing. Trump has made no effort to “build a lasting and stable peace regime on the Korean Peninsula” or to strengthen trust between the two leaders. Then, at the Hanoi Summit, Trump blindsided Kim by making demands that had never even been previously discussed. Kim was told that the North must destroy all of its chemical and biological weapons as well as its ballistic missile and nuclear weapons programs before the US will take reciprocal steps. In other words, Trump demanded that Kim completely and irreversibly disarm with the feint hope that the US would eventually lift sanctions.
Trump made these outrageous demands knowing that they would never be accepted. Which was the point, because the foreign policy establishment doesn’t want a deal. They want regime change, they’ve made that perfectly clear. But wasn’t Trump supposed to change all that? Wasn’t Trump going to pursue “a new foreign policy that finally learns from the mistakes of the past”?
Yes, that was Trump’s campaign promise. So, what happened?
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Did the FBI spy on the Trump campaign?
Did the FBI place spies in the Trump campaign?
Do we know the names of the spies and how they operated?
Were the spies trying to entrap Trump campaign assistants in order to gather information on Trump?
Did the spies try to elicit information from Trump campaign assistants in order to justify a wider investigation and more extensive surveillance?
Were the spies placed in the Trump campaign based on improperly obtained FISA warrants?
Did the FBI agents procure these warrants based on false or misleading information?
Could the FBI establish “probable cause” that Trump had committed a crime or “colluded” with Russia?
So the ‘spying’ was illegal?
Have many of the people who authorized the spying, already been identified in criminal referrals presented to the Department of Justice?
Have the media explained the importance of these criminal referrals or the impact that spying has on free elections?
Is the DOJ’s Inspector General currently investigating whether senior-level agents in the FBI committed crimes by improperly obtaining warrants to spy on members of the Trump team?
Did the FBI spy on the Trump campaign to give Hillary Clinton an unfair advantage in the presidential race?
Did the FBI spy on the Trump campaign to gather incriminating information on Trump that could be used to blackmail, intimidate or impeach him in the future?
Does spying pose a threat to our elections and to our democracy?
Do many people know that there were spies placed in the Trump campaign?
Have these people effectively used that information to their advantage?
Have they launched any type of public relations offensive that would draw more attention to the critical issue of spying on a political campaign?
Have they saturated the airwaves with the truth about “spying” the same way their rivals have spread their disinformation about “collusion”?
Do they understand that the country is currently embroiled in a fratricidal, scorched earth political civil war in which one side is determined to prevail at all cost?
Do they understand that the people who authorized the spying and who perpetrated the coup will do everything in their power to prevent that information from getting out?
Does it look like senior-level agents at the FBI, the CIA, the DOJ, the NSA and the Obama White House knew that there were spies in the Trump campaign?
Did these same senior-level agents at the FBI, the CIA, the DOJ, the NSA and the Obama White House cooperate in a plan to undermine and delegitimize the Trump presidency?
Did they use false or misleading information to infer the president was an agent of a foreign power?
Did they know this false and misleading information was unreliable, unverified raw intelligence that was paid for by the DNC and Hillary Clinton?
Was there a conspiracy to remove Trump from office or to sabotage his presidency through the dissemination of false information?
Does the use of spies, wiretapping, “unmasking”, strategically-leaked information to the media, and other forms of electronic surveillance suggest that there are organized elements within the permanent bureaucracy which no longer accept the democratic process?
Is it fair to say that these people are the enemies of free elections?
Is it possible for patriotic officials in the Justice Department and in the U.S. Congress to stand up to this powerful deep state apparatus, expose what happened during the 2016 presidential campaign, identify the perpetrators, and bring them to justice?

It is possible, but not likely.

• Category: Ideology • Tags: Donald Trump, FBI, Robert Mueller, Russiagate 
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The liberal world order, which lasted from the end of World War 2 until today, is rapidly collapsing. The center of gravity is shifting from west to east where China and India are experiencing explosive growth and where a revitalized Russia has restored its former stature as a credible global superpower. These developments, coupled with America’s imperial overreach and chronic economic stagnation, have severely hampered US ability to shape events or to successfully pursue its own strategic objectives. As Washington’s grip on global affairs continues to loosen and more countries reject the western development model, the current order will progressively weaken clearing the way for a multipolar world badly in need of a new security architecture. Western elites, who are unable to accept this new dynamic, continue to issue frenzied statements expressing their fear of a future in which the United States no longer dictates global policy.

At the 2019 Munich Security Conference, Chairman Wolfgang Ischinger, underscored many of these same themes. Here’s an excerpt from his presentation:

“The whole liberal world order appears to be falling apart – nothing is as it once was… Not only do war and violence play a more prominent role again: a new great power confrontation looms at the horizon. In contrast to the early 1990s, liberal democracy and the principle of open markets are no longer uncontested….

In this international environment, the risk of an inter-state war between great and middle powers has clearly increased….What we had been observing in many places around the world was a dramatic increase in brinkmanship, that is, highly risky actions on the abyss – the abyss of war….

No matter where you look, there are countless conflicts and crises…the core pieces of the international order are breaking apart, without it being clear whether anyone can pick them up – or even wants to. (“Who will pick up the pieces?”, Munich Security Conference)

Ischinger is not alone in his desperation nor are his feelings limited to elites and intellectuals. By now, most people are familiar with the demonstrations that have rocked Paris, the political cage-match that is tearing apart England (Brexit), the rise of anti-immigrant right-wing groups that have sprung up across Europe, and the surprising rejection of the front-runner candidate in the 2016 presidential elections in the US. Everywhere the establishment and their neoliberal policies are being rejected by the masses of working people who have only recently begun to wreak havoc on a system that has ignored them for more than 30 years. Trump’s public approval ratings have improved, not because he has “drained the swamp” as he promised, but because he is still seen as a Washington outsider despised by the political class, the foreign policy establishment and the media. His credibility rests on the fact that he is hated by the coalition of elites who working people now regard as their sworn enemy.

The president of the prestigious Council on Foreign Relations, Richard Haass, summed up his views on the “weakening of the liberal world order” in an article that appeared on the CFR’s website. Here’s what he said:

“Attempts to build global frameworks are failing. Protectionism is on the rise; the latest round of global trade talks never came to fruition. ….At the same time, great power rivalry is returning…

There are several reasons why all this is happening, and why now. The rise of populism is in part a response to stagnating incomes and job loss, owing mostly to new technologies but widely attributed to imports and immigrants. Nationalism is a tool increasingly used by leaders to bolster their authority, especially amid difficult economic and political conditions….

But the weakening of the liberal world order is due, more than anything else, to the changed attitude of the U.S. Under President Donald Trump, the US decided against joining the Trans-Pacific Partnership and to withdraw from the Paris climate agreement. It has threatened to leave the North American Free Trade Agreement and the Iran nuclear deal. It has unilaterally introduced steel and aluminum tariffs, relying on a justification (national security) that others could use, in the process placing the world at risk of a trade war….America First” and the liberal world order seem incompatible.” (“Liberal World Order, R.I.P.”, Richard Haass, CFR)

What Haass is saying is that the cure for globalisation is more globalization, that the greatest threat to the liberal world order is preventing the behemoth corporations from getting more of what they want; more self-aggrandizing trade agreements, more offshoring of businesses, more outsourcing of jobs, more labor arbitrage, and more privatization of public assets and critical resources. Trade liberalization is not liberalization, it does not strengthen democracy or create an environment where human rights, civil liberties and the rule of law are respected. It’s a policy that focuses almost-exclusively on the free movement of capital in order to enrich wealthy shareholders and fatten the bottom line. The sporadic uprisings around the world– Brexit, yellow vests, emergent right wing groups– can all trace their roots back to these one-sided, corporate-friendly trade deals that have precipitated the steady slide in living standards, the shrinking of incomes, and the curtailing of crucial benefits for the great mass of working people across the US and Europe. President Trump is not responsible for the outbreak of populism and social unrest, he is merely an expression of the peoples rage. Trump’s presidential triumph was a clear rejection of the thoroughly-rigged elitist system that continues to transfer the bulk of the nation’s wealth to tiniest layer of people at the top.

Haass’s critique illustrates the level of denial among elites who are now gripped by fear of an uncertain future.

As we noted earlier, the center of gravity has shifted from west to east, which is the one incontrovertible fact that cannot be denied. Washington’s brief unipolar moment –following the breakup of the Soviet Union in December, 1991 — has already passed and new centers of industrial and financial power are gaining pace and gradually overtaking the US in areas that are vital to America’s primacy. This rapidly changing economic environment is accompanied by widespread social discontent, seething class-based resentment, and ever-more radical forms of political expression. The liberal order is collapsing, not because the values espoused in the 60s and 70s have lost their appeal, but because inequality is widening, the political system has become unresponsive to the demands of the people, and because US can no longer arbitrarily impose its will on the world.

Globalization has fueled the rise of populism, it has helped to exacerbate ethnic and racial tensions, and it is largely responsible for the hollowing out of America’s industrial core. Haass’s antidote would only throw more gas on the fire and hasten the day when liberals and conservatives form into rival camps and join in a bloody battle to the end. Someone has to stop the madness before the country descends into a second Civil War.

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The Democrats refuse to accept any responsibility for the 2016 election. They won’t admit they fielded the worst candidate in party history or that they blew a huge lead in the polls or that their uninspired elitist campaign paved the way for a Trump victory. According to them, none of these things made any difference at all. According to them, it’s all Russia’s fault.

This is the same buck-passing song and dance we’ve heard from the Dems for the last two years. Russia, Russia, Russia. “Don’t blame us, blame Putin. Putin did it!” And these are the people who want to govern the country?

Give me a break.

The Democrats have swept the facts about the election under the rug hoping that no one remembers what actually happened. They never admit that fewer blacks voted for Clinton than voted for Obama. They never admit that fewer Hispanics voted for Clinton than voted for Obama. They never admit that a significant number of people who voted for Obama either voted for Trump or didn’t vote at all. They never admit that in the “nearly 700 counties in the United States that voted twice for Barack Obama, one-third of them flipped to Trump in 2016…or that almost one in four of President Obama’s 2012 white working-class supporters defected from the Democrats in 2016.” (Chicago Tribune) And, they never admit that James Comey’s announcement that the FBI was reopening the investigation of Hillary Clinton 11 days before the balloting, put Hillary into a steep nosedive from which she never recovered. (Re: The Comey Effect–princeton.edu) Hillary even acknowledged that Comey’s announcement cost her the election, but she quickly did a 180 after she realized that the FBI, the CIA, the NSA, the DOJ and the entire National Security State wanted her to go along with their goofy plan to blame “evil” Putin for the debacle. Which, of course, she did.

But what does this tell us about the Democrats going forward, after all, we don’t see any sign of self-reflection, contrition or even redirection. All we see is scapegoating and denial.

It’s like the results of the two congressional investigations and the exhaustive two-year Mueller probe never even happened. It’s like the party leaders are so blinded by their own boneheaded arrogance, they can’t see what’s right under their noses, that the game is over, that everyone knows there was no cooperation, no coordination and no collusion. The whole thing was a fraud from the get go. That’s what all the reports say at least, but don’t tell that to the Democrat leaders who still have their hands clasped firmly over their ears. They don’t want to hear the truth, they don’t want to move on or reevaluate the party strategy or platform, and they certainly don’t want to reconnect with the blue collar working people in the center of the country who used to vote Democrat until the party started looking down their noses at them and waving them away like a gaggle of lepers. They think everything is hunky-dory right now. Why change? Why support progressive policies when public relations will do just fine? Why push for good-paying jobs when you can fire up the base with hotbutton identity issues and shrieks of racism? Why talk about plunging living standards, towering student debt and widening inequality when the public’s attention can easily be diverted to the latest Trump gaffe on Twitter or the latest METOO horror story or the cockamamie Kavanaugh hearing? Why build a party on principle, equality and conviction when its just as easy to pull the wool over people’s eyes and then brush them aside after the votes are counted?

Instead of self reflection and a commitment to change, all we see is more of the same. The Dems have switched from the Mueller report to Trump’s tax returns without missing a beat. In just two years, the party has transformed itself from a credible political organization to a permanent inquisition spearheaded by the likes of Adam Schiff, Eric Swalwell and Jerry Nadler, as dreary a trio as was ever assembled in our long and checkered political history.

Is this the face of the new Democratic party? Are people really going to flock to the polls and vote Democrat in 2020 because they admire or identify with the likes of Adam Schiff, a man who can look calmly into the camera lens while he twists the truth into pretzel-like contortions?

People like Schiff aren’t interested in governing, they’re only interested in carrying out their own vicious vendettas. They’re not leaders, they’re political assassins.

Is that unfair? Am I being too harsh on the Democrat leaders? Has there been a change of heart or a course correction I didn’t notice? Has there been any effort to reach out to the working people living in Red State America, to address their issues and look for remedies to their problems like to the offshoring of businesses, the outsourcing of jobs, and the growing opiate epidemic??

No! There hasn’t been any outreach at all. Nothing. And the only time the scheming Dems talked about health care was 3 weeks before the midterms when they needed a little oomph to get their people to the polls. But as soon as the votes were counted, they dropped the topic like a hot potato and went back to pestering Trump over his fictitious connections with Russia. It’s shocking.

Face it: The Democrats aren’t going to change. They got a good thing going right now and they’re not going to mess with it. They already have Wall Street, Silicone Valley, most of the weapons manufacturers, and all the major media in their hip pocket, so what do they have to worry about? Nothing. All they have to do is keep the pressure on Trump until the economy tanks, then trot out Michelle Obama at the eleventh hour and, presto, they’ll be back in the oval office once again. That’s the plan, at least, and that’s why Michelle has been cozying up to all the Hollywood bigshots while she delivers her Book Tour stump speech to sell-out crowds across the country. She’s broadening her base and honing her speaking skills for the big campaign kickoff extravaganza sometime in the Fall when she will assume the role of frontrunner from the day she throws her hat in the ring. It’s all part of a script that was written long ago.

The Democrat leaders are going to use the same template for Michelle that they used for Barack. They’re going to create an inspirational, but vacuous leader who will faithfully execute Wall Street’s diktat, who will faithfully prosecute the empire’s wars, and who will faithfully shift more of the nation’s wealth to the voracious 1 percent. That’s what the Dems have up their sleeve, another slap in the face for working people.

Don’t underestimate how cynical these people really are.

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The Great Russia Deception all began with John Brennan. It was Brennan who reported “contacts… between Russian officials and persons in the Trump campaign”, just as it was Brennan who first referred the case to former FBI Director James Comey. It was also Brennan who “hand-picked” the analysts who stitched together the dodgy Intelligence Community Assessment (ICA) (which said that “Putin and the Russian government aspired to help…Trump’s election chances.”) And it was Brennan who persuaded Harry Reid to petition Comey to open an investigation. At every turn, Brennan was there. He got the ball rolling, he pulled all the right strings, he whipped up a mood of public hysteria, and he excoriated the president at every opportunity. For those who want to know where Russiagate began, look no further than John Brennan.

Here’s a bit of what Brennan told the House Intelligence Committee during his testimony in 2017:

“We were uncovering information and intelligence about interactions and contacts between U.S. persons and the Russians. And as we came upon that, we would share it with the bureau.”

Brennan’s statement clarifies his role in the operation, he was providing the raw intelligence to Comey and Comey was reluctantly following up with surveillance, wiretaps, leaks to the media, and the placing of confidential informants in the Trump campaign. It was a tag-team combo, but Brennan was the primary instigator, there’s no doubt about that.

And let’s not forget that Comey didn’t really want to participate in Brennan’s hairbrain scheme to smear candidate Trump. At first he balked, which is why Brennan leaned on Senate Majority leader Harry Reid to twist Comey’s arm. Here’s a little background from Tom Fitton at artvoice.com:

“Senate Minority Leader Harry Reid reportedly believed then-Obama CIA Director Brennan was feeding him information about alleged links between the Trump campaign and the Russian government in order to make public accusations:

According to ‘Russian Roulette,’ by Yahoo! News chief investigative correspondent Michael Isikoff and David Corn… Brennan contacted Reid on Aug. 25, 2016, to brief him on the state of Russia’s interference in the presidential campaign. Brennan briefed other members of the so-called Gang of Eight, but Reid is the only who took direct action.

Two days after the briefing, Reid wrote a letter to then-FBI Director James Comey asserting that ‘evidence of a direct connection between the Russian government and Donald Trump’s presidential campaign continues to mount.’ Reid called on Comey to investigate the links ‘thoroughly and in a timely fashion.’

Reid saw Brennan’s outreach as ‘a sign of urgency,’ Isikoff and Corn wrote in the book. ‘Reid also had the impression that Brennan had an ulterior motive. He concluded the CIA chief believed the public needed to know about the Russian operation, including the information about the possible links to the Trump campaign.’

According to the book, Brennan told Reid that the intelligence community had determined that the Russian government was behind the hack and leak of Democratic emails and that Russian President Vladimir Putin was behind it. Brennan also told Reid that there was evidence that Russian operatives were attempting to tamper with election results. Indeed, on August 27, 2016, Reid wrote a letter to Comey accusing President Trump’s campaign of colluding with the Russian government.” (“The John Brennan-Harry Reid Collusion to ‘Get Trump’”, artvoice.com)

So Brennan fed Reid a load of malarkey and the credulous senator swallowed it hook, line and sinker. It may sound incredible now, given the results of the Mueller report, but that’s what happened. Here’s more of Brennan’s testimony to Congress:

“I encountered and am aware of information and intelligence that revealed contacts and interactions between Russian officials and U.S. persons involved in the Trump campaign that I was concerned about because of known Russian efforts to suborn such individuals and it raised questions in my mind, again, whether or not the Russians were able to gain the cooperation of those individuals.”

Okay, so Brennan says he gathered “information and intelligence that revealed contacts between Russian officials and persons in the Trump campaign.”

What information? What intelligence? What officials? Brennan has never identified anyone and never produced a lick of evidence to back up any of his claims, and yet, his testimony was taken as gospel truth. Why? Why would anyone in their right mind trust anything Brennan has to say? Hasn’t Brennan lied to Congress in the past? Didn’t the CIA’s inspector general find that Brennan’s agents “improperly” spied on US Senate staffers”? Hasn’t Brennan defended the use of torture and promoted Obama’s homicidal drone program? Hasn’t Brennan revealed his personal animus and vitriolic hatred for Donald Trump many, many times before. So why would anyone trust what he has to say? It makes no sense. The man has a major credibility problem which is a polite way of saying he’s a serial liar. Here’s more from Brennan:

“I don’t know whether or not such collusion — and that’s your term, such collusion existed. I don’t know. But I know that there was a sufficient basis of information and intelligence that required further investigation by the bureau to determine whether or not U.S. persons were actively conspiring, colluding with Russian officials.”

Got that? So Brennan had zero hard evidence of anything, but he thought that a few scratchy phone intercepts were sufficient for the FBI to hector, harass and spy on the GOP nominee for president of the United States. Can you see how ridiculous this is? No one elected John Brennan to anything, and yet, he arbitrarily decided that he had the right to sex up the intelligence so Comey and Clapper would do his bidding and try to bring down Trump. This is the type of thing you’d expect to see in a police state not America.

We are told by the Guardian that: “GCHQ (British Government Communications Headquarters) played an early, prominent role in kickstarting the FBI’s Trump-Russia investigation, which began in late July 2016. One source called the British eavesdropping agency the “principal whistleblower”. (Guardian)

This might be true, but I seriously doubt it. I suspect the Guardian is just covering for Brennan because they know that his ridiculous claims of “contacts between Russian officials and persons in the Trump campaign” are complete, utter nonsense. There were no contacts between Russian officials and the Trump campaign because–as the Mueller report states– there was no coordination, no cooperation, and no collusion. In other words, Brennan just made it up to pursue his own personal vendetta against Trump which is what you’d expect from the most partisan CIA chief in history. Here’s more from the same article:

“The Guardian has been told the FBI and the CIA were slow to appreciate the extensive nature of contacts between Trump’s team and Moscow ahead of the US election. This was in part due to US law that prohibits US agencies from examining the private communications of American citizens without warrants. “They are trained not to do this,” the source stressed.” (Guardian)

“The extensive nature of contacts between Trump’s team and Moscow”???

• Category: Foreign Policy • Tags: Donald Trump, John Brennan, Russiagate 
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Turkish troops and armored units are massed along Turkey’s southern border awaiting orders to invade northern Syria. Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan wants to clear a ten mile-deep swath of land east of the Euphrates River in order to remove terrorist-linked militants (YPG) currently occupying the territory. The proposed offensive would put US Special Forces in the line of fire which significantly increases the likelihood of US casualties. If American troops are killed or wounded by the Turkish operation, Washington will respond in force leading to a potentially catastrophic face-off between the two NATO allies. The possibility of a violent clash between Turkey and the United States has never been greater than it is today.

On Wednesday, U.S. Secretary of State Mike Pompeo warned Turkey that any unilateral action in Syria would have “devastating consequences.” Pompeo’s comments were intended to intimidate Erdogan who stated on Tuesday that the military offensive would begin shortly after last weekend’s elections. If Erdogan proceeds with his plan, Pompeo will undoubtedly give the military the go-ahead for retaliatory attacks on the Turkish Army. This will either lead to a speedy retreat by Turkey or asymmetrical strikes on US strategic assets across the region. In any event, the fracas with Turkey is bound to widen the chasm between the two former allies forcing Erdogan to reconsider his commitment to the western alliance. Any further deterioration in relations between the US and Turkey could result in a dramatic shift in the global balance of power.

Washington’s problems with Erdogan began years before the current dust-up. The Turkish leader has always steered an independent foreign policy which has been a constant source of frustration for the White House. During the war in Iraq, Erdogan refused to allow the US to use Turkish air bases to conduct their operations. (Erdogan did not support the war.) Presently he is purchasing air defense systems from Russia (S-400), (which VP Mike Pence has strongly condemned), he has attended summits in Sochi with Moscow and Tehran in order to find a political settlement for the war in Syria, he has signed contracts with Gazprom that will make his country the energy hub of southern Europe, and he has been harshly critical of US support for the its Kurdish proxies in east Syria (the SDF) which is an offshoot of the Kurdish Workers Party (PKK), a group that is on the US State Department’s list of terrorist organizations.

Most of the friction between Erdogan and the US has been brought on by Washington’s flagrant disregard for Turkey’s security concerns. The current crisis is just another self inflicted wound, like the failed coup in 2016 which backfired spectacularly strengthening Erdogan’s grip on power while fueling widespread distrust of the United States. Check out this excerpt from an article in the New York Times dated August 2, 2016:

“A Turkish newspaper reported that an American academic and former State Department official had helped orchestrate a violent conspiracy to topple the Turkish government from a fancy hotel on an island in the Sea of Marmara, near Istanbul. The same newspaper, in a front-page headline, flat-out said the United States had tried to assassinate President Recep Tayyip Erdogan on the night of the failed coup.

When another pro-government newspaper asked Turks in a recent poll conducted on Twitter which part of the United States government had supported the coup plotters, the C.I.A. came in first, with 69 percent, and the White House was a distant second, with 20 percent.

These conspiracy theories are not the product of a few cranks on the fringes of Turkish society. Turkey may be a deeply polarized country, but one thing Turks across all segments of society — Islamists, secular people, liberals, nationalists — seem to have come together on is that the United States was somehow wrapped up in the failed coup, either directly or simply because the man widely suspected to be the leader of the conspiracy, the Muslim cleric Fethullah Gulen, lives in self-exile in the United States.” (Turks Can Agree on One Thing: U.S. Was Behind Failed Coup – The New York Times)

Let’s cut to the chase: Was the United States behind the plot to remove Erdogan from office in 2016?

Probably, just as the United States was behind more than 50 other regime change operations since the end of WW2.

And is the US currently harboring the mastermind of the Turkish junta in a sprawling compound in rural Pennsylvania?

Yes, this is probably true as well. But, even though Turkey has provided the US with mountains of evidence identifying Gulen as the coup-leader, and even though Turkey has cooperated in the extradition of numerous terror suspects sought by the United States, the US simply doesn’t feel any obligation to return the favor by treating Turkey with respect and fairness. Why is that? Why is there one standard for the United States and a completely different standard for everyone else?

Erdogan has repeatedly asked the Trump administration to respect Turkey’s legitimate security concerns by removing terrorist-linked militants (YPG) from the area around Turkey’s southern border. In mid December, Trump discussed the issue with Erdogan over the phone and agreed to meet the Turkish president’s requests. Four days later (December 19) Trump announced that all US troops would be withdrawn from Syria within 30 days. Since then, the administration has failed to meet any of its prior commitments. It has increased its troop levels in east Syria, bolstered its military hardware and weaponry, and reinforced its positions along the border.

The US has also failed to fulfill its obligations under the terms of the Manbij Roadmap which requires the US to remove all YPG fighters in and around the city and assist Turkey in establishing security in Manbij. There has been no movement on this front at all. If anything, the situation has gotten worse. This suggests that the Trump team has no intention of lifting a finger to address Turkey’s security concerns or of following through on its clearly stated commitments. It suggests that Washington is actually trying to provoke Erdogan in taking matters into his own hands and doing something that he might later regret.

While Ankara’s designs on Syrian territory have no legal basis, they have been consistently reiterated (without change) from the earliest days of the war. As far back as 2012, Turkey insisted on a “safe zone” which would establish a buffer between itself and YPG militants operating in east Syria. The Obama administration agreed to assist Erdogan in the creation of a safe zone in exchange for the use of the strategically-located airbase at Incirlik. Here’s a clip from another article at the New York Times dated July 27, 2015 which explains:

“Turkey and the United States have agreed in general terms on a plan that envisions American warplanes, Syrian insurgents and Turkish forces working together to sweep Islamic State militants from a 60-mile-long strip of northern Syria along the Turkish border, American and Turkish officials say.

The plan would create what officials from both countries are calling an Islamic State-free zone controlled by relatively moderate Syrian insurgents, which the Turks say could also be a “safe zone” for displaced Syrians.

While many details have yet to be determined, including how deep the strip would extend into Syria, the plan would significantly intensify American and Turkish military action against Islamic State militants in the country, as well as the United States’ coordination with Syrian insurgents on the ground. …

• Category: Foreign Policy • Tags: Erdogan, Kurds, Neocons, Syria