US Foreign Policy

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Sertorio
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Re: US Foreign Policy

Post by Sertorio » Sun Mar 12, 2017 4:16 am

You should probably read this. You will not like it, but please take a moment to think about it...
(...)

Foreign policy suicide: let’s see what options there are to choose from. The Neocons want a war with Russia which the Trump people don’t. The Trump people, however, want, well maybe not a war, although that option is very much on the table, but at least a very serious confrontation with China, North Korea or Iran, and about half of them would also like some kind of confrontation with Russia. There is absolutely nobody, at least at the top, who would dare to suggest that a confrontation or, even worse, a war with China, Iran, North Korea or Russia would be a disaster, a calamity for the USA. In fact, serious people with impressive credentials and a lot of gravitas are discussing these possibilities as if they were real, as it the USA could in some sense prevail. This is laughable. Well, no, it it not. But it would be if it wasn’t so frightening and depressing. The truth is very, very different.

[Sidebar: While it is probably not impossible for the United States to prevail, in purely military terms, against the DPRK in a war, the potential risks are nothing short of immense. And I don’t mean the risk posed by the North Korean nukes which, apparently, is also quite real. I mean the risk of starting a war against a country which has Seoul within conventional artillery range, an active duty army of well over one million people and 180’000 special forces operators. Let us assume for a second that the DPRK has no air force and no navy and an army composed of only 1M+ soldiers, 21k+ artillery pieces and 180k special forces. How do you propose to deal with that threat? If you have an easy, obvious solution, you have watched too many Hollywood movies. You probably also don’t understand the terrain.]

But yes, the DPRK also has major wseaknesses and I cannot exclude that the North Korean armed forces would rapidly collapse under a sustained attack by the US and the ROK. I did not say that I believe that this would happen, only that I don’t exclude it. Should that happen, the US might well prevail relatively rapidly, at least in purely military terms. However, please keep in mind that any military operation has to serve a political goal and, in that sense, I cannot imagine any scenario under which the USA would walk away from a war against the DPRK with anything remotely resembling a real “victory”. There is a paraphrase of something Ho Chi Minh allegedly told to the French in the 1940s which I really like. It goes like this:” we kill some of you, you kill a lot of us, and then we win”. That is how a war with the DPRK would probably play out. I call this the “American curse”: Americans are very good at killing people, but they are not good at winning wars. Still, in the case of the DPRK there is at least a possibility of a military victory, even if at a potentially huge cost. With Iran, Russia or China there is no such possibility at all: a war with any of them would be a guaranteed disaster (I wrote about a war in Iran here and about a war with Russia too many times to count). So why is it that even though out of the 4 possible wars, one is a potential disaster and the 3 others are a guaranteed disaster, why is it that these are discussed as if they were potential options?!

The reason for that can be found in the unique mix of crass ignorance and political cowardice of the entire US political class. First, a lot (most?) of US politicians believe in their own silly propaganda about the US armed forces being “the best” in “the world” (no evidence needed!). But even those who are smart enough to realize that this is a load of baloney which nobody outside the USA still takes seriously, they know that saying that publicly is political suicide. So they pretend, go along, and keep on repetitively spewing the patriotic mantra about “rah, rah, USA, USA, ‘Merica number one, we are the best” etc. Some figure that since the USA spends more on aggression that the rest of the planet combined, that must mean that the US armed forces must be “better” (whatever that means). To the birthplace of “bigger is better” the answer is self-evident. It is also completely wrong.

Eventually, something crazy inevitably happens. Like in Syria were the State Department had one policy, the Pentagon another and the CIA yet another one. The resulting cognitive dissonance is removed by engaging in classical doublethink: “yes, we screwed up over and over, but we are still the best”. Ironically, that kind of mindset is at the core of the American inability to learn from past mistakes. If the choice is between an honest evaluation of past operations and political expediency, the latter always prevails (at least amongst civilians, US servicemen are often far more capable of self-critical evaluation, especially in ranks up to Colonel and below, the problem here is that civilians and generals rarely listen to them).

The result is total chaos: the US foreign policy is wholly dependent on the US ability to threaten the use of military force, but the harsh reality is that every country out there which dared to defy Uncle Sam did that only after coming to the conclusion that the US did not have the means to crush it militarily. In other words, only the weak, which are already de-facto US colonies, fear the USA. Or, put differently, the only countries who dare to defy Uncle Sam are the strong ones (that was all quite predictable, but US politicians don’t know about Hegel or dialectics). And just to make it worse, there is no real US foreign policy. What there is is only the sum vector of the different foreign policies desired by various more or less covert “deep state” actors, agencies and individuals. That resulting “sum vector” is inevitably short-term, focuses on a quickfix approach, and unable to take into account any complexity.

As for the US “diplomacy” it simply doesn’t exist. You don’t need diplomats to deliver demands, bribes, ultimatums and threats. You don’t need educated people. Nor do you need people with any understanding of the “other”. All you need is one arrogant self-enamored bully and one interpreter (since US diplomats don’t speak the local languages either. And why would they?). We saw the most compelling evidence of the total rigor mortis of the US diplomatic corps when 51 US “diplomats” demanded that Obama bomb Syria. The rest of the world could just observe in amazement, sadness, bewilderment and total disgust.

The bottom line is this: there is no “US diplomacy”. The USA have simply let that entire field atrophy to the point were it ceased to exist. When so many baffled observers try to understand what the US policy in the Ukraine or Syria is, they are making a mistaken assumption – that there is a US foreign policy to being with. I would argue that the US diplomacy slowly and quietly passed away, sometime after James Baker (the last real US diplomat, and a brilliant one at that).

(...)
https://southfront.org/the-empire-shoul ... ide-watch/
The writer (so it seems) is a Swiss born part Russian, part Dutch living in the US. In my opinion he is very credible and very well informed, as well as very intelligent. Always worth reading.

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Sertorio
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Re: US Foreign Policy

Post by Sertorio » Sun Mar 12, 2017 4:25 am

Read this too...
Suicide by reality denial: this is the mother and father of all the other forms of suicide – the stubborn refusal to look at reality and accept the fact that “the party is over”. When I see the grim determination of US politicians (very much including the people supporting Trump) to continue to pretend as if the US hegemony was here to stay forever, when I see how they see themselves as the leaders of the world and how they sincerely believe that they need to get involved in every conflict on the planet, I can only come to the conclusion that the inevitable collapse will be painful. To be fair, Trump himself clearly has moments of lucidity about this, for example when he recently declared to Congress

Free nations are the best vehicle for expressing the will of the people — and America respects the right of all nations to chart their own path. My job is not to represent the world. My job is to represent the United States of America. But we know that America is better off, when there is less conflict — not more.
These are remarkable words for which Trump truly deserves a standing ovation as they are the closest thing to a formal admission that the United States have given up on the dream of being the World Hegemon and that from now on the US President will no longer represent the interest of trans-national plutocracies but he will represent the interests of the American people. This sort of language is nothing short of revolutionary, whether Trump truly delivers on that or not. Unlike everybody else, Trump does not appear to suffer from “suicide by reality denial” syndrome, but when I look at the people around him (nevermind the prostitutes in Congress) I wonder if he will ever get to act on his personal instincts.

Trump is clearly the best man in the Trump administration, he seems to have his heart in the right place and, unlike Hillary, he is clearly aware of the fact that the US armed forces are in a terrible shape. But a good heart and common sense are not enough to deal with the Neocons and the US deep state. You also need an iron will and a total determination to crush the opposition. Alas, so far Trump has failed to show either quality. Instead, Trump is trying to show how “tough” a guy he is by declaring that he will wipe out Daesh and by giving the Pentagon 30 days to come up with a plan to do this. Alas (for Trump), there is no way to crush Daesh without working with those who already have boots on the ground: the Iranians, the Russians and the Syrians. It is really that simple. And every American general knows that. Yet everybody is merrily plowing ahead is if there was some kind of possibility for the USA to crush Daesh without establishing a partnership with Russia, Iran and Syria first (Erdogan tried that. It did him no good. Now he is working with Russia and Iran). Will the good folks at the Pentagon find the courage to tell Trump that “no, Mr President, we cannot do that alone, we need the Russians, the Iranians and the Syrians”? I very much doubt it. So, yet again, we are probably going to see a case of reality denial, maybe not a suicidal one, but a significant one nonetheless. Not good.

Who will be the Empire’s kaishakunin?

Alexander Solzhenitsyn used to say that all states can be placed on a continuum which ranges from states whose authority is based on their power to states whose power is based on their authority. I think that we can agree that the authority of the USA is pretty close to zero. As for their power, it is still very substantial, but not sufficient to maintain the Empire. It is, however, more than adequate to protect the interests of the United States as a country provided the United States accept that they simply don’t have the means to remain a world hegemon.

If the Neocons succeed in their attempt to overthrow or, failing that, at paralyzing Trump, then the Empire will have the choice between an endless horror or a horrible end. Since the Neocons don’t really need a war with the DPRK, which they don’t like, but which does not elicit the kind of blind hatred Iran does, my guess is that Iran will be their number one target. Should the AngloZionists succeed in triggering a war between Iran and the Empire, then Iran will end up being the Empire’s kaishakunin. If the crazies fail in their manic attempts at triggering a major war, then the Empire will probably collapse under the pressure of the internal contradictions of the US society. Finally, if Trump and the American patriots who do not want to sacrifice their country for the sake of the Empire succeed in “draining the DC swamp” and finally crack-down hard on the Neocons then a gradual transition from Empire to major power is still possible. But the clock is running out fast.
Same author, same link as previous post.

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Sertorio
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Re: US Foreign Policy

Post by Sertorio » Sun Mar 12, 2017 4:28 am

If you are not sufficiently depressed, read this (same author, same link)...
Military suicide: the US military was never a very impressive one, certainly not when compared to the British, Russian or German ones. But it did have a couple of very strong points including the ability to produce a lot of technical innovations which made it possible to produce new, sometimes quite revolutionary, weapons. And if the US track record on ground operations was rather modest, the US did prove to be a most capable adversary in naval and aerial warfare. I don’t think that it can be denied that for most of the years following WWII the USA had the most powerful and sophisticated navy and airforce in the world. Then, gradually, things started getting worse and worse as the costs of the very expensive ships and aircraft shot through the roof while the quality of the produced systems appeared to be gradually degrading. Weapons systems which looked nothing short of awesome in the lab and test grounds proved to be almost useless once they to to their end user on the battlefield. What happened? How did a country which produced the UH-1 Huey or the F-16 suddenly start producing Apaches and F-35s?! The explanation is painfully simple: corruption.

Not only did the US military industrial complex bloat beyond any reasonable size, it also cloaked itself in so many layers of secrecy that massive corruption became inevitable. And when I speak of “massive corruption” I am not talking about millions but billions or even trillions. How? Simple – the Pentagon claimed did not have the accounting tools needed to properly account for the missing money and that the money was therefore not really “missing”. Another trick – no bid contracts. Or contracts which cover all the private contractor’s costs, no matter how high or ridiculous. Desert Storm was a bonanza for the MIC, as was 9/11 and the GWOT. Billions of dollars got printed out of thin air, distributed (mostly under the cover of national security), hidden (secrecy) and stolen (by everybody in this entire food chain). The feeding frenzy was so extreme that one of my teachers as SAIS admitted, off the record of course, that he had never seen a weapons system he did not like or which he did not want to purchase. This man, whom I shall not name, was a former director of the US Arms Control and Disarmament Agency. Yes, you read that right. He was in charge of DIS-armament. You can imagine what the folks in charge of armament (no “dis) were thinking…

With the stratospheric rise of corruption, the kind of US general which had to be promoted went from fighting men who remembered Vietnam (where they often lost family members, relatives and friends) to ass-kissing little chickenshits” like David Petraeus. In less than half a century US generals went from combat men, to managers, to politicians. And it is against this lackluster background that a rather unimpressive personality like General James Mattis can appear, at least to some, like a good candidate for Secretary of Defense.

Bottom line: the US armed forces are fantastically expensive and yet not particularly well-trained, well-equipped or well-commanded. And while they still are much more capable than the many European militaries (which are a joke), they are most definitely not the kind of armed forces needed to impose and maintain a world hegemony. The good news for the USA is that the US armed forces are more than adequate to defend the USA against any hypothetical attack. But as the backbone of the Empire – they are close to useless.

Jim the Moron
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Re: US Foreign Policy

Post by Jim the Moron » Sun Mar 12, 2017 7:17 am

"The Saker" is just another apparently informed writer on matters relating to US foreign policy, especially in regards to military aspects. Many of us here share some (not all) of his views. Do you have a specific point?

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Sertorio
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Re: US Foreign Policy

Post by Sertorio » Sun Mar 12, 2017 7:32 am

Jim the Moron wrote:
Sun Mar 12, 2017 7:17 am
"The Saker" is just another apparently informed writer on matters relating to US foreign policy, especially in regards to military aspects. Many of us here share some (not all) of his views. Do you have a specific point?
My point is that there is a great divorce in the minds of US politicians between reality and their ideas. It's up to the American people to use their democratic rights to replace those morons by people capable of more objectivity. And the sooner the better...

Jim the Moron
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Re: US Foreign Policy

Post by Jim the Moron » Sun Mar 12, 2017 7:53 am

Sertorio wrote:
Sun Mar 12, 2017 7:32 am
Jim the Moron wrote:
Sun Mar 12, 2017 7:17 am
"The Saker" is just another apparently informed writer on matters relating to US foreign policy, especially in regards to military aspects. Many of us here share some (not all) of his views. Do you have a specific point?
My point is that there is a great divorce in the minds of US politicians between reality and their ideas. It's up to the American people to use their democratic rights to replace those morons by people capable of more objectivity. And the sooner the better...

Agree. US foreign policy has been a disaster over the last several decades. We can hope that the new administration will change that - remains to be seen.

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Booklady
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Re: US Foreign Policy

Post by Booklady » Sun Mar 12, 2017 3:15 pm

Jim the Moron wrote:
Sun Mar 12, 2017 7:53 am
Sertorio wrote:
Sun Mar 12, 2017 7:32 am
Jim the Moron wrote:
Sun Mar 12, 2017 7:17 am
"The Saker" is just another apparently informed writer on matters relating to US foreign policy, especially in regards to military aspects. Many of us here share some (not all) of his views. Do you have a specific point?
My point is that there is a great divorce in the minds of US politicians between reality and their ideas. It's up to the American people to use their democratic rights to replace those morons by people capable of more objectivity. And the sooner the better...

Agree. US foreign policy has been a disaster over the last several decades. We can hope that the new administration will change that - remains to be seen.


I also agree with Sertorio, and you Jim. I used to think that it would be a superficial clean-up, but what Snowden and WikiLeaks, and now the Vault 7 dump has shown us, is that the breakdown is much deeper and it is a breakdown in trust. I am sharing this video of Catherine Austin Fitts, which helped me understand the reality of our situation, she states that the Trump administration is in the beginning of a long war with its deep state enemies. This is way more than a left-right, or Democrat-GOP construct.

The whole video is filled with great information, but the part that is cogent to this discussion begins at the 15:11 mark; the 20:28 mark is very eye-opening, as to why our government leaders, like McCain,Graham or Rubio,acting in extremely irrational ways, and it may be because of what information is in their control files. This ends about 23:09.

A saucer of cream will do for me, thank you for your kindness.

neverfail
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Re: US Foreign Policy

Post by neverfail » Sun Mar 12, 2017 3:17 pm

Sertorio wrote:
Sun Mar 12, 2017 7:32 am


My point is that there is a great divorce in the minds of US politicians between reality and their ideas. It's up to the American people to use their democratic rights to replace those morons by people capable of more objectivity. And the sooner the better...
They tried that recently and got Donald Trump.

Jim the Moron
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Re: US Foreign Policy

Post by Jim the Moron » Sun Mar 12, 2017 7:56 pm

". . . the Trump administration is in the beginning of a long war with its deep state enemies. This is way more than a left-right, or Democrat-GOP construct." (Booklady) Yes, exactly. And, notwithstanding all the important domestic issues the administration must deal with, the US dodged a bullet when it denied the criminal Clintons the White House and their reactionary foreign policy machinations.

neverfail
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Re: US Foreign Policy

Post by neverfail » Mon Mar 13, 2017 4:24 am

Jim the Moron wrote:
Sun Mar 12, 2017 7:56 pm
". . . the Trump administration is in the beginning of a long war with its deep state enemies. This is way more than a left-right, or Democrat-GOP construct." (Booklady) Yes, exactly. And, notwithstanding all the important domestic issues the administration must deal with, the US dodged a bullet when it denied the criminal Clintons the White House and their reactionary foreign policy machinations.
:idea: Well, I suppose after all there may be something to be said in favour of a bumbling clown in preference to a pair of skillful knaves. :mrgreen:

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