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Status Quo Seekers Fear This Senator is Advising Trump

While the Blob freaks out, reports suggest Rand Paul is helping the president keep his campaign promises on war.

The American Conservative

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Via The American Conservative…


Welcome to the world of President Rand Paul,” blared the headline at TheWashington Post. In the piece that followed, columnist Josh Rogin took President Donald Trump to task for reportedly listening to the Kentucky senator too much.

“Several U.S. officials and people who have spoken directly to Trump since his Syria decision tell me they believe that Paul’s frequent phone conversations with Trump, wholly outside the policy process, are having an outsize influence on the president’s recent foreign policy decisions,” Rogin writes. “Officials told me that, throughout the national security bureaucracy, everyone is aware that Paul’s voice is one to which the president is paying increasing attention.”

“The existing concern over Paul’s influence on Russia policy has now boiled over with respect to Syria,” Rogin worries. He also warns, “In the run-up to 2020, Trump should realize that most Republicans—and most Americans—favor a robust U.S. foreign policy.”

This is Washington groupthink disguised as mainstream consensus. Polling this year has showed that most Americans are opposed to “robust” endless wars. Trump shouldn’t fear Republicans becoming disenchanted with his recent foreign policy decisions: according to a recent Morning Consult poll, the president’s support within his party remains sky high.

The idea that promoting a more restrained foreign policy is somehow a political liability reflects more what elites think voters should believe, not what they necessarily believe.

But why let reality get in the way of a good Beltway narrative? “Ideally, Trump will soon realize that adopting Paul’s vision for the future of U.S. foreign policy is not only dangerous for our national security but bad politics as well,” Rogin insists.

Is this even remotely true given what we know about America’s recent foreign policy and political history?

That Trump has now roundly bucked the advice of virtually all of his foreign policy advisors—so much so that his secretary of defense resigned in protest—is certainly unprecedented in modern American politics.

That’s the point.

To date, Trump has agreed to troop commitments in Syria and military build-ups in Afghanistan at the behest of his inner circle. This month, after two years of taking their advice with no endgame in sight, he essentially said “no more.”

This is consistent with what Trump promised during the election. It’s consistent with what Rand Paul has advocated during his time in Congress.

It’s also what Barack Obama once promised.

As The New York Times reported, “However precipitously Mr. Trump acted, he was channeling the same reservations that Mr. Obama had. Both presidents questioned the open-ended nature of these campaigns, pressed their advisers to define success, and faced the problem of ‘mission creep.’”

Obama campaigned on resisting Washington’s longstanding predilection to rush into war, particularly in Iraq, and promised to challenge the status quo. But a main difference between Obama and Trump, or at least Trump’s actions this month, is that Obama was never able to fully break from Washington foreign policy consensus, which some progressives lamented.

Anti-war rhetoric can be tolerated. Following through never will be. “Criticizing past U.S. policy at a campaign rally is one thing,” Rogin observed of Trump’s speechto American troops in Iraq at Christmas. “The commander in chief telling U.S. soldiers in a war zone that he has lost faith in their generals, and is therefore changing their mission, is another.”

“Trump’s Iraq trip moved U.S. foreign policy one big step in Paul’s direction,” Rogin writes.

And why wouldn’t the president move foreign policy in Paul’s direction, considering it is also the direction Trump himself had promised? Trump reportedly seeks counsel from Paul because Paul is one of the few in Congress who agrees with him.

This isn’t crazy or reckless or subterfuge or whatever other barbs foreign policy elites will continue to come up with. Again, it’s consistent.

It’s also rational. “These commanders have been singing this tune year after year for 17 years of occupation, and secretaries of Defense have kept agreeing with them,” Andrew Sullivan writes regarding the U.S. presence in Afghanistan. “Trump gave them one last surge of troops—violating his own campaign promise—and we got nowhere one more time. It is getting close to insane.”

So now, Trump is finally being sane. “Obama was elected and reelected to end the Iraq occupation, and was then sucked back in by the exact same arguments we are hearing today,” Sullivan continues. “Trump was even more adamant in ending imperial overreach, but after two years, guess what? We are still in Syria and we have more troops in Afghanistan….”

In 2007, Obama boasted, “I’m not running to conform to Washington’s conventional thinking—I’m running to challenge it. That’s what I did in 2002. That’s what I did in 2004. And that’s what I will do as president of the United States.”

Right now, the president of the United States is actually, finally, challenging Washington’s conventional foreign policy thinking. Expect the establishment to give him no quarter.

And expect Donald Trump to find every ally—even if it’s just one—that he can get.


Jack Hunter is the former political editor of Rare.us and co-authored the 2011 book The Tea Party Goes to Washington with Senator Rand Paul.

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Thomas MalthausMurieltherevolutionwasPlatonTjoe Recent comment authors
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Olivia Kroth
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Every president deserves good advisors. All the better if President Trump has one who is effective and peace-loving.

Donna
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Donna

The fact that Josh Rogin can write that “most Americans—favor a robust U.S. foreign policy” and not have any push back from either the political class or the grassroots speaks volumes. However much the neocons and neolibs are responsible for the humanitarian disaster in the Middle East, it is also true that ALL Americans have enabled their leaders to get away with murder…just by their silence.

therevolutionwas
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therevolutionwas

It’s not silence the American citizens are at fault for, it’s what Paul Craig Roberts calls insouciance. They don’t care. Well, 2/3rds don’t. They will only wake up when the stuff hits the fan…too late.

pogohere
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pogohere

“Obama promises 10,000 more troops for Afghanistan”

7-14-08

Barack Obama yesterday pledged to increase US troops in Afghanistan by a third if he becomes president, sending 10,000 more to reinforce the 33,000 already there.

He was speaking after the US lost nine soldiers at the weekend in the deadliest attack on its forces in the country since 2005.

Obama has promised, soon after becoming president in January, to begin scaling back the 156,000 US troops in Iraq and Kuwait, and to shift the focus to Afghanistan.

https://www.theguardian.com/world/2008/jul/15/barackobama.usa1

Platon
Guest
Platon

Bardak and Michael Obama, a lovely couple but proof that a bit of Black Blood does not mean you are not a Zionist and a total incompetent.

Regula
Guest
Regula

The reason the pundits squirm is that they know full well that the people agree with Trump’s move to pull troops out of Syria and Afghanistan; that this move will prevent their agenda and leave them nothing to promise voters in 2020. All of which increases the chance for a Trump second term. So how could that not be bad for “national security” alias their privileges and money?

Tjoe
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Tjoe

I supported Paul wholeheartedly until he worshiped a wall and wore a beanie. That changed everything. I still think he has the best foreign policy, but I question who even HE was working for when he went to Israel.

Platon
Guest
Platon

Rogin is a dual citizen and should be removed to his first nation of choice.

Muriel
Guest
Muriel

Rand Paul offers sane, realistic and pragmatic advice. Trump could do much worse than trust what Rand Paul opines. Rand Paul has courage, heart and integrity. He realizes that the majority of American people are sick and tired of endless war, endless costs of war, endless injuries of war. I’m glad Pres. Trump is finally listening to his advice and will continue to do so.

Thomas Malthaus
Guest
Thomas Malthaus

I would say that if anything, the president is getting more accurate (honest) information from Rand Paul than he ever received from Mattis, Pompeo, and Bolton.

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Macron cuts ski holiday short, vowing crack down on Yellow Vests (Video)

The Duran Quick Take: Episode 109.

Alex Christoforou

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The Duran’s Alex Christoforou and Editor-in-Chief Alexander Mercouris discuss the 18th consecutive week of Yellow Vests protests in Paris. Following last weeks lower participation, Saturday’s Yellow Vests in Paris gathered larger crowds, with various outbreaks of violence and rioting that has been blamed on extreme elements, who French authorities claim have infiltrated the movement.

“Act XVIII” of the protests has shown that the Yellow Vests have not given up. France’s Champs-Élysées boulevard was where most of the violence occurred, with the street being left in a pile of broken glass and flames.

One day after Paris was set ablaze, French President Emmanuel Macron cut his ski holiday short, returning to Paris and vowing to take “strong decisions” to prevent more violence.

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Via Zerohedge


Paris awoke on Sunday to smouldering fires, broken windows and looted stores following the 18th consecutive Saturday of Yellow Vest protests.

Around 200 people were arrested according to BFM TV, while about 80 shops near the iconic Champs Elysees had been damaged and/or looted according to AFP, citing Champs Elysees committee president Jean-Noel Reinhardt.

The 373-year-old Saint Sulpice Roman Catholic church was set on fire while people were inside, however nobody was injured. The cause of the fire remains unknown.

The riots were so severe that French President Emmanuel Macron cut short a vacation at the La Mongie ski resort in the Hautes-Pyrénées following a three-day tour of East Africa which took him to Djibouti, Ethiopia and Kenya.

Macron skied on Friday, telling La Depeche du Midi “I’m going to spend two-three days here to relax, to find landscapes and friendly faces,” adding “I’m happy to see the Pyrenees like that, radiant, although I know it was more difficult at Christmas” referring to the lack of snow in December.

In response to Saturday’s violence, Macron said over Twitter that “strong decisions” were coming to prevent more violence.

Macron said some individuals — dubbed “black blocs” by French police forces — were taking advantage of the protests by the Yellow Vest grassroots movement to “damage the Republic, to break, to destroy.” Prime Minister Edouard Philippe said on Twitter that those who excused or encouraged such violence were complicit in it. –Bloomberg

The French President has family ties in the Hautes-Pyrénées, including Bagnères de Bigorre where his grandmother lived. He is a regular visitor to the region.

Emmanuel Macron (2ndL), head of the political movement In Marche! (Onwards!) And candidate for the 2017 presidential election, and his wife Brigitte Trogneux (L) have lunch April 12, 2017 (Reuters)

 

 

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Vesti calls out Pompeo on lying about Russia invading Ukraine [Video]

Secretary Pompeo displayed either stunning ignorance or a mass-attack of propaganda about what must be the most invisible war in history.

Seraphim Hanisch

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After the 2014 Maidan revolution and the subsequent secessions of Lugansk and Donetsk in Ukraine, and after the rejoining of Crimea with its original nation of Russia, the Western media went on a campaign to prove the Russia is (/ was / was about to / had already / might / was thinking about / was planning to … etc.) invade Ukraine. For the next year or so, about every two weeks, internet news sources like Yahoo! News showed viewers pictures of tanks, box trucks and convoys to “prove” that the invasion was underway (or any of the other statuses confirming the possibilities above stated.) This information was doubtless provided to US Secretary of State, Mike Pompeo.

Apparently, Secretary Pompeo believed this ruse, or is being paid to believe this ruse because in a speech recently, he talked about it as fact:

U.S. Secretary of State Mike Pompeo called Russia’s annexation of Crimea and aggression in eastern Ukraine an attempt to gain access to Ukraine’s oil and gas reserves.

He stated this at IHS Markit’s CERAWeek conference in Houston, the USA, Reuters reports.

Pompeo urged the oil industry to work with the Trump administration to promote U.S. foreign policy interests, especially in Asia and in Europe, and to punish what he called “bad actors” on the world stage.

The United States has imposed harsh sanctions in the past several months on two major world oil producers, Venezuela and Iran.

Pompeo said the U.S. oil-and-gas export boom had given the United States the ability to meet energy demand once satisfied by its geopolitical rivals.

“We don’t want our European allies hooked on Russian gas through the Nord Stream 2 project, any more than we ourselves want to be dependent on Venezuelan oil supplies,” Pompeo said, referring to a natural gas pipeline expansion from Russia to Central Europe.

Pompeo called Russia’s invasion of Ukraine an attempt to gain access to the country’s oil and gas reserves.

Although the state-run news agency Vesti News often comes under criticism for rather reckless, or at least, extremely sarcastic propaganda at times, here they rightly nailed Mr. Pompeo’s lies to the wall and billboarded it on their program:

The news anchors even made a wisecrack about one of the political figures, Konstantin Zatulin saying as a joke that Russia plans to invade the United States to get its oil. They further noted that Secretary Pompeo is uneducated about the region and situation, but they offered him the chance to come to Russia and learn the correct information about what is going on.

To wit, Russia has not invaded Ukraine at all. There is no evidence to support such a claim, while there IS evidence to show that the West is actively interfering with Russia through the use of Ukraine as a proxyWhile this runs counter to the American narrative, it is simply the truth. Ukraine appears to be the victim of its own ambitions at this point, for while the US tantalizes the leadership of the country and even interferes with the Orthodox Church in the region, the country lurches towards a presidential election with three very poor candidates, most notably the one who is president there now, Petro Poroshenko.

However, the oil and gas side of the anti-Russian propaganda operation by the US is significant. The US wishes for Europe to buy gas from American suppliers, even though this is woefully inconvenient and expensive when Russia is literally at Europe’s doorstep with easy supplies. However, the Cold War Party in the United States, which still has a significant hold on US policy making categorizes the sale of Russia gas to powers like NATO ally Germany as a “threat” to European security.

It is interesting that Angela Merkel herself does not hold this line of thinking. It is also interesting and worthy of note, that this is not the only NATO member that is dealing more and more with Russia in terms of business. It underscores the loss of purpose that the North Atlantic Treaty Organization suffers now since there is no Soviet Union to fight.

However, the US remains undaunted. If there is no enemy to fight, the Americans feel that they must create one, and Russia has been the main scapegoat for American power ambitions. More than ever now, this tactic appears to be the one in use for determining the US stance towards other powers in the world.

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Ariel Cohen explains Washington’s latest foreign policy strategy [Video]

Excellent interview Ariel Cohen and Vladimir Solovyov reveals the forces at work in and behind American foreign policy.

Seraphim Hanisch

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While the American people and press are pretty much complicit in reassuring the masses that America is the only “right” superpower on earth, and that Russia and China represent “enemy threats” for doing nothing more than existing and being successfully competitive in world markets, Russia Channel One got a stunner of a video interview with Ariel Cohen.

Who is Ariel Cohen? Wikipedia offers this information about him:

Ariel Cohen (born April 3, 1959 in Crimea in YaltaUSSR) is a political scientist focusing on political risk, international security and energy policy, and the rule of law.[1] Cohen currently serves as the Director of The Center for Energy, Natural Resources and Geopolitics (CENRG) at the Institute for Analysis of Global Security (IAGS). CENRG focuses on the nexus between energy, geopolitics and security, and natural resources and growth. He is also a nonresident senior fellow at the Atlantic Council, within the Global Energy Center and the Dinu Patriciu Eurasia Center.[2] Until July 2014, Dr. Cohen was a senior research fellow at the Heritage Foundation in Washington, D.C. He specializes in Russia/Eurasia, Eastern Europe, and the Middle East.

Cohen has testified before committees of the U.S. Congress, including the Senate and House Foreign Relations Committees, the House Armed Services Committee, the House Judiciary Committee and the Helsinki Commission.[4] He also served as a Policy Adviser with the National Institute for Public Policy’s Center for Deterrence Analysis.[5] In addition, Cohen has consulted for USAID, the World Bank and the Pentagon.[6][7]

Cohen is a frequent writer and commentator in the American and international media. He has appeared on CNN, NBC, CBS, FOX, C-SPAN, BBC-TV and Al Jazeera English, as well as Russian and Ukrainian national TV networks. He was a commentator on a Voice of America weekly radio and TV show for eight years. Currently, he is a Contributing Editor to the National Interest and a blogger for Voice of America. He has written guest columns for the New York TimesInternational Herald TribuneChristian Science Monitor, the Washington Post, the Wall Street Journal, the Washington Times, EurasiaNet, Valdai Discussion Club,[8] and National Review Online. In Europe, Cohen’s analyses have appeared in Kommersant, Izvestiya, Hurriyet, the popular Russian website Ezhenedelny Zhurnal, and many others.[9][10]

Mr. Cohen came on Russian TV for a lengthy interview running about 17 minutes. This interview, shown in full below, is extremely instructive in illustrating the nature of the American foreign policy directives such as they are at this time.

We have seen evidence of this in recent statements by Secretary of State Mike Pompeo regarding Russia’s “invasion” of Ukraine, and an honestly unabashed bit of fear mongering about China’s company Huawei and its forthcoming 5G networks, which we will investigate in more detail in another piece. Both bits of rhetoric reflect a re-polished narrative that, paraphrased, says to the other world powers,

Either you do as we tell you, or you are our enemy. You are not even permitted to out-compete with us in business, let alone foreign relations. The world is ours and if you try to step out of place, you will be dealt with as an enemy power.

This is probably justified paranoia, because it is losing its place. Where the United Stated used to stand for opposition against tyranny in the world, it now acts as the tyrant, and even as a bully. Russia and China’s reaction might be seen as ignoring the bully and his bluster and just going about doing their own thing. It isn’t a fight, but it is treating the bully with contempt, as bullies indeed deserve.

Ariel Cohen rightly points out that there is a great deal of political inertia in the matter of allowing Russia and China to just do their own thing. The US appears to be acting paranoid about losing its place. His explanations appear very sound and very reasonable and factual. Far from some of the snark Vesti is often infamous for, this interview is so clear it is tragic that most Americans will never see it.

The tragedy for the US leadership that buys this strategy is that they appear to be blinded so much by their own passion that they cannot break free of it to save themselves.

This is not the first time that such events have happened to an empire. It happened in Rome; it happened for England; and it happened for the shorter-lived empires of Nazi Germany and ISIS. It happens every time that someone in power becomes afraid to lose it, and when the forces that propelled that rise to power no longer are present. The US is a superpower without a reason to be a superpower.

That can be very dangerous.

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