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Why Donald Trump should pick Dana Rohrabacher for Secretary of State

Dana Rohrabacher’s name is not well known internationally, but the evolution of his political thought means that he is someone who could be a productive Secretary of State in a Trump White House. Whilst his position on Serbia was despicable, his current stance on Russia and Syria is highly positive.

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Endless speculation has surrounded Donald Trump’s possible pick for a Secretary of State. The world awaits his eventual finalist more eagerly than any other cabinet position. Because of Donald Trump’s rejection of America’s interventionist, pro-war and vehemently anti-Russian party which generally finds favour in both the Democratic and Republican parties, it will be difficult to find an ‘insider’ candidate who intellectually conforms to Trump’s vision for a renewed American foreign policy.

Without question, the war-monger John Bolton would be the worst choice. His arrogant posturing as a bona fide neo-con hawk makes rumours of a possible Bolton appointment both disturbing and disheartening. Ultimately, I do not believe he will be Trump’s selection. Senator Rand Paul (Dr. Ron Paul’s son), has said he would block a Bolton appointment. I applaud Senator Paul for this stance.

Other names floated about have been that of former New York mayor and loyal Trump supporter Rudy Giuliani. Giuliani is for all intents and purposes, a foreign policy lightweight, but this is not necessarily a bad thing. He is a tough but personally likable man who may just reward Trump’s patronage with loyalty in terms of policies consistent with the wishes of the President-elect.

Then there is Newt Gingrich, an unquestionably historically informed and intelligent man, but also, a ruthless opportunist. His opportunism as Secretary of State could cut two ways. On the one hand he may see it as an opportunity to build bridges between the White House and the old establishment Republicans in Congress (his old buddies…and some old enemies too) and in doing so, jeopardise some of the policy independence of Donald Trump.

On the other hand, as a man who likely resents his absence from front-line politics, he may alternatively seek to reward Trump with loyalty whilst looking down his nose at a Republican Party who all but abandoned him in his own time of political need.

There is, however, another name floating about, one who is not widely known on an international level and the most obscure of the major hypothetical candidates. His name is Dana Rohrabacher. Rohrabacher has been a California congressman since 1989. His main interest are foreign affairs and space travel.

His record of policy on foreign affairs is a mixed bag, but the evolution of his political thought gives one hope that short of a Ron Paul, Rand Paul or Pat Buchanan, Rohrabacher may well be the man best suited for the job.

The nadir of his political policy statements came in the 1990s when he stood against Serbian troops as they tried to defend  the territorial integrity of Yugoslavia. He later advocated arming the Kosovar Albanian terrorist organisation KLA, a group which for most of the 1990s was proscribed as a terrorist group even by Bill Clinton’s White House.  Of course Clinton later launched an illegal war on the Serbian nation in defence of the savage KLA.

His hawkish policies on Iran also leave much to be desired.

However, there is hope and plenty of it. He has publicly repudiated his vote in favour of the Iraq war and believes that American withdrawal from Afghanistan is crucial. In these areas, one can only define Rohrabacher’s positions as correct and honest.

Most recently and perhaps most importantly, he has stood against US antagonistic policies against the Russian Federation. He supported the self-determination of the Crimean people in 2014 and opposed anti-Russian sanctions. He also has stood against the mad policies of Hillary Clinton, Barack Obama and John Kerry on Syria, calling such policies ‘irrational’.

In the imperfect world that is American politics, Dana Rohrabacher seems to be one of the most suited candidates to be Secretary of State in a Trump administration. He is a clever man and even when he is wrong, he speaks from a position that appears to be guided by sincerity rather than opportunism.

My offer stands to be Donald Trump’s Secretary of State, but for the time being, I think that Dana Rohrabacher would be a suitable choice, at least until the swamp is fully drained.

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4 resignations and counting: May’s government ‘falling apart before our eyes’ over Brexit deal

The beginning of the end for Theresa May’s government.

The Duran

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Via RT


Four high profile resignations have followed on the heels of Theresa May’s announcement that her cabinet has settled on a Brexit deal, with Labour claiming that the Conservative government is at risk of completely dissolving.

Shailesh Vara, the Minister of State at the Northern Ireland Office was the first top official to resign after the prime minister announced that her cabinet had reached a draft EU withdrawal agreement.

An hour after his announcement, Brexit Secretary Dominic Raab – the man charged with negotiating and finalizing the deal – said he was stepping down, stating that the Brexit deal in its current form suffers from deep flaws. Esther McVey, Secretary of State for Work and Pensions, submitted her letter of resignation shortly afterwards. More resignations have followed.

Labour’s shadow Cabinet Office minister, Jon Trickett, predicted that this is the beginning of the end for May’s government.

The government is falling apart before our eyes as for a second time the Brexit secretary has refused to back the prime minister’s Brexit plan. This so-called deal has unraveled before our eyes

Shailesh Vara: UK to be stuck in ‘a half-way house with no time limit’

Kicking off Thursday’s string of resignations, Vara didn’t mince words when describing his reservations about the cabinet-stamped Brexit deal.

Theresa May’s EU withdrawal agreement leaves the UK in a “halfway house with no time limit on when we will finally become a sovereign nation,” his letter of resignation states. Vara went on to warn that the draft agreement leaves a number of critical issues undecided, predicting that it “will take years to conclude” a trade deal with the bloc.

“We will be locked in a customs arrangement indefinitely, bound by rules determined by the EU over which we have no say,” he added.

Dominic Raab: Deal can’t be ‘reconciled’ with promises made to public

Announcing his resignation on Thursday morning, Brexit Secretary Dominic Raab tweeted: “I cannot in good conscience support the terms proposed for our deal with the EU.”

Raab claimed that the deal in its current form gives the EU veto power over the UK’s ability to annul the deal.

No democratic nation has ever signed up to be bound by such an extensive regime.

Former Conservative Party leader Iain Duncan Smith said that Raab’s resignation as Brexit secretary is “devastating” for May.

“It sounds like he has been ignored,” he told the BBC.

Raab’s departure will undoubtedly encourage other Brexit supporters to question the deal, political commentators have observed.

Esther McVey: Deal ‘does not honor’ Brexit referendum

Work and Pensions Secretary Esther McVey didn’t hold back when issuing her own letter of resignation. According to McVey, the deal “does not honour” the result of the Brexit referendum, in which a majority of Brits voted to leave the European Union.

Suella Braverman: ‘Unable to sincerely support’ deal

Suella Braverman, a junior minister in Britain’s Brexit ministry, issued her resignation on Thursday, saying that she couldn’t stomach the deal.

“I now find myself unable to sincerely support the deal agreed yesterday by cabinet,” she said in a letter posted on Twitter.

Suella Braverman, MP Parliamentary Under Secretary of State for the Department for Exiting the EU © Global Look Press / Joel Goodman
Braverman said that the deal is not what the British people voted for, and threatened to tear the country apart.

“It prevents an unequivocal exit from a customs union with the EU,” she said.

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Five Saudis Face Death Penalty Over Khashoggi Killing; Crown Prince Cleared

According to the Saudi prosecutor, five people charged are believed to have been involved in “ordering and executing the crime.”

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Via Zerohedge


Saudi Arabia public prosecutor Sheikh Shaalan al-Shaalan said on Thursday that the kingdom will seek the death penalty for five suspects among the 11 charged in the killing of journalist Jamal Khashoggi, confirming suspicions that members of the murder squad purportedly sent to “interrogate” Khashoggi will now themselves face beheadings as the Saudi Royal Family closes ranks around the Crown Prince, per the FT.

As for Mohammed bin Salman who runs the day to day affairs of the world’s top oil exporter and is the de facto head of OPEC, the prosecutor said had “no knowledge” of the mission, effectively absolving him of any domestic suspicion, if not international.

The charges were handed down after the kingdom dismissed five senior intelligence officers and arrested 18 Saudi nationals in connection with Khashoggi’s disappearance. The Saudi insider-turned-dissident journalist disappeared on Oct. 2 after entering the Saudi Arabian consulate in Istanbul to pick up documents that would have allowed him to marry his fiance. Khashoggi was a legal resident of Virginia.

According to the Saudi prosecutor, five people charged are believed to have been involved in “ordering and executing the crime,” according to CNN.

The prosecutor said that the former Saudi deputy intelligence chief, Ahmed al-Assiri, ordered a mission to force Khashoggi to go back to Saudi Arabia and formed a team of 15 people.

They were divided into three groups, the Saudi Public Prosecutor said: a negotiation team, an intelligence team and a logistical team.

It was the head of the negotiating team who ordered the killing of Khashoggi, the prosecutor said.

The Saudis stuck by latest (ever changing) narrative that the Washington Post columnist was killed after a mission to abduct him went awry. The deputy chief of intelligence ordered that Khashoggi be brought back to the kingdom, Shaalan said. The team killed him after the talks failed and his body was handed to a “collaborator” in Turkey, he said.

Asked whether Saud al-Qahtanti, an aide to Prince Mohammed, had any role in the case, Shaalan said that a royal adviser had a coordinating role and had provided information. The former adviser was now under investigation, the prosecutor said, declining to reveal the names of any of those facing charges.

Al-Shaalan did reveal that a total of 21 suspects are now being held in connection with the case. Notably, the decision to charge the 5 comes after National Security Advisor John Bolton repudiated reports that a recording of Khashoggi’s murder made by Turkish authorities suggested that Crown Prince Mohammad bin Salman was behind the murder plot.

But as long as OPEC+ is planning to do “whatever it takes” to boost oil prices, the US’s willingness to give the Saudis a pass could always be tested if crude prices again turn sharply higher.

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U.S. May Impose Sanctions Against Turkey Over S-400 “Threat” To F-35

The United States continues to consider the S-400 air defense system a threat to its F-35 fifth generation stealth fighter platform.

The Duran

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Authored by Al Masdar News:


Turkish officials have repeatedly insisted that Ankara’s purchase of the advanced Russian air defense system poses no threat whatsoever to the NATO alliance. Last month, the Turkish defense ministry announced that delivery of S-400s to Turkey would begin in October 2019.

The United States continues to consider the S-400 air defense system a threat to its F-35 fifth generation stealth fighter platform, and may impose sanctions against Ankara, Turkey’s Anadolu news agency has reported, citing a high-ranking source in Washington.

“I can’t say for certain whether sanctions will be imposed on Ankara over the S-400 contract, but the possibility is there. The US administration is not optimistic about this issue,” the source said.

While admitting that Turkey was a sovereign state and therefore had the right to make decisions on whom it buys its weapons from, the source stressed that from the perspective of these weapons’ integration with NATO systems, the S-400 was “problematic.”

The source also characterized the deployment of S-400s in areas where US F-35 fifth-generation stealth fighters are set to fly as “a threat,” without elaborating.

Emphasizing that negotiations between Washington and Ankara on the issue were “continuing,” the source said that there were also “positive tendencies” in negotiations between the two countries on the procurement of the Patriot system, Washington’s closest analogue to the S-400 in terms of capabilities.

Designed to stop enemy aircraft, cruise and ballistic missiles at ranges of up to 400 km and altitudes of up to 30 km, the S-400 is currently the most advanced mobile air defense system in Russia’s arsenal. Russia and India signed a ruble-denominated contract on the delivery of five regiments of S-400s worth $5 billion late last month.

Last week, the Saudi Ambassador to Russia said that talks on the sale of the system to his country were ongoing. In addition to Russia, S-400s are presently operated by Belarus and China, with Beijing expecting another delivery of S-400s by 2020.

Washington has already slapped China with sanctions over its purchase of S-400s and Su-35 combat aircraft in September. India, however, has voiced confidence that it would not be hit with similar restrictions, which the US Treasury has pursued under the 2017 Counter America’s Adversaries Through Sanctions Act (CAATSA).

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