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Afghanistan withdrawal Foreign Policy Forever wars Intelwars President joe biden US Military war in afghanistan

Biden signals he may break Trump’s deal to withdraw from Afghanistan by May 1

President Joe Biden said Monday that it will be “tough” to meet a deadline to withdraw the remaining U.S. forces in Afghanistan by a deadline agreed to by the Trump administration.

In an interview with ABC host George Stephanopoulos on “Good Morning America,” Biden was asked if the U.S. will keep its commitment to withdraw U.S. troops by May 1. Biden said he is “in the process” of determining when the troops will come home.

“The fact is that that was not a very solidly negotiated deal that the president — the former president — worked out. And so we’re in consultation with our allies as well as the government, and that decision’s going to be — it’s in process now,” Biden said.

Last year, former President Donald Trump negotiated a peace deal with the Taliban to end the 19-year U.S. war in Afghanistan. Trump agreed to pull U.S. forces from the region in exchange for commitments on peace talks.

When the deal was struck, the U.S. had more than 12,000 troops stationed in Afghanistan. Over the course of last year, President Trump began withdrawing troops. Today, about 2,500 troops were thought to remain in the country, but the New York Times reported on Sunday that there are also 1,000 special operations forces stationed there.

When asked how much longer the troops will stay, Biden said, “I don’t think a lot longer,” adding that the May 1 deadline “could happen, but it is tough.”

The president laid blame for the delay on the previous administration. “The failure to have an orderly transition from the Trump presidency to my presidency … has cost me time and consequences,” he said.

The agreement Trump reached with the Taliban did not include the Afghani government, and U.S. intelligence later reported that the Taliban had “no intention of abiding by their agreement.”

U.S. commanders are opposed to withdrawing now, warning that the Taliban could retake key cities, including the capital, Kabul, should American forces leave the Afghanistan Army to fight alone.

If Biden reneges on the U.S. promise to withdraw, American forces may remain in Afghanistan indefinitely as the U.S. tries to broker a peace agreement between the Afghanistan government and the Taliban.

Acknowledging that the Taliban may not keep their promises, Trump told reporters after announcing the deal that Afghanistan would have to “take care of themselves” and that the United States should not be present there for another 20 years.

“You can only hold somebody’s hand for so long. We have to get back to running our country, too,” Trump said.

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america first Climate Change Foreign Policy group of seven Intelwars Joe Biden

Biden declares ‘America First’ is over, reveals plans to ‘dramatically reshape’ US foreign policy

President Joe Biden has declared the end of “America First,” the foreign policy championed by former President Donald Trump that sought to prioritize the needs of Americans over international allies.

What did Biden do?

In separate speeches with international partners on Friday, Biden unveiled “his plans to dramatically reshape the U.S. foreign policy agenda,” according to the New York Post.

In his first speech to the Group of Seven — comprised of the U.S., Canada, France, Germany, Italy, Japan, and the United Kingdom — Biden “declare[d] that America is back and the trans-Atlantic alliance is back,” an administration official told the Post. The G-7 meeting was closed to media.

The administration official added that Biden emphasized “the core proposition that the trans-Atlantic alliance is a cornerstone for American engagement in the world in the 21st century, just as it was in the 20th.”

Meanwhile, Biden pushed the same message during a speech to the Munich Security Conference, announcing that America is “not looking backward,” an implicit reference to Trump and the policies of the Trump administration, according to the New York Times.

More from the Times:

And then he went on to offer a 15-minute ode to the power of alliances. He talked about an America that was itself overcoming challenges to the democratic experiment.

In sharp contrast to Mr. Trump, who declined on several occasions to acknowledge the United States’ responsibilities under Article V of NATO to come to the aid of allies, he said “We will keep the faith” with the obligation. “An attack on one is an attack on all.”

What is the background?

Biden has spent the opening weeks of his presidency dismantling much of his predecessor’s policies.

Not only has Biden jettisoned Trump’s “America First” foreign policy approach, but Biden has rejoined the Paris Agreement on climate change, reversed Trump’s withdrawal from the World Health Organization, and has signaled willingness to negotiate returning to the failed Iran nuclear deal.

“The United States would accept an invitation from the European Union High Representative to attend a meeting of the P5+1 and Iran to discuss a diplomatic way forward on Iran’s nuclear program,” State Department spokesman Ned Price said this week.

Biden was especially criticized this week over his willingness to rejoin the Iran nuclear deal.

In fact, former Secretary of State Mike Pompeo warned that negotiating with Iran will result in the Islamic nation obtaining nuclear weapons.

“Adopting the European Union model of accommodation will guarantee Iran a path to a nuclear arsenal,” Pompeo told the Washington Free Beacon.

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Ambassadorships Biden administration diplomacy Foreign Policy Intelwars jeff flake

Jeff Flake confirms he’s been in touch with Biden administration about potential appointment

Former Sen. Jeff Flake (R-Ariz.) confirmed reports on Monday that he’s been contacted by the Biden administration about a potential ambassadorship appointment, but did not go into specifics.

Over the weekend, Axios reported that Biden administration officials were considering nominating Flake and possibly Cindy McCain, the widow of the late Sen. John McCain, to be ambassadors to signal that President Biden’s foreign policy would be bipartisan.

Speaking on CNN, Flake confirmed that he’s been in touch with the Biden administration but said no final decisions on his nomination have been made.

“All I’ve said is I would have an interest in making sure that President Biden’s foreign policy is bipartisan. You know, we used to say that partisanship stops at the water’s edge. That needs to happen and I think it can happen but there’s been no specific talks,” Flake said.

Pushed by CNN’s Pamela Brown, Flake elaborated on what he meant by “no specific talks,” adding, “I think they’re aways from decisions.”

“They still have half the Cabinet to get through the Senate. So, I certainly have an interest in making sure that our foreign policy is bipartisan, but we’ll leave that to the Biden administration to make those decisions,” Flake said.

“Okay, so it sounds though, more generally perhaps, you’ve been in touch with the administration, right?” Brown asked.

“Right,” Flake confirmed.

Axios reported that Flake has been mentioned by Biden officials as a potential ambassador to South Africa or somewhere in Europe. McCain, who spoke at the Democratic National Convention and praised Biden, is reportedly under consideration as a potential ambassador to the United Kingdom.

President Biden stressed the importance of unity in his inaugural address, but so far has not appointed any Republicans to key positions in his administration. These nominations, if they happen, would be the most prominent Republican appointees in the Biden administration, but Flake and McCain are representative of only one faction of the Republican Party.

Both are prominent Never Trump voices who consistently opposed former President Donald Trump and his policies. Flake recently penned an op-ed writing that the Republicans in the U.S. Senate should have convicted Trump after the second impeachment trial and calling for the GOP to abandon loyalty to the former president.

“The vote to acquit [Trump] is the final act in the normalization of a President whose behavior was not normal, can never be acceptable, and culminated in a monstrous assault on American democracy,” Flake wrote.

Flake told CNN that he’s been pleased with Biden’s foreign policy and national security appointments.

“I’ve been pleased with the names that have come forward so far, particularly on their national security and foreign policy team. They’ve got some real seasoned, experienced hands there, and that’s great,” Flake said.

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ASSASSINATION CIA Foreign Policy Intelwars

The Omnipotent Power to Assassinate

It goes without saying that the Constitution called into existence a government with few, limited powers. That was the purpose of enumerating the powers of the federal government.

If the Constitution was bringing into existence a government of unlimited or omnipotent powers, then there would have been no point in enumerating a few limited powers. In that event, the Constitution would have called into existence a government with general, unlimited powers to do whatever was in the interests of the nation.

If the Constitution had proposed a government of omnipotent powers, there is no way the American people would have accepted it, in which case America would have continued operating under the Articles of Confederation. Our American ancestors didn’t want a government of omnipotent powers. They wanted a government of few, limited, enumerated powers.

Among the most omnipotent powers a government can wield is the power of government officials to assassinate people. Our American ancestors definitely did not want that type of government. That is why the power to assassinate is not among the enumerated powers of government in the Constitution.

Despite the enumerated-powers doctrine, our American ancestors were still leery. They knew that the federal government would inevitably attract people who would thirst for the power to assassinate people. So, to make certain that federal officials got the point, the American people enacted the Fifth Amendment after the Constitution was ratified. It expressly prohibited the federal government from taking any person’s life without due process of law.

Due process of law is a term that stretches all the way back to Magna Carta. At a minimum, it requires formal notice of charges and a trial before the government can take a person’s life. At the risk of belaboring the obvious, assassination involves taking a person’s life without notice or trial.

For some 150 years, the federal government lacked the power to assassinate people. For the last 75 years, however, the federal government has wielded and actually exercised the omnipotent power to assassinate, including against American citizens.

How did it acquire this omnipotent power? Certainly not by constitutional amendment. It acquired it by default — by converting the federal government after World War II from a limited-government republic to a national-security state.

A national-security state is a totalitarian form of governmental structure. North Korea is a national security state. So is Cuba. And China, Egypt, Russia, and Pakistan. And the United States, along with others.

A national-security state is based on a vast, all-powerful military-intelligence establishment, one that, as a practical matter, wields omnipotent powers. Thus, when the CIA, one of the principle components of America’s national-security state, was called into existence in 1947, it immediately assumed the power to assassinate. In fact, as early as 1952 the CIA published an assassination manual that demonstrates that the CIA was already specializing in the art of assassination (as well as cover-up) in the early years of the national-security state.

In 1954, the CIA instigated a coup in Guatemala on grounds of “national security.” The aim of the coup was to oust the country’s democratically elected president, Jacobo Arbenz, and replace him with a military general. As part of the coup, the CIA prepared a list of people to be assassinated. To this day, the CIA will not disclose the names of people on its kill list (on grounds of “national security,” of course) but it is a virtual certainty that President Arbenz was at the top of the list for establishing a foreign policy of peace and friendship with the communist world. To his good fortune, he was able to flee the country before they could assassinate him.

In 1970, the CIA was attempting to prevent Salvador Allende from becoming president of Chile. Like Arbenz, Allende’s foreign policy was based on establishing a peaceful and friendly relationship with the communist world. The CIA’s plan included inciting a coup led by the Chilean military. However, the overall commander of Chile’s armed forces, Gen. Rene Schneider, stood in the way. His position was that he had taken an oath to support and defend the constitution and, therefore, that he would not permit a coup to take place. The CIA conspired to have him violently kidnapped to remove him as an obstacle to the coup. During the kidnapping attempt, Schneider was shot dead.

Schneider’s family later filed suit for damages arising out of Schneider’s wrongful death. The federal judiciary refused to permit either U.S. officials or the CIA to be held accountable for Schneider’s death. Affirming the U.S. District Court’s summary dismissal of the case, the D.C. Court of Appeals held that U.S. officials who were involved in the crime could not be held liable since they were simply acting within the course and scope of their employment. Moreover, the U.S. government couldn’t be held liable because, the court stated, it is sovereignly immune.

Central to the Court’s holding was what it called the “political question doctrine.” It holds that under the Constitution, the judicial branch of the government is precluded from questioning any “political” or “foreign policy” decision taken by the executive branch.

Actually though, the Constitution says no such thing. It is in fact the responsibility of the judicial branch to enforce the Constitution against the other branches, including the national-security branch. That includes the Fifth Amendment, which expressly prohibits the federal government from taking people’s lives without due process of law.

So, why did the federal judiciary come up with this way to avoid taking on the CIA? Because it knew that once the federal government was converted to a national-security state, the federal government had fundamentally changed in nature by now having a branch that could exercise omnipotent powers, such as assassination, with impunity. The federal judiciary knew that there was no way that the judicial branch of government could, as a practical matter, stop the national-security branch with assassinating people. To maintain the veneer of judicial power, the judiciary came up with its ludicrous “political question doctrine” to explain why it wasn’t enforcing the Constitution

Once Pinochet took office after the coup in Chile, the Chilean judiciary did the same thing as the U.S. judiciary. It deferred to the power of the Pinochet military-intelligence government, declining to enforce the nation’s constitution against it. Like the U.S. judiciary, the Chilean judiciary recognized the reality of omnipotent power that comes with a national-security state. Many years later, the Chilean judiciary apologized to the Chilean people for abrogating its judicial responsibility.

The webpage for our upcoming conference “The National Security State and the Kennedy Assassination” is now live and taking registrations. Admission: free.

This article was originally published at the Future of Freedom Foundation and is republished here with permission.

The post The Omnipotent Power to Assassinate first appeared on Tenth Amendment Center.

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America is back Foreign Policy Intelwars ISIS Joe Biden Mike Pompeo

Biden declares ‘America is back.’ Mike Pompeo asks: ‘Back to when ISIS controlled a caliphate?’

President Joe Biden declared Thursday in a speech outlining his foreign policy priorities that “America is back.”

But former Secretary of State Mike Pompeo took issue with the president’s remarks, asking, “back to when ISIS controlled a caliphate?”

What are the details?

Biden made the statement during an address at the State Department, where he pledged, “We will repair our alliances and engage with the world once again, not to meet yesterday’s challenges, but today’s and tomorrow’s.”

“America is back. Diplomacy is back,” the president said, adding that after the Jan. 6 attack on the Capitol that the U.S. would rebound “stronger, more determined and better-equipped to unite the world in fighting to defend democracy because we have fought it for ourselves,” The Washington Post reported.

Pompeo, who served under President Donald Trump, told Fox News‘ Trey Gowdy in an interview later that Americans have already seen Biden’s record on foreign policy when he was vice president for President Barack Obama, and that it could be cause for concern.

“Does he mean back to when ISIS controlled a caliphate in Syria that was the size of Britain?” Pompeo said in response to Gowdy asking for his reaction. “I hope not. President Trump and our team took that down.”

The former secretary of state went on to ask:

When he says “back,” when America is back, does he mean back to letting China walk all over us, destroying millions of jobs in places like Kansas and South Carolina, that we know so well? I hope that’s not what he means by back. He talked about allies, when he said go back, does he mean back to dissing allies and friends like Israel and treating the terrorists in Iran like friends by giving them $150 billion in pallets of cash? I don’t think the American people can afford to go back to eight more years of Barack Obama’s foreign policy. I hope they’ll move forward with a foreign policy look much more like our America first foreign policy.


Pompeo slams Biden: America can’t go back to Obama-era foreign policy

www.youtube.com

Anything else?

The Post noted that Biden “sketched his traditional foreign policy views with a broad brush,” but a key takeaway from his speech was his pledge to end America’s support of the offensive in Yemen led by Saudi Arabia.

Biden declared that “the war has to end,” saying it ” has created a humanitarian and strategic catastrophe.”

The Associated Press noted:

The announcement on Yemen fulfills a campaign pledge. But it also shows Biden putting the spotlight on a major humanitarian crisis that the United States has helped aggravate. The reversing of policy also comes as a rebuke to Saudi Arabia, a global oil giant and U.S. strategic partner.

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democracy Foreign Policy Intelwars International news Myanmar Myanmar coup President joe biden

Watch: Woman appears to dance obliviously as Myanmar military instigates coup in background

A coup was staged in the Southeast Asian country of Myanmar Monday when the nation’s military detained democratically-elected leaders including Nobel Peace Prize-winner state counsellor Aung San Suu Kyi.

The BBC reports that military leaders are enforcing a night-time curfew in the country after declaring a one-year state of emergency as a pretext to seize power. U.S. President Joe Biden has condemned the coup and threatened new sanctions against the country.

In a video that’s beginning to spread virally on social media, a woman filmed herself doing an aerobics workout, oblivious to a convoy of military vehicles headed to the parliament building to seize control behind her.

Myanmar, formerly known as Burma, was ruled under a military dictatorship for 26 years from 1962 until 1988 when the country’s socialist military dictator was forced to step down amid nationwide protests. In the period following through the 1990s, Aung San Suu Kyi, the daughter of the nation’s modern founder Aung San, became an advocate for democracy, with her party winning free elections in 1990. But the military refused to cede power at the time, placing Suu Kyi under house arrest and remaining in power for another 22 years until 2011.

Between 2011 and 2015, the country began to slowly transition to a democracy, adopting a constitution that was drafted in 2008 and holding elections in 2015, in which Suu Kyi’s pro-democracy party was again victorious. The military never fully relinquished power, however, retaining a right to fill a quarter of the seats in the country’s parliament under the 2008 constitution.

Monday’s coup came on the day the country’s new parliamentary session was about to begin following the Nov. 8, 2020, Myanmar elections. In this election, Suu Kyi’s party won 396 out of 476 seats in parliament while the military’s party only won 33 seats.

According to the Associated Press, military leaders claim that the election was fraudulent and they’ve cited a law in the 2008 constitution that permits the military to seize power in times of national emergency. The Myanmar electoral commission said that the allegations of widespread fraud made by military leaders were not supported by evidence.

Earlier that day, the army’s TV station announced that power had been handed over to commander-in-chief Min Aung Hlaing. Suu Kyi, Myanmar President Win Myint and other leaders of their National League for Democracy (NLD) party were detained and the BBC reports it is unclear where they are being held.

So far no violence has been reported. After reports emerged that NLD leaders were detained, television, phone, and internet communications in the capital city of Naypyitaw were cut off. The military blocked roads in the city and passenger flights were grounded. Banks also said they were forced to close.

The coup has received international condemnation.

President Biden said the military’s actions were “a direct assault on the country’s transition to democracy and the rule of law” and promised restored sanctions against Myanmar.

“The United States will stand up for democracy wherever it is under attack,” he said in a statement.

U.N. Secretary-General António Guterres also said the coup was a “serious blow to democratic reforms” and called for an emergency meeting of the U.S. security council.

UK Prime Minister Boris Johnson condemned the “unlawful imprisonment” of pro-democracy leaders.

“The vote of the people must be respected and civilian leaders released,” he tweeted.

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Conservatives CURRENT EVENTS federal funding foreign aid Foreign Policy HYPOCRISY Intelwars

Conservative Hypocrisy on Foreign Aid

After initially threatening to veto it, Donald Trump signed into law a $2.3 trillion, 5,593-page spending bill that no member of Congress had read.

The “Consolidated Appropriations Act, 2021” (H.R.133), which is a combination of twelve annual funding bills, COVID-19 relief, and pounds and pounds of pork, passed the House in two separate votes of 327-85 and 359-53. The first vote was on appropriations for the federal departments of Commerce, Justice, Defense, Treasury, and Homeland Security, and some federal components, including the White House and the District of Columbia. The second vote included appropriations for the remainder of the federal government as well as coronavirus stimulus and relief and many other miscellaneous provisions. The bill passed the Senate by a vote of 92-6.

This bill funds the federal government through the end of the fiscal year (September 30, 2021) with $900 billion allocated for COVID-19 relief and a new $300 weekly supplement for the unemployed. But it also includes:

  • $4 billion for New York’s MTA as part of bailouts for mass-transit systems.
  • $15 billion earmarked toward grant programs for live entertainment venues such as Broadway.
  • $7 billion toward expanding broadband access.
  • $1.4 billion for the construction of a wall on the southern U.S. border.
  • $101 million to combat “the transnational threat of wildlife poaching and trafficking.”
  • New museums on the National Mall that will focus on Latinos and women.

And let’s not forget $25,000,000 for the Red Cross.

What is particularly egregious in this bill is the billions of dollars it appropriates for foreign aid, while Americans are each given a paltry $600 (unless the government decides that they make too much money, in which case they won’t get anything).

In Division K — “Department of State, Foreign Operations, and Related Programs Appropriations Act, 2021,” under Title II, “United States Agency for International Development” — here are some of the countries getting foreign aid and the amounts that they are getting:

  • Jordan — $1,650,000,000
  • Egypt — $1,300,000,000
  • Sudan — $700,000,000
  • Ukraine — $453,000,000
  • Israel — $500,000,000
  • Burma — $134,950,000
  • Nepal — $130,265,000
  • Cambodia — $85,505,000
  • Pakistan — $25,000,000

Senate Majority Leader Lindsey Graham (R-S.C.) defended foreign-aid spending as just “1 percent of all American spending.” “Pakistan is a place I really worry about,” he told Fox & Friends Tuesday. “Eighty-five countries a woman can’t open a bank account without her husband’s signature, she can’t inherit property [sic]. If you’re a young girl in Pakistan, life is pretty tough, so we’re trying to make life better for women throughout the world.”

Many conservatives denounced the bill for its billions in foreign-aid spending.

But why?

Since when do conservatives object to the U.S. government’s spending money on foreign aid? Not just moderate Republicans or RINOs, but self-proclaimed conservatives. I can remember callers to Rush Limbaugh’s radio show being told not to make an issue of foreign aid, since it is only a small part of the U.S. budget. But how is that any different from what Republicans such as Lindsey Graham say?

ForeignAssistance.gov claims to be “the U.S. government’s primary tool for making U.S. foreign assistance data available to the public.” It serves as “the central repository for a range of budgetary and financial data produced by U.S. government agencies that manage foreign assistance portfolios”:

Foreign assistance is aid given by the United States to other countries to support global peace, security, and development efforts, and provide humanitarian relief during times of crisis. It is a strategic, economic, and moral imperative for the United States and vital to U.S. national security.

The first U.S. aid program took shape after World War II when then Secretary of State George Marshall acted to provide significant aid to Europe after the war to assist the continent in rebuilding its infrastructure, strengthening its economy, and stabilizing the region. This led to the creation of several foreign assistance programs in subsequent years to build off the success of the Marshall Plan. The next milestone for foreign assistance occurred in 1961, when President Kennedy signed the Foreign Assistance Act into law and created the United States Agency for International Development (USAID). This marked a significant increase in U.S. foreign assistance efforts and USAID became the first U.S. foreign assistance agency whose primary focus was long-term global development to include economic and social progress.

Today, the U.S. manages foreign assistance programs in more than 100 countries around the world through the efforts of over 20 different U.S. government agencies. These investments further America’s foreign policy interests on issues ranging from expanding free markets, combating extremism, ensuring stable democracies, and addressing the root causes of poverty, while simultaneously fostering global good will.

Foreign-assistance funding is classified into nine categories, which are further detailed into 52 sectors. The categories are environment; humanitarian assistance; program management; multi-sector; peace and security; democracy, human rights, and governance; health; education and social services; and economic development.

According to ForeignAssistance.gov, here is what the United States spent on foreign aid in each of the last eight fiscal years:

  • 2020 — $27,064,353,440
  • 2019 — $34,779,516,730
  • 2018 — $32,931,513,141
  • 2017 — $34,278,435,721
  • 2016 — $40,321,782,361
  • 2015 — $34,463,138,249
  • 2014 — $28,499,626,933
  • 2013 — $27,454,812,743

Every penny given away to foreign countries had to first be appropriated by Congress. Conservative Republicans had a part in that as much as anyone else.

Oh, conservatives talk about reforming foreign aid, or withholding foreign aid if a country does something particularly amiss, but they have no philosophical objection to it. James Carafano, vice president for foreign and defense policy studies at the Heritage Foundation — a well-respected conservative think tank — wrote just before Christmas that spending on foreign aid was wrong, but only because it was included in the COVID-19 relief bill. He said that Americans are right to be “upset about Congress sticking foreign aid and other international affairs items in omnibus spending along with the COVID-19 relief bill.” But —

There is absolutely a place for foreign assistance in federal spending. The U.S. is a global power with global interests and global responsibilities. To look after Americans and their interests, sometimes it makes good sense to spend money over there, for the benefit of folks back home.

A good example of that is investment in the Three Seas Initiative. Not only will that help allies, in the end, the U.S. will actually turn a profit from our investments.

Another example: The Trump administration implemented a strong program in support of women in other countries, addressing issues such as property rights and rule-of-law reform, initiatives that will help those nations and make them better partners for the U.S.

It’s definitely part of a sound “America First” foreign policy.

These programs are realistic, with concrete deliverables promoting the values that Americans cherish, and they track right back to supporting American policy objectives that further U.S. interests.

Sorry Mr. Carafano, but there is no place for foreign assistance in federal spending.

Foreign-aid spending is not authorized by the Constitution. Article I, Section 8, Paragraph 1 of the Constitution reads: “The Congress shall have power to lay and collect taxes, duties, imposts and excises, to pay the debts and provide for the common defence and general welfare of the United States; but all duties, imposts and excises shall be uniform throughout the United States.” Spending on foreign aid has nothing to do with providing for the common defense and general welfare of the United States. The list of powers granted to the federal government in Article I, Section 8, Paragraphs 2–18 does not include the power to take money from Americans and give it to foreign governments.

Foreign-aid spending is not a legitimate purpose of the U.S. government. The purpose of government is supposed to be to protect the lives, liberties, and property of the people who form it. Providing welfare and relief is illegitimate. And if it is illegitimate for the U.S. government to provide welfare and relief to Americans, then it is even more illegitimate for the U.S. government to provide them to foreigners.

Foreign-aid spending is not something that Americans want to spend their money on. Shouldn’t they have a say in how their tax dollars are spent? The amount of foreign assistance that has been requested for six Central Asian countries for fiscal year 2021 is:

  • Afghanistan — $371.8 million
  • Uzbekistan — $35.24 million
  • Turkmenistan — $200 thousand
  • Kazakhstan — $1.7 million
  • Kyrgyzstan — $20 million
  • Tajikistan — $28.45 million

If they were asked, how many Americans would want to give $457.39 million of their hard-earned money to six counties that they can barely spell? How many doors would you have to knock on before you found one American willing to write a check or even give you some pocket change?

Foreign-aid spending just makes no sense. With millions of Americans out of work and suffering the effects of the federal, state, and local governments’ response to the COVID-19 “pandemic,” it makes absolutely no sense for the U.S. government to send billions to foreign countries and give Americans each a $600 check.

Foreign aid spending is not an investment. It is not a “moral imperative.” It is simply the looting of American taxpayers. If Americans are worried about Pakistan, then let them get out their checkbook. If Americans want to do something about women not being able to open bank accounts or inherit property, then let them make withdrawals from their bank accounts. If Americans want to make life better for women throughout the world, then let them put their money where their mouth is.

All foreign aid, like all domestic charity, should be individual, private, and voluntary.

No matter how many times conservatives recite their mantra of the Constitution, limited government, private property, and individual liberty; and no matter how much they talk about the private sector, free enterprise, personal responsibility, and the free market, they only selectively believe in those things.

As I have said and written on countless occasions, the only limited government wanted by conservatives is a government limited to control by conservatives.

The post Conservative Hypocrisy on Foreign Aid first appeared on Tenth Amendment Center.

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Ambassador jim jeffrey Foreign Policy Intelwars MIDDLE EAST SYRIA Trump administration Us troops in syria

Retiring Never-Trump diplomat: We’ve been lying to the Trump administration about how many US troops are still in Syria

An outgoing U.S. diplomat admitted in a recent interview with Defense One to lying to President Donald Trump and other senior administration officials about the true number of U.S. troops deployed in Syria in an effort to dissuade the president from withdrawing U.S. forces from the region.

Retiring Ambassador Jim Jeffrey, the U.S. special envoy for Syria, said that for years his team outright misled the Trump administration about troop levels deployed in the region.

“We were always playing shell games to not make clear to our leadership how many troops we had there,” Jeffrey told Defense One. He admitted that the actual number of U.S. military forces in northeast Syria is “a lot more than” the roughly 200 troops Trump agreed to station there in 2019.

In 2018, President Trump announced that the United States had defeated ISIS in Syria and subsequently declared that U.S. forces would be withdrawn from the region. At the time, more than 2,000 troops were stationed in the region. His declaration was met with opposition from several national security officials, the media, and even some Republican lawmakers, such as Sens. Lindsey Graham (S.C.) and Marco Rubio (Fla.). Trump’s decision prompted Secretary of Defense Jim Mattis to resign.

Jeffrey described the announcement as “the most controversial thing in my fifty years in government.”

Trump’s policy change was ultimately reversed after Jeffrey and his team convinced the president to keep a residual force in Syria to prevent ISIS from regrouping and keep Russia and Syria from expanding their territory.

“What Syria withdrawal? There was never a Syria withdrawal,” Jeffrey said. “When the situation in northeast Syria had been fairly stable after we defeated ISIS, [Trump] was inclined to pull out. In each case, we then decided to come up with five better arguments for why we needed to stay. And we succeeded both times. That’s the story.”

Trump reportedly agreed to keep somewhere between 200 and 400 troops in Syria, but anonymous sources who spoke to Defense One say there are closer to 900 U.S. troops serving in Syria today. The exact figure is classified and it would seem not even the president of the United States, the commander-in-chief of the armed forces, knows how many troops are stationed there.

CNN chief national security correspondent Jim Sciutto’s reporting corroborated Jeffrey’s claims, tweeting that senior Department of Defense officials who spoke with him for his book, “The Madman Theory” explained how they “fooled” Trump into leaving troops deployed in Syria.

Jeffrey, a career bureaucrat, began his service in the Trump administration as an opponent of the president. He was one of several U.S. national security officials who signed a letter in 2016 declaring their opposition to Trump’s candidacy for president.

“I know what I did in 2016, I do not disagree with that,” said Jeffrey. “I was following closely the situation with Iran, Iraq and Syria, and I was appalled that we didn’t have a more coherent policy. This wasn’t a political decision.”

He now believes that Trump’s Middle-East policy has actually improved the region and he hopes that former Vice President Joe Biden will continue Trump’s policies should he ultimately prevail in the 2020 election.

“Nobody really wants to see President Trump go, among all our allies [in the Middle East],” he said. “The truth is President Trump and his policies are quite popular among all of our popular states in the region. Name me one that’s not happy.”

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Dni john ratcliffe Elecion 2020 election interference Foreign Policy Intelwars Iran Russia US intelligence

DNI Ratcliffe says Iran sent fake emails to US voters; Democrats are skeptical

At a press conference Wednesday evening, Director of National Intelligence John Ratcliffe announced the U.S. government believes Russia and Iran have acquired voter registration information and are attempting to influence the 2020 U.S. election.

Ratcliffe’s announcement followed reports that voters in Florida and Alaska received intimidating emails threatening them to support President Donald Trump.

“We have identified that two foreign actors, Iran and Russia, have taken specific actions to influence public opinion relating to our elections,” Ratcliffe said at an abruptly scheduled press conference on election security with FBI Director Christopher Wray.

“First, we have confirmed that some voter registration information has been obtained by Iran and separately by Russia. This data can be used by foreign actors to attempt to communicate false information to registered voters that they hope will cause confusion, sow chaos, and undermine your confidence in American democracy,” he continued. “To that end, we have already seen Iran sending spoofed emails designed to intimidate voters, incite social unrest, and damage President Trump. You may have seen some reporting on this in the last 24 hours or you may have even been one of the recipients of those emails.”

Watch:


BREAKING: DNI John Ratcliffe WARNS that Iran and Russia are seeking to influence election

www.youtube.com

Ratcliffe also accused Iran of distributing a video with false information about fraudulent ballots.

“Iran is distributing other content to include a video that implies that individuals could cast fraudulent ballots, even from overseas. This video and any claims about such allegedly fraudulent ballots are not true,” he said.

“These actions are desperate attempts by desperate adversaries. Even if the adversaries pursue further attempts to intimidate or attempt to undermine voter confidence, know that our election systems are resilient, and you can be confident your votes are secure. Although we have not seen the same actions from Russia, we are aware that they have obtained some voter information, just as they did in 2016. Rest assured that we are prepared for the possibility of actions by those hostile to democracy.”

FBI Director Wray said the Bureau is taking the lead in investigating criminal activity threatening the election and assured Americans that they should be “confident” that their votes are counted.

“We’re not going to tolerate foreign interference in our elections or any criminal activity that threatens the sanctity of your vote or undermines public confidence in the outcome of the election,” he said.

The press conference was held after voters in some states alerted election officials to efforts to intimidate them into supporting President Trump.

On Tuesday, election officials in Florida and Alaska contacted law enforcement after registered Democratic voters reported receiving threatening emails telling them to “Vote for Trump or else!” CNN reported that the emails appeared to be sent from addresses associated with the “alt-right” group the “Proud Boys.” The chairman of the Proud Boys, Enrique Tarrio, denied that his group sent the emails when contacted by CNN and said they were working with the FBI to identify who was impersonating them.

“We have spoken to the FBI and are working with them. I hope whoever did this is arrested for voter intimidation and for maliciously impersonating our group,” Tarrio said.

CNN obtained one of the emails and reached out to John Scott-Railton, a senior researcher at the University of Toronto’s Citizen Lab, to have it analyzed. According to Scott-Railton, the email was sent using foreign internet infrastructure.

“This isn’t someone with a fake email account sending messages. This is an operation. The questions will be: how big was it, how many were targeted, and how well were tracks covered,” he said.

“It appears that the operators likely leveraged multiple insecure servers that they probably didn’t own in different countries, including Saudi Arabia, to send messages.”

Democrats have received Ratcliffe’s conclusions with skepticism, accusing the former GOP congressman of trying to downplay evidence of Russian interference in the election on behalf of President Trump.

House Speaker Nancy Pelosi (D-Calif.) said Thursday that Russia, not Iran, was he real threat.

“Everything that we’ve seen here in the public domain does not justify the statements that we heard yesterday,” Pelosi said, according to Reuters.

“Russia is the villain here. From what we’ve seen in the public domain, Iran is a bad actor, but in no way equivalent,” she added.

Sen. Chris Murphy (D-Conn.), who sits on the Senate Foreign Relations committee, accused the Trump administration of “trying to bury” evidence of election interference by Russia.

“All year, the Trump administration has been desperately trying to bury information about Russian interference and overhype efforts by Iran and China. The truth is simple – only Russia has both the capability and intent to significantly disrupt our election,” he said in a statement. “If Director Ratcliffe is serious when he says we will not allow foreign interference in our elections, then this administration would actually do something to deter the Kremlin rather than withhold information about Russian interference and create false equivalences with other nation’s efforts.”

House Intelligence Committee Chairman Adam Schiff (D-Calif.) told MSNBC Wednesday that the threatening emails “appear to be an effort to suppress the Democratic vote, or an effort to inflame the Democratic vote, or simply to sow chaos.”

He disputed Ratcliffe’s characterization of Iran’s efforts as damaging to Trump, claiming that the Iranian video spreading misinformation about fraudulent ballots sounded like a “Trump talking point.”

“It’s hard to see how that could be hurtful to the president,” Schiff said. “We don’t know if this is just Ratcliffe’s spin, or whether it is the assessment of the analysts.”

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Bill stepien Donald Trump Election 2020 Foreign Policy Intelwars presidential debate trump campaign

READ: Trump campaign shreds presidential debate commission for breaking tradition on foreign policy

President Donald Trump’s campaign wants the Commission on Presidential Debates to “recalibrate” the topics for the final presidential debate to include foreign policy, a topic that would allow Trump to pressure Vice President Joe Biden on his son’s foreign business dealings.

In a letter sent Monday, Trump campaign manager Bill Stepien wrote “with great concern” to the debate commission to object to the exclusion of foreign policy in the final debate. The current debate topics, announced last Friday, were selected by moderator Kristen Welker, a NBC News White House correspondent. They are: “Fighting COVID-19,” “American Families,” “Race in America,” “Climate Change,” “National Security” and “Leadership.”

“The topics announced by Kristen Welker … are serious and worthy of discussion, but only a few of them even touch on foreign policy,” Stepien wrote. “As is the longstanding custom, and as had been promised by the Commission on Presidential Debates, we had expected that foreign policy would be the central focus of the October 22 debate. We urge you to recalibrate the topics and return to subjects which had already been confirmed.”

“We understand that Joe Biden is desperate to avoid conversations about his own foreign policy record,” the letter continued, going on to tout Trump’s foreign policy accomplishments and criticize Biden’s record.

Stepien, referring to recent allegations made against Biden in reports published by the New York Post, accuses Biden of being a “financial beneficiary of a deal arranged by his son Hunter and a communist Chinese-related energy company.” He also accused the debate commission of protecting Biden from facing questions on his record.

“It is completely irresponsible for the Commission to alter the focus of this final debate just days before the event, solely to insulate Biden from his own history,” Stepien wrote.

He accused the CPD of engaging in other “pro-Biden antics.”

“The Commission’s pro-Biden antics have turned the entire debate season into a fiasco and it is little wonder why the public has lost its faith in objectivity,” he said.

“For the good of campaign integrity, and for the benefit of the American people, we urge you to rethink and reissue a set of topics for the October 22 debate with an emphasis on foreign policy. This is what the campaigns had agreed to and it has been the tradition of past campaigns,” the letter concluded. “We await your immediate reply to these concerns. We further advise you that there is no reason to consult with the Biden campaign before replying because we all know what they think.”

The final presidential debate between Trump and Biden is scheduled to take place on Thursday, Oct. 22, at 9 p.m. ET at Belmont University in Nashville, Tennessee. The debate will follow the format of the first debate, devoting 15 minutes to each topic and providing each candidate with two minutes to respond to prompts from the moderator.

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democratic party Election 2020 Foreign Policy Intelwars Joe Biden Russia Vladimir Putin

Russian President Putin favorably compares Biden and Democrats to Soviet Communists

Russian President Vladimir Putin favorably compared presidential candidate Joe Biden and the Democratic Party to Soviet communism in an interview with the Rossiya TV channel released Wednesday.

Putin once again denied that the Russian government interfered in the 2016 U.S. election and pledged to work with whomever wins the 2020 election, Newsweek reported. But he favorably remarked on the Democratic Party’s ideology, comparing it to the old Soviet Union’s Communist Party, and said those shared values may be a “basis for developing contacts” with Biden should he win the White House.

“The Democratic Party is traditionally closer to the so-called liberal values, closer to social democratic ideas,” Putin said. “And it was from the social democratic environment that the Communist Party evolved.”

“After all, I was a member of the Soviet Communist Party for nearly 20 years,” Putin added. “I was a rank-and-file member, but it can be said that I believed in the party’s ideas. I still like many of these left-wing values. Equality and fraternity. What is bad about them? In fact, they are akin to Christian values.

“Yes, they are difficult to implement, but they are very attractive, nevertheless,” he continued. “In other words, this can be seen as an ideological basis for developing contacts with the Democratic representative.”

Putin also noted the Soviet Union rhetorically supported the civil rights movement for black Americans and suggested this is another common value he shares with the American left-wing in the context of Black Lives Matter protests in the United States.

Black Americans “constitute a stable electorate” for Democrats, Putin said. “The Soviet Union also supported the African Americans’ movement for their legitimate rights.”

He also tied the civil rights movement to communist ideology.

“Back in the 1930s, Communist International leaders wrote that both black and white workers had a common enemy — imperialism and capitalism. They also wrote that these people could become the most effective group in the future revolutionary battle,” Putin said.

“So, this is something that can be seen, to a degree, as common values, if not a unifying agent for us,” he explained. “People of my generation remember a time when huge portraits of Angela Davis, a member of the U.S. Communist Party and an ardent fighter for the rights of African Americans, were on view around the Soviet Union.”

Although Putin noted Biden has used “sharp anti-Russia rhetoric” against Russian election meddling and Russia’s foreign policy, he specifically identified nuclear arms control as an area he’s ready to partner with Biden, should the Democratic candidate win.

“Candidate Biden has said openly that he was ready to extend the New START or to sign a new strategic offensive reductions treaty,” Putin said. “This is already a very significant element of our potential future cooperation.”

He reiterated his willingness to work with Trump or Biden, whomever wins.

“I would like to repeat what I have said more than once before. We will work with any future president of the United States, the one whom the American people give their vote of confidence,” Putin said.

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Abraham accords Bahrain Foreign Policy Intelwars ISRAEL MIDDLE EAST Peace agreement President Trump Terrorism United Arab Emirates WHITE HOUSE

Palestinian militants fire rockets at Israel as historic peace agreement is signed at White House

A rocket attack launched by Palestinian militants in the Gaza Strip wounded two people in Israel Tuesday as the Middle East’s lone Jewish state signed an agreement to normalize relations with two of its Arab neighbors at the White House. The attack was apparently coordinated to coincide with the signing of the agreement.

According to an Associated Press report, the Israeli military said two rockets were fired from Gaza and one was intercepted by air defenses. Israeli emergency services treated two people for minor injuries from broken glass.

Earlier, Israeli Defense Forces issued an alert for rocket sirens sounding in Ashdod and Ashkelon, cities in the southern region of Israel near the Gaza Strip.

The Palestinians, ruled by the Islamic terrorist group Hamas, are opposed to the Israeli agreements with the United Arab Emirates and Bahrain to normalize relations without forcing Israel to cede its sovereignty over territory the Palestinians claim as their own. Historically, most Arab nations have sided with the Palestinians in this conflict, but the Trump administration managed to broker agreements that put aside the issue for now. The Palestinians consider this a betrayal.

The agreement signed at the White House, known as the “Abraham Accords” to honor the patriarch of Judaism, Christianity, and Islam, declares peace and formally normalizes diplomatic relations between Israel and the UAE and Bahrain.

While the text of the agreement has not been made public, Israeli officials reportedly told The Jerusalem Post it will not go into effect until the Israeli cabinet ratifies the agreement and UAE officials reportedly said there will be references to a two-state solution.

President Trump declared the agreement “the dawn of a new Middle East” in a speech delivered at the signing ceremony.

“We’re here this afternoon to change the course of history. After decades of division and conflict, we mark the dawn of a new Middle East,” Trump said.

“Thanks to the great courage of the leaders of these three countries, we take a major stride toward a future in which people of all faiths and backgrounds live together in peace and prosperity,” he said.

The president said the accord “will serve as the foundation for a comprehensive peace across the entire region.”

Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu said this moment marked a “pivot of history” and a “new dawn of peace,” praising President Trump for his work on the agreement.

“To all of Israel’s friends in the Middle East, those who are with us today and those who will join us tomorrow, I say, ‘As-salamu alaykum.’ Peace unto thee. Shalom,” Netanyahu said.

“The blessings of peace that we make today will be enormous,” he continued, “first because this peace will eventually expand to include other Arab states, and ultimately, it can end the Arab-Israel conflict once and for all.”

UAE Foreign Minister Sheikh Abdullah bin Zayed Al Nahyan added more optimistic remarks, saying “We are witnessing today a new trend that will create a new path for the Middle East.”

But he also spoke to the Palestinian people, noting the Abraham Accords “will enable us to stand with the Palestinians and enable their hopes of establishing a Palestinian state” and thanking Netanyahu for “halting annexation of Palestinian territories.”

Those overtures to the Palestinians may fall on deaf ears. According to the AP, in addition to the rocket attacks Palestinians expressed their outrage in the West Bank and in Gaza by trampling on and setting fires to pictures of Trump, Netanyahu, and the leaders of the UAE and Bahrain.

The peace accords were not well-received in Bahrain either, where the AP reports the Shiite opposition group Al-Wefaq released a statement condemning normalized relations with the “Zionist entity.”

Nevertheless, President Trump has promoted the deal as the first step in reaching a broad agreement to secure peace in the Middle East. In an interview with “Fox & Friends” Tuesday morning, Trump said his administration is negotiating with several other Arab states and predicted that Palestine “will come to the table” when everyone else is on board.

“They’re actually getting to a point where they’re going to want to make a deal. They won’t say that outwardly. They want to make a deal,” Trump said. “Otherwise, they will be left out in the cold.”

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Chris Murphy Congress defense Foreign Policy Intelwars Iran Iranian foreign minister Javad ziraf Logan Act meeting murphy secret secret meeting Soleimani trump United States Ziraf

Democratic Sen. Chris Murphy admits to meeting with Iranian Foreign Minister Javad Zarif. His explanation raises more questions than answers.

Sen. Chris Murphy (D-Conn.), hoping to quell speculation of wrongdoing, has formally responded to reports that he held a secret meeting with Iranian Foreign Minister Javad Ziraf last week. But his explanation may raise more questions than it answers.

What’s the background?

The Federalist first reported Monday that Murphy and other Democratic senators held a “secret” meeting with Zarif last week at the annual Munich Security Conference. The news immediately began to circulate in the media and led to speculation as to whether Murphy had undermined U.S. foreign policy or even potentially violated the Logan Act by holding the meeting.

The Logan Act is a federal law that forbids unauthorized American citizens from negotiating with foreign governments in a dispute with the United States.

Tuesday morning, Secretary of State Mike Pompeo commented on the reports, seeming to scold Murphy and his Democratic colleagues for meeting with Zarif, who, Pompeo noted, is “the foreign minister of a country that killed an American on December 27” and “is the largest world sponsor of terror and the world’s largest sponsor of anti-Semitism.”

“If they met, I don’t know what they said. I hope they were reinforcing America’s foreign policy and not their own,” Pompeo added.

What is Sen. Murphy saying?

Murphy had not commented on the news until late Tuesday morning when he published a behind-the-scenes account of his trip on Medium, along with additional thoughts in a brief Twitter thread.

In the senator’s account, he said that he has “no delusions about Iran” and even characterizes Iran as an “enemy” and “adversary” of the United States. But he adds: “Discussions and negotiations are a way to ease tensions and reduce the chances for crisis,” before concluding that “Trump, of course, has no such interests.”

Then Murphy confirmed that the meeting happened and commented at length about its subject matter:

I plan to meet Zarif Saturday night in his hotel suite, and I have several goals for the meeting. First, I want to gauge whether he thinks the reprisals for the Soleimani assassination are over, and I want to make sure it is 100 percent clear to him that if any groups in Iraq that are affiliated with Iran attack the United States’ forces in Iraq, this will be perceived as an unacceptable escalation. Zarif may not have control over Iran’s military decisions, but he is the country’s chief diplomat and I want him to know that our government is united on this point.

Second, I want his help in Yemen. I tell him that I know it is not a coincidence that the recent uptick in attacks from Iranian-aligned Houthis in Yemen started right after the Soleimani killing. I tell him that Iran shouldn’t let the Houthis waste an opportunity for peace. Of course, he predictably tells me that it’s the Saudis, not the Houthis, that are holding up progress on peace talks …

… Lastly, I raise the issue of American prisoners held in Iran. He is ready for this inquiry — he already knows how much I care about releasing innocent Americans from custody — and we spend a few minutes discussing how the situation could be resolved.

A regular reading of Murphy’s account could plausibly characterize the conversation as a negotiation. In a follow-up tweet, Murphy used words like “urged,” “pressed,” and “pushed” in describing his stance toward Zarif at the meeting.

“Congress is a co-equal branch to the executive. We set foreign policy too,” he added in the Twitter thread, before acknowledging that “no one in Congress can negotiate with Zarif or carry official U.S. government messages.”

In a concluding statement about the meeting in his account on Medium, Murphy seems to backpedal a bit, saying he’s “just a rank and file U.S. Senator.”

I don’t know whether my visit with Zarif will make a difference. I’m not the President or the Secretary of State — I’m just a rank and file U.S. Senator. I cannot conduct diplomacy on behalf of the whole of the U.S. government, and I don’t pretend to be in a position to do so. But if Trump isn’t going to talk to Iran, then someone should. And Congress is a co-equal branch of government, responsible along with the Executive for setting foreign policy. A lack of dialogue leaves nations guessing about their enemy’s intentions, and guessing wrong can lead to catastrophic mistakes.

Yet, one potentially troublesome line from the statement is Murphy’s assertion that “if Trump isn’t going to talk to Iran, then someone should.”

Anything else?

Perhaps none of this would be a problem had Murphy been more forthright about the meeting and his motivations for holding it before it took place. TheBlaze reached out to Sen. Murphy’s office, requesting comments regarding allegations that the meeting was conducted in secret and that it potentially violated federal law.

In an email response, the senator’s communications director, Lia Albini, directed us to the Medium publication and Twitter thread cited above, but did not address the specific requests for comment.

So, in a follow-up email, TheBlaze pressed again for specific responses to whether the meeting was intended to be secretive and if the senator had thoughts about allegations that he violated the Logan Act. In addition, TheBlaze sought to know if other congressional colleagues were present with Murphy at the meeting.

Murphy’s team did not respond to our request for comment in time for publication.

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Amy Klobuchar Foreign Policy Intelwars mexico Mexico president obrador Political gotcha Sen. amy klobuchar Telemundo

Amy Klobuchar embarrassed by foreign policy question from Telemundo interviewer

Presidential candidate Sen. Amy Klobuchar (D-Minn.) suffered an embarrassing moment when she was quizzed on the name of the president of Mexico during an interview with a Spanish language news network.

Klobuchar was unable to remember the president’s name, despite Mexico being the third largest trading partner to the United States.

“Can you tell me his name?” asked Guadalupe Venegas of Telemundo.

“No,” she responded simply.

California billionaire Tom Steyer also failed the global leader gotcha test, but South Bend, Ind., Mayor Pete Buttigieg was able to recall Andrés Manuel López Obrador’s last name.

Obrador has also made headlines as the media in Mexico has painted him as the country’s version of President Donald Trump. While he has criticized Trump for comments he’s made about migrants, Obrador has also cooperated with demands from Trump that he pressure migrants from Central America to stay in Mexico.

Telemundo is an American Spanish language news network owned by Comcast through NBCUniversal.

Klobuchar’s campaign got a much-needed lifeline when she came in
third place in the New Hampshire primary, just behind Sen. Bernie Sanders (I-Vt.) and Buttigieg.

ABC news campaign reporter Will Steakin
noted that Klobuchar had voted in favor of the United States–Mexico-Canada Agreement (USMCA), but could not name the president.

Here’s the video of the exchange:



www.youtube.com

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Foreign Policy Intelwars militarism War

No, the Government Shouldn’t Be Using the Military to Police the Globe

“Of all the enemies to public liberty war is, perhaps, the most to be dreaded because it comprises and develops the germ of every other. War is the parent of armies; from these proceed debts and taxes… known instruments for bringing the many under the domination of the few.… No nation could preserve its freedom in the midst of continual warfare.”
-James Madison

Eventually, all military empires fall and fail by spreading themselves too thin and spending themselves to death.

It happened in Rome.

It’s happening again.

At the height of its power, even the mighty Roman Empire could not stare down a collapsing economy and a burgeoning military. Prolonged periods of war and false economic prosperity largely led to its demise. As historian Chalmers Johnson predicts:

The fate of previous democratic empires suggests that such a conflict is unsustainable and will be resolved in one of two ways. Rome attempted to keep its empire and lost its democracy. Britain chose to remain democratic and in the process let go its empire. Intentionally or not, the people of the United States already are well embarked upon the course of non-democratic empire.

The American Empire—with its endless wars waged by U.S. military servicepeople who have been reduced to little more than guns for hire: outsourced, stretched too thin, and deployed to far-flung places to police the globe—is approaching a breaking point.

War has become a huge money-making venture, and America, with its vast military empire and its incestuous relationship with a host of international defense contractors, is one of its best buyers and sellers. In fact, as Reuters reports, “[President] Trump has gone further than any of his predecessors to act as a salesman for the U.S. defense industry.”

Under Trump’s leadership, the U.S. military is dropping a bomb every 12 minutes.

This follows on the heels of President Obama, the so-called antiwar candidate and Nobel Peace Prize winner who waged war longer than any American president and whose targeted-drone killings resulted in at least 1.3 million lives lost to the U.S.-led war on terror.

Most recently, the Trump Administration signaled its willingness to put the lives of American troops on the line in order to guard Saudi Arabia’s oil resources. Roughly 200 American troops will join the 500 troops already stationed in Saudi Arabia. That’s in addition to the 60,000 U.S. troops that have been deployed throughout the Middle East for decades.

As The Washington Post points out, “The United States is now the world’s largest producer — and its reliance on Saudi imports has dropped dramatically, including by 50 percent in the past two years alone.”

So if we’re not protecting the oil for ourselves, whose interests are we protecting?

The military industrial complex is calling the shots, of course, and profit is its primary objective.

The military-industrial complex is also the world’s largest employer.

America has long had a penchant for endless wars that empty our national coffers while fattening those of the military industrial complex.

Aided and abetted by the U.S government, the American military-industrial complex has erected an empire unsurpassed in history in its breadth and scope, one dedicated to conducting perpetual warfare throughout the earth.

Although the U.S. constitutes only 5% of the world’s population, America boasts almost 50% of the world’s total military expenditure, spending more on the military than the next 19 biggest spending nations combined. Indeed, the Pentagon spends more on war than all 50 states combined spend on health, education, welfare, and safety.

Unfortunately, this level of war-mongering doesn’t come cheap to the taxpayers who are forced to foot the bill.

Having been co-opted by greedy defense contractors, corrupt politicians and incompetent government officials, America’s expanding military empire is bleeding the country dry at a rate of more than $32 million per hour.

In fact, the U.S. government has spent more money every five seconds in Iraq than the average American earns in a year.

With more than 800 U.S. military bases in 80 countries, the U.S. is now operating in 40 percent of the world’s nations at a cost of $160 to $200 billion annually.

Despite the fact that Congress has only officially declared war eleven times in the nation’s short history, the last time being during World War II, the United States has been at war for all but 21 of the past 243 years.

It’s cost the American taxpayer more than $4.7 trillion since 2001 to fight the government’s so-called “war on terrorism.” That’s in addition to “$127 billion in the last 17 years to train police, military and border patrol agents in many countries and to develop antiterrorism education programs, among other activities.” That does not include the cost of maintaining and staffing the 800-plus U.S. military bases spread around the globe.

The cost of perpetuating those endless wars and military exercises around the globe is expected to push the total bill upwards of $12 trillion by 2053.

The U.S. government is spending money it doesn’t have on a military empire it can’t afford.

As investigative journalist Uri Friedman puts it, for more than 15 years now, the United States has been fighting terrorism with a credit card, “essentially bankrolling the wars with debt, in the form of purchases of U.S. Treasury bonds by U.S.-based entities like pension funds and state and local governments, and by countries like China and Japan.”

War is not cheap, but it becomes outrageously costly when you factor in government incompetence, fraud, and greedy contractors.

For example, a leading accounting firm concluded that one of the Pentagon’s largest agencies “can’t account for hundreds of millions of dollars’ worth of spending.”

Unfortunately, the outlook isn’t much better for the spending that can be tracked.

Consider that the government lost more than $160 billion to waste and fraud by the military and defense contractors. With paid contractors often outnumbering enlisted combat troops, the American war effort dubbed as the “coalition of the willing” has quickly evolved into the “coalition of the billing,” with American taxpayers forced to cough up billions of dollars for cash bribes, luxury bases, a highway to nowhere, faulty equipment, salaries for so-called “ghost soldiers,” and overpriced anything and everything associated with the war effort, including a $640 toilet seat and a $7600 coffee pot.

A government audit found that defense contractor Boeing has been massively overcharging taxpayers for mundane parts, resulting in tens of millions of dollars in overspending. As the report noted, the American taxpayer paid:

$71 for a metal pin that should cost just 4 cents; $644.75 for a small gear smaller than a dime that sells for $12.51: more than a 5,100 percent increase in price. $1,678.61 for another tiny part, also smaller than a dime, that could have been bought within DoD for $7.71: a 21,000 percent increase. $71.01 for a straight, thin metal pin that DoD had on hand, unused by the tens of thousands, for 4 cents: an increase of over 177,000 percent.

That price gouging has become an accepted form of corruption within the American military empire is a sad statement on how little control “we the people” have over our runaway government.

There’s a good reason why “bloated,” “corrupt” and “inefficient” are among the words most commonly applied to the government, especially the Department of Defense and its contractors. Price gouging has become an accepted form of corruption within the American military empire.

It’s not just the American economy that is being gouged, unfortunately.

Driven by a greedy defense sector, the American homeland has been transformed into a battlefield with militarized police and weapons better suited to a war zone. Trump, no different from his predecessors, has continued to expand America’s military empire abroad and domestically, calling on Congress to approve billions more to hire cops, build more prisons and wage more profit-driven war-on-drugs/war-on-terrorism/war-on-crime programs that pander to the powerful money interests (military, corporate and security) that run the Deep State and hold the government in its clutches.

Mind you, this isn’t just corrupt behavior. It’s deadly, downright immoral behavior.

Essentially, in order to fund this burgeoning military empire that polices the globe, the U.S. government is prepared to bankrupt the nation, jeopardize our servicemen and women, increase the chances of terrorism and blowback domestically, and push the nation that much closer to eventual collapse.

Making matters worse, taxpayers are being forced to pay $1.4 million per hour to provide U.S. weapons to countries that can’t afford them. As Mother Jones reports, the Pentagon’s Foreign Military Finance program “opens the way for the US government to pay for weapons for other countries—only to ‘promote world peace,’ of course—using your tax dollars, which are then recycled into the hands of military-industrial-complex corporations.”

Clearly, our national priorities are in desperate need of an overhauling.

As Los Angeles Times reporter Steve Lopez rightly asks:

Why throw money at defense when everything is falling down around us? Do we need to spend more money on our military (about $600 billion this year) than the next seven countries combined? Do we need 1.4 million active military personnel and 850,000 reserves when the enemy at the moment — ISIS — numbers in the low tens of thousands? If so, it seems there’s something radically wrong with our strategy. Should 55% of the federal government’s discretionary spending go to the military and only 3% to transportation when the toll in American lives is far greater from failing infrastructure than from terrorism? Does California need nearly as many active military bases (31, according to militarybases.com) as it has UC and state university campuses (33)? And does the state need more active duty military personnel (168,000, according to Governing magazine) than public elementary school teachers (139,000)?

The illicit merger of the global armaments industry and the Pentagon that President Dwight D. Eisenhower warned us against more than 50 years ago has come to represent perhaps the greatest threat to the nation’s fragile infrastructure today.

The government is destabilizing the economy, destroying the national infrastructure through neglect and a lack of resources, and turning taxpayer dollars into blood money with its endless wars, drone strikes and mounting death tolls.

This is exactly the scenario Eisenhower warned against when he cautioned the citizenry not to let the profit-driven war machine endanger our liberties or democratic processes:

“Every gun that is made, every warship launched, every rocket fired signifies, in the final sense, a theft from those who hunger and are not fed, those who are cold and are not clothed. This world in arms is not spending money alone. It is spending the sweat of its laborers, the genius of its scientists, the hopes of its children. The cost of one modern heavy bomber is this: a modern brick school in more than 30 cities. It is two electric power plants, each serving a town of 60,000 population. It is two fine, fully equipped hospitals. It is some fifty miles of concrete pavement. We pay for a single fighter plane with a half million bushels of wheat. We pay for a single destroyer with new homes that could have housed more than 8,000 people. This is, I repeat, the best way of life to be found on the road the world has been taking. This is not a way of life at all, in any true sense. Under the cloud of threatening war, it is humanity hanging from a cross of iron.”

We failed to heed Eisenhower’s warning.

The illicit merger of the armaments industry and the government that Eisenhower warned against has come to represent perhaps the greatest threat to the nation today.

What we have is a confluence of factors and influences that go beyond mere comparisons to Rome. It is a union of Orwell’s 1984 with its shadowy, totalitarian government—i.e., fascism, the union of government and corporate powers—and a total surveillance state with a military empire extended throughout the world.

This is how tyranny rises and freedom falls.

As I make clear in my book Battlefield America: The War on the American People, the growth of and reliance on militarism as the solution for our problems both domestically and abroad bodes ill for the constitutional principles which form the basis of the American experiment in freedom.

After all, a military empire ruled by martial law does not rely on principles of equality and justice for its authority but on the power of the sword. As author Aldous Huxley warned: “Liberty cannot flourish in a country that is permanently on a war footing, or even a near-war footing. Permanent crisis justifies permanent control of everybody and everything by the agencies of the central government.”

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