Tag Archives: Syria

About last night: What is the Trump foreign policy? (updated)

The other day I posed the question about the Trump administration’s nascent foreign policy: “Are we now going from the Realpolitik foreign policy announced just last week, as the New York Times analyzes today, For Trump, a Focus on U.S. Interests and a Disdain for Moralizing, to a return to the Bush Doctrine of unilateral military action?”

With last night’s impulsive “do something” missile strikes on a Syrian air base, we still do not have an answer. Acting on Instinct, Trump Upends His Own Foreign Policy.

The New York Times analyzes, Trump’s Far-Right Supporters Turn on Him Over Syria Strike:

Some of President Trump’s most ardent campaign supporters were among his most vocal opponents on Thursday after he ordered the missile strike against Syria, charging him with breaking his promise to keep the United States out of another conflict in the Middle East.

Prominent writers and bloggers on the far right attacked Mr. Trump. They accused him of turning against his voters by waging an attack that he had for years said would be a terrible idea. They also criticized him for launching the strike without first seeking congressional approval — something he said on Twitter in 2013 would be a “big mistake.”

The most vocal in their outrage were leaders from the small but influential white nationalist movement.

Paul Joseph Watson, an editor at the conspiracy theorist site Infowars, said on Twitter that Trump “was just another deep state/neocon puppet.” He added, “I’m officially OFF the Trump train.”

Richard Spencer, a far-right activist and white nationalist who coined the term “alt-right,” said he condemned the attack and hinted at supporting another presidential candidate in 2020: Representative Tulsi Gabbard of Hawaii, a Democrat. Ms. Gabbard met with President Bashar al-Assad of Syria in January and on Thursday criticized the missile strike as shortsighted and reckless.

For some on the far right, particularly those who are pro-Russia, Mr. Trump’s strike crossed a [red] line.

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Syrian war crimes, Russian complicity, and the U.S. response

Last week, U.S. Ambassador to the United Nations, Nikki Haley, announced a major shift in U.S. Policy towards Syria: U.S. priority on Syria no longer focused on ‘getting Assad out’:

The United States’ diplomatic policy on Syria for now is no longer focused on making the war-torn country’s president, Bashar al-Assad, leave power, the U.S. ambassador to the United Nations said on Thursday, in a departure from the Obama administration’s initial and public stance on Assad’s fate.

The view of the Trump administration is also at odds with European powers, who insist Assad must step down. The shift drew a strong rebuke from at least two Republican senators.

“You pick and choose your battles and when we’re looking at this, it’s about changing up priorities and our priority is no longer to sit there and focus on getting Assad out,” U.S. Ambassador Nikki Haley told a small group of reporters.

“Do we think he’s a hindrance? Yes. Are we going to sit there and focus on getting him out? No,” she said. “What we are going to focus on is putting the pressure in there so that we can start to make a change in Syria.”

In Ankara on Thursday, U.S. Secretary of State Rex Tillerson said Assad’s longer-term status “will be decided by the Syrian people.

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Did Putin’s puppet agree to the latest Russian offensive in Syria?

Back in October, Donald Trump Says He Might Meet With Putin Before Inauguration. “If I win on Nov. 8, I could see myself meeting with Putin and meeting with Russia prior to the start of the administration.”

Putin-Trump-KissOn Monday, President-elect Donald Trump and Russian President Vladimir Putin agreed in a telephone conversation Monday that relations between their countries were “unsatisfactory” and vowed to work together to improve them, the Kremlin said in a statement. Trump, Putin agree in phone call to improve ‘unsatisfactory’ relations between their countries, Kremlin says:

The statement said the two leaders discussed combining efforts in the fight against terrorism, talked about “a settlement for the crisis in Syria” and agreed their aides would begin working toward a face-to-face meeting between them.

Trump’s office said in a statement that Putin had called to “offer his congratulations” and that the two had discussed “a range of issues including the threats and challenges facing the United States and Russia, strategic economic issues and the historical U.S.-Russia relationship that dates back over 200 years.”

Although Trump’s statement did not mention Syria or other specific issues, it said that he told Putin “that he is very much looking forward to having a strong and enduring relationship with Russia and the People of Russia.”

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They all must look alike to Gov. Ducey

Crossposted at DemocraticDiva.com



PHOENIX – “Given the horrifying events in Paris last week, I am calling for an immediate halt in the placement of any new refugees in Arizona. As governor, I am invoking our state’s right under 8 USC, Section 1522 (a), to receive immediate consultation by federal authorities per the United States Refugee Act, and that the federal government take into account the concerns and recommendations of the state of Arizona as they are required to under federal law, in our efforts to keep our homeland safe. I also call on Congress and the President to immediately amend federal law to provide states greater oversight and authority in the administration of the placement of refugees. These acts serve as a reminder that the world remains at war with radical Islamic terrorists. Our national leaders must react with the urgency and leadership that every American expects to protect our citizens.”

I’m just going to add to the mountain of criticism the Arizona Governor and those of other states refusing (trying to, anyway) are getting by asking what should be an obvious question:

Exactly how easy do they think it would be for ISIS members to blend in with Syrian refugees fleeing said ISIS members so as to enter the US with the intention of committing terrorist acts? Have these right wing pants wetters ever considered that the ISIS members might, you know, be recognized as such by at least some of their fellow refugees? To believe otherwise is pure “they all look alike” racism, which has been known to lead to deadly outcomes. Shockingly irresponsible for Ducey and those other governors to foment such ignorance and bigotry, especially since all the evidence thus far in the Paris bombing points to no Syrian refugees being involved.

It’s also super “pro-life” of these conservative governors to want to deny safe refuge to Syrian children at risk of rape and murder at the hands of ISIS, isn’t it?

Congress continues to avoid debating an AUMF to fight ISIS in Iraq and Syria

This week Congress will vote against the P5+1 world powers nuclear agreement with Iran because Tea-Publicans prefer getting their war on with Iran, which many of them believe will come with the succession of a Tea-Publican president in January 2017.

us-forces-afghanistan-AP-640x480So Tea-Publicans will vote against a nuclear non-proliferation agreement, but they cannot bring themselves to perform their constitutional duty to debate and to actually authorize the current U.S. military engagements in Iraq and Syria against ISIS (and the Assad regime).

As I have explained previously, this is calculated: Tea-Publicans want the precedent being established by fighting a war without congressional authorization in violation of the Constitution and the War Powers Resolution of 1973 so that the next president — whom they believe will be a Tea-Publican — can take this country to war without asking for congressional approval. Dick Cheney’s Unitary Executive Theory of the Imperial Presidency will be back with a vengeance.

I have previously posted about the efforts of Arizona Senator Jeff Flake and Virginia Senator Time Kaine to force their Senate colleagues to perform their constitutional duty to debate and to actually authorize the current U.S. military engagements in Iraq and Syria. Senate avoids debating an AUMF to fight ISIS in Iraq and Syria. I said at the time that Congress continues to abdicate its war powers under the Constitution, and is refusing to do its constitutional duty. I am amazed at the lack of editorial opinion on this subject from mainstream media publications.

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The House votes to continue a war that it has not even authorized

I posted back in May, When will Congress act on an AUMF for ISIS in Iraq and Syria?, and more recently, Congress once again abdicates its war powers. Congress has yet to debate and to vote on an Authorization for Use of Military Force (AUMF) against ISIS in Iraq and Syria, long past the time limitations prescribed by the War Powers Resolution of 1973.

But today Congress did manage to find time to debate and to vote on continuing a war that it has not even authorized. We have gone down the rabbit hole again. House rejects withdrawal from ISIS war:

us-forces-afghanistan-AP-640x480The House voted resoundingly Wednesday to keep troops stationed abroad fighting the Islamic State of Iraq and Syria (ISIS) despite the absence of a formal congressional authorization for military action against the group.

In the first vote of its kind since the Obama administration began airstrikes ten months ago, the House defeated a resolution requiring the president to remove troops within the next six months. The vote was 139-288. [House Vote 370: Yes: Gallego, Grijalva, Kirkpatrick – No: Franks, Gosar, McSally, Salmon, Schweikert, Sinema.]

Nineteen Republicans and 120 Democrats voted for the measure. Rep. Justin Amash (R-Mich.) voted “present.”

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