MCViewPoint

Opinion from a Libertarian ViewPoint

JOHN KIRIAKOU: The Arms-Swapper

Posted by M. C. on October 24, 2022

Antony Blinken has been foraging around for Russian weapons for Ukraine. He even asked Cyprus.

Consortium News

By John Kiriakou
Special to Consortium News

Foreign policy is complicated.  There are a lot of moving parts and because human beings are making the policy, and feelings and egos are at stake, it’s that much more difficult.

Some policymakers take a long-term view, others are myopic. Couple all that with the problem that I witnessed countless times over the course of my career at the C.I.A. and at the Senate Foreign Relations Committee — the insistence of American diplomats, intelligence professionals and White House staff members that they are literally the smartest people in the world and that they know best. 

Former Egyptian President Gamal Abdel-Nasser once famously said,

“The genius of you Americans is that you never make a clear-cut stupid move.  You always make complicated stupid moves, which make the rest of us wonder at the possibility that we might be missing something.” 

He was right.  But rest assured that most of the time, the moves are just plain stupid ones.

Blinken’s ‘Migration’ Trip 

I was reminded of  Nasser’s comment two weeks ago when Secretary of State Antony Blinken announced that he would travel to Colombia, Chile and Peru to discuss “migration.”  The announcement seemed odd to me because there aren’t a huge number of Colombians, Chileans or Peruvians in the United States illegally.

None of the countries are on the “front line” of the immigration debate.  The Blinken trip made no sense. 

It wasn’t until after Blinken returned that an obscure military publication gave us a hint of what the trip was about.  The Army Technology Newsletter reported that Blinken had secured a promise from the Colombians to help Ukrainian troops clear landmines. 

In Peru, President Pedro Castillo agreed to push a condemnation of Russia’s invasion of Ukraine through parliament.  He declined to impose sanctions on Russia, which he said would have been a violation of international law.

But he criticized both sides in the conflict, saying that the war has cut off grain supplies to the countries and people who need it the most. 

Secretary of State Antony Blinken, Peruvian President Pedro Castillo and Foreign Minister Cesar Landa in Lima, Peru, on Oct. 6. (State Department, Ron Przysucha)

The Chileans, for their part, were happy to do whatever Blinken wanted them to do.

But that wasn’t all that Blinken was up to.  He was also interested in gauging interest in swapping out whatever Russian or old Soviet equipment those countries may have in their possession that they could send them to Ukraine and then have them replaced with state-of-the-art American munitions. 

The problem the Ukrainians are facing is that American weapons are difficult to use.  They’re sophisticated and complicated.  And there just isn’t any time for Americans to train Ukrainians in how to use them. 

A better idea, the administration thinks, is to just ask countries around the world that have Russian weapons to help.  It wasn’t just these three South American countries that he asked.  Blinken also asked South Africa, Finland, Cambodia, Rwanda, Mexico, the Democratic Republic of Congo and Cyprus.  Would they send their Russian weapons to Ukraine and take American weapons in return?

Cyprus Said No 

According to The New York Times, most of those countries said yes.  Cyprus, though, said no.  The Cyprus situation is what I was referring to at the start of this article. 

Greece and Turkey are both members of NATO.  Cyprus is not. 

See the rest here

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