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Posts Tagged ‘NATO’

Time To Pull the Troops From NATO: What Good Is an Alliance Full of Cheap-Riders? – Antiwar.com Original

Posted by M. C. on June 8, 2020

In doing so the Pentagon has turned itself into a welfare agency, underwriting the defense of prosperous, populous states which could protect themselves. Some of these are military nonentities, such as Montenegro and North Macedonia, modern versions of the Duchy of Grand Fenwick, made famous by The Mouse That Roared. Worst of all, the US increasingly allies, sometimes formally, sometimes informally, with countries that bring more military liabilities than assets. Georgia, Ukraine, Taiwan, and Saudi Arabia are the most obvious cases today. All four could drag America into conflicts, the first three with nuclear-armed powers.

https://original.antiwar.com/doug-bandow/2020/06/07/time-to-pull-the-troops-from-nato-what-good-is-an-alliance-full-of-cheap-riders/

President Donald Trump has ordered the Pentagon to remove 9,500 U.S troops from Germany by September. He also set a firm cap of 25,000, instead of allowing the number to swell to 52,000 as units rotate through or deploy for training.

It is a good start. But why did it take him more than three years to act on his criticism of allied cheap-riding on America? And what about the other 25,000 American military personnel in Germany?

Even after the US economy shut down and federal finances cratered, Washington’s foreign policy elite were seeking to add new international duties for Uncle Sam. America and China are teetering on a new cold war, which could turn hot in the Taiwan Strait or elsewhere in the Asia-Pacific. Thus, it is said, Washington must bolster its military alliances, security guarantees, and naval deployments.

Members of the Blob, as Washington’s foreign policy establishment has been called, continue to ferociously oppose the slightest withdrawal from the Middle East. America must fix Syria by confronting the Assad government, ISIS, other Islamist radicals, Turkey, Russia, and Iran. The US certainly cannot leave Iraq, irrespective of the wish of Iraqis. And America’s 18-year war in Afghanistan, in the heart of Central Asia surrounded by Iran, India, Pakistan, Russia, and China, should be accepted as the start of a beautiful permanent commitment. As the Eagles declared in their famous song Hotel California, Washington can never leave-from anywhere.

Finally, the US must increase troop deployments, naval dispositions, and financial assistance not only to NATO members, but alliance wannabe joiners Georgia and Ukraine. Forget the supposedly frontline states of the Baltics and Poland. America must bolster the southern front lest Russia solidify its dominance in the Black Sea and add a base in Syria and another in Libya, analysts warned at a recent forum organized by the Center for European Policy Analysis. Just another step or two and the Mediterranean Sea could become Moscow’s Mare Nostrum, like for the old Roman Empire. Russia then might seek control the Atlantic and perhaps even invade Washington, D.C., following in Britain’s footsteps a couple centuries ago. Or something like that.

The attempt to constantly ensnare America in other nations’ conflicts is foolish, even reckless. First, the US has never been more secure. Its geographic position remains unassailable: large oceans east and west, pacific neighbors north and south. No power threatens to breach that perimeter. America’s navy deploys 11 carrier groups, compared to two carriers by China and one by Russia. The US air force easily secures American airspace, or at least would do so if much of it wasn’t deployed overseas. Only nuclear-tipped missiles pose a serious threat, but America’s arsenal vastly outranges that of every country other than Russia, and the latter would be annihilated in return if it struck the US

Terrorism remains an ugly threat, but mostly against Americans overseas. And it is largely self-inflicted, the consequence of Washington’s promiscuous foreign intervention: bombing, invading, and occupying other states, such as Iraq; taking sides in bitter conflicts of no concern to the US, such as Lebanon’s civil war; supporting brutal dictatorships as in Egypt, Iran, and Saudi Arabia; and backing nations which occupy and oppress minority populations, most notably Israel. Alas, Washington continues to unnecessarily create additional enemies every day.

Americans should not be surprised if some day angry Yemenis use terrorist methods to strike back against the US, which sold and serviced aircraft used by Saudi Arabia to wreck Yemeni cities, provided munitions dropped by Saudi warplanes on Yemeni weddings, funerals, apartments, and hospitals, refueled planes on their missions to slaughter Yemeni civilians, and offered intelligence to aid Riyadh’s air force in selecting targets. Put bluntly, the Obama and Trump administrations invited retaliation against the American people by aiding true terrorists against the Yemeni people.

Second, Washington has turned a means, alliances, into an end. Instead of using such relationships as a mechanism to improve US security, policymakers routinely sacrifice Americans’ safety and prosperity to continually expand security guarantees, leaving tripwires for war around the globe.

In doing so the Pentagon has turned itself into a welfare agency, underwriting the defense of prosperous, populous states which could protect themselves. Some of these are military nonentities, such as Montenegro and North Macedonia, modern versions of the Duchy of Grand Fenwick, made famous by The Mouse That Roared. Worst of all, the US increasingly allies, sometimes formally, sometimes informally, with countries that bring more military liabilities than assets. Georgia, Ukraine, Taiwan, and Saudi Arabia are the most obvious cases today. All four could drag America into conflicts, the first three with nuclear-armed powers.

Third, Washington engages in never-ending social engineering that rarely succeeds and would be of little value to Americans even if it did work. Three successive administration have spent almost 18 years trying to turn Afghanistan into a liberal Western-style democracy. Worse was blowing up Iraq in expectation that contending ethnic, religious, and political groups would join together singing Kumbaya as they helped America battle Iran. President Barack Obama, a paladin of modern liberalism, ensured Libya’s destruction in the belief that something good would happen. He also imagined that Washington’s ivory tower warriors could fix Syria-simultaneously oust Bashar al-Assad, vanquish the Islamic State, empower “moderate” insurgents, pacify Turkey, oust Iran and Russia, protect Syrian Kurds, and foster democracy. Trump added the theft of Syrian oil as an American objective. Rarely have international plans been more chimerical, complicated, and costly.

The US is constantly expanding its defense obligations even as its financial health worsens. The federal government currently is borrowing record amounts-likely more than $4 trillion this year and $2 trillion next year-yet continues to subsidize the defense of populous, prosperous industrialized nation, rebuild failed states, bind together fake countries, hunt down other nations’ enemies, and sacrifice American lives and wealth to play international social engineer. The waste and hubris are bipartisan. Despite marginal differences among liberals and conservatives and Democrats and Republicans, the vast majority of Blob members work assiduously to ensure that the US spends as much as possible, devotes as many resources as possible, deploys as many soldiers as possible, and fights as many wars as possible, all in the name of protecting America despite almost always having the opposite effect.

Washington needs to start scaling back its outlandish ambitions, rediscovering humility and prudence. A good starting point, as the president apparently believes, is Europe.

Foreign policy determines military requirements and force structure. All should change along with circumstances. The North Atlantic Treaty Organization made sense as a temporary shield behind which Europe could revive economically and reconstruct politically. While it doesn’t appear that the Soviet Union ever seriously contemplated launching the Red Army on a march to the Atlantic Ocean, it would have been foolish to take the risk.

However, Dwight D. Eisenhower, the alliance’s supreme commander before becoming president, warned against permanent US deployments lest the continent become dependent on America. And he was right. Europe soon rebuilt and sped past the Soviet Empire, as even East German cities still sported evidence of World War II decades after the bombs stopped falling. Nevertheless, at the height of the Cold War the rising West Europeans continued to pass the bill for their defense to Washington. Their governments routinely promised to spend more and then reneged on their commitments. But the US still paid. The lesson was well-learned by Europe…

And so on

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The U.S. Should Stop Collecting Military Allies Like Facebook Friends | The American Conservative

Posted by M. C. on June 5, 2020

Georgian President Mikhail Saakashvili believed Washington would rescue him after his forces began bombarding Russian troops stationed in South Ossetia. More recently, after a naval clash between China and the Philippines, President Rodrigo Duterte turned to Washington: “I’m calling now, America. I am invoking the RP-US pact, and I would like America to gather their Seventh Fleet in front of China. I’m asking them now.” He helpfully added: “When they enter the South China Sea, I will enter. I will ride with the American who goes there first. Then I will tell the Americans, ‘Okay, let’s bomb everything’.”

No need to ‘un-friend’ anyone, but some of them should be supplying their own boots and bombs by now.

Some of them?

 

There absolutely is a need to unfriend certain NATO members. The members in this “one for all, all for one” organization with countries whose size and militaries are closer to that of the Vatican’s. Members whose only reason they were admitted to NATO was their proximity to Russia, in violation of James Bakers promise to Gorbachev that NATO would not expand East once Germany was unified.

That NATO is obsolete and one public arm of the CIA is not mentioned in this CATO linked author.

Neither are there references to avoidance of “foreign entanglements” as described by a certain first US president.

https://www.theamericanconservative.com/articles/the-u-s-should-stop-collecting-military-allies-like-facebook-friends/

No need to ‘un-friend’ anyone, but some of them should be supplying their own boots and bombs by now.

Donald Trump at NATO Summit in 2018 (Gints Ivuskans / Shutterstock.com)

President Donald Trump has offended professional foreign policy practitioners since taking office. They accuse him of manifold offenses. But none is more serious than “mistreating allies.”

For instance, Mira Rapp-Hooper of the Council on Foreign Relations penned a lengthy article entitled “Saving America’s Alliances.” She complained that the president has targeted “the United States’ 70-year-old alliance system. The 45th president has balked at upholding the country’s NATO commitments, demanded massive increases in defense spending from such long-standing allies as Japan and South Korea, and suggested that underpaying allies should be left to fight their own wars with shared adversaries. Trump’s ire has been so relentless and damaging that U.S. allies in Asia and Europe now question the United States’ ability to restore itself as a credible security guarantor.”

For her, this is a damning, even crushing, indictment. Yet that reflects her membership in the infamous Blob, the foreign policy establishment which tends to differ over minor points while marching in lockstep on essentials, such as the imperative for Washington to defend the world.

Consider the transatlantic alliance. Seventy-five years after the conclusion of World War II, Europe collectively has ten times the wealth and three times the population of Russia. Yet the continent cowers helplessly before Moscow, expecting American protection. Not one supposedly vulnerable member of NATO devotes as large a share of their economy to defense as the U.S., not even the Baltic States and Poland, which routinely demand an American military presence.

Among the continent’s largest and wealthiest nations, Italy and Spain barely bother to create militaries. The readiness of Germany’s forces is a continuing joke, despite persistent calls for reform. Only the United Kingdom and France possess militaries of much capability, and primarily for use in conflicts linked to their colonial heritage. They have, for instance, shown little interest in fighting Russia to rescue “New Europe.”

Prior presidents have badgered, cried, begged, asked, demanded, and whined about the Europeans’ lack of effort, without effect. European states obviously aren’t particularly worried about attack. And they figure Washington would save them if something unexpected occurred. So why bother?

From an American standpoint, doesn’t scorching criticism seem appropriate?

Then there is the president’s pressure on the Republic of Korea and Japan to do more. The president is rude, to be sure, but there is much to be rude about. The Korean War ended 67 years ago. Today the ROK has about 53 times the GDP and twice the population of the Democratic People’s Republic of Korea. Why does Seoul require an American garrison for its defense? Why don’t the South Koreans do what is necessary to protect their own country?

Indeed, the main reason the North is building nuclear weapons is for defense against America, which has shown its proclivity to oust any regime which disrespects the U.S. The only circumstance under which the DPRK would use its nukes is if the U.S. joined in war between the two Koreas and threatened to defeat North Korea. Is anything at stake on the peninsula worth the risk of nuclear war? Foreign policy, defense guarantees, and military deployments should change as circumstances change. The U.S.-ROK alliance no longer makes sense.

Japan has spent years underinvesting in defense, even during the Cold War. Technically its constitution does not even allow a military, so Tokyo fields a “Self-Defense Force,” upon which it spends no more than one percent of GDP. Had Japan spent more on the SDF when it enjoyed the world’s second-ranking economy, the People’s Republic of China still would be working to overcome its defense gap with Japan before that with America.

There are obvious historical issues, of course. Tokyo points to the “peace constitution” foisted on defeated Japan by the U.S., but successive Japanese governments have interpreted away the military ban. And the constitution could be changed. The Japanese won’t do so as long as they can rely on America. Their assumption is that the U.S. is willing to risk Los Angeles to protect Tokyo. But that is a bad bargain for America.

Rapp-Hooper also complained that other countries might not believe in Washington’s security guarantees. That would be all to the good, however. Constantly “reassuring” America’s allies discourages them from doing more to defend themselves. There is something perverse about foreign nations believing that Washington has a duty to convince them that it is worthy of protecting them.

No doubt, allies are useful in a fight, but they should be viewed as a means rather than an end. That is, America should acquire allies when it needs them. Today Washington treats allies as an end, the more the merrier. It acts as if America benefits when it picks up helpless clients that must be defended against nuclear-armed enemies. Indeed, Uncle Sam appears to view allies like Facebook friends: the primary objective is to have more than anyone else, irrespective of their value or merit. What else can explain adding North Macedonia and Montenegro to NATO? Next up, the Duchy of Grand Fenwick!

Today the U.S. has no cause for conflict against Russia. Vladimir Putin is a nasty character, but has shown no inclination for war against Europe, even his neighbors in “New Europe,” let alone America. Washington and Moscow have no essential interests that clash or warrant war. So how does NATO benefit the U.S.?

The Europeans probably need not fear attack either, but they are in greater need of an insurance policy. In 1950 assurance had to come from America. But no longer. The Europeans are collectively able to protect themselves and their region. They should do so. Then how much they spend could be left up to them, without hectoring from Washington.

So too Japan and South Korea. Once they could not defend themselves. Decades later they are capable of doing so. And they have far more at stake in their survival than does America. They should take over responsibility for their own security.

Where a potential hegemon is on the rise—only the People’s Republic of China fits this description—the U.S. could play a role as an offshore balancer, backstopping the independence of important friendly states, such as Japan. However, even then the commitment should be limited. It is not America’s job to insert itself in a Chinese-Japanese fight over peripheral, contested territory, such as the Senkaku/Diaoyu Islands. Or, even worse, to go to war to save the Philippines’ control over territorial bits like Scarborough Shoal.

Moreover, it is critically important not to discourage allied states from making serious efforts on their own behalf, which Japan and the Philippines, to name two in East Asia, do not. It also shows the problem with Rapp-Hooper’s praise of America security guarantees for discouraging allies from developing nuclear weapons. What is at stake in the defense of America’s allies worth risking a nuclear assault on America’s homeland? How many cities should the U.S. sacrifice to save the ROK or Germany? In contrast, what would be a better constraint on the PRC than nuclear-armed Japan and Taiwan? There would be risks in that course, of course, but extending a “nuclear umbrella” over-friendly states creates real and potentially catastrophic dangers for Americans.

Analysts such Rapp-Hooper assume alliances are net positives financially. Why? Other countries offer cheap bases! But Washington does not need to scatter hundreds of facilities and hundreds of thousands of troops around the world for its own defense. America is perhaps the geographically most security nation on earth: wide oceans east and west, pacific neighbors south and north. Bases are used to protect other states and become tripwires for other countries’ conflicts.

Moreover, defense commitments require force structure. The military budget is the price of America’s foreign policy. The more Washington promises to do, the most Americans must spend on the military. Every additional commitment adds to the burden.

While alliances theoretically deter, they also discourage partners from taking responsibility for their own futures. And security guarantees ensnare. Countries as different as Georgia and Taiwan have acted irresponsibility when presuming America’s protection. Washington sometimes has worried about South Korean plans for retaliation against North Korean provocations, which could trigger full-scale war.

Georgian President Mikhail Saakashvili believed Washington would rescue him after his forces began bombarding Russian troops stationed in South Ossetia. More recently, after a naval clash between China and the Philippines, President Rodrigo Duterte turned to Washington: “I’m calling now, America. I am invoking the RP-US pact, and I would like America to gather their Seventh Fleet in front of China. I’m asking them now.” He helpfully added: “When they enter the South China Sea, I will enter. I will ride with the American who goes there first. Then I will tell the Americans, ‘Okay, let’s bomb everything’.”

Ending obsolete alliances does not preclude cooperation as equals to advance shared interests, such as terrorism, cybersecurity, piracy, and much more. How to deal with China is becoming a shared concern. Less formal partners can develop plans, launch joint exercises, provide base access, and much more. Alliance advocates act as if the only way America can work with other nations is by promising to defend them. Other states might like to create that impression, but they are the supplicants, not the U.S.

There is much to criticize in Donald Trump’s foreign policy. However, his criticism of alliances is not one. The Blob has made them into a sacred cow. However, policymakers should start treating alliances as only one of many means to advance U.S. security.

Doug Bandow is a Senior Fellow at the Cato Institute.

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U.S. Warplane Profits Scramble Over Germany’s Anti-Nuclear Push — Strategic Culture

Posted by M. C. on June 1, 2020

This would explain why the recent German debate calling for removal of U.S. nuclear weapons has sparked such a fierce reaction from Washington. It’s not just about American dominance over Europe through its historic NATO nuclear pact. In addition, there are billions of dollars at stake for the makers of American warplanes. That’s why Washington is pressuring Berlin to keep its nuclear weapons. It’s part and parcel of selling more U.S. warplanes.

https://www.strategic-culture.org/news/2020/05/22/us-warplane-profits-scramble-over-germany-anti-nuclear-push/

Finian Cunningham

When Germany’s Social Democrats – the junior governing coalition partner – renewed long-standing calls for withdrawing U.S. nuclear bombs from the country, the backlash from Washington was fast and furious.

Richard Grenell, the U.S. ambassador to Berlin, wrote an oped for German media slamming the move as “undermining” NATO’s nuclear deterrence in Europe. Grenell, who is also the acting U.S. Director of National Intelligence, was scathing, reiterating President Trump’s vituperative claims that Germany was not pulling its weight in NATO commitments.

Grenell has been the bane of many German politicians of all stripes over what they view as his high-handed interference in the country’s internal affairs, with one former Social Democrat leader likening him to a “colonial officer”.

Then came the intervention from the American ambassador to Poland, Georgette Mosbacher, who mischievously proffered that if Germany didn’t want to station U.S. nuclear warheads, then Poland would provide an alternative site for the weapons. Given the history of bad blood between Germany and Poland, not to mention the incendiary provocation to Russia, Mosbacher’s suggestion is ludicrous. Nevertheless it illustrates the strenuous pushback by Washington to the renewed calls for removing U.S. nuclear weapons from German soil.

There are believed to be some 20 B-61-3/4 nuclear bombs stored at the Bucher airbase in western Germany under U.S. command. In the event of a nuclear war, the bombs would be fitted to German aircraft flown by Luftwaffe pilots and activated by American secret codes. The arrangement is part of a wider historical NATO nuclear-sharing agreement in Europe dating back to the Cold War, which sees U.S.-commanded bombs assigned also to Belgium, Netherlands and Italy.

German citizens have long called for the removal of the U.S. bombs from their territory, fearing that the weapons increase instability and the danger of war with Russia. In 2010, the German parliament (Bundestag) voted for the Berlin government to work towards Washington’s removal of the bombs.

However, successive German governments have ignored the parliamentary vote. Most recently, earlier this month, Berlin vowed it would continue to uphold the NATO nuclear-sharing agreement.

It must have come as considerable alarm to Washington when the Social Democrats – junior partner to Angel Merkel’s Christian Democrats – recently reinvigorated calls for the U.S. to withdraw its nuclear arsenal.

Rolf Mützenich, the parliamentary leader of the Social Democrats is quoted as saying: “It is time Germany ruled out them [U.S. nuclear weapons] being stationed here in future.

He added: “Nuclear arms on German soil do not strengthen our security, quite the contrary.”

Having its nuclear weapons on European territory is a crucial element of Washington’s control over NATO and European foreign policy. In particular, the bombs allow the U.S. to project power at Russia. But more importantly, the strategic value stems from Washington being able to impose a scaremongering agenda in order to divide Europe from conducting normal relations with Moscow. That has long been the real purpose of the U.S.-dominated NATO alliance. “To keep the Soviet Union out, the Americans in and the Germans down,” remarked one of its founders.

But there is also a more contemporary factor – multi-billion-dollar profits for the U.S. military industry.

There has been a long-running political fight in Berlin over the upgrade of Germany’s air force. The Luftwaffe’s aging fleet of Tornados dating from the early 1980s are due to be replaced by 2025. German officials have been mulling whether to replace the Tornados with European-made Eurofighter Typhoons or U.S.-made F-35s and F-18s. Sometimes Berlin seems to favor the Eurofighter, and then at other times the American option.

The Airbus consortium involved in manufacturing the Eurofighter is a joint venture between several European governments, including Germany’s. Apart from lucrative revenue from aircraft sales, there are also follow-on benefits from employment and service maintenance contracts.

Boeing, the maker of the F-18 fighter bomber, has been hit with devastating financial losses over the past year due to deadly crashes involving its civilian Max-8 airliner. There is thus a lot at stake for the company – a flagship of American manufacturing – depending on the decision by Germany on what aircraft it will purchase for upgrading its fleet of Tornados.

German Defense Minister Annegret Kramp-Karrenbauer reportedly informed her American counterpart Mark Esper in April that Berlin had finally made the decision to buy at least 45 F-18s.

Kramp-Karrenbauer is also head of the Christian Democrat party, having taken over the leadership from Chancellor Angela Merkel in 2018. She is a keen advocate of Germany remaining part of the NATO nuclear-sharing agreement, which means retaining U.S. nuclear bombs on German territory. Kramp-Karrenbauer has emphasized that any German aircraft upgrade must “seamlessly” fill the dual role of the aging Tornadoes to operate in conventional and nuclear warfare.

If a future Berlin government were to achieve the removal of American nuclear weapons from Germany that would obviate the need for nuclear-capable warplanes. The F-18 and F-35 are easily certifiable by Washington to carry the U.S. B-61 bombs whereas the Eurofighter is not certified and it would face long-drawn-out delay to gain American authorization, if it eventually did, which is not certain. The Americans have openly said that the Eurofighter would be disadvantaged compared with the F-35 or F-18 in acquiring authorization to operate with U.S.-made nuclear bombs.

However, if Germany were no longer part of the U.S. nuclear arsenal and its aircraft no longer providing delivery capability, the Eurofighter option would become even more attractive especially given the advantage for European industries and jobs.

This would explain why the recent German debate calling for removal of U.S. nuclear weapons has sparked such a fierce reaction from Washington. It’s not just about American dominance over Europe through its historic NATO nuclear pact. In addition, there are billions of dollars at stake for the makers of American warplanes. That’s why Washington is pressuring Berlin to keep its nuclear weapons. It’s part and parcel of selling more U.S. warplanes.

 

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US nukes in Poland would not be a deterrent, but a MASSIVE provocation for Russia — RT Op-ed

Posted by M. C. on May 20, 2020

If NATO were to deploy nuclear weapons on Polish soil as part of any upgraded nuclear-sharing agreement, the threat to Russia would be intolerable – every launch of a Polish fighter-bomber would be seen as a potential existential threat, forcing Russia to increase its alert status along its western frontier, as well as its capability to rapidly neutralize such a threat should an actual war break out. 

This does not mean that Russia would choose a preemptive nuclear attack – far from it. Instead, Russia would rely on the abilities of the front-line formations of its 1st Guards Tank Army and 20th Combined Arms Army to conduct deep penetration offensive operations designed to capture and/or destroy any forward-deployed nuclear weapons before they could be used. Far from deterring a war with Russia, any deployment of nuclear weapons by the US on Polish soil only increases the likelihood of the very conflict NATO purports to seek to avoid.

https://www.rt.com/op-ed/489068-nato-nuclear-poland-russia/

Scott Ritter

The US has promoted the deployment of US nuclear weapons on Polish soil as part of NATO’s ‘nuclear sharing’ arrangement. Such a move would only increase the chances of the very war such a deployment seeks to deter.

For the second time in little more than a year, the US ambassadors to Germany and Poland have commented on matters of NATO security in a manner which undermines the unity of the alliance while threatening European security by seeking to alter the balance of power in a way that is unduly provocative to Russia.

Richard Grenell, the US ambassador to Germany and the acting director of national intelligence, put matters into motion by writing an OpEd for the German newspaper Die Welt, criticizing politicians from within Chancellor Angela Merkel’s ruling coalition who were openly calling for the US to withdraw its nuclear weapons from German soil.

Adding fuel to the fire, the US ambassador to Poland, Georgette Mosbacher, tweeted out two days later that “If Germany wants to diminish nuclear capability and weaken NATO, perhaps Poland – which pays its fair share, understands the risks, and is on NATO’s eastern flank – could house the capabilities here.”

The action that provoked the Grenell-Mosbacher media blitz were comments made by Rolf Mützenich, the chairman of the Social Democratic Party in Germany’s parliament, calling for Germany to withdraw from its decades-old nuclear-sharing arrangement with NATO, noting that the deal had outlived its utility.

The US currently maintains a force of some 20 B-61 nuclear bombs on German soil, where they are earmarked for delivery by German aircraft during war. Since 1979, Germany has maintained a force of Tornado fighter-bombers dedicated to the nuclear-sharing mission. The decision by Germany to buy 30 US-manufactured F/A-18 Super Hornet aircraft to replace the Tornado in its nuclear delivery mission prompted Mützenich’s outburst.

Grenell and Mosbacher last teamed up to shake the foundations of NATO-based European security in September 2019, when Grenell’s comments made during the course of an interview with a German newspaper sparked controversy among German politicians sensitive to US criticism of German defense spending levels. “It is actually offensive to assume that the US taxpayer must continue to pay to have 50,000-plus Americans in Germany,” Grenell said, “but the Germans get to spend their surplus on domestic programs.”

 

Grenell’s comments were in the context of President Donald Trump’s ongoing insistence that America’s NATO allies pay their fair share of the cost of NATO by increasing their respective defense spending to levels matching two percent of their GDP. Germany’s defense budget in 2019 was approximately €43 billion, representing 1.2 percent of GDP. German lawmakers were quick to criticize Grenell’s comments, noting that while Germany’s defense expenditures were far short of what had been promised, it would not allow itself to be “blackmailed” by the US over matters relating to its national security.

Mosbacher then jumped into the controversy, tweeting“Poland meets its 2% of GDP spending obligation towards NATO. Germany does not. We would welcome American troops in Germany to come to Poland.”

Some left-wing German politicians proposed that Germany take Grenell up on his offer and begin to negotiate the withdrawal of US troops from German soil (there are some 52,000 Americans – 35,000 soldiers and 17,000 civilians – stationed in Germany today).

But these same politicians made a comment that has proved prescient. “If the Americans pull out their troops,” they noted, “then they should take their nuclear weapons with them. Take them home, of course, and not to Poland, which would be a dramatic escalation in relations to Russia.”

This, of course, is precisely what the Grenell-Mosbacher tag team has proposed today.

“NATO’s nuclear sharing,” the current NATO secretary general, Jens Stoltenberg, wrote in an OpEd published in the Frankfurter Allgemeine Zeitung, “is a multilateral arrangement that ensures the benefits, responsibilities and risks of nuclear deterrence are shared among allies.” 

“Politically,” Stoltenberg said, “this is significant. It means that participating allies, like Germany, make joint decisions on nuclear policy and planning, and maintain appropriate equipment.”

For its part, Russia has declared the US-NATO nuclear-sharing arrangement as operating in violation of relevant provisions of the Non-Proliferation Treaty (NPT) which prohibits the transfer by a nuclear weapons state of nuclear weapons to a non-nuclear weapons state. While the US challenges this Russian interpretation, the point is that the issue of NATO’s nuclear arsenal is an extremely sensitive one to Russia, made even more so when viewed in the context of the expansion of NATO that brought Poland and other eastern European countries into its fold.

Poland, along with the Czech Republic and Hungary, joined NATO in March of 1999, making a mockery of every assurance that had been given to the former Soviet president, Mikhail Gorbachev, that NATO would never expand eastwards if Germany were allowed to unify.

Russian President Vladimir Putin pointedly referred to these guarantees during his speech to the Munich Security Conference in February of 2007, in the context of NATO’s continued expansion. “[W]e have the right to ask: against whom is this expansion intended? And what happened to the assurances our western partners made after the dissolution of the Warsaw Pact? Where are those declarations today? No one even remembers them.”

Russia remembers. For example, on February 6, 1990, when the former West German foreign minister, Hans-Dietrich Genscher, met with then-British Foreign Minister Douglas Hurd, Genscher told Hurd that “The Russians must have some assurance that if, for example, the Polish Government left the Warsaw Pact one day, they would not join NATO the next.”

These assurances were made by the former US secretary of state, James Baker, to the former Soviet foreign minister, Eduard Shevardnadze, in February 1990, when Baker noted that before Germany could reunify, “There would, of course, have to be iron-clad guarantees that NATO’s jurisdiction or forces would not move eastward.”

These assurances were given, only to be violated during the administration of President Bill Clinton. Today, over 4,500 US troops are stationed on Polish soil, including a reinforced battalion-sized ‘battlegroup’ stationed along the so-called Suwalki Gap separating Poland from the Baltic nations.

“If Russian forces ever established control over the Suwalki region, or even threatened the free movement of NATO personnel and equipment through it, they would effectively cut the Baltic States off from the rest of the Alliance,” a NATO report written in 2018 noted. “Deterring any potential action – or even the threat of action – against Suwalki is therefore essential for NATO’s credibility and Western cohesion.” 

For its part, Russia has repeatedly declared that it has no desire to enter a conflict with NATO. However, NATO’s expansion in Poland and other eastern European countries has increasingly placed Russian security interests at risk. The deployment of Aegis Ashore launchers onto Polish soil in an ostensible anti-missile role, while declared by NATO to be exclusively oriented toward protecting Europe from Iranian missiles, is viewed by Russia as a threat to its own strategic missile capability. In response, Russia has deployed nuclear-capable short-range missiles in its Kaliningrad exclave between Poland and Lithuania.

If NATO were to deploy nuclear weapons on Polish soil as part of any upgraded nuclear-sharing agreement, the threat to Russia would be intolerable – every launch of a Polish fighter-bomber would be seen as a potential existential threat, forcing Russia to increase its alert status along its western frontier, as well as its capability to rapidly neutralize such a threat should an actual war break out.

This does not mean that Russia would choose a preemptive nuclear attack – far from it. Instead, Russia would rely on the abilities of the front-line formations of its 1st Guards Tank Army and 20th Combined Arms Army to conduct deep penetration offensive operations designed to capture and/or destroy any forward-deployed nuclear weapons before they could be used. Far from deterring a war with Russia, any deployment of nuclear weapons by the US on Polish soil only increases the likelihood of the very conflict NATO purports to seek to avoid.

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What on Earth Is the US Doing by Bombing Somalia? – Antiwar.com Original

Posted by M. C. on May 16, 2020

https://original.antiwar.com/Danny_Sjursen/2020/05/15/what-on-earth-is-the-us-doing-by-bombing-somalia/

The Trump administration has quietly ramped up a vicious bombing – and covert raiding – campaign in Somalia amid a global coronavirus pandemic. Neither the White House nor the Pentagon has provided any explanation for the deadly escalation of a war that Congress hasn’t declared and the media rarely reports. At stake are many thousands of lives.

The public statistics show a considerable increase in airstrikes from Obama’s presidency. From 2009 to 2016, the U.S. military’s Africa Command (AFRICOM) announced 36 airstrikes in Somalia. Under Trump, it conducted at least 63 bombing raids just last year, with another 39 such attacks in the first four months of 2020. The ostensible US target has usually been the Islamist insurgent group al-Shabab, but often the real – or at least consequent – victims are long-embattled Somali civilians.

As for the most direct victims, it’s become clear that notoriously image-conscious AFRICOM public affairs officers have long undercounted and underreported the number of civilians killed in their expanding aerial bombardments. According to Airwars, a UK-based airstrike monitoring group, civilian fatalities – while low relative to other bombing campaigns in Iraq, Afghanistan, or Syria – may exceed official Pentagon estimates by as much as 6,800 percent. Only these deaths don’t tell the half of it. Tens of thousands of Somalis have fled areas that the US regularly bombs, filtering into already overcrowded refugee camps outside of the capital of Mogadishu.

There are approximately 2.6 million internally displaced persons (IDPs) in Somalia who barely survive and are often reliant on humanitarian aid. So vulnerable are the refugees in the pandemic-petri-dish camps, that one mother of seven described feeling “like we are waiting for death to come.” Her fears may prove justified. Recently, coronavirus cases have risen rapidly in Somalia – a country with no public health system to speak of – and due to severely limited testing availability, experts believe the actual tally is much higher than reported. No matter how AFRICOM spins it, their escalatory war will only exacerbate the country’s slow-boiling crisis.

A Sordid Backstory

While comprehensive analysis of the sordid history of US military operations in Somalia would fill multiple volumes, it’s worth recalling the basic contours of Washington’s record. During the Cold War, the US pressured the United Nations to hand over the ethnically Somali Ogaden region to Ethiopia, then proceeded to arm and back this sworn enemy of Mogadishu. That is until Marxist Ethiopian military officers took power in a 1974 putsch, at which point America turned on a dime, and changed sides. Washington then backed Somalia in the ensuing war over Ogaden. Over the next decade and a half, the US propped up the abusive and corrupt Somali dictator Mohammed Siad Barre.

Nevertheless, after the Berlin Wall came down and Barre, a notorious human rights-violator, had outlived his Cold War usefulness, Congress cut off military and – more importantly – economic aid. Barre was soon toppled in a coup, and clan-based militias carved up the remnants of the Somali state. Civil war raged, and hundreds of thousands of civilians starved to death in the ensuing famine. Thanks to the blockbuster 2001 Hollywood film “Blackhawk Down,” what came next is the one bit of Somali history most Americans know. In 1992, US troops filtered into Somalia to support what began as a United Nations humanitarian response. No doubt, they eventually did some good.

In the chaos, the UN and especially the UStook sides in the civil war. Then after American special operators killed numerous civilians in the hunt for one particular warlord, thousands of angry Somalis turned on a group of army rangers and Delta Force commandos during another botched raid. In the day-long battle that inspired the film, 18 US soldiers and – far less reported – some 500 Somali men, women, and children were killed. With no stomach for the bad press of body bags being brought home, President Bill Clinton pulled the troops out within months.

For several years, Washington reverted to largely ignoring the ongoing Somali tragedy. That is until the 2001 terror attacks in New York and Washington, D.C., placed the region – and anything vaguely Islamist – into the Pentagon’s crosshairs. There hadn’t been much of an al-Qaeda presence in Somalia at the time, so the US basically “invented” one. In 2006, after an imperfect but popular Islamic Courts movement brought some stability to the capitol, Washington encouraged, backed, and even took part in an Ethiopian invasion.

This too backfired. The more hardline al-Shabab was empowered, largely catalyzed, and grew in popularity through its resistance to the illegal Ethiopian occupation and to the corrupt UN and U.S.-backed interim governments that followed. What AFRICOM’s director of operations called the “disease” of al-Shabab is now used as a vague justification of the latest escalation in US airstrikes.

AFRICOM Inertia

How many Americans know that some 500800 US troops are based in Somalia at any given time? Fewer still likely have the faintest idea that three Americans were killed in neighboring Kenya just a few months back, when al-Shabab nearly overran an airbase that housed some US troops.

Apathy and ignorance are troubling enough, but as has been the case for nearly all recent interventions in the Greater Middle East, Washington’s aggressive Somalia policy has proven counterproductive. The more intense and overt the US military strikes and presence, the more empowered al-Shabab becomes since the group is as much nationalist resistant movement as terror group. While this admittedly abhorrent crew kills and oppresses Somali civilians as much as or more than American bombs or U.S.-backed government security forces, Washington’s self-sabotage is real. As a Brown University Costs of War Project report concludes: “Al-Shabaab is fueled, in part, by the US war against it.” Though affiliated with al-Qaeda, al-Shabab’s recruits, expertise, and grievances are mainly local. Most funding comes from piracy and other criminal enterprises.

The United Nations with tacit support from even America’s NATO allies has called for a global ceasefire during the coronavirus pandemic. The Trump team has only escalated military actions in various hotspots – particularly Somalia. This won’t play well with allies, adversaries, or neutral nations alike. If anything, it will drive the latter into the arms of Russia or China. In the face of such strategic inertia, one can’t help but wish the US military would heed its own doctrine.

It might start with number four on its list of the eight “paradoxes” of counterinsurgency: “Doing Nothing is Sometimes the Best Action.”

This article was produced by Globetrotter, a project of the Independent Media Institute.

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The US Is Doing The Same Thing In Greenland That It Accuses China Of Doing In Africa

Posted by M. C. on April 29, 2020

As such, strategic forecasts about the US’ interconnected military and economic interests in the New Cold War are much more realistic than those being written about China’s, making them comparatively less speculative and therefore by default more probable. With this understanding in mind, the US is interestingly doing exactly what it accuses China of, not just in form, but in substance as well.

http://oneworld.press/?module=articles&action=view&id=1432

Grants For Greenland

Greenland returned to the news late last week after an American official disclosed that his country will grant the world’s largest island $12.1 million in economic aid following reports last summer that the US was interested in purchasing this strategically positioned and energy-rich territory from Denmark. The author wrote about that at the time in his piece about how “Greenland Is Trump’s For The Taking If He Really Wants It“, which explained how the US could simply seize it from Denmark without suffering any serious consequences apart the negative press coverage that it would inevitably provoke across the world. Instead of undertaking that dramatic course of action, however, Trump is almost somewhat uncharacteristically opting for a much more subtle approach aimed at gradually swaying the island’s inhabitants and their local authorities to his country’s side through what can best be described as “economic diplomacy”.

“Economic Diplomacy”

Just like China is accused of doing in Africa, so too does the US seemingly intend to leverage economic aid for strategic ends, which in this case relate to its military and resource (energy and mineral) interests in Greenland. There’s nothing wrong with that either, and it can actually be argued that economic competition between states is less destabilizing than its other forms. China has been wildly successful practicing “economic diplomacy” across the Global South through its Belt & Road Initiative (BRI) of New Silk Road connectivity which relies on a combination of grants and loans in order to construct large-scale infrastructure projects that deliver jobs and development to its partners. The US has long been jealous of China’s achievements because it was unable to compete with its rival in this respect, hence why it launched an ongoing infowar campaign against those practices in order to fearmonger about Beijing’s alleged long-term intentions.

Infowar Insight

Ironically, the US is now emulating its rival’s strategically effective policy, and in the territory of one of its NATO allies, no less, showing that it was never really all that sincere about the speculative risks of this approach whenever China practiced it since they were evidently just waiting for the right opportunity to do the exact same thing. This “politically inconvenient” observation therefore debunks the fearmongering narratives that have been propagated about China’s international development policies, and in fact can actually be interpreted as a tacit endorsement of them. Nevertheless, it’s not expected that the US’ infowar will abate anytime soon since its underlying narrative feeds off of speculation about China’s intentions, the same as can be said about the US’ own vis-a-vis Greenland and wherever else it eventually practices this policy. Just like one can speculate about the US’ motives, so too can they speculate about China’s, and vice-versa.

The New Norm

What’s for certain, though, is that “economic diplomacy” is fast becoming the norm for Great Powers in the New Cold War after the world’s two most powerful ones are now actively practicing it. Other players have been doing something similar for a while now too, such as Russia in the former Soviet space and the EU in the formerly communist countries of the continent for example, but it was the US-provoked infowar controversy over China’s comparatively grander and more visibly successful practice of this form of diplomacy that brought it into the global mainstream. This narrative is politically appealing because it’s rife with speculation, which can rarely be proven or debunked given the nature of strategic forecasting, thus making it easier for dramatic claims to propagate through the global information space such as those about China supposedly wanting to convert deep water commercial ports into naval bases sometime in the future.

Alt-Media = Mainstream Media

Once again, the same can also be said of the US’ own intentions, and the Alt-Media Community routinely performs the same speculative analyses about America as the Mainstream Media does about China. This isn’t to condemn such practices in and of themselves since strategic forecasting is arguably an integral component of any quality analysis, though the resultant information product might be motivated by a desire to manipulate the target audience, as is frequently the case whenever the Mainstream Media reports on China’s alleged long-term intentions with BRI. Instead of considering the much more likely scenario that China simply wants to enhance its partners’ economic capabilities so that can all maximize their mutual benefits from one another, they’re more prone to imagining that the country’s military wants to expand across the world simply for the sake of it despite there being no evidence that it could even maintain such a speculative reach.

“Reverse Psychology”

The US, however, certainly has the military capability to do so and has proven as much over the decades, meaning that it’s much more likely that America will leverage its “economic diplomacy” with Greenland and other prospective partners to such ends instead of China doing the same in Africa or wherever else. As such, strategic forecasts about the US’ interconnected military and economic interests in the New Cold War are much more realistic than those being written about China’s, making them comparatively less speculative and therefore by default more probable. With this understanding in mind, the US is interestingly doing exactly what it accuses China of, not just in form, but in substance as well. This realization makes one wonder whether its infowar against BRI is “reverse psychology” intended to proactively shape the narrative so that the targeted global audience is less likely to accuse it of what it’s long planned to do, solely blaming China instead.

 

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Can This Pandemic Usher in a New Era? – LewRockwell

Posted by M. C. on March 28, 2020

A $15-an-hour minimum wage imposed on companies receiving funds. Blanket loan forgiveness of $10,000 for students. New tax credits for solar and wind energy. Full funding of Planned Parenthood. Federal dollars for fetal tissue research.

$300 million for PBS, which has been promoting the LBGT agenda to school kids. Mandating “diversity” on corporate boards as a condition of companies receiving funds. Election “reforms” to increase Democratic turnout. Insistence that airlines, to get a bailout, offset carbon emissions from jet engines. $35 million for the Kennedy Center.

When, if ever, will there be a better time to make good on Trump’s campaign pledge to extricate America from the wars in Syria, Iraq and Afghanistan?

https://www.lewrockwell.com/2020/03/patrick-j-buchanan/can-this-pandemic-usher-in-a-new-era/

By

To fight the coronavirus at home, France is removing all military forces from Iraq.

When NATO scaled back its war games in Europe because of the pandemic, Russia reciprocated. Moscow announced it would cancel its war games along NATO’s border.

Nations seem to be recognizing and responding to the grim new geostrategic reality of March 2020: The pandemic is the real enemy of us all, and while we fight it, each in his own national corner, we are in this together.

Never allow a serious crisis to go to waste, said Barack Obama’s chief of staff Rahm Emanuel during the financial crisis.

Emanuel was echoed this month by House Majority Whip Rep. James Clyburn, who called the coronavirus crisis “a tremendous opportunity to restructure things to fit our vision.”

What Clyburn had in mind is what Democrats advanced as their alternative to the $2.2 trillion emergency bill. It was designed to force President Trump either to swallow it whole or to take responsibility for vetoing a critical transfusion of federal funds to keep the economy alive.

Among the items stuffed in the Democrats’ proposal:

A $15-an-hour minimum wage imposed on companies receiving funds. Blanket loan forgiveness of $10,000 for students. New tax credits for solar and wind energy. Full funding of Planned Parenthood. Federal dollars for fetal tissue research.

$300 million for PBS, which has been promoting the LBGT agenda to school kids. Mandating “diversity” on corporate boards as a condition of companies receiving funds. Election “reforms” to increase Democratic turnout. Insistence that airlines, to get a bailout, offset carbon emissions from jet engines. $35 million for the Kennedy Center.

Majority Leader Mitch McConnell and congressional Republicans ash-canned almost the leftist wish list.

But Trump should go further, turn the tables, and seize this crisis to do what he was elected to do — impose a new foreign policy.

Isolate America, not from the world, but from the world’s wars.

The New York Times and Washington Post editorialized Thursday for an easing of the economic sanctions we have imposed on Iran.

This would be a humanitarian gesture when Iran is suffering more than any country in the Middle East from the virus. More than that, it would be a statement that America is not at war with the Iranian people.

This unilateral gesture by Trump, asking nothing in return except negotiations, would put the onus for Iran’s isolation squarely with the ayatollah and his regime.

As for Vladimir Putin’s cancellation of war games in response to NATO’s cancellation, Trump could seize upon this as an opening to engage Russia as candidate Trump promised to do.

Does anyone believe Putin wants a war with NATO?

Should he do so, does anyone think Italy and Spain, two of the largest NATO allies, but both suffering greatly in the coronavirus crisis, would invoke Article V and declare war on Russia?

When Hitler was our foe, America created a wartime alliance with Stalin in the common cause of crushing the Axis powers. Liberals and leftists yet defend the Popular Front between the democracies and Stalin. If we could unite with Bolsheviks to defeat Nazis, surely we can join with Iran’s rulers to cope with and crush the coronavirus.

When, if ever, will there be a better time to make good on Trump’s campaign pledge to extricate America from the wars in Syria, Iraq and Afghanistan?

Consider also the Korean Peninsula.

Kim Jong Un has been testing rockets again over the Sea of Japan.

Transfixed by the coronavirus crisis, however, the world is paying him no attention. We should make a final offer to Kim Jong Un to pull our U.S. forces from South Korea and lift sanctions for verifiable reductions and restraints on his nuclear arsenal.

We are ready for a deal. But If Pyongyang refuses to talk, we should tell him we are going home and are allowing South Korea and Japan to develop their own nuclear weapons. And let Kim deal with them.

The coronavirus pandemic is the greatest crisis since the Cuban missile confrontation of 1962. After that crisis, John F. Kennedy sought to use the world’s brush with Armageddon to establish a detente with the Soviet Union of the Communist dictator who had put the missiles in Cuba.

Following our Cold War victory, we have not done that. Instead, we plunged into wars that were none of our business to deal with imagined threats and advance utopian causes like establishing Jeffersonian democracy in lands where tribalism and dogmatism are rooted in the very soil.

The coronavirus is the enemy Saddam Hussein never was. And the ayatollahs never had tens of millions of Americans “sheltering in place.”

What the coronavirus crisis tells us is not that we should turn our backs on the world but that, in engaging with the world, we should put our own interests first, as every nation in the world is doing now.

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Can This Pandemic Usher in a New Era? – LewRockwell

Posted by M. C. on March 28, 2020

But Trump should go further, turn the tables, and seize this crisis to do what he was elected to do — impose a new foreign policy.

Isolate America, not from the world, but from the world’s wars.

The coronavirus is the enemy Saddam Hussein never was. And the ayatollahs never had tens of millions of Americans “sheltering in place.”

What the coronavirus crisis tells us is not that we should turn our backs on the world but that, in engaging with the world, we should put our own interests first, as every nation in the world is doing now.

https://www.lewrockwell.com/2020/03/patrick-j-buchanan/can-this-pandemic-usher-in-a-new-era/

By

To fight the coronavirus at home, France is removing all military forces from Iraq.

When NATO scaled back its war games in Europe because of the pandemic, Russia reciprocated. Moscow announced it would cancel its war games along NATO’s border.

Nations seem to be recognizing and responding to the grim new geostrategic reality of March 2020: The pandemic is the real enemy of us all, and while we fight it, each in his own national corner, we are in this together.

Never allow a serious crisis to go to waste, said Barack Obama’s chief of staff Rahm Emanuel during the financial crisis.

Emanuel was echoed this month by House Majority Whip Rep. James Clyburn, who called the coronavirus crisis “a tremendous opportunity to restructure things to fit our vision.”

What Clyburn had in mind is what Democrats advanced as their alternative to the $2.2 trillion emergency bill. It was designed to force President Trump either to swallow it whole or to take responsibility for vetoing a critical transfusion of federal funds to keep the economy alive.

Among the items stuffed in the Democrats’ proposal:

A $15-an-hour minimum wage imposed on companies receiving funds. Blanket loan forgiveness of $10,000 for students. New tax credits for solar and wind energy. Full funding of Planned Parenthood. Federal dollars for fetal tissue research.

$300 million for PBS, which has been promoting the LBGT agenda to school kids. Mandating “diversity” on corporate boards as a condition of companies receiving funds. Election “reforms” to increase Democratic turnout. Insistence that airlines, to get a bailout, offset carbon emissions from jet engines. $35 million for the Kennedy Center.

Majority Leader Mitch McConnell and congressional Republicans ash-canned almost the leftist wish list.

But Trump should go further, turn the tables, and seize this crisis to do what he was elected to do — impose a new foreign policy.

Isolate America, not from the world, but from the world’s wars.

The New York Times and Washington Post editorialized Thursday for an easing of the economic sanctions we have imposed on Iran.

This would be a humanitarian gesture when Iran is suffering more than any country in the Middle East from the virus. More than that, it would be a statement that America is not at war with the Iranian people.

This unilateral gesture by Trump, asking nothing in return except negotiations, would put the onus for Iran’s isolation squarely with the ayatollah and his regime.

As for Vladimir Putin’s cancellation of war games in response to NATO’s cancellation, Trump could seize upon this as an opening to engage Russia as candidate Trump promised to do.

Does anyone believe Putin wants a war with NATO?

Should he do so, does anyone think Italy and Spain, two of the largest NATO allies, but both suffering greatly in the coronavirus crisis, would invoke Article V and declare war on Russia?

When Hitler was our foe, America created a wartime alliance with Stalin in the common cause of crushing the Axis powers. Liberals and leftists yet defend the Popular Front between the democracies and Stalin. If we could unite with Bolsheviks to defeat Nazis, surely we can join with Iran’s rulers to cope with and crush the coronavirus.

When, if ever, will there be a better time to make good on Trump’s campaign pledge to extricate America from the wars in Syria, Iraq and Afghanistan?

Consider also the Korean Peninsula.

Kim Jong Un has been testing rockets again over the Sea of Japan.

Transfixed by the coronavirus crisis, however, the world is paying him no attention. We should make a final offer to Kim Jong Un to pull our U.S. forces from South Korea and lift sanctions for verifiable reductions and restraints on his nuclear arsenal.

We are ready for a deal. But If Pyongyang refuses to talk, we should tell him we are going home and are allowing South Korea and Japan to develop their own nuclear weapons. And let Kim deal with them.

The coronavirus pandemic is the greatest crisis since the Cuban missile confrontation of 1962. After that crisis, John F. Kennedy sought to use the world’s brush with Armageddon to establish a detente with the Soviet Union of the Communist dictator who had put the missiles in Cuba.

Following our Cold War victory, we have not done that. Instead, we plunged into wars that were none of our business to deal with imagined threats and advance utopian causes like establishing Jeffersonian democracy in lands where tribalism and dogmatism are rooted in the very soil.

The coronavirus is the enemy Saddam Hussein never was. And the ayatollahs never had tens of millions of Americans “sheltering in place.”

What the coronavirus crisis tells us is not that we should turn our backs on the world but that, in engaging with the world, we should put our own interests first, as every nation in the world is doing now.

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In the Pandemic, It’s Every Nation for Itself – LewRockwell

Posted by M. C. on March 18, 2020

But what governments in Europe are saying by closing their borders, what Americans are saying by banning travel from Europe, is that while all men may be created equal, we will always put our own people first, ahead of the rest.

When a crisis comes, be it a war in which the survival of the nation is at stake or an epidemic where the health and survival of our people is at stake, we take care of our own first.

This is human nature. This is the way the world works.

https://www.lewrockwell.com/2020/03/patrick-j-buchanan/in-the-pandemic-its-every-nation-for-itself/

By

“The lamps are going out all over Europe, we shall not see them lit again in our life-time,” said Foreign Secretary Sir Edward Grey to a friend on the eve of Britain’s entry into the First World War.

Observing from afar as the coronavirus pandemic ravages the Old Continent, Grey’s words return to mind. And as the Great War changed Europe forever, the COVID-19 pandemic seems to be changing the way European peoples see each other.

“All for one and one for all!” These were the words by which “The Three Musketeers” of Alexandre Dumas lived their lives.

This was the ideal upon which the EU and NATO were built. An attack against one is an attack against all. The Schengen Agreement by which citizens of Europe are as free to travel through the countries of their continent as Americans are to travel from Maryland to Virginia is rooted in that ideal.

Yet, suddenly, all that seems to belong to yesterday.

How the EU’s nation-states are reacting to the coronavirus crisis brings to mind another phrase, a French phrase, “Sauve qui peut,” a rough translation of which is, “Every man for himself.”

The New York Times has written of the new reality. In Sunday’s top story, “Europe Locks Up and Faces Crisis as Virus Spread,” the Times wrote:

“While some European leaders, like President Emmanuel Macron of France, have called for intensifying cooperation across nations, others are trying to close their countries off.

“From Denmark to Slovakia, governments went into aggressive virus-fighting mode with border closings.”

Describing a host of countries heeding the call of tribalism and nationalism, the Times laments Monday:

“Today, Europeans are… erecting borders between countries, inside their cities and neighborhoods, around their homes — to protect themselves from their neighbors, even from their own grandchildren.”

“Confronting a virus that knows no borders, this modern Europe without borders is building them everywhere.”

In a few days, the Europe of open borders has become history.

“As the pandemic spreads from Italy to Spain, France, Germany,” reports the Times, “there is a growing sense of the need for harsh, even authoritarian methods, many of them taken from China.

“Europe has been terrified by Italy. Suddenly, many of the continent’s countries are trying to lock down, to protect themselves and their citizens. The idea of European solidarity, and of a borderless Europe where citizens are free to travel and work, seems very far away.”

Italy, hardest-hit country after China, is on lockdown. Germany is closing its borders with Austria, Denmark, France, Luxembourg and Switzerland. The Czech Republic, Cyprus, Denmark, Latvia, Lithuania, Poland and Slovakia have announced they will close borders to all foreigners. President Donald Trump has expanded his travel ban on Europe to include two of America’s oldest friends, Britain and Ireland.

Slovenia has closed its border with Italy. Norway is on lockdown. International travelers who arrive in Norway risk a mandatory 14-day quarantine, regardless of their health.

Prime Minister Justin Trudeau has announced that Canada is barring entry to all travelers who are not citizens or permanent residents. The only exceptions are air crews, diplomats, and, “at this time,” U.S. citizens.

What we are witnessing is the clash of the claims of human nature and of ideology.

Through history, most men have put attachments of family, tribe, faith, country, race and nation above the claims of liberal ideology.

But while all citizens may have the same God-given right to life and constitutional right to “equal protection of the laws,” all people do not have equal rights to our affections or concerns.

For most men, the claims of the heart are superior to those of the mind. Foreign folks do not have the same claims upon us as our own. In a crisis, people put families, friends and country first.

In the Declaration of Independence, Jefferson declares that, “all men are created equal.” Yet, what truly seems to enrage him and to justify the rebellion against George III are the crimes the king had committed and that he had been “deaf to the voice of justice and of consanguinity.”

The king had violated the claims of our common blood while we Americans had not been “wanting in attentions to our British brethren.”

Closing borders is a grievous offense against liberalism that is supposedly rooted in the sin of xenophobia. But what governments in Europe are saying by closing their borders, what Americans are saying by banning travel from Europe, is that while all men may be created equal, we will always put our own people first, ahead of the rest.

When a crisis comes, be it a war in which the survival of the nation is at stake or an epidemic where the health and survival of our people is at stake, we take care of our own first.

This is human nature. This is the way the world works.

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The Ron Paul Institute for Peace and Prosperity : The Coronavirus Hoax

Posted by M. C. on March 17, 2020

The head of the neoconservative Atlantic Council wrote an editorial this week urging NATO to pass an Article 5 declaration of war against the COVID-19 virus! Are they going to send in tanks and drones to wipe out these microscopic enemies?

http://ronpaulinstitute.org/archives/featured-articles/2020/march/16/the-coronavirus-hoax/

Written by Ron Paul

Governments love crises because when the people are fearful they are more willing to give up freedoms for promises that the government will take care of them. After 9/11, for example, Americans accepted the near-total destruction of their civil liberties in the PATRIOT Act’s hollow promises of security.

It is ironic to see the same Democrats who tried to impeach President Trump last month for abuse of power demanding that the Administration grab more power and authority in the name of fighting a virus that thus far has killed less than 100 Americans.

Declaring a pandemic emergency on Friday, President Trump now claims the power to quarantine individuals suspected of being infected by the virus and, as Politico writes, “stop and seize any plane, train or automobile to stymie the spread of contagious disease.” He can even call out the military to cordon off a US city or state.

State and local authoritarians love panic as well. The mayor of Champaign, Illinois, signed an executive order declaring the power to ban the sale of guns and alcohol and cut off gas, water, or electricity to any citizen. The governor of Ohio just essentially closed his entire state.

The chief fearmonger of the Trump Administration is without a doubt Anthony Fauci, head of the National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases at the National Institutes of Health. Fauci is all over the media, serving up outright falsehoods to stir up even more panic. He testified to Congress that the death rate for the coronavirus is ten times that of the seasonal flu, a claim without any scientific basis.

On Face the Nation, Fauci did his best to further damage an already tanking economy by stating, “Right now, personally, myself, I wouldn’t go to a restaurant.” He has pushed for closing the entire country down for 14 days.

Over what? A virus that has thus far killed just over 5,000 worldwide and less than 100 in the United States? By contrast, tuberculosis, an old disease not much discussed these days, killed nearly 1.6 million people in 2017. Where’s the panic over this?

If anything, what people like Fauci and the other fearmongers are demanding will likely make the disease worse. The martial law they dream about will leave people hunkered down inside their homes instead of going outdoors or to the beach where the sunshine and fresh air would help boost immunity. The panic produced by these fearmongers is likely helping spread the disease, as massive crowds rush into Walmart and Costco for that last roll of toilet paper.

The madness over the coronavirus is not limited to politicians and the medical community. The head of the neoconservative Atlantic Council wrote an editorial this week urging NATO to pass an Article 5 declaration of war against the COVID-19 virus! Are they going to send in tanks and drones to wipe out these microscopic enemies?

People should ask themselves whether this coronavirus “pandemic” could be a big hoax, with the actual danger of the disease massively exaggerated by those who seek to profit – financially or politically – from the ensuing panic.

That is not to say the disease is harmless. Without question people will die from coronavirus. Those in vulnerable categories should take precautions to limit their risk of exposure. But we have seen this movie before. Government over-hypes a threat as an excuse to grab more of our freedoms. When the “threat” is over, however, they never give us our freedoms back.


Copyright © 2020 by RonPaul Institute. Permission to reprint in whole or in part is gladly granted, provided full credit and a live link are given.
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