Tuesday, August 14, 2018

Ron Paul: President Trump May Not Be a Neoconservative, but He Is Influenced by Neocons


By Adam Dick - August 14, 2018 at 09:24AM

“Do you think that President Trump is a neocon?” That is the first question host Jason Burack asked guest Ron Paul, who is chairman of the Ron Paul Institute and a former United States House of Representative member, in a new Wall Street for Main Street podcast interview. “Probably not in the true sense of the word,” replies Paul, “but that does not mean that he isn’t influenced by the neocons,” which Paul says Trump “obviously is.”

Continuing his answer, Paul grants that Trump frequently “sounds like he doesn’t strongly identify with neocons, but his policies frequently do.” Paul further explains it is low on his “list of priorities” to label Trump. Instead, Paul says he focuses on analyzing the particular policies Trump pursues. Says Paul:
When [Trump] makes a move toward peace, I complement him. When he’s moving toward war, I complain.
Listen here to Paul’s complete interview, in which Paul and Burack also discuss topics including the deep state, trade wars, and the economic problems many Americans are experiencing:



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Thursday, August 2, 2018

Senators Seek 'Crushing' Sanctions For Russia In New Bill


By Tyler Durden - August 02, 2018 at 06:30PM

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In the latest effort to punish Moscow over alleged election meddling, as well its role in both Ukraine and Syria, a bipartisan bill has been introduced in the Senate Thursday that seeks to be so far reaching that it's being widely described as "crushing."

Predictably, it has as sponsors such Congressional hawks as Senators Bob Menendez, John McCain, and Lindsey Graham — the latter which announced the bill's goal is to "impose crushing sanctions and other measures against Putin’s Russia until he ceases and desists meddling in the US electoral process, halts cyber-attacks on US infrastructure, removes Russia from Ukraine, and ceases efforts to create chaos in Syria," according a statement.

According to lawmakers' statements, the Graham-Menendez bill introduces harsh new restrictions on sectors ranging from energy and oil projects to uranium imports and on sovereign debt transactions. And the new sanctions further target various Russian political figures and oligarchs.

Bob Menendez (D) of New Jersey called the measure the "next step in tightening the screws on the Kremlin" so Putin understands "that the US will not tolerate his behavior any longer."

Other supporters include Sens. Cory Gardner (R-Colo.), Ben Cardin (D-Md.), and Jeanne Shaheen (D-N.H.) among those previously mentioned.

In a statement Sen. John McCain said, "Until Putin pays a serious price for his actions, these attacks on our democracy will only grow. This bill would build on the strongest sanctions ever imposed on the Putin regime for its assault on democratic institutions, violation of international treaties, and siege on open societies through cyberattacks and misinformation campaigns."

Notably, part of the legislation would require the State Department to make an assessment on whether Russia should be designated as a state sponsor of terrorism.

It might have trouble passing, however, as even though a broad spectrum of legislators have lately criticized President Trump for meeting Russian President Vladimir Putin in Helsinki last month and have charged Russia with seeking to interfere in US elections, there's concern that it could inadvertently impact markets beyond Russia's borders. It would further have to pass the House of Representatives before going to Trump's desk.

According to Reuters:
The Banking and Foreign Relations Committees are planning hearings in advance of legislation coming to the floor. Some senators have expressed concern new sanctions might go too far or not succeed in getting Putin to change course.

The Treasury Department has warned Congress against legislation that would block transactions and financing for Russian sovereign debt in part because of the pain it would wreak across markets outside Russia’s borders.
The bill is considered the broadest and most far reaching of any Russia sanctions bill previously considered. Sen. Graham had recently described that it would include everything but "the kitchen sink."

Meanwhile the ruble and Russian local bonds were shaken moments after the bipartisan legislation was announced Thursday: the ruble traded down by as much as 0.9 percent against the dollar, and bond yields jumped to the highest level since July last year.

Reprinted with permission from ZeroHedge.

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Saturday, June 30, 2018

Charles Krauthammer: The Ultimate Armchair Warrior


By - June 30, 2018 at 09:43AM

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Charles Krauthammer, the eminent US media pundit died in June 2018 at the age of 68, reportedly of cancer of the small intestine.

Krauthammer was the loudest and leading public voice of the neoconservative movement in the United States. He was a lifelong warmonger and proud of it. Needless to say he never donned the uniform of his country when he had the chance and made sure his son never went to serve in the conflicts he so tirelessly demanded either.

Krauthammer championed the relentless and unending expansion of NATO into Eastern Europe and the efforts to recruit countries across Eurasia into the Atlantic Alliance. He demanded the invasions of Afghanistan and Iraq, and the toppling of previously stable governments in Ukraine and Libya. He urged the toppling of the government of Syria, demanding the policies that have so far killed at least 600,000 people and unleashed more than 5 million refugees. He demanded the 1998 bombing of Serbia. He sneered at the very idea of international law.

Krauthammer applauded the toppling of established governments including democratically elected ones across Europe, Asia, Africa, Latin America and the Middle East in the name of human rights. He relentlessly advocated the invasion of Iraq in 2003 and the ludicrous attempt to set up a US-designed, Shiite-dominated so-called democracy there. He sneered at and denied in the face of all the evidence the formidable anti-American popular rebellion in Iraq that started in May 2003. For months afterwards, Krauthammer claimed there was nothing to worry about. Later, he claimed that General David Petraeus had brought lasting peace to Iraq with his “Surge” Strategy.

Krauthammer hated and sought to destroy every attempt to bring a lasting peace between Israel and the Palestinians. He championed the Free Trade policies that gutted the US industrial base and brought poverty and despair to hundreds of millions of Americans. He fanatically opposed the Six-Plus-One nuclear agreement with Iran.

None of his “solutions” worked. He was oblivious to all consequences in the real world. He never changed. He was incapable of learning anything or ever admitting he had been wrong. He had practiced as a psychiatrist, but no one in the public domain was more in need of sustained therapy himself.

In his last message on June 8, Krauthammer wrote, “I believe that the pursuit of truth and right ideas through honest debate and rigorous argument is a noble undertaking.” It was another lie. No one did more to suppress free, balanced and open debate in the US media over four decades. He poured endless hatred and ridicule on everyone who disagreed with him. He was never even an independent voice. Every public position he took was carefully decided and coordinated in advance by the exceptionally close knit coterie of neoconservatives for whom he was the voice.

He appeared endlessly on Fox News and numerous other US media outlets. But no one was ever allowed to seriously criticize him or challenge his assertions in any of those forums. He applauded the passing of the 2001 Patriot Act with its outrageous extension of the already huge power of the US security services and Deep State.

While still in his mid-20s, Krauthammer suffered a bizarre accident that ironically left him immune from criticism for the rest of his life. He shattered his spine diving into a swimming pool which had far too little water in it, leaving him a quadriplegic for life.

He certainly showed an indomitable will and ingenuity in maintaining a full career. However this personal catastrophe had two other crucial effects never publicly acknowledged: It left him immune to the kind of virulent ad hominem personal abuse and contempt he freely showered on everyone else. He claimed to live in defiance of his physical affliction: Another lie. Any vitriol he poured on others was indulgently permitted. No legitimate criticism was allowed against him.

Second, as a cripple, Krauthammer was incapable of actually ever visiting Afghanistan, Iraq, Syria, Libya, Ukraine or the American heartland where the policies he demanded inflicted so much suffering. He did not want to know any such inconvenient facts. He did not just suffer from paradigm blindness all his life, he embraced it.

Although a successful psychiatric resident, he was extraordinarily arrogant and narcissistic and treated most people outside his family and closest colleagues with withering contempt. An informal poll carried out among Washington Post op-ed page editors in the 1990s overwhelmingly chose him as the most obnoxious and hated columnist they had to deal with. (Liberal columnist Richard Cohen easily was voted the most popular and the nicest guy.)

Krauthammer was abysmally ignorant of economics, business, practicalities of government, diplomacy, global history, war and strategy. He had never studied or practiced any of them. This ignorance generated the boundless confidence that was the secret of his success.

Krauthammer was never a reporter. He was physically incapable of visiting any country to see things himself and he was manifestly uninterested in anything that ordinary people anywhere had to say. He knew that he and his friends had all the answers. Nothing else was needed. He was convinced he was one of Plato‘s philosopher-kings, the inner elite that should guide the human race for its own good.

In his very last public statement he said, “I leave this life with no regrets.”

It was an unintentionally revealing admission: Charles Krauthammer led his own country down the road to waste, endless suffering, unending wars, misery, drug addiction epidemics and economic ruin and helped put the whole world on a helter-skelter slide towards nuclear Armageddon.

But he had no regrets.

Reprinted with permission from Strategic Culture Foundation.

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Wednesday, June 6, 2018

Will Trump Fire John Bolton Next?


By Tyler Durden - June 06, 2018 at 12:37AM

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After he nearly scuttled the historic talks with North Korea by hinting that Kim Jong Un could face a fate similar to former Libyan leader Muammar Gaddafi, National Security Advisor John Bolton is being sidelined by President Trump ahead of the historic June 12 summit in Singapore, CNN reports.

According to the report, several senior administration officials have lost their patience with Bolton and his hawkish approach to North Korea, including Secretary of State Mike Pompeo, who has pushed to limit Bolton's role in the upcoming summit, saying it would be "counterproductive" for Bolton to attend certain Oval Office meetings.

Like Trump, Pompeo was reportedly livid following Bolton's now-infamous Fox News Sunday interview, and in an angry confrontation Pompeo accused the moustached neo-con of trying to scuttle the talks for his own selfish reasons.
Pompeo told Trump it would be "counterproductive" to allow Bolton to attend the Oval Office meeting with visiting North Korean official Kim Yong Chol, two people familiar with the matter said, citing an escalating feud between the top diplomat and Bolton. The simmering tensions between two of the President's top foreign policy advisers reached a boiling point after Bolton went on television last month and cited the Libya model when talking about North Korea abandoning its nuclear program -- and in doing so, also raising the specter of Libya's subsequent invasion and its leader's brutal murder.

North Korea reacted furiously, lambasting Bolton in a statement. It revived long-held criticism from the regime, most notably in 2003 when North Korean state media described Bolton as "human scum and a bloodsucker" during the Bush administration.

But the remarks about Libya also infuriated Pompeo, who angrily confronted Bolton in a heated conversation at the White House.
While the White House has sought to play down rumors about tensions between Pompeo and Bolton, CNN says the Secretary of State has the backing of other high-ranking White House officials - including Vice President Mike Pence and Chief of Staff John Kelly. Both men have come to rely on Pompeo for his ability to cajole President Trump.
White House chief of staff John Kelly has remained in line with Pompeo, and has come to rely on his ability to guide the President, an official said. Kelly greeted Kim Jong Chol at the White House diplomatic entrance on Friday and escorted him to the Oval Office.

[...]

"Secretary Pompeo has always been the president's lead on the North Korea summit," the spokesman said, adding that Bolton "continues to coordinate and integrate the interagency process and provide the President with national security options."
This wouldn't be the first time that President Trump has pitted two of his senior officials against one another - a management strategy that Trump has become famous for. And even though Bolton has been sidelined when it comes to North Korea, the president still has faith in his national security advisor, CNN said.

Speaking from the south lawn of the White House on Friday, the president said he would temporarily set aside his push to exert "maximum pressure" on North Korea. But that doesn't mean the White House won't step up the pressure if Kim starts getting cold feet.
"I don't even want to use the term 'maximum pressure' anymore because I don't want to use that term because we're getting along. You see the relationship. We're getting along," Trump told reporters after bidding farewell to his North Korean visitor, a former spy chief and currently the country's chief nuclear negotiator. "So it's not a question of maximum pressure. It's staying essentially the way it is. At some point, hopefully, a deal -- for the good of millions of people, a deal will be worked out."

The administration insists that, for now, sanctions relief won't come until North Korea takes firm steps toward abandoning its nuclear program.

[...]

Indeed, people familiar with the summit planning now say there is little expectation Trump will emerge from his meeting with Kim having secured the type of historic, detailed commitment on denuclearization that officials once said was a prerequisite for the talks.

Instead, Trump and his aides have suggested the most concrete product of the June 12 encounter could be a peace agreement formally ending the Korean War -- a far cry from the commitment to immediate denuclearization that the administration once insisted would be required for Trump to come to the table.
However, administration officials have also cautioned that they won't let North Korea off the hook from US sanctions until the process of denuclearization has started. For now, White House officials are saying all they can hope for at the June 12 summit is a broad declaration from Kim that he's open to giving up his nukes. Such a declaration would give Pompeo and his allies in the White House enough momentum to continue pursuing a peaceful deescalation with North Korea.

However, if Kim suddenly balks, Bolton could find another opening to reassert a more hawkish approach to dealing with the Hermit Kingdom. Unless, of course, Pompeo has had enough of his neo-con rival and convinces Trump to ditch him. For now, Bolton's odds of sticking around remain high... if only for the next three weeks. According to PredictIt, the contract "Will John Bolton be National Security Advisor at end of day June 30?" is currently pricing in 91% odds.

Reprinted with permission from ZeroHedge.

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Friday, May 11, 2018

Donald Trump’s Neocon Conversion was Predictable


By Kurt Nimmo - May 11, 2018 at 11:43AM

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During the election, I wrote a little ebook titled “Donald Trump’s War on Islam.” In addition to pointing out Trump’s pandering to Islamophobia, I wrote about his association with a number of neocons, including Frank Gaffney and John Bolton, who is now his national security adviser. “I think John Bolton’s a good man,” Trump told the Hugh Hewitt Show. 

“I watched him yesterday, actually, and he was very good in defending me in some of my views, and very, very strong. And I’ve always liked John Bolton. Well, we are thinking about it, Hugh [nominating Bolton as secretary of state]. I will say that. We are thinking about it. I mean, the negative is what I told you. But we are seriously thinking about it.”

That didn’t fly because Congress would never vote to approve Bolton, same as they wouldn’t approve his nomination as ambassador to the United Nations during the reign of Bush. Instead, he assumed the role of national security adviser, a position that doesn’t require congressional approval.

In August 2016, when I published my ebook, I had no idea just how far Trump would go. He is now almost entirely in the neocon camp and Zionist sheep dipped—although the hardline neocons like Bill Kristol and Max Boot stubbornly reject him, mostly because he is an outlier, didn’t come up through the ranks, and is unpolished and anti-intellectual.

But it’s not merely the neocons. 

It’s also the Israelis. 

Bibi Netanyahu and the Likud party fanatics—hardcore Zionists—are welcomed by Trump. He has adopted their ideology, most likely as a result of the influence of his son-in-law, Jared Kushner. The Trump administration is more pro-Israel than the Bush administration. Not even George Bush and his neocons signed off on making Jerusalem the capitol of Israel. 

Bush followed the lead of the neocons and destroyed Iraq—a longtime Israeli goal, along with destroying Syria, which Obama tried to accomplish, although his relationship with the Israelis was tepid at best. Instead, Obama destroyed Libya, which wasn’t a top objective of the Likudnik Israelis, not that they objected to another Muslim biting the dust. 

Trump is going for the prime Likudnik objective—taking out Iran. 

Iran, of course, poses absolutely no threat to America. It does, however, challenge Israel for the role as Middle East Hegemon. Because of this and its strident anti-Zionist rhetoric and ostensible support for the Palestinians, it has to be taken down. 

As I wrote earlier today, we will now witness John Bolton’s Plan B—stirring up ethnic division inside Iran, directly aiding domestic groups opposed to the rule of the mullahs, and ultimately installing the wacky MEK cult as the preferred client.

The details weren’t known two years ago when I wrote my ebook—but the general outline, a rough sketch was. 

It was obvious when Trump talked about torturing suspected terrorists, killing their families, stealing oil in Iraq and Syria, and in general raising hell in the Arab and Muslim Middle East, remarks that fall comfortably within the parameters of the Zionist neocon agenda.

Reprinted with permission from Another Day in the Empire.

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Monday, May 7, 2018

The Right to 100 Percent Security?


By Michael S. Rozeff - May 07, 2018 at 02:11PM

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The basic fault in the Bush Doctrine and in Norman Podhoretz’s praise of it is that they both assume a state’s or people’s right to perfect security or 100 percent safety. This is impossible, because not everyone can simultaneously have such a right and still remain free.

To get 100 percent security, a state has to defeat and control its neighbors and eventually every last one of them. Even then, it won’t be 100 percent secure until it controls every rebellious element under its flag.

Extremism in defense of 100 percent security is a vice: wicked and immoral behavior. Such extremism stems from an erroneous moral philosophy in which one does not allow equal freedom to one’s neighbors, but instead one exercises power over them in the name of one’s own false conception of one’s right.

As an important example of this thinking and how it can lead to war, consider Israel and Iran. Trump and Pompeo have both made statements that support the neoconservative position of Norman Podhoretz. His position and theirs contain the flaw of making extreme demands for the extreme security of Israel that cannot be met without making war against Iran and suppressing their rights.

Here’s Norman Podhoretz’s thinking about Iran and Israel on December 11, 2013. The JPCOA nuclear deal was signed on 14 July 2015.

Podhoretz wrote:
I remain convinced that containment is impossible, from which it follows that the two choices before us are not war vs. containment but a conventional war now or a nuclear war later.
Podhoretz was wrong in thinking “containment is impossible.” Being wrong on Iran is what he always has been, simply because he takes the position that Iran must grovel before Israel and abjectly kowtow to every Israeli demand; and even that would not be enough. He rules out containment from the get-go because to him it requires the surrender of Iran. He wants 100 percent security for Israel.

In the real world, Iran signed the JPCOA agreement on July 14, 2015. Iran agreed to significant restrictions and inspections, which I quote:
Under the agreement, Iran agreed to eliminate its stockpile of medium-enriched uranium, cut its stockpile of low-enriched uranium by 98 percent, and reduce by about two-thirds the number of its gas centrifuges for 13 years. For the next 15 years, Iran will only enrich uranium up to 3.67 percent. Iran also agreed not to build any new heavy-water facilities for the same period of time. Uranium-enrichment activities will be limited to a single facility using first-generation centrifuges for 10 years.
Iran shelved its nuclear program since the agreement went into effect. The IAEA found no violations except some minor technical one. Iran still wants the agreement. Israel still has its nuclear arsenal, and Iran still has no nuclear bombs.

Podhoretz in 2013 could not imagine anything other than war on Iran for a good reason. He believes that Israel won’t ever be 100 percent safe until it militarily destroys the Iranian regime and puts in place a regime that is under Israel’s control. He wants 100 percent security for Israel, and the only way to assure it is complete military victory over Iran. Any degree of independence of any Iran regime will not suffice to achieve his goal.

This position is completely unreasonable, because no state has a right to demand 100 percent security for itself by suppressing other states, plus doing so forcibly. One has no right to achieve perfect security by means of aggression. One has to live with risks, threats, and possibilities, if others are to have the same freedoms and rights. The belief in this false right of one’s own security by means of invading the rights of one’s neighbors is the flaw in the Bush Doctrine. It is why Podhoretz praised the Bush Doctrine so much. It fit his own flawed philosophy. Both men, assured in their own minds that they are entitled to 100 percent security, are willing by any means of force to remove all possibility of future, current and incipient threats, even if this entails massive destruction of the rights of others.

The extreme position of Podhoretz is also the position of a cluster of neoconservatives who want American power to dominate the world. Trump and Pompeo at this moment have articulated positions that may easily tip over into full-scale war against Iran, because if they destroy what is now effective containment, what other course is left? Will Iran grovel and abjectly give in? Maybe, but it’s not likely.

Podhoretz added:
Given how very unlikely it is that President Obama, despite his all-options-on-the-table protestations to the contrary, would ever take military action, the only hope rests with Israel. If, then, Israel fails to strike now, Iran will get the bomb. And when it does, the Israelis will be forced to decide whether to wait for a nuclear attack and then to retaliate out of the rubble, or to pre-empt with a nuclear strike of their own. But the Iranians will be faced with the same dilemma. Under these unprecedentedly hair-trigger circumstances, it will take no time before one of them tries to beat the other to the punch.
Podhoretz clearly assumes that Iran is irrational, where he says that Israel can’t wait for a nuclear attack. He assumes that Iran is willing to destroy Israel even if it itself is destroyed by Israel’s nuclear arsenal. What’s more likely is that each will deter the other. If Iran has already negotiated and signed an agreement and is abiding by it, isn’t this evidence that Iran is rational? Don’t we have more such evidence in the tolerance with which Iran treats its Jewish population? And if Israel is rational, could she not make concessions to Iran or both make concessions such as to enhance the safety of both countries? The thing that’s irrational is attempting to get 100 percent safety for oneself.

Podhoretz concluded:
And so my counsel to proponents of the new consensus is to consider the unspeakable horrors that would then be visited not just on Israel and Iran but on the entire region and beyond. The destruction would be far worse than any imaginable consequences of an Israeli conventional strike today when there is still a chance to put at least a temporary halt, and conceivably even a permanent one, to the relentless Iranian quest for the bomb.
Here again, events proved him wrong. An agreement was reached that created a significant halt in Iran’s nuclear research and development. Its quest for the bomb turned out not to be as relentless as Podhoretz imagined it to be.

Did Podhoretz think that Israel could strike Iran with conventional weapons without causing Iran to declare war on Israel? If so, he thought that Iran would be rational in its non-retaliation because it would face Israel’s nuclear superiority. What if Iran reacted in the irrational way that Podhoretz earlier imagined was in its character? What if Iran retaliated? Then Israel might attack Iran with nuclear weapons; and it would almost surely attack if Israelis were dying or losses mounting. In other words, Podhoretz countenances a holocaust in Iran in order to assure Israel’s 100 percent safety. This is what follows from an erroneous moral philosophy in which 100 percent safety is regarded as a rightful goal that permits one to use force against one’s neighbors.

Reprinted with permission from LewRockwell.com.

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Tuesday, May 1, 2018

Bibi Netanyahu’s Iran Nuke Show


By Kurt Nimmo - May 01, 2018 at 02:19PM

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Israeli Prime minister Benjamin Netanyahu has repackaged a cobbled together pack of old lies. He is trying to sell it to gullible Americans as new and startling revelations about an Iranian nuclear program that doesn’t exist. 

Bibi gave a video presentation at the Israeli defense ministry yesterday. He had some props and a big screen for slides. He warned about Iran’s “Amad Plan” to secretly and illegally manufacture nuclear bombs. 

It was a rather clumsy sleight of hand. A closer look reveals the information he presented is old stuff repackaged. The IAEA knew about Amad in 2011. The international organization declared several times Iran does not have a nuclear weapons program and stopped doing nuke research back in 2003.

He sold a pack of lies to Congress back in 2003 in the lead-up to the invasion of Iraq.

Bibi is trying to sell this old and known material as a pack of new revelations and thus build up a consensus to dump the JCPOA. It looks like Trump might use this recycled crap to disavow the nuke deal next month. 

There has been a lot of traffic back and forth between Washington and Tel Aviv by Pompeo, Bolton, and Israeli officials over the last few days.

Prior to Bibi’s show, a huge explosion in Hama, Syria took out around 30 Iranians and Syrians at the Brigade 47 arms depot. The explosion was recorded as a 2.6 magnitude earthquake. Another attack hit near a military air base in Aleppo province, according to reports

In the next few days, something big is likely to happen in Syria or Iran, possibly both. Secretary of State Mike Pompeo and National Security Advisor John Bolton are fanatical neocons determined to take Iran down a few pegs, if not give it the Iraq treatment, as the neocons have planned for a couple decades now.

Ditto Syria.

Question is, what will Russia do if Israel, along with the United States and the Saudis, pull off a full-fledged attack to destroy Syria and give Bashar al-Assad the Gaddafi treatment? 

Dumping the JCPOA is the first step. The Iranians swear they will to do something drastic if Trump cans the agreement, even going so far as to pull out of the NPT. 

This will give Israel the excuse it needs to bomb Iran’s civilian nuclear sites. But Israel can’t do this. They don’t have the resources, and can’t proceed without help from their friends in Washington.

That will, of course, mean a wider war in the region. Russia will be caught in the middle. Will they sit back and let it happen? If they react, will it precipitate the Big One, World War III?

Stay tuned.

Reprinted with permission from KurtNimmo.blog.

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