Category Archives: Foreign Policy (US)

‘Oil wars.’ Is this an accurate summary of US-led interventions in the Middle East of the 21st century?


‘Oil wars.’ Is this an accurate summary of US-led interventions in the Middle East of the 21st century?
Duncan Whitmore

“America is addicted to oil”

So said President George W Bush, echoing a contemporary cover of The Economist, in his State of the Union Address on January 31st 2006.

Although President Bush’s speech was a lament for the fact that the United States is the world’s biggest consumer of oil (reaching 19.4 million barrels per day by 2015[1]), this candid admission by the architect of American interventionism lent support to the notion that his country’s forays into the Middle East have been either wholly or mostly motivated by the desire to have a greater, physical control over oil. In this essay we will, however, conclude that this theory is, at best, incomplete, and, at worst, false and misleading, and that America’s interventionist efforts can be best understood through the explanation of three distinct, yet connected objectives:

  • To maintain the petrodollar system and the global reserve status of the US dollar;
  • To appease and promote the interests of the US’s biggest regional allies, Israel and Saudi Arabia;
  • To serve as proxy wars against Russia and China and to contain and minimise Sino-Russian influence in the region.

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How President Trump Normalized Neoconservatism


By ilana mercer

It’s fact: Neoconservatives are pleased with President Trump’s foreign policy.

A couple of months back, Bloomberg’s Eli Lake let it know he was in neoconservative nirvana:

“… for Venezuela, [Donald Trump] came very close to calling for regime change. ‘The United States has taken important steps to hold the regime accountable,’ Trump said. ‘We are prepared to take further action if the government of Venezuela persists on its path to impose authoritarian rule on the Venezuelan people.'”

“For a moment,” swooned Lake, “I closed my eyes and thought I was listening to a Weekly Standard editorial meeting.”

Onward to Venezuela!

Mr. Lake, a neoconservative, was loving every moment. In error, he and his kind confuse an expansionist foreign policy with “American exceptionalism.”

It’s not.

As it happens, neocons are in luck. Most Americans know little of the ideas that animated their country’s founding. They’re more likely to hold ideas in opposition to the classical-liberal philosophy of the Founders, and, hence, wish to see the aggrandizement of the coercive, colossal, Warfare State.

That’s just the way things are.

So, Saudi Arabia and the United Arab Emirates have enlisted the West in “a proxy Sunni-Shia religious war,” Riyadh’s ultimate aim. Donald Trump has been perfectly willing to partake.

After a campaign of “America First,” the president sided with Sunni Islam while demonizing Iran. Iranians have killed zero Americans in terrorist attacks in the US between 1975-2015; Saudi Arabians murdered 2369!

Iranians recently reelected a reformer. Pray tell who elected the Gulf petrostate sheiks?

Moderates danced in the streets of Tehran when President Hassan Rouhani was reelected. Curiously, they’re currently rioting.

If past is prologue, Ron Paul is probably right when he says the CIA is likely meddling in Iranian politics. For the Left and the pseudo-Right, this is a look-away issue. As the left-liberal establishment lectures daily, to question the Central Intelligence Agency—its spooks are also agitating against all vestiges of President Trump’s original “America First” plank—is to “undermine American democracy.”

Besides, “good” Americans know that only the Russians “meddle.”

In Saudi Arabia, a new, more-dangerous regime is consolidating regional power. Almost overnight has the kingdom shifted from rule by family dynasty (like that of the Clintons and the Bushes), to a more authoritarian style of one-man rule.

When it comes to the Saudi-Israeli-American-Axis-of-Angels, the Kushner-Trump Administration—is that another bloodline in-the-making?—has not broken with America’s ruling dynastic families (the Clintons and the Bushes, aforementioned).

It’s comforting to know Saudi Arabia plays a crucial role in the UN’s human rights affairs. In January of last year, the Kingdom executed 47 people in one day, including a rather benign Shiite cleric. Fear not, they went quickly, beheaded with a sword.

Then US ambassador to the UN, Samantha Power, a woman as dumb and dangerous as Nikki Haley, was cool with the carnage. (One almost misses Henry Kissinger’s realpolitik. At least the man was highly educated and deeply knowledgeable about history and world affairs. Second only to Jared Kushner, of course.)

Our bosom buddies, the Saudi’s, are currently barricading Yemeni ports. No aid gets through her hermetically sealed ports. Yemenis are dying. Some Twitter followers twittered with joy at the sight of starving Yemeni babies, like this one. Oh well, Yemeni babies can be sinister.

No one would deny the largely neoconservative nature of Trump’s National Security Strategy. Tucked in there somewhere is the Trumpian theme of “sovereignty,” but in watered-down words. The promised Wall has given way to “multilayered technology”; to the “deployment of additional personnel,” and to the tried-and-tested (not!) “vetting of prospective immigrants, refugees, and other foreign visitors.”

These are mouthfuls Barack Obama and Genghis Bush would hardly oppose.

“It’s often said that the Trump administration is ‘isolationist,'” wrote historian Andrew J. Bacevich, in the UK Spectator. Untrue. “In fact, we are now witnessing a dramatic escalation in the militarization of US foreign policy in the Middle East, Africa and Afghanistan. This has not been announced, but it is happening, and much of it without … any debate in Congress or the media.”

Indeed, while outlining his “new” Afghanistan plan, POTUS had conceded that “the American people are weary of war without victory.” (Make that war, full-stop.) Depressingly, the president went on to promise an increase in American presence in Afghanistan. By sending 4000 additional soldiers there, President Trump alleged he was fighting terrorism, yet not undertaking nation building.

This is tantamount to talking out of both sides of one’s mouth.

Teasing apart these two elements is near-impossible. Send “4,000 additional soldiers to add to the 8,400 now deployed in Afghanistan,” and you’ve done what Obama and Bush before you did in that blighted and benighted region: muddle along; kill some civilians mixed in with some bad guys; break bread with tribal leaders (who hate your guts); mediate and bribe.

Above all, spend billions not your own to perfect the credo of a global fighting force that doesn’t know Shiite from Shinola.

The upshot? It’s quite acceptable, on the Left and the pseudo-Right, to casually quip about troops in Niger and Norway. “We have soldiers in Niger and Norway? Of course we do. We need them.”

With neoconservatism normalized, there is no debate, disagreement or daylight between our dangerously united political factions.

This is the gift President Trump has given mainstream neoconservatives—who now comfortably include neoliberals and all Conservatism Inc., with the exceptions of Pat Buchanan, Ann Coulter and Tucker Carlson.

How exactly did the president normalize neoconservatism: In 2016, liberals accused candidate Trump of isolationism. Neoconservatives—aka Conservatism Inc.—did the same.

Having consistently complained of his isolationism, the Left and the phony Right cannot but sanction President Trump’s interventionism. The other option is to admit that we of the callused Old Right, who rejoiced at the prospects and promise of non-interventionism, were always right.

Not going to happen.

To some, the normalizing of neoconservatism by a president who ran against it is a stroke of genius; of a piece with Bill Clinton’s triangulation tactics. To others, it’s a cynical sleight of hand.

 

Ilana Mercer has been writing a weekly paleolibertarian column since 1999, and is the author of The Trump Revolution: The Donald’s Creative Destruction Deconstructed (June, 2016) & Into the Cannibal’s Pot: Lessons for America From Post-Apartheid South Africa (2011). Follow her on Twitter, Facebook & YouTube.

Godfrey Bloom: A Presidential Spat


Our Honorary President, this morning spoke in a debate on the BBC Radio Kent Breakfast show, about the proposed visit to the UK of President Donald Trump.

He spoke second in what became a ‘lively’ debate. If you would like to hear his contribution, please click on the audio link below. He starts speaking at 54 seconds:

Yesterday, Godfrey Bloom also spoke on the Jonathan Cowlap show, on BBC Radio York, about changes to the UK’s driving test regulations. Click on the audio link below to listen to this:

Niger: Finally, A War John McCain Doesn’t Love


By ilana mercer

News first broke about America’s Niger misadventure on October 4. “The real news here is that the US has forces in Niger, where they’re conducting covert operations,” this writer tweeted out. “Hashtag America First.”

Official media ignored the ambush of the American Special Forces, until the story gained anti-Trump traction. No word came from John McCain. Three weeks hence, the senator from Arizona is making history. McCain, who has never encountered a war he wasn’t eager to prosecute, is questioning the folly in Niger.

The senator from Arizona can run but can’t hide from the pollution he has left along his political path. Republicans wisely rejected war in Kosovo; McCain jettisoned party loyalty to call for bombs from above and “more boots on the ground.” At the prospects of war with Iran, McCain burst into song, “Bomb-bomb-bomb, bomb-bomb-Iran.” The possibility still makes this war ghoul smile. Before that, McCain promised a 100-year war in Iraq.

Senator McCain’s jingoism has encompassed Syria, Georgia, Mali, Nigeria, and China. Where the US could not effect regime change, as it did fecklessly in Afghanistan and Libya—McCain would typically call to side with an imagined local “friend of America” against an imagined “foe of America.” McCain has many imaginary friends.

Where his target country was beyond US bullying (Russia), the idea of the resumption of a cold war was an option McCain liked. He is currently fulminating over a slight delay in sanctions against Russia. When all efforts to tame the world militarily fail, McCain is partial to the idea of UN troops acting as his surrogates, say in Sudan.

No war makes Johnny a sad boy. But now he’s considering a subpoena over Niger.

GLOBAL CENTRALIZER

Playing out in Niger are the permanently entrenched, unchanging, American foreign-policy interests. Keen observers will detect a familiar pattern. Once again, the American bias everywhere is toward a powerful, overweening central state. This conceit has put our forces on a collision course with the tribal interests America toils to tame.

Indeed, US foreign policy often flouts local authority. It certainly disavows separatists and generally discourages any meaningful devolution of power. Born of a loose confederation of independent states, America now stands for the strong centralized state. Our interchangeable leaders strive to see the same in the tribal lands of the Middle East and Africa.

MEDDLING IN YEMEN’S CIVIL WAR

In Yemen, America is working to impose a central authority on “bickering sheikdoms.” In the South alone, Yemen has 14 such principalities. Southern secessionists are at war with the north, have been for at least 139 years. There, “even the bottled water,” notes the Economist, “is called ‘South.'” There’s no such thing as a united Yemen. Never was.

Into this fray, the US has waded. So stupid and dangerous is our foreign-policy colossus that it imagines America is fighting al-Qaida by backing the Saudi-led coalition to vanquish northern Houthi rebels. The northern Houthi rebels, however, clearly wear many hats. More so than the invading coalition, the rebels are of the community and often for the community.

As America’s Emirati partners in Yemen are realizing, “Motivating recruits to push north is an uphill task even with the payment of bonuses. Those who were happy to fight for their own homes seem unenthused about fighting for somebody else’s.”

Would that the Empire’s military would confine itself to that constitutional mandate: fight for home and hearth and no more. Alas, our soldiers have been propagandized to conflate fighting for American freedom with fights in Niger, Burkina Faso (yeah, I know) and Mali.

Ultimately, all the spots America chooses to mess with are too complex for the prosaic American mind to grasp, for we are schooled to see societies unlike our own through a Disneyfied, angels-and-demons prism.

More so than the Middle East, Africa is riven by tribal interests and dynamics. These, McCain or CENTCOM (the United States Central Command) have no hope of understanding, because they’re wedded to the idea that their own home (America) is nothing more than an idea, and never a community of flesh-and-blood people with a shared, treasured patrimony.

AND NOW, NIGER

To their credit, Africans’ fealty is not to deracinated political propositions—democracy, human rights, gay marriage, and communal bathrooms—but to each other. They will kill for clan and kin. (And they kill each other, too.)

Niger is no different. You’re told that the Americans and the French are empowering the local forces of Niger against the mythical ISIS. Poppycock. This is never the case. In Africa, as in Afghanistan or Iraq, the conflicts are regional, tribal, old, if not ancient.

Tongo-Tongo, the Niger village that ambushed our unsuspecting Green Berets, had not been “infiltrated” by hostile forces; that’s the take of Niger’s central government, itself a very recent development. If past is prologue, it’s fair to assume that the Niger government is vested in developing as a French and American client state with all the attendant perks.

Villagers have likely learned not to wait for any trickle-down from the state. The Tongo-Tongo villagers enticed our forces to mill about, giving their homie militant benefactors just enough time to set up an ambush in a kill zone.

Imagine! Locals don’t particularly relish a visit from the American and French patrolmen and their Nigerien puppets.

Again, Niger is heavily dependent on bribes from the West (foreign aid, we call it). We reward Niamey (the capital) to play war games with us. This is another case of an Islamic, if multi-ethnic, tribal land, whose people don’t want Americans there. (And even if the people of the region wanted us there, America has no business being there. Deplorables voted against the concept of making Niger, Burkina Faso and Mali great again.)

So, if John McCain’s hatred of President Trump has driven America’s most ardent warmonger to question the American intervention in Niger—that’s a good thing.

Ilana Mercer has been writing a paleolibertarian column since 1999, and is the author of The Trump Revolution: The Donald’s Creative Destruction Deconstructed (June, 2016) & Into the Cannibal’s Pot: Lessons for America From Post-Apartheid South Africa (2011). Follow her on Twitter, Facebook, Gab & YouTube.

Ivanka The Terrible?


BY ILANA MERCER

“Donald Trump must get those kids out of the White House,” a blunt South African observer of our politics barked at me, weeks back. “You’re looking more and more like us.” She was alluding to the nepotism on display in the Trump White House.

Since the president started strafing Syria, it has become evident that Trump’s favorite offspring needs to be booted from the People’s House. The British press, more irreverent than ours, seconded the broad consensus that Ivanka had nagged daddy into doing it. For The Kids: The First Daughter was, purportedly, devastated by the (unauthenticated) images of a suspected gas attack in Syria. Read more

The Trump Presidency Will Not Be a Disaster


The Trump Presidency Will Not Be a Disaster
Keir Martland
5th February 2017

Last night, I spoke at the Cambridge University Conservative Association’s staple event – Port & Policy – for a third time. The motion against which I spoke was that “This House Believes the Trump Presidency Will Be a Disaster.” The following was my argument, though not nearly so eloquently as written up here ex post facto:

It is an undeniable and perhaps regrettable fact that Presidents of the United States affect more people than just citizens of the United States. It therefore, sadly, matters to us which inadequate inhabits the White House far more than it matters who is currently President of Brazil. We are therefore required to pass judgement on US Presidents in a way in which we simply are not with regards to other world leaders. Read more

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