Posts Tagged Foreign Affairs

THIS ST. PATRICK’S DAY, NOT ALL OF THE IRISH EYES WERE SMILING!

As the Irish are one of the oldest, and most easily assimilated groups of immigrants, St. Patty’s Day has come to be a day of celebration, not only for the Irish, but for many Immigrant groups.Ω even those who might seem to be flying under the radar—because they are of European stock. But they realize that Trump’s racially-motivated immigration ideas today could turn against all other groups tomorrow.  So, they stand together! 

Sure, Donald Trump might have toasted Irish Prime Minister Enda Kelly with green beer, on Thursday, and both men had-on green ties, and the fountain on the White House’s south lawn glowed green, for a day or two.  The undocumented Irish find little solace in those hollow events, however, due to the fact that they entered the    U. S. on perfectly legal Visas, and remained here after they had expired.  Besides the Irish, many others, like the Polish, the Mexicans, Nigerians, Filipinos, etc., are hard-working taxpayers, who are raising families here.

Perhaps the Irish won’t be the first group to be deported; but, how can they ever be sure that, as Trump or some other demagogue like him, works their way down the list of nationalities that, at some point, they might be next!  As much as Trump talks about creating jobs, he doesn’t realize that immigrants often are the reason for economic expansion as they add (usually) younger workers, entrepreneurial and technological skills, and they also increase the consumer base, as more spenders can grow the economy exponentially.

Undocumented immigrants normally enter the U. S. incrementally, and they are eventually assimilated into our society.  Unfortunately, racist actions do make it difficult for some, such as today’s Muslims, and of course blacks after centuries of living in America!

In 1981, 120,000 Cubans came ashore in Miami, in just two months time, and they were quickly assimilated into the local, very large Cuban-American community.  That many refugees, arriving in one area, and being quickly assimilated was, of course, an aberration.  Even though some of those “Marielitos” were, as Donald Trump would say, “Bad Hombres”, their proportion generally pales when compared to the overall percentage of criminals in American society.

So, while Mr. Trump was toasting Prime Minister Kelly at the White House, Joe McHugh, Ireland’s Minister for the Diaspora and International Development visited the Aisling Irish Community Center, in Yonkers, N. Y.  Aisling is one of a number of community centers that provides social services, health screenings and other assistance to, what it calls, the “forgotten Irish”.  Staff members at Aisling, and other such centers, say that anxiety is peaking because of Trump.  Minister Joe McHugh, said, after his visit: “They live in fear.” But why?

Is this what America has come to:  like those billionaires, who have more money than they could ever hope to spend, and they just seem to want more?  Everyone of us are descendants of people who had come from somewhere else–even the Native Americans.   And for all of those “god-fearing Christians”, I surely wonder how you can mouth the words: “Do unto others…”

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WITH TRUMP, HOW COMFORTABLE CAN YOU BE WHEN THE SHIT HITS THE FAN?

Donald Trump is now our, what used to be called “Fearless Leader”; however, since January 20th, I believe that a majority of Americans are now, indeed, Fearful—of him, and what he might do!   Over the decades, many crises have presented themselves to the Free World and, as has often been the case, America had been expected to play a key leadership role.  We have always been willing to step forward, and confront the problem with sound ideas, good people, capable allies and, in most cases, we were successful!

Consider the following crises that the U. S. has been faced with:

1. The ICBM stand-off that we engaged in, with the Soviet Union, during the Yom-Kippur War of 1973.
2. The Terrorist Attacks of September 11, 2001, when jet airliners flew into the World Trade Center, the Pentagon and brave passengers crashed a fourth jet into a field in rural Western Pennsylvania.
3. The Great Recession of 2008 which threatened the American, and probably the Global Economy.
4. The 2013 Ebola Virus outbreak, in West Africa, which could have turned into a global pandemic.

When President Richard Nixon was drinking heavily during the Watergate Era, Henry Kissinger and James Schlesinger stepped-in and averted a potential nuclear war in 1973.  During the terrorist attacks of 9/11, a group of dedicated Americans, spread throughout the Government, managed to keep things from getting worse. Presidents Bush’s (43) and Obama’s respective Fed/Treasury Teams took the heat and kept the dire 2008 financial crisis contained.  And, President Obama provided funds, and sent people from CDC and the U. S. Army to assist in turning-back the deadly Ebola Virus.

Those crises occurred during both Republican and Democratic Administrations, and the various teams of national security, military, financial, law enforcement, and medical experts—and so much, much more—all rose to the occasion.  They brought experience, rational thought, a spirit of cooperation and a willingness to put-in long hours, and get the job done.  Today, with the Trump Regime in power, I just don’t get that feeling of comfort.

When I consider the various people that Donald Trump has appointed to key posts, I don’t see much in the way of strong leadership and management skills.  I see ideological biases, loyalists, power-players and mostly those with histories of attacking the very departments that they are supposed to be leading.  Political connections will mean nothing when a dangerous crisis erupts—and perhaps much different from the ones noted above.

I only feel comfortable with a few of the key people who should be in a position to advise Donald Trump on National Security Matters:  H. R. McMaster, his National Security Advisor; James Mattis, Secretary of Defense, and Fiona Hill, NSC Advisor on Russia.  With Trump, however, the question is whether he will really listen to them?  Trump’s history of attacking the intelligence Community on numerous occasions sure doesn’t instill much confidence.

During past crises, the people who were heading the Crisis Command Centers had the President’s ear.  The only way that a government, with a large bureaucracy, can respond in a major crisis situation, is for those who are leading the response to truly feel trusted and empowered.  But, that’s just not Trump’s style!

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WE SHOULD BEWARE WHEN A FOOL CONTROLS OUR ALREADY OVER-BLOATED DEFENSE BUDGET! YES, DONALD J. TRUMP.

After I finished reading “Three Days in January”, by Brett Baier, I realized that it was a book of contrasts.  The Three Days refers to the period between President Dwight D. Eisenhower’s televised Farewell Address to the Nation, on January 17, 1961, and President John F. Kennedy’s Inauguration, three days later.  “Ike”,  had been the oldest President, at the time of his Inauguration, while JFK was the youngest.

The book is a juxtaposition of an autobiography of “General” Eisenhower, which he prefers to be called, and his efforts to convey some wisdom, to his successor.  The General had both planned for the Allied Forces Invasion of Normandy (France) in 1945, as well as commanded them.  So Ike was both a strategist as well as an experienced President, by then.  But, the young President-Elect felt strongly about his own ways.  But, three months into his Term, once the “Bay of Pigs Invasion”, in Cuba, turned into a disaster, JFK sought the older man’s counsel on a number of occasions.

President Eisenhower often reflected on the writings and speeches of another old general, our First President, George Washington.  Both presidents felt strongly that military might should be used primarily as a tool with which to Wage Peace!  Following the Revolutionary War, the Continental Army had been disbanded, and a small national army was not subsequently established until 1787.  And both men warned about the consequences of building too large of a military, lest it begin to control the nation’s policies.

In fact, General Eisenhower warned about the burgeoning Military Industrial Complex, during his Farewell Address.  Defense corporations generate profits by selling weapons systems to he Pentagon.  The corporations hire retired generals and admirals to introduce their sales staffs to former colleagues at Defense, and the companies seal the deal by making campaign contributions to members of Congress, while promising jobs in heir districts.  Oftentimes, the sales process trumps any rational need for more and more weaponry!

The difference between President Dwight D. Eisenhower and Donald J. Trump would be light years apart.  Ike, the simple Kansan, led the multinational Allied Expeditionary Force against Nazi Germany, during World War II.  And then, he led the New World Order against the Soviet Union, during the newly developing Cold War.  Trump has spent his whole life in privilege, he inherited his father’s family owned business, has he has been a lifelong huckster,  The general knows the horror of war, and the huckster thinks of it only in a frivolous manner. and as someone else’s war to fight.

Authoritarian governments:  control their national media, through state ownership or tight-fisted censorship; nationalize corporations—especially the military hardware—or bribe them into following government agendas; and they shift significant vital resources to enhance the already over-bloated Military (Industrial) Complex.  Does this seem to be Donald Trump’s game plan?

If we already have significantly more fighters, missiles, etc, than China or Russia, why should we deplete vital domestic resources to fund what is no longer necessary? And, how might that larger-than-necessary Military be used, in the wrong hands—Donald Trump’s hands?  No one tells the People that the excess is merely superfluous!

NOTE:  The International Institute for Strategic Studies (IISS), a British think tank, headquartered in London, founded in 1958, and is focused on International Affairs. It reported that the 2015 Defense Budgets, for the U. S., China and Russia were as follows: $597.5 billion; $145.8B and $65,6B, respectively. Also, 10 of the 12 remaining nations in the Top 15 are all U. S. Allies, leaving only Brazil ($24.3B) and India ($48.0B) out.

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HISTORICAL NOTE: When Dwight and Mamie Eisenhower left newly Inaugurated President John F. Kennedy, on that chilly January day in 1961, they left some papers with him.  The General had left paperwork for the new President to request Congress to re-call President Dwight D. Eisenhower back to active duty, as a General-of-the-Army (five stars).  That Bill was passed unanimously.  At the farm in Gettysburg, the red flag of a General immediately went up, and General Eisenhower was buried in his World War II uniform. This is why I generally referred to Ike as General, more so than President.

 

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CONGRESS MUST RE-AFFIRM ITS SOLE AUTHORITY TO DECLARE WARS–ESPECIALLY NOW, DURING THE TRUMP REGIME!

Although Health Care and Immigration are currently receiving the bulk of the media coverage—and rightfully so—I am gravely concerned about our National Security, as well.  Donald Trump didn’t create the current situation; however, under his Regime, he can only make it worse!  I am referring to the informal, even frivolous manner in which America wages war today, and Congress has apparently ceded that responsibility, over past decades, to the Executive Branch.

Only Congress is authorized to Declare War, under the U. S. Constitution (Article I, Section 8), and that Authority cannot be delegated.  Beginning with Vietnam, our wars have been entered into in a most informal manner, and generally for spurious reasons.  When we send men, and now women, to War, it should only be when America or its allies are in danger, when all else has been tried, and with the complete support of the American People!

I was one of those pawns who went to Vietnam, in the 1960s,  for dubious participation in someone else’s civil war.  It began when 3,500 Marines were deployed in 1965, and it grew to a massive army of 500,000 Americans, at its highest point.  And, for every infantry “Grunt”, there were four (like me) who were not in the actual fight.

Perhaps, worst of all, it was an Open-Ended War, with no means of knowing if and when our side won or lost.  We didn’t win!  As North Vietnamese Special Envoy, Le Duc Tho, told Henry Kissinger, after the Paris Peace Talks in 1973: “You won the battles, but you lost the War!”

Then, in 2001 why did President George W. Bush send an initial 35,000 American troops into Afghanistan, assumedly to kill or capture one man—Osama bin Laden?  As usual, too large a force is counter-productive.  And, the extra men did, in fact, get into trouble!

Bush also allowed the (Dick) Cheney-(Donald) Rumsfeld Cabal to fabricate the need to invade Iraq in 2003.  “Rummy” and Company forced the Army Chief-of-Staff, General Eric Shinseki, to retire. Then, they overruled the Generals, by forcing an inconsistent “Battle Plan”, to wage war on the cheap.  In that situation, politics trumped protocol and experience, and this sets the stage for the, perhaps even more dangerous Donald Trump Regime.

The failed raid, in Yemen on January 29, which took the life of one Navy SEAL (husband and father), and caused the deaths of numerous Yemenis, was ordered and carried-out prematurely, and with insufficient Intelligence.  So far, Trump has shown a preference for loyalty, over experience and competence.

In fact, Donald Trump has rebuked our Intelligence Community on numerous occasions.  And more recently, he appointed Steve Bannon, his Chief Political Strategist, as a permanent member of the National Security Council.  In essence, Donald Trumps appears to be politicizing National Security–and that can be dangerous!

Given the current insane manner in which the U. S. wages War, Congress must, at a minimum: re-affirm its sole discretion to Declare War; formalize the process through an actual Declaration of War; require the National Security Advisor and the Secretary of Defense to consult with both Houses of Congress, to review a fully drawn-up Battle Plan, before a declaration is even voted on; and lastly re-enact the Military Draft—without any deferments, whatsoever—as a means for the entire Nation to share in the Burden of War, including the children of Congress, as well as those of all of America!

NOTE:  A prior blog post, “Re-Enact the Military Draft!”, provides a more detailed explanation of how the Draft might serve to deter Congress from declaring questionable Wars of Convenience, and to insure the engagement of the American People.

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DONALD, DONALD, DONALD! YOU’VE DONE IT AGAIN!

Donald:  Do you remember when, following the horrendous attacks in Paris, fourteen months ago, President Francois Holland advised the French to go about their normal business?  And, even during the Darkest Hours of World War II, before America joined in, Prime Minister Winston Churchill similarly warned the British People:  “(to) Never give in.  Never, ever give in…”

Over the past several years, there have been a number of terrorist attacks, literally, in every corner of the world.  Afterward, in every single instance, the People have refused to cower in fear, and they have chosen to live their lives—as free, and caring, people do.  Think, Donald, aren’t we supposed to be the “Land of the Free…?”

Antoine Leiris, perhaps responded best, in Le Monde, in an open Letter to the Terrorists.  He addressed them directly, and told them about the loss of his wife, “The Love of my Life”.

Madam Muyal-Leiris was one of 129 people, who were needlessly murdered, at The Bataclan Nightclub, on November 13, 2015.  Mon. Leiris goes on to advise them that he will not teach his 17 month-old son, Melvil, to hate them.  That Letter is quoted from Le Monde, as follows:

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On Friday night you stole the life of an exceptional being, the love of my life, the mother of my son, but you won’t have my hatred.

I don’t know who you are and I don’t want to know – you are dead souls. If this God for which you kill indiscriminately made us in his own image, every bullet in the body of my wife will have been a wound in his heart.

So no, I don’t give you the gift of hating you. You are asking for it but responding to hatred with anger would be giving in to the same ignorance that made you what you are.

You want me to be afraid, to view my fellow countrymen with mistrust, to sacrifice my freedom for security. You have lost.

I saw her this morning. Finally, after many nights and days of waiting. She was just as beautiful as when she left on Friday night, just as beautiful as when I fell hopelessly in love over 12 years ago.

Of course I’m devastated with grief, I admit this small victory, but it will be short-lived. I know she will accompany us every day and that we will find ourselves in this paradise of free souls to which you’ll never have access.

We are two, my son and I, but we are stronger than all the armies of the world.

I don’t have any more time to devote to you, I have to join Melvil who is waking up from his nap. He is barely 17-months-old. He will eat his meals as usual, and then we are going to play as usual, and for his whole life this little boy will threaten you by being happy and free.

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Donald, how can you possibly “Make America Great Again”, by pulling-in the Welcome Mat over which, both your forebears and mine stepped?   When you close the borders, even for one moment, you are giving-in to hatred, intolerance and cruelty.  And furthermore, that Ban will merely act as a recruiting tool for the terrorists, and just “Make America their Number One Target!”

 

 

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WHAT MIGHT THE DANGERS BE IN HARASSING MEXICO?

I was a senior in high school, in October of 1962, during the Cuban Missile Crisis.  Soviets ships were heading toward Cuba, with ICBMs, and President John F. Kennedy erected a naval blockade.  Eventually, Soviet Premier Nikita Khrushchev blinked, and the ships headed back to Russia.  I wondered at the time whether I would be receiving my Diploma in June, or serving in the Army somewhere.  However, might we be approaching a similar impasse today—but, with Mexico?

When Donald Trump announced his candidacy, in June of 2015, he attacked the Mexican people and, since then, he has gradually expanded his target base to include all Hispanics, and every other demographic, except for older white men.  In a recent post, I described my views of Donald Trump’s proposed trade, tariffs and currency manipulation policies; but, for now, I’m focusing on the potential impact of harassing Mexico, on our National Security.

Granted, several of our recent Presidents haven’t shown Latin America the attention that they should have—including Barack Obama and George W. Bush.  Presidents Vladimir Putin, of Russia, and Xi Jinping, of China, on the other hand, have each made a number of visits to our southern neighbors, promoting trade.

If we treat a neighbor, who is also one of our largest trading partners this way, how could we assume that other countries won’t take notice. Trade is generally based on necessity, partnership and courtesy. Necessity alone just won’t cut it, since there are generally other nations that can offer the same goods and services.

Mexico is much larger than Cuba, with ten times the population and 20 times the area.  So, any joint military exercises with our Enemies, re-fueling and re-tooling bases, or even more nefarious activities, might be somewhat harder to monitor.  And, given today’s technological advances—since the Cuban Crisis—ICBMs are almost irrelevant.  So Donald, tell me again what the rationale is behind harassing our southern neighbor, across our 2,000 mile common border?   And have you given consideration to the much broader implications–like National Security?

NOTE:  During the Cuban Missile Crisis, Air Fore Chief-of-Staff, General Curtis LeMay advised President Kennedy to bomb Moscow. He was known as an unstable hothead. But today, with National Security Advisor Michael Flynn, as well as Donald Trump, baring those same characteristics, anything might happen!

NOTE #2:  Mexico has a Plan to fight back, as described in the NY Times and is linked, as follows:  https://www.nytimes.com/2017/01/24/business/economy/nafta-mexico-free-trade.html?ref=economy

 

 

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PRIME MINISTER BENJAMIN NETANYAHU SHOULD CAUTION DONALD TRUMP NOT TO FOLLOW THROUGH ON HIS ABSURD PROMISES IN JERUSALEM!

Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu’s government is a fragile patchwork of numerous small parties, many of which are hard-line conservatives, who are dedicated to preserving Israel as One Jewish State!  That’s why Netanyahu never saw eye-to-eye with President Barack Obama, who believed that it was in the best interests of the American People to seek a Two-State Solution.  And perhaps, it was best for all!

It is ironic that Mr. Donald Trump and the Republican Party have been trying to side with the Israeli Hard-Liners, as a means of currying favor with the American Jewish Community, which tends to vote Democratic.  President Obama, on the other hand, seems to have been working toward a Two-State Solution, with the conviction that it would better provide for the human rights of all people—Arab and Jew!

Donald Trump, however, had pledged to Prime Minister Netanyahu, back in September, to move the American Embassy to Jerusalem.  Following the Six-Day War in 1967, Israel had moved its capital to Jerusalem; but, only a handful of foreign embassies followed.  By 1982, all but two—Costa Rica and El Salvador—had returned to Tel Aviv.

General John Mattis, Trump’s nominee for Secretary of Defense suggested, in Senate Hearings, that the American Embassy should remain in Tel Avid, especially since many key Israeli government offices—such as Defense and the IDF—are located there.  If Trump were a rational man, wouldn’t he re-consider moving the Embassy, while thinking about why no other nations had done so?  And what the implications might be?

General Mattis further predicted that a One-State Solution would probably result in Israel becoming an Apartheid Nation.  This coincides directly with the Analysis column in today’s Jerusalem Post, which suggested that the U. S. recognition of Jerusalem as the capital, and the movement of the U. S. Embassy, would lead to a “New Intifada”.

Moderate Arab Leader, King Abdullah of Jordan, is quoted as having predicted such a war.  That J-Post Analysis is linked, as follows: http://www.jpost.com/Arab-Israeli-Conflict/Analysis-If-the-US-Embassy-moves-to-Jerusalem-are-we-looking-at-a-new-intifada-478535.

If Trump does push forward with such a move, a dangerous situation would prevail for Israel and the Palestinians, and for the United States, regarding our diplomatic standing in the Middle East.  America would also risk any hope of ever being considered an honest broker or negotiator, in the future, between Israel and the Palestinians.  Lastly, considering the vital role that the U. S. plays, as a backstop to Israeli National Security, Prime Minister Netanyahu should also think long and hard, and perhaps discourage Donald Trump from taking the actions that he had promised!

NOTE:  I would like to welcome my readers from Guam.

 

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