Category Archives: Geopolitics

Trump’s not Adolf Hitler, says Noam Chomsky


While Adolj Hitler was a sincere, dedicated ideologue, Donald Trump is a thing-skinned megalomaniac, firing off tweets at 3 a.m. when anyone angers him, says Noam Chomsky in this extended interview with Al Jazeera.

And in some ways he’s worse: “The most predictable aspect of Trump is unpredictability. I think it’s dangerous, very dangerous.”

And in many ways, he says, it’s the Republican Party itself that’s the greatest threat to humanity’s future.

Topics covered include the failure of the news media to cover real issues, climate change, Barack Obama’s assassination program, NATO and threats to peace in Eastern Europe, and more

From Al Jazeera English’s UpFront:

Noam Chomsky on the new Trump era

Gulliani may be out as AG, but in as Sec. of State?


Holy cap!

Hold on to your hats, folks. We’re in for a really bumpy ride.

From the New York Times:

Rudolph W. Giuliani, the former mayor of New York City, is the leading contender to be secretary of state in the Trump administration, campaign officials said on Tuesday, as Vice President-elect Mike Pence plans to join President-elect Donald J. Trump in New York to accelerate the process of filling out his cabinet.

Mr. Giuliani, a loyal, often ferocious backer of Mr. Trump’s candidacy, would be a startling choice to be the nation’s chief diplomat – a relentless former federal prosecutor who has viewed foreign policy largely through the prism of the Sept. 11 attacks, which turned him into a national figure.

Though that ordeal gave Mr. Giuliani a firm grounding in domestic security issues, his formal diplomatic experience is slim. Like other New York City mayors, he made occasional ventures into foreign policy, on issues like the Middle East peace process or more parochial concerns, like going after foreign diplomats for their unpaid parking tickets.

Mr. Giuliani, who mounted brief bids for the Senate in 2000 and the White House in 2008, is now best known for his full-throated advocacy of his fellow New Yorker, Mr. Trump. He delivered a speech on his behalf at the Republican National Convention in which he condemned President Obama, saying he had failed to protect Americans from “Islamic extremist terrorism.”

Giuliani may be one of the few Republicans ever more frightening tan Trump, a President elect who’s says he’s willing to press the nuclear button.

Trump and Giuliani, two loose cannons. . .

Nuclear cannons.

World leaders react to the Trump presidency


And their takes are hardly surprising, with fear from the center and left and glee from the right.

From Deutsche Welle:

EU Parliament President Martin Schulz said the result “must be respected” as he said that Trump “managed to become the standard-bearer of the angst and fears of millions of Americans.”

German Vice Chancellor Sigmar Gabriel called Trump’s victory “a warning for Germany and Europe,” urging policy makers to listen more closely to people’s concerns. “Trump is the pioneer of a new authoritarian and chauvinist international movement. He is also a warning for us,” Gabriel told German publisher Funke Mediengruppe.

British Prime Minister Theresa May said Britain and the US would remain “strong and close partners on trade, security and defence,” while French Foreign Minister Jean-Marc Ayrault said France would work with the new president, but warned: “We don’t want a world where egoism triumphs.” France’s Socialist government had openly endorsed Clinton. Ayrault also said he wanted clarification on US policy issues such as the conflict in Syria, Iran’s nuclear deal and climate change before a hastily arranged meeting of EU leaders in the coming days.

Hardliners embolded

the first French presidential candidate to comment on the US election was populist, anti-immigrant politician Marine Le Pen, congratulating Trump even before the final results are known. Le Pen, hoping to ride anti-establishment sentiment to victory in April-May French presidential elections, tweeted her support to the “American people, free!”

Britain’s EU exit campaign leader Nigel Farage, meanwhile, said he would “hand over the mantle” to Donald Trump as he congratulated the Republican on his win. “This is a year of two great political revolutions,” Farage said, drawing parallels between the US vote and Britain’s decision to leave the European Union in June.

In turn, Turkey — a key player on several fronts, from its stance on Syrian refugees and its own EU entry to its role in NATO and in relation to the Syrian conflict — said it wants US policy under Trump to recognize the strategic importance of the country and its “main priority is an effective fight against terrorism,” President Tayyip Erdogan’s spokesman said on Wednesday.

Another democratically elected hardman, the Philippine president, Rodrigo Duterte — a fierce critic of Barack Obama who attacked his harsh anti-drug crackdown — was also quick to congratulate Trump.

Reactions from one quarter were as expected

From the Russian government-sponsored RT:

Russia is ready and looks forward to restoring bilateral relations with the United States, Russian President Vladimir Putin said, commenting on the news of Donald Trump’s victory in the US presidential election.

“We heard [Trump’s] campaign rhetoric while still a candidate for the US presidency, which was focused on restoring the relations between Russia and the United States,” President Putin said, speaking at the presentation ceremony of foreign ambassadors’ letters of credentials in Moscow.

>snip<

Russian State Duma Speaker Vyacheslav Volodin has also expressed hope that Trump’s victory in the presidential election will help pave the way for a more constructive dialogue between Moscow and Washington.

“The current US-Russian relations cannot be called friendly. Hopefully, with the new US president a more constructive dialogue will be possible between our countries,” he said.

“The Russian Parliament will welcome and support any steps in this direction,” Volodin added on Wednesday.

The London daily Mirror adds this:

The Russian Parliament also burst into applause after Donald Trump’s victory was confirmed, according to Russian news agency Interfax.

The view from China

From the Independent:

Chinese state media says that Donald Trump as president is what happens if people have democracies.

The state-run Xinhua News Agency has said that the election of the controversial Republican candidate just shows how America’s democracy brings about crisis, in contrast to the stability of China’s authoritarian rule.

The campaign – and Donald Trump’s ascension to the highest office in the world – shows how “the majority of Americans are rebelling against the US’s political class and financial elites”, the paper wrote.

The official Communist Party newspaper People’s Daily says in a commentary that the presidential election reveals an “ill democracy.”

>snip<

Like Russia, China was seen as favouring Trump because he appears less willing to confront China’s newly robust foreign policy, particularly in the South China Sea.

Hillary Clinton, by contrast, was disliked in Beijing for having steered the US “pivot” to Asia aimed at strengthening US engagement with the region, particularly in the military sphere.

Abby Martin tackles John Podesta and his emails


In one of her most important efforts yet, Abby Martin digs beneath the rhetoric to show the real importance of the cache of Wikileaked emails from the account of Democratic National Committee chair John Podesta.

What she reveals is the heart of darkness beating beneath the skin of the American political system, the same system that has given us a presidential race pitting the two most unpopular candidates since polling began.

In an attempt to discredit the emails and what they reveal, the mainstream media have presented without questioning claims that the hack was executed at the behest of the Russian government without offering any verification for their assertion.

But no less than James Bamford, a former U.S. Navy intelligence analyst and attorney who became the most distinguished journalist ever to cover and blow the lid off illegal spying programs by the National Security Agency, Bamford questioned the government’s claims in an incisive essay for Reuters, where he writes:

The problem with attempting to draw a straight line from the Kremlin to the Clinton campaign is the number of variables that get in the way. For one, there is little doubt about Russian cyber fingerprints in various U.S. campaign activities. Moscow, like Washington, has long spied on such matters. The United States, for example, inserted malware in the recent Mexican election campaign. The question isn’t whether Russia spied on the U.S. presidential election, it’s whether it released the election emails.

Then there’s the role of Guccifer 2.0, the person or persons supplying WikiLeaks and other organizations with many of the pilfered emails. Is this a Russian agent? A free agent? A cybercriminal? A combination, or some other entity? No one knows.

There is also the problem of groupthink that led to the war in Iraq. For example, just as the National Security Agency, the Central Intelligence Agency and the rest of the intelligence establishment are convinced Putin is behind the attacks, they also believed it was a slam-dunk that Saddam Hussein had a trove of weapons of mass destruction.

Consider as well the speed of the political-hacking investigation, followed by a lack of skepticism, culminating in a rush to judgment.

But what is certain, beyond question, is that John Podesta represents everything that’s wrong about American politics, where claims of democratic openness are belief by secret deals in which big banks and powerful corporations, not workers and their families, are the real beneficiaries.

And Abby Martin is on the story.

From teleSUR English:

The Empire Files: Abby Martin Exposes John Podesta

Program notes:

With the Wikileaks release of thousands of emails belonging to John Podesta, very little is known in US society about Podesta himself. While he’s maintained a low profile, John Podesta is actually considered one of Washington’s biggest players, and one of the most powerful corporate lobbyists in the world.

In this episode of The Empire Files, Abby Martin explores John Podesta’s political rise, his vast network of corporate connections and his think tank “Center for American Progress.” Learn why the Podestas and the Clintons are a match made in ruling class heaven.

Charts of the day: A tragic Bush/Obama legacy


Since George W. Bush launched his “Global War on Terror [Terra?]” and Barack Obama expanded it with even greater zeal, the flood of refugees in the Mideast has turned into a raging torrent, with millions fleeing their homes for temporary refuge both in their own and in other countries.

Two charts from a sobering new report from the Pew Research Center illustrates the scope of the problem.

First, the overall rise in refugees throughout the Middle East:

blog-migrants-all

 

And then the rise of refugees displaced from their homes and still living in their own countries:

blog-migrants-internal

Headline of the day: Suspicions finally confirmed


From the London Daily Mail, another revelation from Hillary’s emails:

Israel has ‘200 nukes all pointed at Iran’, former US secretary of state Colin Powell  says in leaked private email that has Washington on edge

  • The detail is the latest revelation to emerge from a cache of leaked communications
  • The former US secretary of state revealed the information in an email he sent to a colleague last year
  • Israel has a policy of nuclear ambiguity and has never talked openly about the type or size of its weapons 
  • The email was being sent to business partner and democratic donor Jeffrey Leeds regarding Israeli PM Netanyahu’s speech to Congress 

U.S. bombers up the ante in the Game of Zones


Tensions are once again ratcheting up in the Asia waters around China, as nations makes claims and counterclaims for vast swathes of the Japan and China seas [see today’s earlier post].

The U.S. has been pushing its Asian allies to block Chinese moves, and in the process the Pentagon is rearming Vietnam and pushing Japan towards a more aggressive military policy.

And now the U.S. is making a new military move of its own, simultaneously with moves in Europe which are bring NATO forces right up to the Russian border.

From the Japan Times:

In an apparent bid to reassure Asian allies and deter potential adversaries, the three types of U.S. Air Force strategic bombers — B-1, B-2 and B-52 — will fly simultaneously in the Pacific for the first time.

The B-1s, which arrived at Andersen Air Force Base in Guam on Aug. 6, will replace the B-52s in support of the U.S. Pacific Command’s so-called continuous bomber presence mission. The swap is expected to wrap up at the end of this month as the B-1s return to Guam for the first time since April 2006.

In addition, three B-2 stealth bombers also arrived in Guam for “a bomber assurance and deterrence deployment,” Pacific Command said in a statement on its website. It said both the B-1 and B-2 deployments “are part of a long-standing history of maintaining a consistent bomber presence in the Indo-Asia-Pacific region in order to maintain stability and provide assurance to U.S. allies and partners in the region.”

“For the first time ever a B-52, B-1 & B-2 are simultaneously in the U.S. Pacific Command area of responsibility conducting integrating operational missions,” U.S. Secretary of the Air Force Deborah Lee James wrote on Twitter last week.

Expect for things to get even hotter as China responds.