Mês: abril 2018

Foreign Policy

Why Moscow’s Foreign Philosophy Is ‘Westphalian’   Patrick Armstrong Apr. 2, 2018   These days there are two styles of foreign policy being practised; Paul Robinson here describes them: one is a “a traditional, Westphalian, order in which states are equal sovereign entities”. In the other style, there are said to be two kinds of states: “the just and the unjust”; they are not “legally or morally equal”. Others have called the second “idealism“ or “moral diplomacy“. There is a continuous tradition of the USA regarding itself as quite a new category of country as recounted here and so the moralistic stance is sometimes called “Wilsonian” after the President who wished to “teach the South American republics to elect good men” but it’s quite bipartisan: witness the “Roosevelt Corollary” in which Theodore Roosevelt arrogated to the United States of America, as a “civilised country”, the right to intervene “in flagrant cases of such wrongdoing or impotence”. Neither of these approaches is new: there have always been countries that have believed that their gods gave them the mission of instructing and disciplining their neighbours and there have always been countries that were content to leave others alone. The moralistic position is erected on the assumption that the speaker’s country is virtuous; that its virtue is evident and demonstrable: that its virtue is a fact. The lack of virtue of the other country is also a...

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FUKUS

F.U.K.U.S. Strikes Syria – Who Won?   Moon of Alabama Apr. 14, 2018   Last night France, the UK and the U.S. launched an illegal attack on Syria and bombed several military and civilian sites within the country. They justify their attack as revenge or punishment for an alleged ‘chemical attack’ that had taken place a week earlier. The ‘chemical incident’ on April 7 in Douma was designed to reverse Trump’s publicly announced decision to order the U.S. military out of Syria. The Saudi financed Salafi ‘rebels’ in Douma collected bodies, probably from another incident, and stacked them up in one apartment to stage a scene and to create fake videos of a ‘chemcial attack’ which they falsely attributed to the Syrian government. Trump pretended to fall for the videos and tweeted threats against Syria and Russia. Russia threatened to respond with strong force should any U.S. attack hurt its soldiers or interests in Syria. The UK and France, who like the U.S. were only recently visited by the Saudi clown prince and showered with fresh Saudi billions, jumped onto the case. France now admits that its ‘intelligence’ of the Douma incident is solely based on the obviously staged youtube videos and claims made by ‘western’ financed propaganda operations who cooperate with the Jihadis. Yesterday the Russian Defense Ministry accused Britain of having organized the ‘chemical incident’: Today, there...

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War Costs

American Taxpayers Must Be Told The Real Cost Of War   Bonnie Kristian Feb. 1, 2017 Congress has spent much of the last decade not passing budgets, and the federal spending bills—the omnibuses and the stop-gaps, the sequesters and the extensions—which do pass are typically byzantine monstrosities unintelligible to most of the constituents their creators ostensibly serve. Congress has also spent recent years not passing declarations of war, and the multitude of military interventions in which the United States is entangled anyway is a confusing mess of conflicting and concealed information in which waste is ignored and mission is ever-creeping. With such ramshackle fiscal and foreign policy alike, Americans might be forgiven for being uncertain whether and where our government is at war, how long it has been there and how much the whole thing will cost us. And that’s a shame, because without such information we are ill-equipped to select our representatives or demand their accountability and good policy-making once in office. Washington’s irresponsibility is self-perpetuating, and it occurs on such a grand scale that even the canniest observer is liable to miss gross imprudence and corruption. It is that context which makes so valuable a little-noticed clause in this year’s defense authorization bill requiring the defense secretary and Internal Revenue Service commissioner to put online the full cost, “including the relevant legacy costs, to each American taxpayer...

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Skripal

The Slowly Building Anger in the UK at the Government’s Handling of the Skripal Case   Rob Slane Apr. 7, 2018   In her daily press conference on 5th April, the Russian Foreign Ministry spokeswoman, Maria Zakharova, mentioned a quiet resentment and fury that is building up amongst ordinary Russians over the way the Government of the United Kingdom has handled the case of Sergei and Yulia Skripal. Strange though it may seem, I sense a similar feeling of anger and resentment building up here in the UK, as it becomes clearer and clearer that the official narrative has little or no connection with reality. The anger and frustration is increasingly being displayed on comment boards underneath pieces reporting on the issue. And the feeling is not confined to those who would normally be labelled “conspiracy theorists”. It appears that even many of those who would not normally question official statements can see that something is seriously wrong with all this. More specifically, from whence comes this feeling? Here are just 20 of the many reasons for this growing anger: 1. It comes from being asked to believe frankly outlandish claims – such as the one that is central to the whole incident, that the Skripals, who are very much alive and well, were poisoned by a military-grade nerve agent with a toxicity 5-8 times that of VX. 2....

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Sanctions

The Moral Case for Sanctions Against Russia   Rather than talk in terms of strategy or punishment, American officials should return to a kind of thinking that Republicans used to love: values-based foreign policy.   Masha Gessen Apr. 6, 2018   On Friday, the Treasury Department announced that it was imposing sanctions against twenty-four Russian individuals and fourteen Russian companies. This was the third set of sanctions against Russia announced in the past month: on March 15th, the Trump Administration imposed sanctions on individuals and companies named by the special counsel Robert Mueller as agents of election meddling; a week and a half later, the U.S. expelled sixty Russian diplomats and ordered the closure of the Russian consulate in Seattle. Each of the last three American Presidents has taken office promising to improve relations with Russia, only to see the relationship sour further—yet the contrast between declared intention and reality is particularly jarring in the case of the Trump Administration. While Donald Trump once promised to bring about a “great relationship” with Russia, Russian-American relations are now arguably at their lowest point since the Cold War. Historically, sanctions against Russia have come in several different categories, each of which reflects a different theory of Russia and perhaps even of the world. Diplomatic expulsions are one category—about thirty countries have expelled Russian representatives in response to last month’s apparent nerve-agent...

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