Posts tagged foreign policy
US Professor Boyle Exposes American Crimean Hypocrisy
Published by NextNewsNetwork
Is the Obama Administration telling the American people the truth over what is happening in Iraq and Crimea? A growing number of international observers are starting to question the chronicle of events being released by the White House.
In Brussels, the President recently stated “But even in Iraq, America sought to work within the international system. We did not claim or annex Iraq’s territory. We did not grab its resources for our own gain. Instead, we ended our war and left Iraq to its people in a fully sovereign Iraqi state that can make decisions about its own future.”
Some political observers are not so sure about those statements. In the last few years, Iraq has largely fallen back into sectarian violence. Suicide bombers and sneak attacks on security forces are commonplace.
Francis Boyle is the author of Foundations of World Order. The professor from the University of Illinois is an expert on foreign relations.
Boyle is our guest on the show today. He is here to talk to us about the annexation of Crimea by Vladimir Putin, as well as how that event compares to the war in Iraq. We will discuss the driving forces leading up to each invasion, and the motives pushing Vladimir Putin. We will also talk about how life changed for people in each war-torn region. Finally, we will look ahead to the future in Iraq, Crimea, and the Ukraine.
The US Just Can’t Stop Blowing Billions in Afghanistan
We stay and will stay in a more “limited” way in Afghanistan because it is vitally important in the “grand game.” Afghanistan is the cornerstone of Asia and it is at the crossroads of the Silk Road. To the north is Putin’s Russia, to the west Iran. To the east China. To the south India. It may be inhospitable. It may be dangerous. It may be the place where historically empires have gone to die. But it is full of unexploited minerals and lots and lots of opium.
To control Asia (which is probably impossible though the British gave it a good go) one must control the craggy peaks and dusty valleys of Afghanistan. And that is why we continue to dump money down a hole in the country and will probably forever. That and if we stop things will probably get get even worse. This is why we should leave empire building to other countries. We were once a colony. We didn’t like it.
(From Vice News)
Afghanistan may now be a catch-22, but US donors have missed several chances to learn a lesson. Sopko pointed to a 1988 USAID report on development in Afghanistan, drawing many of the same conclusions that US officials are realizing now. And many of the mistakes made in Iraq — particularly with sub-contractors — were repeated in Afghanistan and are once again becoming the norm.
“I’ve seen it in Somalia, in Yemen. The system of corruption and collusion between the US government and these contractors was born in Afghanistan and is being replicated elsewhere,” Jackson said, adding that development in Afghanistan took a turn for the worse after a surge both in military presence and in misguided development projects. “In 2010 you had this massive influx of money and all these quick-impact projects, and focus on burn rates rather than results.”
“That’s very important for understanding why Afghanistan is such a mess now,” she added. “If you look back, it could have gone differently.”
Image credit: http://www.againstcronycapitalism.org
About Nick Sorrentino
Nick Sorrentino is the co-founder and editor of AgainstCronyCapitalism.org. A political and communications consultant with clients across the political spectrum, he lives just outside of Washington DC where he can keep an eye on Leviathan.
Nationalism or Internationalism?
Published by Gary Franchi
Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid and President Barack Obama are working both sides of the Atlantic this week. But their mutual target is Russia. Reid is busy on Capitol Hill in that regard, while the President is on a week long European tour. While Reid and Obama are wrestling with several issues besides Russia, they’re sending a mutual message that the U.S. will punish Russia for its military operation in Ukraine.
Furthermore, a pricey aid package for the newly installed Ukrainian government based in Kiev is in the works.
President Obama is meeting with leaders from the G-7 nations. His stop in Holland yesterday was widely regarded as an attempt to isolate Russian President Vladimir Putin and deter him from moving his forces beyond the Crimean peninsula and further into Ukraine.
Obama and the G-7 allies have also firmed up their decision to remove Russia from the annual G-8 economic summit. The removal appears to be official, which is why the G-8 is now being called the G-7.
Notably, the G-7 will meet in June 2014 in Brussels, Belgium, to discuss what organizers say is “a broad agenda.”
But what Obama and his allies are doing overseas has a way of softening up the folks back home in America—to justify foreign aid for Ukraine.
On the home front, Sen. Reid is stumping for an aid package for Ukraine as Congress embarks on a marathon session this week. Reid expects the Senate to work right through the weekend as President Obama wraps up his overseas trip.
For the record, the Senate:
· Will reconsider extending jobless benefits.
· Furthermore, unless Congress takes corrective action by April 1st, Medicare reimbursements to doctors will be slashed by nearly 25%.
· Reid also wants to officially raise the federal minimum wage to $10.10 an hour. But Republican support is lacking on that so far.
However, the first order of business this week will be the Ukraine-aid bill, which calls for $1 billion in loan guarantees.
Reid noted: “I am hopeful and somewhat confident that this legislation will receive the bipartisan support it deserves.”
But does a Ukraine-aid bill really deserve support?
During this busy phase in Washington, the missing argument is that the U.S. can scarcely afford the time and the money to play both sides of the ocean to aid Ukraine via the IMF.
Foreign aid is preferable to going to war, but the Constitution is silent on foreign aid. This means that the national charter does not authorize providing such aid in the first place.
Earlier this month, Treasury Secretary Jack Lew announced: “[I]t’s important to note that for every dollar the United States contributes to the IMF, other countries provide 4 dollars more.”
Lew added that the U.S. has developed an actual “package of bilateral assistance focused on meeting the most pressing needs in Ukraine, to include a 1 billion-dollar loan guarantee.”
Lew also has urged Congress to approve legislation to “support the capacity of the International Monetary Fund to lend additional resources to Ukraine.”
However, if money must be spent, it’s arguably better to avoid Medicare cuts and extend jobless aid for Americans—instead of extending foreign aid.
Indeed, all this talk in Congress and by President Obama to isolate Russia misses a key point.
That point is as follows: In a way, America needs to isolate itself from world commitments which force U.S. taxpayers to guarantee international loans. Like never before, the U.S. needs to get its own house in order.
Simply put, we need to operate on a more nationalistic impulse—not more internationalism.
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By Ron Paul
US ‘Democracy Promotion’ Destroys Democracy Overseas
It was almost ten years ago when, before the House International Relations Committee, I objected to the US Government funding NGOs to meddle in the internal affairs of Ukraine. At the time the “Orange Revolution” had forced a regime change in Ukraine with the help of millions of dollars from Washington.
At that time I told the Committee:
We do not know exactly how many millions—or tens of millions—of dollars the United States government spent on the presidential election in Ukraine. We do know that much of that money was targeted to assist one particular candidate, and that through a series of cut-out non-governmental organizations (NGOs)—both American and Ukrainian—millions of dollars ended up in support of the presidential candidate…
I was worried about millions of dollars that the US government-funded National Endowment for Democracy (NED) and its various related organizations spent to meddle in Ukraine’s internal affairs. But it turns out that was only the tip of the iceberg.
Last December, US Assistant Secretary of State Victoria Nuland gave a speech in which she admitted that since 1991 the US government has:
[I]nvested more than 5 billion dollars to help Ukraine…in the development of democratic institutions and skills in promoting civil society and a good form of government.
This is the same State Department official who was caught on tape just recently planning in detail the overthrow of the Ukrainian government.
That five billion dollars appears to have bought a revolution in Ukraine. But what do the US taxpayers get, who were forced to pay for this interventionism? Nothing good. Ukraine is a bankrupt country that will need tens of billions of dollars to survive the year. Already the US-selected prime minister has made a trip to Washington to ask for more money.
And what will the Ukrainians get? Their democracy has been undermined by the US-backed coup in Kiev. In democracies, power is transferred peacefully through elections, not seized by rebels in the streets. At least it used to be.
The IMF will descend on Ukraine to implement yet another of its failed rescue plans, which enrich the well-connected and international bankers at the expense of the local population. The IMF adds debt, organizes sweetheart deals for foreign corporations, and demands that the local population accept “austerity” in exchange for “reform” that never seems to produce the promised results.
The groundwork for this disaster has been laid by NED, USAID, and the army of NGOs they have funded over the years in Ukraine.
Supporters of NED and its related organizations will argue that nothing is wrong with sending US dollars to “promote democracy” overseas. The fact is, however, that NED, USAID, and the others have nothing to do with promoting democracy and everything to do with destroying democracy.
It is not democracy to send in billions of dollars to push regime change overseas. It isn’t democracy to send in the NGOs to re-write laws and the constitution in places like Ukraine. It is none of our business.
How should we promote democracy overseas? First, we should stop the real isolationists — those who seek to impose sanctions and blockades and restrictions that impede our engagement overseas. We can promote democracy with a US private sector that engages overseas. A society that prospers through increased trade ties with the US will be far more likely to adopt practices and policies that continue that prosperity and encourage peace.
In 2005, arguing against funding NED in the US foreign assistance authorization bill, I said:
The National Endowment for Democracy…has very little to do with democracy. It is an organization that uses US tax money to actually subvert democracy, by showering funding on favored political parties or movements overseas. It underwrites color-coded ‘people’s revolutions’ overseas that look more like pages out of Lenin’s writings on stealing power than genuine indigenous democratic movements.
Sadly, matters are even worse now. To promote democracy overseas, NED and all other meddling US government funded NGOs should be disbanded immediately.
Confessions of an Economic Hit Man
“We’ve created a death economy, one that’s based on killing people and ravaging the earth… we must come up with a new model.”
from David Pakman Show:
John Perkins, author of Hoodwinked and Confessions of an Economic Hit Man, joins David to discuss corporate power and world economic issues.
Ron Paul: Crimea Secedes. So What?
RPI Chairman Ron Paul has an op-ed in Tuesday’s USA Today wondering why the US is so eager to saddle up for war over a relatively insignificant piece of land thousands of miles away. Dr. Paul is thankful that the bonds of international trade are tempering the passions of the US neocons and warhawks.
Writes Dr. Paul in USA Today:
Opponents of the Crimea vote like to point to the illegality of the referendum. But self-determination is a centerpiece of international law. Article I of the United Nations Charter points out clearly that the purpose of the U.N. is to “develop friendly relations among nations based on respect for the principle of equal rights and self-determination of peoples.”Why does the U.S. care which flag will be hoisted on a small piece of land thousands of miles away?
Critics point to the Russian “occupation” of Crimea as evidence that no fair vote could have taken place. Where were these people when an election held in an Iraq occupied by U.S. troops was called a “triumph of democracy”?
Perhaps the U.S. officials who supported the unconstitutional overthrow of Ukraine’s government should refocus their energies on learning our own Constitution, which does not allow the U.S. government to overthrow governments overseas or send a billion dollars to bail out Ukraine and its international creditors….
international markets rallied on news that the sanctions would be thus far minimal. They understand that trade and economic engagement are the surest roads to peace and prosperity.
Read the whole article here.
Image credit : http://ronpaulinstitute.org
Hot Mic Catches Lindsey Graham Offering Help to Democrats to Send Tax Payer Money to Ukraine
Secretary of State John Kerry was on Capitol Hill Thursday urging lawmakers to approve an economic aid package to Ukraine. After the hearing, Sen. Lindsey Graham (R-SC) told Kerry, “Hey John, good job. Let me know what I can do to help you with [House Speaker John] Boehner.”
Ron Paul made recent comments on the dangers of being entangled with the Eastern Europe crisis:
We must demand a shift away from a war footing, away from incendiary rhetoric. We are broke and cannot afford to “buy” Ukraine. We certainly cannot afford another war, especially with Russia!
(Via Freedom Outpost)
Image courtesy of Boians Cho Joo Young at FreeDigitalPhotos.net
By Adam Dick
Ron Paul on CIA Targeting Congress
RPI Chairman and Founder Ron Paul, speaking on the Fox Business show The Independents Wednesday night, addresses the Central Intelligence Agency’s spying on the Senate Intelligence Committee — seemingly to cover up torture revelations against the agency. Paul notes the irony that Committee Chairman Dianne Feinstein (D-CA) “doesn’t care about our privacy, but, lo and behold, she does care about her own.”
Watch the complete interview here:
The Difference Between Ron Paul & Ron Paul Inc:
Dennis Fusaro Explains on The Robert Wenzel Show
Worked for the Ron Paul 2008 Presidential campaign. Dennis describes the difference between Ron Paul & Ron Paul Inc.
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By Ron Paul
Will No One Challenge Obama’s Executive Orders?
President Obama’s state of the union pledge to “act with or without Congress” marks a milestone in presidential usurpation of Congressional authority. Most modern presidents have used executive orders to change and even create laws without Congressional approval. However President Obama is unusually brazen, in that most Presidents do not brag about their plans to rule by executive order in state of the union speeches.
Sadly, his pledge to use his pen to implement laws and polices without the consent of Congress not only received thunderous applause from representatives of the president’s party, some representatives have even pledged to help Obama get around Congress by providing him with ideas for executive orders. The Constitution’s authors would be horrified to see legislators actively adding and abetting a president taking power away from the legislature.
Executive orders are perfectly legitimate and even necessary if, in the words of leading Constitutional Scholar Judge Andrew Napolitano, they “…. guide the executive branch on how to enforce a law or…complement and supplement what Congress has already done.” The problem is that most modern presidents have abused this power to issue orders that, as Judge Napolitano puts it, “restates federal law, or contradicts federal law, or does the opposite of what the federal law is supposed to do.”
Political opponents of the president rightly condemned Obama for disregarding the Constitution. However, it was not that long ago that many of the same politicians where labeling as “unpatriotic” or worse anyone who dared question President Bush’s assertions the he had the “inherent” authority to launch wars, spy on Americans, and even indefinitely detain American citizens.
Partisan considerations also make some members of the opposition party hesitate to reign in the president. These members are reluctant to set a precedent of “tying the president’s hands” that could be used against a future president of their own party.
The concentration of power in the office of the president is yet one more negative consequence of our interventionist foreign policy. A foreign policy based on interventionism requires a strong and energetic executive, unfettered by Constitutional niceties such as waiting for Congress to pass laws or declare war. So it simply was natural, as America abandoned the traditional foreign policy of non-interventionism, for presidents to act “without waiting for Congress.” After all, the president is “commander-in-chief” and he needs to protect “national security,” they argued. Once it became accepted practice for the president to disregard Congress in foreign affairs, it was only a matter of time before presidents would begin usurping Congressional authority in domestic matters.
It should not be surprising that some of the biggest promoters of an “energetic” executive are the neoconservatives. They are also enthusiastic promoters of the warfare state. Sadly, they have misled many constitutionalists into believing that one can consistently support unchecked presidential authority in foreign policy, but limit presidential authority in domestic matters. Until it is fully understood that virtually limitless presidential authority in foreign affairs cannot coexist with strict limits on Presidential authority in domestic matters, we will never limit the power of the Presidency.
The people must also insist that politicians stop viewing issues concerning the separation of powers through a partisan lens and instead be willing to act against any president who exceeds his constitutional limitations. Thankfully we have scholars such as Louis Fisher, who has just published an important new book on presidential power, to help us better understand the Founders’ intent with regard to separation of powers. The key to achieving this goal is to make sure the people understand that any president of any party who would exceed constitutional limitations is a threat to liberty, and any member of Congress who ignores or facilitates presidential usurpation is being derelict in his Constitutional duty.