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Mike "we killed up to 200 Russians" Pompeo: yet another neocon

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What is interesting is that the USA often appoints to key position persons who are least suitable for them. For example you would expect that the position of Top Us diplomat requires knowledge of foreign languages and some period or working  in Europe or other  key for the USA interests areas at least as an Ambassador of the USA. You would think that Ambassadors in such countries as France, Japan, Germany, Russia, China would be naturally preferred candidates for the top diplomat positions as they got some experience of dealing with those foreign powers (some vassals, some not)  and  know some of the ropes and people involved.  Often the preliminary step to serve of Minister of Foreign Affair is serving as the country ambassador to the US.

For some  reason in the USA the position of the Secretary of state is reserved to top political cronies of the current  President (as is the case with Trump), or as a "rollback" to the former opponent in the same Party in the elections (like Hillary got it from Obama during his first term, or Johnson under JFK). 

Pompeo (born Dec 30, 1963) is a former lawyer with probably just two full years of practical experience in the field (1995-1997). After Harvard he was hired by Washington-based prominent law firm Williams & Connolly ( which  is known  for highest  salaries for first-year associates). Before graduating from Harvard in 1996 he worked for 4 years (1986-1991) as a military mechanical engineer. He is aircraft mechanical engineer by training graduating first in his class from West Point in 1986) with some experience in the area of aircraft parts and their manufacturing. He never studied International relations and never was stationed abroad for a considerable period of time. He might know some Italian, but that's probably it. He was a founder and CEO of of aircraft part maker company (1998-),  and it was the longer job he  has (1998-2011 -- 13 years) before he fully engaged himself into political career, spending 6 years in the House(2011-2017) as a representive from Kansas. During his political career he received substantial donations from Koch Industries ($80K in 2010, $110K in 2012)

In 1998 Pompeo dropped his lawyer profession and moved to Wichita when he and three other West Point graduate friends, Brian Bulatao, Ulrich Brechbuhl, and Michael Stradinger, acquired three aircraft part makers companies (Aero Machine, Precision Profiling, B&B Machine) and one in St. Louis (Advance Tool & Die) and renamed this congromerate Thayer Aerospace (named for West Point founder Sylvanus Thayer). Venture funding for the private organization came a 2% investment from Koch Industries as well Dallas-based Cardinal Investment and Bain Capital (Pompeo's friend Brechbuhl worked for Bain at the time).  Brechbuhl and Stradinger left the company shortly after it was founded. But Pompeo and Bulatao continued until 2006. 

He became associated with  Tea Party (which is a shame for anybody gradated from Harvard ;-) and served for 8 years in the United States House of Representatives  (2010, 2012, 2014 and 2016) as a Tea Party candidate.

As a lawmaker Pompeo supported restoring the National Security Agency's bulk collection of telephone metadata, a contentious terror-fighting tool Congress eliminated after Snowdens revelations. Looks like Pompeo's views on using harsh interrogation techniques completely mirror those of Trump, who says: We should go tougher than waterboarding, which simulates drowning.

Politically he is an unrepentant war hawk, a neocon positioned to the right of other members of Trump cabinet including Mattis.  In 2017, when Pompeo became head of the CIA. As a CIA director In September 2017, Pompeo sought authority for the CIA to make covert drone strikes without the Pentagon's involvement, including inside Afghanistan

Colonel Pat Lang, who previously worked for DIA, thinks that Pompeo is suffering  from "Smart Guy Syndrome" (Let Mikey do it Maybe not):

Aug 01, 2018 | turcopolier.typepad.com

IMO Mikey Pompeo suffers from Smart Guy Syndrome. My wife calls it Great Man Syndrome. In both of these a delusion of centrality sets in based on a belief in one's own superiority. This rots the mind. Mikey has always been the smartest kid in the room. You know his resumé. And, pilgrims, he has a smiley face welded onto his real sharkey face. These attributes have carried him far but he has a weakness or two. He really does think he is a being above the ken of mortal men AND he is a hyper-nationialist neocon ideologue through and through and in many ways immune to appeals to reason. He surely think that Trump is a dolt. Look at the picture. He has contradicted the president several times. This is a very dangerous thing to do. Trump is a reality based self-centered hustler who is used to dealing with supercilious p---ks who want to manipulate him.

Now Mikey has John-John Bolton as ally and playmate. Bolton is, IMO, more than a little crazy. Bolton loves his place in an NSC made over into extensions of his neocon craziness. He thinks that he has the Iranians right where he wants them. He believes that we could fight a maritime campaign in the Gulf with next to no losses and that if necessary we can bomb the Iranian people into unleashing their economic deprivation wrath against the mullahs.

Pompeo agrees with him. He is trying to keep the president buttered up while pursuing his shared goals with Bolton both cleverly and surreptitiously. Well, folks, Trump is a master of the art of BS detection. Those who try to fool him are taking a great risk.

Off to one side in this drama, stand the inbred caste of generals and admirals. Trump professes to admire them, but Mattis, Dunford and CENTCOM are steadily losing real power in the contest for the president's attention. IMO there will be a unifying deal between Damascus and the YPG Kurds and Trump knows all about progress toward that goal. Do the generals want that? No. They have their own desired foreign policy. They want to make the casualties of the last 15 years meaningful through victory somewhere, anywhere would do. They also want revenge against Iran for men lost in Iraq. They listen to the Israelis far too much.

IMO Trump has a private line of communication to Russia. This is perfectly legal and probably is conducted over CIA communications links or through the ambassador in Moscow, Jon Huntsman or both.

Pompeo may or may not know what is being said in those channels. pl

http://thehill.com/homenews/administration/399597-pompeo-sets-conditions-for-iran-meeting-after-trump-says-hell-meet

Larry Kart , 20 hours ago

If Trump is such a reality-based hustler who knows how to deal with supercilious p--cks" like Pompeo and Bolton, why the heck does he keep bringing those p--cks on board and then waste so much time and energy on dealing with them? Are there no prospective officials around who are not of that stripe? Or is it that Trump is unable to detect them and/or unwilling for some reason to bring them in and put them to work?

I'm reminded of a point made throughout Vol.1 of Michael Broers' brilliant new biography of Napoleon -- that Napoleon, who despised the talk-talk-talk of parliaments and liked best to work with and through committees, had a near-infallible gift for detecting the best and the brightest, whether or not they had impressive credentials or even if they had opposed or still opposed some of his policies. In these committees, which dealt with both political and military matters, all were expected to speak freely, while Napoleon listened like a hawk. For him the key test, aside from the committee members' intelligence and energy, was whether they were men of honor -- by which he meant that when agreements had been reached after all had had their fair say and Napoleon had put his stamp on them, they would abide by what had been thoroughly vetted and agreed to. An autocrat, for sure, and yet...

In April 2018 Mike Pompeo became the top US diplomat and he managed instantly to make a mark on diplomatic front, trying to outcompete Haley. At least in the  areas of jingoism and the breathtaking hypocrisy. Here is one  example  (Newsweek,

Mike Pompeo, the CIA director nominated to be secretary of state, told lawmakers Thursday that the U.S. killed up to 200 Russians in airstrikes conducted against forces loyal to Syrian President Bashar al-Assad in February.

U.S. officials have so far remained silent about the number of casualties inflicted by a coalition assault on pro-Syrian government fighters that the Pentagon claimed opened fire on Syrian Democratic Forces in the eastern province of Deir Ezzor. Both a U.S.-led coalition and the Russia-backed forces supportive of Assad are battling the Islamic State militant group (ISIS) in the region, but recent tensions have produced fears of a conflict erupting between Washington and Moscow.

As Daniel Larison, who is a very keen observer of the US foreign policy, noted in his article in The American Conservative his position  on Yemen war is dishonest to say the least (Pompeo's Perverse Yemen Rhetoric):

The Senate didn't go for Pompeo and Mattis' sales pitch for the war on Yemen on Wednesday. That's because it was filled with dishonest nonsense like this:

... ... ...

The absurdity of Pompeo's position becomes clear when we remember that Yemen would not be suffering from the world's worst humanitarian crisis were it not for the Saudi coalition's intervention, blockade, and interference in Yemen's economy. The governments responsible for causing the displacement of millions of people and creating famine conditions potentially affecting up to 14 million do not merit praise for throwing a little money at the catastrophe they have unleashed. Iran's interest in assisting suffering Yemenis or lack thereof is truly beside the point when it is the Saudi coalition backed by the U.S. that has caused so much of that suffering. War criminals do not get credit when they throw some cash at the wreckage of the country they have destroyed, and Pompeo's attempt to give Saudi Arabia credit for "relieving" suffering in Yemen is as perverse and disgusting as it gets.

The problem with Pompeo is that he believes in his exceptional intellect way too much. While in reality in diplomacy he is a novice of this skating ring. He never served as an Ambassador or lived in a major European capital, China or Japan. But what you can expect from the Tea Party rep?   Looks like he is yet another, but more dangerous, Haley.  Or even Hillary. Yet another MIC stooge.

Recent attempt to cancel midrannge missles with Russia exeplifies the problems with Pompeo and neocons in general. The treaty really was heavily tilted to the USA favor as Gorbachov essentially betrayed the USSR security interests signing it. At the time the USSR mostly have ground-based missiles(SS-20, SS-4, and SS-5) and destroyed all of them. They were forced to develop a sea-based alternative which took decades at huge (and unnecessary) cost for themselves. Now when they have such missiles (as they demonstrated in Syria) the USA say -- OK let's drop the treaty and unleash a new phase of arms. But Russians learned their lesson and promised "asymmetrical" response.  Moreover, who will sign any significant treaty with this administration after that?  North Korea? You are joking, right?

And only God knows how dangerous and destabilizing will be Russia asymmetric response, which they promised. Autonomous robot submarines able to reach the USA from Sakhalin and destroy coastal cities launching rockets at for some distance? They definitely do not need to replicate the USA moves, and the USA costs.   

This is one of most nasty anti-Russia moves after Ukrainian coupe d'état of 2014 and probably will be treated by Putin administration as such.  Essentially blocking any productive contacts for the rest of Trump term.  So much for Russiagate.

And with partially outsourced high tech the USA can't press Russia into submission too easily. The sanctions game might backfire. 

All-in-all Pompeo is a neocon hell bent of world domination, hostile to Russia and China,  with a special hate for Iran which he compared to ISIS . His appointment was a bad omen for the nuclear agreement with Iran. The deal is now dead (Meet Mike Pompeo, Trump's New Hardliner Secretary of State ):

Mike Pompeo, Donald Trumps soon-to-be Secretary of State is a hard-line Republican who shares the president-elects pugnacious worldview and, like Trump, spent years as a businessman before becoming a politician.

Pompeo, served three terms in the U.S. Congress from conservative Kansas, was a member of the House intelligence committee and has served as the director of the CIA since. During the 2016 presidential election Pompeo was an outspoken critic of former President Obama's nuclear deal with Iran, Hillary Clinton's handling of the Benghazi attack and has said former National Security Agency leaker Edward Snowden is a traitor who deserves a death sentence.

During an appearance on C-SPAN last February, Pompeo said Snowden should receive the death penalty for his actions.

Despite having high academic achievements in the past, Pompeo's performance as a Secretary of State reminds Nikki Haley performance as an ambassador to the US.  In other word this is jingoism, exceptionalism and  "strong arm" policies mixed with blunders.  He don't care about consistency of his views and advocates "brute force" "might makes right"  approach to international affairs. Sometimes like a bull in  a china chop much  like Trump himself. Armed conflict between the US and Iran and full scale war in Ukraine are becoming more probable by the day as super-hawks replaced hawks in the Trump administration:

The US will lead a new liberal world order, Secretary of State Mike Pompeo declared. Organizations and treaties not fitting this picture must be scrapped or reformed, so that non-compliers could not use them against America. The vision of the bold new and prosperous (for the US and its supporters) world was delivered by Pompeo in a keynote speech to the German Marshall Fund on Tuesday.

The senior member of the Donald Trump administration said a multilateral approach is failing to produce a world of unrestricted capitalism, so the US should rule supreme – sorry, assume a leadership role – to ensure that countries like China didn't try to offer an alternative way.

China, as well as Russia, Iran, Cuba, Venezuela and other nations on the US grudge list got their share of bashing in the speech, but its focus was more on international institutions, which Pompeo claimed to be incompatible with his grand vision.

The UN is a vehicle for regional powers to "collude" and vote in bad actors into the Human Rights Council. "Bad actors" are of course not Saudi Arabia. The World Bank and the International Monetary fund are in the way of private lenders. The EU is good, but Brexit should be a wake-up call for its bureaucracy, which doesn't know how good nationalism actually is. The International Criminal Court is "rogue" because it attempts to hold Americans accountable for crimes in Afghanistan.

As counterpunch noted: "The new line-up in Washington is being described as "a war cabinet" and it may turn out to be just that. But looking at ignorant, arrogant men like Bolton and Pompeo, it is difficult to avoid the feeling that it will all end in disaster."

Political positions(Wikipedia)

Military and national security

Surveillance

Pompeo supports the surveillance programs of the National Security Agency, referring to the agency's efforts as "good and important work".[49]

Pompeo stated, "Congress should pass a law re-establishing collection of all metadata, and combining it with publicly available financial and lifestyle information into a comprehensive, searchable database. Legal and bureaucratic impediments to surveillance should be removed. That includes Presidential Policy Directive-28, which bestows privacy rights on foreigners and imposes burdensome requirements to justify data collection."[50]

Terrorism and Islam

In a 2013 speech on the House floor, Pompeo said Muslim leaders who fail to denounce acts of terrorism done in the name of Islam are "potentially complicit" in the attacks.[51] The Council on American-Islamic Relations called on him to revise his remarks, calling them "false and irresponsible".[52] In 2016, ACT! for America gave Pompeo a "national security eagle award" for his comments on Islam.[53] Pompeo has been a frequent guest on Frank Gaffney's radio show for the Center for Security Policy.[53] As a congressman, Pompeo cosponsored legislation to add the Muslim Brotherhood to the United States State Department list of Foreign Terrorist Organizations.[54][55]

Prisons

Pompeo opposes closing Guantanamo Bay detention camp.[56] After a 2013 visit to the prison, he said, of the prisoners who were on hunger strike, "It looked to me like a lot of them had put on weight."[57]

He criticized the Obama administration's decision to end secret prisons and its requirement that all interrogators adhere to anti-torture laws.[58]

North Korea

Pompeo desires regime change in North Korea.[59] In July 2017, he said "It would be a great thing to denuclearize the peninsula, to get those weapons off of that, but the thing that is most dangerous about it is the character who holds the control over them today."[60]

Iran

Pompeo worked to undermine the Joint Comprehensive Plan of Action nuclear deal with Iran that was supported by the Obama administration. Referring to the agreement, he stated, "I look forward to rolling back this disastrous deal with the world's largest state sponsor of terrorism."[61] He also stated that a better option than negotiating with Iran would be to use "under 2,000 sorties to destroy the Iranian nuclear capacity. This is not an insurmountable task for the coalition forces."

On July 21, 2015, Pompeo and Senator Tom Cotton alleged the existence of secret side agreements between Iran and the International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA) on procedures for inspection and verification of Iran's nuclear activities under the Joint Comprehensive Plan of Action nuclear deal. Obama administration officials acknowledged the existence of agreements between Iran and the IAEA governing the inspection of sensitive military sites but denied the characterization that they were "secret side deals", calling them standard practice in crafting arms-control pacts and arguing the administration had provided information about them to Congress.[62]

Israel

In November 2015, Pompeo visited Israel and stated that "Prime Minister Netanyahu is a true partner of the American people" and that "Netanyahu's efforts to prevent Iran from obtaining nuclear weapons are incredibly admirable and deeply appreciated". He also stated that "In the fight against terrorism, cooperation between Israel and the United States has never been more important" and that "[w]e must stand with our ally Israel and put a stop to terrorism. Ongoing attacks by the Palestinians serve only to distance the prospect of peace".[63]

He opposed Trump's 2017 decision to move America's embassy in Israel to Jerusalem.[64]

Russia

During his confirmation hearing, Pompeo stated that Russia "has reasserted itself aggressively, invading and occupying Ukraine, threatening Europe, and doing nearly nothing to aid in the destruction and defeat of ISIS".[65]

Syria

Pompeo accused President Obama of inviting Russia into Syria.[42]

WikiLeaks

In a 2017 speech addressing the Center for Strategic and International Studies, Pompeo referred to WikiLeaks as "a non-state hostile intelligence service" and described founder Julian Assange as a narcissist, fraud, and coward.

... we can no longer allow Assange and his colleagues the latitude to use free speech values against us. To give them the space to crush us with misappropriated secrets is a perversion of what our great Constitution stands for. It ends now ... Assange and his ilk make common cause with dictators today. Yes, they try unsuccessfully to cloak themselves and their actions in the language of liberty and privacy; in reality, however, they champion nothing but their own celebrity. Their currency is clickbait; their moral compass, nonexistent. Their mission: personal self-aggrandizement through the destruction of Western values.[66]

Edward Snowden

In February 2016, Pompeo said Edward Snowden "should be brought back from Russia and given due process, and I think the proper outcome would be that he would be given a death sentence".[67] But he has spoken in favor of reforming the Federal Records Act, one of the laws under which Snowden was charged, saying "I'm not sure there's a whole lot of change that needs to happen to the Espionage Act. The Federal Records Act clearly needs updating to reflect the different ways information is communicated and stored. Given the move in technology and communication methods, I think it's probably due for an update."[68]

In March 2014, he denounced the inclusion of a telecast by Snowden in the South by Southwest conference in Austin, Texas, and asked that it be cancelled, predicting that it would encourage "lawless behavior" among attendees.[69]


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Old News ;-)

[Dec 12, 2018] US Secretary of State Mike Pompeo gives speech in Brussels

This is a typical neocon speech. Could be delivered by Hillary Clinton (if we removed some Tea Party frosting). Attacked both Russia and China. Such a freashly minted US diplomat ;-)
The fact that he is mentioned Skripal poisoning suggests that his IQ is overrated... Or many be that's his CIA past...
Trump want to pursue "might makes right" policy but times changed and it remains to be seen how successful he will be.
Dec 12, 2018 | www.youtube.com

Jessica Wylde , 6 days ago

Could you imagine if someone stood up and called out all the US crimes... 3 million prisoners, war crimes in Iraq, Libya, Syria, Afghanistan ect. Poverty disproportionate to the wealth of the nation. On and on

landlogger , 1 day ago

It doesn't get any clearer than this. A group of people, with no conscience and therefore no shame, no empathy, no emotion, no love, hold the reins of power on planet earth. They do not distinguish between Afghani, Iraqi, European, African or American. We are all fodder for their demented psychopathic agenda. It's time to wake up, because it's coming to your doorstep.

ThePositiveKRP , 13 hours ago (edited)

Suddenly Mike Pompeo seems like a calm and reasonable man, when not long ago he was threatening North Korea with military action.

[Dec 12, 2018] Save the INF Treaty

Notable quotes:
"... The treaty is one of the most advantageous agreements to the U.S. that our government has ever negotiated, so it is extremely difficult to see how leaving the treaty benefits the U.S. ..."
Dec 12, 2018 | www.theamericanconservative.com

about:blank

calls on the Trump administration not to kill the INF Treaty:

Losing patience with Russia's refusal to address legitimate concerns over its violation of the treaty is understandable, but the way Pompeo framed the problem says a great deal about how poorly the Trump administration is managing this sensitive issue. Pompeo told NATO, "the burden falls on Russia to make the necessary changes. Only they can save this treaty." Having built a rare instance of NATO unity, which for the first time has unanimously stated that it believes Russia is in violation of the INF Treaty, U.S. President Donald Trump's team seems more intent on using it as an opportunity to berate Russia than to save a valuable treaty that benefits European and global security. While Russia is to blame for its own violations, the United States will suffer just as much as Russia does if the treaty fails, and even more so if the collapse produces more discord than unity within the NATO alliance. By going the extra mile to save the treaty, instead of issuing ultimatums, the Trump administration might even pull out a win for once. Excuse me if I don't hold my breath.

The INF Treaty is very much worth saving, and quitting it over a Russian violation is as short-sighted and self-defeating as can be. If the U.S. withdraws, there will be no chance of negotiating a replacement. Not only will the U.S. be held as the one most responsible for killing the treaty, but by ending it the Trump administration will be opening the door to an arms race that no one should want.

The treaty is one of the most advantageous agreements to the U.S. that our government has ever negotiated, so it is extremely difficult to see how leaving the treaty benefits the U.S.

Quitting the INF Treaty unfortunately fits the administration's pattern of reneging on and abandoning agreements without giving any thought to the consequences of withdrawal. It makes no sense to give up on a treaty that has proven its worth to the U.S. and our European allies for more than thirty years.

The Trump administration has made the absolute minimum effort to resolve the dispute with Russia before quitting the treaty, and that makes it clear that they are just looking for an excuse to abandon it. If the U.S. gave up so easily on every agreement whenever there was a violation, it would not keep any of its agreements for very long. The bigger problem is that the administration's determination to leave the treaty is driven more by Bolton's ideological hostility to all arms control agreements than it is by any concern about any violations. The administration is seizing on Russian violations to withdraw from this treaty, but it also has no desire to keep New START alive, either. Letting New START die would be even more dangerous, but the administration isn't interested in extending a treaty that Russia has complied with for almost eight years.

[Dec 09, 2018] Pompeo is a Deep State Israel-firster with a nasty neocon agenda

Trump lost control of foreign policy, when he appointed Pompeo. US voters might elect Hillary with the same effect on foreign policy as Pompeo.
Notable quotes:
"... It is to Trump's disgrace that he chose Pompeo and the abominable Bolton. At least Trump admits the ME invasions are really about Israel. ..."
"... Energy dominance, lebensraum for Israel and destroying the current Iran are all objectives that fit into one neat package. Those plans look to be coming apart at the moment so it remains to be seen how fanatical Trump is on Israel and MAGA. MAGA as US was at the collapse of the Soviet Union. ..."
"... As for pulling out of the Middle East Bibi must have had a good laugh. Remember when he said he wanted out of Syria. My money is on the US to be in Yemen before too long to protect them from the Saudis (humanitarian) and Iranian backed Houthis, while in reality it will be to secure the enormous oil fields in the North. ..."
"... The importance of oil is not to supply US markets its to deny it to enemies and control oil prices in order to feed international finance/IMF. ..."
Nov 30, 2018 | www.moonofalabama.org

jim slim | Nov 29, 2018 4:04:44 AM | 24

Pompeo is a Deep State Israel-firster with a nasty neocon agenda. It is to Trump's disgrace that he chose Pompeo and the abominable Bolton. At least Trump admits the ME invasions are really about Israel.

Peter AU 1 , Nov 28, 2018 9:44:50 PM | link

Pompeo is a Deep State Israel-firster with a nasty neocon agenda. It is to Trump's disgrace that he chose Pompeo and the abominable Bolton. At least Trump admits the ME invasions are really about Israel.

Trump, Israel and the Sawdi's. US no longer needs middle east oil for strategic supply. Trump is doing away with the petro-dollar as that scam has run its course and maintenance is higher than returns. Saudi and other middle east oil is required for global energy dominance.

Energy dominance, lebensraum for Israel and destroying the current Iran are all objectives that fit into one neat package. Those plans look to be coming apart at the moment so it remains to be seen how fanatical Trump is on Israel and MAGA. MAGA as US was at the collapse of the Soviet Union.

Pft , Nov 29, 2018 1:15:05 AM | link

As for pulling out of the Middle East Bibi must have had a good laugh. Remember when he said he wanted out of Syria. My money is on the US to be in Yemen before too long to protect them from the Saudis (humanitarian) and Iranian backed Houthis, while in reality it will be to secure the enormous oil fields in the North.

Perhaps this was what the Khashoggi trap was all about. The importance of oil is not to supply US markets its to deny it to enemies and control oil prices in order to feed international finance/IMF.

[Dec 09, 2018] Pax Americana: Pompeo tells UN, WTO, ICC to bow and comply with US-led world order

Notable quotes:
"... The senior member of the Donald Trump administration said a multilateral approach is failing to produce a world of unrestricted capitalism, so the US should rule supreme – sorry, assume a leadership role – to ensure that countries like China didn't try to offer an alternative way. ..."
"... The UN is a vehicle for regional powers to "collude" and vote in bad actors into the Human Rights Council. "Bad actors" are of course not Saudi Arabia. The World Bank and the International Monetary fund are in the way of private lenders. The EU is good, but Brexit should be a wake-up call for its bureaucracy, which doesn't know how good nationalism actually is. The International Criminal Court is "rogue" because it attempts to hold Americans accountable for crimes in Afghanistan. ..."
"... But what organization was a good boy and doesn't deserve a piece of coal from Uncle Sam? SWIFT was. The banking communications organization caved in to Washington and cut off Iranians from its system, so it has a place in the bright new world of US leadership. ..."
"... "new liberal order" ..."
Dec 09, 2018 | www.rt.com

The US will lead a new liberal world order, Secretary of State Mike Pompeo declared. Organizations and treaties not fitting this picture must be scrapped or reformed, so that non-compliers could not use them against America. The vision of the bold new and prosperous (for the US and its supporters) world was delivered by Pompeo in a keynote speech to the German Marshall Fund on Tuesday.

The senior member of the Donald Trump administration said a multilateral approach is failing to produce a world of unrestricted capitalism, so the US should rule supreme – sorry, assume a leadership role – to ensure that countries like China didn't try to offer an alternative way.

China, as well as Russia, Iran, Cuba, Venezuela and other nations on the US grudge list got their share of bashing in the speech, but its focus was more on international institutions, which Pompeo claimed to be incompatible with his grand vision.

The UN is a vehicle for regional powers to "collude" and vote in bad actors into the Human Rights Council. "Bad actors" are of course not Saudi Arabia. The World Bank and the International Monetary fund are in the way of private lenders. The EU is good, but Brexit should be a wake-up call for its bureaucracy, which doesn't know how good nationalism actually is. The International Criminal Court is "rogue" because it attempts to hold Americans accountable for crimes in Afghanistan.

Also on rt.com 'Surrealism': Iran blasts US claim its missile test violated UN resolution on nuclear deal

The Paris Agreement on climate change was bad for America, so it left. NAFTA was bad for America, so it forced a renegotiation. The nuclear deal with Iran didn't make Tehran complacent, so it had to go.

But what organization was a good boy and doesn't deserve a piece of coal from Uncle Sam? SWIFT was. The banking communications organization caved in to Washington and cut off Iranians from its system, so it has a place in the bright new world of US leadership.

Watch Murad Gazdiev's report about Pompeo's "new liberal order" to find out more.

[Dec 05, 2018] The Ignorant and the Arrogant How Pompeo and Bolton Bring Us Closer to War in the Middle East

Dec 05, 2018 | www.counterpunch.org

Armed conflict between the US and Iran is becoming more probable by the day as super-hawks replace hawks in the Trump administration. The new National Security Adviser, John Bolton, has called for the US to withdraw from the Iran nuclear deal of 2015 and advocated immediate regime change in Tehran. The new Secretary of State, Mike Pompeo, has said the agreement, which Trump may withdraw from on 12 May, is "a disaster". Trump has told Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu that he will not accept a deal with "cosmetic changes" as advocated by European states, according to Israeli reporters. If this is so, then the deal is effectively dead.

... ... ...

The new line-up in Washington is being described as "a war cabinet" and it may turn out to be just that. But looking at ignorant, arrogant men like Bolton and Pompeo, it is difficult to avoid the feeling that it will all end in disaster.

[Nov 30, 2018] Pompeo's Perverse Yemen Rhetoric by Daniel Larison

Notable quotes:
"... The Senate didn't go for Pompeo and Mattis' sales pitch for the war on Yemen on Wednesday. That's because it was filled with dishonest nonsense ..."
"... The absurdity of Pompeo's position becomes clear when we remember that Yemen would not be suffering from the world's worst humanitarian crisis were it not for the Saudi coalition's intervention, blockade, and interference in Yemen's economy. ..."
Nov 30, 2018 | www.theamericanconservative.com

The Senate didn't go for Pompeo and Mattis' sales pitch for the war on Yemen on Wednesday. That's because it was filled with dishonest nonsense like this:

Secretary Pompeo

* @SecPompeo

Iran's regime has no interest in easing Yemeni suffering; the
mullahs don't even care for ordinary Iranians. Saudi Arabia has
invested billions to relieve suffering in #Yemen. Iran has
invested zero.

C10.8K 11:02 AM-Nov 28, 2018 в

The truth is that Saudi Arabia and the UAE have used their donations as another weapon of war while doing everything in their power to worsen the humanitarian crisis that their policies created. Saudi "aid" efforts have been denounced by humanitarian organizations as a "war tactic," and the Saudi government has used its donations to buy good publicity from aid agencies and silence criticism. The "investments" that the Saudi coalition governments have made are little more than poorly-concealed bribes to relieve international pressure, and these same governments have used their donations as leverage to blackmail the U.N. in the past.

The absurdity of Pompeo's position becomes clear when we remember that Yemen would not be suffering from the world's worst humanitarian crisis were it not for the Saudi coalition's intervention, blockade, and interference in Yemen's economy. The governments responsible for causing the displacement of millions of people and creating famine conditions potentially affecting up to 14 million do not merit praise for throwing a little money at the catastrophe they have unleashed. Iran's interest in assisting suffering Yemenis or lack thereof is truly beside the point when it is the Saudi coalition backed by the U.S. that has caused so much of that suffering. War criminals do not get credit when they throw some cash at the wreckage of the country they have destroyed, and Pompeo's attempt to give Saudi Arabia credit for "relieving" suffering in Yemen is as perverse and disgusting as it gets.

about:blank


TomG November 30, 2018 at 11:07 am

If only Pompeo could taste the excrement coming out of his mouth. May he go to Yemen and live off the great Saudi relief.

Daniel Larison for Secretary of State!

Sid Finster , says: November 30, 2018 at 12:23 pm
Bravo, TomG!

TomG for Senate Foreign Relations Committee or something!

Taras 77 , says: November 30, 2018 at 1:21 pm
Pompeo's statements about saudi support is absolutely astonishing in a very bad way.

Does he actually believe such nonsense? Is he being fed these gross distortions of reality by his Iran working group led by Hook?

At some point,these lies go beyond the absurd, they go beyond propaganda, they become for the world to see a war monger's mantra and justification for an attack on Iran.

Pompeo and bolton have gained world wide recognition as being mindless war mongers with much power but to continue with absurd twisting of facts on the ground really does this country a huge disservice-meanwhile the population in yemen starve.

Where is the justice, where is the humanity amongst these lies?

[Oct 26, 2018] Mike Pompeo mentored by Papal Advisor Harvard Law Professor Mary Ann Glendon

Notable quotes:
"... Another reason to hate the Catholic Church: The Catholic Church= Mike Pompeo mentored by Papal Advisor Harvard Law Professor Mary Ann Glendon ..."
Oct 19, 2018 | unz.com

War for Blair Mountain , says: October 19, 2018 at 2:18 pm GMT

Another reason to hate the Catholic Church: The Catholic Church= Mike Pompeo mentored by Papal Advisor Harvard Law Professor Mary Ann Glendon .

Pompeo the Cockroach .as it .(Mike Pompeo is an it, as is that other well known BLATARIA .Hillary Clinton) .is known to the residents of Satan's filthy stinking reeking toilet bowl waaaaaaaaay down in putrid HELL!!!!!!!

Don't mind the split infinitive they are really quite alright .only a girly boy grammar NAZI!!! would shriek about it ..

[Oct 22, 2018] Ben Norton on Pompeo

Oct 22, 2018 | friendsofsyria.wordpress.com

Ben Norton responded on Facebook post :

"Satire has lost all meaning: The former director of the CIA (which has for decades trained and armed far-right terrorist death squads), who is now US secretary of state, called Iran "the greatest sponsor of terrorism in the world" while he was meeting with regime officials in Saudi Arabia, an extremist Wahhabi absolute monarchy that supported ISIS and al-Qaeda."

[Oct 16, 2018] Pompeo's North Korea Fantasy

Oct 16, 2018 | www.theamericanconservative.com

SteveM, October 16, 2018 at 12:17 pm

Pompeo puts on his Global Cop Gorilla suit again making absolute demands as a condition for even continuing negotiations.

However the big question is how much North and South Korea move ahead in spite of the ham-fisted United States. Then the revealed scenario will be much more stark. I.e., it's not what the Korea's want that matters, it's what the Gorilla wants.

The play then will be driven by China and Russia. They don't want North Korea with nuclear weapons either because it's bad for business. As they work with the Korea's toward a settlement, the question then becomes it what way will the U.S. subvert any settlement in which it alone does not define the outcome.

P.S. like with the Russia led Minsk agreement and the Astana talks in which the U.S. has been shut out, the U.S. cares little about attaining the fundamental peace objectives in Korea, only that it calls the tune in every regard.

SteveM , says: October 16, 2018 at 1:04 pm
Re: Correction:

the question then becomes it what way will the U.S. subvert any settlement in which it alone does not define the outcome?

Note that this lack of total control by the U.S. in Korea and other venues may eventually induce a pathologically dangerous response on several fronts when the Washington Nomenklatura becomes fully aware of its asymmetric weaknesses. I.e., When a War Machine hammer is all you got, everything else is a nail.

Sid Finster , says: October 16, 2018 at 3:51 pm
Pompeo's demands are intended to be something that no sovereign government can agree to, like Austria-Hungary's ultimatum to Serbia in august 1914.

[Aug 01, 2018] Let Mikey do it Maybe not.

Aug 01, 2018 | turcopolier.typepad.com

IMO Mikey Pompeo suffers from Smart Guy Syndrome. My wife calls it Great Man Syndrome. In both of these a delusion of centrality sets in based on a belief in one's own superiority. This rots the mind. Mikey has always been the smartest kid in the room. You know his resumé. And, pilgrims, he has a smiley face welded onto his real sharkey face. These attributes have carried him far but he has a weakness or two. He really does think he is a being above the ken of mortal men AND he is a hyper-nationialist neocon ideologue through and through and in many ways immune to appeals to reason. He surely think thatTrump is a dolt. Look at the picture. He has contradicted the president several times. This is a very dangerous thing to do. Trump is a reality based self-centered hustler who is used to dealing with supercilious p---ks who want to manipulate him.

Now Mikey has John-John Bolton as ally and playmate. Bolton is, IMO, more than a little crazy. Bolton loves his place in an NSC made over into extensions of his neocon craziness. He thinks that he has the Iranians right where he wants them. He believes that we could fight a maritime campaign in the Gulf with next to no losses and that if necessary we can bomb the Iranian people into unleashing their economic deprivation wrath against the mullahs.

Pompeo agrees with him. He is trying to keep the president buttered up while pursuing his shared goals with Bolton both cleverly and surreptitiously. Well, folks, Trump is a master of the art of BS detection. Those who try to fool him are taking a great risk.

Off to one side in this drama, stand the inbred caste of generals and admirals. Trump professes to admire them, but Mattis, Dunford and CENTCOM are steadily losing real power in the contest for the president's attention. IMO there will be a unifying deal between Damascus and the YPG Kurds and Trump knows all about progress toward that goal. Do the generals want that? No. They have their own desired foreign policy. They want to make the casualties of the last 15 years meaningful through victory somewhere, anywhere would do. They also want revenge against Iran for men lost in Iraq. They listen to the Israelis far too much.

IMO Trump has a private line of communication to Russia. This is perfectly legal and probably is conducted over CIA communications links or through the ambassador in Moscow, Jon Huntsman or both.

Pompeo may or may not know what is being said in those channels. pl

http://thehill.com/homenews/administration/399597-pompeo-sets-conditions-for-iran-meeting-after-trump-says-hell-meet


Larry Kart , 20 hours ago

if Trump is such a reality-based hustler who knows how to deal with supercilious p--cks" like Pompeo and Bolton, why the heck does he keep bringing those p--cks on board and then waste so much time and energy on dealing with them? Are there no prospective officials around who are not of that stripe? Or is it that Trump is unable to detect them and/or unwilling for some reason to bring them in and put them to work?

I'm reminded of a point made throughout Vol. 1 of Michael Broers' brilliant new biography of Napoleon -- that Napoleon, who despised the talk-talk-talk of parliaments and liked best to work with and through committees, had a near-infallible gift for detecting the best and the brightest, whether or not they had impressive credentials or even if they had opposed or still opposed some of his policies. In these committees, which dealt with both political and military matters, all were expected to speak freely, while Napoleon listened like a hawk. For him the key test, aside from the committee members' intelligence and energy, was whether they were men of honor -- by which he meant that when agreements had been reached after all had had their fair say and Napoleon had put his stamp on them, they would abide by what had been thoroughly vetted and agreed to. An autocrat, for sure, and yet...

Pat Lang Mod -> Larry Kart , 19 hours ago
He hired people recommended to him by their cronies like Rosenstein, Wray, Pruitt, Coates. There have been many mistakes.like that. He could not appoint the kind of people he had eaten well-done steaks with in NY while hustling them in a deal. He also relies too much on his gut reaction to people he meets.
Larry Kart -> Pat Lang , 19 hours ago
Yes but, if he is that susceptible to dubious advice, isn't that something of a flashing-red-light character flaw -- just as Napoleon deserves blame for taking the advice of the treacherous Josephine on several disastrous occasions (i.e. the decision to invade Haiti)?
Pat Lang Mod -> Larry Kart , 18 hours ago
"You see," as Auda Abu Tayi said of Lawrence in the movie, "He is not perfect."
unmitigatedaudacity -> Pat Lang , 4 hours ago
No, he is not. We all lament The Boltens and Pompeos. However, where is he to find "good people"? The American political class is reflectively myopic and partisan. Find some more Jon Huntsman types (where? IDK) who can serve American interests without all the Sturm und Drang of today's hyperbolic, puerile political warfare.
EEngineer , a day ago
I would wager that Trump sees both of them as dangerous but useful idiots that willingly play their role in his "good-cop, bad cop" negotiating tactics. They will be gone with the next tacking.
Pat Lang Mod -> EEngineer , a day ago
Yup. Ready about! Ah, they went over the side.
EEngineer -> Pat Lang , 19 hours ago
I envisioned something closer to being forced to walk the plank.
Charles Pettibone , 11 hours ago
I was pleasantly surprised at Bolton's behavior in Russia and in his comment that getting rid of Assad was no longer the goal of the US. To be sure, time will tell, but it's clear that at this point Trump is driving foreign policy and is far more self-confident than he was in 2017.

Whatever Pompeo says doesn't matter- if he tries to throw up walls to a summit, Trump will tell him to go to hell. It's a core principle of Trump's that meeting is not a "concession." He knows that "legitimacy" is an utterly meaningless concept, not something that can be granted or withdrawn by the US president. If Iran offers Trump a meeting, he'll meet. No questions asked.

chris chuba , a day ago
"Well, folks, Trump is a master of the art of BS detection. Those who try to fool him are taking a great risk."

I completely agree with you Col. I hear people call Trump a moron or a genius, I think that what makes him so vexing is that he is both at the same time. He is probably very good at making certain nobody gets the better of him, especially his subordinates.

NathalieM , a day ago
Except for the belief on Trump´s masterliness on anything, I never would had thought I will be agreeing with you all the way till the last line....of this concrete post....What I most agree with you in is in Pompeo´s overestimating his own capabilities...and I conclude also along with you that is a very dangerous situation...But, if you see it so clear, and we all too, could you provide a convincing explanation on why Trump, being such a master on personal management and business administration, elected Pompeo and Bolton for office in the first place?

Thanks in advance, in case you answer my question and do not find something outrageous enough for your sensibility in my comment so as to delete it.

EEngineer -> NathalieM , 2 hours ago
It frames Trump as the moderate. He uses them to move the Overton Window. Nothing more.

[Jul 27, 2018] "Did You Ask Obama About His Private Meeting With Putin?", Mike Pompeo SILENCES Arrogant Dem Senator

Jul 27, 2018 | www.zerohedge.com

Son of Loki Thu, 07/26/2018 - 23:45 Permalink

Pompeo told those democrat Senators where to shove it at the hearing. "Did You Ask Obama About His Private Meeting With Putin?", Mike Pompeo SILENCES Arrogant Dem Senator

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=tqcefW2F1DI

That Menendez is a total anti-American prick.

[Jul 11, 2018] Pompeo's Breathtaking Arrogance by Daniel Larison

Notable quotes:
"... Iran has better – and legal – cause to be in Syria than Victoria Nuland had to meddle in the Ukraine. Impunitivism – do as we tell you, not as we do. ..."
"... I'm not sure which is more worrisome, if Pompeo knew how absurd that is but said it anyway, or if he really doesn't even know ..."
"... What do you not get about us being the ONE INDISPENSABLE NATION (OIN)? The OIN determines and enforces the New World Order! "Rights" don't apply to us. Does God Almighty worry about whether He has the right to do something? No! We have become as Him. ..."
"... It's sort of an interesting concept, and a very new one. I can't recall American saying that Country X can have no dealings with Country Y. I don't think much will come of it. Even assuming that the statement was serious, which there is really no way of knowing, given the Trump/Pompeo propensity to lie, the Iranians must assume that Trump and Pompeo are too ignorant and incompetent to do anything effective about it. ..."
"... No one has any idea when or why to take these people seriously. They say all this blood-curdling stuff one day and a few days later appear to have forgotten it completely and fixated on some other stupid notion. ..."
Jul 11, 2018 | www.theamericanconservative.com

Mike Pompeo gave an interview to Sky News Arabia this week in which he made some remarkable statements:

Well, Iran needs to get out of Syria. They have no business there. There's no reason for them to be there. There's been Iranian influence there for a long time. Iranian forces, Iranian militias must leave the country.

If Iran has no business in Syria, the U.S. certainly doesn't have any business keeping troops there. Leave aside the absurdity of the statement that the ally of a government has no business supporting that government in a war, and just consider the breathtaking hypocrisy of this statement coming from a U.S. official.

The U.S. is engaged in hostilities in at least a half dozen countries around the world and attacks other governments at will. Our government has been actively supporting the Saudi-led attack on Yemen for more than three years, and we have had U.S. force operating illegally in Syrian territory and airspace for almost four. It is the height of arrogance and folly to issue this ultimatum. The U.S. has no right or authority to make such a demand, and the administration should be focused instead on withdrawing our forces from wars that we have no business fighting or supporting.


b. July 11, 2018 at 1:40 pm

Iran has better – and legal – cause to be in Syria than Victoria Nuland had to meddle in the Ukraine. Impunitivism – do as we tell you, not as we do.
Mark Thomason , says: July 11, 2018 at 2:34 pm
I'm not sure which is more worrisome, if Pompeo knew how absurd that is but said it anyway, or if he really doesn't even know.
Kent , says: July 11, 2018 at 2:58 pm
Larison,

What do you not get about us being the ONE INDISPENSABLE NATION (OIN)? The OIN determines and enforces the New World Order! "Rights" don't apply to us. Does God Almighty worry about whether He has the right to do something? No! We have become as Him.

watching in wonder , says: July 11, 2018 at 3:11 pm
It's sort of an interesting concept, and a very new one. I can't recall American saying that Country X can have no dealings with Country Y. I don't think much will come of it. Even assuming that the statement was serious, which there is really no way of knowing, given the Trump/Pompeo propensity to lie, the Iranians must assume that Trump and Pompeo are too ignorant and incompetent to do anything effective about it.

No one has any idea when or why to take these people seriously. They say all this blood-curdling stuff one day and a few days later appear to have forgotten it completely and fixated on some other stupid notion.

[Apr 30, 2018] Mike Pompeo who has been responsible for the effort to stop CIA support for ISIS, on directions from Donald J. Trump and the Pentagon faction which essentially controls the White House

Apr 30, 2018 | www.moonofalabama.org

Fec | Apr 29, 2018 9:34:08 PM | 30

@ 28 Chipnik

Another opinion was posited here recently.

http://www.moonofalabama.org/2018/04/syria-iraq-us-cuddles-isis-others-plan-for-the-final-fight.html#c6a00d8341c640e53ef0224e0348326200d

Recall it is Mike Pompeo who has been responsible for the effort to stop CIA support for ISIS, on directions from Donald J. Trump and the Pentagon faction which essentially controls the White House.

Mike Pompeo was President of Sentry International, an oilfield equipment company and close partner of Koch Industries. Also recall the recent meeting between the heads of the FSB and SVR, Alexander Bortnikov and Sergey Naryshkin, received by Pompeo, then director of the CIA, and Dan Coats, director of National Intelligence.

Alexander Bortnikov and Sergey Naryshkin Secretly Received in the United States

http://www.voltairenet.org/article199603.html

In hindsight this meeting appears to have been a strategy session conducted by extremely important high level individuals from Russia with their 'partners' in the United States.

The meeting occurred immediately before the firing of Rex Tillerson, an agent of the UK-Rothchild 'Octopus,' which effectively controls Exxon-Mobil (the Rockefellers sold their interest several years ago) of which Tillerson was formerly head. Tillerson, who once ran the foreign policies of multiple countries dominated by Exxon-Mobil including Qatar, was said to have been caught red-handed by the NSA under James Kelly, of assisting the UK conspiracy to launch a chemical false flag attack in Eastern Ghouta, the discovery of which led to Tillerson's unceremonious dismissal by Donald Trump via Twitter, a truly unprecedented way to fire a US Secretary of State.

[Apr 29, 2018] Pompeo's Contempt for Diplomacy and the Nuclear Deal by Daniel Larison

Trump betrayal of his voters is as staggering as Obama betrayal. May even more so.
Notable quotes:
"... It is fitting that one of the first things that will happen during Pompeo's tenure as chief diplomat is the repudiation of a successful diplomatic agreement solely for reasons of spite and ideology. That reflects the contempt for diplomacy and compromise that Pompeo shares with the president. It is an early reminder why having Pompeo in charge of U.S. diplomacy is so dangerous and why it would have been better not to confirm him. ..."
"... North Korea wasn't going to give up its nuclear weapons anyway, and now it will look at Trump's reneging on the nuclear deal as proof that they are right to keep them. ..."
"... Pompeo's recent statements are those of an ignorant and incompetent jackass. Barely two weeks in and sane Americans are already nostalgic for Tillerson. ..."
"... Instead, as Pompeo's current trip and whereabouts make very clear, he's aping the same old tired Bush/Obama Middle East crap and still running errands for the corrupt rulers of Israel and Saudi Arabia. ..."
"... And if Trump doesn't stop betraying his voters with all this pointless, staggeringly expensive Middle East crap, he'll be gone in 2020. ..."
Apr 29, 2018 | www.theamericanconservative.com

... ... ...

It is fitting that one of the first things that will happen during Pompeo's tenure as chief diplomat is the repudiation of a successful diplomatic agreement solely for reasons of spite and ideology. That reflects the contempt for diplomacy and compromise that Pompeo shares with the president. It is an early reminder why having Pompeo in charge of U.S. diplomacy is so dangerous and why it would have been better not to confirm him.

Pompeo also said this weekend that he didn't think North Korea would care if the U.S. withdrew from the agreement:

"I don't think Kim Jong Un is staring at the Iran deal and saying, 'Oh goodness, if they get out of that deal, I won't talk to the Americans anymore,'" Pompeo told reporters traveling on his plane en route from Saudi Arabia to Israel. "There are higher priorities, things that he is more concerned about than whether or not the Americans stay in the [agreement]."

It is obvious that North Korea has bigger concerns than U.S. adherence to the JCPOA, but it doesn't follow that they won't take U.S. withdrawal as another sign that negotiating with Washington is pointless. North Korea already has other reasons to doubt U.S. trustworthiness. John Bolton's endorsement of using negotiations with Libya as a model couldn't be more tone-deaf, since North Korean officials frequently cite the overthrow and death of Gaddafi as a cautionary tale of what happens when a government makes a deal with the U.S. It is possible that North Korea won't put much stock in what happens to the JCPOA one way or another for a very different reason: unlike Iran, North Korea has no intention of making significant concessions, and it is engaged in talks with the U.S. to get as much as it can out of the fact that it is now a full-fledged nuclear weapons state.

North Korea wasn't going to give up its nuclear weapons anyway, and now it will look at Trump's reneging on the nuclear deal as proof that they are right to keep them.

Cincinnati G April 29, 2018 at 3:52 pm

Our involvement in international "diplomacy", already weird, embarrassing, and destabilizing because of Trump's random behavior, now seems to be spinning out of control. Pompeo's recent statements are those of an ignorant and incompetent jackass. Barely two weeks in and sane Americans are already nostalgic for Tillerson.

Wake me up when any senior member of this government turns out to be something other than crooked, stupid, vulgar, incompetent, or some kind of foreign agent. We voted for Trump hoping for a radical re-dedication to American interests. Instead, as Pompeo's current trip and whereabouts make very clear, he's aping the same old tired Bush/Obama Middle East crap and still running errands for the corrupt rulers of Israel and Saudi Arabia.

November 2018 is already slated to be a Republican bloodbath, in great part because our government, the Congress in particular, is serving foreign interests and Wall Street instead of America. And if Trump doesn't stop betraying his voters with all this pointless, staggeringly expensive Middle East crap, he'll be gone in 2020.

[Apr 24, 2018] Rand Paul Caves on Pompeo

Apr 24, 2018 | www.theamericanconservative.com

Paul has made reclaiming Congress' role in matters of war one of his signature issues. Pompeo testified before the Foreign Relations Committee that he doesn't think the president needs Congressional authorization to order attacks on other states. Trump's nominee thinks that the president can start wars on his own authority, so Paul should be voting against his nomination for that reason alone. Voting to confirm Pompeo is an effective endorsement of the very illegal and unauthorized warfare that Paul normally condemns.


Mr. Hopeful April 23, 2018 at 8:08 pm

"Instead, Paul will get nothing except widespread derision for caving to pressure. "

Depressing. I thought he'd have more guts. Perhaps he's keeping his ammunition dry for some important purpose, and maybe the White House IOU he now holds has value. We'll see.

beejeez , says: April 23, 2018 at 8:58 pm
Hey, c'mon, Trump gave him assurances.
b. , says: April 23, 2018 at 9:33 pm
We owe Trump for another wonderfully clarifying moment.

No to incumbents. If we ran a lottery for Senators and Representatives we would not do much worse than what we have.

Mike , says: April 23, 2018 at 9:48 pm
Sad. However, the vote that matters is the one to confirm or reject him with the full Senate. We'll see how he votes then.
liberal , says: April 23, 2018 at 9:52 pm
Agree with BobS . I wouldn't have been shocked if Rand had voted against, but it's hardly surprising he caved.
Youknowho , says: April 23, 2018 at 11:52 pm
I have disliked Sen. Paul ever since the British Petroleum disaster, when he bemoaned that making BP pay for damages was "anti-business" as if seafood fisheries, motels, and restaurants were not businesses too.

Nothing he does or says now surprises me.

[Apr 19, 2018] Looks like Pompeo is compete idiot despite hs Harvard degree

Apr 19, 2018 | www.unz.com

RJJCDA , April 19, 2018 at 12:03 am GMT

At Sec. St. nomination hearing, Pompeo bragged that "we had killed a couple of hundred Russian contractors." As a former civilian contractor in a war zone, I note that he just put a target on the forehead of every American contractor working in a war zone. It is now open season on them. Who will have blood on their hands?

[Apr 16, 2018] To Secure Democratic Vote Pompeo Masks Regime Change Agenda

Notable quotes:
"... And if there's no chance that we can fix it I will recommend to the president that we do our level best to work with our allies to achieve a better outcome and a better deal. ..."
Apr 16, 2018 | therealnews.com

... ... ...

SPEAKER: What is your view as to whether America should withdraw unilaterally from the Iran nuclear agreement?

MIKE POMPEO: I want to fix this deal. That's the objective. I think that's in the best interest of the United States of America.

SPEAKER: But if the agreement cannot be changed. My question is pretty simple. We're running very close to a deadline on certification.

MIKE POMPEO: And if there's no chance that we can fix it I will recommend to the president that we do our level best to work with our allies to achieve a better outcome and a better deal.

SHARMINI PERIES: Pompeo is a member of the Tea Party movement, and is generally viewed as a pro-war hardliner who has previously vowed to cancel the Iran agreement ...

... ... ...

MEDEA BENJAMIN: Well, let's just take the issue of Iran, for starters. There he said at the hearing that he would not try to get out of the Iran nuclear deal, that he wants a better deal. But in the past he's talked about getting out of the Iran nuclear deal. And not only that he said that regime change is the only way to deal with Iran. And as CIA director he also downplayed the CIA's assessment that Iran was complying with the deal although at the hearing he said he has no reason to deny that Iran is complying. So he says very different things and in different places. But I think his actions and his statements in the past speak louder than the words at the hearing, which were quite deceptive, and he's trying to win over Democrats. So he was evasive on some of the issues that he has been very clear about in the past, such as striking Iran, North Korea, and certainly he was open about the president's right to bomb Syria.

... ... ...

SHARMINI PERIES: Right. Now, speaking of Syria and the tensions that are arising with Russia over the chemical attack that Russia now says, and in fact Lavrov, the Russian foreign minister, is on record saying they have information that some one else, some other country, initiated this attack in Syria. This is really a heightening the tension between Russia and the United States. So let me go to you on this, Phyllis, first, and then we'll go back to Medea. But your take on this rising tension between U.S. And Russia?

PHYLLIS BENNIS: This is a very, very dangerous moment, when we have Trump, with all of his own proclivities towards war and against diplomacy, surrounding himself by what looks like a clear war cabinet. The danger of escalation in Syria is very serious. It could lead to a direct clash between the two most powerful nuclear weapon states in the world, the United States and Russia. You have completely opposite claims emerging from Washington and Moscow, with the U.S. claiming that they know, even though they also agree that they don't have information, but they know that chemical weapons were used as they were used by the regime in Syria. They seem to know a lot for a government that admits it doesn't know anything yet.

The Russians, on the other hand, have variously said that another country might be involved. Another Russian diplomat has said that there was no chemical attack at all. So for myself, I don't actually believe any of these claims by any of the governments. I'm waiting to hear what the report is of the team that's on its way to D ouma right now, the town outside of Damascus where the alleged chemical weapons attack occurred. The team of the Organization for the Prevention of Chemical Weapons. That's the the internationally acknowledged, internationally credible team that will be determining whether or not chemicals were used, what chemicals were used if there were any, who was affected, what delivery systems, et cetera. They are not mandated to determine who fired or who gave the orders to fire. That's a much more political question that will come back to the Security Council and may stall there, we don't know.

But at the moment we don't know at all what happened in Douma on that weekend 10 days ago. So I think that we need to do everything possible to ramp down this level of rhetoric. When the U.S. continues to talk about the inevitability of new strikes against Syria, knowing that this is a direct violation of both, again, international law and U.S. domestic law and threatens the possibility of retaliation against U.S. troops in the region, U.S. warships in the Mediterranean, U.S. warplanes in the skies, and, most importantly, threatens the possibility, the likelihood, of killing more Syrian civilians. We are facing a very, very urgent crisis even before we get to the possibility of serious escalation.

So this is something that Congress needs to take very seriously. And unfortunately in what we've seen in the Pompeo hearing there was simply not enough, not enough pushing for this candidate to be the supposed leader of diplomacy in the United States, to push him on the necessity not of saying well, we hoped that we could have a diplomatic solution, but if not well then nothing is off the table. That's not OK. That's not acceptable to the U.S. chief diplomat. And we are simply not hearing enough pressure to make that position known.

... ... ...

But I was going to put it in the context of remember that we have Bolton as the national security adviser, who did not have to have a confirmation hearing. This is why somebody like Jeff Merkley, a senator from Massachusetts, came out and said he will not vote for Pompeo because he recognizes it as part of this larger cabinet, that this is a war cabinet, and therefore a vote for Pompeo is a vote for war. So I would say continue the fight not to get a confirmation for Mike Pompeo.

SHARMINI PERIES: Phyllis, is that even possible?

PHYLLIS BENNIS: Absolutely. And it's crucial. This is exactly what we need to be focusing on right now. The way the votes come down, it's very, very tight. There are at least, at least one Republican, Rand Paul, who has said he will vote against Pompeo. It looks like McCain will not be there because of his illness. That cuts out two votes. So it's certainly a possibility. But it's going to take an enormous amount of work. Enormous numbers of phone calls and visits and protests and threats of not voting back those members of Congress who, who would go ahead and vote for this person as being the new head of diplomacy. This is as urgent as it gets.

SHARMINI PERIES: All right, Phyllis. I thank you so much for joining us. Phyllis is with the Institute for Policy Studies New Internationalism Project. And Medea Benjamin, thank you so much for joining us. And Medea's from Code Pink. Thank you both.


0040 13 hours ago ,

Nonsense lead . The regime change trope is totally bi-partisan as yesterdays air strikes clearly indicate. Pompeo etal like most American federal government officialdom are now lackeys and on the payrolls of the MIC , CIA, and banksters. There is no Iran nuclear deal , Trump is right about that . Iran has moved under Russia's nuclear umbrella as North Korea is now under China's, making the rush to develop nukes unnecessary at the present time. Obombers treaty was/is a worthless face saving effort, after the destruction of Libya.. Trump increasing represents the wishes of the duopoly, not the electorate, his latest terror attack on Syria bumped his popularity 5% across Americas, knocking down the looming Stormy scandal perhaps...

neoconbuster 14 hours ago ,

Phyllis: "But at the moment we don't know at all what happened in Douma on that weekend 10 days ago."

We do know, because we listen daily to the other side of the story too. There was NO Chemical attack . The White Helmets filmed the deception.

These two Workers of the Douma Hospital's Emergency room, are eyewitnesses of the Lie that was sold by the Western MSM, which is a tool of the Deep State:

-Syrian Eyewitnesses Reveal How Douma Provocation Was Made- (Published by Sputnik, on Apr 13, 2018)

https://www.youtube.com/wat...

Howie Lisnoff 15 hours ago ,

Arguing for a right-wing Congress to overturn decades of executive war making "privilege" is a bit of a lost cause at this point. Pompeo is the latest iteration in a long line of those at the State Department who have ditched diplomacy in favor of war.

gustave courbet > novychelovek

Consistent theme in caricatures of other nations/groups relates to their inherent "otherness." Be it Clapper's comment about Russians being "genetically driven" to "co-opt," or Kim Jong-un's reputation as a madman, or Iran's fundamentalist world view, they have in common the tendency to project a fundamentally irrational disposition on one's adversaries.

In reality, most governments, be they pseudo-democratic, theocratic, etc are motivated by pragmatic self-interest. In Iran's case, they can use history to compare non-nuclear states to nuclear powers in regards to US bellicosity and see a clear pattern.

[Apr 13, 2018] Pompeo Russians 'Met Their Match,' US Killed Hundreds of Them in Syria by Jason Ditz

Apr 12, 2018 | news.antiwar.com

Is President Trump tough enough on Russia? For Secretary of State-nominee Mike Pompeo, the answer comes down to simple body count, as he bragged up recent killings of Russian citizens inside Syrian territory .

At the Senate Foreign Relations Committee, Pompeo boasted that "the Russians met their match. A couple hundred Russians were killed," referring to a US massacre of military contractors back in February. Pompeo insisted these killings prove Trump's toughness on Russia.

The comments threaten to make this incident a bigger diplomatic row. The February 7 incident came after the US claimed Kurds had come under attack. In reality, an artillery barrage landed half a kilometer from a Kurdish base, and the US reacted by killing in excess of 200 pro-Syrian government fighters, declaring the killings "self-defense."

At the time, there were concerns Russian citizens were among the slain, and US officials ultimately said "scores" of the dead may have been Russian. Now, Pompeo appears to be insisting they were all Russians, and that the killings were about being "tough" of the Russian government.

Russia's government denied any knowledge of the incident at the time, and it appears the slain were private contractors working for the Syrian government, and not in concert with Russia's government itself. That makes targeting them on the basis of their nationality potentially even more problematic.

[Mar 25, 2018] Pompeo is on the record to bomb Iran with 2000 sorties

Mar 25, 2018 | www.moonofalabama.org

col from oz | Mar 23, 2018 11:27:59 PM | 68

Greived 52

Pompeo is on the record to bomb Iran with 2000 sorties

https://www.al-monitor.com/pulse/originals/2018/03/iran-deal-advocates-prepare-battle-pompeo-nomination.html

Bolton would be on with this idea. I expect Trump go ahead with a military bombing of nuclear reactor sites and Government/military sites as envisage by Pompeo. They dare not try for a full invasion as they will most likely lose. What will be Iran's reaction be?

What could Iran do? They might get Hezbollah to initiate contact with Israel. Try to sink US navy assets where ever they are. Spread the campaign to Afghanistan. Attack Saudi Arabia with missiles. However if the US peruses this course I believe it will be a brief attack lassting 2/3 weeks, whereby a brokered peace to stop US action. But I could be wrong.

[Mar 18, 2018] Pompeo's All-or-Nothing View of Diplomacy by Daniel Larison

Notable quotes:
"... Iran yielded a great deal, but they were never going to give up their entire nuclear program. That is not just because Iran is permitted to have such a program under the Non-Proliferation Treaty (NPT), but also because Iran had already invested so many resources at significant cost that retaining some part of it was a matter of national pride. ..."
Mar 18, 2018 | www.theamericanconservative.com

Uri Friedman reviews Mike Pompeo's hard-line foreign policy views. Here he quotes Pompeo's criticism of the negotiations leading up to the nuclear deal with Iran:

The Obama administration failed to take "advantage of crushing economic sanctions to end Iran's nuclear program," he declared when the deal was struck. "That's not foreign policy; it's surrender."

Pompeo's statement is ridiculous, but it does provide us with a useful window into how he understands foreign policy issues. Like many other Iran hawks, he opposes the nuclear deal because it "failed" to bring an end to Iran's nuclear program. He dubs Iran's major concessions on the nuclear issue as "surrender" by the U.S. because they were not forced to give up absolutely everything. That reflects the absurd all-or-nothing view of diplomacy that prevails among hard-line critics of the JCPOA.

Iran yielded a great deal, but they were never going to give up their entire nuclear program. That is not just because Iran is permitted to have such a program under the Non-Proliferation Treaty (NPT), but also because Iran had already invested so many resources at significant cost that retaining some part of it was a matter of national pride. If the Obama administration had insisted on the elimination of Iran's nuclear program, the negotiations would have failed and the restrictions on that problem that are now in place would not exist. There would have been no nuclear deal if the U.S. had insisted on maximalist demands. What Pompeo calls surrender is what sane people call compromise. Putting someone so inflexible and allergic to compromise in charge of the State Department is the act of a president who has nothing but disdain for diplomacy, and Pompeo's all-or-nothing view of the nuclear deal bodes ill for talks with North Korea.

Procivic March 18, 2018 at 3:10 pm

Zero sum games are for the infantile and the Trump administration is infested with them.

[Mar 16, 2018] Will the State Department Become a Subsidiary of the CIA

Highly recommended!
Notable quotes:
"... is an ex-geek turned writer and editor. He hails from Boston and writes about whatever distortions of reality strike his fancy. Currently, he's pedaling a novel chronicling the lives and times of members of a cell of terrorists in Europe, completing a collection of essays on high technology delusions, and can be found barking at progressivepilgrim.review. ..."
Mar 16, 2018 | www.counterpunch.org

March 15, 2018 Will the State Department Become a Subsidiary of the CIA? by Geoff Dutton

Photo by Mark Taylor | CC BY 2.0

I wonder how Rex Tillerson feels about being the first high-level federal official to be fired publically and online, in one brutal tweet. I'm sure he expected the hammer to come down on him, but not like that. And I wonder if he will come forward to describe what led up to it. Unlikely, as he's an extremely wealthy and still influential corporate player who would have little to gain from telling all. Still, some intrepid journalist should take Rex to lunch and encourage him to cry in his beer.

The events unfurled in typical chaotic Trumpian fashion. According to The Atlantic,

The White House said Tuesday that Tillerson was informed last Friday that he would be replaced as secretary of state. But the statement released Tuesday by Steve Goldstein, the undersecretary of state for public diplomacy, suggested Tillerson did not see it coming until he saw the president's tweet Tuesday morning that he would be replaced by Mike Pompeo, the CIA director. Goldstein himself has been fired since making the statement.

Chief of Staff John Kelly claimed to have informed Tillerson three days previously that a tweet would be forthcoming, and let it hang. That's how long it took for the triumvirate behind the throne (Kelly, DoD Secretary James Mattis, and National Security Advisor H.R. McMaster) to line up a B team. These military officers have become Trump's minders, nudging him toward decisions that implement deep state war plans. John Grant writes in CounterPunch :

The ex-Nixon dirty trickster Roger Stone, who Kelly blocked from Trump access, is cited in Michael Wolff's Fire and Fury: Inside the Trump White House as telling people, "Mattis, McMaster and Kelly had agreed that no military action would ever be taken unless the three were in accord -- and that at least one of them would always remain in Washington if the others were away."

And so, here we have a junta minding the store whose collective wisdom had determined that State under Tilllerson wasn't accommodating US bellicosity as enthusiastically as it should. Their solution? Elevate CIA Chief Mike Pompeo to replace Tillerson. Pompeo, whom NPR glowingly described as having "an extraordinary résumé. He graduated at the top of his class at West Point. He served as a tank officer in Europe. He went to Harvard Law School." He's also a bombastic Tea-Party Republican and a national security hawk who takes a hard line no matter what crisis is at hand. I'm sure that résumé will be useful in convincing North Korea to disarm and Putin to back off from Syria. At least, that seems to be the troika's current calculus. Trump seems amenable to their choice: "With Mike, we've had a very good chemistry from the beginning," he told reporters. And Pompeo says he's equally chill with the Tweeter-in-Chief: "We have a half-hour, 40 minutes every day. He asks lots of hard questions as any good intelligence consumer would. He's very engaged."

Before that hammer hit Tillerson, they had already cleared the way to replace Pompeo with seasoned spook Gina Haspel, who proved her loyalty to the Company by destroying evidence of systematic torture. "She ran the 'black site' prison in Thailand where al-Qaida suspect Abu Zabaydah was waterboarded 83 times," NPR reported last winter. "Those sessions were videotaped but the tapes were destroyed in 2005, two years after a member of Congress called on the CIA to preserve such tapes." Who ordered or at least expedited their destruction? Gina Haspel herself. Running a torture center was a "dirty job," John Bennett, the chief of the CIA's clandestine service at the time later told NPR, but Gina bravely stepped up to do it. " it was not only legal but necessary for the safety of the country. And they did it – Gina did it – because they felt it was their duty."

Obama apparently felt that way, since he declined to prosecute any CIA officials for engaging in torture. Had he had the guts to go after them, Gina might be wearing a jumpsuit now instead of a business suit. As Dexter Filkins wrote in the New Yorker last year after Trump named Haspel Deputy Director,

When Obama took office, in 2009, he declared that he would not prosecute anyone involved in the C.I.A.'s interrogation programs, not even senior officers, among whom Haspel was one. At the time, Obama said he wanted to look forward and not back. But the past, as Obama well knows, never goes away. With the prospect of American torture looming again, I wonder if Obama regrets his decision. After all, people like Haspel, quite plausibly, could have gone to prison.

When Edward Snowden heard of her advancement, he tweeted ( March 13, 2018 )

Interesting: The new CIA Director Haspel, who "tortured some folks," probably can't travel to the EU to meet other spy chiefs without facing arrest due to an @ECCHRBerlin complaint to Germany's federal prosecutor. Details: https://t.co/7q4euQKtm7

Such team spirit clearly deserves a promotion. A round of applause, then, for Gina Haspel, someone who has known no calling besides black ops, winner of the George H. W. Bush Award for excellence in counterterrorism, and the first of her sex to crash through CIA's bulletproof glass ceiling to the Director's office. Her résumé implies she must have been born at Langley HQ. There's no paper trail for her prior to 1985, when she joined the agency.

The one bright spot is that both Pompeo and Haspel will have to testify before Congress votes of on their appointments. John McCain and Ron Wyden are already on record as being opposed to Haspel's appointment. Intense public pressure may help to drag skeltons of torture victims out of the agency's closet, but don't expect it to matter. The deep state is used to getting what it wants and doesn't let things like due process get in the way.

Now that the Department of State is to be a wholly owned subsidiary of the CIA, America can rest easy. No more mister nice guy. Diplomacy is for wimps. Let's show all those upstart nations and that upstart commander-in-chief who's boss. Join the debate on Facebook More articles by: Geoff Dutton

Geoff Dutton is an ex-geek turned writer and editor. He hails from Boston and writes about whatever distortions of reality strike his fancy. Currently, he's pedaling a novel chronicling the lives and times of members of a cell of terrorists in Europe, completing a collection of essays on high technology delusions, and can be found barking at progressivepilgrim.review.

[Mar 16, 2018] Pompeo is seen as moderate towards Russia but as a hawk regarding Iran. The British noise about the alleged nerve gas agent is then nothing more but another attempt to force Washingtons s hand to increase hostility towards Russia.

Notable quotes:
"... The FAZ angle (and therefore the angle of Germans in Washington) is, that Tillerson was displaced because he was too bellicose towards Russia. Pompeo is seen as moderate towards Russia but as a hawk regarding Iran. The British noise about the alleged nerve gas agent is then nothing more but another attempt to force Washingtons´s hand to increase hostility towards Russia. ..."
Mar 16, 2018 | turcopolier.typepad.com

Tom 15 March 2018 at 06:51 AM

For what its worth: there was a very long and detailed analysis by the Frankfurter Allgmeine Zeitung yesterday regarding Tillersons dismissal. You can take this analysis as something like the "official" German position as FAZ journalists are the equivalent of Pravda journalists. That is fully in the know but only writing what is desired.

The FAZ angle (and therefore the angle of Germans in Washington) is, that Tillerson was displaced because he was too bellicose towards Russia. Pompeo is seen as moderate towards Russia but as a hawk regarding Iran. The British noise about the alleged nerve gas agent is then nothing more but another attempt to force Washingtons´s hand to increase hostility towards Russia.

Interestingly enough today Germany´s defense minister who is a close confident of Merkel echoed the outrage about the alleged nerve gas attack but called for a "UN investigation". That is she didn´t endorse the British claim.

Another background to the British provocation might be the Nord Stream gas pipeline from Russia to Germany. Construction is to start now and once it is finished Ukraine can´t blackmail Europe anymore by holding up gas delivery. Poland, the Baltics, the US and of course Ukraine are violently opposed to Nord Stream 2.


[Mar 15, 2018] Julian Assange The CIA director is waging war on truth-tellers like WikiLeaks

Notable quotes:
"... All this speech to stifle speech comes in reaction to the first publication in the start of WikiLeaks' "Vault 7" series. Vault 7 has begun publishing evidence of remarkable CIA incompetence and other shortcomings. This includes the agency's creation, at a cost of billions of taxpayer dollars, of an entire arsenal of cyber viruses and hacking programs -- over which it promptly lost control and then tried to cover up the loss. These publications also revealed the CIA's efforts to infect the public's ubiquitous consumer products and automobiles with computer viruses. ..."
"... President Theodore Roosevelt understood the danger of giving in to those "foolish or traitorous persons who endeavor to make it a crime to tell the truth about the Administration when the Administration is guilty of incompetence or other shortcomings." Such "endeavor is itself a crime against the nation," Roosevelt wrote. President Trump and his officials should heed that advice ..."
Mar 15, 2018 | www.washingtonpost.com

Julian Assange is editor of WikiLeaks.

Mike Pompeo, in his first speech as director of the CIA, chose to declare war on free speech rather than on the United States' actual adversaries. He went after WikiLeaks, where I serve as editor, as a "non-state hostile intelligence service." In Pompeo's worldview, telling the truth about the administration can be a crime -- as Attorney General Jeff Sessions quickly underscored when he described my arrest as a "priority." News organizations reported that federal prosecutors are weighing whether to bring charges against members of WikiLeaks, possibly including conspiracy, theft of government property and violating the Espionage Act.

All this speech to stifle speech comes in reaction to the first publication in the start of WikiLeaks' "Vault 7" series. Vault 7 has begun publishing evidence of remarkable CIA incompetence and other shortcomings. This includes the agency's creation, at a cost of billions of taxpayer dollars, of an entire arsenal of cyber viruses and hacking programs -- over which it promptly lost control and then tried to cover up the loss. These publications also revealed the CIA's efforts to infect the public's ubiquitous consumer products and automobiles with computer viruses.

When the director of the CIA, an unelected public servant, publicly demonizes a publisher such as WikiLeaks as a "fraud," "coward" and "enemy," it puts all journalists on notice, or should. Pompeo's next talking point, unsupported by fact, that WikiLeaks is a "non-state hostile intelligence service," is a dagger aimed at Americans' constitutional right to receive honest information about their government. This accusation mirrors attempts throughout history by bureaucrats seeking, and failing, to criminalize speech that reveals their own failings.

President Theodore Roosevelt understood the danger of giving in to those "foolish or traitorous persons who endeavor to make it a crime to tell the truth about the Administration when the Administration is guilty of incompetence or other shortcomings." Such "endeavor is itself a crime against the nation," Roosevelt wrote. President Trump and his officials should heed that advice .

[Mar 15, 2018] Latter Day America: The 911 myth is the basis for all US foreign policy.

Mar 14, 2018 | www.zerohedge.com

kralizec -> Conscious Reviver Wed, 03/14/2018 - 07:59 Permalink

Jeepers Cripes, y'all need to get a room and ass-hammer it out!

Latter Day America, there are no pristine people to choose from to populate any goddamned post in government, period! Everybody has baggage, everybody is compromised.

This is the latter days of Rome 2.0 dipshits, got it? It is why one batch of clowns find it impossible to see one thing Trump (or anybody in any country...except Czar Valdimir Putin in Russia...for whatever reason...default/nobody else to pick...when the real answer even there is none of the above though many people refuse to see it) can do right and while the other batch is mystified at those incapable of seeing (albeit sometime thin) distinctions between evils in the era of this-is-as-good-as-it'll-get. Cue the inevitable endless circle jerk.

... ... ...

shortonoil -> Bes Wed, 03/14/2018 - 08:51 Permalink

Trump, and all of DC have as much power to affect what is coming as a flea does trying to bench press 300 lbs. Those of them who are aware of the true situation are scared shit less. Pompeo's appointment is just validating what is really about to come down! When they can't intimidate the public into submission, they will try using a club.

CatInTheHat -> crossroaddemon Tue, 03/13/2018 - 23:29 Permalink

Thanks for saying that. I detest Clinton and I want JUSTICE for what the evil treasonous psychopaths did in 2016, but I also know Bibi and MBS have Trump on a short leash and Islamaphobes fill his home and cabinet.

The soft coup is now complete and a war with Iran inevitable.


Clinteastwood -> Gaius Frakkin' Tue, 03/13/2018 - 22:17 Permalink

Hmmmm.....let's see. Pompeo hates Julian Assange. Assange has told us a lot of truth but won't even consider that 911 was an inside job. Pompeo hates Iran and Assad, but he's not about 911 truth at all either. The 911 myth is the basis for all US foreign policy. Trump hates Rosie O'Donnell, who seems to be about the only media figure who'll admit that the Trade Centers came down by controlled demolition. In the midst of all these powerful world leaders, if Rosie O'Donnel is the only person speaking the truth, i'd say we are royally fucked. And I don't even especially like Rosie O'Donnell. Doesn't seem likely we will avoid a catastrophic war. What a world.

Lost in translation -> Clinteastwood Tue, 03/13/2018 - 22:31 Permalink

"The 911 myth is the basis for all US foreign policy."

^ eminently quote worthy ^

sarz -> Clinteastwood Wed, 03/14/2018 - 05:48 Permalink

Trump hates Rosie O'Donnell, who seems to be about the only media figure who'll admit that the Trade Centers came down by controlled demolition.In the midst of all these powerful world leaders, if Rosie O'Donnel is the only person speaking the truth, i'd say we are royally fucked.

One Donald J Trump was interviewed on TV on the day of 9/11. He said that's not the way planes hit buildings. There were explosives of some sort involved. Moreover, the same Donald J Trump as a contender for the Republican nomination in the debate in South Carolina in February 2016 stated that if he won the presidency he would publish the secret documents about 9/11.

You have to be paying attention to figure out who Trump really is. Why is that? It is because Judaia as a conscious policy of that quasi-state has for long had total control of the minds of the whole West. The brains of Americans have been turned to oatmeal (as Russians put it) and most of what Trump says has to be oatmeal-to-oatmeal. Trump's brilliance is never challenging directly the memes (such as 9/11 or the Holocaust or false flag shootings) that Judaia has so laboriously constructed. That would be foolish. Rather, he takes one strand of received discourse and short circuits it with another under high voltage. Only rarely and briefly does Trump address clued-in supporters directly (perhaps he's doing it indirectly through Q Anon). You have to be paying attention.

A lot of Trump administration double-talk is a game, his way of strongly playing a weak hand. The anti-Iran bit seems to be a key gambit, going all the way back to Flynn co-authoring an anti-Iran book with Neocon Ledeen. But Tillerson seems to have turned traitor by taking over the script. Declaring that America was going go hang on to territory in Syria was not a 'globalist' gambit in the script. Trump had to tweet that defeating ISIS was America's only aim in Syria and that had been almost accomplished. Similarly, a limited anti-Russia posture is necessary to deal with the Muller caper. But supporting the Empire's Russian poisoning absurdity seems not to be where Trump wants America to be. Tillerson had to go.

If Pompeo is talking a load of shit, and sounding surprisingly uneducsted for someone who was number one at West Point and an editor (unlike Obama, under his own steam) at the Harvard Law Review, be sure there is a game involved.

I instinctively like Trump, and have over a long period, Maybe Trump is at the head of a huge world-historical change. It's looking good, actually, and I'm willing to wait and see.

[Mar 15, 2018] Donny boy sure has a strange way of "draining the swamp."

Mar 14, 2018 | www.zerohedge.com

Oh, and the person Trump picked to head the CIA to replace Pompeo is Gina Haspel, a 33-year CIA careerist who ran a torture black site in Thailand .

... ... ...

Donny boy sure has a strange way of "draining the swamp."

Bes -> Gaius Frakkin' Tue, 03/13/2018 - 22:33 Permalink

meh,

a desperate country

throwing a hail mary

caught by a charlatan

nothing new under the sun

or wait..... were you distracted by a strong sounding alpha tweet???

hahaha pathetic

[Mar 15, 2018] Having further researched Mike Pompeo's history it seems he is a war hawk

Mar 15, 2018 | consortiumnews.com

CitizenOne Reply

Well I said: "I hope that this is true but I cannot discount the other possibility that Trump has once again been fooled by the intelligence and the media into appointing a tool of the deep state to replace Tillerson. He was fooled in Syria and the World applauded or rather the World media applauded loudly. Hopefully he was not fooled by that contrived story. If that is the case then it is bad news for all of us and might lead to further hostilities against Russia."

Having further researched Mike Pompeo's history it seems he is a war hawk who will align to blame Russia for the attack on Sergei Skripal and his daughter. Further he has been a strong critic of the nuclear deal with Iran forged under Obama and has also been a strong republican supporter of every republican strategy for national defense including keeping Guantanamo Bay open indefinitely etc. This would support my doubts that the appointment of Secretary of State Pompeo would do much to ratchet down international tensions in the hot spots around the World where the US has chosen to portray our "enemies" as military targets to be conquered rather than other nations with their own sovereign rights to be dealt with through diplomacy.

The most alarming idea is to launch a war with Iran since they have negotiated a nuclear disarmament strategy with the Obama administration leaving them in a precarious situation of being vulnerable to a change in strategy by the US of negotiation towards a threat of armed force intervention coming from the US. Trump calls the Iran deal a terrible deal and so does Pompeo. How it is a terrible deal seems to be the same accusation that the US launched against Saddam Hussein in Iraq. It is only a terrible deal for Iran as it was for Iraq to believe that they could disarm under UN supervision in the hopes it would prevent an attack by the US.

I fear that the lessons of the potential new anti Iranian strategy to cancel out our deals with Iran will only convince the North Koreans that any pursuit of a peace with the USA will ultimately result in our reneging on the deal at the first arrival of our stated goals to get NK to disarm and will turn on them even if they comply with western demands that they must dismantle their nuclear arsenals.

The Iranian Nuclear deal is in peril with the appointment of Pompeo and the result will be that North Korea will see no advantage in cooperating with an adversary which on the one hand forges peace treaties and on the other hand revokes them by the politically shifting winds in Washington headed by a president who cannot see the forest from the trees and is easily influenced by people he "connects with" as though that is reason enough to surround himself with those people and appoint them to high positions.

The politically shifting instability in Washington with the firings of high officials alone would be reason enough for any foreign nation to doubt the credibility of any policy being put forth. Stability is what is essential to create the foundation for trust. Without an honest and consistent foreign policy it will be impossible to gain the trust of foreign leaders. As long as the administration is led by the nose by the media and acts in unpredictable ways there can be no shared basis for trust which is essential for peace.

What we have in Washington is the expansion of domestic political unrest and the contention of our national elections flaring over into blame of foreign influences and the externalization of blame for our current sociopolitical divide.

This is the fertile ground laced with the fertilizer for war or at the least a military buildup to war.

There is no greater threat than a World Superpower nation that shifts almost weekly on its policies and has open disputes with its appointed leaders which results in that nation repeatedly reshuffling the cards and changing its positions on foreign policy. I pray that the current leadership will come to grips with its own internal struggles and find a reasoned path towards maintaining the fragile peace that we all depend on.

[Mar 14, 2018] Pompeo strikes me as a Narcissist and pro-Israel lobbist

Mar 14, 2018 | turcopolier.typepad.com

The Beaver , 14 March 2018 at 11:34 AM

Colonel,

Like the Heritage Foundation pipsqueaker Haley, Pompeo has his admirers in Israel:

http://www.jpost.com/American-Politics/Pompeo-very-positively-disposed-to-Israel-strong-critic-of-Iran-deal-545010

J , 14 March 2018 at 04:15 PM
Colonel,

Pompeo is in for a rude awakening in the diplomatic arena if he tries to spar with Lavrov. Lavrov IMO will bloody Pomepo's nose before he knows what hit him.

Pompeo strikes me as a Narcissist.

[Mar 14, 2018] Given the degree of effort Pompeo's used in pushing Russiagate, I can't wait for his first meeting with Lavrov or Putin.

Mar 14, 2018 | www.moonofalabama.org

karlof1 , Mar 14, 2018 3:56:37 PM | 6

Great work b!

Where's Jim Jones when you need him to serve up some of his koolaid to the numerous politicos and propagandists pushing the Russiagate Big Lie, for they surely deserve several pitchers full each.

Given the degree of effort Pompeo's used in pushing Russiagate, I can't wait for his first meeting with Lavrov or Putin.

The sooner Corbyn is able to become British PM, the better for all excepting the corrupt.

[Mar 14, 2018] Latter Day America

Mar 14, 2018 | www.zerohedge.com


kralizec -> Conscious Reviver Wed, 03/14/2018 - 07:59 Permalink

Jeepers Cripes, y'all need to get a room and ass-hammer it out!

Latter Day America, there are no pristine people to choose from to populate any goddamned post in government, period! Everybody has baggage, everybody is compromised.

This is the latter days of Rome 2.0 dipshits, got it? It is why one batch of clowns find it impossible to see one thing Trump (or anybody in any country...except Czar Valdimir Putin in Russia...for whatever reason...default/nobody else to pick...when the real answer even there is none of the above though many people refuse to see it) can do right and while the other batch is mystified at those incapable of seeing (albeit sometime thin) distinctions between evils in the era of this-is-as-good-as-it'll-get. Cue the inevitable endless circle jerk.

... ... ...

shortonoil -> Bes Wed, 03/14/2018 - 08:51 Permalink

Trump, and all of DC have as much power to affect what is coming as a flea does trying to bench press 300 lbs. Those of them who are aware of the true situation are scared shit less. Pompeo's appointment is just validating what is really about to come down! When they can't intimidate the public into submission, they will try using a club.

CatInTheHat -> crossroaddemon Tue, 03/13/2018 - 23:29 Permalink

Thanks for saying that. I detest Clinton and I want JUSTICE for what the evil treasonous psychopaths did in 2016, but I also know Bibi and MBS have Trump on a short leash and Islamaphobes fill his home and cabinet.

The soft coup is now complete and a war with Iran inevitable.

[Mar 14, 2018] Donny boy sure has a strange way of "draining the swamp."

Mar 14, 2018 | www.zerohedge.com

Oh, and the person Trump picked to head the CIA to replace Pompeo is Gina Haspel, a 33-year CIA careerist who ran a torture black site in Thailand .

... ... ...

Donny boy sure has a strange way of "draining the swamp."

[Mar 14, 2018] Krieger It's Impossible To Overstate How Terrible Mike Pompeo Is Zero Hedge

Mar 14, 2018 | www.zerohedge.com

Unfortunately, it gets worse. Much worse. For all his flaws, Rex Tillerson had a surprisingly sane take on the Middle East, at least relatively. He was known for being against the idiotic Saudi-UAE attempt blockade of Qatar, as well as in favor of keeping the Iran deal active. Pompeo shares no such sentiments.

As CNBC reported :

Pompeo, named as his pick for secretary of state by Trump on Tuesday shortly after he announced Tillerson's departure on Twitter, has taken a notoriously tough stance on Iran in the past in his erstwhile role as director of the CIA.

Not only has Pompeo likened Iran to the Islamic State (ISIS) militant group , calling the country a "thuggish police state" in a speech in October, he has also promised to constrain Iran's investment environment and "roll back" its 2015 nuclear deal.

"Thuggish police state." Similar to Saudi Arabia then, which Pompeo had no problem bestowing with a CIA medal last year.

back" its 2015 nuclear deal.

"Thuggish police state." Similar to Saudi Arabia then, which Pompeo had no problem bestowing with a CIA medal last year.

... ... ...

But there's more

In November 2016, when Pompeo was appointed to lead the CIA, he warned that Tehran is "intent of destroying America" and called the nuclear deal "disastrous." He added that he was looking forward to "rolling back" the agreement.

Differences of opinion over how Iran should be treated are said to be the source of discord between Trump and Tillerson, whose firing followed a clash over the nuclear deal, the president said Tuesday.

"If you look at the Iran deal I think it's terrible and I guess he thought it was OK We weren't really thinking the same," Trump said in a statement outside the White House. He said he and Tillerson got on "quite well" but had "different mindsets."

Iran has been increasingly marginalized during the Trump administration, which has sided with Saudi Arabia in the regional battle for influence in the Middle East.'

Here's the bottom line. As I outlined multiple times last year, Trump is determined to have a war with Iran and Rex Tillerson was standing in the way. Putting unhinged war hawk Pompeo in place as Secretary of State is simply Trump getting his ducks in a row ahead of confrontation. Watch as the sales pitch for another war in the Middle East picks up considerably in the months ahead.

I believe this forthcoming war against Iran will have almost no international support. Probably just autocratic regimes in the Middle East like Saudi Arabia and the UAE, as well as Israel and possibly the UK depending on who's Prime Minister when it gets going. The rest of the world will be against it, which will lead to spectacular failure.

It's become increasingly clear that a huge military error, such as a new major confrontation in the Middle East is what will spell the end of the U.S. empire. Such a confrontation is now increasingly likely with Tillerson out of the picture

Oh, and the person Trump picked to head the CIA to replace Pompeo is Gina Haspel, a 33-year CIA careerist who ran a torture black site in Thailand .

... ... ...

Donny boy sure has a strange way of "draining the swamp."

* * *

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[Mar 14, 2018] Indeed, apparently these heroes (and their leaders) needed to be protected from that odd and unpleasant "liberal game" called 'prosecution for crimes'.

Mar 14, 2018 | turcopolier.typepad.com

confusedponderer said in reply to J ... 14 March 2018 at 02:22 AM

J,
Haspel isn't alone in her views on torture - according to your link Mattis, Trump and Pompeo also think waterboarding is an excellent intelligence tool.

According to your article Pompeo answered to Feinstein's torture criticism that agents who had tortured people were " heroes, not pawns in some liberal game. "

*sob* ... poor heroes ... *sob*

Apparently it was all that heroism that made Haspel destroy evidence about the CIA torture site in Tailand which she led.

One of the men, known as Abu Zubayda, was waterboarded 83 times in one month and was slammed into walls by the head. He was deprived of sleep and kept in a coffin-like box. Interrogators later decided he didn't have any useful information.

ProPublica found that Haspel personally signed cables to CIA headquarters that detailed Zubayda's interrogation.

CIA videos of the torture were destroyed in 2005, on the orders of a cable drafted by Haspel.

Indeed, apparently these heroes (and their leaders) needed to be protected from that odd and unpleasant "liberal game" called 'prosecution for crimes'.

[Mar 13, 2018] The transition of Pompeo from CIA to the State Department is a logical step as both are intelligence agencies serving global neoliberal empire, not the USA as a country

Looks like another Cold War warrior...
Notable quotes:
"... He has cultivated ties with Charles and David Koch, the billionaire industrialists who are patrons of conservative causes. They invested in Thayer Aerospace, a company Pompeo started with friends from West Point in 1998. He turned to Koch Industries, the Wichita-based conglomerate which has holdings in oil and other sectors, to help bankroll his 2010 congressional race. Pompeo was criticized by liberals for hiring a Koch Industries lawyer as his chief of staff and for introducing legislation that would benefit Koch interests. ..."
"... Pompeo has hawkish views on a range of policy issues, including torture, surveillance and the National Security Agency whistleblower Edward Snowden. ..."
Mar 13, 2018 | www.theguardian.com

Pompeo graduated from both the United States Military Academy at West Point and Harvard and served three terms as a representative for Kansas's fourth district. As a member of the House select committee on intelligence, he was an aggressive critic of US foreign policy under the Obama administration, particularly regarding the nuclear deal with Iran.

... ... ...

He has cultivated ties with Charles and David Koch, the billionaire industrialists who are patrons of conservative causes. They invested in Thayer Aerospace, a company Pompeo started with friends from West Point in 1998. He turned to Koch Industries, the Wichita-based conglomerate which has holdings in oil and other sectors, to help bankroll his 2010 congressional race. Pompeo was criticized by liberals for hiring a Koch Industries lawyer as his chief of staff and for introducing legislation that would benefit Koch interests.

Pompeo has hawkish views on a range of policy issues, including torture, surveillance and the National Security Agency whistleblower Edward Snowden.

... ... ...

He has, however, diverged from Trump on Russia. In his confirmation hearing, he appeared to share with CIA staff an adversarial view of Russia and Vladimir Putin.

The Senate approved his nomination 66-32. The Democratic minority leader, Chuck Schumer, who voted to confirm Pompeo, said in a statement on Tuesday: "If he's confirmed [as secretary of state] we hope that Mr Pompeo will turn over a new leaf and will start toughening up our policies towards Russia and Putin."

... ... ...

[Feb 02, 2018] Rex Tillerson: Neocon by Michael S. Rozeff

Notable quotes:
"... Reprinted with permission from LewRocwell.com . ..."
Jan 27, 2018 | ronpaulinstitute.org

In case it is not clear, the Secretary of State, Rex Tillerson, is a neocon. Strong evidence of this unfortunate fact is his speech on January 17, 2018 at Stanford's Hoover Institute. After warmly acknowledging his debt to Dr. Condoleezza Rice and George Shultz, Tillerson goes into his " Remarks on the Way Forward for the United States Regarding Syria."

What do we hear? " it is crucial to our national defense to maintain a military and diplomatic presence in Syria, to help bring an end to that conflict, and assist the Syrian people as they chart a course to achieve a new political future." He wants the US to stay in Syria indefinitely, its purposes being to defend the American nation, to cause the war to end, and to create a new government/state in Syria.

We've heard the same neocon language in the past 17 years regarding Iraq, Afghanistan, Libya, Yemen, Pakistan, Somalia and other countries. None of these countries are "crucial" to American security. Entry by US forces into each and every one of them has increased American insecurity, generating ever more Muslim terrorist forces. None of these places posed state-led threats to Americans and none posed non-state forces that could not have been addressed by means other than the failed methods that the US government adopted, symbolized by the entirely unnecessary and counter-productive War on Terror .

In his speech, Tillerson presents new elaborations, new rationales, and new flowerings of neocon thought, but the root of it all remains unchanged. It's the same old rot we've heard for the past 17 years and longer. The War on Terror remains fixed firmly in his mind. This he makes clear, saying "The fight against ISIS is not over." And he says "Similarly, we must persist in Syria to thwart al-Qaida " The secondary excuse for the uninvited US presence inside Syria is to get rid of the Assad government and create a new state. "Additionally, a total withdrawal of American personnel at this time would restore Assad and continue his brutal treatment against his own people. A murderer of his own people cannot generate the trust required for long-term stability."

Baloney. Tillerson's language echoes the language used against Saddam Hussein and Gaddafi. The US always resorts to holier-than-thou language like this when it wants to justify the empire's presence in some place that has nothing to do with American security.

Tillerson knows enough not to name "nation-building" in Syria as US policy. Instead he uses a euphemism: "STABILIZATION".

The world is not a pretty place everywhere, not even in parts of the Americas that I'll refrain from naming; but some are close to the White House. This doesn't justify a costly US presence that, in any event, is very likely not only to fail but also to produce a worse situation.

It's not the role of the US government to dry out an alcoholic world, or to get it off drugs, pretty it up, wash it clean, apply new makeup, get it a paying job, find it a mate, turn it into a responsible citizen, and have it raise its children as good parents. Why not? Because it cannot! It doesn't know enough to do it and it cannot know enough to do it, so that when it tries the results are no better and often worse than doing nothing at all, not to mention the costs.

People in power who use lofty language as in this speech present to us a scenario, which is that they have surveyed the turf, discovered the issues, and formulated a plan. They make out that they actually understand human problems and can do something about them using the powers of their office. We should believe none of this. The processes that they think are predictable and governable are neither. Non-ergodicity rules much of human life.

NON-ERGODIC: "Attribute of a behavior that is in certain crucial respects incomprehensible through observation either for lack of repetition, e.g., by involving only transient states which are unique, or for lack of stabilities, e.g., when transition probabilities (see probabilities) are so variable that there are not enough observations available to ascertain them. Evolution and social processes involving structural changes are inherently non-ergodic. To understand non-ergodic behavior requires either reference to the underlying organization of the system exhibiting it or the study of a large sample of systems of the same kind (see ergodic). (Krippendorff)"

Reprinted with permission from LewRocwell.com .

[Jan 29, 2018] Washington Widens the War in Syria by Provoking Turkey by Mike Whitney

It is OK for an empire to be hated and feared, it doesn't work so good when Glory slowly fades and he empire instead becomes hated and despised
Notable quotes:
"... There's only one explanation: Tillerson must be so blinded by hubris that he couldn't figure out what Erdogan's reaction would be. He must have thought that, "Whatever Uncle Sam says, goes." Only it doesn't work like that anymore. ..."
"... Simply put, Washington is losing the war quite dramatically due in large part to the emergence of a new coalition (Russia-Syria-Iran-Hezbollah) that has made great strides in Syria and that is committed to preserve the Old World Order, a system that is built on the principles of national sovereignty, self determination and non intervention. ..."
"... Tillerson's blunder will only make Washington's task all the more difficult by drawing Turkey into the fray in an effort to quash Uncle Sam's Kurdish proxies. ..."
"... In an effort to add insult to injury, Tillerson didn't even have the decency to discuss the matter with Erdogan– his NATO ally– before making the announcement! ..."
"... One day you're a terrorist, and the next day you're not depending on whether Washington can use you or not. ..."
"... Now the US has to choose between its own proxy army (The Kurdish Syrian Democratic Forces) and a NATO ally that occupies the critical crossroads between Asia and Europe ..."
"... "In response to President Erdoğan's call on the United States to end the delivery of weapons to the [Democratic Union Party] PYD-YPG, President Trump said that his country no longer supplied the group with weapons and pledged not to resume the weapons delivery in the future," the sources added." (Hurriyet) ..."
"... So far, the only clear winner in this latest conflagration has been Vladimir Putin, the levelheaded pragmatist who hews to Napoleon's directive to "Never interfere with an enemy while he's in the process of destroying himself." ..."
"... Putin gave Erdogan the green light to conduct "Operation Olive Branch" in order to pave the way for an eventual Syrian takeover of the Northwestern portion of the country up to the Turkish border. Moscow removed its troops from the Afrin quarter (where the current fighting is taking place) but not before it presented the Kurds with the option of conceding control of the area to the central government in Damascus. The Kurds rejected that offer and elected to fight instead. ..."
"... Erdogan's demand that Trump stop the flow of weapons to the SDF will benefit Russia and its allies on the ground even more than they will benefit Turkey. It's another win-win situation for Putin. ..."
Jan 29, 2018 | www.counterpunch.org

... ... ..

So why did Tillerson think Erdogan would respond differently?

There's only one explanation: Tillerson must be so blinded by hubris that he couldn't figure out what Erdogan's reaction would be. He must have thought that, "Whatever Uncle Sam says, goes." Only it doesn't work like that anymore.

The US has lost its ability to shape events in the Middle East, particularly in Syria where its jihadist proxies have been rolled back on nearly every front. The US simply doesn't have sufficient forces on the ground to determine the outcome, nor is it respected as an honest broker, a dependable ally or a reliable steward of regional security. The US is just one of many armed-factions struggling to gain the upper hand in an increasingly fractious and combustible battlespace. Simply put, Washington is losing the war quite dramatically due in large part to the emergence of a new coalition (Russia-Syria-Iran-Hezbollah) that has made great strides in Syria and that is committed to preserve the Old World Order, a system that is built on the principles of national sovereignty, self determination and non intervention.

Washington opposes this system and is doing everything in its power dismantle it by redrawing borders, toppling elected leaders, and installing its own stooges to execute its diktats. Tillerson's blunder will only make Washington's task all the more difficult by drawing Turkey into the fray in an effort to quash Uncle Sam's Kurdish proxies.

In an effort to add insult to injury, Tillerson didn't even have the decency to discuss the matter with Erdogan– his NATO ally– before making the announcement! Can you imagine how furious Erdogan must have been? Shouldn't the president of Turkey expect better treatment from his so-called friends in Washington who use Turkish air fields to supply their ground troops and to carry out their bombing raids in Syria? But instead of gratitude, he gets a big kick in the teeth with the announcement that the US is hopping into bed with his mortal enemies, the Kurds. Check out this excerpt from Wednesday's Turkish daily, The Hurriyet ,which provides a bit of background on the story:

"It is beyond any doubt that the U.S. military and administration knew that the People's Protection Units (YPG) had organic ties with the Kurdistan Workers' Party (PKK), which Washington officially recognizes as a terrorist group .The YPG is the armed wing of the Democratic Union Party (PYD), which is the political wing of the PKK in Syria. They share the same leadership the same budget, the same arsenal, the same chain of command from the Kandil Mountains in Iraq, and the same pool of militants. So the PYD/YPG is actually not a "PKK-affiliated" group, it is a sub-geographical unit of the same organization .

Knowing that the YPG and the PKK are effectively equal, and legally not wanting to appear to be giving arms to a terrorist organization, the U.S. military already asked the YPG to "change the brand" back in 2015. U.S.

Special Forces Commander General Raymond Thomas said during an Aspen Security Forum presentation on July 22, 2017 that he had personally proposed the name change to the YPG.

"With about a day's notice [the YPG] declared that it was now the Syrian Democratic Forces [SDF]," Thomas said to laughter from the audience. "I thought it was a stroke of brilliance to put 'democracy' in there somewhere. It gave them a little bit of credibility." (Hurriyet)

Ha, ha, ha. Isn't that funny? One day you're a terrorist, and the next day you're not depending on whether Washington can use you or not. Is it any wonder why Erdogan is so pissed off?

So now a messy situation gets even messier. Now the US has to choose between its own proxy army (The Kurdish Syrian Democratic Forces) and a NATO ally that occupies the critical crossroads between Asia and Europe. Washington's plan to pivot to Asia by controlling vital resources and capital flowing between the continents depends largely on its ability to keep regional leaders within its orbit. That means Washington needs Erdogan in their camp which, for the time being, he is not.

Apparently, there have been phone calls between Presidents Trump and Erdogan, but early accounts saying that Trump scolded Erdogan have already been disproven. In fact, Trump and his fellows have been bending-over-backwards to make amends for Tillerson's foolish slip-up. According to the Hurriyet:

"The readout issued by the White House does not accurately reflect the content of President [Recep Tayyip] Erdoğan's phone call with President [Donald] Trump," "President Trump did not share any 'concerns [about] escalating violence' with regard to the ongoing military operation in Afrin." The Turkish sources also stressed that Trump did not use the words "destructive and false rhetoric coming from Turkey."

Erdoğan reiterated that the People's Protection Units (YPG) must withdraw to the East of the Euphrates River and pledged the protection of Manbij by the Turkish-backed Free Syrian Army (FSA)

"In response to President Erdoğan's call on the United States to end the delivery of weapons to the [Democratic Union Party] PYD-YPG, President Trump said that his country no longer supplied the group with weapons and pledged not to resume the weapons delivery in the future," the sources added." (Hurriyet)

If this report can be trusted, (Turkish media is no more reliable than US media) then it is Erdogan who is issuing the demands not Trump. Erdogan insists that all YPG units be redeployed east of the Euphrates and that all US weapons shipments to Washington's Kurdish proxies stop immediately. We should know soon enough whether Washington is following Erdogan's orders or not.

So far, the only clear winner in this latest conflagration has been Vladimir Putin, the levelheaded pragmatist who hews to Napoleon's directive to "Never interfere with an enemy while he's in the process of destroying himself."

Putin gave Erdogan the green light to conduct "Operation Olive Branch" in order to pave the way for an eventual Syrian takeover of the Northwestern portion of the country up to the Turkish border. Moscow removed its troops from the Afrin quarter (where the current fighting is taking place) but not before it presented the Kurds with the option of conceding control of the area to the central government in Damascus. The Kurds rejected that offer and elected to fight instead. Here's an account of what happened:

Nearly a week ago, [a] meeting between Russian officials and Kurdish leaders took place. Moscow suggested Syrian State becomes only entity in charge of the northern border. The Kurds refused. It was immediately after that that the Turkish Generals were invited to Moscow. Having the Syrian State in control of its Northern Border wasn't the only Russian demand. The other was that the Kurds hand back the oil fields in Deir al Zor. The Kurds refused suggesting that the US won't allow that anyway.

Putin has repeatedly expressed concern about US supplies of advanced weapons that had been given to the Kurdish SDF. According to the military website South Front:

"Uncontrolled deliveries of modern weapons, including reportedly the deliveries of the man-portable air defense systems, by the Pentagon to the pro-US forces in northern Syria, have contributed to the rapid escalation of tensions in the region and resulted in the launch of a special operation by the Turkish troops." (SouthFront)

Erdogan's demand that Trump stop the flow of weapons to the SDF will benefit Russia and its allies on the ground even more than they will benefit Turkey. It's another win-win situation for Putin.

The split between the NATO allies seems to work in Putin's favor as well, although, to his credit, he has not tried to exploit the situation. Putin ascribes to the notion that relations between nations are not that different than relations between people, they must be built on a solid foundation of trust which gradually grows as each party proves they are steady, reliable partners who can be counted on to honor their commitments and keep their word. Putin's honesty, even-handedness and reliability have greatly enhanced Russia's power in the region and his influence in settling global disputes. That is particularly evident in Syria where Moscow is at the center of all decision-making.

As we noted earlier, Washington has made every effort to patch up relations with Turkey and put the current foofaraw behind them. The White House has issued a number of servile statements acknowledging Turkey's "legitimate security concerns" and their "commitment to work with Turkey as a NATO ally." And there's no doubt that the administration's charm offensive will probably succeed in bringing the narcissistic and mercurial Erdogan back into the fold. But for how long?

At present, Erdogan is still entertains illusions of cobbling together a second Ottoman empire overseen by the Grand Sultan Tayyip himself, but when he finally comes to his senses and realizes the threat that Washington poses to Turkish independence and sovereignty, he may reconsider and throw his lot with Putin.

In any event, Washington has clearly tipped its hand revealing its amended strategy for Syria, a plan that abandons the pretext of a "war on terror" and focuses almost-exclusively on military remedies to the "great power" confrontation outlined in Trump's new National Defense Strategy. Washington is fully committed to building an opposition proxy-army in its east Syria enclave that can fend off loyalist troops, launch destabilizing attacks on the regime, and eventually, effect the political changes that help to achieve its imperial ambitions.

Tillerson's announcement may have prompted some unexpected apologies and back-tracking, but the policy remains the same. Washington will persist in its effort to divide the country and remove Assad until an opposing force prevents it from doing so. And, that day could be sooner than many people imagine. Join the debate on Facebook More articles by: Mike Whitney

MIKE WHITNEY lives in Washington state. He is a contributor to Hopeless: Barack Obama and the Politics of Illusion (AK Press). Hopeless is also available in a Kindle edition . He can be reached at fergiewhitney@msn.com .

[Jan 27, 2018] Remember that both Pence and Tillerson were outspoken Never Trumpers.

Notable quotes:
"... Here's another map that's a little different than the one linked by Peter AU1. The Kurdish Project - https://thekurdishproject.org/kurdistan-map/ (remove the space) ..."
"... Notice the potential for deep water ports on the Mediterranean, Black, and Caspian Seas. Tillerson's role with Exxon provided him with an unique understanding of exactly how much $$ that Erdogan was able to steal without consequence and leaves the pit bulls' jowels dribbling with saliva, as if a rib eye steak's aroma was wafting thru the room, with jealous envy. ..."
Jan 27, 2018 | www.moonofalabama.org

mrd | Jan 25, 2018 10:54:46 PM | 59

@Peter AU 1 | Jan 25, 2018 4:29:45 PM | 28

I think you're on target with your comment. Also, I don't believe Jared has asked the Kurds themselves whether they're on board or not. Let me explain.

  1. Remember that both Pence and Tillerson were outspoken Never Trumpers. Pence was promised that he'd be 100% in charge of policy and all day to day decisions. When he asked Trump what he intended to be doing he replied: "I'll be busy making America Great Again." Whatever deal and contract wound up being signed between them, I think the tomahawk missile attack on Syria violated the details and revoked most of Pence's authority.
  2. Several, including Bannon have stated that Jared is in charge of ME policy. So, what did Jared offer to Exxon and Tillerson in exchange for the SOS position? I believe he / they are slated to become the King of Kurdistan. "King" is the only thing that Tillerson hasn't had in his life; yet.

Here's another map that's a little different than the one linked by Peter AU1. The Kurdish Project - https://thekurdishproject.org/kurdistan-map/ (remove the space)

Notice the potential for deep water ports on the Mediterranean, Black, and Caspian Seas. Tillerson's role with Exxon provided him with an unique understanding of exactly how much $$ that Erdogan was able to steal without consequence and leaves the pit bulls' jowels dribbling with saliva, as if a rib eye steak's aroma was wafting thru the room, with jealous envy.

Bernie Sanders figured out that he could double down and REALLY monetize the scam that Ron Paul executed against the Republican voters in 2012; which he executed to perfection.

I believe Exxon / Tillerson have figured out that they are going to REALLY monetize the oil theft that Erdogan executed with Kurdistan and his name will be written in the history books as a King.

Trump wants out of Nato. The Pentagon wants ports, runways and to surround Russia. Whether Turkey remains in Nato or not is inconsequential to Jared and Greater Israel.

[Dec 23, 2017] Who to Believe on Washington's Korea Policy, Tillerson or Trump by Ron Paul

Notable quotes:
"... Defense Secretary James Mattis seems skeptical about neocon hysteria, declaring that the North Korean missile program does not pose a "capable threat" to the United States. With that in mind, we can only hope that President Trump will encourage Tillerson to do another about-face and return to the idea of talks without pre-condition. Strategic ambiguity is one thing, sending constantly mixed signals when nuclear war looms is something else. (Republished from The Ron Paul Institute by permission of author or representative) ..."
Dec 18, 2017 | www.unz.com

President Trump has often said that his foreign policy objective was to keep his enemies guessing. If that's the goal, you could say that he's doing a good job. The problem is who does he think his enemies are, because the American people are often left guessing as well.

US policy toward North Korea last week is a good example of how the Trump Administration is wittingly or unwittingly sowing confusion among friend and foe alike. In what looked like a breakthrough, Secretary of State Rex Tillerson announced last Tuesday that the US would be willing to sit down and talk with North Korea "without preconditions." Previously the US had demanded that North Korea agree to end its nuclear weapons and missile programs before Washington was willing to sit down to formal talks.

The State Department shift toward actual diplomacy with North Korea was quickly quashed, however, when the White House announced that its position on North Korea had not changed. It seemed that the State Department and White House were each pursuing different foreign policies on the Korea issue.

The White House even appeared to belittle Tillerson's attempt at diplomacy, releasing a statement on Wednesday that talks with North Korea would be "pointless." No wonder speculation persists that Tillerson is on his way out as Secretary of State.

Then on Friday Secretary Tillerson seemed to do a u-turn on his own policy, announcing at a UN Security Council meeting that a "sustained cessation of North Korea's threatening behavior" must precede any negotiations with the US. "North Korea must earn its way back to the table," he said. So, after just three days the offer of unconditional talks with North Korea had been put on and then removed from the table.

There is more than a little hypocrisy in US demands that North Korea cease its "threatening behavior." Just this month the US and South Korea launched yet another joint military exercise targeting North Korea. Some 12,000 military personnel and 230 aircraft – including stealth fighters – participated in the massive war games. Does anyone think this is not meant to be threatening to North Korea?

It is a shame that the hawks in the Administration continue to dominate. It seems pretty reasonable to open talks with North Korea after a period of "good faith" gestures between Washington and Pyongyang. Why not agree on no US/South Korean joint military exercises for six months in exchange for no North Korean missile launches for the same period and then agree to a meeting on neutral ground? How could it possibly hurt, particularly considering the alternative?

The hawks continue to talk up a US strike against North Korea. Senator Lindsey Graham seemed pleased when he announced that there was a 70 percent chance that the US would attack North Korea if it detonated another nuclear weapon. Does he realize how many people will die? Does he care?

Defense Secretary James Mattis seems skeptical about neocon hysteria, declaring that the North Korean missile program does not pose a "capable threat" to the United States. With that in mind, we can only hope that President Trump will encourage Tillerson to do another about-face and return to the idea of talks without pre-condition. Strategic ambiguity is one thing, sending constantly mixed signals when nuclear war looms is something else. (Republished from The Ron Paul Institute by permission of author or representative)

Priss Factor , Website December 18, 2017 at 6:42 pm GMT

Maybe they are playing good cop/bad cop. Smart move if true.

Carrots gotta be offered with threat of the stick.

PS. Puff wants to be in the NFL business.

http://www.foxnews.com/sports/2017/12/18/sean-diddy-combs-eyes-carolina-panthers-wants-to-sign-kaepernick.html

Best solution would be to have each race have their own league. Due to biological race-ism that favors blacks in sports, non-blacks can hardly play in pro sports.

So, let there be various racial leagues.

Since biological race-ism discriminates against whites in NBA and NFL, let there be the Blanco League.

Jonathan Mason , December 19, 2017 at 1:44 am GMT
T. Rex is probably closer to the mark. Clearly the Last Trump is continuing his Wizard of Oz impersonation and being humored by his minders while others try to go about the business of actually performing miracles.

Eventually Congress critters will wake up back home in their jerrymandered constituencies and realize it has all been a bad dream.

The Alarmist , December 19, 2017 at 12:09 pm GMT

"Senator Lindsey Graham seemed pleased when he announced that there was a 70 percent chance that the US would attack North Korea if it detonated another nuclear weapon. Does he realize how many people will die? Does he care?"

1) Yes.
2) No.

It's a sick, sad world where a former JAG Corps officer has so much influence over foreign and national defence and security policies.

Trump should re-activate him and either put him in Syria to brief the rules of engagement to the special ops forces (who will no doubt frag him) in real-time, or at one of the bases near the Korean DMZ, where he'll get real-world experience in the first wave of the invasion he is cheering on.

polistra , Website December 20, 2017 at 7:38 pm GMT
In a competent administration I'd assume good cop / bad cop. In the Trump era no assumptions are possible. Everything is just random noise, like leaves and trash blowing down the street, or cats yowling on a fence.
WorkingClass , December 21, 2017 at 3:57 pm GMT

With that in mind, we can only hope that President Trump will encourage Tillerson to do another about-face and return to the idea of talks without pre-condition.

You got that right Dr. Paul. We can only hope. We want peace. We vote for peace. But we get war.

FB , December 22, 2017 at 5:42 pm GMT

Why not agree on no US/South Korean joint military exercises for six months in exchange for no North Korean missile launches for the same period and then agree to a meeting on neutral ground? How could it possibly hurt, particularly considering the alternative?

Well the simple reason is that the US continues to dream of regime change in North Korea there is no other 'plan'. There is no desire for simple coexistence with North Korea. That is quite plain and indisputable, based on the US actions. The US refusal to even consider a peace treaty for 60 years now makes that sinister motive plain as day. So it is useless to start from the point that the US is somehow interested in 'defusing' the North Korean crisis or even cares about the nuclear weapons or missiles

Missiles and nukes are not the problem even without those the US has never abandoned its core goal of 70 years to dominate the entire Korean peninsula. As soon as we recognize what the dynamics here really are then we can go forward. It is interesting to see here that Tillerson is yet again showing himself to be hugely capable of realism. This man is a gift to the American people but he is undermined by Dump himself who has chosen to adopt the entire neocon agenda. If we assume that the policy of the US is shaped more by unseen actors rather than the elected and visible personalities on center stage then my hope is that there are some rational players among those 'unseen' shot callers who may be supporting the Tillerson realpolitik approach because getting real and snapping out of disneyland fantasies is the only thing that is going to stave off impending disaster for the US

We can only hope that such a faction of realists exists within the 'unseen' power structure. What we can be plenty sure of is that there is clearly another powerful faction at work call them the neocons the war party or what you will and they seem to have the upper hand over the pathetically weak Dump

At least for the moment

[Dec 09, 2017] Tillerson: Status of J lem not final

Dec 09, 2017 | www.ynetnews.com

United States Secretary of State Rex Tillerson said on Friday the "status of Jerusalem was not final" and that it will be some time before the US is able to move its embassy to from Tel Aviv to Jerusalem, pursuant to President Donald Trump's speech earlier this week recognizing Jerusalem as Israel's capital and announcing the planned embassy move.Any final decision on the status of Jerusalem will depend on negotiations between Israelis and Palestinians, Tillerson said, appearing to add nuance to President Trump's decision.

"With respect to the rest of Jerusalem the president ... did not indicate any final status for Jerusalem," Tillerson said, speaking at a news conference in Paris alongside French Foreign Minister Jean-Yves Le Drian.

... ... ...

Earlier Friday Russian Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov said the recognition of Jerusalem as Israel's capital by the US ran counter to common sense while Russia warned that US recognition may lead to escalation in the Israeli-Palestinian conflict and called on all parties to show restraint.

Turkish sources said Russian President Vladimir Putin will visit Turkey next week to discuss recent developments surrounding Jerusalem and the situation in Syria with his Turkish counterpart Recep Tayyip Erdoğan. The Kremlin verified the visit and said the leaders will discuss "important international problems."

Erdoğan and Putin spoke on the phone Thursday and concurred the US decision to recognize Jerusalem as capital will negatively impact the peace process and the region's stability.

[Dec 08, 2017] Prediction that Tillerson would be gone by end of year

Notable quotes:
"... Fred: It's assuming that the "professional diplomats" who gave us the Iraq War and the Maiden Demonstrations in Ukraine call Trump irresponsible! I think Trump is doing a Gulfies. Besides the Mother of Arms Deals with the Kingdom of Horrors, he's just got Bahrain to buy another batch of F-16's they don't need. ..."
"... Trump said he was going to make the Gulfies pay for our protection. And that is what he is doing. Now if he could only make the Zionists pay..... ..."
Dec 08, 2017 | turcopolier.typepad.com

Richardstevenhack ,

On this side of the water, my prediction that Tillerson would be gone by end of year appears to be coming true.

Reports say Trump is going to throw Tillerson under the bus - like all his other supporters - and replace him with CIA's Mike Pompeo. Senator Cotter - a torture and drone advocate - will replace Pompeo at CIA

So now we'll have a CIA head in charge at State. I'm totally sure that will improve US diplomacy with North Korea, Russia, China, etc...

Those people who kept saying Trump had some master plan to save us were right - it entails throwing out anyone NOT advocating war with most of the nuclear powers on the planet.

Kooshy , 30 November 2017 at 05:48 PM
Zizi controlled US media, like the NYT and CNN really want Rex Tillerson out, they are paving the way for him to leave, and have decided who they like to replace him, both candidates for the state and CIA are supper neocon protectors of Zionism in US, and totally anti Iran.
Fred -> Richardstevenhack ... , 30 November 2017 at 06:23 PM
Richardstevenhack,

This is the second, or perhaps third, report of Tillerson getting "thrown under the bus". I would say the Borg are having their policy narrative systematicly destroyed by Trump and they are desperate to at least create, or at least maintain, an image of turmoil in the executive branch.

JamesT -> Richardstevenhack ... , 30 November 2017 at 06:39 PM
Richardstevenhack

Do you think that POTUS ordered CENTCOM to cut off arms supplies to the Kurds in order to start a war with nuclear powers? It seems to me this action does the complete opposite of that - it dramatically reduces the chance of war with Russia.

DemiJohn said in reply to Fred ... , 30 November 2017 at 08:57 PM
Agreed. And Reuters is also In the band. It would be sad to see one of the last brains in the cabinet disappear.
Yeah, Right , 01 December 2017 at 02:11 AM
"Those people who kept saying Trump had some master plan to save us were right" Maybe not a master plan, but Trump may well be marching to a tune that you can not hear. Take his refusal to certify the JCPOA as stipulated by Congress.

Q: Did he follow that up by tearing up the JCPOA?
A: No, he didn't. He threw the problem back to Congress, who look like a deer caught in some headlights.

He is also expected (either this time or the next) to refuse to sign the waiver regarding moving the US Embassy to Jerusalem.

Q: Will he then follow up by actually, you know, moving that embassy?
A: My guess is he won't, and he'll dare Congress to make something of it.

I really think that there is a pattern to his behaviour, and it isn't the behaviour of a slave to "the establishment". It looks more like he is throwing that establishment off-balance by saying, in essence, that he isn't interested in playing their silly games, and by doing so he exposes those games as.... silly.

Certifying the JCPOA is a burden, and he simply shrugs it off. Waiving the Embassy move is a burden, and he'll just shrug it off. Every time he does so he exposes Congressional politicking that are an irrelevance - an instance of Congress sticking its nose where it doesn't belong - and that's no bad thing. Just my take, but I really don't think Trump is who you think he is.

Matthew said in reply to Fred ... , 01 December 2017 at 09:11 AM
Fred: It's assuming that the "professional diplomats" who gave us the Iraq War and the Maiden Demonstrations in Ukraine call Trump irresponsible! I think Trump is doing a Gulfies. Besides the Mother of Arms Deals with the Kingdom of Horrors, he's just got Bahrain to buy another batch of F-16's they don't need.

Trump said he was going to make the Gulfies pay for our protection. And that is what he is doing. Now if he could only make the Zionists pay.....


[Dec 08, 2017] Tillerson: Biggest Snag in U.S.-Russia Relations is Ukraine, Not Election Meddling by Robbie Gramer

Not surprising views fro neocon swamp which the foreigh Policy is... Interesting comments from inosmi.ru ;-)
Notable quotes:
"... "There is clear evidence of Russia meddling in democratic elections in the U.S. and Europe," Tillerson said said at a speech in Washington on Nov. 28. "We, together with our friends in Europe, recognize the active threat of a recently resurgent Russia." Trump, for his part, has repeatedly contradicted U.S. intelligence agencies to belittle their conclusions that Russia interfered in the election. ..."
"... "According to Tillerson, the biggest obstacle to achieving this goal is the Kremlin's participation in the war in Ukraine." I would paraphrase this phrase like this: "The biggest obstacle to achieving this goal is the US participation in the war in Ukraine. ..."
"... "What's stopping us is Ukraine," Tillerson said at a meeting of the OSCE in Vienna, I do not see the problem! Read the Russian classics: "I gave birth to you, I will kill you!" Eliminate what you gave birth on the Maidan and - no problem ..."
"... 18:26 08.12.2017 | 2 ..."
"... "To improve relations with Russia" is a crime? And the fact of your established a relationship with Ukrainian Nazis is not a crime? Who asked you to invade the Kiev Maidan by the state Department and senators, the Director of the CIA, the intelligence services', the NATO trainers, to offer and sell weapons? Who staged a sniper shooting, blackmail the legitimate government, and provocation with Boeing? What do You care about earopeyskie selection of Bandera, to civil war? Leave yourself from the Ukraine, the invaders! It is not included in your Alliance. Let the EU coddling them (although I'm sure that you imposed on Ukraine, sanctions, LGBT, refugees, poor Europeans). Evident to all that the United States does not want dialogue, or understand it as the imposition of their interests. What do you care, it is the desire of the Ukrainians, how many percent can a referendum on the area will hold? Afraid? Perhaps the Mexicans or the Texans want to join the CSTO, BRICS, or even in Russia, let us ask. Establish if you want your interests to be taken into account. Syria is only the first step, then the avalanche of anti-Americanism will only increase as inter-civil conflicts. Degrades dove, you do not want on good, will be different. Fuck all your wishlist does not force us to hide from the world your dirty secrets. We have not started to intervene, but if we start... ..."
Dec 07, 2017 | foreignpolicy.com

U.S. 'badly' wants to mend fences with Moscow, Secretary of State Tillerson says.

Tillerson has said for months that normalizing relations with Russia has been one of Trump's top foreign-policy priorities. He has broached the topic of Russian election interference, but not with the rhetoric he leveled against Moscow on Ukraine.

"There is clear evidence of Russia meddling in democratic elections in the U.S. and Europe," Tillerson said said at a speech in Washington on Nov. 28. "We, together with our friends in Europe, recognize the active threat of a recently resurgent Russia." Trump, for his part, has repeatedly contradicted U.S. intelligence agencies to belittle their conclusions that Russia interfered in the election.

Relations between Moscow and most of the West have been severely strained since early 2014, when Russia threw military support behind separatist forces in eastern Ukraine, sparking fighting that has killed some 10,000 and displaced some 1.7 million so far. In March 2014, Russia annexed the Crimean peninsula, a part of Ukraine -- the first such cross-border land grab in Europe since the bloody wars in the Balkans in the 1990s.

"We can have differences in other arenas, in Syria, we can have differences in other areas but when one country invades another, that is a difference that is hard to look past or reconcile," Tillerson said. "It stands as the single most difficult obstacle to us re-normalizing a relationship with Russia, which we badly would like to do," he added.

There is another potential obstacle to normalized ties: the drumbeat of revelations of the Kremlin's meddling in last year's U.S. election. That includes organizing the release of hacked material harmful to the campaign of Democrat Hillary Clinton and the creation of fake social media accounts to spread false news stories that sowed division in the United States.

Most recently, Trump's disgraced former National Security Advisor Mike Flynn pleaded guilty last week to lying to FBI agents about his efforts to carry out freelance diplomacy with Russia as a private citizen during the presidential transition.

Tillerson has said for months that normalizing relations with Russia has been one of Trump's top foreign-policy priorities. He has broached the topic of Russian election interference, but not with the rhetoric he leveled against Moscow on Ukraine.

"There is clear evidence of Russia meddling in democratic elections in the U.S. and Europe," Tillerson said said at a speech in Washington on Nov. 28. "We, together with our friends in Europe, recognize the active threat of a recently resurgent Russia." Trump, for his part, has repeatedly contradicted U.S. intelligence agencies to belittle their conclusions that Russia interfered in the election.

Comments from inosmi.ru (Goggle translation)

zaharov.ny | 17:44 08.12.2017 |

In this nonsense only star-striped donkeys can beleive.

kveinfo 17:52 08/12/2017 |

"According to Tillerson, the biggest obstacle to achieving this goal is the Kremlin's participation in the war in Ukraine." I would paraphrase this phrase like this: "The biggest obstacle to achieving this goal is the US participation in the war in Ukraine.

Retro Grad 17:54 08.12.2017 |

"What's stopping us is Ukraine," Tillerson said at a meeting of the OSCE in Vienna, I do not see the problem! Read the Russian classics: "I gave birth to you, I will kill you!" Eliminate what you gave birth on the Maidan and - no problem

As I live 18:26 08.12.2017 | 2

"To improve relations with Russia" is a crime? And the fact of your established a relationship with Ukrainian Nazis is not a crime? Who asked you to invade the Kiev Maidan by the state Department and senators, the Director of the CIA, the intelligence services', the NATO trainers, to offer and sell weapons? Who staged a sniper shooting, blackmail the legitimate government, and provocation with Boeing? What do You care about earopeyskie selection of Bandera, to civil war? Leave yourself from the Ukraine, the invaders! It is not included in your Alliance. Let the EU coddling them (although I'm sure that you imposed on Ukraine, sanctions, LGBT, refugees, poor Europeans). Evident to all that the United States does not want dialogue, or understand it as the imposition of their interests. What do you care, it is the desire of the Ukrainians, how many percent can a referendum on the area will hold? Afraid? Perhaps the Mexicans or the Texans want to join the CSTO, BRICS, or even in Russia, let us ask. Establish if you want your interests to be taken into account. Syria is only the first step, then the avalanche of anti-Americanism will only increase as inter-civil conflicts. Degrades dove, you do not want on good, will be different. Fuck all your wishlist does not force us to hide from the world your dirty secrets. We have not started to intervene, but if we start...

[Oct 24, 2017] Help Wanted - State Department Seeks Self-Consistent Secretary

Oct 24, 2017 | www.moonofalabama.org

European business deals with Iran are safe Tillerson - AFP, October 20 2017

Washington (AFP) - The United States does not intend to disrupt European business deals with Iran, Secretary of State Rex Tillerson said in comments published Friday.
...
"The president's been pretty clear that it's not his intent to interfere with business deals that the Europeans may have under way with Iran," Tillerson told The Wall Street Journal.

"He's said it clearly: 'That's fine. You guys do what you want to do.'"

Tillerson Warns Europe Against Iran Investments - NYT, October 22 2017

RIYADH, Saudi Arabia --
...
Speaking during a visit to Saudi Arabia, Mr. Tillerson said, "Both of our countries believe that those who conduct business with the Iranian Revolutionary Guard, any of their entities -- European companies or other companies around the globe -- really do so at great risk ." Mr. Tillerson appeared at a brief news conference in Riyadh, the Saudi capital, with the Saudi foreign minister, Adel al-Jubeir.
...
Mr. Tillerson's remarks were the administration's most pointed warning to date ...

This not the way to get the European Union in line with U.S. policies. So what is going on here?

Trump in often inconsistent in what he says. That is his privilege. But it does not mean that the Secretary of State has to contradict himself each and every day. It is Tillerson's task to project a steady foreign policy. If there is none - for whatever reason - he must keep his comments vague. Contradictions like the above make him a joke.

'Rexxon' has experience in doing international businesses. He knows that consistency is one of the most important factors in getting things done. No one will make deals with a party that changes its mind every other day.

So why is Tillerson jumping around like this? He seeks to replace Ms. Jubeir as court jester in Riyadh? Or does he want to sabotage his own position?

One inevitably gets the impression that Tillerson wants out. That he wants to chuck his job rather sooner than later. That he longs for the inevitable day he will be fired.

Tillerson is a realist at heart. He is no fan of Netanyahoo. He despises the fake human rights blabber others use to hide their motives. The neo-conservatives would love to see him go. Josh Rogin lists their favorite candidates:

The most popular parlor game in Washington right now is speculating who will replace Rex Tillerson as President Trump's next secretary of state ... two qualified and apparently willing candidates have emerged. ... The top two contenders, Ambassador to the United Nations Nikki Haley and CIA Director Mike Pompeo, ...

Haley is way too loud and incompetent . Pompeo is too narrow minded.

I wonder who the White House junta will prefer as new Secretary of State. One from its own stable? David Petraeus?

He would be another nail in the coffin of Trump's presidency.

Posted by b on October 23, 2017 at 09:28 AM | Permalink

lysander | Oct 23, 2017 10:07:12 AM | 1

My understanding is that both Mattis and Dunford also favor continuing with the Iran agreement. It is also not yet clear that Congress will actually pass any serious new sanctions on Iran in the 60 days available to it.

As for Trump firing Tillerson, I doubt it. Tillerson might decide to quit on his own, and i would not blame him, but I don't think Trump will fire him. The last thing he wants is another brutal confirmation hearing in the Senate. Or to pick a traditional neocon to avoid one.

Trump at times my seem seem stupid, but he isn't.

nhs | Oct 23, 2017 10:16:59 AM | 2
It's an underground war inside the unholy Western alliance:

Neoliberal cannibalism: free market fundamentalists start a transatlantic civil war

G | Oct 23, 2017 10:18:20 AM | 3
@lysander

My guess is that the only reason Mattis, McMaster, Dunford, and Kelly are supposedly in support of the Iran deal is because they know Trump is horrible at foreign policy and that war with Iran under Trump would be a bigger disaster than the other middle east escapades of the last decade. If any other republican, including Pence, was at the helm, they'd be all for de-certification and escalation. Trump is such a liability that they have been pushed towards realism, but are not committed deeply to its principles. Tillerson may actually be much more of a realist at heart, which, despite his bumbling, contradictions, and impotence, makes him better than pretty much any other possible Secretary of States that the Trump administration would offer up.

Bill H | Oct 23, 2017 10:24:04 AM | 4
Tillerson says that dealing with Iran and with businesses in Iran is fine; dealing with the Iranian Revolutionary Guard is not okay. I see nothing inconsistent or contradictory in that. The Iranian Revolutionary Guard owns and conducts business separately from the government as a whole, and it certainly is separate from Iranian businesses.
Don Bacon | Oct 23, 2017 10:37:24 AM | 5
How pathetic. The US is in denial about its Operation Iraqi Freedom which converted Iraq to an Iran ally.

U.S. Secretary of State Rex Tillerson arrived in Riyadh on Saturday to attend a landmark meeting between officials from Saudi Arabia and Iraq aimed at improving relations between the two countries and countering Iran's growing regional influence.

Danny801 | Oct 23, 2017 10:38:06 AM | 6
theyre not replacing him with the Israeli stooge and disaster that is Nikki Haley. She was Trumps gift to Netenyahu at the UN because he needs Israeli lobbyist support at home unfortunately. But the people running the country are Kelly and Mattis and they are not ok with a costly war with Iran (thankfully). they're more pragmatic. Nikki as Secretary of State would have a hard time even getting anyone to sit down and negotiate with her. Look at how awful our relations are with Iran and Russia and yet both have sat down with Tillerson out of respect for the man (even knowing he has almost no sway with the President). that same courtesy isnt going to be given to a war mongering nutjob like Haely. Pompeo is a poor choice as well he comes across as too impatient and thin skinned for that job.

I agree the junta will look within its stable at one of its own. Would also be easier to get one of them approved by a very hostile Congress as well

james | Oct 23, 2017 11:18:23 AM | 7
thanks b... the usa position at this point on the world stage is in disarray... whether that is the result of trump, or trump is a byproduct of it all, i can't tell.. however, tillerson will be fed to the neo con lions like all others including trump at some point.. the neo con agenda must be fed!
karlof1 | Oct 23, 2017 12:42:41 PM | 8
The problem that plagues Tillerson is the same that plagued Kerry--Despite its being published, they cannot publicly acknowledge the actual Imperial Policy of the Outlaw US Empire, to attain Full Spectrum Dominance over the planet and its people which began under Clinton attempting to bring into reality GHW Bush's New World Order--the standing policy is illegal under both Domestic and International Law. So, there is no stated policy because it cannot be stated, leaving Tillerson and Kerry before him looking like uneducated fools. Rice, on the other hand, was effective since she had no qualms about that policy since she's one of its designers, which is why she's a War Criminal. There was never any debate over the current Imperial Policy formulation. Indeed, it merely brought together several disparate policy threads that had been in place since WW2's end. Of course, what plagues Tillerson in no way shackles other nations policy responses, although the public announcement of the Outlaw US Empire's policy doesn't occur as often as it ought to when a nation seeks to justify its policy, and when it occurs it's censored by the Empire's Propaganda System.
john | Oct 23, 2017 12:44:32 PM | 9
i suppose Rex signed off on this , as well.

another nuance of US diplomacy.

NotIran | Oct 23, 2017 1:13:11 PM | 10
I don't want my country Greece doing bussines with the islamic oppresive Iranian government.
HOW CAN GERMAN OLIGARCHS OF BRUSSELS/BERLIN SPEAK FOR THE REST OF US EU COUNTRIES?
We want out of this we suffered enough!
Virgile | Oct 23, 2017 2:29:49 PM | 11
@Notiran

Easy.. Grexit!

Daniel | Oct 23, 2017 2:32:30 PM | 12
Did y'all catch this? The US State Department admitted for the first time that our "rebels in Syria use chemical weapons against civilians.

From their Travel Warning on 10/18/17

"Tactics of ISIS, Hayat Tahrir al-Sham, and other violent extremist groups include the use of suicide bombers, kidnapping, small and heavy arms, improvised explosive devices, and chemical weapons. They have targeted major city centers, road checkpoints, border crossings, government buildings, shopping areas, and open spaces, in Damascus, Aleppo, Hamah, Dara, Homs, Idlib, and Dayr al-Zawr provinces. These groups have murdered and kidnapped U.S. citizens, both for ransom and political purposes; in some instances U.S. citizens have disappeared within Syria."

https://travel.state.gov/content/passports/en/alertswarnings/syria-travel-warning.html

ben | Oct 23, 2017 2:39:01 PM | 13
Actually b, BFD. It matters not who the latest "puppet jesters" are in D.C., policies are decided by the puppeteers, not the puppets. Thus it is today in the U$A..

Full on Oligarchy/Fascism. "It's just business"

gepay | Oct 23, 2017 3:14:22 PM | 14
Yes the Iranian Revolutionary Guard is not the Iranian economy. This probably has more to do with Trump mumbling about listing the IRG as a terrorist organization.It was dumb of b to ignore this in his blog, although the gist of his bog on Tillerson is probably true.
Bart in VA | Oct 23, 2017 3:52:04 PM | 15
I read that Tillerson needs to stay one year so as not to take a capital gains hit on the assets he divested upon taking the job.
jezabeel | Oct 23, 2017 5:05:27 PM | 16
The US is clinically insane. But you can't kick them out of the party just yet. I think we're all waiting for them to fall on their own sword somehow. But they've lost the one thing that was going for them. Fear.
Chipnik | Oct 23, 2017 5:23:39 PM | 17
Rodham may not seem stupid either, but she and Trump are venal elitists and borderline psychopaths. Your choice last November was between ZioWarPigA and ZioWarPigB, Trump even joked about it afterward at a rally, how easily he conned everyone, and everyone kept cheering.
No Wall, (Open Border Legal Immigration); No Tax Cuts (making SS and MC means tested); No Infrastructure (runaway MIC War Pig spending); No Healthcare (cut $1.5T from MC runaway cost hikes); World Wars on Two Fronts and 183 Countries. Trump is one dumb MFr if he thinks the Emperor has clothes.
Debsisdead | Oct 23, 2017 5:48:26 PM | 18
Tillerson's function was to ensure that the energy industry which had given agent orange huge support in his campaign, got an operative in a senior position in the trump regime. Tillerson a major player in the world of rapacious capitalism, in a way that orange could never be, disturbs the trumpeter because he makes trump feel so inconsequential.

Lets face it given a choice between access to energy or a golf course, most humans will always pick energy, so that appart from being considerably wealthier and more powerful than the idjit, it is highly likely Tillerson is also a helluva a lot smarter, more deceitful and even less empathetic. About the only edge old comb-over has is that tillerson is exceedingly short, something that the vain one doubtless exploits in any face to faces the two have.

Tillerson may want out because it is pretty clear his one position secretary of state even though traditionally a powerful one, has been marginalised by the seeming unity of the junta this is compounded by agent orange's inability to 'stay in his lane' the demarcations of cabinet responsibility mean nothing to the unstructured, reactive fool in the WH.
Even so I doubt tillerson will be in a hurry to pull the pin, even if that is because the energy capitalists are terrified at what a vengeful trump may do to their meticulously designed system for separating all humans from all the rewards of their endeavours. Tillerson will be under considerable pressure from his co-conspirators to hang in long enough that agent orange will be relieved to see the back of him, rather than him shoot through when the creep is so desperate.
From tillerson's point of view that probably feels like never, but all prezs get brief glimpses of glory if they hang in and despite trumps predilection for screwing himself before he cops the accolades, there will come a time when he does something that wins grudging admiration from the media barons.

In the meantime tillerson will spend as much time as possible with his old mates the thieves of Riyadh, without whom exxon mobil would just be a chain of decrepit 'service-stations'. Doubtless they are planning all sorts of scams and rorts, although it will be difficult for them to realise their latest greeds without support from the amerikan military. Africa, a sporadically and haphazardly developed continent likely features large in all resource thieves dreams.

TSP | Oct 23, 2017 6:14:34 PM | 19
There's no fuel for war. Luckily DT has sufficient bluster that no one has dumped Ratheon beyond where the CB is still willing to buy.

Iran is a corporation to these people. The proverbial Pepsi to the Coke 'debate.' As military finances move towards pensions and away from new ground forces, the bluster will need to mind its believability. No one fears the twitter tiger.

Eventually, when those $6T losses come back on shore, the spending power drop will squeeze foreign entanglements too. It's always new market development that gets cut first.

peter | Oct 23, 2017 6:16:24 PM | 20
I think Rex is the most grounded guy in the cabinet. I tend to think he will only eat so much shit before he bails.

He's had Trump tell him he's wasting his time with Korea on Twitter. He's had Trump undermine him on air, said he wished he was tougher. Tillerson has already called Trump a fucking moron out of pure exasperation. He has been at the helm of bigger outfits than Trump ever dreamed of, except the presidency. He can watch day by day the pure ineptness of his boss and must often wonder why he accepted the job.

So I think b is right about him waiting to get out. But I will miss his low-key gravitas. I think he and Lavrov could have seen eye to eye. I even think he might have made some headway with Kim if Trump wasn't so utterly unhinged. Imagine fucking with millions of lives as cavalierly as the Donald. Still has his fans though.

fast freddy | Oct 23, 2017 8:20:52 PM | 21
Is the country of Iran an "entity" of the IRG? Or is the IRG an entity of Iran? In any case, it is off putting and can't be conducive to stability in the vaunted "markets" or anything else. Who the fock wants to engage in business with a country that the USA, lapdog UK and Israel have earmarked for surprise aerial shock'n ya'll?

Really dumb statements from the Tiller. A guy that supposedly understands markets.

jwco | Oct 23, 2017 8:30:01 PM | 22
B you call Halley "incompetent", but have you called Trump that?

[Oct 14, 2017] We May Miss Rex Tillerson When He's Gone by Daniel R. DePetris

Why everybody is encritically repeating the rumors about this "moron" story. Tillerson denies he weighed resigning or called boss 'moron', Fox Oc4, 2017 What if this is an insinuation, an attempt to undermine Trump ? Not that Trump behaviour in foreign policy area does not deserve some really strong epithet, but still Tillerson comes from corporate environment and he knows all two well consequences of uttering such a word even in "private, which is never private about your boss.
Defense Priorities think tank from which Daniel R. DePetris ytoed t steer the USA away from interventions in overseas wars and state a the mission: "To inform citizens, thought leaders, and policy makers of the importance of a strong, dynamic military - used more judiciously to protect America's narrowly defined national interests - and promote a realistic grand strategy prioritizing restraint, diplomacy, and free trade to ensure American security." and does have some unorthodox speakers (including Andrew Bacevich) and try to address important Issues - Defense Priorities
Notable quotes:
"... Tillerson was watching his back, knowing full well that the more vocal and ambitious Nikki Haley was likely itching for a promotion (Haley denies wanting Tillerson's job, but does anyone really believe that?). ..."
"... If Trump ever promotes Haley he'll lose my vote. She's bad news – ignorant, incompetent, with lots of bad friends. To the extent that Tillerson is saving us from that, all to the good. ..."
"... Maybe he was a good corporate CEO – I do not know. But no other administration would have nominated him for Secretary of State. Robert MacNamara was an Air Corps Colonel in WW II and a Harvard economics wizard when he was plucked from a brief tenure at Ford. He helped JFK to stare-down the generals who wanted to start WW III over Cuba. Tillerson is no MacNamara. ..."
"... Rex Tillerson has done a very good job so far. A lot of the problem is that he has inherited a terrible mess. A terrible terrible mess. Also Qatar did support Al Nusra. Its just that all the Gulf States are pretty much guilty of supporting terrorism. It should have been confronted but in a more diplomatic way. We are Americans shouldn't we hate Al Qaeda and be angry at those who support it? I'd almost favor nuking the Gulf States out of revenge. ..."
Oct 14, 2017 | www.theamericanconservative.com

All the stock Tillerson built up over the spring is now largely gone. The summer and fall were enormously tough times for the Secretary of State. Trump's undiplomatic tweets on everything from Qatar to North Korea helped undercut Tillerson's diplomatic endeavors before they'd even started. Back home, Tillerson received incoming from all quarters on Capitol Hill over his State Department budget proposal, a $10 billion reduction from the previous fiscal year. And within the administration, Tillerson was watching his back, knowing full well that the more vocal and ambitious Nikki Haley was likely itching for a promotion (Haley denies wanting Tillerson's job, but does anyone really believe that?).

In short, it's been largely downhill for Tillerson lately. Today, people all but assume that he'll either put in his papers for early retirement or be pushed out. Calling your boss (or widely reported that you called your boss) " a moron " to your colleagues in private and then getting challenged to an IQ test by the president of the United States are not exactly the circumstances of great job security.

How did it get so bad for Tillerson so quickly? Does he even want the job anymore, or is he burned out? Those are the questions that the Washington news media obsesses about. In the end, though, all of them are secondary to this one: What will the administration lose if Tillerson leaves?

Pundits and columnists make a decent living in the criticism business, and there's plenty to criticize about Rex Tillerson. But there are also things that Tillerson has gotten right. Along with Defense Secretary James Mattis and Chief of Staff John Kelly, there's no doubt that Tillerson is a crucial member of the administration's pragmatic wing. Using the phrases "axis of adults" and "adults in the room" has become a common trope in Washington these days, but it rings true on foreign policy, where Tillerson has beaten the drum of diplomacy as loud as he possibly can. Indeed, this is likely a major reason why friends and associates of Tillerson think he's worn out -- no matter how loud he bangs that drum, his best efforts get foiled by off-the-cuff remarks and 140-character statements.

To say that Tillerson is the most vital member of Trump's national security cabinet would be a stretch, but he is definitely a restraining influence. On the dispute between Qatar and its Gulf Arab neighbors, Tillerson has eagerly embraced the role of mediator , traveling to and from Riyadh, Doha, and Kuwait City this past summer to grease the skids for a diplomatic resolution. Unfortunately, as Mark Perry has reported in these pages , Tillerson has been undermined by the White House from the start. It is difficult to serve as a cool-headed mediator when the commander-in-chief practically labels Qatar a state sponsor of terrorism.

Normally, a secretary of state's job begins and ends with diplomacy. But in Tillerson's case, being a diplomat goes hand-in-hand with serving as the janitor, on hand to clean up the mess.

Daniel R. DePetris is a fellow at Defense Priorities.

mail order bride, says: October 12, 2017 at 9:30 pm

If Trump ever promotes Haley he'll lose my vote. She's bad news – ignorant, incompetent, with lots of bad friends. To the extent that Tillerson is saving us from that, all to the good.
Whine Merchant , says: October 13, 2017 at 1:48 am
When one steps back to see the bigger picture, it is frightening that we look for moderating influence and stable guidance from someone who would usually be thought of as a spoof nominee for his role.

Maybe he was a good corporate CEO – I do not know. But no other administration would have nominated him for Secretary of State. Robert MacNamara was an Air Corps Colonel in WW II and a Harvard economics wizard when he was plucked from a brief tenure at Ford. He helped JFK to stare-down the generals who wanted to start WW III over Cuba. Tillerson is no MacNamara.

Thank you –

Johnny F. Ive , says: October 13, 2017 at 6:16 am
Rex Tillerson has done a very good job so far. A lot of the problem is that he has inherited a terrible mess. A terrible terrible mess. Also Qatar did support Al Nusra. Its just that all the Gulf States are pretty much guilty of supporting terrorism. It should have been confronted but in a more diplomatic way. We are Americans shouldn't we hate Al Qaeda and be angry at those who support it? I'd almost favor nuking the Gulf States out of revenge.

What can Secretary of State Rex Tillerson do when there is a history of US Congresses and Presidents are hostile to diplomacy? George W. Bush and Congress created the current North Korea situation by being hostile. America cannot maintain an Empire because it does not have a dictator which provides continuity of policy. Haley is a symptom and a product of the insanity that inflicts the American ruling class. If Trump does not pursue an America First foreign policy and instead pursues a George W. Bush foreign policy he will bear a terrible legacy.

Potato , says: October 13, 2017 at 9:41 am
Read up on Rex Tillerson. He comes off as a very able, very smart, very impressive guy. This administration is lucky to have him. I think they only have him because he believes he can be of service to the American people, not because he admires Mr. Trump.

The question is, when will he decided that he, essentially single-handed, cannot make enough of a difference to justify the personal costs of working with this band of lunatics. Certainly I don't always agree with Tillerson's politics, but he always comes across as solid, a man of integrity.

Cratylus , says: October 13, 2017 at 11:15 am
A poorly argued hit piece on Tillerson. The media and neocons are waging a campaign to undermine him and get him out. Does TAC have to play into it by publishing this drivel?
Fred Bowman , says: October 13, 2017 at 11:28 am
If people think Hillary Clinton was an awful "Madam Secretary" (and she was), wait till Nikki Haley gets the job. No doubt she'll "rubber stamp" every bad idea that Trump comes up with.
Peter Palms , says: October 13, 2017 at 12:19 pm
Secretary of State, Tillerson will remain in his post. Don't believe the rumors
Cary , says: October 13, 2017 at 1:07 pm
There's an under currant of Tillerson can't control Trump to this article that rubs me the wrong way. Trump is a narcissistic ass and the thing about narcissistic assess they aren't reasonable or controllable.

[Oct 14, 2017] Republican senator blasts Donald Trump for 'castrating' Rex Tillerson

Notable quotes:
"... Tillerson told a news conference in Beijing two weeks ago that the US was directly communicating with North Korea on its nuclear and missile programs, but it had shown no interest in dialogue. Trump took to Twitter the next day, saying Tillerson was "wasting his time" trying to negotiate with the North Korean leader, Kim Jong-un. ..."
"... "The greatest diplomatic activities we have are with China, and the most important, and they have come a long, long way," Corker said. "Some of the things we are talking about are phenomenal. "When you jack the legs out from under your chief diplomat, you cause all that to fall apart." He added that working with China was the key to reaching a peaceful settlement with North Korea. ..."
"... "When you publicly castrate your secretary of state, you take that off the table," Corker said. ..."
"... If Tillerson is undermined by Trump, why is he hanging around. He can't be effective. Honorable thing to do is to hand over his resignation. He doesn't need the job. ..."
"... It's bad, but having experienced the 60s and early 70s (Nixon, Watergate, Vietnam, assassinations of JFK, RFK, MLK, Kent State, 1960 Dem Convention, Weather Underground, etc.) I think it's safe to say that we are nowhere near that level. And then there's the Civil War, Andrew Johnson, etc. ..."
"... Forty years of Reagan's mantra that government, taxes, and unions are evil and business is the way, the truth, and the power. Forty years of his trickle down economics which has led to stagnating/declining wages, crumbling infrastructure and, importantly, divestment in k-16 education. Ongoing dog whistles to now include Christian persecution in a primarily Christian country. ..."
"... And remember, we're a big ass country with small, far flung towns. Trump's support is strongest in small, rural communities ..."
"... Trump picked up the GOP ball and ran with it to its natural conclusion -- a know nothing incompetent, narcissistic president who won on the back of the bigotry, fear, and economic lies the GOP's been peddling for decades. ..."
"... I think many people have been secretly hoping that the good cop/bad cop act was part of an agreed strategy for dealing with Kim and the DRK. It's not though is it? Dozza really is as pathetic as he looks. Absolutely out of his depth and endangering everybody with his bullshit. ..."
"... Sadly the typical American has very little to no awareness of the world outside of the US. Their world view and knowledge of the rest of the world is extremely limited and biased. That is why 'America First' is the perfect strap-line for this 'president'. ..."
"... Trump isn't evil. He's thin-skinned, easily goaded, petty and vindictive, and lacks foresight and self-awareness. His attempts to dismantle Obamacare will kill people, but that's not his aim and he doesn't think of it in those terms. He's not evil, just incompetent and irrational. ..."
"... Trump doesn't understand the word "negotiation" anyway. That's why he previously said that any negotiations with NK would be very short. It's because his definition of the word is, "we tell you what we demand, and you do it, regardless of your viewpoint." That's why he makes enemies of everyone he has contact with, a total lack of understanding that a Win-Win approach is better for all (what does it matter what the outcome for "all" is, as long as Trump appears to be the winner). Boils down to his mental condition meaning he has no empathy. ..."
"... Trump is "riding" the surge in jobs that is related entirely to a cyclical recovery from worldwide recession. ..."
"... I think everyone knows the keys the North Korea crisis are China and dialog. But who says the Corporate States and their military-industrial complex want peace? War drives profits. And as anyone who has travelled the US - outside of Vegas, 5th Ave and Hollywood and Vine - knows war is essential to the American identity and needed to maintain cohesion in that fracturing society. Pride in the US military is a foundation stone of the modern US. War is needed to distract the peasants from the rising poverty virtually nil opportunities at home. War on the Korean peninsula may be needed by the Corporate State and if it is it will happen. ..."
"... It is almost as if Donald Trump thinks the Secretary of State's job is to take notes on Donald Trump's statements. ..."
Oct 14, 2017 | www.theguardian.com

Bob Corker accuses the president of undercutting the secretary of state's efforts to rein in North Korea's nuclear program

US Republican senator Bob Corker stepped up his public feud with Donald Trump on Friday, saying the president's undermining of his secretary of state was like castrating him in public.

Corker told the Washington Post in an interview that Trump had undercut Rex Tillerson's efforts to enlist China in reining in North Korea's nuclear program by denigrating the diplomat.

"You cannot publicly castrate your own secretary of state" without limiting the options for dealing with North Korea, Corker, the chairman of the Senate foreign relations committee, told the Post.

Tillerson told a news conference in Beijing two weeks ago that the US was directly communicating with North Korea on its nuclear and missile programs, but it had shown no interest in dialogue. Trump took to Twitter the next day, saying Tillerson was "wasting his time" trying to negotiate with the North Korean leader, Kim Jong-un.

"The greatest diplomatic activities we have are with China, and the most important, and they have come a long, long way," Corker said. "Some of the things we are talking about are phenomenal. "When you jack the legs out from under your chief diplomat, you cause all that to fall apart." He added that working with China was the key to reaching a peaceful settlement with North Korea.

"When you publicly castrate your secretary of state, you take that off the table," Corker said.

Artgoddess 14 Oct 2017 17:05

Tillerson gets A LOT of $ if he lasts a year. Mnuchin, too.

humdum 14 Oct 2017 14:55

If Tillerson is undermined by Trump, why is he hanging around. He can't be effective. Honorable thing to do is to hand over his resignation. He doesn't need the job.

LibtardMangina -> imipak 14 Oct 2017 13:06

Like Sadam had no WMDs yet George and Tony pretended they cared whether they were there or not and went in guns blazing. We're still trying to pick up the pieces. Thanks guys. Dozza's adventures in NK is the next instalment of this shit show.

willyjack -> lochinverboy 14 Oct 2017 12:54

"This is the low point in America's political history"

It's bad, but having experienced the 60s and early 70s (Nixon, Watergate, Vietnam, assassinations of JFK, RFK, MLK, Kent State, 1960 Dem Convention, Weather Underground, etc.) I think it's safe to say that we are nowhere near that level. And then there's the Civil War, Andrew Johnson, etc.

ConBrio -> CorvidRegina 14 Oct 2017 12:16

She came, she manipulated the nomination process, she lost! Get over it the precipitous canonization of damaged goods and try to elect someone competent. She ain't risin again.

CorvidRegina -> Abusedbythestate 14 Oct 2017 11:30

politicians playing on people's fears and telling them what they want to hear

That is the true culprit here. The role of politicians has always been to protect the country, including from its own citizens. Every politician makes use of some fear as a rhetorical tool, but the American conservatives really took this to a whole new level; they found an easy and lazy way to keep their support bolstered, by conflating the very worst traits of the ignorant and gullible with moral, even religious, superiority.

Of course they now consider themselves superior to even the politicians that fed them. It's hard to feel much pity.

john ayres -> colacj 14 Oct 2017 11:18

[Edited for clarity] Anyone other then primate chosen for this position would outshine him. Leave at the Russia BS. It is the result of $2B of propaganda from US agencies.

DAW188 14 Oct 2017 11:02

On an international scale what should probably be concerning American voters more than it is, are the US allies that appear to be pivoting away from them and towards each other. With an incompetent ninny of a POTUS and absolutely no clear military or diplomatic direction it is unsurprising that other global players are looking to each other for some security. The latest fallout over the Iran deal will only exasperate it.

I imagine it has caused some of the diplomats and bureaucrats in Washington to sit up and feel concerned. But as most US news reporting (even from internationally regarded publications like the NYT) seems to look no further than the end of its nose, I doubt its getting much, if any, play amongst US voters.

A fine example of this would be the machinations of the recent meetings between Theresa May and Shinzo Abe. They represent two of the closest political, economic and military allies of the US and are arguably key to the US' Atlantic and Pacific spheres of influence. Both countries find themselves in a bit of a bind. May turns up with a big empty bag labelled trade deals and Abe greets her with a tin-helmet on fearing a NK missile might drop on his head at any moment and that the US administration is not reliable enough to step in and diffuse the tension as it has in the past.

Abe conveniently has a country full of investors who would quite like to get access to the UK to buy up business on the cheap. May had a few hundred nuclear warheads in her back pocket that are all transferable anywhere in the world undetected and underwater (say for example in the South China Sea or the Sea of Japan), as well as a large intelligence agency and a UN security council seat. Not hard to see how tempting it would be for the two to cut a deal. The speech that the two leaders gave at the end of their little summit spelt it out. Abe bigged up Brexit, the opportunities it would afford and the strength of the Anglo-Nippon economic partnership, whilst May reaffirmed British commitments to defend its ally Japan's interests in a big two fingers up to Beijing and Pyongyang. Suddenly the US has two powerful allies turning away from it and towards each other, providing support that the US was once a bridge for.

This isn't restricted to the UK or Japan. Look at Macron in France and Merkel in Germany. Trudeau in Canada and Pena Nieto in Mexico. Even loyal old Bibi is getting in on the act when he recently invited India's Modi around for tea in Jerusalem.

Then you have theoretical allies, that have questionable intentions. Qatar and the Saudis remain at each others throats. The Emir of Qatar (or should that be his mother, the former Queen Moza, the power behind the curtain) certainly seems increasingly enamored with the Iranian's. Whilst the tensions in the Gulf are the way they are, it may not be the time to try and up-end again the relationship with Iran.

mbidding -> JEM5260 14 Oct 2017 11:00

Fifty years of the GOP putting party before country is how too many voters have been duped and misinformed.

Fifty years of Nixon's Southern Strategy and subsequent dog whistle politics aimed at convincing "real" Americans that people of color, liberals, intellectuals, and secular humanists are out to destroy their way of life and are the causes of all their woes.

Forty years of Reagan's mantra that government, taxes, and unions are evil and business is the way, the truth, and the power. Forty years of his trickle down economics which has led to stagnating/declining wages, crumbling infrastructure and, importantly, divestment in k-16 education. Ongoing dog whistles to now include Christian persecution in a primarily Christian country.

Thirty five years of repeal of the Fairness Doctrine by which "news" has become nothing more than politically propagandized infotainment.

And remember, we're a big ass country with small, far flung towns. Trump's support is strongest in small, rural communities -- communities with no experience with diversity of any type (political, economic, and social). These folks have been groomed by the GOP for fifty years to believe that liberal policies and non whites are out to get them and only the GOP and business have their backs.

Trump picked up the GOP ball and ran with it to its natural conclusion -- a know nothing incompetent, narcissistic president who won on the back of the bigotry, fear, and economic lies the GOP's been peddling for decades.

LibtardMangina 14 Oct 2017 10:44

I think many people have been secretly hoping that the good cop/bad cop act was part of an agreed strategy for dealing with Kim and the DRK. It's not though is it? Dozza really is as pathetic as he looks. Absolutely out of his depth and endangering everybody with his bullshit.

Abusedbythestate -> Conradsagent 14 Oct 2017 08:23

It will still end in tears for the yanks - a powerful military will not save the dollar - change is the one constant in the universe - where is the roman empire, the British empire, the Portuguese and Spanish empires, the Venetian empire now???? No one state stays the top dog for ever.

The rest of the world will see to that - the British and Europe are starting to look East and Trump is helping them do that to become so isolated, the US will become a backwater as quick as the USSR collapsed almost overnight. It only takes one extra straw to break the camel's back

Abusedbythestate -> digamey 14 Oct 2017 08:19

Indeed - I have many German friends and we talk about how any group of people in a nation can vote a nutter into power - Hitler being one of the most in(famous). At the end of the day, in all of the world in every nation state, there are a lot of very dumb people - the majority of the electorate to a greater or lesser degree - it's not their fault - we are all born entirely ignorant and our culture forms our opinions and our ability to question - do you remember how often at school, you were encouraged to question anything? or were facts, facts?

Pile on top of that a very powerful media, politicians playing on people's fears and telling them what they want to hear, and people's general gullibility and it's no great surprise that the Germans voted for Hitler, the Yanks voted for Trump and our dumb country voted .... well, vote the way they do - the fact that people seem happy with our so called democracies around the world that are far from democratic, depending on definition, and where we're often given a choice of just one or two options that seem incredibly similar in policy compared to the vast possible alternatives on how to run a country/economy - heaven forbid we might attempt an "extreme" alternative!!!

3melvinudall 14 Oct 2017 08:18

It seems some Republicans have decided now is the time to take down Trump. From what the country has seen of how Trump does "business" better to take him on now than deal with the disastrous consequences of his failures. Captain Trump is taking the ship down with his incompetence...problem is: we are all on that ship.

Gytaff -> Mordicant 14 Oct 2017 07:48

Sadly the typical American has very little to no awareness of the world outside of the US. Their world view and knowledge of the rest of the world is extremely limited and biased. That is why 'America First' is the perfect strap-line for this 'president'.

The Trump base doesn't give a toss about 'worldwide economic momentum', they only see what is happening in their own back yards. This is why Trump is doing well with his base, they see his posturing against North Korea, Iran and Syria as strength, they see his threats to trade deals as protectionist and have absolutely no problem with it, it's perfectly aligned with their views and mindset.

The Democrats are going to have a serious battle in the mid-terms, they need to find a way to appeal to the common man and give them what Trump keeps promising to deliver (but not, so far!). They need to show that they, as elitists can empathize with the common man's position, needs and beliefs, sadly the democrats have a long way to go! The Republicans are also screwed as Trump_vs_deep_state is anathema to their candidates too.

The next 12 months are going to be 'interesting times'!

Conradsagent -> ConBrio 14 Oct 2017 07:34

The US is one of the most fundamentalist, extreme religious whack job countries on the planet.

As for addiction to US protection...it is also one of the most (if not, the most) dangerously confused countries on earth. The world needs protecting 'from' it...not by it

corneilius -> pruneau 14 Oct 2017 07:24

Exactly the same can be said of the Tory party in the UK, especially the belief that you run a national economy on the same principles of a household budget.

saintkiwi -> Prumtic 14 Oct 2017 07:23

I think half the cabinet and half of Congress may actually go along with it; we know from whispers around the White House and Washington that many, if not most, Republicans think Trump is temperamentally/psychologically unfit for the post. Maybe Corker is the crack in the dam that eventually leads to catastrophic failure and flood; maybe not.

Pence is a total stiff, though. No way such a conservative guy would implement such an historic and radical action as forcibly* removing a sitting president, no matter how nuts that C-in-C was.

*(and yes, I can envisage Tump literally having to be dragged from the Oval Office)

UB__DK 14 Oct 2017 07:02

I hope the 25th amendment is on the agenda behind the scenes. It is clear to everyone that the president is unqualified. He is steadily eroding the credibility of the office he holds and of the entire West on the international political scene. And the longer his removal is delayed the worse it will get.

BeenThereDunThat -> ClearlyNow 14 Oct 2017 06:39

Oh dear, another Trumpkin. I am no fan of Merkel - a neoliberal to her boots. But at least she has some humanity and actually cares for other members of the human race outside of her immediate family - and to be honest, I doubt the Tango Tyrant cares for his family other than their being a projection of his own narcissistic ego.

As for Germany, its economy still marches along with it being the number 4 economy in the world and the top of the G5 group. It's standard of living remains high while social inequality is far lower than in countries such as the US or the UK.

So sorry, but another pathetically failed straw-man - or in this case, straw-woman - attempt to deflect attention from the discussion at hand.

Ramas100 14 Oct 2017 05:49

It's the military generals who are stroking Trump's ego by telling him there is a military solution to N Korea and Iran.

RichWoods -> blairsnemesis 14 Oct 2017 05:47

but Trump is the most evil and worst person to hold the post, ever.

Trump isn't evil. He's thin-skinned, easily goaded, petty and vindictive, and lacks foresight and self-awareness. His attempts to dismantle Obamacare will kill people, but that's not his aim and he doesn't think of it in those terms. He's not evil, just incompetent and irrational.

All those things were apparent during the election campaign, so whatever your politics you have no excuse if you voted for someone who is so patently unfit to hold public office.

blairsnemesis -> FrankRoberts 14 Oct 2017 05:23

I suspect he realised before he even took up the post that he was far too thick for the job. Reagan was an appalling bag of shit but Trump is the most evil and worst person to hold the post, ever. I only hope that if someone doesn't kill him (and they'd have my full backing because he is an immense threat to the world), he gets put behind bars, along with the rest of his thick-as-pigshit family, for life.

Prumtic -> HelpAmerica 14 Oct 2017 05:14

Trump doesn't understand the word "negotiation" anyway. That's why he previously said that any negotiations with NK would be very short. It's because his definition of the word is, "we tell you what we demand, and you do it, regardless of your viewpoint." That's why he makes enemies of everyone he has contact with, a total lack of understanding that a Win-Win approach is better for all (what does it matter what the outcome for "all" is, as long as Trump appears to be the winner). Boils down to his mental condition meaning he has no empathy.

MortimerSnerd 14 Oct 2017 05:11

Just trying to keep the faith here until the mid terms. Trump is more bluster than balls, and he is not The Emperor. There are checks and balances in the system and the system has thwarted him on many occasions.

peterxpto -> LondonFog 14 Oct 2017 05:03

Trump is "riding" the surge in jobs that is related entirely to a cyclical recovery from worldwide recession.

Kevin Cox -> WhigInterpretation 14 Oct 2017 04:46

Well said. Regarding Congress, people do not understand the way the US is hobbled by a constitution that facilitates the lobbying of special interests - so long as it is not the labor movement - and which is very, very hard to change. So much for the Founding Fathers and what they accomplished and made difficult to alter.

tippisheadrun -> simba72 14 Oct 2017 04:29

Absolutely.
President Ted Cruz, President Mike Huckabee, President Ben Carson, President Chris Christie, President Rick Santorum, President Marco Rubio - take your prick - none of them would promote any sense of security in the populace. With the exception of John Kasich, the GOP nominee was destined to be a dangerous character- either through lack of scruples or a misguided sense of their own righteousness.

daWOID -> digamey 14 Oct 2017 02:53

Fun fact: "the lifestyle of the good citizens of Montana, Idaho, Nebraska, Wisconsin, West Virginia and Texas etc., etc" collapsed a long time ago.

juster digamey 14 Oct 2017 02:50

The dollar is not going to stay the reserve currency forever. Its just math. If an average chinese can reach 25% productivity of an average amreican, and there is no reason they cant, they will have by all metrics the largest economy. At that stage USD keeping its present day status is impossible even if Abraham Lincoln gets revived an re elected.

charles47 -> RealityCheck2016 14 Oct 2017 02:22

I am involved in negotiations every day of my working life, with staff, with Trustees (directors), with local authorities, with suppliers.

I have good working relationships with most of them. Must be doing something right, while doing a job that matters to me personally. I've met Trump types. They wouldn't last five minutes in the world I live and work in. Too "entitled" and far too full of themselves. Generally, if I come across someone like that, they don't get our business because they are long on promise, short on delivery, and more interested in getting the "deal" than considering our needs as an organisation - which is the selling point I look for, as with most people. One-sided deals don't work and don't last.

As for affording to go to a Trump hotel...if I could, I wouldn't. I have my favourites, and my personal standards that don't involve glitter without substance.

jon donahue -> BhoGhanPryde 14 Oct 2017 01:57

Iran. At about 10,000 dead, it could go on for about three years with beaucoup contracts to be had. Perfect for all the flag-wavers.

Korea? No. Too many dead too fast, could run up to 25,000 in a hurry. Plus, Seoul smoked. Bad optics, no money in it...

jon donahue 14 Oct 2017 01:52

Trump is a train wreck. Incompetent. Unable to manage, unable to negotiate, unable to govern.

The good news is that we don't actually need a functioning President, with the world pretty much at peace and the economy doing well enough.
Everybody in the government and military can just work around the jerk.

digamey 14 Oct 2017 01:38

Republicans are experts at protecting their own butts. While Trump's numbers hold, they will bitch about him in private and suck up to him in public. Once his numbers start to tank, as inevitably they will, they will turn upon him and savage him in a manner with which even the most voracious hyenas could not compete.

BhoGhanPryde 14 Oct 2017 00:38

I think everyone knows the keys the North Korea crisis are China and dialog. But who says the Corporate States and their military-industrial complex want peace? War drives profits. And as anyone who has travelled the US - outside of Vegas, 5th Ave and Hollywood and Vine - knows war is essential to the American identity and needed to maintain cohesion in that fracturing society. Pride in the US military is a foundation stone of the modern US. War is needed to distract the peasants from the rising poverty virtually nil opportunities at home. War on the Korean peninsula may be needed by the Corporate State and if it is it will happen.

Mike Bray 13 Oct 2017 23:37

It is almost as if Donald Trump thinks the Secretary of State's job is to take notes on Donald Trump's statements.

[Sep 05, 2017] Should Tillerson Resign by Daniel Larison

for some reasons Larison support neocon blabbering of Daniel W. Drezner in WaPo Why Secretary of State Rex Tillerson should resign - The Washington Post ez
If Critics such as neocon Max Boot are calling for him to resign, I want him to stay.
The "wrecking of the State Department" that By Daniel Larison is concerned, is necessary as it is too infested with neocons leftover from Hillary days, including cadre of female warmongers.
Also color revolutions zeal needs to be tamed.
Taking into account that Trump effectivly changed sided starting from infamous Tomahawk attack, the nes round of sanctions for Russia and sabersrattling with Iran and North Korea, it is difficult to forsee how the Secratary of State can be effective with such a boss. Being a bully in the schoolyard was the policy the the USA sucessfully tried for all presidencies since Reagan, so in a sense Trump is proud hier f this noble tradition.
Notable quotes:
"... Tillerson was a CEO of for the longest time head of the US largest corporation by market cap. His problem or problems no doubt reflect his tenure in the corporate world. A world where you have to get things done some work out some don't. ..."
"... Point is he is a non fit in the Swamp where dysfunction is implanted. Can readers recall how an experience career politician like John Boy ran all over the world and in the end was manipulated by the Russians to their advantage. Hillary logged millions of miles obviously to the benefit of the Clinton foundation. So until the prior ruling class gets back in office a new diplomat will have to wait. ..."
"... Even setting aside the critical matter of civilian control of the government and military in a democratic society, these days our military isn't exactly a by-word for competency, success, or even sound judgment. ..."
Aug 31, 2017 | www.theamericanconservative.com
calls for Rex Tillerson's resignation:

In less than seven months in the job, Tillerson has proven to be a feckless manager of his organization and a poor handler of the president of the United States. To be fair, even the savviest secretary of state would have his or her hands full with a president like Trump. The sharp contrast between Tillerson's fumblings and the more nimble footwork of Secretary of Defense Jim Mattis shows that Tillerson is the opposite of a good secretary of state. Most of Trump's private-sector cabinet officials have been dreadful, but Tillerson is the worst of the lot.

Tillerson has been presiding over the wrecking of the State Department ever since he was confirmed, and he has very little else to show for his tenure. It's safe to say that the demoralization and hollowing out of the department will just keep getting worse the longer he is in charge. The trouble is that replacing Tillerson probably won't change any of that, because the gutting of the State Department has been and continues to be an administration priority. The person Trump chooses to replace Tillerson is likely to have the same disdain for diplomacy and diplomats that he has.

So while I am inclined to agree with the call for Tillerson's resignation, I can't agree with Drezner when he says "I am no longer worried about who Trump would pick to replace him." This is exactly what we should be worrying about.

Tillerson got the job at State in part because all of the other people Trump was considering were so fanatical, ethically compromised, or otherwise awful that he seemed the best of a bad lot at the time. That may have been true, but that process produced one of the least effective Secretaries of State in modern times.

Now imagine Trump going through a similar process a second time. Is he likely to choose someone more capable than Tillerson? Considering the state of Trump's administration after just seven months, would anyone who fits that description be willing to take the job? If there is someone willing, I am concerned Trump would end up choosing another former general on account of his fascination with military officers, and that would be at least one too many in this Cabinet.

Tillerson reportedly never wanted the job, so it shouldn't take much to persuade him to leave. That said, the damage already done to the State Department isn't going to be repaired anytime soon, and as long as Trump is president we should assume it will continue regardless. I have been very critical of how Tillerson has been running his department, but as one his critics I think we should acknowledge that his successor could still be even worse.

Dan Green , August 31, 2017 at 10:07 am

Tillerson was a CEO of for the longest time head of the US largest corporation by market cap. His problem or problems no doubt reflect his tenure in the corporate world. A world where you have to get things done some work out some don't.

Point is he is a non fit in the Swamp where dysfunction is implanted. Can readers recall how an experience career politician like John Boy ran all over the world and in the end was manipulated by the Russians to their advantage. Hillary logged millions of miles obviously to the benefit of the Clinton foundation. So until the prior ruling class gets back in office a new diplomat will have to wait.

icarusr , August 31, 2017 at 10:15 am
Looks like what's good for Exxon is not necessarily good for the United States.
Seven Months In 2017 , August 31, 2017 at 10:47 am
"I am concerned Trump would end up choosing another former general on account of his fascination with military officers, and that would be at least one too many in this Cabinet."

And you should be concerned. Even setting aside the critical matter of civilian control of the government and military in a democratic society, these days our military isn't exactly a by-word for competency, success, or even sound judgment.

It has failed to win on multiple battlegrounds. Judging by the recent Three Stooges performance of the Pacific Fleet, there are basic competency issues at the highest levels of command. And now we learn that both Gens. Mattis and McMaster strongly urged Trump to double down in Afghanistan, one of the worst examples of judgment and decision-making in recent memory.

So far as I know, Tillerson had nothing to do with that idiocy, so I'd leave him where he is and pray that Trump will eventually be disabused of the instinct to defer to (or rather cringe before) his generals.

collin , August 31, 2017 at 11:20 am
TBH, I can't figure out exactly why Tillerson has been so bad but I assume his lack of experience of the State Department makes him a very poor choice for President Trump. Judging by the Trump's administration G&G (General & Goldman) cabinet is very experience expertise with Job-like patience is needed to work with President Trump. Basically, it fits Drezner's toddler comments that Mattis works well with Trump because Mattis knows a lot more than the President and is willing to allow Trump to throw two hour tantrums for his policy. It is to the point that we almost need Mattis to be Secretary of State as at least we know that he can work with the President. (Dear God is wrong to state that an ex-General be our chief Diplomat.)

However, one area where Tillerson does work well is he truly dislikes taking media oxygen away from Trump so he may last awhile.

JEinCA , August 31, 2017 at 11:28 am
Why doesn't everyone resign and we'll make little "Billy" Kristol of the Weekly Standard the official Emperor of United States? Tillerson is the last voice of reason (and bulwark against the psychotic war mongering neocons) lefy in Trump's Administration.
Viriato , August 31, 2017 at 12:46 pm
@collin: We've had at least two generals serve as Secretary of State before: George Marshall and Colin Powell. And those are just two examples that I can name off the top of my head. I would not be surprised to find out that there have been other generals who served as our nation's Chief Diplomat.
Viriato , August 31, 2017 at 12:54 pm
Personally, I think Tillerson has been doing reasonably well at State. He seems to be a very articulate, thoughtful person. Certainly I much prefer Sec. Tillerson's ineffectiveness to Sec. Clinton's deadly effectiveness in Libya.

As to the gutting of the State Department. Tillerson recently stated that the hiring freeze was temporary and indeed announced a major hiring initiative: https://m.youtube.com/watch?v=s8LynW4TmTU

MB , August 31, 2017 at 12:56 pm
There's probably an easily identifiable formula out there for who Trump might chose as a Tillerson replacement, based on who donated to his campaign, who has more money than Trump himself, and/or who has suspicious ties to Russian interests. Rohrabacher? Royce?
Cynthia McLean , August 31, 2017 at 1:31 pm
Tillerson should probably resign to retain his integrity and save his soul.
Swami , August 31, 2017 at 4:36 pm
Rumor is that Hillary Clinton is currently between gigs.

[Aug 31, 2017] Direct attack on Tillerson by neocon mafia using WaPo as a loudspeaper by Daniel Drezner

Citing Max Boot instantly destroys any credibility of this "professor" and makes him more of hired gyun, then a political commentator. With experts like max boot the only question is why Wolfowitz in not the Secretary of state.
Neocons in State Department, like any powerful bureaucracy is going to fight tooth and nail to keep its size and turf. Drezner's just carrying water for the neocons at State.
Hired gun? From "He is also a nonresident senior fellow at the Project on International Order and Strategy at the Brookings Institution . [2] ". Drezner supported the 2003 U.S. invasion of Iraq , writing that "a successful invasion not only eliminates the Iraqi threat, but over the long run it reduces the Arab resentment that feeds Al-Qaeda." [5] he is also the author of Drezner, Daniel W. (March 1997). "Allies, adversaries, and economic coercion: Russian foreign economic policy since 1991" . Security Studies . Taylor and Francis . 6 (3): 65–111. doi : 10.1080/09636419708429315
He is a staunch support of American empire: Drezner, Daniel W. (January 2001). "State structure, technological leadership and the maintenance of hegemony" . Review of International Studies . Cambridge Journals . 27 (1): 3–25. JSTOR 20079588 . doi : 10.1017/S0260210501000031 .
As for State Department, all diplomats who signed infamous "color revolution" style letter in support of Hillary jingoism and neocon policies need to be eliminated from State Department if we wnat the USA survive and prosper. So Tillerson action are not enough. Much deeper shake up is needed by political forces for that are absent.
And Tilleson decision to spurned all of the Council on Foreign Relations' International Affairs Fellows (infested with neocons) is to be applauded, not scorned. Empire building should stop at some point. And the sooner, the better.
When reading comments you instantly understands why Washington is still an imperial capital... And why neocon will lead the USA off the cliff is given a chance. The level of coments has such an amazingly strong neocon tilt, that you can question sanity of some commenters. It also shows the level of McCarthyism hysteria in the USA. For example "raylo 3:08 PM EDT [Edited] It's like the Russians have moles in our government and are working to destroy it from the inside. Oh, wait"
As of preserving the hegemon position of the USA is a realistic perspective and will not destroy the USA or all the world, as this is forging alliance of the Russia and China among other trends. BTW I did not find a single instance of the words of "neocon", "Neoconservatism", and "neoliberalism" neither in the article, nor in the comments.
Notable quotes:
"... You wonks live with no consequences, watching the battle from a safe distance. Most of those high ranking diplomats who left or were forced out had aligned themselves with politicians long before Trump. ..."
"... Yup, the state department was a model agency before Tillerson arrived....what a joke....do these WAPO people even read their own drivel. ..."
"... If so, judging by today's headlines, I'm thinking President Putin's got buyer's remorse. ..."
"... The opposition to change is a hallmark of the Washington bureaucracy. Is anyone really surprised? ..."
Aug 31, 2017 | washingtonpost.com

Critics such as Max Boot are calling for him to resign. Axios is reporting that even President Trump is apparently disenchanted with Tillerson.

... ... ...

If Trump no longer trusts Tillerson, then he has no other political goodwill to draw upon. He has made zero deposits in Washington's favor bank.


Second, Tillerson has prioritized the reorganization of Foggy Bottom to the exclusion of pretty much everything else. This has led to some truly bizarre outcomes. His reliance on outside consultants has led to much derision within the diplomatic corps

Tillerson is such a bad manager that he has spurned both free money and free talent. The State Department has not spent $80 million authorized by Congress to fight misinformation and Russian propaganda. According to Politico, "Tillerson aide R.C. Hammond suggested the money is unwelcome because any extra funding for programs to counter Russian media influence would anger Moscow, according to a former senior State Department official." ( UPDATE: A State Department official wrote me after this post was published to say that last week, Tillerson approved the release of $19.8 million from that fund. Politico reported the same thing this afternoon, also after this was published.) Furthermore, State has spurned all of the Council on Foreign Relations' International Affairs Fellows . This is a program that makes talented scholars freely available to U.S. foreign affairs agencies for a year. Council president Richard Haass confirmed to me that State has not accepted any of this year's fellows, despite the fact that they come with zero cost.

dennis827, 7:30 PM EDT

So a professor of something or other says the previous CEO of Exxon is a bad manager? Yeah, makes sense.

dennis827, 8:22 PM EDT [Edited]

Tillerson is such a bad manager that he has spurned both free money and free talent. The State Department has not spent $80 million authorized by Congress to fight misinformation and Russian propaganda. According to Politico, "Tillerson aide R.C. Hammond suggested the money is unwelcome because any extra funding for programs to counter Russian media influence would anger Moscow, according to a former senior State Department official."

See, I don't think a professor understands a good manager doesn't understand "free" money isn't really a thing. And I suppose I'm using "A" professor kinda like Game of Thrones speak.

zappa912, 7:18 PM EDT

Ouch!!! I must say this though, even with my non-expert knowledge of the intracies of the operation of the State Department. If in reality, Tillerson is helping to keep Tweeter from pulling the military trigger against North Korea or other international adversaries, then I hope he at least stays around until Tweeter is gone from the Trump Dump House. Tillerson does appear to me to at least be working to keep us out of military conflicts, which considering the impulsiveness, intentional ignorance and frequent war like tone of the Tweeter, is a good thing in my opinion.

Isaac 65, 6:00 PM EDT

If a Trump sycophant had replaced Tillerson we'd probably be at war with DPRK. Seriously, list the sane people in the administration: Jim Mattis, Steve Mnuchin, Gary Cohn, and Rex Tillerson - did I miss any?

akpat, 5:48 PM EDT

Critics such as Max Boot are calling for him to resign
)))

Who is max boot and who cares what they think

akpat, 5:43 PM EDT

Well Drezner I dont think it was Tillertson who brought us Egypt, Libya and Syria nor was it him who brought Iraq, NK and Iran.

It was the other so called experts you like.

mmcind, 5:57 PM EDT

Actually, most of the significant increase in those problems can be traced to dick cheney, war criminal.

berrymonster11, 5:09 PM EDT

An honorable man, whose sense of duty, respect and patriotism was developed in an entire of life of service in the Boys Scouts. A successful businessman, who has led one the largest companies in the world, and who knows how to deal with all kinds of people. I thought Mr Tillerson would become a great Secretary of State.

What a disappointment!! Countless mistakes, from the very beginning.

On April 2017, the entire US-China relationship was defined at... Mar-a-Lago!!! The key points: the US would not start a trade war with China; in exchange, China would ease whatever problems Ivanka's business had over there... and try to talk to the North Koreans about their nuclear program. Period. The US went to that meeting completely unprepared, and ended up with nothing.

Then, the trip to Saudi Arabia. A yuuuuge embarrassment. The US threw all human values to the trash bin, in the name of business. Dirty business. At that moment, I realized Rex Tillerson was the either extremely stupid or extremely corrupt, or both.

Then, an endeless list of fiascos: NATO, the Paris agreement, Qatar, the surge in Afghanistan, and so on.

Finally, Tillerson tries to distance himself from Trump!!!! Hey, Rex: you negotiated the deal with the Saudis. What values are you talking about!!!!

Virginia Reader, 4:57 PM EDT

Tillerson is so bad that he makes Secretary Smoking Gun/Mushroom Cloud Rice look positively brilliant. Get rid of him.

But, you should look even more closely at the career civil servants in the Department. They have been sidelined over the last five years and replaced with senior foreign service officers with no places to go. That means that much of the institutional memory in highly technical fields such as arms control, export control, and economics has been forced out of the Truman Building.

It's not all Tillerson's fault, since it's a long-standing problem, but he is surely exacerbating it. It's already Time for Him to Go, to quote a Bill Clinton campaign slogan in 1992.

gregdn, 4:49 PM EDT

Every bureaucracy is going to fight to keep its size and turf. Drezner's just carrying water for the career guys at State.

jvv62, 5:33 PM EDT

(sarcasm trigger warning)
Nah, we have the biggest military in the world, why do we need people talking to all those little people in little countries with little problems? All those diplomats ever do is talk, talk, talk. We need more $100,000,000 planes and billion dollar carriers, not more talkers. Why bother with a staff and assistant secretaries anyway? they just make all those pesky lists and reply to calls from pesky people from foreign countries and stuff. America First!

James A. Fuller, 4:47 PM EDT

Replace "State Department" with the name of the company I work for and you get the exact same experience. I've lost count of how many consultants have been brought in, how many surveys we've had to complete and how many reorganizations we've been through in the last three years. Nothing has changed and nothing has gotten better. In fact, the opposite. The company is circling down the drain and senior leadership is disconnected and out of touch. So this is what you get when you bring in corporate America to run the government. SSDD.

Sutton Parker, 4:43 PM EDT

As much as he has not done good things for the State Department, at least he is not afraid to speak his mind about DJT--or at least, so far. We need voices in the Cabinet of people who are willing to speak up. The time has come. We are in too much danger with DJT in office.

Pogo4, 4:28 PM EDT [Edited]

In addition to his terrible management of State, Tillerson has been humiliated again and again by Trump -e.g. when Trump invited the Mexican Foreign Minister to DC and didn't even tell him or invite him to meet with his counterpart. He has no credibility internationally. He has been used as an errand boy to set up meetings for more important people.

I thought someone with his international experience would understand the value of diplomacy, but apparently not. Trump's biggest failing has been the unwillingness to focus on details and not asking for the interagency developed background, recommendations and talking points a real President would get.

That has led to numerous embarrassing mistakes including his first call to Pakstan, his first call to Australia, and congratulating Lebanese Prime Minister Harriri on his struggle against Hezbollah (not realizing that Hezbollah is a member of the coalition government in Lebanon).

Bannon wanted to destroy the US Government. What is Tillerson's excuse? He should resign.

aikawarazu, 5:40 PM EDT

Of course, Hillary Clinton would be better.

Hillary manipulated Putin into reversing his Security Council veto on multi-national sanctions on Iran's nuclear weapons program. As a result, Iran dumpstered their uranium centrifuges. Get back to us when Tillerson does anything comparable to that.

eduvina41, 4:21 PM EDT

He has tempered some of Trumps more outrageous comments.....

threesides, 4:00 PM EDT

Daniel, you have provided us your perspective as an unabashed progressive liberal, so no surprise you would be against anything trump-related (including Tillerson). You need to take deep breaths and mitigate your Trump Derangement Syndrome

BPerked, 3:50 PM EDT

I actually think the point IS to break the foreign service. His inaction is a passive-aggressive way of drastically reducing the size and cost of the agency he heads. He, like many other Trump appointees are doing a brilliant job in this respect.

And who can be surprised at his hiring outside consultants for everything? I've been in many large corporations (including as a consultant) and I've met very few CEOs who weren't trailing a few thirty-year-old Bain or McKinsey people around, fresh from their MBAs. That's what too many CEOs do. Come in, spend millions on consulting to basically come up with a new powerpoint org chart, layoff a few thousand, and then depart the company with millions in stock and cash. He's just following the mega-corp. playbook.

BarleyMalt, 3:50 PM EDT

Trump and diplomacy mix like oil and water. Take Trump out of the equation and then maybe someone could run the State Department.

kt, 3:37 PM EDT

You wonks live with no consequences, watching the battle from a safe distance. Most of those high ranking diplomats who left or were forced out had aligned themselves with politicians long before Trump. This Tillerson omelette may require a messy number of broken eggs, but it will leave the country with a truer diplomatic corps.

Susan Wood, 3:20 PM EDT

"Let's run X like a business!" Yeah, right. In higher education we've seen how that approach has gutted some of the finest research universities in the Midwest. For people who worship the infallibility of the free market and the great wisdom of businessmen, I have one word for you: Enron.

rdgolden, 3:36 PM EDT

Here's a two-word: two-word: Great Recession

padnactap92, 2:58 PM EDT

"Second, Tillerson has prioritized the reorganization of Foggy Bottom to the exclusion of pretty much everything else."
1. Reorganizing the deck chairs on the Dump-tanic.
2. "Dismantling the 'administrative state.'"

pragmatic dothraki, 2:15 PM EDT

i actually find myself disagreeing with the conclusion of this article. the writer is forgetting one important proviso - this is the Trump administration and Tillerson is better than most we can expect.

A replacement would just continue the litany of disappointment for the time taken to settle into office, it may get worse afterwards. that is important to remember and something that'll no doubt be on my tombstone - things can always get worse.

And i'm not a fan of companies whose income dwarfs that of many nations, especially Exxon-Mobil.

But Tillerson is a facts and figures kind of guy used to working with experts. Unlike many potential replacements who disavow anything factual they're not comfortable with (yes, Exxon changed their tune on warming).

Russpublicans are traitors, 2:19 PM EDT

Oil companies are not typically businesses. Tillerson is not a facts and figures guy. He is comfortable around dictators from 3rd world countries.

pragmatic dothraki, 2:21 PM EDT

he is a facts and figures guy as he deals with scientists and engineers at every level in an oil company. and yeah you're not wrong with the cozying.

timetogetreal , 2:06 PM EDT

Yup, the state department was a model agency before Tillerson arrived....what a joke....do these WAPO people even read their own drivel.

jagrmeister721 , 2:04 PM EDT

Not well written or persuasive. Of course career bureaucrats would object to hiring external consultants. And not spending money is only a sin to DC insiders. He's unremarkable, but he's done nothing to warrant termination.

Russpublicans are traitors, 2:01 PM EDT

I am not sure how many times I need to say this...

The "election" was a coup d'etat orchestrated by Putin and the Kremlin. They have an installed a band of mentally ill criminals in government whose marching orders are to weaken the US and diminish its influence in the world. They have found a willing vehicle in the trump and the republican party. Tillerson is just one more piece of the machine...same as Bannon, Sessions, Pence, Flynn, Miller, Gorka, Conway, Sanders, Pruitt, Haley, De Vos, etc...

He will not resign. He is doing what the Russians want him to do. He has a medal pinned on him from Putin himself. And after the meddling in the election he has NOT RETURNED his medal.

JeffZaun , 2:03 PM EDT

If so, judging by today's headlines, I'm thinking President Putin's got buyer's remorse.

GrumpyOldPhart , 2:33 PM EDT [Edited]

Sigh... @Russpublicans are traitors you're living proof that even liberals are prone to conspiracy theories worthy of publication by InfoWARS and Breitbart.

The Russians did a lot of propagandizing--that's absolutely clear. That propaganda probably helped swing some votes Trump's way. And the Russians also clearly put out feelers to see how much they could manipulate and/or compromise the Trump gov't. But "coup d'etat"? Seriously? Bud, you should invest in a better brand of tinfoil.

Six things have contributed to making the US the mess that it is today and ALL of those things are 100% home-grown American. No Russia involved.

1) Greed. Corporate greed. And individual greed, especially among the so-called 1%.

2) Lack of education. This is particularly acute among the grade school through high school years. This leads to obsessive levels of asinine bible banging and science denying, as well as an inability to grasp the concepts of fact and reality.

3) Bigotry. Every country has its bigots, racists, and nativists. America arguably has more than most other leading nations of the world. And it's more actively on display. This shows up in the paranoia about gun ownership, the numbers of guns, the fight over America's racist past, and the abject fear that seems to dominate so many American's psyches and lives.

4) Antiquated electoral system. The Electoral College has long outlived its purpose. It now contributes significantly to giving unjustified power to the lowest population areas of the country.

5) Gerrymandering. Done by both parties, although arguably Republicans have taken this from an art form and turned it into science.

6) Republican voter suppression. One needs look only at Texas and North Carolina to see what this means in action. Florida would appear to be a close third.

Thomas29, 2:25 PM EDT

This is not the only instance of an administration who seems to be appointing people to fight or weaken their own agencies. To some extent, this follows the anti-government appointments in the Bush years where people with little belief or interest in agencies and their missions were routinely sent there to reign them in. However, the Bush people understood the role of the State Department and the need for it to function in the national interest. This administration appears to be following a Putin foreign policy designed to weaken America's reach in the world in the interest of strengthening Russian power and influence. Once again, the big question is where is Congressional oversight? Besides a few outspoken Senators, there are many patriots who for reasons of support of the President or fear of the base have chosen to allow this "American Carnage" to continue. They should be ashamed!

Empiricist, 1:56 PM EDT

A major problem is that the rest of the Republican party just lies around letting Tillerson and Trump do this to our country. I have voted for various Republicans in the past, but I'll never vote for another as long as I live. What they are doing to our country makes me sick.

blurbologist, 2:00 PM EDT

Hear, hear. I will never trust Republicans to do anything constructive for our country, ever again. They have become a wholly destructive force in American politics. It's not that the R's are putting "Party over country" they put maintaining their power over every other consideration. Shameful.

JaneMP, 2:05 PM EDT

They have only one policy: cut taxes for the rich and corporations. IF cutting taxes on the rich and corporation increased jobs, after W's tax cuts we should have been overwhelmed by jobs. Never happened. Never will. Give money to the middle class. They will spend it. Jobs will grow to make and sell these products.

blurbologist, 2:07 PM EDT

Actually, they have one more - deregulate everything and put foxes in charge of every henhouse.

Empiricist, 2:01 PM EDT

So true. You can't count on the Republican Senate or Congress to behave competently or in the best interests of the US, either.

mercurysnake77, 1:56 PM EDT

Let's not forget the ultimate aim, which is "the deconstruction of the administrative state."

8675309 and me, 1:50 PM EDT

The opposition to change is a hallmark of the Washington bureaucracy. Is anyone really surprised?

ChrisCantwellsDeliciousTears, 1:53 PM EDT

Who knew everything was so complicated?

JeffZaun, 1:59 PM EDT

Have to agree. I think the Trump administration is mostly bad. But in this case Secretary Tillerson is executing one of the President's campaign promises. He seems to be cutting a lot of sinew along with fat, but it's easy to grow that back.

It's like when a private equity company takes over a failed firm.

[Aug 31, 2017] Direct attack on Tillerson by neocon mafia using WaPo as a loudspeaper by Daniel Drezner

Citing Max Boot instantly destroys any credibility of this "professor" and makes him more of hired gyun, then a political commentator. With experts like max boot the only question is why Wolfowitz in not the Secretary of state.
Neocons in State Department, like any powerful bureaucracy is going to fight tooth and nail to keep its size and turf. Drezner's just carrying water for the neocons at State.
Hired gun? From "He is also a nonresident senior fellow at the Project on International Order and Strategy at the Brookings Institution.[2]". Drezner supported the 2003 U.S. invasion of Iraq, writing that "a successful invasion not only eliminates the Iraqi threat, but over the long run it reduces the Arab resentment that feeds Al-Qaeda." [5] he is also the author of Drezner, Daniel W. (March 1997). "Allies, adversaries, and economic coercion: Russian foreign economic policy since 1991". Security Studies. Taylor and Francis. 6 (3): 65–111. doi:10.1080/09636419708429315
He is a staunch support of American empire: Drezner, Daniel W. (January 2001). "State structure, technological leadership and the maintenance of hegemony". Review of International Studies. Cambridge Journals. 27 (1): 3–25. JSTOR 20079588. doi:10.1017/S0260210501000031.
As for State Department, all diplomats who signed infamous "color revolution" style letter in support of Hillary jingoism and neocon policies need to be eliminated from State Department if we wnat the USA survive and prosper. So Tillerson action are not enough. Much deeper shake up is needed by political forces for that are absent.
And Tilleson decision to spurned all of the Council on Foreign Relations' International Affairs Fellows (infested with neocons) is to be applauded, not scorned. Empire building should stop at some point. And the sooner, the better.
When reading comments you instantly understands why Washington is still an imperial capital... And why neocon will lead the USA off the cliff is given a chance. The level of coments has such an amazingly strong neocon tilt, that you can question sanity of some commenters. It also shows the level of McCarthyism hysteria in the USA. For example "raylo 3:08 PM EDT [Edited] It's like the Russians have moles in our government and are working to destroy it from the inside. Oh, wait"
As of preserving the hegemon position of the USA is a realistic perspective and will not destroy the USA or all the world, as this is forging alliance of the Russia and China among other trends. BTW I did not find a single instance of the words of "neocon", "Neoconservatism", and "neoliberalism" neither in the article, nor in the comments.
Notable quotes:
"... You wonks live with no consequences, watching the battle from a safe distance. Most of those high ranking diplomats who left or were forced out had aligned themselves with politicians long before Trump. ..."
"... Yup, the state department was a model agency before Tillerson arrived....what a joke....do these WAPO people even read their own drivel. ..."
"... If so, judging by today's headlines, I'm thinking President Putin's got buyer's remorse. ..."
"... The opposition to change is a hallmark of the Washington bureaucracy. Is anyone really surprised? ..."
get=

Critics such as Max Boot are calling for him to resign. Axios is reporting that even President Trump is apparently disenchanted with Tillerson.

... ... ...

If Trump no longer trusts Tillerson, then he has no other political goodwill to draw upon. He has made zero deposits in Washington's favor bank.


Second, Tillerson has prioritized the reorganization of Foggy Bottom to the exclusion of pretty much everything else. This has led to some truly bizarre outcomes. His reliance on outside consultants has led to much derision within the diplomatic corps

Tillerson is such a bad manager that he has spurned both free money and free talent. The State Department has not spent $80 million authorized by Congress to fight misinformation and Russian propaganda. According to Politico, "Tillerson aide R.C. Hammond suggested the money is unwelcome because any extra funding for programs to counter Russian media influence would anger Moscow, according to a former senior State Department official." (UPDATE: A State Department official wrote me after this post was published to say that last week, Tillerson approved the release of $19.8 million from that fund. Politico reported the same thing this afternoon, also after this was published.) Furthermore, State has spurned all of the Council on Foreign Relations' International Affairs Fellows. This is a program that makes talented scholars freely available to U.S. foreign affairs agencies for a year. Council president Richard Haass confirmed to me that State has not accepted any of this year's fellows, despite the fact that they come with zero cost.

dennis827, 7:30 PM EDT

So a professor of something or other says the previous CEO of Exxon is a bad manager? Yeah, makes sense.

dennis827, 8:22 PM EDT [Edited]

Tillerson is such a bad manager that he has spurned both free money and free talent. The State Department has not spent $80 million authorized by Congress to fight misinformation and Russian propaganda. According to Politico, "Tillerson aide R.C. Hammond suggested the money is unwelcome because any extra funding for programs to counter Russian media influence would anger Moscow, according to a former senior State Department official."

See, I don't think a professor understands a good manager doesn't understand "free" money isn't really a thing. And I suppose I'm using "A" professor kinda like Game of Thrones speak.

zappa912, 7:18 PM EDT

Ouch!!! I must say this though, even with my non-expert knowledge of the intracies of the operation of the State Department. If in reality, Tillerson is helping to keep Tweeter from pulling the military trigger against North Korea or other international adversaries, then I hope he at least stays around until Tweeter is gone from the Trump Dump House. Tillerson does appear to me to at least be working to keep us out of military conflicts, which considering the impulsiveness, intentional ignorance and frequent war like tone of the Tweeter, is a good thing in my opinion.

Isaac 65, 6:00 PM EDT

If a Trump sycophant had replaced Tillerson we'd probably be at war with DPRK. Seriously, list the sane people in the administration: Jim Mattis, Steve Mnuchin, Gary Cohn, and Rex Tillerson - did I miss any?

akpat, 5:48 PM EDT

Critics such as Max Boot are calling for him to resign
)))

Who is max boot and who cares what they think

akpat, 5:43 PM EDT

Well Drezner I dont think it was Tillertson who brought us Egypt, Libya and Syria nor was it him who brought Iraq, NK and Iran.

It was the other so called experts you like.

mmcind, 5:57 PM EDT

Actually, most of the significant increase in those problems can be traced to dick cheney, war criminal.

berrymonster11, 5:09 PM EDT

An honorable man, whose sense of duty, respect and patriotism was developed in an entire of life of service in the Boys Scouts. A successful businessman, who has led one the largest companies in the world, and who knows how to deal with all kinds of people. I thought Mr Tillerson would become a great Secretary of State.

What a disappointment!! Countless mistakes, from the very beginning.

On April 2017, the entire US-China relationship was defined at... Mar-a-Lago!!! The key points: the US would not start a trade war with China; in exchange, China would ease whatever problems Ivanka's business had over there... and try to talk to the North Koreans about their nuclear program. Period. The US went to that meeting completely unprepared, and ended up with nothing.

Then, the trip to Saudi Arabia. A yuuuuge embarrassment. The US threw all human values to the trash bin, in the name of business. Dirty business. At that moment, I realized Rex Tillerson was the either extremely stupid or extremely corrupt, or both.

Then, an endeless list of fiascos: NATO, the Paris agreement, Qatar, the surge in Afghanistan, and so on.

Finally, Tillerson tries to distance himself from Trump!!!! Hey, Rex: you negotiated the deal with the Saudis. What values are you talking about!!!!

Virginia Reader, 4:57 PM EDT

Tillerson is so bad that he makes Secretary Smoking Gun/Mushroom Cloud Rice look positively brilliant. Get rid of him.

But, you should look even more closely at the career civil servants in the Department. They have been sidelined over the last five years and replaced with senior foreign service officers with no places to go. That means that much of the institutional memory in highly technical fields such as arms control, export control, and economics has been forced out of the Truman Building.

It's not all Tillerson's fault, since it's a long-standing problem, but he is surely exacerbating it. It's already Time for Him to Go, to quote a Bill Clinton campaign slogan in 1992.

gregdn, 4:49 PM EDT

Every bureaucracy is going to fight to keep its size and turf. Drezner's just carrying water for the career guys at State.

jvv62, 5:33 PM EDT

(sarcasm trigger warning)
Nah, we have the biggest military in the world, why do we need people talking to all those little people in little countries with little problems? All those diplomats ever do is talk, talk, talk. We need more $100,000,000 planes and billion dollar carriers, not more talkers. Why bother with a staff and assistant secretaries anyway? they just make all those pesky lists and reply to calls from pesky people from foreign countries and stuff. America First!

James A. Fuller, 4:47 PM EDT

Replace "State Department" with the name of the company I work for and you get the exact same experience. I've lost count of how many consultants have been brought in, how many surveys we've had to complete and how many reorganizations we've been through in the last three years. Nothing has changed and nothing has gotten better. In fact, the opposite. The company is circling down the drain and senior leadership is disconnected and out of touch. So this is what you get when you bring in corporate America to run the government. SSDD.

Sutton Parker, 4:43 PM EDT

As much as he has not done good things for the State Department, at least he is not afraid to speak his mind about DJT--or at least, so far. We need voices in the Cabinet of people who are willing to speak up. The time has come. We are in too much danger with DJT in office.

Pogo4, 4:28 PM EDT [Edited]

In addition to his terrible management of State, Tillerson has been humiliated again and again by Trump -e.g. when Trump invited the Mexican Foreign Minister to DC and didn't even tell him or invite him to meet with his counterpart. He has no credibility internationally. He has been used as an errand boy to set up meetings for more important people.

I thought someone with his international experience would understand the value of diplomacy, but apparently not. Trump's biggest failing has been the unwillingness to focus on details and not asking for the interagency developed background, recommendations and talking points a real President would get.

That has led to numerous embarrassing mistakes including his first call to Pakstan, his first call to Australia, and congratulating Lebanese Prime Minister Harriri on his struggle against Hezbollah (not realizing that Hezbollah is a member of the coalition government in Lebanon).

Bannon wanted to destroy the US Government. What is Tillerson's excuse? He should resign.

aikawarazu, 5:40 PM EDT

Of course, Hillary Clinton would be better.

Hillary manipulated Putin into reversing his Security Council veto on multi-national sanctions on Iran's nuclear weapons program. As a result, Iran dumpstered their uranium centrifuges. Get back to us when Tillerson does anything comparable to that.

eduvina41, 4:21 PM EDT

He has tempered some of Trumps more outrageous comments.....

threesides, 4:00 PM EDT

Daniel, you have provided us your perspective as an unabashed progressive liberal, so no surprise you would be against anything trump-related (including Tillerson). You need to take deep breaths and mitigate your Trump Derangement Syndrome

BPerked, 3:50 PM EDT

I actually think the point IS to break the foreign service. His inaction is a passive-aggressive way of drastically reducing the size and cost of the agency he heads. He, like many other Trump appointees are doing a brilliant job in this respect.

And who can be surprised at his hiring outside consultants for everything? I've been in many large corporations (including as a consultant) and I've met very few CEOs who weren't trailing a few thirty-year-old Bain or McKinsey people around, fresh from their MBAs. That's what too many CEOs do. Come in, spend millions on consulting to basically come up with a new powerpoint org chart, layoff a few thousand, and then depart the company with millions in stock and cash. He's just following the mega-corp. playbook.

BarleyMalt, 3:50 PM EDT

Trump and diplomacy mix like oil and water. Take Trump out of the equation and then maybe someone could run the State Department.

kt, 3:37 PM EDT

You wonks live with no consequences, watching the battle from a safe distance. Most of those high ranking diplomats who left or were forced out had aligned themselves with politicians long before Trump. This Tillerson omelette may require a messy number of broken eggs, but it will leave the country with a truer diplomatic corps.

Susan Wood, 3:20 PM EDT

"Let's run X like a business!" Yeah, right. In higher education we've seen how that approach has gutted some of the finest research universities in the Midwest. For people who worship the infallibility of the free market and the great wisdom of businessmen, I have one word for you: Enron.

rdgolden, 3:36 PM EDT

Here's a two-word: two-word: Great Recession

padnactap92, 2:58 PM EDT

"Second, Tillerson has prioritized the reorganization of Foggy Bottom to the exclusion of pretty much everything else."
1. Reorganizing the deck chairs on the Dump-tanic.
2. "Dismantling the 'administrative state.'"

pragmatic dothraki, 2:15 PM EDT

i actually find myself disagreeing with the conclusion of this article. the writer is forgetting one important proviso - this is the Trump administration and Tillerson is better than most we can expect.

A replacement would just continue the litany of disappointment for the time taken to settle into office, it may get worse afterwards. that is important to remember and something that'll no doubt be on my tombstone - things can always get worse.

And i'm not a fan of companies whose income dwarfs that of many nations, especially Exxon-Mobil.

But Tillerson is a facts and figures kind of guy used to working with experts. Unlike many potential replacements who disavow anything factual they're not comfortable with (yes, Exxon changed their tune on warming).

Russpublicans are traitors, 2:19 PM EDT

Oil companies are not typically businesses. Tillerson is not a facts and figures guy. He is comfortable around dictators from 3rd world countries.

pragmatic dothraki, 2:21 PM EDT

he is a facts and figures guy as he deals with scientists and engineers at every level in an oil company. and yeah you're not wrong with the cozying.

timetogetreal, 2:06 PM EDT

Yup, the state department was a model agency before Tillerson arrived....what a joke....do these WAPO people even read their own drivel.

jagrmeister721, 2:04 PM EDT

Not well written or persuasive. Of course career bureaucrats would object to hiring external consultants. And not spending money is only a sin to DC insiders. He's unremarkable, but he's done nothing to warrant termination.

Russpublicans are traitors, 2:01 PM EDT

I am not sure how many times I need to say this...

The "election" was a coup d'etat orchestrated by Putin and the Kremlin. They have an installed a band of mentally ill criminals in government whose marching orders are to weaken the US and diminish its influence in the world. They have found a willing vehicle in the trump and the republican party. Tillerson is just one more piece of the machine...same as Bannon, Sessions, Pence, Flynn, Miller, Gorka, Conway, Sanders, Pruitt, Haley, De Vos, etc...

He will not resign. He is doing what the Russians want him to do. He has a medal pinned on him from Putin himself. And after the meddling in the election he has NOT RETURNED his medal.

JeffZaun, 2:03 PM EDT

If so, judging by today's headlines, I'm thinking President Putin's got buyer's remorse.

GrumpyOldPhart, 2:33 PM EDT [Edited]

Sigh... @Russpublicans are traitors you're living proof that even liberals are prone to conspiracy theories worthy of publication by InfoWARS and Breitbart.

The Russians did a lot of propagandizing--that's absolutely clear. That propaganda probably helped swing some votes Trump's way. And the Russians also clearly put out feelers to see how much they could manipulate and/or compromise the Trump gov't. But "coup d'etat"? Seriously? Bud, you should invest in a better brand of tinfoil.

Six things have contributed to making the US the mess that it is today and ALL of those things are 100% home-grown American. No Russia involved.

1) Greed. Corporate greed. And individual greed, especially among the so-called 1%.

2) Lack of education. This is particularly acute among the grade school through high school years. This leads to obsessive levels of asinine bible banging and science denying, as well as an inability to grasp the concepts of fact and reality.

3) Bigotry. Every country has its bigots, racists, and nativists. America arguably has more than most other leading nations of the world. And it's more actively on display. This shows up in the paranoia about gun ownership, the numbers of guns, the fight over America's racist past, and the abject fear that seems to dominate so many American's psyches and lives.

4) Antiquated electoral system. The Electoral College has long outlived its purpose. It now contributes significantly to giving unjustified power to the lowest population areas of the country.

5) Gerrymandering. Done by both parties, although arguably Republicans have taken this from an art form and turned it into science.

6) Republican voter suppression. One needs look only at Texas and North Carolina to see what this means in action. Florida would appear to be a close third.

Thomas29, 2:25 PM EDT

This is not the only instance of an administration who seems to be appointing people to fight or weaken their own agencies. To some extent, this follows the anti-government appointments in the Bush years where people with little belief or interest in agencies and their missions were routinely sent there to reign them in. However, the Bush people understood the role of the State Department and the need for it to function in the national interest. This administration appears to be following a Putin foreign policy designed to weaken America's reach in the world in the interest of strengthening Russian power and influence. Once again, the big question is where is Congressional oversight? Besides a few outspoken Senators, there are many patriots who for reasons of support of the President or fear of the base have chosen to allow this "American Carnage" to continue. They should be ashamed!

Empiricist, 1:56 PM EDT

A major problem is that the rest of the Republican party just lies around letting Tillerson and Trump do this to our country. I have voted for various Republicans in the past, but I'll never vote for another as long as I live. What they are doing to our country makes me sick.

blurbologist, 2:00 PM EDT

Hear, hear. I will never trust Republicans to do anything constructive for our country, ever again. They have become a wholly destructive force in American politics. It's not that the R's are putting "Party over country" they put maintaining their power over every other consideration. Shameful.

JaneMP, 2:05 PM EDT

They have only one policy: cut taxes for the rich and corporations. IF cutting taxes on the rich and corporation increased jobs, after W's tax cuts we should have been overwhelmed by jobs. Never happened. Never will. Give money to the middle class. They will spend it. Jobs will grow to make and sell these products.

blurbologist, 2:07 PM EDT

Actually, they have one more - deregulate everything and put foxes in charge of every henhouse.

Empiricist, 2:01 PM EDT

So true. You can't count on the Republican Senate or Congress to behave competently or in the best interests of the US, either.

mercurysnake77, 1:56 PM EDT

Let's not forget the ultimate aim, which is "the deconstruction of the administrative state."

8675309 and me, 1:50 PM EDT

The opposition to change is a hallmark of the Washington bureaucracy. Is anyone really surprised?

ChrisCantwellsDeliciousTears, 1:53 PM EDT

Who knew everything was so complicated?

JeffZaun, 1:59 PM EDT

Have to agree. I think the Trump administration is mostly bad. But in this case Secretary Tillerson is executing one of the President's campaign promises. He seems to be cutting a lot of sinew along with fat, but it's easy to grow that back.

It's like when a private equity company takes over a failed firm.

[Aug 15, 2017] Israel's Chorus Sings Again

Aug 15, 2017 | www.unz.com

Tillerson has long been a target of the American-Jewish media because of the perception that oil company executives are traditionally not friendly to Israel. There have also been claims that he is "less hard" on Iran than the Israel Lobby would like. But what Tillerson is really experiencing is the hard truth regarding Israel: that its Lobby and friends in congress are both unrelenting and unforgiving. Even when they get 90% of the pie they are furious over someone else getting 10%.

Donald Trump's National Security Adviser H.R. McMaster has also been under siege for the past several weeks and his "loyalty" to Israel is now under the microscope. McMaster made the mistake of firing three National Security Council officials that were brought in by his predecessor Michael Flynn. The three – Ezra Cohen-Watnick, Rich Higgins, and Derek Harvey – are all regarded by the Israel Lobby as passionately pro-Israel and virulently anti-Iran. It was therefore inevitable that McMaster would take some heat, but the "speed and intensity" of the attacks has surprised even The Atlantic , which failed to note in its thorough examination of the development that while much of the anger flows from extreme right-wing sources there is also considerable pressure coming directly from friends of Israel.

It is interesting to note just how and by whom the argument against McMaster is being framed. Caroline Glick, an American-born Israeli journalist who might reasonably be described as extreme right wing, has led the charge in a posting that described McMaster as "deeply hostile to Israel." She cites anonymous sources to claim that he refers to Israel as an occupying power and also has the audacity to claim that there once existed a place called Palestine. Oh, and he apparently also supports the nuclear agreement with Iran, as does Tillerson.

McMaster's other crimes consist of allegedly altering the agenda of Donald Trump's recent trip to Israel in ways that are somewhat arcane but which no doubt contributed to Glick's sense of grievance. What is most interesting, however, is the unstated premise supporting Glick's point of view, which is that the United States national security team should be subject to approval by Israel. Her view is not dissimilar to what lies behind the attacks on Tillerson and the real irony is that neither Tillerson nor McMaster has actually demonstrated any genuine animosity towards Israel, so the whole process is part of a perverse mindset that inevitably sees nearly everything as a threat.

We Americans are way beyond the point where we might simply demand that Israel and its partisans butt out of our politics. Israel-firsters are literally deeply embedded everywhere in the media, in politics at all levels, in academia, and in the professions. They are well funded and highly disciplined to respond to any threats to their hegemony. Their policy is to never give an inch on anything relating to Israel and their relentless grinding is characteristic of how they behave. The Israel Lobby controls Congress and can literally get any bill it wants through the legislature. And it also has its hooks in the White House, though the unpredictable Trump obviously makes many American Zionists nervous because it is rightly believed that once the president takes a position on anything he cannot be trusted either to understand what he has committed to or to stick with it subsequently.

So what is to be done? To match the passion of the Israel Lobby we Americans have to become passionate ourselves. Do what they do but in reverse. Write letters to congressmen and newspapers opposing the junkets to Israel. When a congress critter has a town hall, show up and complain about our involvement in the Middle East. Keep mentioning the pocket book issues, i.e. how Israel costs the taxpayer $9 million a day. Explain how its behavior puts our diplomats and soldiers overseas in danger. The reality is that Israel is built on a lot of lies promoted by people who frequently cite the holocaust every time they turn around but who have no actual regard for humanity outside their own tribe. The hypocrisy must stop if the United States is to survive as a nation. Pandering to Israel and engaging in constant wars to directly or indirectly defend it, be they against Iran or in Syria, will wear our country down and erode our freedoms. We are already on a slippery slope and it is past time to put our own interests first.So what is to be done? To match the passion of the Israel Lobby we Americans have to become passionate ourselves. Do what they do but in reverse. Write letters to congressmen and newspapers opposing the junkets to Israel. When a congress critter has a town hall, show up and complain about our involvement in the Middle East. Keep mentioning the pocket book issues, i.e. how Israel costs the taxpayer $9 million a day. Explain how its behavior puts our diplomats and soldiers overseas in danger. The reality is that Israel is built on a lot of lies promoted by people who frequently cite the holocaust every time they turn around but who have no actual regard for humanity outside their own tribe.

The hypocrisy must stop if the United States is to survive as a nation. Pandering to Israel and engaging in constant wars to directly or indirectly defend it, be they against Iran or in Syria, will wear our country down and erode our freedoms. We are already on a slippery slope and it is past time to put our own interests first.So what is to be done? To match the passion of the Israel Lobby we Americans have to become passionate ourselves. Do what they do but in reverse. Write letters to congressmen and newspapers opposing the junkets to Israel. When a congress critter has a town hall, show up and complain about our involvement in the Middle East. Keep mentioning the pocket book issues, i.e. how Israel costs the taxpayer $9 million a day. Explain how its behavior puts our diplomats and soldiers overseas in danger. The reality is that Israel is built on a lot of lies promoted by people who frequently cite the holocaust every time they turn around but who have no actual regard for humanity outside their own tribe. The hypocrisy must stop if the United States is to survive as a nation. Pandering to Israel and engaging in constant wars to directly or indirectly defend it, be they against Iran or in Syria, will wear our country down and erode our freedoms. We are already on a slippery slope and it is past time to put our own interests first.

[Aug 12, 2017] Who Is the Hidden Hand at the NSC

Aug 12, 2017 | talkingpointsmemo.com

Josh Marshall

Mike Flynn has been out at the White House for more than four months. He is, we are told, in the most serious kind of legal trouble. Yet the political ghost of Mike Flynn still seems to be a hidden hand driving outcomes in the Trump White House. Maybe it's even Flynn himself.

Allow me to explain.

On Friday, Foreign Policy published an article explaining that the White House is pushing for widening the war in Syria over Pentagon objections. Look into the details and you see it's more specific than 'widening the war'. It's moving from a near exclusive focus on defeating ISIS to pushing a broader confrontation with Iran, which is of course heavily involved in Syria.

Not only does this run the risk of a major and damaging military confrontation with Iran. It almost certainly complicates or hurts the campaign against ISIS since Iran is itself extremely hostile to ISIS and fighting it on the ground in Iraq and Syria.

So who exactly is "the White House" here?

According to the Foreign Policy piece, it's principally two people. Ezra Cohen-Watnick and Derek Harvey, respectively the chief intelligence adviser at the NSC and the chief Middle East advisor. If that first name rings a bell, it should: Cohen-Watnick is the Flynn protege who was behind the Devin Nunes, Susan Rice "un-masking" nonsense caper. While Cohen-Watnick was up to that mischief, McMaster, as one of his first orders of business was trying to can him .

But he was blocked by Trump and Bannon.

Dereck Harvey is clearly a hawk but he at least seems to be respected within the military and intelligence establishments beyond just Mike Flynn. David Patraeus had him as an advisor and he appears to have held Harvey in high esteem.

There's an additional element to the story that bears directly on the Russia probe.

Remember that the most plausible read of what Cohen-Watnick was doing in that case was trying to surveil the investigation into his boss and mentor, Flynn, and the larger Russia probe. White House Counsel Don McGahn appears to have realized that as soon as Cohen-Watnick brought the "findings" of his "review" to the Counsel's office. McGahn told Cohen-Watnick to stand down. That prompted Cohen-Watnick to pull an end run by going to Nunes.

Here's what I wrote in early April

As even Lake concedes, Rice's alleged actions – if the report is accurate – were almost certainly legal. Most national security experts say they were not only legal but entirely proper. Moreover, the kind of snooping around that Cohen-Watnick was apparently doing could very plausibly be interpreted as an attempt to monitor or interfere with the on-going counter-intelligence probe of Trump associates' ties to Russia. The White House Counsel's job is to protect and look after the legal interests of the President. A good lawyer would likely want to shut that kind of freelancing down right away, especially if what Cohen-Watnick had found didn't amount to anything that helped the President or the White House.

My basic question is: why does Cohen-Watnick still have a job? Maybe McMaster couldn't fire him on day one. But he's had months to establish himself and place his stamp on the NSC.

Who is opposing this at the Pentagon? According to Foreign Policy , it's principally Secretary of Defense Mattis and Joint Chiefs Chair Dunford. Foreign Policy is less clear on where McMaster stands but assumes (I think rightly based on other published reports) he is in the latter (Pentagon) group. (Remember, that Mattis is considered a major Iran hawk; the fact that he opposes this speaks volumes.)

Now, conflicts between Departments (State, Defense, CIA, et al.) and the NSC are common in American foreign policy. The NSC often wins them. That is not odd in itself. What is odd is that in this case the "NSC" is not clearly being driven by the President's National Security Advisor. That's highly odd.

Indeed, if we look at the current NSC it seems to still be stocked in many cases by Mike Flynn's people. Again, not entirely out of the norm. A new boss isn't really in a position to fire everyone at once. But Mike Flynn isn't any former NSC boss. He resigned in disgrace and is at the center of an investigation that is consuming the whole country. Copious reporting says that he has not been permitted to fire a number of Flynn people.

Who exactly is keeping Cohen-Watnick and others like him in place? Remember, this isn't my imagination or speculation. McMaster tried to fire him as soon as he took over the NSC. More than not being fired, what juice does he have that is allowing him to carry on major inter-agency battles to which the NSC chief, his nominal boss, is either a bystander or an opponent? You don't stay in a position like that against that kind of opposition – and certainly not with that much power – unless someone very powerful is on your side.

There is some unseen power center at work here. Is it the President? Is it Steve Bannon? Is it Flynn? From what I can tell it's not clear. But it seems pretty important to find out.

[Aug 09, 2017] Economic Principals a weekly column about economics and politics, formerly of The Boston Globe, independent since 2002 Page

Notable quotes:
"... The New New Deal:The Hidden Story of Change in the Obama Era ..."
Aug 09, 2017 | www.economicprincipals.com
The New New Deal:The Hidden Story of Change in the Obama Era , author Michael Grunwald describes the evolution of the Republican leadership's thinking the wake of Democratic victories – not just the White House, but control of both houses of Congress. Eric Cantor (R-Virginia) was the minority whip then, transparently coveting minority leader John Boehner's job. Cantor's deputy, Kevin McCarthy (R-Calif.), and Paul Ryan (R-Wis.) were said to be the GOP's "young guns." Rep. Mike Pence (R-Indiana) chaired an initial conference of the party's leadership in Annapolis. Grunwald wrote:

The new leaders who gathered in Annapolis had a new mantra. Our mistake was abandoning our principles, not following our principles. They saw John McCain as a typical Republican In Name Only. Who had sought electoral salvation in ideological equivocation – and look what happened to him. They even revised their opinions of George W. Bush, who in retrospect seemed less a conservative hero, more a big-spending apostate.

"Most important, Republicans need to stick together as a team," exhorted minority leader Senator Mitch McConnell. And so they did. The Tea Party election came next, in 2010. Republicans took back the House. Obama was re-elected in 2012. In 2014, Republicans took back the Senate. And by 2016, the strategy of full-throated opposition seemed to have worked. Republicans won the White House.

At least in the matter of health care legislation, the Republicans clearly fired the first shot, opposing a program of their own invention just because the opposition party had embraced it. Let McCain's exaggeration on this count pass. In the offer of olive branches, no more than in lapidary inscriptions , is a man upon his oath. The path back to the state of mind Senate rules describe as "normal order" is much as McCain described it:

Incremental progress, compromises that each side criticize but also accept, just plain muddling through to chip away at problems and keep our enemies from doing their worst isn't glamorous or exciting. It doesn't feel like a political triumph. But it's usually the most we can expect from our system of government, operating in a country as diverse and quarrelsome and free as ours.

In "The Sanctimony and Sin of G.O.P, 'Moderates' ," New York Times columnist Paul Krugman, writing last week before McCain's Thursday vote against his party, invited readers "to consider the awfulness of Senator John McCain." Indeed, Krugman condemned all politicians "who pretend to be open-minded, decry partisanship, tut-tut about incivility and act as enablers for the extremists again and again."

I started with McCain because so many journalists still fall for his pose as an independent-minded maverick, ignoring the reality that he's a reliable yes-man whenever it matters

Krugman has got it exactly backwards. On the two occasions of the last ten years when it has mattered most, McCain stood in the center, with the majority consensus, against his party's leaders (and, often enough, in matters of lesser issues as well, especially immigration and campaign finance). Krugman, himself an unbridled partisan, should stop insisting there are no Republican moderates. The road back to "regular order" begins with giving credit where credit is due.

[Jul 31, 2017] How Romney Loyalists Hijacked Trumps Foreign Policy

Notable quotes:
"... This isn't merely a story of palace intrigue and revolving chairs in the corridors of power. Brave Americans in the uniform of their country will continue to be sent into far-off lands to intercede in internecine conflicts that have little if anything to do with U.S. national security. Many will return physically shattered or mentally maimed. Others will be returned to Andrews Air Force Base in flag-draped coffins, to be saluted by serial presidents of both parties, helpless to stop the needless carnage. ..."
"... Ron Maxwell wrote and directed the Civil War trilogy of movies: ..."
"... Great piece. Thank you, Mr. Maxwell. Reading this, I burn with anger -- then a sense of utter futility washes over me. I think history will show that the Trump era was the moment the American people realized that the Deep State is more powerful than the presidency. ..."
"... The rogues' gallery of neocons and apprentice neocons described above is really disturbing. We didn't vote for this. ..."
"... Re Nikki Haley, she's already an embarrassment, an ignorant neocon-dependent. She's dragging us down the same old road of anti-Russia hysterics and Middle East meddling. The best that can be said of her presence at the UN is that by putting her there Trump promoted one of his allies into the SC governor's mansion. I don't think he was under any illusions as to her foreign policy knowledge, competence, or commitment to an America First policy. But she's become a vector for neocons to reinfect government, and she needs to be removed. ..."
"... Neoconism and neoliberalism is like a super-bug infection. None of the anti-biotics are working. We have only one hope left. Rand Paul, the super anti-neocon/neoliberal. ..."
"... In this country we can talk about resenting elites all we want, but when it comes to making American foreign policy there still is an American foreign policy elite – and it's very powerful. Why has there been no debate? Actually, Michael Mandelbaum, an author with whom I seldom agree on anything, but in his book "The Frugal Superpower" he actually tells you why there's no debate in the foreign policy establishment. ..."
"... And to be part of the establishment you have to buy into it – to its ideology, to its beliefs system, and that is a very hard thing to break. And so before we all jump up and down and say, "Wow! Donald Trump won! NATO is going to be changed. Our commitments in East Asia are going to change. The Middle East may change!" We'd better take a deep breath and ask ourselves, and I think Will Ruger raised this point on the first panel, where is the counter-elite? ..."
"... Where is a Trumpian counter-elite that not only can take the senior positions in the cabinet like Defense Secretary and Secretary of State, but be the assistant secretaries, the deputy assistant secretaries, the NSC staffers. ..."
"... I think that elite doesn't exist right now, and that's a big problem, because the people who are going to be probably still in power are the people who do not agree with the kinds of foreign policy ideas that I think most of us in this room are sympathetic to. So, over time maybe that will change. ..."
"... The problem with the neocons is that their ambition vastly exceeds their ability. ..."
Jul 31, 2017 | www.theamericanconservative.com

Rex Tillerson, formidably accomplished in global business, was nevertheless as much a neophyte as his boss when it came to navigating the policy terrain of the D.C. swamp. As is well known, in building his team he relied on those two neocon avatars, Dick Cheney and Condoleezza Rice, who had originally promoted his own candidacy for secretary of state. But Rice had been a vocal part of the neocon Never Trump coalition. Her anti-Trump pronouncements included: "Donald Trump should not be president .He doesn't have the dignity and stature to be president." The Washington Post greeted her 2017 book, Democracy: Stories from the Long Road to Freedom , as "a repudiation of Trump's America First worldview."

Thus it wasn't surprising that Rice would introduce Elliott Abrams to Tillerson as an ideal candidate for State's No. 2 position. This would have placed a dyed-in-the-wool neocon hardliner at the very top of the State Department's hierarchy and given him the power to hire and fire all undersecretaries across the vast foreign policy empire. Rice, one of the architects of George W. Bush's failed policies of regime change and nation building, would have consolidated a direct line of influence into the highest reaches of the Trump foreign policy apparatus.

Not only was Abrams' entire career a refutation of Trump's America First foreign policy, but he had spent the previous eighteen months publicly bashing Trump in harsh terms. Cleverly, however, he had not signed either of the two Never Trump letters co-signed by most of the other neocon foreign policy elite. Abrams almost got the nod, except for a last-minute intervention by Trump adviser Steve Bannon, who was armed with every disparaging anti-Trump statement Abrams had made. Examples: "This is a question of character. He is not fit to sit in the chair of George Washington and Abraham Lincoln .his absolute unwillingness to learn anything about foreign policy .Hillary would be better on foreign policy. I'm not going to vote for Trump ."

But Abrams' rejection was the exception. As a high profile globalist-interventionist he could not easily hide his antipathy toward the Trump doctrine. Others, whose track records and private comments were more easily obscured, were waived in by gatekeepers whose mission it was (and remains) to populate State, DoD, and national security agencies with establishment and neocon cadres, not with proven Trump supporters and adherents to his foreign policy.

But how did the gatekeepers get in? Romney may have disappeared from the headlines, but he never left the sidelines. His chess pieces were already on the board, occupying key squares and prepared to move.

Once the president opened the door to RNC chairman Reince Priebus as his chief of staff, to Rex Tillerson at State, to James Mattis as defense secretary, and to H. R. McMaster at NSC, the neocons just walked in. While each of these political and military luminaries may publicly support the president's policies and in some instances may sincerely want to see them implemented, their entire careers have been spent within the establishment and neocon elite. They don't know any other world view or any other people.

Donald Trump ran on an America First foreign policy, repeatedly deriding George W. Bush for invading Iraq in 2003. He criticized Clinton and Obama for their military interventions in Libya and their support for regime change in Syria. He questioned the point of the endless Afghan war. He criticized the Beltway's hostile obsession with Russia while it ignored China's military buildup and economic threat to America.

Throughout the campaign Trump made abundantly clear his foreign policy ethos. If elected he would stop the policy of perpetual war, strengthen America's military, take care of U.S. veterans, focus particularly on annihilating the ISIS caliphate, protect the homeland from Islamist radicalism, and promote a carefully calibrated America First policy.

But, despite this clear record, according to Politico and other Beltway journals, the president has been entreated in numerous White House and Pentagon meetings to sign off on globalist foreign policy goals, including escalating commitments to the war in Afghanistan. These presentations, conducted by H.R. McMaster and others, were basically arguments to continue the global status quo; in other words, a foreign policy that Clinton would have embraced. Brian Hook and Nadia Schadlow were two of the lesser known policy wonks who participated in these meetings, determining vital issues of war and peace.

Brian Hook, head of State Department policy planning, is an astute operative and member in good standing of the neocon elite. He's also a onetime foreign policy adviser to Romney and remains in close touch with him. Hook was one of the founders, along with Eliot Cohen and Eric Edelman, of the anti-Trump John Hay Initiative. Hook organized one of the Never Trump letters during the campaign, and his views are well-known, in part through a May 2016 piece by Julia Hoffe in Politico Magazine. A passage: "My wife said, 'never,'" said Brian Hook, looking pained and slicing the air with a long, pale hand. .Even if you say you support him as the nominee," Hook says, "you go down the list of his positions and you see you disagree on every one."

One might wonder how a man such as Hook could become the director of policy planning and a senior adviser to Rex Tillerson, advising on all key foreign policy issues? The answer is: the Romney network.

Consider also the case of Margaret Peterlin, assigned as a Sherpa during the transition to guide Tillerson through the confirmation process. Another experienced Beltway insider, Peterlin promptly made herself indispensable to Tillerson and blocked anyone who wanted access to him, no matter how senior. Peterlin then brought Brian Hook onboard, a buddy from their Romney days, to serve as the brains for foreign policy while she was serving as the Gorgon-eyed chief of staff.

According to rumor, the two are now blocking White House personnel picks, particularly Trump loyalists, from appointments at State. At the same time, they are bringing aboard neocons such as Kurt Volker, executive director of the McCain Institute and notorious Russia hawk, and Wess Mitchell, president of the neocon Center for European Policy Analysis (CEPA). As special representative for Ukraine negotiations, Volker is making proclamations to inflame the conflict and further entangle the United States.

Meanwhile, Mitchell, another Romney alumnus and a Brian Hook buddy from the John Hay Initiative, has been nominated as assistant secretary of state for European and Erurasian affairs. Brace yourself for an unnecessary Cold War with Russia, if not a hot one. While Americans may not really care whether ethnic Russians or ethnic Ukrainians dominate the Donbass, these guys do.

Then there's Nadia Schadlow, another prominent operative with impeccable neocon credentials. She was the senior program officer at the Smith Richardson Foundation, where her main job was to underwrite the neocon project by offering grants to the many think tanks in their network. For the better part of a decade she pursued a PhD under the tutelage of Eliot Cohen, who has pronounced himself a "Never Trumper" and has questioned the president's mental health. Cohen, along with H.R. McMaster, provided editorial guidance to Schadlow for her book extolling nation-building and how we can do more of it.

Relationships beget jobs, which is how Schadlow became deputy assistant to the president, with the task, given by her boss H.R. McMaster, of writing the administration's National Security Strategy. Thus do we have a neocon stalwart who wrote the book on nation building now writing President Trump's national security strategy.

How, we might ask, did these Never Trump activists get into such high positions in the Trump administration? And what was their agenda at such important meetings with the President if not to thwart his America First agenda? Put another way, how did Trump get saddled with nearly Mitt Romney's entire foreign policy staff? After all, the American people did not elect Mitt Romney when they had the chance.

Trump is a smart guy. So is Barack Obama. But even Obama, Nobel Peace Prize in hand, could not prevent the inexorable slide to violent regime change in Libya, which resulted in a semi-failed state, tens of thousands killed, and a foothold for Al Queda and other radical Islamists in the Maghreb. He also could not prevent the arming of Islamist rebels in Syria after he had the CIA provide lethal arms strictly to "moderate rebels." Unable or unwilling to disengage from Afghanistan, Obama acquiesced in a series of Pentagon strategies with fluctuating troop levels before bequeathing to his successor an open ended, unresolved war.

Rumors floating through official Washington suggest the neocons now want to replace Tillerson at State with Trump critic and Neocon darling Nikki Haley, currently pursuing a one-person bellicose foreign policy from her exalted post at the United Nations. Not surprisingly, Haley and Romney go way back. As a firm neocon partisan, she endorsed his presidential bid in 2011 .

As UN ambassador, Haley has articulated a nearly incoherent jumble of statements that seem more in line with her own neocon worldview than with Trump's America First policies. Some samples:

"I think that, you know, Russia is full of themselves. They've always been full of themselves. But that's – its more of a façade that they try and show as opposed to anything else."

"What we are is serious. And you see us in action, so its not in personas. Its in actions and its what we do."

"The United States calls for an immediate end to the Russian occupation of Crimea. Crimea is a part of Ukraine. Our Crimea-related sanctions will remain in place until Russia returns control over the peninsula to Ukraine."

One must ask: Is Ambassador Haley speaking on behalf of the Trump administration when she says it is official U.S. policy that Russia, having annexed Crimea, must return it to Ukraine? Is the Russo-American geopolitical relationship to be held hostage indefinitely because in 2014 the people of Crimea voted for their political reintegration into Russia, which they had been part of since 1776?

Since there is as much chance of Russia ceding Crimea back to Ukraine as there is of the United States ceding Texas back to Mexico, does this mean there is no possibility of any meaningful cooperation with Russia on anything else? Not even in fighting the common ominous threat from Islamist radicalism? Has Haley committed the American people to this dead-end policy on her own or in consultation with the President?

On July 14, the Washington Examiner wrote that "Haley's remarks set the tone for Trump's reversal from the less interventionist, 'America First' foreign policy he campaigned on." Little wonder, then, that in a little-noticed victory lap of her own, coinciding with the release of her book, Condoleezza Rice acknowledged the near complete takeover of Trump's foreign policy team. "The current national security team is terrific," she said. She even gave Trump her anointed blessing following their recent White House meeting, during which the septuagenarian schoolboy received the schoolmarm's pat on the head: " He was engaging," she said. "I found him on top of his brief .asking really good questions." That's a far cry from her campaign-season comment about Trump that he "doesn't have the dignity and stature to be president."

American foreign policy seems to be on auto-pilot, immune to elections and impervious to the will of the people. It is perpetuated by an entrenched contingent of neocon and establishment zealots and bureaucratic drones in both the public and private sector, whose careers, livelihoods, and very raison d'etre depend on an unchallenged policy of military confrontation with the prestige, power, and cash flow it generates. Those who play the game by establishment rules are waived in. Those who would challenge the status quo are kept out. This is the so-called Deep State, thwarting the will of President Trump and the people who voted for him.

This isn't merely a story of palace intrigue and revolving chairs in the corridors of power. Brave Americans in the uniform of their country will continue to be sent into far-off lands to intercede in internecine conflicts that have little if anything to do with U.S. national security. Many will return physically shattered or mentally maimed. Others will be returned to Andrews Air Force Base in flag-draped coffins, to be saluted by serial presidents of both parties, helpless to stop the needless carnage.

Ron Maxwell wrote and directed the Civil War trilogy of movies: Gettysburg, Gods and Generals, Copperhead.

Andrew , says: July 30, 2017 at 11:04 pm

This is all very convincing, but the point remains: Trump won and is the one responsible for allowing all these neocons through the door. Had Pat Buchanan won the nomination and the Presidency back in the nineties, does anyone believe he would make the same blunders, and not be equipped to find the right traditional conservatives instead of the establishment DC neocons that try and swamp every GOP Administration now since Reagan? Trump is simply too naive and doesn't have any feel for the political ideologies of all of these people, being not much of a political animal himself. And replacing Priebus with General Kelly isn't likely to change all that. He should be talking to Ann Coulter and Buchanan as unofficial advisers or something.
Fran Macadam , says: July 31, 2017 at 12:36 am
Globalism is the twenty-first century euphemism for old fashioned imperialism, now on Wall Street propelled nuclear steroids.
KaneV , says: July 31, 2017 at 1:15 am
Good God how shallow is the Trump foreign policy bench that the American Con has a director writing in its defense?
reelectclaydavis , says: July 31, 2017 at 4:43 am
Interesting argument, though you ignore other factors besides the conspiratorial-sounding "Romney network" that account for American interventionist neo-conservatives finding their way back into power: 1) that they are by far the largest group of people available to staff the government because of a) the dominance of aggressive liberal internationalism over more restrained realism in graduate schools which educate these foreign policy specialists; b) an inherent bias of these specialists not to admit that America cannot influence world events (that would be like a social worker who didn't believe s/he could usually mediate conflicts). Also, 2) Trump's alleged non-interventionist beliefs are less well-formed than you imply, you just project on him what you wish to see; a) you ignore his comments about taking the oil of other countries, an idea the neo-conservatives had as a way to pay for operations in Iraq; and b) Beliefs closer to Trump's core: that others not paying their fair share and that America is being taken advantage of, are not incompatible with the American interventions you oppose.
polistra , says: July 31, 2017 at 8:13 am
You can't hijack an executive's policy unless the executive is either hopelessly weak or a faker. Doesn't matter which.

The only good part is that the fake image of a somewhat less warlike "Trump", stirred up by the media to destroy Trump, is actually DOING what a real non-interventionist Trump would have done. EU is breaking away from US control, just as a real antiwar Trump would have ordered it to do.

Dan Stewart , says: July 31, 2017 at 8:23 am
Great piece. Thank you, Mr. Maxwell. Reading this, I burn with anger -- then a sense of utter futility washes over me. I think history will show that the Trump era was the moment the American people realized that the Deep State is more powerful than the presidency.
For Virginia , says: July 31, 2017 at 8:23 am
It's good to see Ron Maxwell published in these pages. I watch Gettysburg at least once a year. And don't think Virginians aren't grateful for Maxwell's role in helping put paid to Eric Cantor's political career.

The rogues' gallery of neocons and apprentice neocons described above is really disturbing. We didn't vote for this. And we don't want it.

Re Nikki Haley, she's already an embarrassment, an ignorant neocon-dependent. She's dragging us down the same old road of anti-Russia hysterics and Middle East meddling. The best that can be said of her presence at the UN is that by putting her there Trump promoted one of his allies into the SC governor's mansion. I don't think he was under any illusions as to her foreign policy knowledge, competence, or commitment to an America First policy. But she's become a vector for neocons to reinfect government, and she needs to be removed.

Johann , says: July 31, 2017 at 8:27 am
Neoconism and neoliberalism is like a super-bug infection. None of the anti-biotics are working. We have only one hope left. Rand Paul, the super anti-neocon/neoliberal.
SDS , says: July 31, 2017 at 8:46 am
"Trump is a smart guy" ..
??
If so; why does he not see this happening all around him? Except for his pompous, ignorant, hands-off method of governing, that is . The Emperor has no clothes but doesn't seem to know, nor care that he doesn't
Kurt Gayle , says: July 31, 2017 at 9:03 am
Christopher Layne, Robert M. Gates Chair in National Security, Texas A&M at the American Conservative Conference "Foreign Policy in America's Interest" (Nov 15 2016) said:

"In this country we can talk about resenting elites all we want, but when it comes to making American foreign policy there still is an American foreign policy elite – and it's very powerful. Why has there been no debate? Actually, Michael Mandelbaum, an author with whom I seldom agree on anything, but in his book "The Frugal Superpower" he actually tells you why there's no debate in the foreign policy establishment.

You see, debate is – basically goes from here to there [Dr. Layne puts his two index fingers close together in front of his face], like from the 45-yard-line to the 45-yard-line. And why does it stop there? Because people who try to go down towards the goal line have their union cards taken away. They're kicked out of the establishment. They're not listened to. They're disrespected.

And to be part of the establishment you have to buy into it – to its ideology, to its beliefs system, and that is a very hard thing to break. And so before we all jump up and down and say, "Wow! Donald Trump won! NATO is going to be changed. Our commitments in East Asia are going to change. The Middle East may change!" We'd better take a deep breath and ask ourselves, and I think Will Ruger raised this point on the first panel, where is the counter-elite?

Where is a Trumpian counter-elite that not only can take the senior positions in the cabinet like Defense Secretary and Secretary of State, but be the assistant secretaries, the deputy assistant secretaries, the NSC staffers.

I think that elite doesn't exist right now, and that's a big problem, because the people who are going to be probably still in power are the people who do not agree with the kinds of foreign policy ideas that I think most of us in this room are sympathetic to. So, over time maybe that will change.

Over time maybe a counter-elite will emerge. But in the short term I see very little prospect for all the big changes that most of us are hoping to see, and so for me the challenge that we face is really to find ways to develop this counter-elite than can staff an administration in the future, that has at least what we think are the views that Donald Trump holds."

http://www.theamericanconservative.com/articles/watch-foreign-policy-in-americas-interest/

We're in a new period – a period of learning for President Trump and for those in the administration who back his anti-establishment foreign policy view. And while it is true that (as Chris Layne said) "in the short term I see very little prospect for all the big changes that most of us are hoping to see," as we move into the medium and long term, many of us are hopeful that these big Trumpian foreign policy changes can begin to be made.

Kevin , says: July 31, 2017 at 10:13 am
Shorter Ron Maxwell: good tsar, evil advisors --
Bill Smith , says: July 31, 2017 at 10:24 am
This article is sharply contradicted by an earlier and more informed article in Conservative Review, an outlet with a considerably larger audience than American Conservative. You might want to read that as a corrective to this one. You can find it here: https://www.conservativereview.com/articles/trump-nat-sec-strategy-to-translate-maga-into-foreign-policy

Money quote:

A senior administration official familiar with the work of Nadia Schadlow, a national security expert brought on to help draft the National Security Strategy, tells CR that she will attempt to produce an NSS as "iconoclastic as our new commander in chief," adding, "the era of milquetoast boilerplate is over."

Henri James , says: July 31, 2017 at 10:44 am
I do love that in all of these scenarios, Trump is just some innocent moon-eyed man child who can't possibly be expected to think on his own.
Charlie , says: July 31, 2017 at 11:27 am
The problem with the neocons is that their ambition vastly exceeds their ability. Neocons developed their minds in the Cold war dealing with a western power, the USSR. The problem is that once one enters the Middle East and Asia one is dealing with languages and cultures of which they [knew] next to nothing. How many speak Arabic, Farsi, Turkish and Urdu such that they understand every nuance of what is said and unsaid?

When dealing with the arabs and many in Afghanistan everything is personnel and this can go back 5 generations and includes hundreds if not thousands of people.

Trump has the common sense not to become involved in that he does not understand.

David Skerry , says: July 31, 2017 at 11:51 am
They come back in boxes while those who sent them to their deaths remain in the bags of the "America Second" group which highjacked our Congress. It's no longer "God Bless America"; it's "God Help America."

[Jul 25, 2017] CNN Tillerson May Resign

Jul 25, 2017 | armedia.am

The US Secretary of State Rex Tillerson is expressing growing frustration with the Trump administration and may be considering resigning from his role, the Hill reports citing to CNN reports.

Though the former CEO of ExxonMobil Corp. has said that he would stay on as the top U.S. diplomat until the end of the year at least, several anonymous sources told CNN over the weekend that he might leave earlier than that.

Sources "familiar with Tillerson conversations with friends outside Washington" admit the secretary of State may just be venting, but they sense his doubts about President Trump are growing.

[Jul 14, 2017] Secretary Tillerson, It's Time to Phone Iran The American Conservative

Notable quotes:
"... Despite these hotspots, the Trump administration and Secretary Rex Tillerson have allowed the hotline with Tehran to go cold. Despite the significant risk of war, not a single phone call has taken place between Tillerson and Zarif. Not a single attempt at resolving the tensions diplomatically has been made. ..."
"... When asked about diplomacy with Iran during his visit to the Saudi kingdom, Tillerson said that he had no plans to reach out to Iran , although he didn't rule it out in the future. ..."
"... The George W. Bush administration at least had the decency to lie to the American public when it sold the electorate the Iraq War. And however skewed and faulty, the Iraq War was preceded by a debate and a vote in Congress. Though President Bush eschewed diplomacy, he nevertheless presented a deeply flawed case as to why diplomacy no longer was an option. Trump and Tillerson simply don't even bother. ..."
"... The Trump administration's recklessness is endangering America and putting American servicemen and women at risk. If Tillerson was supposed to be the adult in the room steering Trump in the right direction, he needs to start to act the part. ..."
"... Before the escalation with Iran reaches a point of no return, diplomacy must be given a chance. That responsibility falls on Mr. Tillerson. The former Exxonmobil CEO has Zarif's number. It's time he places a call. ..."
Jul 14, 2017 | www.theamericanconservative.com
For instance, at one point U.S. Navy ships and helicopters were approaching the Iranian island where the sailors were kept. "Please tell your navy not to get close," Zarif told Kerry, his tone revealing the urgency of the matter. "We don't want a military confrontation. But if your planes get close, we will have serious trouble." Kerry immediately hung up and called General Joseph Dunford, the chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff, to urge him to pull back. "We're risking potential escalation here," Kerry told the general. "They were giving us positive indications that they are gonna release these guys, so we should back off the helicopters for now and test if this is real." Dunford complied, and a dangerous confrontation was avoided. To prove that the sailors were safe, Zarif emailed a picture of them from his Gmail account to Kerry's State Department email.

It had taken two years of intense discussions and negotiations for Kerry and Zarif to build the rapport that enabled them to so quickly resolve unforeseen crises such as that of the U.S. sailors. But once the channel of communications and the rapport had been established, its utility and efficiency was unquestionable. Indeed, the sailors' incident could have ended up as another prolonged hostage crisis. Instead, most Americans have not even heard of their mishap.

Today, there are many unforeseen crises that risk bringing the U.S. and Iran!indeed, the entire Middle East!into direct confrontation. The U.S. and Iran have a shared interest in defeating ISIS in Iraq, but after the fall of Mosul, the balance of their interest may lead them in a more confrontational direction. A similar dynamic is playing out in Syria, where the U.S. already has shot down Iranian drones and bombed Iranian-sponsored groups. Moreover, tensions in the Persian Gulf are rising as Saudi Arabia appears to have received a green light from the Trump administration to double down on confrontation and bullying.

Former Secretary of Defense Robert Gates had no illusions about the end goal of the Saudis. The Saudis always want to " fight the Iranians to the last American ," he told his French counterpart in 2010. Since then, the Saudi appetite for a U.S.-Iran war has only grown.

Despite these hotspots, the Trump administration and Secretary Rex Tillerson have allowed the hotline with Tehran to go cold. Despite the significant risk of war, not a single phone call has taken place between Tillerson and Zarif. Not a single attempt at resolving the tensions diplomatically has been made.

When asked about diplomacy with Iran during his visit to the Saudi kingdom, Tillerson said that he had no plans to reach out to Iran , although he didn't rule it out in the future.

That is simply not good enough. It is the foremost responsibility of the President and his administration to keep America safe and to only put American servicemen and women in harm's way once all other options have been exhausted.

On both of these counts, the Trump administration doesn't just fail, they fail abysmally because they haven't even tried. The United States is about to sleepwalk into yet another devastating war in the Middle East without a debate as to whether such an escalation lies in the U.S.'s national interest, and without the Trump administration even giving lip service to diplomacy. Other potential foes in the world observe this behavior as they consider the payoff of peaceful engagement with the U.S. versus conflict. Do we want to send those actors the message that the U.S. shoots first and asks questions later?

The George W. Bush administration at least had the decency to lie to the American public when it sold the electorate the Iraq War. And however skewed and faulty, the Iraq War was preceded by a debate and a vote in Congress. Though President Bush eschewed diplomacy, he nevertheless presented a deeply flawed case as to why diplomacy no longer was an option. Trump and Tillerson simply don't even bother.

The Trump administration's recklessness is endangering America and putting American servicemen and women at risk. If Tillerson was supposed to be the adult in the room steering Trump in the right direction, he needs to start to act the part.

Before the escalation with Iran reaches a point of no return, diplomacy must be given a chance. That responsibility falls on Mr. Tillerson. The former Exxonmobil CEO has Zarif's number. It's time he places a call.

Trita Parsi is the author of Losing an Enemy – Obama, Iran and the Triumph of Diplomacy . He is the president of the National Iranian American Council.

[Jul 11, 2017] Tillerson is basically echoing the Obama Administration's talking points and I think for a lot of foreign policy types who were hopeful that President Trump would take a more realist approach to foreign policy, they're hopes have been disappointed and I think that Tillerson's rhetoric and Tillerson's appointment of former NATO Ambassador, Kurt Volker, the administration's point man on Ukraine, are all very troubling signs.

Notable quotes:
"... Secretary of State, Rex Tillerson, made those comments during a visit to Ukraine on Sunday. The Ukrainian President Petro Poroshenko followed that by announcing he wants to begin talks on joining NATO. ..."
"... It's a war that is taken nearly 10,000 lives. It's displaced over a million people and both parties to the Minsk Accord have a long way to go in implementing the agreement. Though I fear, that Minsk is probably a non-starter as far as Kiev goes and here's why. According to the United Nations, the Ukrainian government has to hold a vote on decentralization for the East. It's yet to do that yet. That vote was meant to be a pre-cursor to the agreement and I don't think they're going to hold that vote. Here's why. If they hold that vote, I believe the far right militias will try to come to power and try to overthrow Petro Poroshenko. Petro Poroshenko doesn't have a death wish. The country is currently ruled by Ukrainian oligarchs in a tacit alliance with far right figures like the speaker of Rada, Andriy Parubiy who founded the neo-Nazi party right sector. ..."
"... Tillerson is basically echoing the Obama Administration's talking points and I think for a lot of foreign policy types who were hopeful that President Trump would take a more realist approach to foreign policy, they're hopes have been disappointed and I think that Tillerson's rhetoric and Tillerson's appointment of former NATO Ambassador, Kurt Volker, the administration's point man on Ukraine, are all very troubling signs. ..."
Jul 11, 2017 | therealnews.com

AARON MATE: Secretary of State, Rex Tillerson, made those comments during a visit to Ukraine on Sunday. The Ukrainian President Petro Poroshenko followed that by announcing he wants to begin talks on joining NATO. Russia began meddling in Ukraine in part over fears it would join the U.S. led military alliance. If the U.S. insists on a Russian shift on Ukraine that could be a non-starter. I'm joined now by James Carden, contributing writer at The Nation and Executive Editor of The American Committee for East-West Accord. He has also served as an adviser on Russia policy at the State Department. James Carden, welcome.

JAMES CARDEN: Thank you very much.

AARON MATE: Thanks for joining us. Let's start with Ukraine. Immediately following this historic meeting between Trump and Putin, Tillerson lays down the line that Russian behavior in Ukraine has to change. Can you talk about what's at stake here for both sides of this?

JAMES CARDEN: There's quite a bit at stake considering the fact that the war in the [inaudible 00:01:53] Donbass region continues to this day. It's a war that is taken nearly 10,000 lives. It's displaced over a million people and both parties to the Minsk Accord have a long way to go in implementing the agreement. Though I fear, that Minsk is probably a non-starter as far as Kiev goes and here's why. According to the United Nations, the Ukrainian government has to hold a vote on decentralization for the East. It's yet to do that yet. That vote was meant to be a pre-cursor to the agreement and I don't think they're going to hold that vote. Here's why. If they hold that vote, I believe the far right militias will try to come to power and try to overthrow Petro Poroshenko. Petro Poroshenko doesn't have a death wish. The country is currently ruled by Ukrainian oligarchs in a tacit alliance with far right figures like the speaker of Rada, Andriy Parubiy who founded the neo-Nazi party right sector.

Tillerson is basically echoing the Obama Administration's talking points and I think for a lot of foreign policy types who were hopeful that President Trump would take a more realist approach to foreign policy, they're hopes have been disappointed and I think that Tillerson's rhetoric and Tillerson's appointment of former NATO Ambassador, Kurt Volker, the administration's point man on Ukraine, are all very troubling signs.

[Jul 07, 2017] US, Russia Agree on Ceasefire in Southwestern Syria by Jason Ditz

Notable quotes:
"... While this is not the first US-Russia ceasefire brokered in Syria, it's the first in quite some time, as recent Syrian ceasefires have been brokered mostly by Russia, Turkey, and Iran, with the US insisting that the deals don't apply to their ongoing military operations. ..."
"... Putin and Trump agree to cease fire in Southern Syria. This means that Putin has surrendered the central principle of his Syria policy - territorial integrity of Syria. The carve up continues. Will some ostensible federal arrangement in Ukraine be the quid pro quo? ..."
"... I think it's better to say that the Syrian government and whatever counts as opposition in Daraa have come to an agreement, which means an end to the fighting in the Southwest - and that is in place since a few days already. ..."
"... This agreement between 'Putin' and 'Trump' only means that Russia will guarantee that the US doesn't do any dirty tricks when the Jordan-Syria reopens for business ..."
"... As Cockburn says, anything Trump comes out with is meaningless. he'll say the opposite tomorrow. However engage in a major war in Syria, particularly if against the Russians, that's another matter. His electoral base wouldn't tolerate it, if it were likely to lead to American deaths. ..."
Jul 07, 2017 | news.antiwar.com
Tillerson: US Still Insists on Ouster of Assad

Secretary of State Rex Tillerson has announced that the United States and Russia have agreed on a ceasefire in southwestern Syria, aiming to halt all fighting in the area, and according to US officials allowing the rebels to shift their focus to fighting against ISIS.

Details are still scant on this, and it's not clear how far east the ceasefire is intended to extend. US officials say the entire goal is to stop attacks against the rebels, while Russia clearly wants the US to stop attacking pro-government forces in the region. There has also been mention of humanitarian aid being allowed in, but past ceasefires have almost uniformly failed at that goal.

The ceasefire is to begin at noon on Sunday, and is open-ended. Tillerson said it could be a first step which, if successful, would be spread to other parts of the country. He also, however, added that the US still insists upon Syrian President Assad and his entire family being removed from any positions of power in Syria.

While this is not the first US-Russia ceasefire brokered in Syria, it's the first in quite some time, as recent Syrian ceasefires have been brokered mostly by Russia, Turkey, and Iran, with the US insisting that the deals don't apply to their ongoing military operations.

paul | Jul 7, 2017 2:08:20 PM | 1

Putin and Trump agree to cease fire in Southern Syria. This means that Putin has surrendered the central principle of his Syria policy - territorial integrity of Syria. The carve up continues. Will some ostensible federal arrangement in Ukraine be the quid pro quo?

Jeff | Jul 7, 2017 2:22:18 PM | 2

@1

I think it's better to say that the Syrian government and whatever counts as opposition in Daraa have come to an agreement, which means an end to the fighting in the Southwest - and that is in place since a few days already.

This agreement between 'Putin' and 'Trump' only means that Russia will guarantee that the US doesn't do any dirty tricks when the Jordan-Syria reopens for business

karlof1 | Jul 7, 2017 2:51:58 PM | 6

Jeff @2--

Yes, you have a good handle on what's transpired. Negotiations for reconciliation have carried on since the last quarter of 2016, and it was becoming clear that a positive resolution was soon to occur.

As for G-20 action, much has occurred, including the BRICS heads-of-state sideline meeting, from which a communique was issued, http://en.kremlin.ru/supplement/5221 which echoes Putin's address, http://en.kremlin.ru/events/president/news/55001

Only the most basic of info's been released about the Putin/Trump meet; I expect more to be available later, http://en.kremlin.ru/events/president/news/55006

Putin also met with South Korean President Moon, http://en.kremlin.ru/events/president/news/55005

Hopefully, b will gain lots of onsite info and share it with us. Otherwise, it's a Friday, and news is slow.

Temporarily Sane | Jul 7, 2017 3:07:09 PM | 9
Patrick Cockburn, in his most recent article for the Independent, quotes a former US State Department official who said that: "[W]e don't have a policy in Syria, everybody in the Middle East knows that whatever is said by the Pentagon, State Department or National Security Council lacks authority because whatever assurances they give may be contradicted within the hour by a presidential tweet or by one of the factions in the White House."

Cockburn adds: "the ex-official lamented that it was like living in an arbitrary and unpredictable dictatorship."

While this may very well be true as far as operational details are concerned, it is apparent that "regime change" (orchestrating a coup d'etat) is the overarching goal the US is pursuing, however haphazardly, in Syria with Iran next in line. When was the last time the US military got involved somewhere and then just packed up and went back home? Cockburn is missing an important detail and he is one of the few MSM journalists who is not acting as a propagandist for Western interests.

The media is extremely allergic to telling it like it is and I wonder if MSM journalists like Cockburn and Robert Fisk deliberately avoid mentioning certain things in order to safeguard their jobs? I find it hard to believe that Cockburn, in this case, is not aware that "regime change" was never really taken off the table. In the same article he goes on to mention US plans for Iran so it is almost certain he knows what is going on in Syria. It is actually a decent piece but readers who may not be aware of the state of affairs in Syria are getting an incomplete snapshot of the situation there. Is holding the US and its "coalition" to full account an MSM "red-line" that even the charmingly named "Independent" is unwilling to cross?

Laguerre | Jul 7, 2017 3:16:08 PM | 10

re 1
This means that Putin has surrendered the central principle of his Syria policy - territorial integrity of Syria. The carve up continues.
I rather doubt that interpretation.

The expression is "south-west Syria". That means the Israeli front. Maybe calming the shooting at Israel, in order to remove the need for Israeli reactions?

I don't actually know whether the Amman-Damascus road is open for traffic, but given that I saw recently that there are still busses from Damascus to Raqqa, dangerous as that may seem, I wouldn't be surprised to hear that busses are making the transit between Amman and Damascus, no doubt with innumerable stops for inspection by one militia or another.

These dangerous trips do occur. Just to give you a flavour, a Syrian I know, a Druze, had to go to Aleppo. They were stopped by Da'ish. As a Druze, instant death if discovered. He was taken before the Amir. Are you Sunni? yes. Then prove it by reciting the Surat al-Baqara (the longest chapter of the Qur'an). He didn't know it other than the beginning. He started, and then quickly figured out that they didn't know it either, so he continued reciting Quranic style rubbish, until the Amir got bored and fell asleep, At which point he was released. He described them as slitty-eyed thus Turkic.

Laguerre | Jul 7, 2017 3:41:13 PM | 17

re 9

As Cockburn says, anything Trump comes out with is meaningless. he'll say the opposite tomorrow. However engage in a major war in Syria, particularly if against the Russians, that's another matter. His electoral base wouldn't tolerate it, if it were likely to lead to American deaths.

[Jul 07, 2017] Tillerson Sanctions on Russia Will Remain Until Crimea Is Returned

"Until Crimea is returned" is a sign of neocon foreign policy
Jul 07, 2017 | news.antiwar.com

Assured Ukraine Sanctions Against Russia Won't Change

Jason Ditz Posted on April 24, 2017 Categories News Tags Crimea , Russia , Tillerson , Ukraine Hopes that the US sanctions against Russia would be quickly rolled back when President Trump was elected in November didn't pan out, and the latest comments from Secretary of State Rex Tillerson suggest that the administration has no intention of removing the sanctions at all.

Speaking with Ukrainian President Petro Poroshenko over the weekend, Tillerson reported told him that the US sanctions on Russia will remain wholly in place " until Russia returns control of the Crimean peninsula to Ukraine. " Needless to say, Russia isn't going to do that.

Crimea was an autonomous oblast within Ukraine until 2014, when they held a referendum and seceded. After that secession, they sought and gained accession into the Russian Federation, which the US doesn't recognize. US officials have repeatedly presented this as Russia "invading Crimea" or "taking Crimea by force," though the peninsula's ethnic Russian majority was able to effectively secede outright without anything nearly so dramatic happening.

Nobody seriously expects Russia to "give back" Crimea, even if there was a mechanism by which they could conceivably do so, which there isn't. Conditioning sanctions relief on that is tantamount to announcing the sanctions as a permanent feature of US policy, a stance which will likely suit the many Russia hawks in Congress and across Western Europe quite well.

[Jul 07, 2017] Is Rex Tillerson a realist in Washington by Alexander Mercouris

How can a realist bear Nikki Haley and demand return of Crimea ? Only neocon can...
Notable quotes:
"... Specifically Tillerson turned neocon foreign policy orthodoxy on its head by arguing that a foreign policy based on promoting US 'values' carried the risk of obstructing US national security and economic interests: ..."
"... In some circumstances, if you condition our national security efforts on someone adopting our values, we probably can't achieve our national security goals. It really creates obstacles to our ability to advance our national security interests, our economic interests. ..."
"... At this point an essential qualification is needed. When US politicians and diplomats talk of a foreign policy based on 'values' they do not mean a foreign policy constructed exclusively around the 'values' Tillerson referred to: "freedom, human dignity, and the treatment of people the world over." People in Saudi Arabia or in the occupied Palestinian territories are not the object of US sympathy despite being denied all these things. ..."
"... Rather when US politicians and diplomats talk of a foreign policy based on 'values' they mean one where the US seeks to use these 'values' as leverage to increase its geopolitical influence as part of an ideological mission to entrench its global position. This is the foreign policy that Tillerson appears to be repudiating ..."
"... On Russia, Tillerson said ''there's almost no trust'' between the world's greatest nuclear powers, but that the administration was trying to rebuild trust by looking at one issue at a time. First up is Syria, as Washington and Moscow see if they can get a cease-fire that can hold. ..."
Jul 07, 2017 | www.sott.net

In first address to State Department and before meeting Russian Foreign Minister Lavrov US Secretary of State Tillerson repudiates neocon ideas and supports a 'realist' foreign policy.

US Secretary of State Rex Tillerson, delivering his first address to the staff of the State Department, has set out a vision of US foreign policy which if different would be radically different from anything seen over the last few decades.

Specifically Tillerson turned neocon foreign policy orthodoxy on its head by arguing that a foreign policy based on promoting US 'values' carried the risk of obstructing US national security and economic interests:

In some circumstances, if you condition our national security efforts on someone adopting our values, we probably can't achieve our national security goals. It really creates obstacles to our ability to advance our national security interests, our economic interests.
At this point an essential qualification is needed. When US politicians and diplomats talk of a foreign policy based on 'values' they do not mean a foreign policy constructed exclusively around the 'values' Tillerson referred to: "freedom, human dignity, and the treatment of people the world over." People in Saudi Arabia or in the occupied Palestinian territories are not the object of US sympathy despite being denied all these things.

Rather when US politicians and diplomats talk of a foreign policy based on 'values' they mean one where the US seeks to use these 'values' as leverage to increase its geopolitical influence as part of an ideological mission to entrench its global position. This is the foreign policy that Tillerson appears to be repudiating . Interestingly, in the same speech he is reported to have spoken about the need to work for better relations with Russia, the country that the neocons have cast as the US's primary ideological and geopolitical adversary:

On Russia, Tillerson said ''there's almost no trust'' between the world's greatest nuclear powers, but that the administration was trying to rebuild trust by looking at one issue at a time. First up is Syria, as Washington and Moscow see if they can get a cease-fire that can hold.
It need hardly be said that within Official Washington these ideas are heresy and it is far from certain whether most of the other officials in the Trump administration share them.

The President has however spoken similarly in the past and it seems that for the moment Tillerson has his support.

TIllerson is due to meet with Russian Foreign Minister Lavrov shortly , when he presumably continue to try to put his foreign policy line into action. It will be interesting to see how far he can succeed.

[Jul 02, 2017] Nikki Haley Wants Everyone to Know That She Finally Learned How to Read

Notable quotes:
"... didn't even know how to read? ..."
"... The Scorpion and the Frog ..."
Jul 02, 2017 | russia-insider.com

Nikki Haley is hooked on phonics - and bombing Iran

RI Staff 63 Haley presents book report to UN Security Council

Nikki Haley is widely considered to be the greatest diplomat to have ever lived. But did you know that up until just a few days ago, Nikki Haley didn't even know how to read?

Washington's rookie UN ambassador to the United Nations has been checkmating Russia for months, but last week she finally found the time to finish her first children's story, The Scorpion and the Frog , which tells the tale of two animal companions who are drone-bombed by the US military while attending a wedding in Afghanistan.

As you can probably imagine, Nikki is very proud of her accomplishment and wants to let everyone know that she read a story about animals and really, really enjoyed it.

But recently she's been yapping about frogs and scorpions at totally inappropriate times.

Nikki Haley literally can't stop talking about this dumb pop-up book that she read.

Even when she recites her daily prayers to Moloch at the Security Council, frog tales inevitable get added into the mix:

me title=

But as RT pointed out : "While the allusion might seem novel, it was actually used before in an op-ed by Chaim Shacham for the Miami Herald in 2015, titled 'Iran nuclear pact: Tale of the scorpion and the frog.'"

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https://lockerdome.com/lad/9533801169000550?pubid=ld-1806-5338&pubo=http%3A%2F%2Frussia-insider.com&width=731

That'll do, Nikki. That'll do.

http://www.youtube.com/embed/Wvh5fFeRX5Q?wmode=transparent&jqoemcache=yraHB

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[Jun 30, 2017] White House Encouraged After Elephants Abstain From Climbing Trees

Notable quotes:
"... There are plenty of reasons why the U.S. would want to accuse the Syrian government of using chemical weapons but zero sane reasons for the Syrian government to use such. Russia and Syria have long insisted on sending chemical weapon inspectors to the airbase the Trump administration claims is at the center of its "chemical" fairy tale. The U.S. has held the inspectors back. The claims make thereby zero sense to any objective observer. ..."
"... UN peacekeepers are often an instrument of U.S. foreign policy. By cutting them down the U.S. and Haley are limiting their own political options. The White House "warning", which had to be defused within a day, has a similar effect. People will become less inclined to believe any U.S. claims or to follow up on U.S. demands. Both statements have limited future policy options. ..."
"... So Sayeth Nimrata Randhawa Haley, she who was paid US$110,000 a year as a fundraiser for Lexington Medical Center back in 2008, at a time when the average salary of her peers doing similar work for non-profit organisations of similar size and with similar budgets as her employer was just over US$44,000. Moreover Haley expected to be paid US$125,000 for the work. http://www.myrtlebeachonline.com/latest-news/article16614233.html ..."
"... Something about the way Nikki Haley handled her parents' company Exotica International's finances while she was accountant there is also very fishy, not least the fact that she consistently filed her own tax returns and those of the parents' business late. ..."
"... "I will never apologize for the United States - I don't care what the facts are... I'm not an apologize-for-America kind of guy." Statement as Vice-president, during a presidential campaign function (2 Aug 1988), commenting on the Navy warship USS Vincennes having shot down Iran Air Flight 655 in a commercial air corridor on July 3, killing 290 civilians, as quoted in "Perspectives", the quote of the week section of Newsweek (15 August 1988[1]) p. 15; also quoted in "Rally Round the Flag, Boys" by Michael Kingsley in TIME magazine (12 September 1988). Newsweek cites this phrase as said about the downing of the Iranian airliner to the group of the Republican ethnic leaders ... ..."
"... psychopaths - or the criminally, terminally inattentive - have no regrets. they leave regrets to the rest of the world for their psychopathic / acts of depraved indifference. ..."
"... Adolf Hitler is my conscience - last words of Nazi governer general - Poland ww2 ..."
"... The utter contempt for the public and its level of intelligence is astounding. ..."
"... There are two views that make limited military force seem like a good idea: one is the perceived invincibility of the U.S. military within Versailles and the other is the perception of Russia as the land of Yakov Smirnov. Trump doesn't want a major war. I'll agree, and outside of McCains of the world, no one does. This doesn't mean Trump and his circle aren't under the impression they can skip the back nine and paunch a few cruise missiles to win a limited war. ..."
"... Nikki Hailey wants a few scalps for her future Presidential run just like Hillary with Gaddafi or how Rummy lame Ted the absence of targets in Afghanistan he could run on CNN. ..."
"... Noted lunatic, Fareed Zakaria pronounced Trump as officially the President when he launched cruise missiles against Syria. Thugs look for victims when they need to establish their power. ..."
"... Nikki Haley is one of many "leaders" that were created using Newt Gingrich's "Republican in an Can" kits. These kits were tweaked and perfected by Karl Rove. It is required of the candidate to be completely malleable and to contain no original thoughts. The only skill requirement is that the candidate must be capable of memorizing canned sound bites and patriotic slogans which are to be repeated and used as answers to any and all questions. The candidate must never, ever waver from these sound bites. When they do, they get in trouble. Nikki Haley is a standout, Marco Rubio is another prime example. ..."
"... Yes, I realize that Haley is nominally a "diplomat", so you already covered that territory. But it struck me that the requirements you list apply more generally. As I recently commented elsewhere: beginning a few years ago, watching news videos of Putin helped me see through the Western propaganda profile characterizing Vladimir Putin as a ruthless, utterly self-serving reptilian dictator and ex-KGB thug. I was also impressed by Foreign Minister Sergey Lavrov. Both men comport themselves like authentic, sober professionals, albeit that they still labor under the misapprehension that the West has retained an appreciation of, and (potential) competence in, the indispensable art of diplomacy. ..."
"... The collective Western political mind, possibly due to capitalism-induced dementia, has lost its capacity for understanding and practicing diplomacy. When one abandons an art, it's like abandoning an industry: over time, the basic knowledge and understanding of the craft is lost. ..."
Jun 29, 2017 | www.moonofalabama.org

Trump administration officials are walking back the White House announcement of its plans to fake another "chemical weapon attack" in Syria.

There are plenty of reasons why the U.S. would want to accuse the Syrian government of using chemical weapons but zero sane reasons for the Syrian government to use such. Russia and Syria have long insisted on sending chemical weapon inspectors to the airbase the Trump administration claims is at the center of its "chemical" fairy tale. The U.S. has held the inspectors back. The claims make thereby zero sense to any objective observer.

The walk back, as well as the statement itself, may not be serious at all. This White House seems unpredictable and the U.S. military, the intelligence services and the White House itself have no common view or policy. One day they claim the U.S. will leave Syria after ISIS is defeated, the next day they announce new bases and eternal support for the Syrian Kurds.

The way the White House statement came out, without knowledge of the relevant agencies and little involvement of the agency principals, was not cynical but just dumb . It sounds like the idea was dropped by Natanyahoo to his schoolboy Jared Kushner who then convinced his father in law to issue the crazy statement. Now officials are send out with the worst argument ever to claim that the White House "warning" made sense.

"The elephants did not climb up the trees. Warning them off was successful," they say. "The trees were saved!"

" It appears that they took the warning seriously," Mattis said. "They didn't do it," he told reporters flying with him to Brussels for a meeting of NATO defense ministers.

He offered no evidence other than the fact that an attack had not taken place.

---
" I can tell you that due to the president's actions, we did not see an incident," [U.S. Ambassador to the UN Nikki] Haley told the House Foreign Affairs Committee during a hearing Tuesday.[..]
[...]
"I would like to think that the president saved many innocent men, women and children," Haley continued.

Haley "would like to think" a lot of stuff - unfortunately she is not capable of such. A bit later she issued an egocentric tweet about UN peacekeeping that will surely increase U.S. political standing in the world (not):

I can even agree with Haley that UN peacekeeping has gotten way out of hand. To have UN mandated troops spreading Cholera in Haiti and raping their way through various countries does not help anyone. But the way to end this is to stop handing out mandates for such missions. To (re-)mandate undertrained/underpaid peacekeeping forces in the UN Security Council while cutting the budget for them is irresponsible. It will corrupt the troops and their behavior even more.

UN peacekeepers are often an instrument of U.S. foreign policy. By cutting them down the U.S. and Haley are limiting their own political options. The White House "warning", which had to be defused within a day, has a similar effect. People will become less inclined to believe any U.S. claims or to follow up on U.S. demands. Both statements have limited future policy options.

Will the Trump administration come to regret such moves?

Ghostship | Jun 29, 2017 7:08:52 AM | 12
Jen | Jun 29, 2017 7:46:08 AM | 13 "Just 5 months into our time here, we've cut over half a billion $$$ from the UN peacekeeping budget & we're only getting started."

So Sayeth Nimrata Randhawa Haley, she who was paid US$110,000 a year as a fundraiser for Lexington Medical Center back in 2008, at a time when the average salary of her peers doing similar work for non-profit organisations of similar size and with similar budgets as her employer was just over US$44,000. Moreover Haley expected to be paid US$125,000 for the work. http://www.myrtlebeachonline.com/latest-news/article16614233.html

Something about the way Nikki Haley handled her parents' company Exotica International's finances while she was accountant there is also very fishy, not least the fact that she consistently filed her own tax returns and those of the parents' business late.

https://fredericacade.wordpress.com/2014/02/23/nikki-haley-was-accountant-and-according-to-south-carolina-data-would-suggest-the-family-business-closed-in-2010-reinstatement-in-2011-and-closure-in-2013-involved-paying-back-money-still-owed/

jfl | Jun 29, 2017 4:21:52 AM | 3
b, 'Will the Trump administration come to regret such moves?'

i think this runs along the lines of george xli ...

"I will never apologize for the United States - I don't care what the facts are... I'm not an apologize-for-America kind of guy." Statement as Vice-president, during a presidential campaign function (2 Aug 1988), commenting on the Navy warship USS Vincennes having shot down Iran Air Flight 655 in a commercial air corridor on July 3, killing 290 civilians, as quoted in "Perspectives", the quote of the week section of Newsweek (15 August 1988[1]) p. 15; also quoted in "Rally Round the Flag, Boys" by Michael Kingsley in TIME magazine (12 September 1988). Newsweek cites this phrase as said about the downing of the Iranian airliner to the group of the Republican ethnic leaders ...
... psychopaths - or the criminally, terminally inattentive - have no regrets. they leave regrets to the rest of the world for their psychopathic / acts of depraved indifference.
ashley albanese | Jun 29, 2017 5:15:07 AM | 7
jfl 4

Adolf Hitler is my conscience - last words of Nazi governer general - Poland ww2 .

AtaBrit | Jun 29, 2017 8:27:05 AM | 18
@harrylaw 14

The utter contempt for the public and its level of intelligence is astounding.

Laguerre | Jun 29, 2017 9:04:47 AM | 20
What I said at the end of the last thread seems to me still the probable explanation of what happened, and why there's walking back:
The White House warning to Asad was a sort of official version of a Trump 3 am tweet, wasn't it? He heard about (I won't say read, as it's unlikely) Hersh's article, and got in a rage. He'll show 'em, he's serious. And had Spicer put out the warning, rather than tweeting it - to show he's really, really, serious, and not someone who just tweets at 3 in the morning in a rage.
There never was a serious plan (difficult as though that would be for many commenters here to accept). It was just a blast of rage from Trump. I doubt if Trump wants serious war, even if there are forces trying to push him into it.
Willy2 | Jun 29, 2017 9:06:54 AM | 21
I regard Mrs. Nikki Haley to be a sock puppet of the Trump administration and was chosen because she has no spine/backbone.
- Judging by her previous statements she isn't "the brighest bulb in the chandalier". But that's what the current administration was looking for, right ?
NotTimothyGeithner | Jun 29, 2017 9:42:30 AM | 23
@20 "Home by Christmas" is the problem.

There are two views that make limited military force seem like a good idea: one is the perceived invincibility of the U.S. military within Versailles and the other is the perception of Russia as the land of Yakov Smirnov. Trump doesn't want a major war. I'll agree, and outside of McCains of the world, no one does. This doesn't mean Trump and his circle aren't under the impression they can skip the back nine and paunch a few cruise missiles to win a limited war.

Nikki Hailey wants a few scalps for her future Presidential run just like Hillary with Gaddafi or how Rummy lame Ted the absence of targets in Afghanistan he could run on CNN.

Noted lunatic, Fareed Zakaria pronounced Trump as officially the President when he launched cruise missiles against Syria. Thugs look for victims when they need to establish their power.

Peter AU | Jun 29, 2017 9:42:42 AM | 24
Not a word from either Trump or Tillerson on this bullshit. Looks like Trump has just thrown it out there for whatever reason and left the lackeys to deal with the fallout.
fastfreddy | Jun 29, 2017 10:18:10 AM | 27
Nikki Haley is one of many "leaders" that were created using Newt Gingrich's "Republican in an Can" kits. These kits were tweaked and perfected by Karl Rove. It is required of the candidate to be completely malleable and to contain no original thoughts. The only skill requirement is that the candidate must be capable of memorizing canned sound bites and patriotic slogans which are to be repeated and used as answers to any and all questions. The candidate must never, ever waver from these sound bites. When they do, they get in trouble. Nikki Haley is a standout, Marco Rubio is another prime example.
jfl | Jun 29, 2017 2:02:39 PM | 51

Ort | Jun 29, 2017 2:04:53 PM | 52
@ fastfreddy | 27

Well-stated and worth repeating:

Nikki Haley is one of many "leaders" that were created using Newt Gingrich's "Republican in an Can" kits. These kits were tweaked and perfected by Karl Rove.

It is required of the candidate to be completely malleable and to contain no original thoughts. The only skill requirement is that the candidate must be capable of memorizing canned sound bites and patriotic slogans which are to be repeated and used as answers to any and all questions. The candidate must never, ever waver from these sound bites. When they do, they get in trouble.
______________________________________

I also think it's worth adding that in this century-- especially after 9/11/2001-- the US, and even Western Europe has "created" leaders and official spokespersons using "Statesman in a Can" and "Diplomat in a Can" kits.

Yes, I realize that Haley is nominally a "diplomat", so you already covered that territory. But it struck me that the requirements you list apply more generally. As I recently commented elsewhere: beginning a few years ago, watching news videos of Putin helped me see through the Western propaganda profile characterizing Vladimir Putin as a ruthless, utterly self-serving reptilian dictator and ex-KGB thug. I was also impressed by Foreign Minister Sergey Lavrov. Both men comport themselves like authentic, sober professionals, albeit that they still labor under the misapprehension that the West has retained an appreciation of, and (potential) competence in, the indispensable art of diplomacy.

The collective Western political mind, possibly due to capitalism-induced dementia, has lost its capacity for understanding and practicing diplomacy. When one abandons an art, it's like abandoning an industry: over time, the basic knowledge and understanding of the craft is lost.

It's a bipartisan, or transnational, degeneracy. Whether it's the supposedly "eloquent", "intellectual" Obama and John Kerry, or Trump and Tillerson, (or Macron et al) the Western team looks, sounds, and acts like a troupe of life-sized animatronic puppets programmed to spew tendentious talking points du jour.
______________________________________

The "Statesman/Diplomat in a Can" kit fits right in with my "animatronic puppets" idea; instead of reasonably honest professional diplomats and statesmen, the West prefers talking-point spewing, hollow narcissists.

MadMax2 | Jun 30, 2017 6:28:18 AM | 65
For sure Nikki Haley is mildly retarded, placing her in the 'above average yank' percentile band.

[Apr 15, 2017] SECSTATE TILLERSONS CHIEF OF STAFF MARGARET PETERLIN HAS BEEN MANAGING US CYBER WARFARE OPERATIONS AGAINST RUSSIA FOR YEARS

Notable quotes:
"... Stack, who started with family money he incorporated as the Stack Family Office and diversified into computer engineering and IT technology investments, is a decade younger than Peterlin. Both of them have worked on cyber weaponry for US Government agencies. According to the Wikileaks release last month of the Central Intelligence Agency's (CIA) "Vault 7" files, these weapons include UMBRAGE. ..."
"... The CIA's UMBRAGE operation "collects and maintains a substantial library of attack techniques 'stolen' from malware produced in other states including the Russian Federation. With UMBRAGE and related projects the CIA cannot only increase its total number of attack types but also misdirect attribution by leaving behind the "fingerprints" of the groups that the attack techniques were stolen from. UMBRAGE components cover keyloggers, password collection, webcam capture, data destruction, persistence, privilege escalation, stealth, anti-virus (PSP) avoidance and survey techniques." ..."
"... Reporting on the applications of UMBRAGE lack conclusiveness on whether US Government agents have used UMBRAGE as a "factory for false flag hacking operations" to make the intrusions into the US election campaign, which have subsequently been blamed on Russian cyber operations – blame Tillerson endorsed in his press conference in Moscow yesterday. For that story, read this . ..."
"... According to another report , "it would be possible to leave such fingerprints if the CIA were reusing unique source code written by other actors to intentionally implicate them in CIA hacks, but the published CIA documents don't say this. Instead, they indicate the UMBRAGE group is doing something much less nefarious." ..."
"... What Tillerson knows also is that Peterlin has spent most of her career participating in these operations. Whether or not the CIA's Operation UMBRAGE has been used to manufacture the appearance of Russian hacking in the US elections, Peterlin knows exactly how to do it, and where it's done at the CIA, the Pentagon, and other agencies. Peterlin has also drafted the memoranda so that for Americans to do it, it's legal. And for men like Stack, something to boast about. ..."
Apr 15, 2017 | johnhelmer.net
Peterlin's appointment to run Tillerson's office was announced more authoritatively by the Washington Post on February 12. There her Texas Republican Party credentials were reported in detail, but not her expertise in signals, codes, and cyber warfare.

"Peterlin has a wealth of government and private-sector experience. After distinguished service as a naval officer, she graduated from the University of Chicago Law School and clerked for the U.S. Court of Appeals for the 5th Circuit [Texas and Louisiana]. She then went to work for House Majority Leader Dick Armey [Republican, Texas], just days before the 9/11 attacks. Afterward, she helped negotiate and draft key pieces of national security legislation, including the authorization for the use of force in Afghanistan, the Patriot Act and the legislation that established the Department of Homeland Security. 'She's very substance- and policy-focused. She's not necessarily a political person,' said Brian Gunderson, a State Department chief of staff for Condoleezza Rice who worked with Peterlin in the House [Armey's office]. Following a stint as legislative counsel and national security adviser for then-House Speaker Dennis Hastert, Peterlin moved over to the Commerce Department, where she served as the No. 2 official in the Patent and Trademark Office."

Peterlin's appointment triggered a lawsuit by a group of patent lawyers and investors against the Secretary of Commerce. On July 23, 2007, two months after Peterlin was sworn in, papers filed in the US District Court for the District of Columbia charged that Peterlin's appointment violated the Patent Act of 1999 requiring the Director and Deputy Director of the Patent Office to have "professional experience and background in patent or trademark law." Peterlin, the lawsuit charged, "lack[ed] the requisite professional experience and background." The court was asked to order a replacement for Peterlin "who fulfills those requirements." Six months later, in December 2007 Judge James Robertson dismissed the case on several technicalities. Peterlin's lack of professional skill and alleged incompetence were not tested in court. Peterlin didn't last long in her job and left in 2008. Peterlin's career publications focus on computer and internet surveillance, interception, and espionage. She started with a 1999 essay entitled "The law of information conflict: national security in cyberspace." In December 2001, with two co-authors, she published a paper at the Federalist Society in Washington entitled "The USA Patriot Act and information sharing between the intelligence and law enforcement communities". It can be read in full here .

Peterlin argued "the unalterable need for greater information sharing means that the U.S. no longer has the luxury of simply separating law enforcement and intelligence agencies. Separation is a security risk." Peterlin's conclusion: "Who performs the surveillance may also matter, but the conditions of the performance are of the most critical importance the focus of attention should be principally on the techniques by which intelligence is gathered domestically and not on whether other members of the intelligence community are permitted to view the intelligence gathered as a result of those operations."

After she left the Patent and Trademark Office in 2008, Peterlin became an employee of the Mars family companies with the job title, "technology strategy officer". That lasted six years, before she went into business for herself at a consulting company she called Profectus Global Corporation. There is almost no trace of that entity on the internet ; it appears unrelated to similarly named entities in Hungary and Australia. Peterlin then joined XLP Capital in Boston in November 2015.

Peterlin's appointment as managing director of the firm, according to XLP's press release, reveals that when Peterlin was in the US Navy she was a cyber communications specialist. She was also seconded by the Navy to the White House as a Navy "social aide" when Hillary Clinton was First Lady.

XLP didn't mention that at the time Peterlin was hired, she was also a board member at Draper Labs, the Massachusetts designer, among many things, of US missile guidance systems and the cyber weapons to combat them. According to XLP, one of Peterlin's selling points was "extensive experience with administrative law as well as deep operations exposure to Federal agencies, including the Departments of Homeland Security, Justice, Defense, and Health and Human Services." For deep operations, read cyber warfare.

Before Peterlin joined Tillerson two months ago, her employer at XLP Capital was Matthew Stack (below). In his internet resume Stack reports he is "an accomplished computer hacker and cryptanalyst, and has written and advised on state-run network cyber-warfare policy, and agility-based strategic combat. He was recognized in 2009 by Hackaday as one of the top 10 most influential hardware hackers."

... ... ...
Source: http://www.bloomberg.com/research/stocks/private/person.asp?personId=71987011&privcapId=302978562

At Lambda Prime, Stack claims credit for two cyber warfare projects in 2013 – the practical, "weaponized virtual machines with heterogenous nodes for unpredictable and agile offensive fronts" and the theoretical, "Clausewitz, a modern theory of grand strategy for cyber military forces, and the role of guerilla cyber tactics". The following year Stack hosted his first "Annual Hackathon" - "Hackathoners flew in from all across the United States to inhabit a 27 acre, early 1900s mansion that serves as the Lambda Prime corporate headquarters".

On social media Stack has revealed his involvement in internet hacking operations in Kiev; also which side he was on. "Ominous clouds hang over Kiev's central square, like Russia over its post-Soviet era neighboring Slavic states, " Stack instagrammed to his followers. "The country may be a mess, but Kiev has the fastest internet I've ever clocked – now I know why so many hackers live in Kiev. Thanks to my amazing tour guide @m.verbulya."

Stack, who started with family money he incorporated as the Stack Family Office and diversified into computer engineering and IT technology investments, is a decade younger than Peterlin. Both of them have worked on cyber weaponry for US Government agencies. According to the Wikileaks release last month of the Central Intelligence Agency's (CIA) "Vault 7" files, these weapons include UMBRAGE.

This was developed for the CIA's Remote Devices Branch; the leaked files for the UMBRAGE operations date from 2012 to 2016. The CIA's UMBRAGE operation "collects and maintains a substantial library of attack techniques 'stolen' from malware produced in other states including the Russian Federation. With UMBRAGE and related projects the CIA cannot only increase its total number of attack types but also misdirect attribution by leaving behind the "fingerprints" of the groups that the attack techniques were stolen from. UMBRAGE components cover keyloggers, password collection, webcam capture, data destruction, persistence, privilege escalation, stealth, anti-virus (PSP) avoidance and survey techniques."

Some of the UMBRAGE components date from 2012; most from 2014. A leaked memo dated June 19, 2013, reveals one of the UMBRAGE managers telling others: "As far as Stash organization, I would recommend that you create one larger "Umbrage" project, and then create separate repositories within that project for each component. Then there is one central point on the site for 'all things Umbrage'."

Reporting on the applications of UMBRAGE lack conclusiveness on whether US Government agents have used UMBRAGE as a "factory for false flag hacking operations" to make the intrusions into the US election campaign, which have subsequently been blamed on Russian cyber operations – blame Tillerson endorsed in his press conference in Moscow yesterday. For that story, read this .

According to another report , "it would be possible to leave such fingerprints if the CIA were reusing unique source code written by other actors to intentionally implicate them in CIA hacks, but the published CIA documents don't say this. Instead, they indicate the UMBRAGE group is doing something much less nefarious."

Yesterday Tillerson claimed to make "a distinction when cyber tools are used to interfere with the internal decisions among countries as to how their elections are conducted. That is one use of cyber tools. Cyber tools to disrupt weapons programs – that's another use of the tools." With Peterlin prompting by his side during his meetings with Lavrov and Putin, Tillerson knew this was not a distinction US cyber operations against Russia make.

What Tillerson knows also is that Peterlin has spent most of her career participating in these operations. Whether or not the CIA's Operation UMBRAGE has been used to manufacture the appearance of Russian hacking in the US elections, Peterlin knows exactly how to do it, and where it's done at the CIA, the Pentagon, and other agencies. Peterlin has also drafted the memoranda so that for Americans to do it, it's legal. And for men like Stack, something to boast about.

Peterlin's and Stack's public records are two reasons why none of this is secret from the Russian services. That's another reason why in Moscow yesterday Lavrov would not look at Tillerson during their press conference - and why Putin refused to be photographed with him.

[Apr 07, 2017] Syria The Toxic Meltdown

Notable quotes:
"... Donald Trump – and/or the alphabet soup of US intelligence agencies, with no detailed investigation – are convinced that the Russian Ministry of Defense is simply lying. ..."
"... Russian Defense Ministry spokesman Major-General Igor Konashenkov, stressing "fully objective and verified" information, identified a Syrian Air Force strike launched against a "moderate rebel" warehouse east of the town of Khan Sheikhoun used to both produce and store shells containing toxic gas. ..."
"... Konashenkov added the same chemicals had been used by "rebels" in Aleppo late last year, according to samples collected by Russian military experts. ..."
"... And Western public opinion conveniently forgot that before Barack Obama's theoretically trespassed red line on chemical weapons, a secret US intelligence report had made it clear that Jabhat al-Nusra, a.k.a. al-Qaeda in Syria, had mastered the sarin gas-making cycle and was capable of producing it in quantity. ..."
"... So those toxic weapons that "disappeared" – en masse - from Gaddafi's arsenals in 2011 ended up upgrading al-Qaeda in Syria (not the Islamic Stare/Daesh), re-baptized Jabhat Fatah al-Sham and widely described across the Beltway as "moderate rebels". ..."
"... Trump's ambassador to the UN, Heritage Foundation asset Nikki Haley, predictably went ballistic, monopolizing the whole Western news cycle. Lost in oblivion, also predictably, was Russia's deputy UN ambassador Vladimir Safronkov shattering to bits the West's "obsession with regime change" in Syria, which is "what hinders this Security Council." ..."
"... Idlib Chemical Attack: West Blames Assad Even Before Probe Launched Safronkov stressed the chemical attack in Idlib was based on "falsified reports from the White Helmets", an organization that has been "discredited long ago". Indeed; but now the Helmets are Oscar winners , and this pop culture badge of honor renders them unassailable – not to mention immune to the effects of sarin gas. ..."
"... The dead "children of Syria" are now pawns in a much larger, perverse game. The US government may have killed a million men, women and children in Iraq – and there was no serious outcry among the "elites" across the NATO spectrum. A war criminal still at large admitted , on the record, that the snuffing out, directly and indirectly, of 500,000 Iraqi children was "justified." ..."
"... For his part, Nobel Peace Prize Barack Obama instrumentalized the House of Saud to fund – and weaponize - some 40 outfits "vetted" by the CIA in Syria. Several of these outfits had in fact already merged with, or were absorbed by, Jabhat al-Nusra, now Jabhat Fatah al-Sham. And they all engaged in their own massacres of civilians. ..."
"... The views expressed in this article are solely those of the author and do not necessarily reflect the official position of Sputnik. ..."
Apr 07, 2017 | sputniknews.com
Syria: The Toxic Meltdown © AFP 2017/ Omar haj kadour Columnists 19:29 06.04.2017 Get short URL Pepe Escobar 6 3147 52 0

"These heinous acts by the Assad regime cannot be tolerated." Thus spoke the President of the United States.

Instant translation;

Donald Trump – and/or the alphabet soup of US intelligence agencies, with no detailed investigation – are convinced that the Russian Ministry of Defense is simply lying.

Using Chemical Weapons Against Civilians? Assad 'Would Never Make Such a Crazy Move' That's a pretty serious charge.

Russian Defense Ministry spokesman Major-General Igor Konashenkov, stressing "fully objective and verified" information, identified a Syrian Air Force strike launched against a "moderate rebel" warehouse east of the town of Khan Sheikhoun used to both produce and store shells containing toxic gas.

Konashenkov added the same chemicals had been used by "rebels" in Aleppo late last year, according to samples collected by Russian military experts.

Still, Trump felt compelled to telegraph what is now his own red line in Syria; "Militarily, I don't like to say when I'm going and what I'm doing. I'm not saying I won't do anything one way or another, but I certainly won't be telling you [the media]."

By his side at the White House lawn, the pathetic King Playstation of Jordan praised Trump's "realistic approach to the challenges in the region." This might pass as a Monty Python sketch. Unfortunately, it's reality.

What's at stake in Idlib

Washington 'Knows Damascus Has No Chemical Weapons', But Still Blames Assad Hysteria unleashed – once again -, Western public opinion conveniently forgot that declared chemical weapons held by Damascus had been destroyed way back in 2014 on board of a US maritime vessel, no less, under UN supervision.

And Western public opinion conveniently forgot that before Barack Obama's theoretically trespassed red line on chemical weapons, a secret US intelligence report had made it clear that Jabhat al-Nusra, a.k.a. al-Qaeda in Syria, had mastered the sarin gas-making cycle and was capable of producing it in quantity.

Not to mention that the Obama administration and its allies Turkey, Saudi Arabia and Qatar had made a secret pact in 2012 to set up a sarin gas attack and blame Damascus, setting the scene for a Shock and Awe replay. Funding for the project came from the NATO-GCC connection coupled with a CIA-MI6 connection, a.k.a. rat line , of transferring all manner of weapons from Libya to Salafi-jihadis in Syria.

So those toxic weapons that "disappeared" – en masse - from Gaddafi's arsenals in 2011 ended up upgrading al-Qaeda in Syria (not the Islamic Stare/Daesh), re-baptized Jabhat Fatah al-Sham and widely described across the Beltway as "moderate rebels".

'Red Line' Revisited? What's Behind Trump Accusing Damascus of Reported Chemical Attack in Syria Cornered in Idlib province, these "rebels" are now the top target of the Syrian Arab Army (SAA) and the Russian Air Force. Damascus and Moscow, unlike Washington, are bent on smashing the whole Salafi-jihadi galaxy, not only Daesh. If the SAA continues to advance, and if these "rebels" lose Idlib, it's game over.

So the offensive by Damascus had to be smeared, no holds barred, in full view of global public opinion.

Yet it does not make any sense whatsoever that only two days before another international conference on Syria, and immediately after the White House was forced to admit that "the Syrian people should choose their destiny" and "Assad must go" is over and done with, Damascus should launch a counterproductive gas attack antagonizing the whole NATO universe.

This walks – and talks - more like the tsunami of lies that predated Shock and Awe on Iraq in 2003, and certainly walks and talks like the renewed turbo-charging of an "al-CIAda" campaign. Jabhat al-Nusra never ceased to be the CIA's babies in the preferred Syrian regime change scenario.

Your kids are not toxic enough

Trump's ambassador to the UN, Heritage Foundation asset Nikki Haley, predictably went ballistic, monopolizing the whole Western news cycle. Lost in oblivion, also predictably, was Russia's deputy UN ambassador Vladimir Safronkov shattering to bits the West's "obsession with regime change" in Syria, which is "what hinders this Security Council."

Idlib Chemical Attack: West Blames Assad Even Before Probe Launched Safronkov stressed the chemical attack in Idlib was based on "falsified reports from the White Helmets", an organization that has been "discredited long ago". Indeed; but now the Helmets are Oscar winners , and this pop culture badge of honor renders them unassailable – not to mention immune to the effects of sarin gas.

Whatever Trump and the Pentagon may eventually come up with an independent US intel analyst, averse to groupthink, is adamant; "Any air attack on Syria would require coordination with Russia, and Russia will not allow any air attack against Assad to take place. Russia has the defensive missiles there that can block the attack. This will be negotiated out. There will be no attack as an attack can precipitate a nuclear war."

The dead "children of Syria" are now pawns in a much larger, perverse game. The US government may have killed a million men, women and children in Iraq – and there was no serious outcry among the "elites" across the NATO spectrum. A war criminal still at large admitted , on the record, that the snuffing out, directly and indirectly, of 500,000 Iraqi children was "justified."

For his part, Nobel Peace Prize Barack Obama instrumentalized the House of Saud to fund – and weaponize - some 40 outfits "vetted" by the CIA in Syria. Several of these outfits had in fact already merged with, or were absorbed by, Jabhat al-Nusra, now Jabhat Fatah al-Sham. And they all engaged in their own massacres of civilians.

Meanwhile, the UK keeps merrily weaponizing the House of Saud in its quest to reduce Yemen to a vast famine wasteland pinpointed by "collateral damage" graveyards. The NATO spectrum is certainly not crying for those dead Yemeni children. They are not toxic enough.

The views expressed in this article are solely those of the author and do not necessarily reflect the official position of Sputnik.

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