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Scott Ritter

Romantic Republicans seeking a return to Cold War aggression are deluded – no-one values America’s tarnished values anymore

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Right-wing members of Congress have issued a report calling for the US to move to defend itself against a reimagined global threat. But it ignores the fact that, after George Floyd, America’s world standing is irreparably damaged.

A new document published by the Republican Study Committee (RSC), an adjunct of the conservative caucus of House Republicans and a self-described “leading influencer on the Right,” proposes a policy roadmap to reassert American global leadership by flexing US military and economic muscle in confronting a myriad of reimagined threats.

It offers a long list of possible actions against “America’s most aggressive global adversaries” such as China, Russia and Iran, including the “toughest sanctions ever proposed.”

Whether labeling China as “America’s top threat” or revalidating a previous observation made by former Secretary of Defense James Mattis of Russia being “the principal threat” to the US, this document, entitled Strengthening America & Countering Global Threats, paints a disturbing picture of a fortress America surrounded by a sea of enemies.
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New Putin-Erdogan Deal is Sugar-Coating the Turks’ Surrender

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This week’s meeting between Presidents Putin and Erdogan in Moscow was cast as preventing a war between Russia and Turkey in Syria. War, however, was never on the horizon. Putin called Erdogan’s bluff, and the Turk folded.

Russian President Vladimir Putin and Turkish President Recep Erdogan, accompanied by their respective senior national security advisers, met in Moscow on March 5. The purpose of this emergency summit was to negotiate the terms of a ceasefire that would bring an end to heavy fighting in Syria’s Idlib province that threatened to draw their two nations into direct military conflict. After more than six hours of meeting, a new agreement, packaged as an “additional protocol” to the “Memorandum on Stabilization of the Situation in the De-escalation Area as of September 17, 2018” (better known as the “Sochi Agreement”), was agreed to by both parties.

A sputtering offensive

Over the course of a week, from February 27 through March 5, Syria’s Idlib province transitioned from being ground zero for a war between the Syrian army and allied forces, and heavily armed groups opposed to the rule of Syrian President Bashar Assad, into a geopolitical powder keg that threatened to pull the Turkish and Russian militaries into direct conflict with one another. On March 1, Turkey, following up on threats previously made by President Erdogan to drive the Syrian Army and its allies back to the line of demarcation set forth in the original Sochi Agreement, unleashed a major offensive, dubbed “Operation Spring Shield” and involving thousands of Turkish troops fighting alongside anti-Assad formations.
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Step to Nuclear Doomsday: US Puts Low-Yield Nukes on Submarines in Response to Made-up Russian ‘Escalate to Deescalate’ Strategy

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The US has deployed “low-yield” nuclear missiles on submarines, saying it’s to discourage nuclear conflict with Russia. The move is based on a “Russian strategy” made up in Washington and will only bring mass annihilation closer.

In a statement released earlier this week, US Under Secretary of Defense for Policy John Rood announced that “the US Navy has fielded the W76-2 low-yield submarine launched ballistic missile (SLBM) warhead.” This new operational capability, Rood declared, “demonstrates to potential adversaries that there is no advantage to limited nuclear employment because the United States can credibly and decisively respond to any threat scenario.”

The threat underpinning justification for this new US nuclear deterrent had its roots in testimony delivered to the House Armed Services Committee in June 2015 by US Deputy Secretary of Defense Robert Work, who declared that “Russian military doctrine includes what some have called an ‘escalate to deescalate strategy’ – a strategy that purportedly seeks to deescalate a conventional conflict through coercive threats, including limited nuclear use.”

However, any review of actual Russian nuclear doctrine would have shown this to be a false premise. Provision 27 of the 2014 edition of ‘Russian Military Doctrine’ states that Russia “shall reserve the right to use nuclear weapons in response to the use of nuclear and other types of weapons of mass destruction against it and/or its allies, as well as in the event of aggression against the Russian Federation with the use of conventional weapons when the very existence of the state is in jeopardy. The decision to use nuclear weapons shall be taken by the President of the Russian Federation.”
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Allies warn Trump that ISIS is on the rise again. But it’s precisely because of America that Islamic State will never be defeated

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Donald Trump once bragged about the total demolition of Islamic State. Today, thanks to his and previous presidents’ policies, IS is making a dangerous comeback. Now, even staunch American supporters are ringing alarm bells.

King Abdullah’s concern 

In a stark warning, Jordan’s King Abdullah told French reporters that Islamic State (IS, formerly ISIS) is regrouping and is on the rise in the Middle East. The reason for this resurgence is simple: the manifestation of the political division that exists in Syria and Iraq brought on by the US-led effort to push back on Iranian influence in the region. This division has led to the collapse of the US military position in northeastern Syria brought on by last year’s military incursion by Turkey, and the recent cessation of US-led anti-IS operations in Iraq in the aftermath of the fallout from the US assassination of Qassem Soleimani, the Iranian military commander who orchestrated Iran’s anti-IS efforts in Iraq and Syria. 

This is a far cry from February 2019, when President Trump announced that the US had defeated “100 percent” of the physical territory once held by Islamic State in Iraq and Syria.
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Iran didn’t want to kill US troops with its strike, it wanted to make point to Trump about its missile tech & resolve. It did that.

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Iran’s anticipated retaliation for the US assassination of Qassem Suleimani sent a clear signal to Donald Trump that while the current round of violence may be over, Iran stands ready to respond to any future US provocation.

Tehran warned Iraq to spare US soldiers

On Tuesday night, the Iranian nation buried the body of Qassem Soleimani, the charismatic senior Islamic Revolutionary Guard Corps (IRGC) officer assassinated by the US this past week. In the early hours of Wednesday morning, that task completed, Soleimani’s IRGC comrades, acting on the orders of Iran’s Supreme Leader, Ali Khamenei, launched some 22 ballistic missiles from Iranian territory into neighboring Iraq, targeting the huge US air base at Al Assad, in western Iraq, and the US consulate in the city of Erbil, in Iraqi Kurdistan.

In the hours following the announcement of these attacks, which were broadcast on Iranian television for the Iranian people, the world held its breath, waiting for the results. Shortly after the missiles were launched, Iran signaled its desire for a diplomatic resolution to the crisis through a tweet sent out by its Foreign Minister, Javad Zarif, who described the attacks as “proportionate measures in self-defense under Article 51 of UN Charter.” Zarif concluded by noting that “We do not seek escalation or war, but will defend ourselves against any aggression.”
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