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Trump’s 'Obsolete NATO' Means Europe Paying for US Militarism

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When US President Donald Trump dismisses the NATO alliance as “obsolete” what he really means is not withdrawing from the military pact, but rather offloading running costs onto European nations.

Several times during his election campaign, Trump sounded contemptuous about the 28-member North Atlantic Treaty Organization. His comments about it being “obsolete” raised hopes in certain quarters that the 45th president would scale back American military participation in NATO as part of a wider move to reduce US belligerence.

When Trump gave his inauguration speech on January 20, the thrust of his “America First” theme appeared to be a new focus on building US society and infrastructure, as opposed to squandering resources by intervening militarily around the world as under previous administrations.

Trump’s oft-stated desire to restore friendly relations with Russia also seemed in keeping with his apparently jaundiced view of NATO. The eastward expansion of the military alliance since the 1990s has been a continual provocation to Moscow. When Trump called the pact “obsolete” that suggested willingness for a new US-Russia detente.
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A Troubled CIA Analyst Finds Jesus (and the devil is spelled T-R-U-M-P)

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Last Monday The Washington Post featured an op-ed by one Edward Price entitled “I didn’t think I’d ever leave the CIA. But because of Trump, I quit.” I must admit that it was refreshing at first to read something in The Post that did not rush to blame BOTHTrump and Vladimir Putin for everything going wrong in the world but, not to worry, evil Russia was indeed cited a bit farther along in the narrative.

Edward “Ned” Price is a likely lad. He has a nice intense look, clean cut, neat tie, good credentials with a degree in international relations from an unidentified college. He decided on a CIA career fifteen years ago and “work[ed] proudly for Republican and Democratic presidents…” Perhaps not temperamentally cut out to be an operations officer or spy, he claims that “as an analyst…[he] became an expert in terrorist groups and traveled the world to help deter and disrupt attacks.”

Price reports that he was quite happy in his work, because both the Bush and Obama administrations “took the CIA’s input seriously.” He was seconded to the White House in 2014 and pats himself on the back for “having [his] analysis presented to the president and seeing it shape events.”

But that was before the wheels came off the car. Per Price, “I watched in disbelief when, during the third presidential debate, Trump casually cast doubt on the high-confidence conclusion of our 17 intelligence agencies, released that month, that Russia was behind the hacking and release of election-related emails.”
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What's Going On In Djibouti? US/China Face-off in Africa

The sole permanent US military base in Africa is getting a new neighbor. It's the Chinese, who are building their first military base outside of Chinese territory. The Chinese are the largest investors in Africa and have been heavily involved in anti-piracy efforts near Djibouti, where the bases will be a few miles from each other. The neocons will point to this development as an example of how the US must be even more forwardly deployed to block Chinese expansion, but a more likely explanation is that the Chinese move is in response to repeated US destabilization moves in the region, including the war in Yemen, the war on Libya, and elsewhere. But will the new neighbors get along? We discuss in today's Liberty Report...
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War And Peace In The Age Of Trump

A month into the new Trump Administration has been a mixed bag when it comes to foreign policy. On the one hand, the President has reiterated his desire to get along with Russia even with all the shrieking of neocon disapproval. On the other hand, neocons have infiltrated and continue to infiltrate his Administration. In today's Liberty Report we are joined by Lew Rockwell to take a look at War and Peace in the Age of Trump -- and introduce an exciting joint Mises Institute/Ron Paul Institute symposium on the topic!
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Trump and Haley's Uncoordinated and Contradictory Syria Paths

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Trump has stated in no uncertain terms that he’s against ISIS. He’s awaiting a military review due on Feb. 28 that provides him with options. In addition:
’The president has been very clear that he’s going to work with any country that shares our interest in defeating Isis,’ White House Press Secretary Sean Spicer said on Monday, in his first daily press briefing.
This includes Russia and Syria. Syria’s president in response said that he’d be willing to work with the US to rid Syria of terrorists, but that his government would need to invite such cooperation. Syria has invited Russia but not the US as of now.

Syria’s military continues to defeat the terrorists of all stripes.

Given these facts, it is singularly inappropriate that Trump’s UN ambassador, Nikki Haley, should launch an attack on Syria on chemical weapons grounds and introduce a resolution that Russia will veto. Trump and Haley do not appear to be coordinating their actions.

There is no need at all for the US to escalate its military forces in Syria beyond what Obama has already placed there. That’s because Syria is winning. There is no need for Trump-styled safe zones or any other variety of US engineered safe zones of any description. Syria is resolving the matter of refugees by defeating the terrorists.
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On Military and Spending, It’s Trump Versus Trump

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It can be a challenge to follow the pronouncements of President Trump, as he often seems to change his position on any number of items from week to week, or from day to day, or even from minute to minute. Consider his speech last week at the Conservative Political Action Conference (CPAC). It was reported as “fiery” and “blistering,” but it was also full of contradictions.

In the speech, President Trump correctly pointed out that the last 15 years of US military action in the Middle East has been an almost incomprehensible waste of money – six trillion dollars, he said – and that after all that US war and meddling the region was actually in worse shape than before we started.
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Sleepwalking Into a Nuclear Arms Race with Russia

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The Nuclear Question is becoming increasingly obfuscated by spin and lobbying as the West sleepwalks into Cold War II — a walk made all the more dangerous when the loose lips of the US tweeter-in-chief announced that another nuclear arms race is a great idea (see linklink,link). Two Cold War II issues are central and almost never addressed: What will be the Russians' understanding of all the propaganda surrounding the Nuclear Question and the looming American defense spendup? And how might they act on this understanding? 

Background

Barack Obama first outlined his vision for nuclear disarmament in a speech in Prague on 5 April 2009, less than three months after becoming President. This speech became the basis for what eventually became the New Start nuclear arms limitation treaty. But Mr. Obama also opened the door for the modernization of our nuclear forces with this pregnant statement:
“To put an end to Cold War thinking, we will reduce the role of nuclear weapons in our national security strategy, and urge others to do the same. Make no mistake: As long as these weapons exist, the United States will maintain a safe, secure and effective arsenal to deter any adversary, and guarantee that defense to our allies –- including the Czech Republic.”
Why call for nuclear disarmament while opening the door to nuclear rearmament? 

Obama’s speech paved the way to his Nobel Peace Prize in October 2009, but he was also trying to manipulate the domestic politics of the Military - Industrial - Congressional Complex (MICC). By 15 December 2009, 41 Senators sent a letter to President Obama saying that further reductions of the nuclear arsenal would be acceptable only if accompanied by "a significant program to modernize our nuclear deterrent."

Viewed in retrospect, it is clear that the new President — either naively or cynically — acquiesced to that senatorial spending demand in ord
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Ron Paul Rewind: Discussing Foreign Policy with Alan Colmes

Radio and television talk show host Alan Colmes, who died on Thursday, interviewed Ron Paul several times over the years. Colmes’ interviews with Paul were always interesting, in large part due the research, thoughtfulness, and intelligence Colmes could be counted on to demonstrate in his questions and comments. Watch here Colmes interview Paul in 2015 regarding foreign policy and Paul’s book Swords into Plowshares: A Life in Wartime and a Future of Peace and Prosperity...
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The Futility and Corruption of the Drug War

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I just finished watching the much-acclaimed series “Narcos” on Netflix. What a fantastic program. And what an excellent depiction of the futility and corruption of the war on drugs.

The series is a true-life account of Pablo Escobar, a Colombian drug lord who headed up the Medellin drug cartel, a black-market drug group that smuggled hundreds of tons of cocaine into the United States in the 1970s and 1980s. Smuggling an estimated 80 percent of the cocaine into the United States, Escobar became known as the “King of Cocaine,” attaining in the process a net worth of $30 billion by the early 1990s. According to Wikipedia, Escobar was the wealthiest criminal in history.

Amidst much acclaim and publicity, the U.S. government and the Colombian government, working together, targeted Escobar with arrest or killing. Escobar retaliated by effectively declaring war on the government, a war that consisted of assassinations and bombings. Every time the DEA (which was operating in Colombia, along with the U.S. military and the CIA) and Colombian officials tightened the noose on Escobar’s operation, Escobar responded with bullets and bombs, killing a multitude of government officials and private citizens.

The logic of the drug-war crackdown was clear: By eradicating Escobar, officials thought they would be eradicating 80 percent of the cocaine being shipped into the United States. So, all the death and destruction resulting from the crackdown on Escobar was considered worth it in the long run.
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Shock Poll: Is Russia Friend Or Foe?

According to a recent NBC News poll, two-thirds of Americans are worried about a major war breaking out, and while among all respondents Russia is considered a foe, young people by a near three-fourth's majority do not believe Russia to be a foe. The propaganda of the mainstream media has less of an effect on younger Americans, who have tuned out network news. What does this mean for the pro-peace movement? It's good news, as we discuss in the Liberty Report...
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