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For A Libertarian Foreign Policy: Five Key Fixes

We are often asked, when criticizing the foreign policy of the past several Administrations, "oh yeah, what would you do?" Well we decided to come up with five specific fixes to the prevailing foreign policy that we believe would make a huge difference and would move us much closer to a foreign policy of peace and prosperity. Our top five today on the Liberty Report...
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Trump and Putin Begin Work on US-Russia Reset

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The Russian President Vladimir Putin made the long-expected phone call to the US president-elect Donald Trump on Monday.

It stands to reason that the presidential spokesman in the Kremlin, Dmitry Peskov, one of Putin’s closest aides, travelled to New York last week ostensibly to attend a world chess event, but principally to prepare the ground for the phone conversation on Monday.

The agenda of such Russian-American conversations is usually agreed upon beforehand. The Kremlin readout (and the brief statement by Trump’s transition team in New York) gave a positive account of the phone conversation.

From available details, it was a substantive conversation, which focused on reviving the Russian-American relationship, and, most important, also took up the Syrian conflict in some detail, including “issues related to solving the crisis”.
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The Bolton Threat to Trump’s Middle East Policy

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Post-election comments on Middle East policy last week by President-elect Donald Trump and one his campaign advisers have provoked speculation about whether Trump will upend two main foreign policy lines of the Obama administration in the Middle East.

But the more decisive question about the future of US policy toward the region is whom Trump will pick for his national security team – and especially whether he will nominate John Bolton to become Secretary of State. 

Bolton, one of the most notorious members of Dick Cheney’s team plotting wars in the George W. Bush administration, would certainly push for the effective nullification of the main political barrier to US confrontation with Iran: the 2015 multilateral nuclear deal.
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China And Middle East Hot Spots: Diplomacy Or Militarism?

Both the Middle East and the South China Sea area are hot spots that can potentially lead to major wars. Will the US and Russia clash over Syria policy? What about the US and China at odds over China's reclaimed islands off their coast? As a new US Administration readies itself to tackle some of these issues, today's Liberty Report speaks with distinguished US diplomat, Ambassador Charles Freeman, to see what we might expect. Will the neocons keep the administration on a bellicose and militaristic approach to the rest of the world, or will real diplomacy be given a chance?
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US Elections Shockwaves Hit Europe

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Donald Trump’s startling and explosive victory has not only shaken America’s oligarchy to its core, it’s also sending shock waves across Europe and scaring the top hats off plutocrats and their tame politicians.

The great Mark Twain wrote early in the 20th century: ‘if you don’t read newspapers you are uninformed. But if you do read them, you are misinformed.’ Amen.

As with the 2003 war against Iraq, the US media totally dropped its mask of phony impartiality and became a cheerleader for the Clintons and their financial backers.

Media was clearly revealed as a propaganda organ for the ruling elite. No wonder its disgusted clients are decamping to online sources or just ignoring the biased media.

Amazingly, working class men and women rose up and overthrew the oligarchy, led by the corporate media and the self-enriching, war-promoting Clinton dynasty and its Davos friends. There was plenty of anguish among leftist groups and weepy young women, but America breathed a gigantic sigh of relief.
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Assad Must Stay: US Policy Shift In Syria?

According to the Washington Post, President Obama did a 180 degree turn in Syria and will begin attacking al-Qaeda's affiliate in the country. The five year "Assad must go" strategy lies in tatters, as Assad will likely still be in power when it's time for Obama to go. What are the implications of this shift? We discuss on today's Liberty Report
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Bulgaria & Moldova Switch from Hillary's Euro-Atlantic Column

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November 13th was as unlucky for stalwart backers of the foreign policy-line embodied by Hillary Clinton just as 8th November was for her domestic supporters. In both Bulgaria and Moldova, the voters rejected candidates for president who had been openly endorsed by Washington and Brussels. Having witnessed how small states with tiny electorates but vital Electoral College votes dealt body-blows to Hillary Clinton's hopes of winning the US Presidency, it would be short-sighted and arrogant - as the Euro-Atlantic establishment has so often been - to dismiss voters in small East European states as irrelevant.

Having presumed that Bulgaria was irretrievably anchored in the Euro-Atlantic power-structure by its accession to both NATO and the EU, the choice of an openly pro-Russian candidate for president of the country is a wake-up call to Brussels and Washington. Similarly, the Moldovan elite had seemed locked into an "irreversible" course as its premier put it to integration - better said subordination - to the Euro-Atlantic model. In both cases, the majority of citizens thought different. 

Until the implosion of the neo-con regime-change foreign policy embodied by Hillary Clinton and her attack-dog for Eastern Europe, Victoria Neuland, we could have been confident that the heavy-hands of Washington and Brussels would have pressured both Bulgaria and Moldova to reverse such results. Yet even cash inducements like the IMF's sudden dole of US$36 million to the Moldovan regime just six days before the poll could not buy enough support . Even more striking was the Bulgarian public's rejection of the pro-EU candidate who had boasted about how much EU aid to the poverty- stricken Balkan EU member was at stake.
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Memo to the Next Administration: Defense Spending Must Be For Actual Defense

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In a disturbing indication of how difficult it would be to bring military spending in line with actual threats overseas, House Armed Services Chairman Rep. Mac Thornberry (R – TX) told President Obama last week that his war funding request of $11.6 billion for the rest of the year was far too low. That figure for the last two months of 2016 is larger than Spain’s budget for the entire year! And this is just a “war-fighting” supplemental, not actual “defense” spending! More US troops are being sent to Iraq, Syria, Afghanistan, and elsewhere and the supplemental request is a way to pay for them without falling afoul of the “sequestration” limits.

The question is whether this increase in US military activity and spending overseas actually keeps us safer, or whether it simply keeps the deep state and the military-industrial complex alive and well-funded.
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Long Live the Establishment!

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What happens next in Washington? Trump fills out his administration. At the same time, Washington insiders attempt to capture Trump and influence his positions, policies and decisions. The presidency is an institution, not a man, not a president. The presidency is a network of enormous power with Trump now at its center. Washington insiders who live and breathe politics are now in a race for positions of power and influence. They hanker and vie for appointments. Trump must make appointments. He cannot operate alone. He must delegate power to make decisions. He cannot monitor all information pertinent to every issue in which the government has a hand. 

The presidency is not 100 percent centralized. Decision-making power is allocated to levels below the president himself and to levels surrounding him. It also lies outside the presidency in Congress. Trump has his ideas and desires for actions, but their realization depends on the people he appoints. He loses control and locks himself in with every appointment that he makes. People around him want his power and want to influence him. They have a heavy influence on what he hears, whom he sees, the options presented to him, and the evaluations of competing personnel. Trump will likely form a very small team of offshoots of himself, people whom he trusts implicitly, in order to extend his capacity to choose people who will adhere to and execute his agenda.

Power in Washington is not simply the apparatus of administering the presidency that will take up headlines for the next few months. After the U.S. Treasury robs the tax-paying Americans, new robbers (the Lobby) appear to rob the Treasury using every device they can get away with. There is a second contingent, the power-seekers. Those who covet the exercise of power unceasingly work toward their own narrow aims. As long as Washington remains the place that concentrates unbelievably large amounts of money and powers, it will remain the swamp that Trump has promised to drain but won’t.
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Commander-In-Chief Donald Trump Will Have Terrifying Powers. Thanks, Obama.

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When Donald Trump becomes commander in chief in January, he will take on presidential powers that have never been more expansive and unchecked.

He’ll control an unaccountable drone program, and the prison at Guantanamo Bay. His FBI, including a network of 15,000 paid informants, already has a record of spying on mosques and activists, and his NSA’s surveillance empire is ubiquitous and governed by arcane rules, most of which remain secret. He will inherit bombing campaigns in seven Muslim countries, the de facto ability to declare war unilaterally, and a massive nuclear arsenal — much of which is on hair-trigger alert.

Caught off guard by Hillary Clinton’s election defeat, Democrats who defended these powers under President Obama may suddenly be having second thoughts as the White House gets handed over to a man they described — with good reason — as “unhinged,” and “dangerously unfit.”

In the years after the 9/11 terror attacks, Vice President Dick Cheney and his legal adviser David Addington dramatically expanded the powers of the presidency, asserting the unilateral right in wartime to ignore legal limits on things like torture and government eavesdropping. Congressional Democrats generally caved, but made a few efforts to push back.

The Democrats went silent on executive overreach when Obama was elected, however.
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