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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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Trump's First Terror Arrest: A Broke Stoner The FBI Threatened at Knifepoint

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The Department of Justice proudly announced the first FBI terror arrest of the the Trump administration on Tuesday: An elaborate sting operation that snared a 25-year old Missouri man who had no terrorism contacts besides the two undercover FBI agents who paid him to buy hardware supplies they said was for a bomb — and who at one point pulled a knife on him and threatened his family.

Robert Lorenzo Hester of Columbia, Missouri, didn’t have the $20 he needed to buy the 9-volt batteries, duct tape, and roofing nails his new FBI friends wanted him to get, so they gave him the money. The agents noted in acriminal complaint that Hester, who at one point brought his two small children to a meeting because he didn’t have child care, continued smoking marijuana despite professing to be a devout Muslim.

One of the social media posts that initially caught the FBI’s attention referred to a group called “The Lion Guard”. Hester told one of the undercover agents the name came from “a cartoon my children watch.”

But according to the DOJ press release, Hester had plans to conduct an “ISIS-sponsored terrorist attack” on President’s Day that would have resulted in mass casualties had it succeeded.

News reports breathlessly echoed the government’s depiction of Hester as a foiled would-be terrorist. But the only contact Hester had with ISIS was with the two undercover agents who suggested to him that they had connections with the group. The agents, who were in contact with him for five months, provided him with money and rides home from work as he dealt with the personal fallout of an unrelated arrest stemming from an altercation at a local grocery store.
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The Sacrifice of Tulsi Gabbard

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The media continues to be an increasingly petty, insecure clique as it mimetically parrots its own echo chamber talking points against any person who challenges their preferred leftist-corporatist brand of state hegemony. Think of political ideologies like denominations of a religion. They agree on fundamental dogma, that the statist form of governance is self-evident and unquestioned in its necessity. But not all denominations are equally powerful and entrenched.

The politically correct leftist denomination of the state continues to be the entrenched institutional religion of the state. Fortune 500 companies, Hollywood, music, academia, and the vast majority of media corporations continue to speak its credo and police its doctrinal purity across their platforms. They do this policing in the guise of victimism: they alone are the guardians of truth and they alone protect victims with it.

Except they don’t. A perfect example of this is what the media continues to do with Democratic Congresswoman from Hawaii Tulsi Gabbard. An independent thinking veteran and advocate for peace, she continues to be shunned by an envious leftist establishment.

She recently visited Syria to see the people on the ground and speak with Syrian leaders including the hegemonic leftist media’s new Hussein, I mean Gaddafi, I mean Bashar Assad. Any media parrot you read or hear on TV will always dutifully use the marketing term “butcher” to preface his name. That’s how vapid their reporting is. Of course, Assad is guilty of very violent things. But so are the terrorists our government created to initiate a coup in Syria.
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CIA Weapons Pause In Syria - Are We Backing Off...Or Escalating?

For the past couple of weeks the CIA weapons smuggling operation to Syrian rebels has been on hold, according to press reports. Does this mean Trump's sensible "we don't know who these people are" statement during the campaign has become policy? We hope that is the case. However, the current Commander of the US Central Command said recently that Washington may be sending regular units of the US military into Syria, which would be a significant escalation. Which is it going to be: wisdom or folly? We discuss in today's Liberty Report...
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