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War Breaks Out Between Neo-Cons And Libertarians Over Trump's Foreign Policy

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In late October, when it was still conventional wisdom that Hillary was "guaranteed" to win the presidency, the WaPo explained that among the neo-con, foreign policy "elites" of the Pentagon, a feeling of calm content had spread: after all, it was just a matter of time before the "pacifist" Obama was out, replaced by the more hawkish Hillary.

As the WaPo reported, "there is one corner of Washington where Donald Trump’s scorched-earth presidential campaign is treated as a mere distraction and where bipartisanship reigns. In the rarefied world of the Washington foreign policy establishment, President Obama’s departure from the White House — and the possible return of a more conventional and hawkish Hillary Clinton — is being met with quiet relief."
The Republicans and Democrats who make up the foreign policy elite are laying the groundwork for a more assertive American foreign policy via a flurry of reports shaped by officials who are likely to play senior roles in a potential Clinton White House.
Oops.
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Those Damn Emails

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In the end, the emails mattered. How much they mattered — how many votes went to Trump, how many would be-Clinton supporters stayed home, how many voted third party — we’ll never know.

Clinton supporters were surprised the emails mattered at all, because they had been fed a regular and often fully-factually wrong diet by the majority of the media. There was some good reporting on what the emails meant, and how classification works, but it was almost all on right-of-center websites Clinton people did not read, and blithely dismissed as biased when the sites were brought to their attention. And yeah, sometimes things got a bit too partisan in tone, but the facts were also there.

After holding a security clearance for some 23 years, I tried, for some 18 months, to write as intelligently as I could about the damn emails. I tried to explain, in detail, what the whole thing meant, and that it was a significant problem for Clinton. Not bragging, just telling. If you’d like to read back through what I’ve had to say and judge yourself, here it is.
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The Russians are Coming – By Sea!

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Russia’s dispatch of a ten-ship flotilla to the Syrian Coast has raised some outrage and sneers aplenty in the West. Particularly when one of its embarked MiG-29K fighters crashed on takeoff from Russia’s sole carrier, the obsolescent Admiral Kuznetsov which lacks catapults.

Joining Kuznetsov are believed to be two ‘Akula’ class nuclear-powered attack submarines that are much feared by Western navies. On the surface will be the powerful, missile-armed battle-cruiser, ‘Peter the Great.’ Unlike Western warships, which are essentially fragile tin cans packed with electronics, `Peter the Great’ is armored and built to withstand punishment.

Other Russian missile frigates and supply ships are also off Syria.

Washington just hates it when the Russians dare do what the US has been doing since World War II: conduct gunboat diplomacy, however limited.
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Donald and Vladimir

Are we seeing an opening to better US/Russia relations? One of president-elect Donald Trump's first moves after victory was a telephone conversation with Russian president Vladimir Putin. But turning away from the past several years of deteriorating relations will not be an easy task even if the incoming president makes it a priority. The Trump/Putin call sent shockwaves through Capitol Hill, with certain Senators warning the incoming president against further moves toward rapprochement. What's next? RPI's Daniel McAdams joins Crosstalk to give his views...
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Memo To Congress: Bring Back Earmarks!

One of the essential battles in the effort to move toward a more peaceful and prosperous United States is the effort to restore the proper balance among the three branches of our government. The rapid concentration of power in the Executive Branch has led to more wars with less Congressional oversight, trampling of our civil liberties with no resistance from our Representatives, and out of control military spending. Contrary to what many people believe, the Congressional ability to earmark spending to specific projects was an important function of the Legislative Branch. When earmarks were abolished, spending did not decrease. It was just hidden. We discuss the need for their return in today's Liberty Report...
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The Best Iran Deal Is Unilateral Hands-Off Iran

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Trump wants to renegotiate the Iran nuclear deal and/or “dismantle” it. Why? What good does this do Americans? Why not continue to follow the path of peaceful trade and cultural exchange? Why not continue to build mutual respect and understanding with this historic nation with its rich culture and peace-loving people?

It was wrong to have imposed crippling sanctions on Iran. It was wrong to have treated Iran as an enemy. That only creates an enemy. It was right to have removed those sanctions. It is wrong to commit America against Iran because of Iran’s frictions with Israel. America should not be the protector of Israel. America should not be protecting NATO countries either or Taiwan or South Korea or Japan. If government has any basic purpose, it is to protect the rights and persons under its charge. This doesn’t include protecting foreign nations or attempting to create a safe world everywhere on the faulty theory that this makes America safe.

Trump wants to pressure Iran further on its nuclear activities. That’s why he wants to renegotiate. He assumes that the US has a right to control Iran’s defense and military position; but the US has no such right. Trump cannot renegotiate without either threatening to reimpose sanctions or actually doing it again.
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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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