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In Foreign Affairs, Not Doing Anything Is The Thing To Do

Stop

The heartbreaking violence in the Middle East, Ukraine, and elsewhere carries many messages, but here’s one Americans shouldn’t miss: The United States — no matter who the president is — cannot manage world conflict. The corollary is that when a president tries to manage it, things will usually get worse. Foresight is always defective, and tragic unintended consequences will prevail.

The foreign-policy “experts” in both major political parties, and the intelligentsia generally, think otherwise. No matter who holds power, we can expect the opposition to complain that the chief executive poorly anticipated and thus improperly responded to world events.

If this charge weren’t so ominous, it would be comical to hear Republicans berating Barack Obama for failing to be “proactive,” for repeatedly being caught by surprise, and for not exerting “American leadership” to keep the world’s hot spots under control and, most important, in harmony with “American interests.”
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The Absurd, Bureaucratic Hell That Is the American Police State

Police Tank

Whether it’s the working mother arrested for letting her 9-year-old play unsupervised at a playground, the teenager forced to have his genitals photographed by police, the underage burglar sentenced to 23 years for shooting a retired police dog, or the 43-year-old man who died of a heart attack after being put in a chokehold by NYPD officers allegedly over the sale of untaxed cigarettes, the theater of the absurd that passes for life in the American police state grows more tragic and incomprehensible by the day.

Debra Harrell, a 46-year-old South Carolina working mother, was arrested, charged with abandonment and had her child placed in state custody after allowing the 9-year-old to spend unsupervised time at a neighborhood playground while the mom worked a shift at McDonald’s. Mind you, the child asked to play outside, was given a cell phone in case she needed to reach someone, and the park—a stone’s throw from the mom’s place of work—was overrun with kids enjoying its swings, splash pad, and shade.

Connecticut mother was charged with leaving her 11-year-old daughter in the car unsupervised while she ran inside a store—despite the fact that the child asked to stay in the car and was not overheated or in distress. A few states away, a New Jersey man was arrested and charged with endangering the welfare of his children after leaving them in a car parked in a police station parking lot, windows rolled down, while he ran inside to pay a ticket.
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End Torture, Shut Down the CIA!

Remember back in April, 2007, when then-CIA director George Tenet appeared on 60 Minutes, angrily telling the program host, “we don’t torture people”? Remember a few months later, in October, President George W. Bush saying, “this government does not torture people”? We knew then it was not true because we had already seen the photos of Iraqis tortured at Abu Ghraib prison four years earlier. 
 
Still the US administration denied that torture was torture, preferring to call it “enhanced interrogation” and claiming that it had disrupted so many terrorist plots. Of course, we later found out that the CIA had not only lied about the torture of large numbers of people after 9/11, but it had vastly exaggerated any valuable information that came from such practices.
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Israel's 155mm Cure For ‘Terrorism’

Kerry Netanyahu

In 1956, Britain and France were convinced that Egypt’s charismatic nationalist leader, Gamal Abdel Nasser, was threatening what was left of their Mideast and African colonial empires. London branded Nasser, “Hitler on the Nile.”

So the British and French governments secretly enlisted Israel to invade and annex Egypt’s Sinai. British and French troops were to seize the Canal Zone in a supposed “peacekeeping mission,” march on Cairo, and install a puppet government there. Israel would keep the entire Sinai Peninsula.

The infamous Suez invasion turned into a humiliating debacle for the bungling British and French; Nasser became a hero to the entire Third World. But Israel tenaciously hung on to Sinai, claiming it needed the peninsula "for security."

When US President Dwight Eisenhower learned of the UK-French-Israeli plan to grab the Suez Canal and march on Cairo, he was furious. Ike ordered the British and French out of Egypt under threat of collapsing their weak currencies. Eisenhower told Israel to get out of Sinai – or else. Israel got out.
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Another 'Saigon': US Evacuates From Libya

Saigon Hubert Van Es

One month ago today, President Obama was congratulating Libya on a "milestone" election -- even though the disintegration of the country after the 2011 US invasion was ongoing. 

Said Obama in June:
I congratulate the Libyan people on the conclusion of the elections for a new Council of Representatives, a milestone in their courageous efforts to transition from four decades of dictatorship toward a full democracy.
Today, the US announced it has evacuated all US personnel from Libya. They piled into vehicles and escaped to Tunisia.
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What Does the U.S. Support When It Supports Israel?

Palestine Child

According to the Congressional Budget Office, “Israel is the largest cumulative recipient of U.S. foreign assistance since World War II. To date, the United States has provided Israel $121 billion (current, or non-inflation-adjusted, dollars) in bilateral assistance. Almost all U.S. bilateral aid to Israel is in the form of military assistance, although in the past Israel also received significant economic assistance.” 

Other special benefits also flow to the Israeli military. Each year, the U.S. pays for about 20 percent of Israel’s overall military spending, and the total places Israel as the 16th largest military spender in the world. “In 2007, the Bush Administration and the Israeli government agreed to a 10-year, $30 billion military aid package for the period from FY2009 to FY2018.” Obama has renewed that pledge.

The U.S. routinely supports Israel’s policies and avoids condemning Israel for its rights violations against Palestinians. It may never have done so. This week, for example, the U.S. cast the sole vote against the U.N. Human Rights Council Resolution concerning the Occupied Palestinian Territory. The vote was 29-1. A link to the full text of the resolution is here. (The texts vary slightly in different reports.)
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‘Hard-Core Libertarian’ Austin Petersen's Advice for 'Soviet' Ron Paul

Austin Petersen

Austin Petersen, who describes himself in the introduction to his Freedom Report Podcast as a “hard-core libertarian” who cares about “pure freedom,” is upset that Ron Paul wrote an editorial expressing skepticism regarding the US government’s and media’s line on the downing of a Malaysia Airlines flight in Ukraine.

Petersen, indeed, provides in his Wednesday podcast some advice for Paul: No more of that saying what you think stuff. If you do that, you might make some people uncomfortable, and the media might even run negative headlines!

Petersen’s advice brings to mind former New York City Mayor Rudy Giuliani challenging Paul to “withdraw that comment and tell us that he didn’t really mean it,” when Paul discussed “blowback” from US foreign intervention during a 2007 presidential debate. By answering Giuliani with more education about the history of US foreign interventions and blowback instead of backing down, Paul, then a US House of Representatives member from Texas, took the limelight of the debate in a manner that strengthened his campaign and expanded his educational reach.
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Ron Paul: 'I Don't Blame America, I Blame Neocons'

Facing a tough but respectful grilling on Fox Business's The Independents over his recent comments on Ukraine and the apparent downing of a Malaysia Air plane, Ron Paul argues that the US government wants to blame Russia for the shoot-down while providing no evidence for its conclusion. Paul points out that the US claim that Russia was to blame for the disaster because they supply weapons to the rebels in east Ukraine is hypocritical because the US has armed oppositionists in Syria who went on to attack the US-backed government in Iraq.
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Breedlove...or Strangelove?

Breed Strange

NATO's Supreme Allied Commander in Europe, Gen. Philip Breedlove, wants to light a torch under the rapidly reconstituting Cold War with Russia. According to the Times (UK), NATO's top military commander has plans to transform an old military base in Poland into a tip of the spear pointed at Russia.

At a briefing in Naples this week, Breedlove outlined his plan to supply the Multinational Corps Northeast, in Szczecin, Poland, with “pre-positioned supplies, pre-positioned capabilities and a basing area ready to rapidly accept follow-on forces," that would support a rapid deployment force of thousands of NATO troops into Russia. 

Gen. Breedlove has been pushing an increased NATO presence on Russia's borders to counter what he claims are Russia's "aggressive" actions in the region, stating last month that "we may need to add additional rotational forces to cover the sustained, persistent presence that we are now envisioning."

Although Ukraine is not a NATO member and therefore would not be subject to NATO's Article 5 mutual defense provisions, the Baltics are in NATO and have taken a very hard line against Russia. These countries, along with Poland, have faced a long and steady economic decline and dream of a NATO base on their soil to funnel western funds into their economies.
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Ron Paul: What's So Bad About a Split-Up Ukraine?

In an in-depth commentary about the recent Malaysian Airlines crash, Dr. Paul makes the point that no one in western media or government wants us to ponder: if eastern Ukraine wants to be closer to Russia and western Ukraine wants to be aligned with the EU, why can't they just go their separate ways without outsider meddling?
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