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Daniel McAdams

'Minsk II' - What About Foreign Troops in Ukraine?

After a marathon 17 hour negotiation session, the leaders of Russia, Germany, France, and Ukraine agreed on an upgraded ceasefire plan, "Minsk II," that lays out 13 points to be implemented by the west-backed government in Kiev and the independence-seeking regions in eastern Ukraine.

While there is much to be skeptical about in such an agreement -- the devil is always in not just the details but especially the interpretation of the agreement -- there is one point of the plan that appears very much worth pondering.
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When Barack Called Vladimir...

It must have been like one of those annoying telemarketing calls, ringing up over and over saying the same thing. Today President Obama called Russian president Vladimir Putin to once again harangue him about the Russian "invasion" of Ukraine.

One can even picture Putin, working out with weights or maybe wrestling a bear somewhere, being handed his cell phone and told, "it's Obama."

"Aw man, tell him I'm not here..."

"You gotta take this call..."
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King Abdullah's Crocodile Tears Over Burned Pilot

Jordan's King Abdullah reacted emotionally to a video showing the apparent immolation of a Jordanian fighter pilot shot down over Syrian airspace. The Jordanian leader promised to fight ISIS, who killed the pilot, until his military ran "out of fuel and bullets." His vows of revenge even included quoting Clint Eastwood to US lawmakers.

When he arrived back in Jordan from Washington, where he happened to be when the pilot was killed, he swiftly executed three prisoners in an apparent demonstration of resolve.
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Oops They Did it Again: 'Moderate' Syrian Rebels Join Jihadists

President Obama's plan to send as many as 1,000 US military personnel to train the "moderate" rebels seeking to overthrow Syrian president Assad may have run into yet another rough patch. There has been a steady stream of US-backed "moderates" signing on with either ISIS or al-Qaeda (often taking their US-provided weapons with them) and it looks like another flock has flown the coup. 

The Harakat Hazzm group had been on the receiving end of Washington's largesse due to its status as a "non-jihadist" faction fighting to overthrow Assad. It was created last year and had ties to the US-created Free Syrian Army.
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Sharia Law in Texas?

Addressing the news that a non-profit Muslim organization in Texas is offering to privately settle disputes on a voluntary basis between those who see Sharia law as binding, Judge Andrew Napolitano points out that privatized justice should be welcomed in the United States among those who reject state meddling in private affairs.
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Foreign Troops in Ukraine? You Bet!

US-backed president of Ukraine, Petro Poroshenko, was among the elites gathering in Davos, Switzerland this week to attend the 2015 World Economic Forum. During his speech he made the remarkable claim that 9,000 Russian troops were currently fighting in Ukraine on behalf of the independence-seeking areas of the country. These 9,000 troops have brought with them tanks, heavy artillery, and armored vehicles, he claimed. "Is this not aggression?" he asked the gathered elites.
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Breaking the Mold: Rick Sanchez Interviews Ron Paul

In his recent appearance on the Rick Sanchez Show, RPI Chairman Ron Paul discussed why the Founders favored liberty and were very skeptical of democracy. Also, is Obama finally starting to get Cuba policy right? Ron Paul made the point that when he was campaigning down in Miami last time it was the young people who agreed with him most about the futility of maintaining the US embargo of Cuba. What about the drug war? All this and more in a very interesting 20 minute discussion.
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After Free Speech Rally, France Cracks Down on Free Speech

Well that didn't take long. Just three days after the French government hosted dozens of foreign leaders in a "unity rally" to defend free speech in the wake of last week's shooting at the Charlie Hebdo magazine, France has begun arresting its citizens for actually exercising free speech. 

According to news reports, more than 50 French citizens were arrested today and charged with offensive speech — the same kind of speech that was the trademark of of the Charlie Hebdo publication.

None of those arrested were charged with links to terrorism or any real crime. Instead, they are facing up to seven years in prison for making statements the French authorities claim are supportive of the shootings or are anti-Semitic.
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Civilian Bus Attacked in Ukraine, Washington Blames Rebels

On Tuesday a civilian bus was attacked in the breakaway region of eastern Ukraine. Some 12 people were killed in what was initially reported to be a grad missile attack but that looks much more like the work of some sort of small arms fire or anti-personnel mine. After weeks of a shaky ceasefire -- which was not much of a ceasefire to the 1,300+ killed in the breakaway region since it was announced -- it appears a return to open combat is increasingly likely.

The State Department immediately blamed the bus attack on the pro-independence militia in eastern Ukraine, again making a connection between the militia and what it claims is its Russian sponsor. According to State Department Spokesperson Marie Harf, the bus attack was "just the latest egregious violations of the commitments made by the Russian-backed separatists."
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How Many Current US Wars? Let's Ask Obama...

Non-interventionists and antiwar activists are often accused of exaggerating the extent of US military actions overseas to make our point about the costs of empire. We are said to over-estimate US troop deployments and level of military activity overseas. We reject that assertion, but fair enough: let's look to a more authoritative source for the answers.
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