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 Foreign Policy ArchiveMost Recent
The catastrophic number of civilian casualties in Mosul is receiving little attention internationally from politicians and journalists. This is in sharp contrast to the outrage expressed worldwide over the bombardment of east Aleppo by Syrian government and Russian forces at the end of 2016. Hoshyar Zebari, the Kurdish leader and former Iraqi finance and foreign... Read More
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Many Americans voted for Donald Trump because he vowed to end the foreign conflicts in which the US had become entangled. So far, they have been disappointed. But this week a light flashed at the end of the tunnel. President Trump, according to numerous reliable Washington sources, has decided to end US arms supplies and... Read More
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As everyone doubtless knows, President Trump gave the pot a hefty stirring in Warsaw, Poland prior to attending the G20 summit. His message was well-received by immediate listeners but aroused a Sturm und Drang and a half from the usual Western media suspects who couldn’t be more predictable if they tried. First of all, the... Read More
Newt Gingrich, Credit: Gage Skidmore. CC BY-SA 2.0.
"Iran must be free. The dictatorship must be destroyed. Containment is appeasement and appeasement is surrender." Thus does our Churchill, Newt Gingrich, dismiss, in dealing with Iran, the policy of containment crafted by George Kennan and pursued by nine U.S. presidents to bloodless victory in the Cold War. Why is containment surrender? "Because freedom is... Read More
Said the president: "For some time I have been disturbed by the way CIA has been diverted from its original assignment. It has become an operational and, at times, a policy-making arm of the Government. ... [T]his quiet intelligence arm of the President has been so removed from its intended role that it is being... Read More
There is only one story in the news, for followers of the Israel/Palestine conflict, and that is Glenn Greenwald and Ryan Grim’s report at the Intercept yesterday on new legislation in the Congress that would criminalize support for Boycott, Divestment and Sanctions (BDS). The bill is such a crude example of overreach by the Israel... Read More
Precision Warfare? Don’t Make Me Laugh
You remember. It was supposed to be twenty-first-century war, American-style: precise beyond imagining; smart bombs; drones capable of taking out a carefully identified and tracked human being just about anywhere on Earth; special operations raids so pinpoint-accurate that they would represent a triumph of modern military science. Everything “networked.” It was to be a glorious... Read More
If truth has a chance it is in a different country than America. Masters of propaganda from its inventor, Jewish public relations expert Edward Louis James Bernays, to the Nazi Minister of Propaganda Paul Joseph Goebbels, agree that a lie can be turned into truth by constant repetition. The more pure the lie, the more... Read More
True civilian death toll feared at 40,000
More than 40,000 civilians were killed in the devastating battle to retake Mosul from Isis, according to intelligence reports revealed exclusively to The Independent – a death toll far higher than previous estimates. Residents of the besieged city were killed by Iraqi ground forces attempting to force out militants, as well as by air strikes... Read More
Photo by Debra Sweet | CC BY 2.0
Barack Obama campaigned for the presidency in 2008 as a peace candidate. He signaled that he would fundamentally change America’s course after the reckless carnage unleashed by the George W. Bush administration. However, by the end of Obama’s presidency, the United States was bombing seven different foreign nations. But Obama’s warring rarely evoked the protests... Read More
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What will those rascals in Moscow do next?
It has been another week full of news about Russia. Americans might be surprised to learn that nearly every aspect of their lives has been somehow impacted by the insidious covert activity of a former global enemy that now has an economy the size of Spain or Italy. One of the latest claims is that... Read More
On Friday the House overwhelmingly approved a massive increase in military spending, passing a $696 billion National Defense Authorization bill for 2018. President Trump’s request already included a huge fifty or so billion dollar spending increase, but the Republican-led House found even that to be far too small. They added another $30 billion to the... Read More
Iraqi security forces kill Isis prisoners because they believe that if the militants are sent to prison camps they will bribe the authorities in Baghdad to release them. “That is why Iraqi soldiers prefer to shoot them or throw them off high buildings,” says one Iraqi source. A former senior Iraqi official said he could... Read More
Donald Trump’s Road to Debacle in the Greater Middle East
The superhighway to disaster is already being paved. From Donald Trump’s first days in office, news of the damage to America’s international stature has come hard and fast. As if guided by some malign design, the new president seemed to identify the key pillars that have supported U.S. global power for the past 70 years... Read More
I was 12. It was 1956. I lived in New York City and was a youthful history buff. (I should have kept my collection of American Heritage magazines!) Undoubtedly, I was also some kind of classic nerd. In any case, at some point during the Suez crisis of that year, I can remember going to... Read More
As a former soldier and war correspondent, I abhor demonstrations of flag-waving, militarism and nationalism. That great American, Benjamin Franklin, put it perfectly: ‘no good war, no bad peace.’ But I must admit that my heart does beat faster when I hear the rousing strains of France’s glorious national anthem, ‘La Marseillaise.’ One must be... Read More
Let’s Admit Some White Refugees!
The big issue in Europe is the ongoing invasion from Africa and the Middle East. If G-20 protestors were going to take to the streets and throw Molotov cocktails last weekend, THAT should have been their target. THAT’S the existential threat, the threat to Europe’s future–the future these millennials will have to live in. But... Read More
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Amid the proverbial doom and gloom pervading all things Syria, the slings and arrows of outrageous fortune sometimes yield, well, good fortune. Take what happened this past Sunday in Beijing. The China-Arab Exchange Association and the Syrian Embassy organized a Syria Day Expo crammed with hundreds of Chinese specialists in infrastructure investment. It was a... Read More
Northern Iraq is one of the most fought over places on earth. Ancient and modern fortifications are everywhere. Just outside Erbil is the site of the battle of Gaugamela where Alexander the Great defeated the Persian army in 331 BC. Saddam Hussein’s soldiers fought the Kurds here for decades. But the nine-month long struggle for... Read More
"Is Russia an enemy of the United States?" NBC's Kasie Hunt demanded of Ted Cruz. Replied the runner-up for the GOP nomination, "Russia is a significant adversary. Putin is a KGB thug." To Hillary Clinton running mate Tim Kaine, the revelation that Donald Trump Jr., entertained an offer from the Russians for dirt on Clinton... Read More
He had lugged the 50 lb. bag of Milorganite into the garden in order to discover, as on many prior occasions, that he had nothing with which to open it. He blamed this on the war on terror and the TSA. As a youth he, as did every boy, had a pocket knife. Always. It... Read More
“The people of Mosul will receive their salaries, while the people of Basra will receive the bodies of their martyrs,” runs a bitter comment on Iraqi social media. Many Iraqis see the inhabitants of Mosul as willing collaborators with Isis during its three years in power in the city. In particular, there are calls for... Read More
A Shelter-in-Place Mentality Is the New American Normal
Has there ever been a nation as dedicated to preparing for doomsday as the United States? If that’s a thought that hasn’t crossed your mind, maybe it’s because you didn’t spend part of your life inside Cheyenne Mountain. That's a tale I’ll get to soon, but first let me mention America’s “doomsday planes.” Last month,... Read More
My childhood was a nuclear one and I’m not talking about the nuclear family. I’m thinking of those duck-and-cover moments when, with air raid sirens screaming outside, we went under our school desks, hands over head, to test out our readiness for a Cold War nuclear exchange and the coming of the end of the... Read More
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Tübingen is one of the most charming towns in Germany. Romantic poets like Friedrich Hölderlin and Eduard Mörike and philosophers like Hegel and Schelling once lived there. The historical center was not damaged at all during WW II. Today it is a town of 90,000 inhabitants, of which more than 20,000 are students. They enjoy... Read More
Photo by Gigi Ibrahim | Creative Commons 2.0
When I first went to Palestine as a young reporter in the 1960s, I stayed on a kibbutz. The people I met were hard-working, spirited and called themselves socialists. I liked them. One evening at dinner, I asked about the silhouettes of people in the far distance, beyond our perimeter. “Arabs”, they said, “nomads”. The... Read More
“There were very few Daesh [Isis fighters] in our neighbourhood, but they dropped a lot of bombs on them,” says Qais, 47, a resident of the al-Jadida district of Mosul. “We reckon that the airstrikes here killed between 600 and 1,000 people.” He shows pictures on his phone of a house that had stood beside... Read More
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The White House is targeting Iran but should instead focus on Saudi Arabia
It is one of the great ironies that the United States, a land mass protected by two broad oceans while also benefitting from the world’s largest economy and most powerful military, persists in viewing itself as a potential victim, vulnerable and surrounded by enemies. In reality, there are only two significant potential threats to the... Read More
At the G-20 in Hamburg, it is said, President Trump was isolated, without support from the other G-20 members, especially on climate change and trade. Perhaps so. But the crucial question is not whether Trump is alone, but whether he is right. Has Trump read the crisis of the West correctly? Are his warnings valid?... Read More
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The immediate prospect for significant improvement in U.S.-Russia relations now depends on something tangible: Will the forces that sabotaged previous ceasefire agreements in Syria succeed in doing so again, all the better to keep alive the “regime change” dreams of the neoconservatives and liberal interventionists? Or will President Trump succeed where President Obama failed by... Read More
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The highly anticipated encounter of the two presidents went better, much better than anybody predicted. There was a lot of anxiety, and expectations were low as heavy rain clouds, especially after Trump’s visit to Warsaw where he obediently repeated the Cold War platitudes dictated by his minders. Trump had been sent off to Hamburg by... Read More
Iraq's Prime Minister formally declared victory over Isis in the northern city of Mosul, saying their defeat marks the "collapse" of the self-proclaimed caliphate. "I announce from here the end and the failure and the collapse of the terrorist state of falsehood and terrorism which the terrorist Daesh announced from Mosul," Haider al-abadi said in... Read More
Iraq is declaring victory over Isis in Mosul as Prime Minister Haider al-Abadi, wearing black military uniform, arrived in the city to congratulate his soldiers at the end of an epic nine-month-long battle. Elite Iraqi government forces raised the country’s flag on the banks of the Tigris River this morning, though Isis snipers are still... Read More
I am afraid that The Saker and Finian Cunningham are correct. Nothing can come of Trump’s meeting with Putin, because, as Cunningham puts it, “Trump doesn’t have freedom or real power. The real power brokers in the US will ensure that the Russophobia campaign continues, with more spurious allegations of Moscow interfering to subvert Western... Read More
A reader, SunriseState, has recently posted the following question in the comments section: “what would you say is the most optimal Russian strategy vs Poland?“. When I read it I thought “now that is an interesting question indeed!”. Today I will try to answer it, going step by step. First, a diagnosis. There is a... Read More
Iraqi soldiers have started celebrating their defeat of Isis in Mosul after a nine-month siege, even before the last resistance has been extinguished. An Iraqi commander called on a loudspeaker for surviving Isis fighters to surrender, but this was rejected by their commander. “It may take another two or three days,” said an Iraqi observer,... Read More
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It is not an easy task for someone without a background in Chinese culture, including the language and the history, to write about this country. However, this becomes necessary when looking at the Chinese view of the outside world and especially when writing about the emerging Russo-Chinese alliance. There is very little doubt anymore about... Read More
“I have some pretty severe things we’re thinking about,” Trump said of North Korea at a news conference in Warsaw. “Doesn’t mean we’re going to do them.” What President Trump really meant is that he has painted the US into a corner with all his threats of war and really does not know what to... Read More
In the early dawn of 5 July, a 200-strong force of anti-Isis fighters launched a surprise attack on the Old City of Raqqa, which is the last big urban centre held by Isis anywhere in Syria and Iraq. Recruited mostly from survivors of a tribe that Isis massacred three years ago, the five-man assault teams,... Read More
The President speaks in Krasiński Square, Warsaw, Poland
Our President went to Poland and made a stirring speech. Remember the old radical chant, “Hey hey, ho ho, Western Civ. has got to go!”? Our President took the opposite line, counter-attacking: “Ho ho, hey hey, Western Civ. is here to stay!” I sure hope he’s right. The speech of course was grandiloquent. A speech... Read More
President Donald Trump flew off for his first meeting with Vladimir Putin -- with instructions from our foreign policy elite that he get into the Russian president's face over his hacking in the election of 2016. Hopefully, Trump will ignore these people. For their record of failure is among the reasons Americans elected him to... Read More
The backdrops to the Putin/Trump meeting are the aspirations of Israel and the neoconservatives. It is these aspirations that drive US foreign policy. What is Syria about? Why is Washington so focused on overthrowing the elected president of Syria? What explains the sudden 21st century appearance of “the Muslim threat”? How is Washington’s preoccupation with... Read More
First, we have the manner in which the Americans have been preparing the G20 summit. As we all know, in diplomacy actions count as much, or even more, than words. Here are just a few of the actions recently taken by the Americans in preparation for the G20 summit and Trump’s first meeting with Putin... Read More
President Trump has told a crowd of cheering Polish nationalists in Warsaw that the great threat to the world is from “radical Islamic terrorism”, which should make it good news for him that Isis is losing Mosul, the heart of its self-proclaimed Caliphate and its de facto capital in Iraq. At the same time, US-backed... Read More
Every now and then something lodges in your memory and seems to haunt you forever. In my case, it was a comment Newsweek attributed to an unnamed senior British official “close to the Bush team” before the invasion of Iraq in 2003. “Everyone wants to go to Baghdad,” he said. “Real men want to go... Read More
The voice of Abdulkareem, 43, a former construction worker trapped inside the fast-shrinking Isis enclave in Mosul, trembles with fear as he describes the battle raging around him. He knows that it would be dangerous to try to escape, but it may be even more risky to stay where he is. He told The Independent... Read More
The Saudi-American-Iranian-Russian-Qatari-Syrian Conundrum
The Middle East. Could there be a more perilous place on Earth, including North Korea? Not likely. The planet’s two leading nuclear armed powers backing battling proxies amply supplied with conventional weapons; terror groups splitting and spreading; religious-sectarian wars threatening amid a plethora of ongoing armed hostilities stretching from Syria to Iraq to Yemen. And... Read More
Pretty much everything our media tells us about China is wrong–or at least one-sided–including its tales of a China ‘debt problem’. The Chinese are, in all times and places, debt-averse and China’s government which, unlike ours, must take long-term responsibility for the economy, is no different. Mao set the example and grew GDP by 6.2... Read More
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Top Russian and Chinese leaders are busy comparing notes, coordinating their approach to President Donald Trump at the G20 summit in Hamburg this weekend. Both sides are heralding the degree to which ties between the two countries have improved in recent years, as Chinese President Xi Jinping’s visits Moscow on his way to the G20.... Read More
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Hollywood buys into yet another lie
I actually forced myself to watch the documentary The White Helmets, which is available on Netflix. It is 40 minutes long, is of high quality cinematographically speaking, and tells a very convincing tale that was promoted as “the story of real-life heroes and impossible hope.” It is overall a very impressive piece of propaganda, so... Read More
Category Classics
The “war hero” candidate buried information about POWs left behind in Vietnam.
While other top brass played press agents for the administration’s war, William Odom told the truth about Iraq—though few listened.
Which superpower is more threatened by its “extractive elites”?