Desperate for an Enemy, NATO Turns to China

The celebration in London of NATO’s 70th year has ended with a renewed purpose: the “challenges” posed by China. NATO is a military alliance, but the attendees were careful to point out that they do not view China as an enemy. So what is the point? Tune in to today’s Ron Paul Liberty Report:

Reprinted from The Ron Paul Institute for Peace & Prosperity.

The US Has Not Reduced Its ‘Global Commitments’

Originally appeared at The American Conservative.

Gideon Rachman tries to find similarities between the foreign policies of Trump and Obama:

Both men would detest the thought. But, in crucial respects, the foreign policies of Donald Trump and Barack Obama are looking strikingly similar.

The wildly different styles of the two presidents have disguised the underlying continuities between their approaches to the world. But look at substance, rather than style, and the similarities are impressive.

There is usually considerable continuity in U.S. foreign policy from one president to another, but Rachman is making a stronger and somewhat different claim than that. He is arguing that their foreign policy agendas are very much alike in ways that put both presidents at odds with the foreign policy establishment, and he cites “disengagement from the Middle East” and a “pivot to Asia” as two examples of these similarities. This seems superficially plausible, but it is misleading. Despite talking a lot about disengagement, Obama and Trump chose to keep the US involved in several conflicts, and Trump actually escalated the wars he inherited from Obama. To the extent that there is continuity between Obama and Trump, it has been that both of them have acceded to the conventional wisdom of “the Blob” and refused to disentangle the US from Middle Eastern conflicts. Ongoing support for the war on Yemen is the ugliest and most destructive example of this continuity.

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The New Arms Race

We who grew up in the time of the Apollo missions are more than aware of the arms-race angle to the Soviet and American forays into Earth orbit and beyond.

Now, we must recognize that the space race is no longer mere ornamentation over earthly military competition.

“The United States and China are rapidly building space warfare capabilities,” writes Bill Gertz in the Washington Examiner, “as part of a race to dominate the zone outside Earth’s atmosphere.”

Of course, much of this remains ground support. WHNT News 19 in Alabama quotes the Commander of the U.S. Space and Missile Defense Command at Redstone Arsenal – a Lieutenant General who “will soon become Deputy Commander of the US Space Command in Colorado” – explaining that current space resources must be ever-ready in support of “the war fighter, the soldier on the ground.”

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Military Pollution: The Hidden Costs of War

President Trump’s dropping of the “Mother of All Bombs” in Afghanistan is just the latest example of how the US war machine is delivering a scorched earth to those “liberated” by the US military. Already the environmental and health damage from that one bomb has destroyed the lives of many innocent civilians. There are millions more where that came from. Watch today’s Ron Paul Liberty Report:

Reprinted from The Ron Paul Institute for Peace & Prosperity.

William J. Astore on the Smearing of Tulsi Gabbard

Congresswoman Tulsi Gabbard is a compelling choice for president in 2020. She’s principled, she’s against America’s disastrous regimen of regime-change wars, and she’s got the guts to criticize her own party for being too closely aligned with rich and powerful interests. She’s also a military veteran who enlisted in the Army National Guard in Hawaii after the 9/11 attacks (she currently serves as a major and deployed overseas to Iraq during that war).

What’s not to like about a female veteran who oozes intelligence and independence, a woman who represents diversity (she’s a practicing Hindu and a Samoan-American), an early supporter of Bernie Sanders who called out the DNC for its favoritism toward Hillary Clinton …

Aha! There you have it. Back in February 2016, Gabbard resigned her position as vice-chair of the DNC to endorse Sanders, and the DNC, controlled by establishment centrists like the Clintons as well as Barack Obama, have never forgiven her. Recently, Hillary Clinton smeared her (as well as Jill Stein, Green Party candidate from 2016) as a Russian asset, and various mainstream networks and news shows, such as “The View” and NBC, have suggested (with no evidence) she’s the favored candidate of Russia and Vladimir Putin.

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A Terrorist Designation for Cartels Is a Bad Idea

Originally appeared at The American Conservative.

Trump threatened to designate Mexican drug cartels as terrorist groups this week:

President Trump said in an interview posted online Tuesday that he planned to designate Mexican drug cartels as terrorist organizations, owing to what he said was the high number of Americans killed by their activities.

The comments, which were made in an interview with the former Fox News host Bill O’Reilly and posted to his personal website, represent a shift in United States policy that the Mexican foreign minister, Marcelo Ebrard, told reporters on Monday he did not believe would happen.

Designating drug cartels as terrorists is both unnecessary and potentially quite dangerous. For one thing, it continues a bad habit of defining every problem as terrorism, and that in turn could lead to further militarization of an already failed drug war. The U.S. does not need to designate these groups to combat narcotrafficking, and designating them as terrorists would likely lead to merging the worst of the drug war with the worst of the “war on terror.” It potentially opens the door to military intervention in a neighboring country that could result in disastrous consequences for people living on both sides of the border. Designating the cartels would not be welcomed by our neighbors, who would understandably see it as a prelude to interfering in their internal affairs.

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