Let’s Give Three Cheers for Those ‘Western Ears’

Yesterday, I happened to catch a radio report by NPR’s Julie McCarthy on the latest round of protests in Hong Kong. While listening, I could not help but see the similarities between what is going on in that corner of Asia and what has been going on in the streets of Catalonia during the last month…. but with two important exceptions.

A) The Catalan protesters have been far less violent than the Hong Kong protesters have apparently become.

B) No one from major media that I know of has made a plea, as McCarthy clearly does at the end of her report, for the more powerful party (in her case the Beijing government, in Catalonia the Spanish central government) to sit down and negotiate with the protesters.

Clearly, what’s “good for the goose” in the realm of an official enemy like China is not “good for the gander” in a NATO ally like Spain.

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Ron Paul on Taking Sides: Pompeo Declares Israeli Settlements Legal

Secretary of State Mike Pompeo reversed US policy on Israeli settlements on Palestinian land. While long considered illegal in international law, Pompeo has declared them “legal,” citing the need to “advance peace.” On today’s Ron Paul Liberty Report:

Reprinted from The Ron Paul Institute for Peace & Prosperity.

Trump’s Latest Gift to Israeli Hard-Liners

Originally appeared at The American Conservative.

The Trump administration is about to hand Israel another gift in support of its illegal occupation:

Secretary of State Mike Pompeo is expected to announce on Monday that the U.S. is softening its position on Israeli settlements in the occupied West Bank, the latest in a series of Trump administration moves that weaken Palestinian claims to statehood.

Pompeo plans to repudiate a 1978 State Department legal opinion that held that civilian settlements in the occupied territories are “inconsistent with international law.” The move will likely anger Palestinians and put the US at odds with other nations working to end the conflict.

The administration has repeatedly shown its contempt for international law, and this is just the latest example of that. This is part and parcel of the administration’s ongoing normalization of illegal Israeli occupation. We saw the same thing with the decision to recognize the annexation of the Golan Heights. This is likely a prelude to recognizing any further annexations of occupied territory in the West Bank. Treating illegal settlements as if they are acceptable is one more reversal of longstanding US policy, and it is an obvious sop to hard-line pro-settler Israelis and their allies here in the US:

The shift is a victory for Netanyahu, a longtime booster of the settlements, and had been strongly supported by US Ambassador to Israel David Friedman and big Trump donor Sheldon Adelson. Friedman was a major fundraiser for the settlements before becoming ambassador.

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Catastrophe! $6.4 Trillion Wasted on 20 Years of War!

A new report by Brown University’s Costs of War Project now estimates that by the end of fiscal year 2020, the US will have “spent” $6.4 trillion on a global “war on terror” in which more than three million people have died. And what do we have to show for it? And what will happen when payment is actually due (i.e. the Fed can no longer hide the costs by printing money)? Watch today’s Ron Paul Liberty Report:

Reprinted from The Ron Paul Institute for Peace & Prosperity.

Vietnam vs. Afghanistan – Matched Mayhem, Ceaseless War

Between the fading bugles of Veterans Day weekend and Black Friday, my day-long musings invariably return to Vietnam, but this year there was a new wrinkle to my abstractions. You see, my granddaughter, Kaya, turns 14 next week and she has never lived in a time when her country wasn’t waging an unrelenting interventionist war somewhere. Not for one moment, and I couldn’t let it go.

So, what does that have to do with Vietnam? Well, as I grew up and unavoidably served in combat, I never thought "my war" was ever going to end. Never. It was always the mainspring of my very existence, and that of my contemporaries. It was also a monster with an insatiable appetite that devoured friends, relationships, plans and dreams, and no one could – or would – kill it, not a diplomat, not an elected Congress or President, no one.

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Risks of Lethal Aid to Ukraine: Defense Priorities

The U.S. Has No Strong Security Interests in Ukraine

  1. Ukraine is not a US ally, is distant from US shores, and holds little geopolitical significance.
  2. The United States should avoid entanglement in the Ukraine crisis, a conflict that could draw it into war with nuclear Russia.
  3. U.S.-Ukraine policy should encourage its settlement with Russia, not encourage it to continue the present conflict and become a perpetual ward of the US or EU – poisoning U.S.-Russian relations in the process.
  4. EU nations have a stronger interest in a peaceful and independent Ukraine – and should take greater responsibility for that outcome.

Costs and Benefits of Providing US Military Support to Ukraine

  • Advocates for lethal aid to Ukraine argue it raises the cost to Russian military adventurism and discourages future land-grabs. But that assumes that additional Russian aggression is likely and won’t be encouraged by aggressive US tactics.
  • No amount of US aid to Ukraine will enable it to defeat Russia. But aid draws the US and Ukraine closer together, shifting more of Ukraine’s security burden to the world’s only superpower.
  • US aid promotes moral hazard: (1) It encourages Ukraine to take a harder line against Russia that it cannot maintain on its own, and (2) it discourages Kiev from seeking a settlement with Moscow, prolonging the crisis.

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