President Donald Trump says he wants to improve relations between the United States and Russia, and he met in July with Russia President Vladimir Putin largely in a purported effort to move toward this goal. Yet, the Trump administration continues to send more US troops and military equipment to along the Russia border, including in Norway. Around 300 US Marines were deployed to Norway in the final days of the Barack Obama administration. Then, last week, Reuters reported that the Trump administration will soon more than double to 700 the number of Marines in Norway and that some Marines will be stationed closer than before to Norway’s border with Russia.
The plans, the Reuters article notes, “triggered a sharp reaction from Moscow, which called the plans ‘clearly unfriendly’.” No doubt. As peace advocate and three-time presidential candidate Ron Paul has often commented, Americans would be quite perturbed if Russia, China, or some other nation started massing military forces across the border in Mexico or in the Gulf of Mexico. Why should Russians not be perturbed by the massing of US forces nearby in Europe – along with the successive introduction of European nations near Russia into the North Atlantic Treaty Organization (NATO)?
On Monday, Rep. Ro Khanna (D-CA), joined by 14 fellow Democratic United States House of Representatives members, sent a letter to President Donald Trump supporting Trump pursuing diplomacy and “incremental progress” with North Korea. The letter also expresses concern about efforts toward peace being hindered by people – both Republican and Democrat, and both inside and outside the Trump administration – seeking “to scuttle progress by attempting to limit the parameters of the talks, including by insisting on full and immediate denuclearization or other unrealistic commitments by North Korea at an early date.”
The Khanna letter contrasts with a letter seven US Senate Democrats sent Trump last week that argues several major North Korean concessions should be required in any deal. The signers of that earlier letter include two top Democratic leaders in the Senate – Senate Democratic Leader Chuck Schumer (D-NY) and Senate Democratic Whip Dick Durbin (D-IL) – as well as Senate Foreign Relations Committee Ranking Member Bob Menendez (D-NJ).
George Washington University Law Professor Jonathan Turley, at a Wednesday hearing of Sen. Rand Paul’s Committee on Homeland Security and Governmental Affairs Subcommittee on Federal Spending Oversight and Emergency Management, presented written testimony arguing that a proposed authorization for use of military force (AUMF) sponsored by Senate Foreign Relations Committee Chairman Bob Corker (R-TN) (S.J.Res 59) “would literally put our endless war on autopilot.”
In his written testimony, Turley argues the proposed AUMF is the next step in Congress’ abdication of its constitutional responsibility over war after “decades of concerted effort by Congress to evade the responsibility for the most important decisions committed to it by the Framers” of the US Constitution, resulting in the US being “engaged in indefinite, undeclared war – the very menace that the Framers sought to prevent with express constitutional language requiring congressional declarations of war.”
On Tuesday, Rep. Walter Jones (R-NC), who is seeking reelection for what he has indicated will be his final term in the United States House of Representatives, won his Republican Party primary. Jones defeated two other candidates — a Washington, DC lobbyist who holds elective office in the district and one of Jones’ primary opponents from 2016.
Will Rahn wrote a Thursday editorial at CBS News concerning Jones’ primary victory and Jones’ history in the House. In the editorial titled “In praise of Walter Jones,” Rahn refers to Jones as a “man of conviction in Washington” who has been punished by his party’s leadership because of his independent actions, including, Rhan writes, becoming “one of the GOP’s most fervent voices for peace.”
Investing and current affairs writer David Stockman found himself in hostile territory this week in an interview at the Fox Business show Mornings with Maria. In the often-tense interview, Stockman seems to shock and rile some of the show’s hosts with his assessments that the United States military should not have been given a big monetary infusion in the recent spending deal worked out by President Donald Trump and Congress and that the US should stop its excessive military intervention overseas.
The US military would not need so much money if the military were used much less, argues Stockman, who is a member of the Ron Paul Institute for Peace and Prosperity Advisory Board. “Don’t have so many missions; don’t be bombing Syria; don’t be mucking around in the Middle East,” Stockman says is the “obvious answer” to host Maria Bartiromo’s contention that the increased military spending is needed because “we’ve starved the military.” And, in response to Bartiromo’s suggestion that Stockman is advocating turning away when the Syrian government uses chemical weapons in Syria, Stockman explains why he sees such chemical weapons allegations as “a hoax” and argues “we have no dog in that hunt,” meaning the American people are best served by the US government just keeping out of the conflict in Syria.
The Trump administration “is using much the same playbook to create a false choice that war is the only way to address the challenges presented by Iran” as the George W. Bush administration used to gain support for the Iraq War. College of William & Mary Professor Lawrence Wilkerson presents this argument, along with abundant supporting evidence, in a Monday New York Times editorial.
Wilkerson should know. In the lead-up to the Iraq War, Wilkerson was chief of staff for United States Secretary of State Colin Powell, whose United Nations presentation regarding Iraq Wilkerson, at the beginning of the editorial, credits with boosting support among Americans for a war against Iraq.
Wilkerson, who is a Ron Paul Institute for Peace and Prosperity Academic Board member, has frequently disparaged that effort to build up support for the Iraq War. Indeed, in the editorial he laments that “[t]hat effort led to a war of choice with Iraq – one that resulted in catastrophic losses for the region and the United States-led coalition, and that destabilized the entire Middle East.”
The consequences of a war with Iran would also be dire. Addressing some of those consequences in his editorial, Wilkerson predicts that “this war with Iran – a country of almost 80 million people, whose vast strategic depth and difficult terrain makes it a far greater challenge than Iraq – would be 10 to 15 times worse than the Iraq war in terms of casualties and costs.”