After two years reckless and irresponsible Trump administration foreign policy, the new Democratic House majority is in a position to provide greater oversight and scrutiny of the president’s policies:
A Democrat-led House will likely launch hearings quickly on U.S. aid to Saudi Arabia in Yemen and other secret wars. In late October, Smith and Engel sent Trump a letter warning against an exit from both the Intermediate-Range Nuclear Forces Treaty and the Strategic Arms Reduction Treaty, saying that “[i]t would divide our allies and play directly into President Putin’s hands.” As committee chairmen, they would have the power to hold repeated hearings and force the Trump administration to explain its plans in ways the Republican-led House has not done.
Some of those hearings – which Democratic members have been shouting for since early 2017 – could be acutely embarrassing for the Trump administration. “We will see a lot of demand for information,” said Alexandra Bell, a former senior arms control official.
The change in control of the House may have the greatest impact on U.S. support for the war on Yemen. Dozens of Democratic House members have already co-sponsored H.Con.Res. 138, including members of the party leadership and the ranking members of relevant committees, and those numbers seem certain to grow with the influx of new members in January. Thanks to the efforts of Reps. Ro Khanna and Mark Pocan, H.Con.Res. 138 will come up for a vote later this month, and if for some reason it doesn’t pass in this Congress there is a much better chance that it will pass in the new Congress next year. Reps. Engel and Smith are both co-sponsors of the measure to end U.S. involvement in the war on Yemen, and once they become the chairmen of their respective committees they will be able to challenge the administration on this and other foreign policy issues over the next two years. Together with their colleagues in the Senate, they are well-positioned to cause the Trump administration a lot of headaches, and most important of all they have a real chance to shut down U.S. involvement in the Saudi coalition’s war. The House Democrats aren’t going to be able to stop or reverse all of Trump’s destructive foreign policy decisions, but on Yemen they have an opportunity to force real changes in U.S. policy.
Daniel Larison is a senior editor at The American Conservative, where he also keeps a solo blog. He has been published in the New York Times Book Review, Dallas Morning News, Orthodox Life, Front Porch Republic, The American Scene, and Culture11, and is a columnist for The Week. He holds a PhD in history from the University of Chicago, and resides in Dallas. Follow him on Twitter. This article is reprinted from The American Conservative with permission.
A few months ago, I was talking to a researcher about the Pentagon, the military-industrial complex, and America’s fourth (and most powerful?) branch of government: the national security state. After talking about the enormous sweep and power of these entities, she said to me, it’s the elephant in the room, isn’t it? More than that, I replied: It’s the rampaging herd of elephants in the room. Even so, we prefer to ignore the herd, even as it dominates and destroys.
This thought came back to me as I read Danny Sjursen’s recent article at Antiwar.com. His main point was that enormous Pentagon spending and endless wars went undebated during this election cycle. President Trump preferred to talk of “invasions” by caravans of “criminals,” when not denigrating Democrats as a mutinous mob; the Democrats preferred to talk of health care and coverage for preexisting conditions, when not attacking Trump as hateful and reckless. No one wanted to talk about never-ending and expanding wars in the Greater Middle East and Africa, and no one in the mainstream dared to call for significant reductions in military spending.
The Commission completed its initial round of stage-managed public meetings in September 2018. Here’s more on the activities of the Commission including records of its closed-door meetings and invited briefings, released in response to my ongoing Freedom Of Information Act requests. I will continue to post more Commission documents at Resisters.info as I receive them.
There was plenty of noise in the run up to today’s mid-term election in the US, but were there any real differences when it comes to substantive issues? Or was it all about manufactured outrages designed to motivate people to support this or that tribe with no real thought? Was there any real debate on war? Privacy? NSA spying? None at all! The most important election in our lifetime? Ha! Tune in to today’s Ron Paul Liberty Report:
The Trump Administration is determined to bring Iran to its knees. With a new round of “crippling” sanctions targeting any country doing business with Iran, is the US just isolating itself from the rest of the world? Is it hastening the end of “dollar hegemony” that US foreign policy has to this point sought to prop up? Is the law of unintended consequences about to bite hard? Today’s Ron Paul Liberty Report was recorded before a live audience at Brazosport College in Lake Jackson, TX: