Tuesday, February 28, 2017

2017: Even Reluctant Reliance on History Sounds an Alarm

Since Trump, et al., are poorly prepared to engage internationally,
any adventures in foreign  lands probably won't end well. Foggy
mirror or no, it is sobering to recall the USA has not won wars
of any stripe since WWII--unless you wish to cite Grenada,
a tiny kerfuffle if there ever was one. Poor preparation produces
unfortunate results; Trump's business expertise and his
sycophantic inner circle can't cope with the fiendishly complex
planet we now inhabit--to say little regarding Trump's approach
to problem-solving.

True, Trump has had power for only a brief moment, but he
already demonstrates what he intends to attend to, namely,
nothing...nothing of import, that is.

Ignoring serious difficulties around the world while criticising
friend and foe alike, he harps on the U.S. press, tweets madly,
embarrasses greatly, all while distracting himself here at home
with minor matters and impossible plans to create greatness
and security, scant details forthcoming.

I've just finished reading The Assassin's Gate (2005), all
about the incompetent, ignorant prosecuting of the
Iraq War which still holds thousands of our occupying
troops. It is a cautionary tale, one reminding readers of
the usual lack of  prior research politicians engage in
before sending our boys overseas; just another dismal
failure and a black eye disgracing this "superpower".

Korea, Viet Nam, Afghanistan, Iraq: the foggy rear
view mirror may be imperfect but it clearly shows
a pattern nonetheless: The U.S. Bull in a China Shop
charges into situations it knows little about, destined
to lose blood, treasure and reputation...

When will we ever learn? Even reluctant reliance on
history ought to sound the alarm.

Friday, February 24, 2017

History Is a Fogged Up Rear View Mirror--We Need New Approaches

We're not much as super powers go: look at the wars in the
Middle East of recent and current vintage in Iraq and Afghanistan.
World War Two, with greater import and consequences, lasted
fewer years with better resolutions than our efforts in the Middle
East. The U.S., unafraid of its ignorance in all Arab matters,
launched the never-ending war in Iraq, still occupying there
with thousands of "supporters and advisers"; more than
8,000 American troops remain in Afghanistan. Two wars
lasting well over ten years, not eliminating the murderous
factions they set out to curtail--some super power.

I thought I had better do a bit of research into our foreign
policies and actions back to the century's change, in the
interest of relying on history as my guide into possible plans
by Trump, et al. What I've read lately has considerably
reduced my reliance on history as "past is prologue", a very
fogged up rear view mirror at best.  The most basic themes
still obtain, verified by thousands of years of conquest,
occupation and assimilation around the world in worrying,
wearing and wearying repetition, without the new approaches
we need to craft a better, more stable world.

So, what, pray tell, is next? --War with Mexico (-again)?
Ill-advised, ill-considered, ill-prepared re-deployments of
our military along with fresh troops to distant shores we have
precious little knowledge of? Previous administrations, far better
prepared than the current incarnation, grappled with long-
standing issues abroad--and failed to resolve them.

Hubris and denial, fueled by ignorance, propel our
foreign policy of late. I shudder to think what is on
the road ahead; even the foggy mirror has warnings
enough to alert us to the urgent need for innovation.

Friday, February 17, 2017

To Russia With Love: Mind Your Own Business

Really, Russia, don't you have plenty of problems there at home
to attend to? Why not solve THEM before embarking on
interfering in another nation's affairs?

You have dangerously miscalculated by meddling in the USA's
recent election; perhaps you were surprised to learn many
Republicans strenuously object to your efforts. Over here
we take matters of our sovereignty quite seriously, irrespective
of political party. Investigations and repercussions will no
doubt continue--despite the Putin/Trump bromance.

So Russia, mind your own business, tend to your own
knitting, etc. You DO risk the United States inquiring
intensively into Russian activities--scarcely a pleasant
prospect, no? You probably are attempting to capitalize
on any perceived weakness of ours--but you are definitely
overreaching and over-estimating, at your peril.

Thursday, February 9, 2017

Fear of Foreigners Our Foreign Policy, Courtesy of Trump

Bad intel and bad philosophy bring the United States into a
negative world role: rule by prejudice, whim and mistrust.
We are being thrust back to more unenlightened times which
will cost us and others dearly.  How can our new president
claim he isn't being anti Muslim with his current seven country
denied-entry policy? He appears to be making sure that no
radical islamists invade the U.S. by outlawing all from mostly
Muslim nations. His statistics may be in error but his resolve
remains steadfast, even while several judges defy his less-
than legal proscription.

The whole issue struggles under the burden of extreme
complication: although Trump's new immigration policy
may be illegal, it is not unconstitutional, as so many
unthinkingly shrill via  predictable knee-jerk objections.
The U.S. Constitution was written for United States
citizens, both natural born and naturalized; the rights and
prohibitions therein do not extend to other nations' citizens.
Often, however, in the interest of human rights, protections
similar to those in the Constitution have been granted to
non-citizens--but there is no constitutional requirement
to do so. It pays to be clear here.

Perhaps occasionally troubling, a U.S. president does
have wide latitude over immigration issues; many
different groups were denied entry to the USA in the past,
which will no doubt occur again. It is the motivation for
exclusion that bears close examination; prejudice is never
an acceptable reason, nevertheless  engendered previous

Fear of foreigners along with protectionism and isolationism
are the three prongs of our international approach which
endanger us and others around the world. Here's hoping
Mr. Trump accelerates his learning curve, catching up
in time to avert disaster.