Tag Archives: Russia

Trump Foreign Policy-The Kurds-Syria-Turkey–Part II

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City of Raqqa, before and after the Syrian Civil War and the Rise and Fall of ISIS.

In the last segment, we laid out the main players in the Kurdish, Syrian, Turkey conflict theatre and discussed each of the player’s interested in chaos or stability in the region.  Bear in mind that we are actually discussing a narrow, 20 mile long strip of land along the Northeast Syrian Border that is bordered to the North by Turkey.  This land is shown below as the Safe Zone that Turkey is demanding to be cleared of Kurdish and Syrian Influence.

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In the past 3 days, President Trump has been able to negotiate a ceasefire between Turkey, Syria and the Kurds.  Sporadic fighting continues and will continue between various subgroups but so far no major air strikes have occurred.  In about 3 more days, the parties involved, including the Kurds, must agree to clearing the “Safe Zone” and cease hostilities indefinitely.  Turkey would then be responsible for “peace” in the “Safe Zone”.

Will the ceasefire hold?  Maybe.  The Kurds will have to withdraw to the south and east into other parts of Syria or even Iraq.  Without US financial and arms support, it will be difficult for the Kurds to wage any real incursions into Turkey claimed territory or into Turkey itself.  If you look at the red dots on the map, these are areas where there are ISIS supporters.  These cities are surrounded by Turkish, Kurdish, Syrian, and SDF forces that will pretty much insure that the odds of a rise in ISIS strength in the Northeastern region of Syria is slim to none.  (Iraq is a different story and will be dealt with in a subsequent post.)   So, the question is whether Turkey and the Syrian-Kurds can coexist in this region without hostilities.  My bet is that there will be periodic skirmishes but no major offensive by either side.  The Kurds can’t afford it and Turkey has the US watching it closely.

What is Next?

NATO:  The NATO nations must meet with Turkey and reinforce their insistence on peace in the “Safe Zone” with assurances that the NATO members will work to insure that the Kurds remain non-combative and that “terror” attacks by them on Turkish targets be stopped.  The NATO nations must step up and take responsibility for their citizens who left Europe to join ISIS are brought back into their home countries and kept incarcerated.  Same for the US.  Turkey should maintain custody for those of Middle Eastern descent who joined ISIS whose return to their home country would only insure their release.

Syrian Civil War Aftermath:  The Syrians who are aligned against the Syrian Assad regime have a choice to keep up their insurgency or accept that they were unable to topple Assad.  My money is on some type of truce being formed between Assad and the rebel forces.  Assad is a brutal dictator and this outcome may be something of a humanitarian crisis without some form of international intervention that does NOT have to involve direct military force.

This “civil war” has left much of Syria in rubble and their population decimated with a high number of expatriated refugees.  Estimates of deaths due to this civil war range from 220,000 to 500,000 men, women and children.  Hundreds of thousands have fled to Europe, Jordan and other countries.  Unless the infrastructure of Syria is somehow rebuilt, it will be impossible for these refugees to return. The picture at the top of this article of the city of Raqqa is a small example of the devastation that the civil war has inflicted on a once beautiful and well developed nation.  

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Syrian Refugees leaving Syria

Rebuilding Syria:  The World Bank has estimated that it would cost US$180 Billion to rebuild the infrastructure in Syria.  Many believe that this estimate is low by a factor of 3 or 4!  With oil prices hovering around $50.00 per barrel, Syrian revenues could not begin to fund this rebuilding effort.  In 2014, Syria’s GDP was only US$24.6 Billion!  Other nations in the Middle East are also somewhat squeezed by lower oil prices so their ability, or desire, to help in rebuilding Syria is not all that great.

Who Gets Stuck With the Bill:  One of the best features of President Trump’s withdrawal from Syria is that Assad, Russia, and Iran are now faced with either paying for the rebuilding of Syria or dealing with a nation in shambles whose citizens are living in abject poverty and have literally nothing to lose.  One not too bright so-called expert on TV stated that President Trump’s withdrawal from Syria meant that Syria is now in the hands of the RUSSIANS.  Really!  Syria has been in the hands of the Russians since the Cold War and when Assad’s father ruled Syria.  Russia wants NOTHING to do with funding the cost to rebuild Syria.  Russia’s GDP is only US$1.5 trillion and they do not want to use over 20% of their GDP on Syria!  President Trump has squeezed every red cent out of Iran with his sanctions so they have little or nothing to contribute to the rebuilding of Syria, nor do they really care about the citizenry of Syria.  After all, whatever little the Ayatollahs have left they have to use to fund Hamas, Hezbollah, and the Houthis in Yemen.  All the while the Ayatollahs are facing an increasing level of hostilities from their own citizens at home!

Syria and Iranian Crap Shoot:  President Trump has laid the foundation to force Assad to cave in and give up much of his autonomy at home in favor of international cooperation to rebuild his country.  Assad is like a stockholder holding all of the shares of a company that is worth ZERO.  He has no bargaining chips; Russia has its own financial problems; and Iran is not too far behind Syria in terms of financial ruin.  Assad could do something really stupid and launch a barrage of humanitarian crisis but I doubt it.  It would be short lived and he would not survive it.  Iran could do likewise but they would face retribution from 80% of the other Middle Eastern countries, Israel, the US and hopefully NATO.  

My Prediction? (As good as anyone’s on CNN or MSNBC)

So, my prediction is that within 1-3 years Syria will be under some type of “Marshall Plan” and that Assad will be all but gone or be a titular head only.  (Remember, Assad may be Shia but the majority of Syrians are Sunni)  President Trump will make sure that Syria is not subjected to a US enforced regime change but be allowed to transition into some form of local control monitored by regional nations.  The plan will be administered by a coalition of other Middle Eastern countries that are led by Saudi Arabia.  This is the main platform of Trump’s Middle East Foreign Policy. 

Iran will be or have been immersed in civil unrest that will lead to the Ayatollahs losing a grip on the country.  Their ability to wage proxy wars would have been eliminated by US sanctions.  Iran would have lost the support of China as China needs a stable Iran from which to buy oil.  (Oh yea, and Little President Macron would be in the same boat.)  The EU and China would join the US in backing anti-Ayatollah factions in Iran to stabilize their economy and remove the crippling US sanctions.

Pipedream?  Maybe.  But unless someone does something really dumb like use a nuclear weapon, Russia, Iran and Syria are not capable of any further prolonged conflicts; nor is Russia capable of investing in Syria’s or Iran’s pipedreams of regional or world dominance.  The EU would back our play only because it is in their interest.  Turkey will be delighted as their age old adversaries, Iran and Syria, were forced to bite the dust.  The Middle East transformation where the predominant Sunni nations take the lead in stabilizing the region would be complete.  

You should hope I am right!

RD Pierini

@RDPierini

 

Hat Tips:

https://www.rt.com/business/339703-world-bank-syria-costs/

https://dailycaller.com/2019/10/18/nato-kurds-jim-talent-james-carafano-syria/

Trump Foreign Policy-The Kurds-Syria-Turkey–The Facts

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“There will be people who will say that Trump is hardly in a position to lecture the nation on the perils of modern warfare.  Where does a real estate guy get off thinking he is a prophet on national defense?  But, who are the experts and what have they done for us lately?  It doesn’t take a rocket scientist to understand that we are living in very dangerous times.  It does take courage to say so.  And, it doesn’t take a brain surgeon to find possible solutions.”  Donald J. Trump, from his book The America We Deserve, (c) 2000, 16 yeara before winning the 2016 Presidential election, and 2 years before 9-11!

Today, following President Trump’s decision to withdraw from Syria, all of the talking heads, think tankers, and self appointed national security experts are condemning this decision in unison with predictions of horrendous consequences.  ISIS will take over the Middle East; none of our “allies” will trust us again after abandoning the Kurds;  Israel will be at the mercy of the Iran radicals; Turkey will annihilate the Kurds; and the world will cease to exist as we know it!  All because we pulled 1,000 troops out of war ravaged Syria!  

So who is right, President Trump or all of those aligned against Trump’s decision to pull out of Syria?   After living in the Middle East for 8 years, here are my thoughts.

Who Are the Key Players in This Critical Chess Game?

“The Kurds”:

The talking heads constantly harangue about the “Kurds”, like they are some homogenous, monolithic and ideologically aligned.  First of all, the peoples of “Kurdish” decent reside in Turkey, Syria, Iraq, Iran, Armenia, Azerbaijan, and Georgia.  The map below shows that the highest concentration of “Kurds” reside in Southeastern Turkey, Iran and Iraq.  

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The current conflict zone that is being disputed is the land inhabited by the Syrian Kurds on Turkey’s southern border and Syria’s northern border.  As you can see on the map shown above, this conflict zone is a very small percentage of the lands inhabited by Kurds residing in this region.  Many of these Syrian/Iraqi Kurds are members of Kurdistan Workers’ Party or PKK, which is a separatist group  seeking to separate Turkish and Syrian Kurds from Turkey and Syria.  The PKK/PYD has been designated as a terrorist organization not only by Turkey but the US and the EU! The PKK/PYD has waged a 30 year terror campaign against Turkey. To confuse the Syrian conflict even more, the PKK/PYD also support the Syrian Democratic Force (SDF) in their fight against Syrian President Assad, as well have supported our fight against ISIS.  The US has supplied the PKK/PYD with arms and money to asist in our anti-ISIS campaigns.  

“The Turks”

Turkey is a reluctant ally of the US and the EU while it is a full fledged member of NATO.  Prior to the Islamization of Turkey by Prime Minister and now the President of Turkey, Tayyip Erdogan, Turkey was more secular and pro-Western.  Today, Erdogan has morphed Turkey into a Sunni Islamist State.  One of Turkey’s old enemies are the separatists Kurds who are spread throughout Turkey as well as many of its neighbors.  The radical Kurdish separatists are joined into an organization referred to as PKK/PYD.  Turkey is also an perennial enemy of Iran and its puppet, Syria.  Iran and the Syrian leadership are Shia Muslims while Turkey is Sunni Muslim.  

To complicate Turkey’s relationship with the US even more, the Obama Administration refused to arm Turkey with our missile defense system in deference to Russia’s demands.  (Also refused to install this system in Poland)  As a result, Turkey turned to Russia and bought and installed the Russia missile defense system.  This purchase caused the Trump Administration to cancel our sales to Turkey of the new F-35 out of our fear that our F-35 technology could be shown to Russia.  

The Turks have been itching to invade north eastern Syria for years but were constrained by the existence of US Troops in this area.  Turkey has been sabre rattling and threatening to invade this region for months and with our smaller footprint, 35 troops, Erdogan amassed troops and started invading north eastern Syria.  The Trump Administration lodged a strong protest against Turkey’s actions and have imposed tarrifs on its government and government officials.  

“Assad’s Syria”

 The Assad Syria government has long been aligned with Iran and also more recently, Russia.  The 2011 “Muslim Spring” uprisings hit Syria hard and spawned the anti-Assad Syrian Democratic Force (SDF).  The Kurds joined the SDF fight against the Assad Syrian regime.  Syria is a mixed Islamic sect nation.  Bashir Assad and his government are Alawiyyah Shia (13%) while the majority of the Syrian people are Sunni (87%).  Assad sees Iran as his natural ally and has allied Syria with Iran against Sunni Middle Eastern nations.  Iran needs Syria to support its proxy war against Israel as Syria borders Israel on Israel’s North and East.  

The Assad Syrian government is a natural enemy of the radical Sunni ISIS terrorists.  Assad fought against ISIS as ISIS sought to take control of Syria and replace Assad with a Sunni controlled government.  

“Iran”

Iran needs Syria militarily as Syria provides Iran with an outlet to the Mediterranean and a land link to Israel from which to launch attacks against Israeli targets.  Iran also sees Iraq as a vital link and land bridge that would massively link Iran to Iraq to Syria.  ironically, Iraq is predominantly Shia (40% Sunni, 60% Shia) whereas Syria is predominantly Sunni.  Keep in mind, that Iraq was tightly controlled by Sunni Sandam Hussein much the same as Shia Assad tightly controlled Sunni Syria!  The Iraqi government today is being held together by spit and mud and likely will be overtaken by Shia elements that are sympathetic to Iran.  Iran is doing all it can to stay relevant in Syria and to disrupt the government in Iraq.  

The crippling sanctions placed on Iran by the Trump Administration have taken their toll and reduced Iranian GDP by 25% and emasculated its cash flow.  Iran is literally the #1 State sponsor of terror.  This effort costs big bucks and Iran is bankrupting its own local economy in order to fund its terror activities.  Iran is having great difficulty remaining in Syria as this is a costly endeavor and is having less and less impact on the region.  Iran is facing a serious internal rebellion that could topple its Islamic regime.

“Russia”

Russia’s economy is roughly the size of the economy of the State of Texas!  Supporting Assad’s Syria, Maduro’s Venezuela, Kim’s North Korea, while trying to remain relevant as a world military power, is seriously draining its own economy.  Russia is also anti-Islamist and weary of any terrorist movements such as ISIS and has vowed to fight against Islamist terror activities worldwide.  Russia would aid any effort to eliminate ISIS like organizations.  

Russia sold Turkey its missile defense systems but is weary of a strong Turkey in the region.  Militarily, Turkey is stronger militarily than Syria, Iraq and Iran.  The sale of defensive systems was more of a way to poke a stick in US eyes than a show of support for Turkey.  Turkey, after all, is a member of NATO which is organized to oppose Russia.  This Turkish schizophrenic relationship does not make Russia warm and fuzzy in dealing with Turkey.

President Trump Syrian Policy

So, now that we have an overview of the players in the Syrian sandbox, let’s take a look at the President’s Syrian policy and his recent decision to pull out of Syria.  

  1.  First of all, the pull out of our 28 troops in the North Eastern, 20 mile long strip in Syria was a direct result of Turkey’s invasion plans for this area.  The Administration had committed to a gradual withdrawal from Syria but the Turk’s actions forced a more rapid withdrawal from this 20 mile strip of land.  Those 28 troops would have remained in place for a longer period of time.  Would US interest have been served if our 28 troops had been killed in the crossfire just to make the US paid Kurd forces feel better?
  2.  If 28 US troops were the only thing holding the entire Middle East from falling apart, then we were doomed for failure regardless!  The administration knew that the Turks were going to engage the Kurds, who they consider terrorists, so why keep our 28 military personnel in harms way?  Maybe Lindsay Graham and Brian Kilmeade should take our troops place as sitting ducks and see how it feels.
  3.  THE US HAS NO STRATEGIC SELF INTEREST TO REMAIN IN SYRIA.  If ISIS tries to reestablish itself, we are still in Syria and Iraq, let alone in several other Middle East countries and able to monitor any activities and quickly snuff them out.  Also, Syria, Iran, Russia, and the Kurds have a vested interest in stopping any ISIS resurgeance.  
  4.  The Trump doctrine in the Middle East is simple, “The Middle East must stand up and control their radical neighbors.”  US boots on the ground only gives rise to more and more Muslims to join radical elements against the US.  We have been in Afghanistan and Iraq for close to 2 decades with little or nothing to show for it.  The Taliban is still strong in Afghanistan and Iraq will probably revert to a Shia led government which predates Saddam Hussein.  If Iraq reverts to a Shia nation, is it in our national interest to arbitrarily prop up a Sunni regime?
  5.  The Trump Anti-Terror strategy includes a much more localized CIA type boots on the ground backed by surgical special forces teams and air support.  This strategy is in place worldwide which includes the Syrian theatre.  But, in Syria, we have the added complexity of a six party conflict.  This puts our assets as risk versus many other regions around the world.

The next few days will determine the outcome of Turkey’s invasion of North Eastern Syria.  There are many long term ramifications to Turkey’s actions including their relationship with NATO.  So far, our European NATO allies have been pretty damn silent.  If Turkey ventures into Syria beyond where they are today, what will Syria, Russia, and Iran do to retaliate.  If they attack Turkey, other NATO nations could be forced to back Turkey.  

The current crisis is one of Turkey’s making.  President Trump could have played chicken with our troop’s lives but choose rather to get them out of harms way.  The aftermath of this crisis will be more determinative than the invasion itself.

 

RD Pierini

@RDPierini

Hat Tips

https://www.quora.com/Which-Islamic-countries-are-predominantly-Sunni-or-Shia

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Religion_in_Kurdistan

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Alevism

https://www.britannica.com/place/Turkey/The-Kurdish-conflict

 

 

Trump’s G-20: Great Way to Get 19 Nations Together So He Can Negotiate With Them!

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During the G-20 that just concluded in Japan, President Trump used that forum to sit down with and meet with almost every leader of the G20 Nations.  Trump does not view G-20 meeting or its smaller counterparts as a way for the world to get together to solve problems.  He sees them as a way for him to have everyone he needs to meet with and negotiate with come to one place so he merely has to go from room to room to have one on one sessions.  The President learned early on that the “G” meetings were merely a forum to have large international meetings, most of which involved milking the US or criticizing the US, then issuing a document that basically said how great it was and that we shall do this again!  Trump does not meet for the sake of meeting!  Either you accomplish something or you don’t meet.  

Just prior to the G-20 meetings, the President was determined to try to jump-start the negotiations with North Korea that have been stalled since February 28th, 2019.  He and Kim had corresponded several times since the President walked-out in Hanoi.  The President sees this relationship as one that is critical to world peace and stability.  Trump used his Twitter-Diplomacy to send an “official” request to Kim to meet at the DMZ, Kim accepted!  So much for State Department Protocol!

So, starting with the meeting with Kim in North Korea, let’s look at a couple of other substantial accomplishments that took place over the past few days in Japan, South Korea, and North Korea. 

Trump-Kim Meeting in North Korea:

Every literate person by now has seen, heard or read that President Trump met North Korean Leader Kim Jong-un in South Korea then crossed over into North Korea.  This is the first time ever that an serving American President has visited North Korea, ever.  

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There is no doubt that the Secret Service had to replenish their toilet paper supply following this meeting!  The DMZ is protected by heavily armed snipers and security on both sides.  NK Security on the ground was armed and within feet of our President.  Their snipers were trained on our President and the US and South Korean contingency the entire time.  If a firecracker had gone off, this scene could have erupted into a firefight of disastrous proportions!  As it was, there was a few confrontations with our press and the President’s communications staff.  Tensions were high.

To appreciate the gutsiness of this move by the President, remember that Kim may be the leader of this dark nation, but his reign is precarious as many of the old line communist generals and members of his own family would like to seize power.  What better way to take down the Kim regime than to assassinate the President of the US on North Korean soil!  Given the openness of this meeting, there was literally no way to prevent this from happening!  In the end, The President and Chairman Kim met for an hour and agreed to resume disarmament negotiations.  A big prize for merely having the guts to walk across a 16″ wide curb that separates South and North Korea!  Will disarmament come about?  Who knows.  There are a lot of variables at play and Kim is not totally secure in his role as Chairman. 

But, it proves that Trump understands that whether you are negotiating for a high rise in NYC or negotiating to disarm a nuclear nation, TRUST has to be built before any deal will be reached.  I have written in the past that Trump’s short term goal is to convince Chairman Kim that he can trust President Trump and that the US will live up to any security agreement that is made to ensure Kim’s long term survival!  Kim is the third generation that has stood against the US.  He and his ancestors have convinced the North Korean people that the US is an existential threat to their survival.  Now, Trump has to convince Kim that this is not true, then Kim has to convince his inner circles, his military and his people that a good relationship with the US would be good for North Korea.  Remember, Kim was educated in Switzerland and knows how the other half lives.  North Korean GDP is only $18 Billion a year.  Amazon’s annual sales in 2018 was $233 Billion and its EBITA (earnings before interest, taxes, depreciation and amortization was $25.5B, $7.5 billion higher that the total GDP of North Korea!

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The G-20 Itself

Turkey:

President Trump very simply laid out for the American People a very difficult situation that has arisen between the US, Turkey and Russia.  Remember that Turkey is a member of NATO, an organization that was founded to guard against advances by the old Soviet Union, and now Russia.  Turkey was an ally of the US against ISIS and agreed not to attack the Kurds in Iraq following the defeat of ISIS.  The Kurds and Turkey have been long-time enemies and much of the original Kurdistan was absorbed into Turkey to the chagrin of the Kurds.  In short, Turkey considers the Kurds terrorists and the Kurds consider Turkey confiscatory scum!  

The President succinctly laid out that during the Obama administration, Turkey’s President Erdogan asked that he be allowed to purchase the US Patriot missile Defence system.  Turkey wanted this defensive system to protect itself from any incoming missile attack.  But, President Obama refused the sale as he did not want to alienate President Putin of Russia In fact, President Obama stopped Patriot system installations in Poland and other nations as well.  Erdogan also wanted to purchase 100 of the new stealth F-35 fighter planes to upgrade his air defenses and to meet his NATO commitment to spend 2% of their GDP on defense. 

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During the F-35 negotiations, Erdogan went to Russia to see if he could purchase the Russian counterpart to our Patriot system, the Russian S-400.   Erdogan and the Russians made the deal and Turkey paid Russia for the S-400 system.  Why not?  The US had refused to sell its system to Turkey!  The Obama administration was furious and eventually offered to give Turkey the Patriot System.  It was too late, Turkey had already paid for the S-400 system and Russia was in the process of manufacturing it and installing it.  

So, fast forward to present day and President Trump at the G-20.  President Trump is livid that the US first denied the sale of the Patriot System to Turkey; then sold 100 F-35s to Turkey; then said Turkey could not have the F-35s, since Turkey bought the Russian S-400 Missile Defense Systems, AFTER THE US REFUSED TO SELL THE PATRIOT SYSTEM TO THEM!  Aren’t you glad that Obama was so smart and not in the back pocket of President Putin!  

Why is this a problem?  The F-35 is the latest US stealth aircraft that obviously incorporates highly sensitive electronics and advances weapons systems, including anti-missile defense capabilities from systems such as the Russian S-400!  Wouldn’t the Russians love to get their hands on the F-35 technology during the installation of the S-400 system so they can program F-35 interception capabilities into not only the S-400 system, but in all offensive and defensive systems they deploy!  

The US had officially suspended any further shipments of the F-35s to Turkey.  To date, only two planes have been delivered to the Turks but they remain in the US at training facilities.  Pentagon spokesman Charles E. Summers Jr. recently stated:

“The United States has been clear that Turkey’s acquisition of the S-400 is unacceptable.” Our important dialogue on this matter will continue, however, until they forgo delivery of the S-400, the United States has suspended deliveries and activities associated with the stand-up of Turkey’s F-35 operational capability,”

Presidents Trump and Erdogan met at the G-20 at length to discuss and try to resolve this situation that should never have been allowed to transpire in the first place.  The lack of commitment to NATO, and the sucking up to Russia by the Obama Administration created this fiasco.  As of this writing, it is unclear how Trump will resolve this,  If I were a betting man, I would bet that Trump will try to offset any loses by Turkey as a result of their purchase of the S-400 systems.  Russia will scream bloody murder but in the end we, the tax payers, will have to pay for Obama’s incompetence.  It is not acceptable to have our F-35 technologies exposed to Russia and to Russian defense technology.

China:

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The North Korean Meeting between Trump and Kim all but overshadowed the meeting between President Trump and President Xi of China.  This meeting was critical to restart talks between the two nations regarding tariffs and trade relations.  The Chinese economy is in decline and further US sanctions could further exacerbate this decline.  In order to mitigate the US tariffs so far, China has had to devalue their currency and give their industries who have been the target of the tariffs deep subsidies so they could continue to produce their products.  In the US, inflation has been at historical lows indicating that China is absorbing most of the cost of the US tariffs.  

The biggest takeaway from the Trump/Xi meeting was that trade talks would resume.  Trump agreed not to increase tariffs or impose new tariffs on about $300 billion dollars in US imports from China.  The US also is allowing our tech companies to sell component parts to the Chinese tech giant Huawei.  TRUMP DID NOT LIFT THE EMBARGO AGAINST HUAWEI, as some are reporting.  Huawei cannot sell its products in the US and the administration is continuing to pressure our allies to follow suit.

President Trump reiterated that he is in now hurry to get a deal with China realizing that China is hoping that Trump will lose his bid for re-election and that China will have an easier path with an incoming Democrat!  So, a comprehensive trade deal with China may not happen until after Trump’s re-election.  If China thinks Trump is tough now, just wait until he is re-elected!  This is not a good bet for China to make.

Other Advances:

Trump also met with many other leaders including those from France, Germany, Great Britain, Brazil, India, Mexico, Japan, South Korea, and Russia. 

His meetings with France and Germany were to discuss further trade talks between the EU and the US, Brexit, the Trump Middle-East Peace Plan, and Iran.  Trump will tackle the EU trade talks following the passage of USMCA and possibly the conclusion of trade agreement with Japan.  They also discussed the ongoing devaluation of the EU currency that is forcing the dollar higher making it more difficult to sell into the EU.  Iran was particularly critical given the Iranian aggression and the potential for oil supplies being cut off to EU countries from the Gulf.  President Trump also sought to stop these countries from interfering or circumventing with his sanctions against Iran.  Iran is at a tipping point and any propping up by the EU now would only prolong any meaningful dialog with Iran relative to their nuclear weapon program.

Trump’s meeting with Teresa May of Great Britain was a continued reassurance that the US is ready and willing to offset any trade loses that Britain may suffer when exiting the EU, either hard or soft.  The Iranian and Middle-East Peace Plan were also front and center.  May is basically a Lame Duck Prime Minister as recent elections have set up the formation of a new government.

The other main event featured a meeting between President Trump and President Putin of Russia. 

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While both sides have been relatively quiet about the meetings,  included in their discussions were the situations in Iran, Syria, Venezuela, and Ukraine.  Putin has indicated that he is withdrawing his support for Maduro in Venezuela and is cooling to any real future involvement with Iran in Syria.  The Ukraine/Crimea situation is sticky and any real solution to the Ukraine/Crimea crisis will not happen soon.  Once Obama allowed Russia to invade Ukraine and Crimea and annex portions of these lands, only military intervention by the US would probably change the status on the ground.  Trump does not see this as his highest priority, nor as a winnable, problem.  Trump did agree to visit Russia on the 75th anniversary of V-Day to celebrate the defeat of Nazism with our then ally, Russia.

I will cover some of the other meetings as results from those meetings unfold and current events add to their story.  Let it suffice to say that President Trump is dominating the world stage and drawing lines in the sands of many topics with other world leaders.  Our media’s and the left’s constant domestic attacks on him do not help but he is undeterred in his seeking of world peace, and rebalancing US trade to be reciprocal and free.

RD Pierini

@RDPierini

Hat Tips

US suspends F-35 deliveries to Turkey over S-400 purchase from Russia

The Left – Wing Sedition by Democrats and their Media

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From the Gateway Pundit: Mrs. Susan Thornton, the former acting assistant secretary of state in the Trump administration, (Under Former SOS Rex Tillerson) tells her Beijing audience to stop negotiating until President Trump is removed from office in 2020.

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The Left-Wing stalwarts in the Democrat Party and their accomplishes in the left-wing media, aided and abetted by Right-Wing Neo-Cons and “Never-Trumpers”,  are providing a false sense of comfort to all of our enemies.  The media’s 92% negative coverage of President Trump and the Democrat incessant investigative mania have provided China, Iran, North Korea, Nicaragua and Russia with a false sense that President Trump is weakened internally and probably will not win re-election in 2020. 

  • China is balking at giving in to Trump’s balanced trade demands and is refusing to cooperate with the US in dealing with North Korea, Iran, Syria, and Niceraugua; Xi is holding out to see if Trump can win re-election.
  • Iran is severely weakened by Trump’s tariffs but think they can antagonize the US with threats and military eye pokes until November, 2020, when a Democrat John F. Kerry like apologist re-takes the White House; Ayatollah is holding out to see if Trump can win re-election.
  • North Korea‘s Kim knows he is not dealing with a typical US President and that he cannot hood-wink Trump and is keeping is powder dry awaiting Trump’s defeat in 2020; Kim is holding out to see if Trump can win re-election.
  • Nicaragua’s  Maduro has been given assurances by China, Russia and Cuba that Trump has been neutered and will not use military force to oust him from office; Maduro is holding out to see if Trump can win re-election.
  • Russian President Putin has had the last laugh as the Democrat idiotic Trump-Putin collusion has done more to roadblock Trump’s tough stance against Russia than any effort Putin could have devised.  Putin is holding out to see if Trump can win re-election.

Is this just Politics as Usual? 

Better Consider the Stakes to the US and Our Allies.

President Trump does not believe that “status quo” can be a status state when it comes to military power, economic power, or human relations.  The President will NEVER accept a “wait-and-see” posture by our allies or our enemies!  Juxtapose this to our enemies viewing Trump as being stymied by his own US adversaries and that it may come to pass that Trump will be a one term president!  The result will be a US directly challenging these competitors/enemies.  President Trump will win this standoff!

China:  President Trump wrote 20 years ago in his book, “The America We Deserve”, that China represented the greatest long-term threat to the US.  He also deeply believes that our 500+ billion dollar trade deficit with China is directly funding China’s military build-up and their meddling into the internal affairs of countries around the world.  The President sees our trade deficit with China as an exestential threat to the US and its allies, at some point in the not too distant future.  He cannot allow China to sit on their hands until after the 2020 election and not move forward to rebalancing our trade relationship and eliminating China’s theft of our intellectual property.  The President will keep moving his chess pieces until Xi is forced to deal with his Communist Party and force them to acquiesce to rebalancing our trade relationship.  Trump views the tarriffs he has imposed on China as a down payment of achieving his goals.  His quiver is still full of arrows! 

Iran:  President Trump has long held that since President Carter allowed the over-throw of the Pro-West Shaw regime in Iran in 1979, that the resulting Shia, religious State is the most destabilizing influence on the Middle East and the one that stands in the path to peace in the Middle East.  Iran is without dispute the largest State sponsor of terror in the world.  By walking away from the US-Iran Nuclear Agreement and re-imposing crushing tariffs on Iran, the President has drawn an unstated line in the sand that the current Iranian Government must go and Iran must establish a government that is not expansionist.  President Trump will not allow Iran’s belligerence and terror meddling in the Middle East to derail his goal of getting the US out of the Middle East and to establish a Middle Eastern Sunni dominated peace-plan.  He will not stand by on the sidelines and allow Iran to threaten US forces in the region nor continue to arm and fund proxy battles in Yemmen, Palestine and other areas.  If the Ayagollah thinks that Novermber 2020 is their “liberation” date then they better stop talking to John Kerry!  The Ayatollahs will not last that long as Saudi Arabia and Egypt are ready, willing and capable of supporting the dissidents in Iran leading to the deposing of the religious fanatical leadership.  

North Korea:  Chairman Kim now realizes that his negotiations with President Trump bear no resemblance to those carried out between his ancestors and the failed, former US leadership of the past 60 years.  Unfortunately, Kim is suffering from the same delusion that President Xi of China suffers from, namely, believing our left-wing and Never-Trump factions in the US that Trump will not be re-elected in 2020.  Kim has also solicited the aid of the Left-Wing UN to promote the dubious contention that North Korea is suffering from a drought and needs sanctions lifted.  Nice Try.  Sign the agreement and we will make sure you and your people are fed.  Judging from Kim’s waist, he could use a little Jenny Craig in his life.  His people, not so much

Nicaragua:  The Maduro regime is being propped up by Cuba, Russia, China and Iran.  All of which are currently economically challenged and who are trying to convince Maduro to wait Trump out and he will remain in power.  BAD ADVICE!  Our sanctions on Cuba, Nicaragua, Iran and Russia, and our tarriffs on China imports,  are crippling and we are also well poised to impose an actual blockade of Nicaragua and Cuba that will topple both regimes.  Trump is committed to a free Nicaragua and Cuba and will choke the lifeblood out of both dictatorial regimes.  I seriously doubt that either country can wait until January 21, 2023, when President Trump is sworn in again for his second term.  Maduro can’t wait a year and a half but he would not be adverse to making life hell for his citizens in the interim.

Russia:  President Putin really would like to get rid of President Trump as Trump has imposed the most serious sanctions of Russia since the fall of the Soviet Union.  Putin also knows that Trump hold 4 aces when it comes to energy.  The US could cripple Russia in a heartbeat by simply undercutting Russian energy prices in Europe.  Putin relies on energy exports as they comprise 74% of Russia’s exports that Russia needs to support its citizens.  President Trump does not want to cripple Russia and create a nation with nothing to lose but he will also not continue to allow Russia to interfere in the Middle East, South America and elsewhere without consequences.  Putin may be delusional in thinking that Jerry Nadler, Maxine Waters, and Pelosi can take President Trump down either by impeachment or in the 2020 election.  If this is truly what Putin thinks, or hopes, he is betting his entire existence on a brain trust in the Democrat party that together could nut must up a combined 80 IQ score.

Risks for the US:

If these enemies/competitors really think that they can wait out trump and that he will be replaced by one of the Anti-US Democrat candidates, they, and by extension us, could be put in a precarious situation.  The danger is that by continuing to ratchet up anti-US rhetoric, continuing to meddle in areas where the US has a national interest, failing to negotiate in good faith with President Trump, or overtly provoking a defensive posture by the US, there is a risk that one or both sides may over-react to a real or perceived provocation. 

  • How many missiles can Kim fire off before we respond?
  • How many tariffs can China put on the US before we double down on our sanctions against China and we also start to clamp down on China’s China Sea militarization?
  • If Iran actually fires on one of our or our ally’s Middle East bases or vessels, would we respond with a diplomatic overture or a military strike?
  • If Russia continues to fund Maduro, Iran, and other dictators in our sphere of influence, how tight would be clamp down on the Russian Bear!  With Russia and the US being basically on par relative to nuclear capabilities, these are high stakes if the bear feels threatened.

If the Left-Wing stalwarts in the Democrat Party and their accomplishes in the left-wing media, aided and abetted by Right-Wing Neo-Cons and “Never-Trumpers”, continue to try to undermine the Trump Administration, and to portray the Trump Administration as weak and as a one-term administration, these competitors/enemies may be emboldened to the point of provoking an all out conflict between the US and one or more of these nations.  Aiding an enemy of this nation, no matter who is president or what you think of that president, is Sedition at least and Treason at Worst!  Both terms are serious and the intent of the perpetrators is the weakening or overthrow of their State.  While Treason is thought to be more serious, both are equally as perverted, especially when undertaken based solely on political differences.  

The Left and the Democrat Party is playing a very dangerous game with US Citizens being placed in their sick crosshairs.  I never thought I would see the day when a US political party, made up of US citizens, would actively engage in aiding and abetting our enemies with the goal of nullifying our electoral process and allowing our enemies to dominate over our nation.  

RD Pierini

@RDPierini

 

Hat Tips

https://www.glocktalk.com/threads/former-trump-senior-state-dept-official-tells-beijing-to-wait-until-trump-is-removed.1767242/

https://www.wnd.com/2019/05/former-state-dept-official-to-china-dont-negotiate-with-trump/

Difference Between Sedition and Treason

President Trump Policies-Circa 2000; “The America We Deserve”

See the source image

If you listen to the Main Stream, Left-Wing Press, you would think that President Trump is “winging-it” in terms of his foreign, domestic and economic policies.  As someone who has been following the President since the Mid-80s, I can tell you that the President has held his core policy beliefs steadfast for the past 35+ years.  World conditions may have changed, but his policy principles have not.  If you need to be convinced, I encourage you to read “Trump, The America We Deserve”, then “The Art of the Deal”.  Both provide a roadmap into the thinking of our current President…  The following is a brief outline of “The America We Deserve”.

The Foreign Policy We Deserve

First and foremost, President Trump’s foreign policy beliefs have been influenced a great deal by Secretary Henry Kissinger and President Ronald Reagan.  He has Kissinger’s clear world view and Reagan’s hard-core negotiating skills.  He is never afraid to walk away from a mediocre deal in order to slap his opponents into reality.

How to Take On China:

In this chapter, the President designates China as our number one long-term challenge, as far back as 2000!  Trump vehemently disagrees with Bush and Clinton in the belief that if we openly trade with China, even running idiotic trade deficits, that Chinese leaders would become more Westernized and a “Friend” of the West.

Clinton and Bush gave lip service to the need for China to fix their human rights abuses but did nothing concrete to force China to comply.  The President sees the Chinese human rights abuses as a core, anti-freedom, principle of the regime that not only pertains to its own citizens but also to its trading partners. 

China is not looking for balanced trade, they are looking to expand their economy and military by exploiting the West’s eagerness to have access to the Chinese consumers.  The President is absolutely opposed to taking it in the shorts on trade just to get access to the Chinese consumers.  The Chinese, according to Trump, see trade surpluses as a MILITARY STRATEGY, not just an economic strategy.

In 2,000, Trump also identified China’s source of technology as have been stolen by the Chinese from Us!  He believed and still believes that our governments have continually allowed, and promoted, technology transfer via theft to China to help move them along to Westernization!  How naïve can you be?

The President clearly states that China sees us as their competitor/enemy and does not seek a strategic partnership with the US!  Their military and economic build-up has one purpose, to overtake the US militarily and economically!  Period!  Trump has no delusions as to the long-term objectives of China and President Xi.  Trump spelled our his current China Policy in 2000 by saying: 

“We have to make it absolutely clear that we’re willing to trade with China, but, not to trade away our principles, and that under n circumstances will we keep our markets open to countries that steal from us”.

North Korea and Other Rogues:

In this same policy section, President Trump spelled out North Korea as our biggest SHORT-TERM menace.  This was in 2000 right after Clinton gave away the kitchen to North Korea.  He called out our foreign policy vis-à-vis North Korea as weak at best.  He believed, and still does, that North Korea thinks we are not serious and does not fear our threats!  In 2000, Trump went so far to say that he would BOMB THE NORTH KOREAN REACTORS, to keep them from creating nuclear weapons.  Obviously today, he has to deal with a nuclear North Korea due to past passive policies that have failed.  He proposed back in 2000, that he would launch target air strikes against all of the North Korean nuclear facilities if he felt they threatened the US and its people.

Trump also discussed the threats to the US from Iraq and Iran.  This pre-dates the GW Bush war against Iraq and the failed Obama Iran Nuclear deal.  While current ground conditions have changed in Iraq, his views on Iran and Russia’s being “…today the world’s nuclear “Wal-Mart:!”

I could go on and provide Cliff Notes for this important book but I leave it to you to buy yourself a copy, then go through each page and compare Trump’s points to his policies of today.  The correlations are impressive and informative.  He clearly does not rely on “advisors” to shape his principles but uses advisors to apply his principles to current conditions. 

If you don’t read this book, as well as his “Art of the Deal”, you will never quite “get” Trump!  Your loss!

RD Pierini

@RDPierini

 

Hat Tip:

“The America We Deserve”,  by Donald J. Trump with Dave Shiflett, Renaissance Books, Copyright (c) 2000 by Donald J. Trump

 

Part 2-Trump is Right To Pull Out of Syria, Afghanistan then Iraq Next

 

Trump’s decision is now known not to have been a “spur of the moment irrational decision”.  NBC and the Daily Caller have reported that On December 14th, President Trump, John Bolton and others were on a call with Turkish President Erdogan supposedly discussing the need for Turkey to back off any aggression towards the Kurds.  During the course of the discussion, , Erdogan reportedly ask the President the 64 Million Dollar Question:  “Why are you still there (in Syria) when the Islamic State had been 99 percent defeated. Erdogan reportedly told Trump that his country (Turkey) could handle what was left.

Per NBC and the Daily Caller reporting:    “With Erdogan on the line, Trump asked national security adviser John Bolton, who was listening in, ‘why American troops remained in Syria if what the Turkish president was saying was true’, according to the officials. Erdogan’s point, Bolton was forced to admit, had been backed up by Mattis, Pompeo, U.S. special envoy for Syria Jim Jeffrey and special envoy for the anti-ISIS coalition Brett McGurk, who have said that IS retains only 1 percent of its territory, the officials said.” (1)

So, to paraphrase old Willie Shakespeare, “The Military Establishment Doth Protest Too Much”, regarding Trump’s decision to pull 2,000 troops out of Syria.  Trump’s decision, was based on the calculation was it worth leaving 2,000 of our best on the ground, in a vulnerable posture, to mop up the last 1% when others “could” do this clean up.  Remember, the tooth to tail ratio (2) of fighting men and women to non-combat logistical men and women is about 1 fighter to 3 logistical support personnel.  Using this baseline, only 500 of the 2,000 troops in Syria were actually there to engage in combat or direct coalition forces.  

Further, Trump’s entire national security team agreed that ISIS was 99% defeated!  The reports that there are 30,000 ISIS fighters remaining in Syria is FAKE NEWS and is erroneously propped up by the failure of Mattis and others to refuse to own up to their statements to their Commander-In-Chief.  

Should we trust Turkey?

Hell no!  We shouldn’t trust anyone to protect our own national interest.  But, if Turkey agreed not to attack our ally the Kurds, and Turkey will continue to clean up the ISIS remnants, then we MAY be in a Win-Win!  We are not helpless.  We can monitor Turkey, the Kurds, and ISIS in the region and respond if any of them step out of line. 

THREE WEEKS AGO, TRUMP ORDERED THE MOVEMENT OF THE AIRCRAFT CARRIER, JOHN C. STENNIS AND ITS SUPPORT VESSELS TO THE PERSIAN GULF.  THESE ORDERS PRECEDED TRUMP’S ANNOUNCEMENT TO WITHDRAW FROM SYRIA AND CAME OUT OF A RESPONSE TO IRAN’S FIRING OF A MEDIUM RANGE MISSILE.  THIS SHOW OF FORCE IN THE REGION IS ALSO A REMINDER TO OUR FOES AND ALLIES IN THE REGION THAT THE US IS NOT CUTTING AND RUNNING FROM THE MIDDLE EAST AND CAN RECONSTITUTE AN AGGRESSIVE POSTURE AT ANY TIME IT IS WARRANTED.

USS John C. Stennis & Her Support Vessels

I guess you should ask yourself whether 500 US combat troops in Syria, providing support to the Kurds and others, is more effective than allowing the Turks, Kurds, Syrians, and yes the Iranians and Russians to wipe out ISIS;  while the US deploys aircraft carriers and destroyers to the region to provide immediate offensive capabilities to support our allies the Kurds, Israel, Saudi Arabia, Jordan and others in the region!  

For those who are railing against Trump as not knowing what he is doing and that our military leaders always know best, take a breath!  Ask yourself:

  • AfghanistanIf the Military Brass is so good, why are we still in Afghanistan after 17 years and arguably not much better off strategically than we were when this conflict began.  No, no.  you can’t solely blame Obama for his incompetence although he was really good at military incompetence, but Trump is now the 3rd President saddled with this war and the Taliban and its ally Pakistan is still pretty much in control.  Doing the same thing for 17 years and expecting different results each year is just plain dumb.  Either obliterate the enemy or get out.  At the very least, turn this conflict over to stake holders in the region.
  • Iran If the Military Brass is so good, why are we still in Iraq after 15 years?  Iraq is still divided by Shia, Sunni and Kurdish factions and peace and stability is tentative at best.  Once again, Trump is the 3rd President to preside over this bloody war and we are likely to have a force presence in this country for some time.  Doing the same thing for 17 years and expecting different results each year is just plain dumb.  In this case, with some school yard supervision, we may just have to see if Iraq can stand on its own two feet with support from Saudi Arabia and other players in the region rather than the US.  
  • War on Terror:  Who actually knows when this started.  Some go back to the bombing of our barracks in Lebanon in October of 1983.  Let’s suppose that is true.  That means for almost 4 decades we have been fighting our war on terror!  Don’t get me wrong, we have to fight this war and more importantly we have to win this war.  But, we cannot assume that stationary ground troops and large footprint deployments are effective.  Has anyone in the military asked a simple question; “How do the Terrorist Fight us in this war”?  They fight with a small footprint, quick acting , no rules of engagement, lethal force.   This is exactly what Trump is doing in Africa, under the radar, and it is effective.  Is it fast and decisive.  NOPE.  And it never will be.

Our Military Brass and civilian international social scientists have argued that the US must CHANGE THE HEARTS AND MINDS IN THE MUSLIM WORLD AND WIN OVER THEIR SUPPORT TO OUR SIDE IN ORDER TO EVENTUALLY WIN THE WAR ON TERROR Great.  Putting 20 or 30 thousand troops on the ground in Muslim countries, where their general population has a front row seat, and kill locals is not exactly a way to sway the hearts and minds of the locals.  We fly our great flag in their faces to remind them that the US is their occupying force!  President Trump, following his meeting in Saudi Arabia almost two years ago, and enlisting the support of over 50 Muslims nations to support us in the War against Radical Islamist, has set in motion a plan to stand up local Muslim Nations to fight this war on the ground in our stead while we direct operations and provide off shore lethal air and missile support.  We also use harsh economic sanctions and economic trade warfare to cripple bad actors in the region including Russia and Iran!   

Trump Doctrine in the Middle East:

Trumps goals are to provide a sufficient military deterrent to discourage any cross border aggression by hostile nations while removing our face from the forefront of ridding the region of its despotic bad actors.  This requires that we extricate ourselves from direct engagements when possible and build up our military to the point where no one will challenge our ability.  Yes, this may mean that we have to flex our military muscle via lethal air a missile attacks backed by local allied nation’s ground troops when necessary.

The Washington Swamp Strikes Again:

Don’t believe for a split second that the Washington Swamp has not infiltrated the Pentagon.   The military swamp is comprised of an odd mix of Neo-Conservatives (who would launch nuclear strikes against Russia, North Korea and Iran tomorrow), and ultra-doves who want nothing more than to evolve our military into a social experiment to degrade our lethality.  The problem is that many in the Pentagon don’t even realize they are part of the swamp and believe they are acting in the best interest of our country.  But, they never really question their decisions based on the question, “Does this decision further the US national interest”?   Or, do our rules of engagement help or hurt our fight to support our national interest?  We have at least 3 very brave soldiers that the Pentagon has either already incarcerated or is prosecuting murder charges against.  How do you look at these 3 and justify allowing our enemies to fight with more lethality than we allow our own troops?  

While I truly believe that General Mattis and many others of our top military brass are patriots; I do believe, however, that they are blinded by years of swamp indoctrination.  I believe that they actually believe that their opinions are sacred and above reproach.  Why haven’t any of these military leaders resigned over rules of engagement that literally kill or put our troops at risk?  

To be very frank, that is exactly why our Founders made our Presidents, who are civilians, the Commander-In-Chief of our military!  They need to remember that their duty is to provide the best advice they can to their Commander-In-Chief and stay the hell off of CNN, MSNBC and the rest of the left-wing broadcast or print media.  When I see them using this medium to try to minimize or deride the decisions made by their Commander-In-Chief, I lose all confidence in their opinions and decision-making ability.  

This current barrage of criticism for our President’s decision to withdraw from Syria and draw down in Afghanistan, is literally weakening our positions relative to China, North Korea, Russia and Iran.  China will use this descent against Trump to stall any trade or intellectual property agreement with the US and they will encourage North Korea to fight back against the US and stall any denuclearization that may have been possible.  Russia will see this as a split between Trump and our military and push harder into South America and the Middle East. 

You would think that our top Military Leaders could see this and see that they are being complicit in the weakening of our “peace through strength” campaign by destroying support for our Commander-In-Chief within the military and with the American public.  

RD Pierini

@RDPierini

 

Hat Tips:

(1) https://dailycaller.com/2018/12/22/trump-syria-bolton-withdrawal/

(2) https://www.quora.com/How-many-non-soldiers-are-needed-to-support-one-combatant

https://www.stripes.com/news/middle-east/us-aircraft-carrier-enters-persian-gulf-after-long-absence-1.561582

Trump is Right To Pull Out of Syria, Afghanistan then Iraq Next

See the source imagePresident Trump announced Wednesday that he will withdraw our military out of Syria as soon as possible.  Our total troop commitment in Syria is only 2,000 military personnel.  These assets have been mostly directing Kurds and Syrian opposition forces against ISIS rather than engaging ISIS directly.  The Iraqi troop deployment is not effected by this drawdown at this time.  You would have thought that it was 1945 and the President just surrendered to the Japanese on the USS Missouri!  (the Japanese actually surrendered to the US on this ship on September 2, 1945)  All of the Neo-Cons and foreign interventionist hair caught on fire and they could not wait to find a camera and a microphone.  First in line was “Bomb, Bomb Iran” Lindsay Graham followed by Little Marco!  The cry, “Trump did not even listen to the Pentagon and his national security advisor Bolton when making these decision. 

Hot Flash:  The Pentagon and the National Security advisors were not elected President, Trump was!

Brian Kilmeade on Fox and Friends led today’s early morning tirade against the President’s decision slamming the President for making an uninformed and basically ignorant decision.  Kilmeade is not alone.  The usual suspects on CNN, MSNBC, CBS, NBC ABC and other left-wing media outlets joined in condemning Trump.  None of these people, including Kilmeade, were elected to anything let alone to serve as our Commander-In-Chief!

Kilmeade went on in his rant about how the Kurdish military leader was saying that there were still 30,000 ISIS fighters in Syria, (which is almost the same number as before Trump bombed them back to the dark ages) and our leaving will allow ISIS to quickly reconstitute in Syria.  I guess Kilmeade and some of Trump’s actual advisors forgot about all of the Iraqi “exiles” who swamped the GW Bush administration and the networks with tales of why we should invade Iraq and take out Saddam Hussein and that the entire Iraqi population would be waiting for us to thank us for our sacrificing our troops and our treasure.  Oh yea, that was 15 long years ago and included 4,400 deaths of our military with another 32,000 of our military wounded.  But the Iraqi dissidents could be believed that this would be a short war and totally supported by Iraqi citizens.  I guess they forgot about the Sunni/Shia split in Iraq!

————

Before we go on, it is critical for the reader to understand who some of the players are in Syria. The ISIS Caliphate is a SUNNI MUSLIM Salafi jihadist military group!  Assad’s Syria is ALAWITE SHIA MUSLIM even though the majority of the Syrian population is SUNNI.  ISIS is a NATURAL RELIGIOUS ENEMY OF THE ASSAD REGIME.  Keep this in mind.

————

So, the Neo-Cons and other Trump detractors jumped on the bandwagon to denounce this move by our Command-In-Chief.  But lets take a look at Maps of Syria just before Trump initiated his ISIS eradication effort in March of 2017 and now, in October of 2018, after Trump’s ISIS eradication campaign.  The first early map is shown below.

March 2017 Map of Syria and ISIS Controlled Areas

ISIS in Gray controlled the majority of land mass in Syria and Western Iraq…

See the source image

Without virtually any resistance from the Obama administration, ISIS was well on its way to dominating the land mass of Syria and actually major portions of Iraq to the east.  As we stated above, ISIS is diametrically opposed to the Iranian back Syrian Assad regime.  The Syrian government forces had been pushed to the western edges of Syria.  The Syrian Assad Regime was in danger of being toppled, not by the US or the Syrian Rebels, but by ISIS!  This was in spite of military support from both Russia and Shia Iran.  

October 2018 Map Of Syria and ISIS Controlled Area

Today ISIS only controls the black sliver shown below and they are hemmed in by the Kurds and Syrian Army.


Look closely at the black sliver of land in the North West quadrant of Syria that is controlled by ISIS today.  If there are 30,000 ISIS fighters there, as parroted by Kilmeade quoting a Kurdish General, they must be stacked on top of each other!  The ISIS area is bordered to the Northeast by US back Kurdish forces and on the Southwest by Syrian and Iranian forces.  In short, they are in a vice.

Clamor Not to Abandon the Kurds

The Kurds and their US supporters are clamoring that any US pullout would allow ISIS to retake Syria and Iraq and allow Turkey to fight against the Kurds.  The first argument is unlikely and one that we could combat quickly with special forces and air strikes.  The latter concern regarding Turkish animosity against the Kurds is a historical fact.  Why, portions of the old Kurdistan are actually now within the country of Turkey and the Kurds are not too keen on Turkey having control of their ancient lands.  Further, the Iraqi Kurds have not exactly been “good neighbors” to Turkey and have sponsored armed raids, I won’t call them terrorist acts, into Turkey.  Turkey is no virgin either.  But, is this our fight and can we not exert pressure on both combatants to deal with their differences peacefully.  Beside, Iraq itself, has its own problems to deal with.  Do we need to place put men and women in harm’s way to settle an old dispute between the Kurds and the Turks?

See the source image

Remember the Trump Middle East Doctrine:  Local nations in the region must fight their own battles.  We will not nation build nor lead aggression in the region that has caused millions of Muslims in the world to hate the US as an anti-Muslim aggressor!

The Trump Doctrine also includes driving our international foes bankrupt and force them to be subject to regime change internally or change just to survive.  President Trump is squeezing every ounce of cash out of Putin’s Russia by killing his exports of natural gas to Europe!  This is seriously weakening Russia as the vast majority of its trade is energy,  President Trump not only pulled out of Obama’s idiotic Iran Nuclear deal, but his is squeezing every ounce of cash out of the Ayatollah’s Iran by reapplying sanctions that are crippling this regime.  Both of these countries, Russia and Iran are meddling in Syria at the expense of their own people’s well being and this is starting to take a toll on both at home.  Trump is killing two birds with one stone!

Clamor:  ISIS will Reconstitute and Spread

Maybe.  But more likely, Russia, Shia/Iran and Shia/Syria will destroy and remnants of ISIS in Syria themselves.  ISIS has already spread to other African nations and Afghanistan as we made it “uncomfortable” for them to remain in Syria!  President Trump’s Middle-East policy of Local Containment and Action has realigned much of the SUNNI Arab world in the region and they are Anti-ISIS as they are targeted as a terrorist group.  (Saudi Arabia leads this charge which is one reason President Trump is not taking too strong a stance against Saudi Arabia vis-à-vis the Khashoogi murder. )

Further, if ISIS tries to reconstitute in Syria, we can quickly deploy special forces and air strikes to contain any such action.  We can also enlist our enemy in Syria, Assad, Iran and Russia to quell any ISIS uprising.  “An Enemy of My Enemy is my Friend.”

But, If We Don’t Fight Them There, We Will Have to Fight Them At Home!

I don’t know about you but I am getting tired of hearing this soundbite!  We have a military made up of the most highly trained, best equipped, most capable of rapid deployment, backed by the strongest air offenses in the world, and backed by some of the most sophisticated intelligence capabilities in our country and within our cadre of allies to respond to any threats from abroad or capabilities being created abroad.  Have we really stopped terrorist in Afghanistan, Syria, or Iraq by deploying thousands of troops for decades?  Don’t you think that maybe, just maybe, we have been approaching this problem the wrong way?

Afghanistan and Iraq, What’s Next?

President Trump abhors our commitment of our women, men and treasure being stuck in the hell hole of these two nations.  He has spoken very straightforwardly against these wars and that they  and have gone on far too long,  17 and 15 years respectively, and the Trillions of dollars spent in these arenas was a waste.  Have these wars really stopped terrorism around the world.  Is Europe safer?  Is the US safer?  Would terrorist have come to America and killed over 6,772 Americans and wounded another 52,300 Americans in the past 17 years?  That is how many of our service men and women who have been killed in Iraq and Afghanistan since these wars began!  Maybe it is time to step back and look at alternative ways to fight terrorism.  I am all for ridding the globe of each and every one of these human cockroaches but I would like to know that we are not throwing the bodies of our youth at a problem that may have a better solution.  

Don’t look for President Trump to remain in either Afghanistan or Iraq indefinitely.  He is lifting up not only these countries to defend themselves, but his Middle-East Doctrine is lifting up those of our allies in the region to stand up and fight their own battles.  After all, wasn’t it the Progressive-Left who blamed America for creating Islamic Terrorism by our meddling in the Middle-East and killing Muslims in these protracted wars!  Where is the Washington Post and the New York Times when you need them?

RD Pierini

@RDPierini

 

Hat Tips

https://dod.defense.gov/News/Casualty-Status/

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/United_States_military_casualties_in_the_War_in_Afghanistan

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/United_States_military_casualties_in_the_War_in_Afghanistan

https://www.almasdarnews.com/article/complete-map-of-syrian-war-november-2018/

https://www.bing.com/images/search?view=detailV2&ccid=MGQkvn%2b1&id=26BDDA5837F307A1EDA579394CD2FB3498A954B1&thid=OIP.MGQkvn-1eMAQIkiLi3hL-gHaGi&mediaurl=https%3a%2f%2fi0.wp.com%2fontheworldmap.com%2fsyria%2fwar%2fsyria-war-map.jpg&exph=1000&expw=1133&q=syrian+war+map&simid=608015583491982808&selectedIndex=0&ajaxhist=0

 

 

Poking the (Russian) Bear-Trump Threading the Needle

A Wounded Animal Is a Definite Threat!

See the source image

The Media and the Left’s constant drum beat against the “evil” Russia is both inaccurate and extremely dangerous.  If you are part of the uninformed Left, (Just listen to Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez explanation of tax policy) you do not realize that Russia today is a mere shadow of itself economically all the while maintaining a huge stockpile of nuclear warheads (4,500 strategically operational) and very sophisticated ICBM technology. 

The economy of Russia today only 10% of the US economy!  Russia also has spent 5% of their GDP on their military while the US has spent an average 3.3% on its military.  Further, Russia’s economy relies heavily (70%) on oil and gas exports to keep its economy afloat.  Recently, Putin had to increase their retirement age as they do not have the cash flow to meet the needs of this program.  In short, Russia is standing on an economic precipice and if their economy worsens, and they continue to spend heavily on their military, the Russian Bear will have to create an external enemy and try to focus their citizens on an external threat to take their minds off of their internal programs…

Is Putin a saint? NO  Does Russia have our best interests at heart?  NO

But, we are faced with difficult choices in dealing with Russia versus other potential enemies.   Any series of decisions could result in the destabilization Russia politically, could precipitate a military conflict between the US and Russia and/or Russian proxies…

President Trump’s challenge is to squeeze Russia economically so Putin has to deal with us on Syria, Ukraine, and Crimea.  In Syria, Putin will have to pull his support of Bashar al Assad, help us and our Middle Eastern allies to stabilize Syria politically, help kick Iran out of Syria, protect Israel from Iranian/Syrian aggression, and join the US and its allies against the current Iranian theocracy.  In the Ukraine, Putin will have to pull all threats of violence from the Eastern Ukrainian border and agree to a non-aggression pact!  In Crimea, Putin will have to agree to relinquish political and military control over Crimea and negotiate some type of “friendly” Russian access via the Sea of Azov and the Black Sea.

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Putin historically has viewed access to the Black Sea via Crimean ports as strategic from an economic and military perspective.  This will be the most challenging negotiation for President Trump and Putin.

Trump’s trump card is energy, specifically LNG.  As we stated, energy is 70% of Russia’s exports and is obviously a vital source of revenue.  President Trump is carefully trying to close the LNG spigot from Russia to the EU countries.  His outburst at a possible expansion of German reliance of Russian LNG is an example of Trump squeezing Russia’s wallet.  Trump, and Putin, both know that the US can bankrupt Russia by cornering the LNG market in the EU.  Since these same EU nations are aligned with the US against Russia in NATO, this possibility is not far-fetched.

But, a seriously wounded Russia may not be in OUR best interest!  

Creating strife and chaos inside of Russia by damaging the Russian economy is not in our best interest.  Why? (This does not mean that we should not use energy as a lever in negotiations with Russia!)  A wounded Putin and Russia will have to create an EXTERNAL threat so his own people do not focus on their own economic plight!  Putin may retaliate by using military threats and excursions into the Baltic States and other Eastern and South Eastern European and Asian nations, many of which are NATO members.  Putin can continue meddling in NATO by furthering his ties to Turkey and pushing Germany into a deal to buy more LNG from Russia.  If any possible conflict gets out of hand, Putin has a nuclear” button” that is the same size as ours!  Depending on the degree of hopelessness of the Russian leaders and their people, a nuclear mistake could certainly occur.

The Left and the Press Values Their Own Power Over Our Survival

The left and their media are so focused on destroying President Trump and his policies that they would push us into an all out war with Russia just to regain political power.  They have hamstrung Trump and Putin meetings just by beating the Russian Collusion drums to a level of insanity.  The NeoCons on the Right are also complicit in this drum beating. 

Hopefully Trump and Putin will be the adults in the room and move forward with sober talks on common issues and flashpoints!

RD Pierini

@RDPierini

Swamp V Trump-$1.3 Trillion Spending-No Wall

Who Lost In This Latest Budget Fight?

Elected Officials View of Your Money!

First of all, for those who are wringing your hands and saying that Trump betrayed his campaign promises and sold out to the swamp and the Washington elites, man-up (or woman-up)!

In 14 months, do you really think that one man can completely change the power broker controlled Washington Swamp?  The House and the Senate are “controlled” by “Republicans”, NOT TRUMP AGENDA SUPPORTERS!  

Paul Ryan and Mitch McConnell are deeply entrenched members of the Washington Elites as are the Republican members of both houses and are absolutely aligned against Trump’s border security agenda and his immigration policies.  They are aligned against his America-First trade policies that will put America back onto somewhat of a level trade playing field with China, The European Union and South Korea.  They totally support the Mueller investigation of Trump as a way of hobbling him and keeping him in check with the threat of prosecution.  Finally, they know that he needs to keep control of the House and Senate in the 2018 Mid-Term elections if he does not want to face a Democrat Impeachment process and an even more obstructionist legislative body! 

Could any of you stood up any better against the Washington Establishment than Trump has for the past 14 months?  I think not!

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Pundits Panic!  Good Grief.  For the third time, even Rush Limbaugh is all wobbly wondering, and even egging on his listeners, if Trump “caving” to this $1.3T spending budget buster will be the end to Trump’s loyal base!  The first time Limbaugh got all wobbly was when Trump brought in a bi-partisan group to discuss immigration and the second when Trump once again brought in a bi-partisan group to discuss gun-control.  Limbaugh’s immediate reaction to both was that Trump had just alienated his base and it is all over.  Wow, talk about a lack of faith and a total lack of loyalty!

Did y’all think the swamp was going to roll over and embrace the Trump and his policies that are hell-bent on taking away their power and restoring the power to the people?  Did you think that Ryan, McConnell, Pelosi, and Schumer were going to play fair and not set land mines smack dab in the middle of Trump’s path?  Did you think that the Washington Elite would give Trump a victory on the Wall, tightening border security, Immigration Reform, Visa Reform, and so on?  These are Trump’s policies, not the policies embraced by the Washington Elites made up of Republicans and Democrats.  

Why did Ryan and McConnell support the Trump Tax Cuts?  Simple.  The 2018 Mid-Terms are right around the corner and these two jerks have not had a legislative victory in years.  They needed a win to run on and tax cuts were the wagon they hitched their fortunes to.  They didn’t care if Trump got most of the glory but they knew that a good economy is hard for the Democrats to run against.  Giving into Trump’s other Agenda items, especially immigration related issues, would be a win for Trump and a loss for Ryan and McConnell’s big buck backers.   They are pathetic and should never have been elected, ever!

Trump’s Win and Loss

Trump’s #1 priority is rebuilding the military and you would think that it would be the #1 priority of all patriots.  Not so fast.  It was Congress, including the Republicans that agreed to Sequestration that emasculated our military and degraded our military capabilities to early 20th century levels.  Trump is facing possible conflicts in North Korea, Iran, and Syria and has to have a show of strength to stave off China and Russia.  The military build-up was the perfect carrot with which to trap Trump into agreeing to this spending and policy nightmare.  The military funding was a win for the President.

Trump temporarily lost his drive to defund sanctuary cities/States; funding for his wall; beefing up border security; ending chain migration; ending the Visa Lottery; and getting control of spending and re-establishing a sane budgeting process.  All of these issues are firmly opposed by big business, big donors, and their lobbyists up and down K Street in DC.  He also lost the psychological war against the idiotic Mueller Russian Collusion Probe as this deal will be perceived on the Left as a weakening of President Trump.

Trump Veto?  The President could have vetoed this insane bill but what were the trade-offs?  Congress had already left DC for another 2 week vacation!  So, if Trump had vetoed the bill, and triggered a shut-down, it would have been at least a week before he could drag them back into the swamp!  Even when they came back, it would have taken days if not weeks to get some kind of agreement to fund the government.  This accentuates the trap Ryan and McConnell set for Trump by not giving him, nor their members, any time to debate and make changes to this bill.   In the interim, our men and women in the military would not be paid and most of them are living pay-check to pay-check!  Other government employees would be furloughed and would not be paid as well.  But the political push-back against Trump would be hard for him to fight as he would be standing alone against Congress and the media while his precious military would not be receiving their pay while risking their lives for even the traitors in Congress!

Trump needs your support now more than ever!  He is still fighting for you, are you still fighting for and supporting Trump?

 

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Who Else Lost?

 Ryan and McConnell and the Republican Elites seriously damaged their chances to keep the house and increase their seats in the Senate in the 2018 Mid-Terms.  These idiots actually thought they could run against the Trump Agenda and win in the upcoming Mid-Terms.  Their own egos and that of their donors think that running away from, and actually opposing, the Trump Agenda is a winning hand.  Even a Democrat beat a Republican in Pennsylvania a couple of weeks ago by RUNNING ON THE TRUMP AGENDA, while the Republican was “Trump Squishy”.  Ryan and McConnell think that Trump’s popularity did not help this feckless Republican candidate even though he campaigned for this candidate.  Without the Trump base, Ryan and McConnell will both become minority leaders in 2019!  They deserve it, WE DON’T!

The taxpayers and Trump supporters were also big losers in this deal.  They killed funding for the Wall by stipulating that Trump could not spend the money on any wall that was made of concrete!  Barbed wire is probably OK.  Budget deficits will continue to swell and restoring a sane budget process seems to be even more of a pipe dream!  

What Are the Risks to Abandoning Trump

Well, if you like Obama and Clinton then go for it and abandon Trump.  If the Democrats take back the Senate and the House, Trump, and us, are toast!  The Hard Left, without any real opposition from the Republican RINOs, will impeach Trump with any trumped-up charge they can create.  Pelosi and Schumer will rise to lead both houses and Trump, and us, will be stymied at every turn!  Trump may actually win in 2020 but I would not blame him if he decides not to run if the Ryan/McConnell madness leads to Democrat control of Congress in 2018. 

TRUMP DOES NOT NEED THIS HEADACHE (SERVING AS PRESIDENT), BUT, WE NEED TRUMP TO BE OUR PRESIDENT!

 

RD Pierini

@RDPierini

 

DC Now on Trump-Time! And They Hate IT!

Overworked Congress!  NOT

See the source imageTypical Senate Floor Scene Where Nothing is Happening!

President Trump is teaching Congress and this nation that we better learn to Walk-And-Chew-Gum at the same time or we will perish as a nation.  Immigration Reform, Infrastructure, Opioid Crisis, School Safety, Welfare Reform, Fair Trade Restructuring, VA Reform, Healthcare Reform, Korean Nuclear Crisis, Syrian War, Iranian Nuclear Program, Middle East Peace, Afghan War, Stabilizing Iraq, Crushing ISIS, the War on Terror,  are all on TRUMP’S FRONT BURNER!  All this while Mueller, two committees in the Senate and two in the House are investigating Trump, his administration and his family for any possible wrong doing they can find using “Russian Collusion” as their cover…

Congress however, has trouble tackling even one of these at a time!

Last week was a perfect example.  Following the school shooting in Florida, Trump held a series of meetings with school children, their parents, law enforcement officials and elected officials to discuss the tragedy and preventative solutions.   A day after one of Trump’s summits when he called for Congress to act, Mitch the Turtle McConnell, announced that the Senate could not possible take up school safety as they had to concentrate on BANKING next week.  Seriously, kids are being killed and you are worried about the FDIC!

 This nation is suffering from a chronic case of DEFERRED MAINTENANCE.  There is not one single thing I can think of that works the way it should in government at all levels. 

  • The FBI ignores a tips that could have saved 17 people in the Florida shootings; Broward County adopted the “Promise Program” that kept them from arresting the Florida shooting one single time out of almost 50 confirmed complaints;
  • We have at least 3 federal circuit courts that think they are Congress and are above the President;
  • We have and FBI and a DOJ that is so politically corrupt that the almost got away with rigging the last election;
  • We have a federal water policy that is crippling our agricultural output; we have almost a trillion-dollar trade imbalance that robs a trillion dollars out of our GDP every year;
  • We have had at least one law enforcement killing per week since the first of the year and Obama’s 8 years of bad-mouthing our police; 
  • We are being challenged every day by North Korea, China, Russia, Iran, ISIS, Terrorists, and others while we have a depleted military and support infrastructure;
  • We have not passed a real budget in 10 years!  Trump proposed his on time and so far Congress has not done a thing to pass it!
  • We have a main stream media that is so Anti-American that it is helping to destroy the very fabric of this great nation.
  • And I could go on for days!

The Republican Congress needs to step up and start passing Trump’s agenda and doing so on his timetable, not theirs!  The Senate needs to grow up and return the Senate to a 50 vote majority and vote on the backlog of legislation awaiting them from the House.  The Senate needs to vote up or down now on all of Trump’s appointments.  It is criminal that they have not even voted on our ambassador to Germany!

And, Congress needs to stay in session and do their job!  They are all worried about the 2018 Mid-Terms.  News flash!  IF you don’t pass Trump’s agenda, you won’t have to worry about the 2020 election as you won’t be in office!

RD Pierini

@RDPierini