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Friday, December 21, 2018

Full Moon Solstice

Moonstruck,

Moon of Alabama: 
Last Friday President Trump had another long phone call with the Turkish President Erdogan. Thereafter he overruled all his advisors and decided to remove the U.S. boots from Syria and to also end the air war.
This was the first time Trump took a decisive stand against the borg, the permanent neoconservative and interventionist establishment in his administration, the military and congress, that usually dictates U.S. foreign policy.
It was this decision, and that he stuck to it, which finally made him presidential.
Trump's National Security Advisor John Bolton, his Secretary of Defense 'mad dog' Mattis and his Secretary of State Pompeo were all against this decision. The specialist working on Syria, the lunatic (vid) special representative for Syria engagement James Jefferey and Brett McGurk, the special presidential envoy for the global coalition to defeat ISIS, were taken by surprise. They had worked diligently to install a permanent U.S. presence in a Kurdish ruled proxy state in northeast Syria...
Trump decided that to prevent Turkey from leaving NATO, and from joining a deeper alliance with Russia, China and Iran, was more important than to further fool around at the margins of the Middle East. It is the right decision.  ...
But if the hope is that Turkey will end its relations with Russia and Iran the outcome will be disappointing. Turkey depends on Russian and Iranian gas and as export markets. After the attempted coup against him Erdogan does not trust the U.S. side. Moreover, the position that gives him the most flexibility and leverage is between the two 'blocks', both of which will continue to court him. He will continue to vacillate between them to get the most from both sides...
  The U.S. State Department is already moving its people out of Syria. The 4,000 to 5,000 U.S. military and contractors were given 60 to 100 days (other sources say 30 day but that is a bit too hasty) to pack up and leave.
They will coordinate with Russia for a handover. There will be Russian advisors that will replace the U.S. Green Berets who command the Kurdish and Arab tribal forces against ISIS. Russia will also try to convince Turkey that there is no further need to invade Syria's east. It will promise to disarm the Kurdish forces or to integrate them into the Syrian army. Its air force will replace the U.S. and others who currently bomb the 2,000 or so Islamic State fighters left in their hold out along the Euphrates.
The Kurds in Syria will have to make nice with Damascus. They have nowhere else to go.

Turkey will do everything possible to trade with Iran, bypassing US sanctions (like before, but more.)

James Mattis has tendered his resignation as Secretary of Defense, effective next February, over differences in strategic opinion, especially Trump declaring that the US will exit Syria forthwith, 
Ron Paul:
President Trump shocked Washington this morning when he Tweeted confirmation of rumors that he would order the removal of US troops from Syria. According to his spokesperson, the order has already been given. The neocons are not happy, with Sen. Lindsey Graham Tweeting that removing troops is an "Obama-like" move. Will Trump's own staff rebel? What about the fine print? Are we really leaving?
One thing is for sure, the hawks are having a meltdown...


Trump orders 7000 troops home from Afghanistan. (Trump seems to be able to give orders now. What happened?)
Mike Kreiger sees US global/foreign policy perhaps taking a turn towards a form of rationality.
Then came the second major event, which was the arrest of Wanzhou Meng, the CFO of China’s telecom giant Huawei earlier this month. Importantly, she’s much more than just an executive at a giant Chinese company, she’s “the daughter of the telecom giant’s founder, Ren Zhengfei. An ex-officer with the People’s Liberation Army, Ren is one of the country’s most revered business figures.”
It’s also worth mentioning that she was arrested while Trump was sitting down to dinner with Chinese President Xi Jinping on the sidelines of the G20 summit. I can’t even imagine the level of anger this must have caused on the part of the Chinese. This made me realize that the “trade war” is just a prelude to a much bigger confrontation.
Moving along, yesterday we learned of a sudden plan to withdraw all U.S. troops from Syria. I want to make it clear we don’t know if this is just talk or will actually happen (for a skeptical take see this), but if it does occur, it will make it increasingly likely that U.S. foreign policy has undergone a massive and monumentally significant shift. A shift away from failed regime change boondoggles in far flung areas of the world Americans don’t care about, to a very major and probably long-lasting confrontation with China itself.
If this is in fact the case, it’s impossible to overstate its significance. In my view, such a shift would signal that the U.S. has acknowledged the unipolar imperial world completely dominated by America is over and unrecoverable, and therefore resources will shift away from the silly dream of full spectrum global dominance into a managed retreat. A managed retreat would be considered preferable since it could be done on U.S. terms as opposed to having the terms forced upon it. In other words, it would be a proactive foreign policy based on reality, rather than a reactive one forced upon it by circumstances.

North Korea clarifies some things:
“The United States must now recognize the accurate meaning of the denuclearization of the Korean Peninsula, and especially, must study geography,” the statement said.
And further, the KCNA statement said the following, according to the AP:
When we talk about the Korean Peninsula, it includes the territory of our republic and also the entire region of (South Korea) where the United States has placed its invasive force, including nuclear weapons. When we talk about the denuclearization of the Korean Peninsula, it means the removal of all sources of nuclear threat, not only from the South and North but also from areas neighboring the Korean Peninsula.
The statement also charged Washington with altering what had been agreed upon at Singapore and using threats to create an impasse over post-summit talks. And since the the stalled talks, satellite imagery recently published in international media suggests North Korea is actively upgrading its nuclear facilities.
The KCNA said, “If we unilaterally give up our nuclear weapons without any security assurance despite being first on the U.S. list of targets for pre-emptive nuclear strikes, that wouldn’t be denuclearization — it would rather be a creation of a defenseless state where the balance in nuclear strategic strength is destroyed and the crisis of a nuclear war is brought forth.”
And demanding the end of sanctions and "and end to hostile policies" as a precondition to denuclearization, the statement continued:
The corresponding measures we have asked the United States to take aren’t difficult for the United States to commit to and carry out. We are just asking the United States to put an end to its hostile policies (on North Korea) and remove the unjust sanctions, things it can do even without a snap of a finger.

Update 5: The U.S. House passes a stopgap govt funding bill that includes $5b for a wall on the border with Mexicoafter President Trump said he wouldn’t sign a bill that didn’t have the extra money, setting up a conflict with the Senate.
The vote on the amended House version of H.R. 695 is 217-185.
Of course this now hits a brick wall - as Senate Democratic leader Chuck Schumer says Trump’s wall funding can’t pass the Senate.

Freshly more-presidential, Trump now does have his back to the wall, and will veto anything without it. Apparently he can, and has to...

"The end of France as we know it" looks like the rebirth of France (without quotes)
It's not just France. The Zeitgeist is awakened.

Take a meteor shower while enjoying the full moon this long night.

Lunatic

4 comments:

  1. I'm trying to understand this war in Syria so I came to Dr Day's blog. Twitter is no help. Normally, I disdain everything Donald Trump says and does, but this 'feels' different. I approve of removing all troops from the oil countries and throwing all of our efforts into solar energies and wind technologies. The very first tariff Donald Trump implemented was against solar panels. So you can see my confusion. It does look like Trump is handing Syria over to the Russians. Now see, that makes sense, kompromat. I guess we all just have to wait and see how this plays out.

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    1. Thanks for the vote of confidence Texas Lady! The tariff against Chinese solar panels keeps the US solar panel industry alive a little longer. It's just "national interest". The national interests the US has been supporting in Syria have been Israeli and Saudi. The Russian involvement in Syria is long and complex. The Czars supported Orthodox Christianity in Syria (it's birthplace, by some accounts), which has recently been under severe, existential threat.

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  2. I could have waited forever and never found out about any of this. I did not think the tariffs on solar panels was a good thing bc after Trump tariffed solar panels he started pushing for off shore drilling increases and even going as far as drilling in National Parks. As for Syria, it just feels like a good idea not to be in a war and I know so little about ISIS I won't even jump into that conversation until I have time to WIKI it. Merry Christmas Dr. Day You're the Best!

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