US-Soldaten in Afghanistan

The American Conservative


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"The Push to Get Rid of Bolton"

Die jüngsten Veröffentlichungen vertraulicher Informationen aus Regierungskreisen in Washington deuten Daniel Larison zufolge darauf hin, dass es innerhalb der Administration Bemühungen gebe, den umstrittenen Nationalen Sicherheitsberater John Bolton zu diskreditieren und möglicherweise aus dem Amt zu drängen. "The National Security Advisor has had a reputation of being an abrasive and obnoxious colleague for a long time, and his attempts to push his aggressive foreign policy agenda have made him even more enemies. If Bolton is 'under attack' from within the administration, it is because he has behaved with the same recklessness and incompetence that characterize his preferred policies overseas. He should be attacked, and with any luck he will be defeated and driven from office. Unfortunately, we have been seeing the opposite happen over the last few weeks: more Bolton allies are joining the administration in important positions and at least one major rival has exited. Bolton’s influence in the administration is an important indication of what U.S. foreign policy will look like in the months and years to come, and the longer he remains National Security Advisor the worse it will be for U.S. interests."

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"It’s Splitsville for Trump and His Generals"

Mit dem Rücktritt von Verteidigungsminister Mattis sei die "Liebesaffäre" des US-Präsidenten mit "seinen" Generälen scheinbar endgültig beendet, schreibt Andrew Bacevich. Dies liege auch daran, dass Trump das zivil-militärische Verhältnis in der US-Regierung falsch eingeschätzt habe. "Devoid of prior experience in either government or the military, Trump radically misconstrued the role of commander-in-chief. The title itself is a grand one, suggesting that the bearer makes decisions (Remember George W. Bush: 'I am the decider.'), to which subordinates respond by briskly saluting, making an about face, and marching off to do precisely what they’ve been told to do. As Trump has discovered, very much to his frustration, that’s not the way the civil-military relationship actually works. (...) Further complicating Trump’s problem is his rejection of the worldview to which senior military officers, along with the rest of the permanent national security apparatus, subscribe. Trump professes to believe in 'America First.' Mattis, Kelly, and McMaster and other members of the brass believe in 'global leadership,' which implies (among other things) gargantuan Pentagon budgets, a vast network of bases, suitably compliant allies who provide markets for American arms, and — a recent codicil — a willingness to fight very long wars even when those wars prove unwinnable and pointless."

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Bolton’s Syria Conditions Are Designed to Prevent U.S. Withdrawal

John Bolton, Nationaler Sicherheitsberater von Präsident Trump, hat einen Abzug der US-Truppen aus Syrien von einem vollständigen Sieg über den IS und von türkischen Garantien für die Sicherheit der syrischen Kurden abhängig gemacht. Nach Ansicht von Daniel Larison ist dies ein Manöver der "Falken" im Trump-Team, um die USA dauerhaft in Syrien zu halten. "One of the reasons that I didn’t believe that U.S. withdrawal from Syria would really happen was the presence of Bolton and Pompeo on Trump’s national security team. As committed Iran hawks, they have strong incentives to delay and undermine any withdrawal plan, and Bolton is already doing that with his current trip abroad to 'reassure' regional clients. It seems that they will pay lip service to the long-term goal of withdrawal, play along with the idea that U.S. forces will eventually leave, but then set so many conditions and create so many obstacles to withdrawal that it will never take place. Bolton’s conditions are designed to make withdrawal practically impossible for the foreseeable future."

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"Why the United States Won’t Be Able to Quit Syria"

David C. Hendrickson meint, dass der angekündigte US-Truppenabzug aus Syrien mit der weiterhin geltenden Iran-Strategie der US-Regierung kaum zu vereinbaren sei. Er hält es deshalb nicht für ausgeschlossen, dass dem Rückzug in Syrien eine Eskalation an einer anderen Front folgen könnte. "With his decision to withdraw U.S. troops from Syria, Trump has wounded, perhaps mortally, the neoconservative plan to use the Kurds as a lever against both Turkey and Iran. But don’t believe for a second that the great game is over. (...) Trump is most unlikely to break from that consensus. He says 'we’re done'; in all probability, we are not done. Trump has announced a withdrawal of forces from Syria, but his administration is still wedded to the breaking of the regime and an economic war on its people. And Syria aside, Trump is still actively engaged on the other anti-Iranian fronts. He will be under intense pressure to show his mettle on that question, and he may think it to his advantage to do so."

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"Trump’s Decision to Leave Syria Was No ‘Surprise’"

Mark Perry hält es dagegen für falsch, Trumps Entscheidung für einen Truppenabzug aus Syrien als "impulsive" Handlung zu charakterisieren. Hochrangige US-Offiziere hätten bereits seit Samstag gewusst, dass der Entschluss im Raum stehe. Das Telefonat zwischen Trump und Erdogan sei dabei tatsächlich entscheidend gewesen. "During Friday’s telephone call, Erdogan once again took a hard line against the Kurds, and the administration’s support for them. A part of his argument was that the U.S. had said it was allying with the Kurds to destroy ISIS which, as Erdogan argued, had been accomplished. Nor was Erdogan influenced by Trump’s contention that the U.S. needed to remain in Syria in order to check Iranian influence in the region. Erdogan, we have been told, was ready for the argument: the best hedge against Iran, he told Trump, was not the Kurds, or even the Saudis, but Turkey. Erdogan, as it turns out, wasn’t the only one making that argument. As reported in these pages last April, senior U.S. military officers, including Gen. Curtis Michael 'Mike' Scaparrotti (the highly respected head of the U.S. European Command), warned that the U.S. 'marriage of convenience' with the YPG in its fight against ISIS in Syria was poisoning its relationship with Turkey — a NATO ally. (...) Nor, as we’ve been told, are senior military officers concerned that the announced U.S. withdrawal from Syria gives Putin a victory. 'Complete and absolute nonsense,' a very senior officer who served multiple tours in the region told us. 'I hate to put it this way, but I think it’s true. We can’t repair Syria — and it’s not our job to do it. If Putin wants to inherit it, that’s fine.'"

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"Mueller’s Investigation is Missing One Thing: A Crime"

In seiner Bestandsaufnahme der laufenden Ermittlungen gegen US-Präsident Trump stellt Peter van Buren fest, dass Sonderermittler Mueller nach wie vor keine Hinweise auf Verbrechen des Präsidenten vorgelegt habe. "The core problem — at least that we know of — is that Mueller hasn’t found a crime connected with Russiagate that someone working for Trump might have committed. His investigation to date hasn’t been a search for the guilty party (...) so much as a search for an actual crime, some crime, any crime. Yet all he’s uncovered so far are some old financial misdealings by Manafort and chums, payoffs to Trump’s mistresses that are not in themselves illegal (despite what prosecutors simply assert in the Cohen sentencing report, someone will have to prove to a jury the money was from campaign funds and the transactions were 'for the purpose of influencing' federal elections, not simply 'protecting his family from shame'), and a bunch of people lying about unrelated matters. And that’s the giveaway to Muller’s final report. There was no base crime as the starting point of the investigation. With Watergate, there was the break-in at Democratic National Headquarters. With Russiagate you had…Trump winning the election."

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"Hillary Clinton: Conservatives Were Right on Mass Migration"

James P. Pinkerton schreibt, dass Hillary Clinton mit ihrer im Guardian geäußerten Kritik an der europäischen Migrationspolitik unter moderaten Liberalen keineswegs allein stehe. "It’s also worth noting that other leaders on the moderate left have also endorsed tougher border restrictions. In the same November 22 Guardian article that quoted Clinton, former British prime minister Tony Blair declared, 'You’ve got to deal with the legitimate grievances and answer them, which is why today in Europe you cannot possibly stand for election unless you’ve got a strong position on immigration because people are worried about it.' (...) In fact, in yet another Guardian interview, former Democratic presidential nominee John Kerry went further: 'Europe is already crushed under this transformation that is taking place due to migration.' (...) Undeniably, a new hard-nosed pessimism about population flows is creeping into the discussion, even among the Davos Men. In September, tycoon-turned-philanthropist Bill Gates said, perhaps somewhat awkwardly, that African population growth was 'the elephant in the room.'"

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"Denuclearization Is a Dead End, But Engagement Isn’t"

Daniel Larison ist von den jüngsten Berichten über einen praktischen Stillstand der Verhandlungen über eine Denuklearisierung Nordkoreas nicht überrascht. Das Ziel der Entwaffnung Nordkoreas sei von Beginn an unrealistisch gewesen. Für die Entspannung des Konflikts auf der Halbinsel werde es allerdings wichtig bleiben, dass die Kontakte und Verhandlungen zwischen den USA und Nordkorea fortgeführt werden, so Larison. "The administration’s failure with North Korea is not a reason to give up on engagement and negotiations with Pyongyang, but to recognize that fixating on North Korea’s disarmament has always been a dead end and the wrong priority for our diplomatic efforts. There is a common misconception that skeptics of Trump’s disarmament agenda don’t want diplomacy with North Korea to succeed. On the contrary, the only way that there will be successful diplomacy with North Korea and the establishment of an enduring peace regime between North and South Korea is if the U.S. stops making disarmament the most important and indeed the only issue on the agenda."

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"North Korea and the 'Great Deception'"

US-Experten haben einem Bericht der New York Times zufolge nach eigenen Angaben 13 Standorte lokalisiert, die darauf hindeuten, dass Nordkorea weiter an seinem Atomwaffen- und Raketenarsenal arbeitet. Daniel Larison bezweifelt diese Angaben nicht, er lehnt allerdings die Interpretation der Times ab: "It is wrong to say that North Korea is being deceptive by continuing to develop the missile program that it has been developing for years. There is no agreement that prohibits them from doing what they are doing, and so they can’t be deceiving anyone by carrying on with their missile development. It is to be expected that North Korea would continue to develop and build missiles when their government has never said that it would not do so. If anyone has attempted a 'great deception' over the last six months, it is the administration officials that have pretended that North Korea agreed to disarm at Singapore. If the existence of these sites 'contradicts Mr. Trump’s assertion that his landmark diplomacy is leading to the elimination of a nuclear and missile program,' the fault lies entirely with Trump. He is the one making false claims of progress in pursuing the administration’s unrealistic goals, and it is hardly the first time that reality has not lined up with the president’s statements."

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"Who ‘Lost’ Crimea?"

US-Präsident Trump hat seinem Amtsvorgänger Obama vorgeworfen, die russische Übernahme der Krim "erlaubt" zu haben, da Obama von Präsident Putin nicht ausreichend respektiert worden sei. Daniel Larison hält diese Interpretation der Vorgänge für "bizarr". "The assumption that Russian actions hinge on their leader’s attitude towards ours is bizarre and ignores that Russia has agency and interests that have nothing to do with us or our presidents. (...) Trump talks about 'losing' Crimea as if it were ours to lose. The language of 'losing Crimea' is itself a throwback to the dumbest Cold War-era rhetoric that promoted the fantasy that it was within America’s power to 'keep' or 'lose' entire countries. That sort of thinking is delusional, and it’s very dangerous if this is how the president looks at international crises. Obama didn’t 'lose' Crimea, and it was never the responsibility of the U.S. government to stop what Russia did. Russia’s action was aggressive and illegal, but the U.S. was under no obligation to risk a war with a nuclear-armed state to undo it."

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"Midterms Show America Isn’t Done Dividing"

Innenpolitisch hätten die Kongresswahlen nur bestätigt, wie geteilt das Land heute tatsächlich sei, meint Daniel DePetris. "The House will now be at the center of the #Resistance in Washington. Democrats will wield committee chairmanships and subpoena power, and you can bet that several major investigations will be launched against the administration when the next Congress is officially sworn in. The GOP Senate, however, will provide the White House with an ally on Capitol Hill and a formidable check on whatever bills soon-to-be Speaker Pelosi jams through the chamber. At the risk of sounding melodramatic, the United States has never been as divided politically as it is right now. (...) After tonight’s split decision, the next two years could very well be even more divisive than the last two."

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"Will Congress Have the Spine to Defy Trump on a Russian Nuke Treaty?"

Bruce Fein macht darauf aufmerksam, dass der von Präsident Trump angekündigte Austritt der USA aus dem INF-Vertrag auch von einigen republikanischen Senatoren abgelehnt wird. Theoretisch könnte der Kongress demnach eine amerikanische Abkehr vom Vertrag zumindest bremsen. "The power of the purse (...) is the ultimate congressional trump card. Congress could approve legislation that prohibits the expenditure of any funds of the United States to deploy weapons or in any other respect contravene the INF treaty. The House passed a comparable spending measure in 1988 to prohibit President Ronald Reagan from acting contrary to the never-ratified SALT II agreement with the Soviet Union. (...) Congress will be required to take up a new spending measure for several government departments and agencies whose appropriations expire on December 7. That would be a wonderful opportunity for our elected representatives to display a little backbone by prohibiting any expenditure of funds that would run afoul of the INF treaty, a landmark nuclear arms agreement that is as much to be marveled at as imitated."

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"Why Jamal Khashoggi Was Killed"

Mark Perry meint, dass es Jamal Khashoggis Verteidigung des politischen Islams der Muslimbruderschaft und seine Kritik bestimmter Allianzen zwischen den USA und Saudi-Arabien waren, die letztlich zu seiner Ermordung geführt haben. "Last August, Khoshoggi authored a Washington Post article cataloguing these stumbles, and offering a solution. Khoshoggi wrote that America’s failure in the Middle East was the result of its failure to recognize the importance of the region’s Islamist parties — primarily the Muslim Brotherhood. 'There can be no political reform and democracy in any Arab country without accepting that political Islam is a part of it,' he wrote. Khashoggi’s critique was both eloquent and controversial. (...) what Khashoggi was telling us (and what he wrote in his August in the Washington Post) is that the U.S. has gotten the Middle East terribly wrong. That we have miscast our enemies and misidentified our friends. That the forces for change in Cairo and Riyadh are not in its governments, but in its prisons. That America is not only losing in the Middle East, it’s on the wrong side. That Mohammed bin Salman is not a friend of democracy, but its enemy. Khashoggi was right. Which is why he was murdered."

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"The Overdue Backlash Against Saudi Arabia Has Started"

Angesichts der Reaktion führender US-Politiker auf das Verschwinden des saudi-arabischen Journalisten Jamal Khashoggi hofft Daniel Larison, dass der "überfällige backlash" gegen das Königshaus begonnen habe. "Sen. Paul’s proposal is consistent with the 'fundamental break' with Saudi Arabia that Sen. Chris Murphy spoke about a few days ago. It is a break that has needed to happen for many years, and the Saudis’ latest crime may prove to be the last straw for many people in Congress. The rest of the Senate Foreign Relations Committee sent a letter to the White House triggering an investigation into Khashoggi’s murder under the Global Magnitsky Human Rights Accountability Act (...) The backlash against Saudi Arabia is long overdue, and it is likely to intensify in the weeks and months to come. The crown prince has brought this on himself and his government with his pattern of reckless, destabilizing actions, and it is about time that the U.S. starts holding him responsible for the crimes carried out on his orders."

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"Nikki Haley: Trump’s Baghdad Bob"

Harry J. Kazianis zieht ein wenig schmeichelhaftes Fazit der Arbeit von Nikki Haley als UN-Botschafterin der USA. "'She was picked for UN Ambassador for one reason,' explained a senior GOP political consultant to me, reacting to the news that Nikki Haley, the former governor of South Carolina, had just resigned from the Trump administration. 'She was supposed to present a feminine, or supposedly softer version of Trump’s America First message. Instead she became the administration’s national security sledgehammer.' 'Haley was a great spokesperson for the administration; in fact, she was great at parroting whatever lines Trump wanted her to deliver,' the consultant continued. 'But for anyone who has ever interacted with her, one thing became very clear. The second she left the land of talking points, any time she was asked to discuss any issue in any depth, it was apparent there was nothing there. And that is not what we need as ambassador at the UN.' Perhaps I can come up with a better description of Nikki Haley. She was Donald Trump’s very own 'Baghdad Bob,' the propaganda chief under Saddam Hussein who appeared on TV during the 2003 Iraq invasion and said anything the regime wanted, no matter how inflammatory or wrong."

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"The War in Afghanistan is Enabling Pedophilia"

Jack Hunter wirft US-Politikern vor, mit ihrer weitgehend bedingungslosen Unterstützung der afghanischen Regierung auch eine Kultur des massenhaften Kindesmissbrauchs zu tolerieren. "Why aren’t we sounding the alarm on this? Why isn’t anyone trying to stop it? In December, Congressman Walter Jones sent a letter to Secretary of Defense James Mattis noting that the report exposes 'rampant pedophilia among high-ranking Afghan military and police leaders' and that the 'American people must know the entire truth about this horrific issue.' This abuse 'has been going on for years and we’ve been supporting it financially,' Jones told NBC News. Last week, Senator Rand Paul offered an amendment in committee that would withhold all American funding of Afghan forces until a 'U.S government watchdog in Afghanistan could verify those forces were not using children as child soldiers or sex slaves.' (...) Paul’s amendment was by blocked by Senators Bob Corker and Bob Menendez. Corker said that while he agrees with Paul in spirit, withdrawing U.S. funding of Afghan forces to verify 'zero cases of sexual slavery' was impractical from a 'broad U.S. national security standpoint.' In other words, not even rampant pedophilia enabled by U.S. taxpayer dollars is enough to stop funding our unwinnable war in Afghanistan."

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"NATO Welcomes Another Military Midget"

Mit Mazedonien könnte die NATO trotz des gescheiterten Namensreferendums bald durch einen weiteren "militärischen Zwerg" erweitert werden, schreibt Doug Bandow in seinem kritischen Kommentar. "Small, mountainous Montenegro is most notable for being the movie set for James Bond’s Casino Royale. With a military of just a couple thousand, it looks like a modern version of the Duchy of Grand Fenwick, the fictional protagonist in the novel The Mouse that Roared. Unfortunately, despite the extravagant claims made by NATO officials on Podgorica’s behalf, the micro-state won’t be able to do much to protect Western civilization from the barbarian hordes. Although Montenegro isn’t likely to start a war by invading Russia, as the president seemed to suggest, smaller states can trigger wars. In 1888, Germany’s famed Iron Chancellor, Otto von Bismarck, accurately prophesied, 'One day the great European War will come out of some damned foolish thing in the Balkans.' Serbia became the fuse for World War I."

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"The Increasingly Repressive 'New' Saudi Arabia"

Daniel Larison schreibt, dass das von Kronprinz Mohammed bin Salman geführte vermeintlich "neue" Saudi-Arabien mit aller Härte gegen Kritiker und Abweichler im eigenen Land vorgehe, darunter auch Wirtschaftswissenschaftler: "The economist, Essam al-Zamil, is being prosecuted because he had the temerity to question one of Mohammed bin Salman’s grandiose plans for the future of the country. As it happens, the Aramco IPO isn’t happening and was reportedly shut down by the king himself, but that isn’t stopping the crown prince from having an innocent man charged with terrorism for questioning the wisdom of his agenda. Zamil is one of a number of intellectuals and dissidents who were rounded up in last year’s September crackdown. (...) This man’s year-long detention and prosecution on spurious charges are more proof of the increasing repression and authoritarianism of Saudi Arabia under Mohammed bin Salman’s de facto rule. This is not a government that the U.S. should be indulging and backing to the hilt, but unfortunately under this administration that has been the policy and will continue to be unless Congress does something to change it. The prince that Western politicians and businessmen feted just a few months ago is a cruel despot and a war criminal, and it is long past time that he was treated accordingly."

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"Crying ‘Fascist’ in Eastern Europe"

Will Collins meint, dass viele westliche Beobachter die politische Entwicklung in osteuropäischen Ländern wie Polen und Ungarn falsch einschätzen. Premierminister Orban lege zweifellos illiberale Tendenzen an den Tag, dies bedeute jedoch nicht, dass Ungarn sich auch auf dem Weg zu einem autoritären Staat nach russischem Vorbild befinde. "The recent Hungarian elections (...) were vigorously contested by parties on both the left and right. Opposition billboards and signs were abundantly evident in Budapest and across the country. Public protests have not been suppressed. The internet is still an open forum for debate. And while Orbán remains in office, Fidesz did lose a consequential mayoral election in the run up to the national vote (in a country of 10 million, mayoral elections do count as significant). Critics of Orbán tend to gloss over these facts. According to Vox, the recent Fidesz victory is entirely attributable to Orban’s stranglehold on the media and the country’s political institutions. Left unmentioned is the relatively strong state of the Hungarian economy and the fragmented state of the opposition. (...) Lumping in Poland and Hungary with genuinely authoritarian regimes is not only wrong, it may actually prove counterproductive to the gradual spread of liberal institutions."

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"The Coming Sino-American Internet Schism"

Die geopolitische Rivalität zwischen den USA und China wird sich nach Ansicht des früheren Google-Chefs Eric Schmidt auch in der Zukunft des Internets niederschlagen. Schmidt zufolge könnte sich das Netz in einen von den USA und einen von China dominierten Teil aufspalten. Nach Ansicht von James P. Pinkerton würde sich der liberale Westen in diesem Fall auf neuem geistigen Territorium bewegen: "Most obviously, it seems destined to reverse the basic presumption of liberal thinking over the past few centuries, which held that the world was converging towards a parliament of man. (...) any yearned-for universalism will likely soon enough have a collision with particularism. By such a reckoning, the looming U.S.-China split of the early 21st century — seemingly made all the more inevitable by roiling disputes over trade, tariffs, and the territory of the South China Sea — will be seen as a kind of cosmic comeuppance."

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"The 'Isolationist' Slur and 'International Order'"

Daniel Larison reagiert auf den Beitrag von Robert Kagan in der New York Times, in dem der Vordenker der Neokonservativen US-Präsident Trump u.a. internationalen "Isolationismus" vorgeworfen hat. Larison meint, dass Kagan diesen Begriff undifferenziert verwendet, um jede Abweichung von seinen eigenen Vorstellungen zu diskreditieren. "Kagan is not interested in accurately describing the views of the people that he is attacking, and so he calls every foreign policy view he doesn’t like 'isolationist' without ever defining what it is supposed to mean. 'Supporting fewer wars than Bob Kagan' does not make someone an 'isolationist,' but that is what he wants us to think, and he wants us to feel very bad about it. We are supposed to come away from the piece feeling very worried that we are repeating grievous mistakes of the past, but the attempt at guilting us into supporting more unnecessary wars doesn’t work. (...) He opens the op-ed with a quote that says Trump 'doesn’t value the rules-based international order,' but this accusation is particularly rich coming from a leading proponent of preventive war and 'benevolent hegemony.' Kagan is a huge fan of U.S. primacy and frequent American interference in other countries’ affairs, but it is hard to take seriously that he values a 'rules-based international order.'"

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"America Prime No Longer: In Syria, Regional Powers Step Up"

Daniel DePetris hält es für eine gute Nachricht, dass die USA nicht direkt an den jüngsten Verhandlungen über die Zukunft Syriens beteiligt waren. In Washington habe sich der falsche Konsens durchgesetzt, dass die USA auf jeden Konflikt in der Welt reagieren müssen, um die eigene globale Dominanz zu bestätigen. "Neoconservative Republicans and internationalist Democrats on Capitol Hill — of which there are many — simply can’t fathom that the United States shouldn’t respond in some way when bad things are happening around the world. If innocent people are being killed or American competitors stepping into voids with solutions, the U.S. can’t afford to sit on its hands and be complacent. To even suggest such a thing is labeled by this camp as unconscionable, bordering on traitorous — a direct challenge to the idea of America as the indispensable nation. American primacy has been etched into the psyche of Washington’s foreign policy establishment ever since the Berlin Wall was chiseled away by thousands of freedom-loving Germans. And it’s been with us ever since. Primacy is an addictive drug. The American people, after all, are ambitious: if there’s a problem that needs solving, they want to solve it. (...) If you dare to question their wisdom, you’re branded as an isolationist or an appeaser who hasn’t learned from Neville Chamberlain’s Munich experience. It is the primacists, however, who haven’t learned the lessons history has to offer. One of those lessons, even if we as Americans are uncomfortable admitting it, is that the United States doesn’t have all the answers."

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"Washington Quietly Increases Lethal Weapons to Ukraine"

Die US-Regierung plant offenbar, die Ukraine mit weiteren Waffenlieferungen zu unterstützen. Ted Galen Carpenter berichtet, dass dies neben den Anti-Panzer-Raketen vom Typ Javelin auch Waffensysteme für die Marine und die Luftverteidigung betreffen könnte. "One suspects that Americans would be incensed at comparable actions by Moscow if the geo-strategic situations were reversed. Imagine if Russia (even a democratic Russia) had emerged from the wreckage of the Cold War as the undisputed global superpower, and a weakened United States had to watch as the Kremlin expanded a powerful, Russian-led military alliance to America’s borders, conducted alliance war games within sight of U.S. territory, interfered in Canada’s internal political affairs to oust a democratically elected pro-American government, and then pursued growing military ties with the new, anti-U.S. government in Ottawa. Yet that would be disturbingly similar to what Washington has done regarding NATO policy and U.S. relations with Ukraine."

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"The Terrifying Take-Away From Maduro Assassination Attempt"

Das fehlgeschlagene Drohnen-Attentat auf den Präsidenten Venezuelas müsse als "game changer" betrachtet werden, ist Michael Horton überzeugt. "As these flying machines become a part of our everyday lives they will also become more of a threat. With what is likely to be hundreds if not thousands of drones in the skies above major cities, the opportunities for terrorists and militants to make use of them will only increase. Even the most secure and advanced can be hacked, as was demonstrated by the Iranians hacking one of the United States’ most advanced and stealthy drones (...) in December 2011. (...) Apart from the danger from hackers, the idea that drones will become 'normal' is a real fear. It will be very hard for individuals and government security services to distinguish between the drone dropping off a package and one that is dropping a bomb. A hacked or modified drone can easily join other drones in what drone manufacturers are calling 'drone corridors.' (...) The drones that were used to target Maduro are primitive compared with what will soon be on the market. Yet, one of them came very close to injuring, if not killing, a head of state."

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"The Death of the Nation-State Was Greatly Exaggerated"

Noch vor wenigen Jahren waren viele Experten der Überzeugung, dass ein Kollaps des Sykes-Picot-Systems im Nahen Osten nur eine Frage der Zeit sei. Geoffrey Aronson schreibt, dass sich diese Prognosen heute zumindest als voreilig herausgestellt hätten. "The assumption that the national identities forged from Sykes-Picot’s template over the last century could be swept away like so much dust was, shall we say, premature. Washington, against its instincts, was forced to save Iraq from the Islamic State assault — in league with Iran no less — and to vote with Baghdad against the quixotic Kurdish quest for independence. (...) In Syria, Obama declared open season on Assad and the Baath Party, but failed to understand Assad’s secret to maintaining power (with critical Russian and Iranian support). That secret was that Assad reaffirmed the essential and enduring truth recognized and unleashed by Sykes-Picot, the superior evocative power of Syrian nationalism in the hearts of its people. Still, Washington, unlike Moscow, has yet to be convinced of the enduring value of Sykes-Picot and the primacy of state sovereignty. (...) The challenge posed by ISIS in Iraq and Syria has been contained if not annihilated. Before our very eyes, and whatever our preferences, the idea of the state is prevailing against the naysayers and those making war against it. This idea, and the single-minded drive to reaffirm sovereignty and authority against challengers, is the preeminent legacy of Sykes-Picot. Washington, take note."

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"What if Russiagate is the New WMDs?"

Die "Russiagate"-Debatte in den USA erinnert Jack Hunter an die Diskussion über irakische Massenvernichtungswaffen vor der Invasion im Jahr 2003. Diesmal seien es die US-Demokraten, die ihren Standpunkt mit einer religiös wirkenden Parteilichkeit vertreten und ihren Gegnern "Verrat" vorwerfen. "With Russia, as with WMDs, left and right have elevated slivers of legitimate security concerns to the level of existential threat based mostly on their own partisanship. That kind of thinking has already proven to be dangerous. We don’t know what evidence of collusion between the Trump camp and Russia might yet come forth, but it’s easy to see how, even if this narrative eventually falls flat, 15 years from now some liberals will still be clinging to Russiagate not as a matter of fact, but political identity. Russia-obsessed liberals, too, could end up on the wrong side of history. No one can know the future. Republicans would be wise to prepare for new, potentially damaging information about Trump and Russia that may yet emerge. Democrats should consider that Russiagate may be just as imaginary as Republicans’ Iraq fantasy."

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"The Costs of Reneging on the Nuclear Deal"

Der iranische Religionsführer Ayatollah Ali Chamenei hat neuen Verhandlungen mit den USA eine unmissverständliche Absage erteilt. Daniel Larison ist von dieser Reaktion auf das amerikanische Auftreten seit dem Ausstieg aus dem internationalen Atomabkommen nicht überrascht. "Violating our government’s obligations under this agreement has a cost for the U.S., and part of that cost is that the possibility of negotiating with Iran about anything is dead for the foreseeable future. It isn’t possible to trash one of the most significant diplomatic agreements of the last several decades and then get the other parties that you just betrayed to come back to the table. (...) The danger for the U.S. is that many other governments in addition to Iran’s will be wary of making agreements with our government, at least as long as Trump is the president. That will cause the U.S. to miss numerous opportunities to secure and advance our interests, and it will give other states currently negotiating with the U.S. good reason not to believe the promises this administration is making to them."

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"Why America’s Allies Should Develop Nuclear Weapons"

Doug Bandow vom Cato Institute würde es dagegen begrüßen, wenn amerikanische Verbündete wie Deutschland oder Japan eigene Atomwaffen entwickeln. "While friendly proliferation could create instability and encourage competing arms build-ups, it would also be the most effective way to constrain China without forcing the U.S. into a military confrontation over primarily allied interests with what will be soon a great power, perhaps eventually even a superpower. Enabling more nuclear states would be unfortunate, but it still might be the best among bad options. If nothing else, Americans should debate Washington’s multiple nuclear guarantees. Recipient nations increasingly recognize that the nuclear umbrella offers an imperfect defense at best. And the U.S. government’s nuclear commitments create enormous, disproportionate costs and risks for Americans. When the issue is nuclear war, without question America must come first."

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"Trump’s Latest Weird Offer to Meet Rouhani"

Daniel Larison ist sicher, dass dem überraschenden Gesprächsangebot des US-Präsidenten an den Iran kein neues Gipfeltreffen folgen wird. Ein ähnliches Angebot sei von Teheran bereits im November abgelehnt worden, da Trump nicht wirklich an einem Kompromiss interessiert sei. "Trump has routinely feigned interest in getting a 'better' deal from Iran while making maximalist demands that amount to calling for Iran’s surrender. He is not interested in any compromise that Iran would be willing to accept, and Iran’s government cannot agree to the demands that he and Pompeo have made. Trump has already proven to the Iranian side that he will violate past agreements for no good reason, so there is no reason for them to negotiate anything with a president who can’t be trusted."

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"The Subtle Return of German Hegemony"

Will Collins hält den Aufstieg Deutschlands zur europäischen Hegemonialmacht für unaufhaltsam und erwartet, dass dies künftig auch auf außenpolitischer Ebene stärker zum Vorschein treten wird. "A newly assertive Germany does not mean the return of a Nazi- or even Wilhelmine-era foreign policy. Traditional spurs to German expansionism no longer exist. (...) Besides, why resort to crude political or military pressure when such areas are already accessible to German capital and amenable to German influence through the mechanisms of the European Union? Instead, the return of German hegemony on the European continent will be subtle, incremental, and largely benign. Germany’s economic clout is already masked by the European Union, and there is ample scope to expand this influence through pre-existing 'multilateral' institutions. (...) In the constellation of American foreign policy relationships, Germany may come to resemble a country like India or Brazil: not overtly hostile, inclined to amicability by shared political traditions, and willing to cooperate on areas of mutual interest without slavishly adhering to Washington’s dictates."

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