US-Soldaten in Afghanistan

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"The WHO Ignores Taiwan. The World Pays the Price."

In der Debatte über die Corona-Pandemie ist die WHO in die Kritik geraten. Politiker und Experten werfen der Weltgesundheitsorganisation vor, zu chinafreundlich aufzutreten und dabei vor allem das Nichtmitglied Taiwan vor den Kopf zu stoßen. Wilfred Chan erläutert die politischen Hintergründe der Kontroverse, die möglicherweise eine rechtzeitige Bekämpfung der Pandemie behindert habe. "Despite early warnings from Taiwanese officials, the organization kept the island cut off from its global information networks. Now, it may be the rest of the world that’s paying the price. (…) By the time Taiwan confirmed its first case of Covid-19 on January 21, the country was arguably more prepared than any other place in the world. (…) In spite of its decisive response, Taiwan was shut out of the WHO’s emergency meeting on January 22, where representatives from 16 countries — including the PRC, Japan, South Korea, and the United States — opted to delay declaring the coronavirus a global health emergency."

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"Who Is Making US Foreign Policy?"

Die Impeachment-Anhörungen vor dem Geheimdienstausschuss des US-Repräsentantenhauses haben nach Ansicht von Stephen F. Cohen veranschaulicht, dass der US-Präsident, der 2016 mit einer Anti-Neocon-Plattform angetreten war, in der Sicherheitspolitik von Neokonservativen umgeben sei. Es stelle sich die Frage, ob die US-Außenpolitik vom Präsidenten oder vom sicherheitspolitischen Establishment in Washington bestimmt wird. "How did this unusual and dysfunctional situation come about? One possibility is that it was the doing and legacy of the neocon John Bolton, briefly Trump’s national security adviser. But this doesn’t explain why the president would accept or long tolerate such appointees. A more plausible explanation is that Trump thought that by appointing such anti-Russian hard-liners he could lay to rest the Russiagate allegations that had hung over him for three years and still did: that for some secret nefarious reason he was and remained a 'Kremlin puppet.' Despite the largely exculpatory Mueller report, Trump’s political enemies, mostly Democrats but not only, have kept the allegations alive. The larger question is who should make American foreign policy: an elected president or Washington’s permanent foreign policy establishment? (It is scarcely a 'deep' or 'secret' state, since its representatives appear on CNN and MSNBC almost daily.) Today, Democrats seem to think that it should be the foreign policy establishment, not President Trump."

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"Ukrainegate Risks Handing Trump Another Gift"

Aaron Maté erwartet, dass der von den US-Demokraten aufgegriffene "Ukrainegate"-Skandal Präsident Trump politisch nutzen wird. Er erläutert Hintergründe und offene Fragen des vermeintlichen Skandals, der nach dem Willen der Demokraten zu einer Amtsenthebung Trumps führen soll. "Right now, the Democrats could be a party defined by mobilizing millions of people on issues that concern us all: supporting striking GM auto-workers and Chicago teachers, reversing a plutocracy-favoring tax code, or offering up a humane way to withdraw US troops from Syria, instead of joining with Republican hawks and ceding anti-war rhetoric to the warmongering Trump. Instead, Democrats and their media partisans are again the party of secretive hearings and an all-consuming, bureaucrat-driven scandal. After Russiagate, Trump was able to bolster his phony self-image as a working-class champion whose 'America First' agenda is thwarted by coastal globalists and 'deep state' bureaucrats. The way the Ukrainian sequel is unfolding, it will not be a surprise if Trump ends up with new opportunities to exploit resentment toward the Beltway for undeserved Main Street support in 2020, when it matters most."

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"What Happened When the EU Moved Its Fight to Stop Migration to Niger"

Rémi Carayol berichtet in dieser Reportage über die unbeabsichtigten Folgen der EU-Strategie zur Bekämpfung der nach Europa gerichteten Migration durch Niger. "Overnight, an EU-backed law criminalized the main source of income in the city of Agadez. It didn’t stop migration, but it wrecked the economy."

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"The European Left’s Dangerous Anti-Immigrant Turn"

Karina Piser hält die Position der dänischen Sozialdemokraten in der Migrationspolitik für einen "gefährlichen" Rechtsruck. "'The Social Democrats have made it very clear: They realize they’ve lost elections since the late 1990s by being outflanked by the right on immigration,' Rune Stubager, a political scientist at Aarhus University, told me. 'They knew they’d have to change their position on the issue to win.' (...) The Social Democrats say they’ll stick to their new line on immigration, which they describe as critical to maintaining Denmark’s welfare state, one of the most robust in Europe. 'We need to have enough money and enough room in our country, to take care of our citizens,' Nanna Grave Poulsen, a party chairwoman, told me. 'All of our immigration policies need to be put in the context of the welfare issue.' (...) One Social Democrat, who spoke on the condition of anonymity, said the party’s slide had cemented Islamophobia into the center of Danish politics, but that Denmark wasn’t alone in this. 'When it comes to our debate on immigration, the far right has won,' she told me. 'The left has lost. The center has lost. This is true all over Europe.'"

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"How Did Russiagate Begin?"

Stephen F. Cohen hält es für wichtig, dass das US-Justizministerium die Ursprünge der durch den Mueller-Bericht entkräfteten "Russiagate"-Verschwörungstheorie untersucht. "It cannot be emphasized too often: Russiagate — allegations that the American president has been compromised by the Kremlin, which may even have helped to put him in the White House — is the worst and (considering the lack of actual evidence) most fraudulent political scandal in American history. (...) One way to end Russiagate might be to discover how it actually began. Considering what we have learned, or been told, since the allegations became public nearly three years ago, in mid-2016, there seem to be at least three hypothetical possibilities: 1. One is the orthodox Russiagate explanation: Early on, sharp-eyed top officials of President Obama’s intelligence agencies, particularly the CIA and FBI, detected truly suspicious 'contacts' between Trump’s presidential campaign and Russians 'linked to the Kremlin' (...), and this discovery legitimately led to the full-scale 'counterintelligence investigation' initiated in July 2016. (...) 2. The second explanation — currently, and oddly, favored by non-comprehending pro-Trump commentators at Fox News and elsewhere — is that 'Putin’s Kremlin' pumped anti-Trump 'disinformation' into the American media, primarily through what became known as the Steele Dossier. (...) 3. The third possible explanation — one I have termed 'Intelgate,' and that I explore in my recent book 'War With Russia?: From Putin & Ukraine to Trump & Russiagate' — is that US intelligence agencies undertook an operation to damage, if not destroy, first the candidacy and then the presidency of Donald Trump."

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"Neo-Nazis and the Far Right Are On the March in Ukraine"

Rechtsextreme und ultranationalistische Gruppen gewinnen in der Ukraine fünf Jahre nach dem Euromaidan deutlich an Zulauf, berichtet Lev Golinkin. "Today, increasing reports of far-right violence, ultranationalism, and erosion of basic freedoms are giving the lie to the West’s initial euphoria. There are neo-Nazi pogroms against the Roma, rampant attacks on feminists and LGBT groups, book bans, and state-sponsored glorification of Nazi collaborators. These stories of Ukraine’s dark nationalism aren’t coming out of Moscow; they’re being filed by Western media, including US-funded Radio Free Europe (RFE); Jewish organizations such as the World Jewish Congress and the Simon Wiesenthal Center; and watchdogs like Amnesty International, Human Rights Watch, and Freedom House, which issued a joint report warning that Kiev is losing the monopoly on the use of force in the country as far-right gangs operate with impunity. Five years after Maidan, the beacon of democracy is looking more like a torchlight march."

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"Inside the Secretive US Air Campaign In Somalia"

Amanda Sperber berichtet in dieser Reportage über den Luftkrieg der USA in Somalia, der seit dem Amtsantritt Donald Trumps noch geheimer als früher ablaufe. "Since Donald Trump took office, the US military has approximately tripled the number of strikes that it conducts each year in Somalia, according to figures confirmed by the Pentagon, while such actions — and the reasons behind them — have become increasingly opaque. 'It’s hard to know what standards and processes the Trump administration, since taking office in 2017, has been applying to counterterrorism operations in places like Somalia, given the administration’s retrenchment on transparency with respect to the overall policy framework governing counterterrorism strikes,' said Joshua Geltzer, the senior director for counterterrorism at the National Security Council from 2015 to 2017."

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"Is Russia Solely to Blame for Violations of the INF Treaty?"

Theodore A. Postol, Physiker und emeritierter Professor am Massachusetts Institute of Technology, hält es für falsch, nur Russland für den drohenden Kollaps des INF-Vertrags verantwortlich zu machen. Ein entsprechender Beitrag in der New York Times ignoriere bestimmte Fakten über das Raketenabwehrsystem Aegis, das von der USA in Osteuropa installiert worden sei und das von Russland als potentielle Verletzung des INF-Vertrags betrachtet werde. "The military alleges that the Aegis system does not violate the INF, because the system lacks 'the software, fire control hardware, support equipment, and other infrastructure' needed to launch offensive cruise missiles — but the modifications needed to make the system cruise-missile-ready are relatively simple and could be easily accomplished. Such cruise missiles would have characteristics rather close to those of the Russian SSC-8s. The Russians have rightly raised questions about the possibility that the Aegis Ashore system could constitute a preparatory violation of the INF Treaty. (...) The political situation with Russia is more dangerous than ever, and there are certainly reasons to be concerned with Russian behavior. However, it would be good if the 'independent experts' whom The New York Times relied upon, and the Times itself, were to also ask whether the American side did something to provoke the Russians."

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"Russiagate’s 'Core Narrative' Has Always Lacked Actual Evidence"

Stephen F. Cohen beklagt, dass die Beziehungen der USA zu Russland in den vergangenen zwei Jahren durch die Diskussionen über "Russiagate" beschädigt worden seien, obwohl sich die zentralen Anschuldigungen gegen US-Präsident Trump und gegen Moskau auf zwei Dokumente ohne handfeste Beweise stützten. "Amid this daily frenzy, it’s often forgotten that Russiagate’s 'core narrative,' as one of its most devout and prominent promoters terms it, was inspired by, and continues to be based on, two documents, both published in January 2017: an 'Intelligence Community Assessment' and the anti-Trump 'dossier' compiled by a retired UK intelligence officer, Christopher Steele. (...) In short, in these most dangerous of times in US-Russian relations, American politics is consumed by a Russiagate 'core narrative' that is essentially a conspiracy theory about an alleged conspiracy. The first victim is rational discourse, the second rational policy-making, the third our own national security."

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"The New Cold War Is Here — and Now 3 Major Powers Are Involved"

Drei Ereignisse der letzten Wochen lassen Michael T. Klare zu dem Schluss kommen, dass es an der Zeit sei, tatsächlich von einem neuen Kalten Krieg zu sprechen. Um die internationale Sicherheit in diesem Klima des Misstrauens und der Feindseligkeit zu gewährleisten, sollten seiner Ansicht nach die Abrüstungsinitiativen des ersten Kalten Krieges ebenfalls neu belebt werden. "First, the release of the Trump administration’s Nuclear Posture Review, a blueprint for an expanded nuclear arsenal and a more permissive policy regarding nuclear-weapons use. Second, the decision by Chinese officials to eliminate term limits for the country’s president, paving the way for Xi Jinping to remain in office after his next five-year term ends in 2023. And third, Russian President Vladimir Putin’s state-of-the-nation address on March 1, in which he announced the development of a new family of nuclear weapons intended to foil US antimissile systems and strike the heart of America. (...) Taken together, these three events have done much to create an international environment of suspicion, hostility, and bellicosity, not unlike the nightmarish climate of the early Cold War. (...) To preserve peace in this new era, it will be necessary to revive many of the disarmament initiatives of the original Cold War era, while also reinvigorating them with the organizational and communications advances of more recent years."

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"US Special-Operations Forces Have Quietly Moved Onto the Russian Border"

Das US-Militär habe in den vergangenen Jahren in vielen Nachbarländern Russlands Soldaten von Spezialeinheiten stationiert, berichtet Nick Turse. "For the past two years, the United States has maintained a special-operations contingent in almost every nation on Russia’s western border. '[W]e’ve had persistent presence in every country — every NATO country and others on the border with Russia doing phenomenal things with our allies, helping them prepare for their threats,' said [Gen. Raymond Thomas, the head of US Special Operations Command (SOCOM)], mentioning the Baltics as well as Romania, Poland, Ukraine, and Georgia by name. (...) According to Major Michael Weisman, a spokesman for US Special Operations Command Europe, elite US forces have deployed to 21 European countries in 2017 and conducted exercises with an even larger number of nations. 'Outside of Russia and Belarus we train with virtually every country in Europe either bilaterally or through various multinational events,' he told TomDispatch."

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"A New Report Raises Big Questions About Last Year’s DNC Hack"

Patrick Lawrence berichtet über neue Hinweise, die darauf hindeuten, dass die von WikiLeaks veröffentlichten Informationen über Hillary Clintons Wahlkampf im vergangenen Jahr nicht durch einen Hackerangriff auf die DNC-Server, sondern durch eine nicht autorisierte Weitergabe beschafft wurden. "What the forensic people are now producing constitutes evidence, however one may view it, and it is the first scientifically derived evidence we have into any of the events in which Russia has been implicated. The investigators deserve a response, the betrayed professionals who formed VIPS as the WMD scandal unfolded in 2003 deserve it, and so do the rest of us. The cost of duplicity has rarely been so high. I concluded each of the interviews conducted for this column by asking for a degree of confidence in the new findings. These are careful, exacting people as a matter of professional training and standards, and I got careful, exacting replies. All those interviewed came in between 90 percent and 100 percent certain that the forensics prove out."

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"Media Contempt for Facts Grows Along With the Dangers of War With Russia"

Stephen F. Cohen wirft vielen US-Medien in diesem Podcast vor, in ihrer Berichterstattung über die angeblichen Russlandverbindungen Donald Trumps Fakten zu ignorieren oder widerlegte Behauptungen aufrecht zu erhalten. In vielen Jahren werde diese Praxis Journalistenschulen als Negativbeispiel für "unverantwortliches Medienverhalten" dienen, aktuell könnte sie die USA allerdings in einen Krieg mit Russland führen. "Cohen ends with some relative 'good news.' Political dissent against the escalating new Cold War seems to be breaking out at high levels in Washington and in Europe. Emmanuel Macron, the new French president, has publicly strayed significantly from Cold War Washington on relations with Russia and Putin personally, as well as on Syria and the need for a coalition against international terrorism. And several other European NATO governments, including Germany, are loudly protesting the US Senate’s new sanctions against Russia. Such policy disputes are evident even inside the Trump administration."

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"Terrorism and the Perils of 'Russiagate'"

Der Russlandexperte Stephen F. Cohen meint in dieser Podcast-Diskussion mit John Batchelor, dass die hitzige amerikanische Debatte über die angebliche russische Beeinflussung der US-Präsidentschaftswahl eine effektive Kooperation beider Länder in der Terrorbekämpfung verhindere. "As he promised during the 2016 presidential campaign, President Trump has sought, publicly and privately, such an anti-terrorism coalition with Russian President Vladimir Putin. At each stage of the negotiations, the media’s 'Russiagate' narrative — allegations that Trump himself or his 'associates' have been treasonously compromised by the Kremlin, and for which no actual evidence has yet been produced—has intervened in ways that jeopardize, if not sabotage, the diplomatic process. The two most recent examples are allegations that Trump betrayed intelligence secrets to Russian Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov during an Oval Office meeting and discussed with him Trump’s recent firing of FBI Director James Comey. And that the president’s son-in-law, and now aide, Jared Kushner, participated in an effort to establish a secret, unofficial 'back channel' of communication with Moscow prior to Trump’s inauguration."

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"Why the New Cold War Is More Dangerous Than the Preceding One"

Der amerikanische Russlandexperte Stephen F. Cohen hält das aktuelle Klima des Kalten Krieges für besonders gefährlich, da sich das Epizentrum des Konflikts zwischen den USA und Russland direkt an den russischen Grenzen befinde und es keine abgesprochenen Regeln zur Entschärfung von Konfrontationen mehr gebe. "(...) most observers, both in Washington and Moscow, now assume that any prospects of a Trump-Putin détente are dead. Cohen is not so sure, pointing to two pieces of evidence. Despite all the harsh words between the two countries, Trump and Putin have still refrained from personally vilifying the other, which suggests each still sees the other as a potential diplomatic partner. (...) More fundamental, Cohen concludes, are two questions that Washington must decide, and in ways it has not previously done. The first is which is the No. 1 threat to American and international security today: Russia or international terrorism?"

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"Why We Must Oppose the Kremlin-Baiting Against Trump"

Stephen F. Cohen meint, dass Demokraten und Republikaner mit dem Vorwurf, dass der Wahlsieg Donald Trumps nur mit russischer Hilfe zustande gekommen sei, ganz konkrete politische Ziele verfolgten. Die erzeugte antirussische Stimmung erinnere an die Hysterie der McCarthy-Ära. "The allegations are driven by political forces with various agendas: the Hillary Clinton wing of the Democratic Party, which wants to maintain its grip on the party by insisting that she didn’t lose the election but that it was stolen by Russian President Vladimir Putin for Trump; by enemies of Trump’s proposed détente with Russia, who want to discredit both him and Putin; and by Republicans and Democrats stunned that Trump essentially ran and won without either party, thereby threatening the established two-party system. Whatever the motivation, the ensuing slurs against Trump, which are already producing calls for his impeachment, pose grave threats to US and international security and to American democracy itself."

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"The Perils of Russophobia"

Patrick Lawrence warnt liberale und progressive Russland-Kritiker in den USA vor einer Eskalation der "Russophobie", die einen neuen McCarthyismus und die Wiederholung der gefährlichen Konfrontation des Kalten Krieges auslösen könnte. "During the Cold War, the long-brewing crisis between Sainte-Beuve’s 'two great nations' reached the point when we were willing to say, via our nuclear options, that human life itself was not as important as our triumph over the East as represented by the Russians. Our current run of Russophobia is but the latest chapter in the story. And now our obligations ought to be plain. The first is to see clearly. It is to 'go beyond our past,' as Nietzsche once put it. The second is to recognize contention between West and non-West for what it is: A pointless exercise rooted in the notion that only one political and social model will fulfill humanity’s aspirations. The third is to refuse to take up and prolong this fruitless struggle. It is to abandon it in the name of global diversity, a multiplicity of preferences and forms. This is the 21st-century task, and the loud, crude bout of Russophobia now threatening to envelop us is nothing but resistance to it."

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"The Friends and Foes of Détente With Russia"

Stephen F. Cohen und John Batchelor diskutieren in diesem Podcast des Magazins The Nation, warum die bloße Möglichkeit einer Annäherung zwischen Russland und den USA unter Präsident Trump von einer überparteilichen Koalition in Washington bereits jetzt bekämpft werde. Trump könnte für einen entsprechenden Kurswechsel Verbündete in Europa finden, so eine Annahme Cohens. "Europe is playing a larger and more active role in the new Cold War than it did in the preceding one, and there the friends and foes of détente are more evenly divided. Socially, politically, and electorally, a growing number of European countries are increasingly opposed to confronting and trying to isolate Russia and are eager to end the economic sanctions imposed on Moscow by the West."

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"Why Is Washington Supporting Fundamentalist Jihadis in Syria?"

Juan Cole berichtet, dass eine von der CIA unterstützte Rebellengruppe in Syrien zusammen mit der Al-Qaida eine bei den Genfer Friedensverhandlungen vertretene moderate Rebellenfraktion angegriffen habe. "That’s right: The leader of the negotiating team at Geneva on behalf of the rebels is now besieged by one of his own US-backed constituents, which is likely using CIA-provided weapons against him. And it is doing so in a battlefield alliance with Al Qaeda. (...) Washington has to stop arming these groups if there is ever to be peace in Syria, and it needs to pressure Saudi Arabia to cease trying to push Syria to the far right. The weaponry sent in by Saudi Arabia on Washington’s behalf in any case often makes its way to Al Qaeda or ISIS. The Army of Islam shouldn’t be the lead negotiator in Geneva! The leftist Kurds need to be brought into the negotiations if the northeast is to remain part of Syria, and their voice on the opposition side is important to offset the powerful megaphone of the minority Salafis."

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"Ted Cruz Embodies the Degeneration of Foreign-Policy Conservatism"

Andrew J. Bacevich erinnert angesichts der Warnungen vor einer US-Präsidentschaft Donald Trumps daran, dass ein Wahlsieg von Ted Cruz zumindest außenpolitisch schlimmere Folgen haben könnte. Cruz lehne neokonservative Ideen zwar weitgehend ab, spreche sich aber für einen scheinbar unbeschränkten Einsatz des US-Militärs aus. "The key to 'winning' is to unleash American military might. 'If I am elected president, we will utterly destroy ISIS,' Cruz vows. 'We won’t weaken them. We won’t degrade them. We will utterly destroy them. We will carpet-bomb them into oblivion …. (...) Cruz’s prescription for dealing with Islamist radicalism represents a throwback to bomb-them-back-to-the-Stone-Age precepts pioneered by Gen. Curtis LeMay and endorsed by the likes of Barry Goldwater back when obliteration was in fashion. The embryonic Cruz Doctrine offers an approximation of total war. 'I don’t know if sand can glow in the dark, but we’re going to find out!' he promises with evident enthusiasm. Nowhere, however, does his outlook take into account costs, whether human, fiscal, or moral. Nor does it weigh the second-order consequences of, say, rendering large parts of Iraq and Syria a smoking ruin or of killing large numbers of noncombatants through campaigns of indiscriminate bombing. In essence, Cruz sees force as a way to circumvent history — a prospect that resonates with Americans annoyed by history’s stubborn complexities."

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"Are the Major World Powers Blundering Toward War?"

Michael T. Klare warnt, dass die Großmächte USA, Russland und China mit ihren gegenseitigen militärischen Provokationen einen neuen Weltkrieg herbeiführen könnten. "Each of these countries has its own reasons for conducting such activities. China, a rising power, seeks to reclaim its historic status as the regional hegemon — which involves testing America’s determination to retain its status as the current hegemon. Russia, a former superpower, seeks to reverse the encroachment of Western powers on its periphery and restore its sway over areas once incorporated into the Soviet Union — a drive that inevitably entails clashes with NATO and its new members in Eastern Europe. The United States, still the world’s sole superpower but weakened by the bruising wars in Iraq and Afghanistan, seeks to repel any further challenges to its global paramountcy. (...) Where all of this will lead is anyone’s guess. At this point, all that can be said with any confidence is that the frequency and aggressiveness of these provocations is increasing, with each party believing it necessary to respond to its rival’s actions with countermeasures of even greater vigor and boldness. History suggests that such behavior tends to create an atmosphere of ever-increasing tension and suspicion, where one provocation too many can lead to crisis, panic, miscalculation, and a resort to arms — exactly the scenario that led to the outbreak of World War I just over 100 years ago."

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"Why Do All of the Pentagon’s 'Successes' in Iraq Look More Like Failures?"

Nick Turse traut den vom Pentagon verbreiteten neuen Erfolgsmeldungen über das irakische Militär nicht, da es sich bei ähnlichen Berichten in der Vergangenheit fast immer um "Propaganda" gehandelt habe. Es sei offensichtlich, dass die mittlerweile zwölf Jahre andauernde Unterstützung und Ausbildung irakischer Soldaten gescheitert sei. "Despite all of this, the Pentagon remains committed to creating another Iraqi Army in the American mold with, as Colonel Warren recently explained to me, 'modern American equipment, modern conventional training, and of course, supported by air power.' The United States has, he notes, already spent $2.3 billion arming and equipping this new force. (...) Last month, [Secretary of Defense Carter] assured the Senate Armed Services Committee that he was still 'urging the Iraqi government to do more to recruit, train, arm, and mobilize Sunni popular mobilization fighters in their communities.' This presumes, however, that there is a truly functioning Iraqi state in the first place. Andrew Bacevich isn’t so sure. 'It may be time to admit that there is no Iraq. We presume to be creating a national army that is willing to fight for the nation of Iraq, but I don’t think it’s self-evident that Iraq exists, except in the most nominal sense. If that’s true, then further efforts — a second decade’s worth of efforts to build an Iraqi army—simply are not likely to pan out.'"

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"American Presidential Candidates Are Now Openly Promising to Commit War Crimes"

Viele der republikanischen Präsidentschaftskandidaten haben Rebecca Gordon zufolge kaum Zweifel daran gelassen, dass sie Foltermethoden wie das sogenannte "Waterboarding" im Falle ihres Sieges am 8. November wieder zulassen würden. Die zögerliche Verfolgung dieser Kriegsverbrechen durch Präsident Obama könnte sich damit rächen, so Gordon. "As last year ended, the fear machine had cranked up once again, and Americans were being reminded by those who aspire to lead us that no price is too high to pay for our security — as long as it’s paid by somebody else. Expect more of the same in 2016. (...) So here’s the challenge: Will we find the courage to resist the fear machine this time? Will we find the will to prosecute the war crimes of the past and prevent the ones our candidates are screaming for? Or will we allow our nation to remain what it has become: a terrible and terrifying exception to the international rule of law?"

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"In 2016, the UN Will Be Transformed. Will That Be Enough to Bring It Back to Life?"

Das neue Jahr werde auch für die Vereinten Nationen möglicherweise weitreichende Veränderungen bringen, schreibt Barbara Crossette. Die Organisation habe eine Erneuerung dringend nötig. "The 70-year-old international organization needs to be rejuvenated. Fortunately, a year of great possibilities lies ahead, if member governments are serious about keeping their promises. Significant changes are on the calendar in 2016: A new secretary general will be elected, a new global-development policy will fall into place, and a climate-change agreement that long eluded member nations will begin to test countries’ commitments to averting catastrophic global warming. An independent expert report released in June 2015 proposing radical changes in the institutional structure of UN peacekeeping is on the table, along with the fate of the Peacebuilding Commission, which has failed to live up to expectations."

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"Natural Resources Were Supposed to Make Afghanistan Rich. Here’s What’s Happening to Them"

Antony Loewenstein hat sich in die Logar-Provinz begeben, um die lokalen Umstände bei der Förderung afghanischer Bodenschätze vor Ort zu überprüfen. Der Bergbausektor des Landes sei aktuell so stark von Unsicherheit und Korruption geprägt, dass einige Experten dazu rieten, die Förderung vorerst einzustellen. "The warning signs were there. 'This is a country that has no mining culture,' Jack Medlin, a geologist in the US Geological Survey’s international-affairs program, told the Times. (...) Whether Afghanistan should actively pursue a mining industry or ignore its vast mineral wealth is a contentious issue. Pajhwok Afghan News journalist Ahmad Zia Rahimzai told me in Kabul that 'many Afghans believe that our resources should stay in the ground until laws and accountability in the country are stronger.' Arguably, the risks incurred by leaving resources in the ground are both fewer and less severe than those posed by rampant exploitation."

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"Turkey Brings NATO to the Precipice of War With Russia"

James Carden hält den Abschuss eines russischen Kampfflugzeuges an der syrisch-türkischen Grenze für das "rücksichtslose" Verhalten eines NATO-Partners. "Far from ensuring stability and security, alliances that overextend themselves, like NATO, put the stronger members (like the United States) at the mercy of weaker member states that indulge in reckless behavior they otherwise would never have even contemplated. Such is the case with Turkey’s actions this morning, and such may very well be the case with the Baltic states and Poland vis-à-vis Russia in the not-too-distant future. What Turkey has done is to bring the NATO alliance yet another step closer to an open conflict with Russia, and at a minimum it has sundered the chances for a NATO-Russian coalition against ISIS in Syria, which perhaps was Erdogan’s plan all along."

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"France Should Stop Listening to Saudi Arabia on Syria"

Frankreich sollte bei seiner Reaktion auf die Anschläge von Paris nicht länger auf die Ratschläge Saudi-Arabiens hören, meint der Nahostexperte Juan Cole. Die Saudis bekämpften in Syrien vor allem das Assad-Regime, da sie den iranischen Einfluss in der Region als größte Gefahr betrachteten. Für den Westen müsse dagegen die Bekämpfung des "Islamischen Staates" oberste Priorität haben. "I am making an argument about priorities, not in any way suggesting that the virtually genocidal Bashar al-Assad can be allowed to remain in office in the long term. Assad’s disingenuous suggestion that France was wrong to back the revolutionaries against his regime in 2011, and that it should now support his murderous policies, is pure misdirection. Assad pushed the rebels toward radicalism by firing tank shells at peaceful demonstrators. (...) It is also true, however, that his regime is not the most pressing threat to the North Atlantic world. (...) If Daesh can be brought down, Syria’s Al Qaeda should be the next to be neutralized. Assad, who produced the polarization and radicalism that now plagues Syria and the greater Mediterranean, must eventually acquiesce in free elections, as must his Sunni fundamentalist foes. But first things first."

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"Why Syrian Refugees in Turkey Are Leaving for Europe"

Omar Ghabra berichtet in seiner Reportage, dass die Türkei bisher über zwei Millionen syrische Flüchtlinge und damit mehr als jedes anderes Land aufgenommen habe. Die wirtschaftlichen Belastungen und die Erwartung eines andauernden Bürgerkrieges im Nachbarland hätten in manchen Orten zu einer antisyrischen Stimmung geführt, die viele Syrer nach Europa treibe. "Despite the praise the government’s stance has garnered abroad, there is growing discontent among Turks regarding the growing number of refugees. Many fear that the open-border policy is fueling the country’s 'Arabization,' a perceived step back in the republic’s almost century-long effort to divorce itself from its Ottoman past. (...) The economic burdens of hosting such a large number of refugees are also inflaming tensions. In addition to the billions the government is spending on humanitarian aid for refugees, instability throughout the region has cost Turkey an estimated $11 billion in lost revenue from trade and tourism over the past four years."

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