Tag: neocons

Christmas Withdrawal From Syria Exposes Trump’s Allies

By Mark West | United States

President Donald Trump gave Washington a Christmas surprise by announcing, via Twitter, that ISIS is defeated and that the United States will begin the withdrawal of approximately 2,000 troops that are stationed in the civil-war-ravaged nation of Syria. Reports and rumors are circulating that an imminent draw down of forces in Afghanistan is also on the President’s agenda. President Trump’s allies have been knocked off their footing by this move towards a demilitarized world.

Republican Senator Lindsay Graham, who has become a more vocal supporter of the President in recent months, is a leading voice of criticism of Trump’s move labeling it “a stain on the honor of the United States.” Graham also pointed out that he believes the President is ignoring “sound military advice” in his move to withdraw our troops from Syria.

President Trump isn’t taking Graham’s critique lightly, firing back in a tweet that it was “hard to believe that Lindsey Graham would be against saving soldier lives & billions of $$$.”

Many Republicans in Washington and the media were openly critical of Trump’s decision before Defense Secretary James Mattis bombed the capitol with his resignation which appears to be directly impacted by his own dissension from the President’s decision on Syria. The most telling line in Mattis’ resignation letter reveals his reasoning as he says that Trump has, “the right to have a Secretary of Defense whose views are better aligned with yours on these and other subjects.”

The next few days and weeks will be full of expert opinions on what to do next on Syria. Senator Graham is already pushing for Congressional hearings to discuss the move. Debates will swirl around how the Kurds will be impacted and how this move empowers Russian dominance in the region.

President Trump’s surprise announcement exposes his allies. We see now the reality of the establishment Republican status quo in DC. Most military spending to support our interventionist international military presence is, in reality, a right-wing, big-government boondoggle. Neocons don’t want their base to see that they have been hoodwinked.

Trump’s allies continue the tired and flawed argument that ISIS will be fighting us in our streets if we aren’t fighting them in the streets of Syria, Iraq, and Afghanistan. As a matter of fact, Senator Graham shared that same thought in his tweets of criticism against Trump.

This rhetorical fantasy is meant to disguise us from the reality that the party of small, limited government simply isn’t living up to the slogan when it comes to empire-building, international policing activities using our troops. Our national deficit might be $6 trillion dollars less if not for our state of war in the Middle East since 2001.

President Trump is making the right call on the Syrian withdrawal and with the drawdown in Afghanistan. He is exposing his limited government allies’ dark underbellies in a way that will help balance our budget and begin shrinking the national debt. Our invasions abroad have not ended the terrorist threat and may even be one contributing factor in its continuing existence and strength.

Former Congressman Ron Paul tweeted his case that eventually all of our troops will have to come home because the tendency toward empire-building is bankrupting our government. We’ve spent around $3 billion per year in military interventionism that has possibly been as provocative as it has been proactive. How many new terrorists do we create by our interloping interference for every terrorist we kill or capture? We can’t deny the fact that we are indeed in their country, on their land, and in their backyard. We shouldn’t be shocked that the effect we’ve caused is continuing terrorism aimed at our troops and our citizens at home and abroad.

While not a proponent of the “America First” version of “Make America Great Again” that President Trump is pushing, I am in supportive agreement with his call to withdraw our troops from Syria and Afghanistan. Putting America first should mean that it’s time to bring our troops home so that the money spent maintaining their presence abroad can instead be invested in American infrastructure, innovation, and in keeping American troops present for their families here at home.


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Trump’s President, Shouldn’t Snowden Be Home By Now?

By Francis Folz | United States

Does anyone remember 2013? To be fair, it was a long time ago. Barack Obama was president and Hillary Clinton was relevant. However, the former real estate mogul tweeted in the wake of Edward Snowden’s NSA revelations, “All I can say is that if I were President, Snowden would have already been returned to the U.S. (by [our] fastest jet) and with an apology!” I’m sorry to be the bearer of bad news, but Donald Trump’s been president for over 500 days, and nothing’s changed for Snowden. What changed for Trump?

Trump’s Snowden Flip

I don’t think anyone can say for sure, but Trump’s shift in perspective of the NSA whistleblower happened somewhere between Summer 2013 and Spring of the next year. In April of 2014, Mr. Trump tweeted disdain for Mr. Snowden saying, “[He] is a spy who has caused great damage to the U.S. A spy in the old days, when our country was respected and strong, would be executed”. 

Talk about a 180. To date, Mr. Trump hasn’t specified how Mr. Snowden’s leaked information about the NSA has caused “great damage” to our nation. It’s also important to note that a spy has to possess an allegiance to another country. Mr. Snowden has only held an allegiance to the U.S. and the American public. This makes him a courageous champion of human rights and civil liberties, not a spy.

There is yet another level of irony in this situation. President Trump has a record of contradicting himself in many ways. While Mr. Trump was a presidential candidate, he promised to drain the swamp, condemned our nation’s failed neocon foreign policy agenda, and even expressed love for Wikileaks at one of his rallies.

However, since his election, Mr. Trump has flipped on those positions at times. For example, despite President Trump stating the Iraq War was a failure, he has embraced further conflict in the Middle East by bombing Syria and aiding Al-Qaeda forces in the area. 

In addition, he has partnered with the Saudis, despite calling them an evil empire in the past, to commit human rights violations in Yemen.

A Cabinet of Neocons

Mr. Trump has appointed deep-state neocons John Bolton, Gina Haspel, Jeff Sessions, and Mike Pompeo to various positions within his office. Pompeo has called Wikileaks a “hostile intelligence service” and has called Mr. Assange a coward. Sessions has stated that Mr. Assange’s arrest is a “priority” for the Trump administration. Both Pompeo and Sessions have expressed disdain for Snowden. It would seem like these men and their rhetoric directly contradict the president. However, since Trump’s inauguration, he no longer shows support for Wikileaks.

Considering how President Trump has altered many of his former perspectives, it should be no surprise that the President reauthorized an even more watered-down version of the FISA Amendments. Those same laws may have been used to spy on his own campaign. Prior to Trump reauthorizing the FISA Amendments, the president had tweeted displeasure with the programs Snowden revealed back in 2013, placing himself on similar ground with the NSA whistleblower before bowing to the Swamp.

Edward Snowden’s Fate

Although nobody can say for sure what Snowden’s fate will be during this administration, the Russian government has insisted Mr. Snowden’s future is self-determined. This contradicts a statement from Donald Trump on the campaign trail which he stated if he was president, the Russian government would hand over Edward Snowden. But for now, Russia’s foreign minister has stated that Mr. Snowden is the master of his fate and that it is unlikely his name will come up at the Helsinki Summit.

President Trump has made headlines for using his presidential power to pardon individuals, many of whom having committed nonviolent offenses. It is time for the president to heed his words of yesteryear, pardon Edward Snowden, and bring the human rights defender home to safety, despite the objections of the neocons in his administration.


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