Wednesday, October 18, 2017

US Government Failure to Honor Its Commitments

Hillary Clinton on CNN’s Fareed Zakaria

On Fareed Zakaria’s CNN program last week, Hillary Clinton complained about how the US was failing to honor its promises under Trump.  This is true.  I am disappointed that Trump is not honoring the Iran nuclear agreement in full without complaint as long as there is no indication that Iran is violating its terms.  The fact that Iran may be doing some things we dislike, is a point for discussion, but not reason to invalidate a working agreement that is reducing the threat of nuclear war.  I also think it was unwise for the US to leave the Trans-Pacific Partnership Trade Agreement.  It’s purpose was to try to forge a closer agreement between the US and Asian countries neighboring China in order to offset China’s dominance in the region.  Withdrawing probably strengthens China’s hand.  

Nevertheless, failing to honor international agreements is nothing new for the US.  It usually happens when administrations change and a new party takes over the White House, which is the case with Trump.  I personally experienced three occasions when the US failed to honor its agreements, and I was not happy to be representing the US when it did.  

Brazilian Nuclear Reactor

After I had served in Sao Paulo, Brazil, issuing visas in the 1970s, I was assigned to the Brazil desk as a junior officer.  Before I arrived on the desk, Westinghouse had signed an agreement with Brazil to build a commercial nuclear power reactor for about one billion dollars.  There was no legal objection to the sale.  Later, however, Senator John Glenn (the former astronaut) sponsored and passed a bill saying the sale could not take place unless Brazil imposed full scope nuclear safeguards required by the Nuclear Non-Proliferation Treaty (NPT).  At that time Brazil adamantly refused to join or comply with the NPT, because it claimed the NPT was unfairly discriminatory between nuclear powers, like the US, and non-nuclear states, like Brazil.  As a result, Westinghouse had sold much equipment to Brazil, and much of the reactor was constructed, but the Glenn amendment meant that the US could not sell the uranium fuel to run the reactor.  

In its obituary of Senator Glenn, the New Yorker said:

Glenn was a good legislator, in the end, more comfortable operating the machinery of government than he was selling it. His greatest success came in 1978, when the Nuclear Non-Proliferation Act, a bill that was designed by one of his top aides, Leonard Weiss, became law. The act provided a framework for nations that were not bound by international treaties—India, Brazil, South Africa—to safely acquire nuclear-energy technology.

In the end, Brazil was able to acquire uranium fuel from Europe, but the deal with Westinghouse, which could have included several more reactors, was terminated.  In addition Brazil was so offended that it signed a big deal with Germany to get the technology to produce its own reactor fuel, which also would have given it the ability to produce enriched uranium for a bomb.  Whether by design or not, the German enrichment system never worked properly, and Brazil poured a lot of money into a useless technology.  

More recently, Brazil joined the NPT in 1998; so, Sen. Glenn was ultimately successful in getting Brazil into the nonproliferation regime, but by imposing new terms on the Westinghouse sale after it was signed, he created bad blood between the US and Brazil for years.  

Maria Skłodowska Curie Fund

When I was assigned to American Embassy in Warsaw in the 1990s, shortly after the fall of the Berlin wall, one of my main duties was oversight of the Maria Sklodowska Curie Fund, which the US had just signed agreeing to cooperate with Poland to fund joint US-Polish scientific projects for five years.  The US funded two years of cooperation for $2 million each year, matched by the Poles.  After two years, the Republicans under Newt Gingrich won control of the House and refused to approve any more funds for the remaining three years.  The Poles wanted very much to continue the cooperation and offered to match any level of US funding, but the US refused to commit any money.  

My predecessor had not funded any projects.  The only expenses had been for two meetings to discuss cooperation, one in the US and one in Poland.  Counting on the five year agreement, I had approved cooperative projects using all the money that had been appropriated so far.  I was blindsided by the decision not to fund the program.  One of the meetings I remember with the most disappointment was a meeting with the head of the Americas Department of the Foreign Ministry (who usually spoke to the Ambassador, not me) in which he harshly criticized the US (and me) for being dishonorable.  However the reason he met with me was that more than anything, Poland wanted to be part of NATO as a protection against Russia, and it did not want the funding dispute to interfere with its potential NATO membership. But I still remember sitting in his office and being very embarrassed for my country and myself.   

North Korea  and KEDO

I left Warsaw and went to Rome at the request of the State Department because Italy was taking over the Presidency of the European Union, which meant double the work for Embassy Rome, just as the Science Counselor there was leaving because of some personnel problem.  One of the issues I was responsible for was the Korean Peninsula Energy Development Organization, which had been created as part of an agreement to get North Korea to give up its nuclear weapons program.  In return, the KEDO group which included Japan and South Korea, would build two light water power reactors for North Korea, which would not provide material that could be used in bombs.  While the reactors were being built, they would supply North Korea with heavy fuel oil to produce electricity in conventional power plants.  The Association for Diplomatic Studies and Training has just posted an oral history by Ambassador Stephen Bosworth describing his problems as head of KEDO.  In this interview, he describes how because of the change in administrations the US effort to fulfil the agreement was hobbled.  

Fuel deliveries were proceeding. We never had enough money for that either. The political reality is that within about a week after the U.S. and North Korea signed this agreement, the Republicans gained control of the U.S. Congress, and the conservative branch of the Republican Party hated this agreement because it was seen as basically submitting to North Korea and its forces. So, there was a strong determination from the beginning to kill this plan.

One of the efforts Bosworth made was to try to persuade the European Union to put uf some of the funds which the Republicans were refusing to supply.  As Science Counselor I had the job of asking the Europeans to give us money so that we could meet our obligations.  Our main argument was that the world would be safer without North Korean atomic bombs.  However, the argument looked pretty weak if it didn’t persuade our own Congress to meet the terms of the agreement.  Coming on the heels of the US failure to fund the Madam Curie joint science project, this failure of the US to honor its promises felt pretty bad.  It was a major factor in my decision to retire from the Foreign Service.  I didn’t make a stink about it, but I did not want to be part of something that I was not proud of.  

Wednesday, September 27, 2017

Kurdish Independence Vote

The results of the vote on Kurdish independence are not yet in, but are almost certainly to be in favor of independence, according to the Washington Post.  While the Kurds have been great allies of the US in Middle East, the creation of a Kurdish state is certain to create problems among the four countries with large Kurdish populations - Iraq, Iran, Turkey, and Syria.  Each of these countries view the creation of a Kurdish state differently, but none of them entirely favorably.  The most strongly opposed is Turkey, which views some Kurdish organizations as terrorists, and for that reason is suspicious of all Kurds.  Iraq has enough problems with ISIS and the Sunni-Shiite split without adding Kurdish independence or autonomy to its inbox.  In Syria the Kurds pursue their own self-interest in creating a Kurdish state, but sometimes this means fighting against the Syrian government and in some cases fighting for it, or at least fighting its enemies.  Assad has many more important problems on his plate than Kurdistan, although Kurdistan would occupy a significant part of Syria, about one-quarter of it.  Iran opposed the vote on Kurdish independence, but it too has not put Kurdish issues at the top of its agenda; the Kurds seem to have a better relationship with the Iranian government than with the governments of the other three countries affected.  The US is also upset by the vote because of the confusion it may create in the region, although the Kurds have been America’s best ally in the fight against ISIS. 

In any case the creation of a new Kurdish state out of portions of four existing nations is almost certainly to be problematic.  The most recent example is the creation of South Sudan, which has led to civil war, famine, and thousands of deaths.  Arguably the creation earlier creation of several nations from the disintegrating Yugoslavia should have been peaceful, but it led to a terrible Balkan war among the new states - Serbia, Croatia, Macedonia, Kosovo, and Montenegro.  The split up of Czechoslovakia into Czech and Slovakia went somewhat more smoothly. The creation of Israel has led to seventy years of violence and unrest in the Middle East.  Given the existing conflict in the Middle East and the countries involved in the creation of Kurdistan, it seems likely that it would be violent. 

Iraq has said that it will not recognize the results of the vote, but the Kurds may not allow the Iraqis to ignore it.  Iraqi Kurdistan is rich in oil; the Kurds will want it, and the Iraqis will not want to give it up.  Turkey will not want to do anything that it perceives as strengthening the hand of Kurdish separatists in Turkey.  This already appears to mean closing the border to shipments of oil, according to the NYT. 

As a sign of things to come, Iraq has demanded that Kurdistan surrender its airports.  Iraq asked other countries’ airlines not fly into Kurdistan.  Kurdistan does not have its own airline.

Sunday, August 06, 2017

PBS News Hour on North Korea

Bob Gallucci and Michael Pillsbury were on the PBS News Hour as the hawk and the dove on North Korea.  Pillsbury, the hawk, is a Pillsbury doughboy heir, and worked in the Pentagon back 30 years ago.  Of course, the Pentagon was almost always the enemy of the State Dept, and Pillsbury was the enemy.  I can’t remember exactly what issue he was involved in, probably missile proliferation and North Korea, but he was affiliated with Asst. Sec. of Defense Richard Perle under Reagan and Steve Hadley, who replaced Perle under G.H.W. Bush.  

To PBS’ credit, in the run-up to the panel, they talked to Sigfried Hecker, the former head of the Livermore National Lab.  Like Los Alamos, Livermore builds America’s bombs.  For some reason the North Korean’s liked Hecker and showed him all kinds of stuff when he visited years ago.  Maybe it was  just scientists showing off.  But because he builds bombs, he understood it all.  I think he probably knows more about North Korea’s bombs than anybody outside of North Korea, but people seldom talk to him.  On PBS he was less alarmist on N.K.’s bomb, saying they probably still have a few years to go to develop one for a missile.  

Of course, the Missile Technology Control Regime, which I worked on off and on for five or  more years was supposed to prevent countries like N.K. from getting strategic missiles.  But it was only an export control regime, and the Chinese have never fully committed to it.  It may have helped slow down N.K., but now I think they probably have the national capability to develop long range missiles without outside help.  So, export control doesn’t help much.  

I found this interesting old article about Michael Pillsbury.

Thursday, July 20, 2017

NYT on Iran, Russia, and Myanmar

Today’s NYT has a huge editorial calling on Trump not to go to war with Iran.  I agree with the editorial, and I think it is a good sign that Trump so far seems to be more interested in criticizing Iran than in taking concrete actions against it.  I am less sanguine about the Republicans in Congress, who will pressure Trump to take stronger actions against Iran.  Trump seems inclined to do the right thing, but he might bow to GOP pressure, especially if it is linked to healthcare or tax legislation.  

On the other hand, I find it disturbing that the NYT is so jingoistic about fomenting war with Russia.  It has not called for war with Russia, but its harsh criticism of Putin seems to characterize him as a latter-day Hitler, who needs to be stopped.  Putin is not a saint, but I don’t see him as evil as the NYT does, or ther other Democratic media outlets like CNN or MSNBC.  Putin has many nuclear weapons.  War with him would be a disaster for the whole world.  A little moderation in our dealings with Russia, as well as with Iran, is called for.  The NYT needs to tone down it hate-Russia rhetoric.  

Finally there is an article in the NYT about growing Chinese influence in Myanmar (nee Burma), by Jane Perlez, who interviewed me in Poland about 20 years ago.  She blames Trump for the coolness in relations between the US and Myanmar, yielding the Chinese a leading role in Myanmar's development.  However, she barely touches on the fact the the main foreign policy issue with Myanmar during the Obama administration was the Rohingya Muslim minority.  As a champion of Muslim rights, the US loudly criticized the government of Myanmar for its treatment of the Rohingya.  Making criticism of human rights the central point of our policy was not likely to build better relations between the two countries.  The Chinese are much less squeamish about human rights abuses, and thus are a much preferred interlocutor than the US.  Perles ignores this irritant in US-Myanmar relations in her analysis.  

Wednesday, July 19, 2017

Two Million Added to ObamaCare Group of Uninsured This Year

The media have made a big deal out of the fact that about two million people have been added to the group of people with no health insurance this year.  Examples of coverage are in Time, CNN, and the NYT.  When commentators talk about this decrease in coverage on TV, they try to pin responsibility on Trump and the GOP, when in fact it is due to problems with ObamaCare.  All of these print articles point out that the reason for the decline is that millions of young, healthy people are leaving ObamaCare, because it’s a bad deal.  ObamaCare counted on young, healthy people’s insurance payments to subsidize coverage for older people with higher medical expenses.  Younger people are apparently deciding that it’s better to pay the ObamaCare tax penalty than to buy the ObamaCare insurance.  

This phenomenon is to some extent evidence that the Republicans are right.  If left alone, ObamaCare will self-destruct.  

Monday, July 17, 2017

Echoes of Old Anti-Communists Days

Joe McCarthy & Roy Cohn

The current hearings of the House Permanent Select Committee on Intelligence and the Senate Select Committee on Intelligence look ominously like the 1950s  hearings of the House Unamerican Activities Committee and the hearings led by Senator Joe McCarthy in the Senate Subcommittee on Investigations.  Ironically, McCarthy’s chief lawyer, Roy Cohn, was a mentor to President Donald Trump early in his business career.  

The current committees are seeking connections to Russian spies, while their predecessors in the 1940s and 1950s were seeking connections to Communist spies.  In the Senate today Senator Mark Warner is playing the role of Joe McCarthy, screaming treason and treachery at the top of his voice.  Today Congressman Adam Schiff is playing the role of Congressman Richard Nixon in pursuit of Alger Hiss for spying, as reported by the Washington Post.  

Roles are reversed.  Now it’s Democrats who see Russian spies under every rock, spies so powerful they can turn an ordinary American like Donald Trump, Jr., into a traitor, simply by being the the same room with him for a meeting. The Democrats portray Rinat Akhmetshin as just such a man.  Strangely for such a powerful spy, Akhmetshin is a US citizen and lobbyist, who meets regularly with American politicians without turning them into traitors.  

I think the hearings are ridiculous, just like the old 1040s and 1950s anti-Communist hearings.  Their pursuit of Russian spies is a kangaroo court or a “witch hunt” as President Trump has said.  The Democrats are profoundly embarrassed by having lost an election that should have been an easy victory because of their gross incompetence and contempt for the electorate.  Now the Democrats are trying to blame the Russians for the failures of the Democratic Party.  They are so obsessed that slander and persecution are acceptable tools to an end.  They are disgracing themselves a second time and befouling the halls of Congress in the process.  

Friday, July 14, 2017

Hillary’s and Donald’s Emails

The media are going mad about a handful of emails from and to Donald Trump Junior.  It’s not clear that the emails are incriminating, although the Democrats and the media are doing everything than can to make them sound incriminating.  When the New York Times printed the emails in question, it printed seventeen.  On the other hand, Hillary Clinton’s staff destroyed 33,000 emails after they had been subpoenaed by Congress.  Hillary’s staff actually ordered that they emails be destroyed before they were subpoenaed, but they were not physically destroyed until after the subpoena had been issued.  Hillary claimed the emails were personal, but we will never know because no one who was not working for or with Hillary ever saw them.  This is the time line by Politifact:  

At the second debate between the two presidential nominees, Trump criticized Clinton for turning over half her emails held on her server to the State Department and deleting the rest. He said Clinton should be "ashamed" of herself for deleting 33,000 emails.

Clinton and her campaign don’t dispute that she deleted these 33,000 emails. They argue that these were personal in nature, rather than work-related, and therefore were not necessary to turn over.

Politifact’s ruling was:

Trump said, "You (Hillary Clinton) get a subpoena, and after getting the subpoena you delete 33,000 emails."

Clinton’s staff received a subpoena for Benghazi-related emails March 4. An employee managing her server deleted 33,000 of Clinton’s emails three weeks later.

The FBI found no evidence that the emails were deleted deliberately to avoid the subpoena or other requests. Clinton’s team requested for the emails to be deleted months before the subpoena came. They also argued that all the emails that would be relevant to the subpoena had already been turned over to the State Department.

We rate Trump’s claim Half True.

While Trump Junior is being pilloried in the press for seventeen emails, it is useful to remember that Hillary deleted 33,000, and we will never know what they said.  Since Hillary was Secretary of State, some of them may have involved conversations with Russians.  Sen. Tim Kaine has said that Trump Junior may have committed treason by talking to Russians for a few minutes.  Is it not likely that Hillary talked to Russians much more than Trump did, and that she talked about more important subjects, making it more likely that she would have committed treason by Kaine’s standard (not by any real definition of treason).  .  .  

Tuesday, July 11, 2017

Trump Junior Emails

The media has gone wild over the Trump emails obtained by the New York Times, and then released by Trump Junior himself.  How did the NYT obtain these emails?  If they came from intelligence sources, they illustrate the violations of the Fourth Amendment by the intelligence community that led Ed Snowden to defect to Russia.  Of course, once Trump himself released the emails, their veracity is confirmed, but where did the NYT get them in the first place?  Did someone violate Donald Junior’s Fourth Amendment rights?  Is the NYT not concerned about violations of the Fourth Amendment?  It has repeatedly relied on its protection under the First Amendment.  Is one amendment more important than the other?  

It’s interesting that liberal journalists across the board have no concern about reading other people’s emails.  A hundred years ago reading someone else’s mail was a very bad thing to do.  Someone who did it would have been considered an immoral, impolite voyeur.  Today there is no concern about reading other people’s mail.  The talking heads delight in it and feel no shame.  President Trump is certainly boorish and impolite, but so are the talking heads who criticize him.  A pox on both your houses.  

I found it interesting that on “Andrea Mitchell Reports” Sen. Tim Kaine said Americans were deployed to fight the Russians, and because of that confrontation, what Donald Trump, Jr., did was potentially treason.  Since the penalty for treason is death, Kaine presumably believes that Trump Junior should die for meeting with a Russian lawyer.  

The Trump discussions look like nothing compared with the Reagan campaign’s negotiations with the Iranians to help Reagan defeat Carter in 1980.  See this report in the Washington Report on Middle Eastern Affairs.  Although most of these negotiations were secret, the Iranian release of the Iranian hostages the moment after Reagan took the oath of office was very public.  Compared to Reagan, Trump is as pure as the driven snow.  

Monday, July 10, 2017

Media Coverage of Donald Trump, Jr.

I have been appalled by most media coverage of the meeting between Donald Trump, Jr., and Russian lawyer .. Veselnitskaya.  As an indictment of Ms. Veselnitskaya, the New York Times said on July 8

Ms. Veselnitskaya was formerly married to a former deputy transportation minister of the Moscow region, and her clients include state-owned businesses and a senior government official’s son, whose company was under investigation in the United States at the time of the meeting. Her activities and associations had previously drawn the attention of the F.B.I., according to a former senior law enforcement official.

In other words, the NYT condemned this lawyer for having unsavory clients.  But that standard, virtually every lawyer in the US would be condemned as untrustworthy.  Ms. Veselnitskaya may be a bad person, but not through guilt by association with shady clients.  The NYT has sunk to the level of the National Enquirer in terms of denigrating people.  It shows trashy writing and trashy editing.  The NYT’s hatred of Trump is so strong that it has lost its professionalism.  

The NYT article also included this paragraph:

American intelligence agencies have concluded that Russian hackers and propagandists worked to tip the election toward Mr. Trump, and a special prosecutor and congressional committees are now investigating whether his campaign associates colluded with Russians. Mr. Trump has disputed that, but the investigation has cast a shadow over his administration for months.

This paragraph has nothing to do with the story about the Russian lawyer, but it sticks in something nasty about Trump.  It’s equivalent to writing, “Many people say Trump is ugly and stupid.”  Such a comment does not say that he is ugly and stupid, it just plants that idea in readers’ minds, much as the paragraph about ongoing investigations does.  Two years ago, the Times would never have stooped to writing such slanderous garbage.  

I’m not saying the Donald Trump is a great man or a great President.  He is not.  But if you are going to make the case that he is not, you should be honest about it.  You should stick to the facts.  Trump hatred has driven the “old gray lady” to become a slutty whore.  The Times has fallen off its pedestal.  

It is possible to report the Trump, Jr., story accurately, but I have watched or read four versions and found only one to be fair.  The fair version was tonight’s Vice news on HBO.  It stuck to the facts and indicated that while this meeting was probably not the smartest thing Donald Junior had ever done, it was probably not terrible.  It does not look like that TV interview has yet been posted on the Internet.  

Meanwhile, both CBS and PBS followed the NYT in linking Donald Junior’s meeting to Russian spying, if only by implication.  The CBS Evening News report by Jeff Pegues included a clip by an ex-FBI agent who said that in any meeting the Russians were “always trying to use you,”  the implication being that Trump was compromised, when in fact as a businessman he probably meets people everyday who are trying to use him, get him to do something he doesn’t want to do.  Why does the FBI think that the Russians are so much smarter than New York real estate developers?  CBS implies that Trump Junior is a hopeless dupe, that no businessman would ever take a meeting because a friend asked him to.  CBS no doubt believes Trump Junior is an idiot and a traitor, but they need better information than this to prove it.  This just more guilt by innuendo and association.  The PBS Newshour report followed much the same pattern.  

Oddly, although Democrats and the news media believe that no one can resist the wiles of the Russians, American officials at the embassy in Moscow meet with Russians everyday.  Have they all be compromised and turned into traitors?  If so, none would be more guilty than former Ambassador Michael McFaul.  However, McFaul was a huge supporter of Hillary Clinton and still appears frequently as a commentator on TV.  How is it that he escaped being brainwashed by Putin, while they believe Trump officials were brainwashed by spending a few minutes with Russians.  Of course, there are Trump associates who spent more than a few minutes with Russians and who are suspect of being under Russian influence, particularly Paul Manafort and maybe Gen. Michael Flynn.  Flynn certainly did some things wrong, but I find it hard to believe that an Army general who was the head of military intelligence would have become a pawn of Russian intelligence, while Michael McFaul escaped any contamination whatsoever.   

Ed Snowden and Russian Hacking

If the House and Senate intelligence committees were really serious about investigating Russian hacking, they would be looking into and talking about the role of Ed Snowden, the former NSA contractor who is now living in Russia.  If even half of the terrible things the committees, particularly the Democratic members, have said about Putin are true, then Putin has made Snowden spill his guts about some of NSA’s most closely held secrets and how to hack American computer systems.  Snowden is one of the foremost hackers in the world, if only because he hacked America’s foremost hacking agency, the NSA.  He is a gold mine of information for Russian hackers; yet, neither the intelligence committees nor the intelligence community has mentioned him.  We are led to believe that Putin and his henchmen have respected Snowden’s privacy and have never asked him a question about US cyber intelligence operations.  If you can’t trust an American businessman like Trump to sit down with a Russian businessman and talk, (and the New York Times and the Washington Post can’t) then how can you expect to trust an American intelligence agent, who has defected to live in Russia and talk to Russians everyday, not to disclose anything of value.  

Why are the Democrats afraid to mention Snowden?  Because Snowden defected when he thought Obama and the Democrats were violating the rights of millions of Americans by spying on them.  If Snowden thought Obama was bad, he must have thought that Hillary Clinton as President would have been ten or a hundred times worse.  Of course, he did not expect Donald Trump to become President; nobody did.  Therefore, it’s not unreasonable to believe that Snowden helped the Russians work against Hillary Clinton’s campaign.  By the time it became clear that Trump would be her opponent, Snowden had probably spilled his guts to the Russians.  It may be that even now, because of his contempt for the widespread spying on ordinary citizens by the CIA and NSA under Obama, he thinks that he did the right thing in trying to level the playing field against the intrusions of these aggressive American spy agencies.  

If Putin, the FSB, and Russian hackers have refrained from talking to Snowden, then the American intelligence community and the intelligence committees should establish that fact, and we would know that Putin is not all bad.  Of course the implication is that Putin, a former KGB agent, is now interested only in money and politics and doesn’t give a damn about spying.  John Brennan, do you really believe that Putin has neutered the FSB?  No, I think Brennan was more interested in electing Hillary Clinton than in protecting the cyber security of the United States.  

Has Representative Adam Schiff or Senator John Warner, the senior Democratic representatives on the Congressional committees, ever mentioned Ed Snowden?  I don’t think so.  A quick Google search revealed only a Bloomberg interview with Adam Schiff around June 2013 while Snowden was being held temporarily at the Moscow airport.  Schiff said he thought that if Russia granted asylum to Snowden, it would harm US-Russian relations.  I see nothing about Snowden from Schiff or Warner since Trump’s election.  Snowden is clearly the biggest cyber hacking thing to happen in the last few years, but it goes unmentioned.  What role did Snowden’s information play in Soviet hacking of Ukraine, or the DNC, or the worldwide ransomware attacks, which used an NSA-developed hack?  Nobody knows, and the Democrats are afraid to ask, because it might turn out that Snowden’s defection under the Obama administration was one of  the main things that made these hack attacks possible.  

Unless they deal with Snowden, the Congressional investigations are just Soviet style show trials aimed at destroying Donald Trump.  Meanwhile, CIA director John Brennan was too politicized to do his job competently.  It’s a nasty mess, and Adam Schiff and John Warner, the two Democratic attack dogs, are two of the nastiest people involved.  But they are afraid to touch Ed Snowden.  

Intelligence Community Loyalty

I believe that CIA Director John Brennan corrupted the CIA and made it an arm of the Democratic Party.  Brennan was a strong supporter of his boss, Obama, and used his position to further Obama’s goal, which was to get Hillary Clinton elected President.  When the Democrats failed to elect Hillary in one of the greatest election debacles ever, the remaining Democrats used the intelligence committees in the House and the Senate to leverage the CIA’s Hillary-love into a way to remove Trump from office.  The Democrats are trying to use the CIA to overturn the results of the 2016 election, and there appear to be senior officials still at CIA who support this goal.  If Trump ever gets around to appointing his own ambassadors, he may find that there is disagreement between embassy station chiefs and his ambassadors.  The policy independence of station chiefs was illustrated to some extent by the movie “Charlie Wilson’s War,” in which the Pakistan station chief refused to cooperate with Congressman Wilson, because he thought Wilson’s ideas on Afghanistan policy were wrong.    

The CIA, like the State Department Foreign Service, attracts a fair number of elite intellectuals from the political establishment who want to play a role on the world stage.  As a result, many senior CIA officials in the clandestine service and intelligence analysis would tend to be supporters of progressive Democratic policies and candidates, e.g., Hillary Clinton.  On the other hand, CIA paramilitary types would probably be Trump supporters, but they are not going to be senior CIA officials.  As a result, the CIA tilts strongly left, and that tilt is reflected in its intelligence reporting and analysis.  

Therefore, I think Trump is correct not to trust the CIA.  I think the CIA is out to get him.  The other day on Morning Joe, Joe Scarborough kept referring to “intelligence patriots.”  I think this is just liberal propaganda from Joe’s liberal MSNBC network.  Because the CIA shares his hatred of Trump, he sees them as “patriots,” when in fact they are just political allies.  

Of course there is a lot of intelligence produced by the CIA that is not politicized -- sizes of armies, capabilities of weapons, even political situations in second-tier countries.  There are a lot of smart people producing useful intelligence. But the whole business of Russian involvement in the US, and particularly the election hacking, is politically motivated and untrustworthy.  Almost open rebellion by the leading intelligence agency against the President is dangerous for political stability in the US, and Democrats in Congress are exacerbating this tension by encouraging the CIA to provide them dirt on the Trump administration.    

When John Brennan appeared on “Meet the Press” yesterday, he talked about treason.  Brennan said, “the process of committing treason against one's country frequently takes place in an unwitting fashion in the early stages.”  The clear implication is that some Trump administration people may have unwittingly been committing treason, a very strong accusation.  But Chuck Todd implies that the Obama administration did nothing in response to what appeared to be treason because it did not want to look like it was interfering in the election on behalf of Hillary, whom everyone expected to win.  

Monday, June 19, 2017

Trump’s Mess - Part Three

For me, Trump was supposed to “throw the rascals out,” but unfortunately he has just brought in a group of new rascals.  He was supposed to be a gentile who would stand up against the Jews whom I perceived as almost running the country, and planning to consolidate their position under Hillary.  But instead of looking like an honest man representing middle America, Trump looks like trailer park trash opposing polished, intelligent Jews.  I see Jewish Representative Adam Schiff as the attack dog against Trump for Democrats in the House.  Al Franken is making a move to take that role in the Senate.  The Jewish media -- all the major networks, CNN, many print publications -- feature Adam Schiff prominently attacking Trump.  Franken is everywhere plugging his new book and attacking Trump.  So far, Schiff and his colleagues are winning the battle, although Trump is still President.  

The Washington Post wrote an article saying Trump is under investigation by Robert Mueller.  The article appears to have been written in part by two Jews listed as part of the four author team - Adam Entous and Sari Horwitz.  I mention them because it does look like there is an orchestrated Jewish attempt to remove Trump from the Presidency.  In any case, Trump believed them and tweeted that he was under investigation, based on their article.  Sunday, one of Trump’s lawyers went on the Sunday shows to deny that he is actually under investigation.  The Trump  lawyer, Jay Sekulow, was born to Jewish parents, but became a Christian, and has led a Jews for Jesus group.  Fox’s Chris Wallace got Sekulow to admit that he did not actually know what was inside Mueller’s mind and thus could not say definitively whether Trump was or was not under investigation.  How do the Jews at the Washington Post know Trump is under investigation?  Are they mind readers?  If not the leaks by Mueller or his inner circle are despicable.  He has fouled his nest and disgraced himself within a few weeks of taking over the investigation.  If Trump is under investigation, and the Washington Post story is accurate, Mueller does not have the integrity to lead the investigation.  Mueller has slandered the President of the United States, and has no doubt violated many ethical guidelines, if not laws.  The other possibility is that the Washington Post has printed a fraudulent, fake news story motivated at least in part by race hatred.  Which is it?  

But I digress.  Trump has gotten himself into this mess by being so Jewish himself.  Many ordinary Americans don’t like New York Jews because they are loud, pushy and impolite.  Trump has those characteristics in spades.  The problem is that it works for Jews and it’s working for Trump.  But I wanted a guy to represent me who is dignified,intelligent, reasonable.  Trump is none of those.  

I blame the problem partly on the Republican Party.  How did Trump, a lifelong Democrat, ever get on the list of Republican candidates.  Could Hillary Clinton have run as a Republican?  The Republican Party should have done some vetting and made Trump run as an Independent.  The other Republican failing was not providing Trump with Republican Party experts and advisers once he became the nominee.  I’m sure these Republican big shots are happy not to be part of the Trump administration, but they have let down their country.  The country needs leadership, and Trump is surrounded by incompetent newcomers.  Trump doesn’t want these experienced advisers, but the Republican Party should have forced them on him for the good of the country.  

The Republican Party establishment is paying the price for opposing Trump up until the election, and pretty much even until now.  The result is that the Republicans control the House, the Senate and the Presidency, but they can’t get any meaningful legislation passed.  They can’t staff the many political jobs in government departments and agencies because they have no pool of experienced, talented people to draw from.  

As a result Trump is more or less flying blind, leading the country with only a small group of advisers who are political novices.  The country’s salvation so far has been the military officers he has appointed to cabinet posts.  I doubt that they like their positions either, but as military professionals they have put country before their reputations.  The Republican establishment should do the same.  

Sunday, June 18, 2017

Trump’s Mess - Part Two

 Trump never should have fired Comey. If I have to choose who I trust more, I would choose Comey.  I think Comey is more honest and honorable than Trump.

I favored Trump because he was a way to throw the rascals out, the old established politicians who favored their supporters, played the inside Washington game, and ignored the old middle class that was being gutted by their policies.  The group that I thought I was voting against was the Democratic establishment, led politically by Jews and gentiles who agreed with the politics of the primarily Jewish establishment, like Barack Obama and Hillary Clinton.  The rich Jews had lots of money and could fund the Democratic policies which main benefited blacks, Hispanics, and other recent immigrants.  

Since Jews were relatively recent immigrants they were interested in taking power from the old guard white majority, based on the political base they built on people who were not part of the old guard white majority.  To do this the Jews stirred up enmity between blacks and whites, immigrants and natives.  Because Jews look European, the racial strategy they followed was not apparent to whites or the opposing groups stirred up by the Jews.  

One example of this was ObamaCare.  The ordinary insurance provisions that applied to pre-existing conditions, for example, were approved by the insurance companies and more or less followed statistical insurance models. These provisions brought in several million people, but were insignificant compared to the number of people brought in under Medicaid, which was only funded by the government.  It’s fine to bring in millions of previously uninsured people, but the Medicaid portion was effectively separate from the insurance portion of ObamaCare.  Medicaid was largely unfunded, and for this reason has been hugely popular.  It is a government giveaway, something for nothing.  Rich Chinese lenders who buy US bonds are paying to treat poor blacks in Detroit and poor whites in West Virginia.  Clearly there were a lot of non-Jewish Democrats working on ObamaCare, such as Nancy Pelosi, but by and large they were influenced by the wealthy Jews who dominated the party.  Hillary Clinton was intended to carry on this tradition, a non-Jew implementing Jewish policies.  

Another big issue was the financial crisis of 2008.  Although there were many types of people involved and responsible during the Bush administration, Wall Street is largely a Jewish fiefdom.  Jamie Dimon is probably the most powerful non-Jew, but he was a protege of a typical Jewish banker, Sandy Weill, and clearly fits in well with his Jewish colleagues on Wall Street.  The 2008 Great Recession was set in motion when Jewish Treasury Secretary Robert Rubin persuaded President Bill Clinton to repeal the Glass-Steagall law that kept banks out of the risky businesses whose failure led to the country to the brink of financial collapse.  Jewish Fed chair Bernanke was instrumental in keeping the disaster to a recession, rather than a depression, and Jewish Congressman Barney Frank was instrumental in drafting new legislation to prevent a repeat of the disaster.  

These two issues come together in the problem of income inequality.  We have a financial and political systems that disproportionately benefit the very wealthy, plus the income inequality accentuates the differences between racial groups: Jews and whites at the top with blacks and immigrants at the bottom.  The main victims of this inequality have been the old white middle class, which finds itself moving down the toward the bottom.  There has been relatively little change in the makeup of the top and the bottom, but the difference between them has become greater and greater.  

Clearly Jews are not united on political policies.  Bernie Sanders, a Jew, led the fight against the income inequality created by the Jews on Wall Street.  There are a number of Jews in the Republican Party who have been very influential, but the Jewish Republican leaders tend to focus more on foreign policy than on domestic issues, for example, William Kristol, Elliott Abrams, Paul Wolfowitz, or even Sheldon Adelson.  Their main concern seems to be Israel and how American foreign and defense policy would affect it.  

A similar concern about the Democratic Jews is that they will use their influence to amass enormous fortunes and then will take their money and move on to Israel, or some other country with lower taxes and fewer restrictions than the US.  If this happens a substantial portion of the wealth that used to belong to the old, white middle class will leave the country and be gone forever.  Meanwhile, the remaining Americans will be faced with huge debts created to pay for ObamaCare, Social Security, Medicare, Medicaid, and never ending wars in the Middle East, which so far have tended mainly to make Israel more secure.  Osama bin Laden said that one of the reasons for his attack on the World Trade Center was US support for Israel.   

The main point of the preceding is to explain my idea that Trump might be someone who would resist the Jewish powers that be.  This was probably a misperception.  New York is a Jewish town.  Trump is part of a very Jewish business, New York real estate.  He has worked closely with Jews, epitomized by his Jewish son-in-law Jared, whose father was a real estate developer very much like Trump.  In addition one of Trump’s mentors as a young man was Roy Cohn, the lead lawyer for Senator Joe McCarthy’s hearings on un-American activities.  Trump has brought a number of prominent Jews into his administration, notably Wall Street bankers Steve Mnuchin as Treasury Secretary and Gary Cohn as a senior economic adviser.  But you have have to remember that his opponent was Hillary Clinton, who had the strong support of almost the entire Democratic Jewish establishment.  She was the means for the same Jews to dominate Washington as they had in the Obama administration.  David Axelrod and Rahm Emanuel might be gone, but other Jews would take their places for Hillary, not to mention the less well known Jewish financiers and political operatives.  

Thursday, June 08, 2017

Trump’s Mess - Part One

I have tried to support and defend Trump as President, but it is getting harder and harder.  I supported him as the common man’s response to the establishment, but he is making the establishment look better than it used to.  

I don’t think he should have fired Comey or interfered with the Russian hacking investigation, although he should have prepared a strong defense against whatever allegations were made against him and his administration.  I still don’t believe that Trump is a pawn of Putin or a traitor, although he might be guilty of some criminal conduct before or after his election.  It seems like the most egregious criminal offenses in politics are committed during the coverup, rather than in the questionable act itself.  We should let the investigations proceed unimpeded and see what they turn up.  Unfortunately, the Clinton Whitewater investigation showed that once these start, they never end, but Trump is stuck with it because of the way he ran his campaign and transition.  

The fact that Trump wants good relations with Russia does not bother me.  I don’t think Putin’s Russia is the old Soviet Union.  I don’t think it is the existential threat to the US that the Soviet Union was.  Putin’s challenge to the US is partly personal, because the US has been so critical of him personally, and partly an effort to make Russia great again (like Trump’s America).  Off and on for a thousand or so years, Russia has been a significant player on the European continent.  It defeated Napoleon and Hitler.  The divide between east and west Europe has moved to the east or west, depending on the relative strength of Germany, France, or Austria, and Russia.  As Russia strengthened, the border moved west, as western Europe strengthened, the border moved east, in either case often to the detriment of Poland with occasionally disappeared, swallowed up by one side or the other.  I think Putin is trying to reassert Russia’s traditional importance, and it does not necessarily threaten the balance of power in Europe, although it might threaten some Central European states in one way or another.  Whatever might happen would probably still be better than being part of the Warsaw Pact during the Cold War.  The most obvious appearance of these tensions is Ukraine, which is where the two forces of east and west are meeting at the moment.  Nevertheless, I do not see the current Russian threat as anywhere near the existential threat the old Soviet Union posed during the Cold War.  It’s a rivalry that can be managed.  So far, neither Trump nor Putin is doing a good job of managing it, but it can percolate without serious damage.  

I think the scare tactics about the Trump-Russia connection are mainly a Democratic political attack strategy.  They create the impression Russia is a danger to the US without explaining why.  But I think partly the Russia scare is due to Jewish racial fears.  Jews lived in oppressive conditions in Russia for hundreds of years.  The mass exodus from Russia was largely due to the 1974 Jackson-Vanik amendment, which restricted trade with countries that limited Jewish emigration to the US or Israel.  The four Jewish staffers for Senator Scoop Jackson responsible for the amendment were Richard Perle, Elliott Abrams, Douglas Feith, and Paul Wolfowitz, according to Commentary Magazine.  These past experiences automatically associate Russia with evil in Jewish minds.  

All of these staffers went on to have important positions in later Republican administrations. .  According to urban legend, Richard Perle was the main person responsible for persuading Reagan to reject the opportunity to eliminate all US and Soviet nuclear weapons at his  summit with Gorbachev in Reykjavik, Iceland.  Putin is no doubt very grateful to Perle.  

On foreign policy, I am more concerned about what is going on in the Middle East with Qatar, Iran, and Saudi Arabia, if only because Trump seems more personally responsible for that, while Putin seems more responsible for what’s happening with Russia.  Trump was just in Saudi Arabia and hailed his visit as a great success.  Right after he left, Saudi Arabia appeared to take two actions against Iran -- making Qatar a pariah in the Sunni Middle East, and perhaps encouraging a terrorist attack on Iran by ISIS.  Trump has already applauded Saudi Arabia’s ouster of Qatar.  Qatar’s main offense seems to be less than fulsome opposition to the Muslim Brotherhood.  Meanwhile, it hosts a very important American military base and sponsors the best news service  in the Middle East, Al Jazeera.  

Domestically, I thought during the election that Trump was a Democrat at heart, and that his Democratic leanings would come out when he arrived in office.  So far, there is no sign of them.  He has embraced hard right policies on immigration, healthcare, and taxation, the main issues he has addressed so far.  As a former consular officer for the State Department, I favor enforcement of immigration laws, which have been generally ignored by both Democrats and Republicans for fifty years or longer.  Immigration laws have been enforced (or not) like Prohibition was.  Once Prohibition was enforced by Eliot Ness and the untouchables, it was repealed.  People pretend to care about immigration, but wealthy individuals like their foreign gardeners, cooks, and care takers, while businesses like their foreign engineers and coders.