Larison:”Trump Puts the Saudis First, As Usual”

While U.S. troops remain in Syria, the Trump administration is sending thousands more to Saudi Arabia:

The United States announced the deployment of additional American military forces to Saudi Arabia on Friday to bolster the kingdom’s defenses after the Sept. 14 attack on its oil facilities, which Washington and Riyadh have blamed on Iran.

Trump’s decision to send even more U.S. forces to Saudi Arabia makes no sense in terms of U.S. interests. It does not serve American interests to put more American troops in potential danger from an attack from Saudi Arabia’s enemies, and the U.S. gains nothing from coming to the aid of the Saudis. Basing American troops in Saudi Arabia was a major reason for terrorist attacks against our country in the past, and it is extremely foolish to keep sending more troops to defend a client that ought to be able to defend itself. The fact that Saudi Arabia apparently can’t defend itself proves that the hundreds of billions of dollars in arms sales to their government have been worse than useless. The U.S. has managed to arm the Saudis well enough that they can terrorize and murder civilians in Yemen, but not so that it can provide for its own defense. The Saudis are a useless client and a liability to the U.S., and the sooner that Washington cuts them loose the better it will be for the U.S. and the region.

In selling this terrible decision, Trump repeated the lie that Saudi Arabia is a “great ally.” He also boasted that the kingdom would pay for the costs of the deployment, as if that somehow made the decision to put more Americans at risk on behalf of a despotic client state all right. I very much doubt that is true. The Saudi government is still stiffing the administration for the payments it owes for refueling charges from the war on Yemen, and our government will probably never see a dime from them for the costs associated with these deployments. Even if the Saudis did foot the bill, this amounts to making part of the U.S. military into the Saudi government’s mercenary force, and that ought to be unacceptable to Americans of all political stripes.

This is hardly the first time that Trump has put the Saudis first, but in light of his attempts to justify his craven Syria decision by talking about ending endless wars it is especially offensive. If Trump wanted to put American interests first and extricate the U.S. from a foreign war, he could agree to cut off all military assistance and arms sales to the Saudi coalition tomorrow. Instead, he goes out of his way to shower them with weapons and sends more troops to defend a war criminal regime.

Source: Daniel Larison @ The American Conservative https://www.theamericanconservative.com/larison/trump-puts-the-saudis-first-as-usual/

Reason Report:”Trump Commits 1,800 More Troops to the Middle East”

It was just four days ago that President Donald Trump explained his decision to move American troops out of one part of Syria by saying that it was “time for us to get out of these ridiculous Endless Wars…and bring our soldiers home.”

On Friday, the Trump administration announced it would be sending about 1,800 additional troops to the Middle East.

In a statement, Pentagon spokesman Jonathon Hoffman said the new deployments were part of an overall strategy “to assure and enhance the defense of Saudi Arabia.”At a press conference, Defense Secretary Mark Esper said the new deployments were made in consultation with the Saudi Arabian Ministry of Defense.

NBC News@NBCNews

BREAKING: Amid Pres. Trump’s decision to remove US troops from northern Syria and his vocal criticisms of US military presence in Middle East, the Pentagon announces the deployment of more US troops and weapons to Saudi Arabia “to assure and enhance the defense of Saudi Arabia.”

Including the newly announced deployment, the U.S. will have increased the number of troops deployed to the Middle East by 14,000 since May, CNN reports.

Getting out? Bringing them home? Hardly. As Reason contributor Bonnie Kristian pointed out earlier this week, Trump’s “haphazard half-measure” in Syria was not a meaningful step toward ending the endless wars. “If Trump is serious about liquidating unnecessary, failed, costly overseas missions,” she wrote,” he must actually end them.”

Full Story by Eric Boehm @ Reason https://reason.com/2019/10/11/bringing-them-home-trump-commits-1800-more-troops-to-the-middle-east/

Yost:”Hawks and Noninterventionists Are Both Getting China Wrong”

he rise of China as a world power and potential peer of the United States is set to define geopolitics in the 21st century. This seismic change led the Obama administration to initiate its so-called pivot to Asia. It led Donald Trump to make American competition with China one of his main campaign themes and later caused him to launch a trade war.

American primacists fear the rise of China, worrying that the U.S. will find it more difficult to impose its will (or at least attempt to) across the globe and to meddle and interfere with a myriad of issues that have no real bearing on America’s national security. On the other side of the divide, there are non-interventionists who seem to believe that the only threat China poses to the U.S. is the possibility that Beijing’s actions might trigger American warmongering.

Primacists certainly shouldn’t fear a hard military threat from China. Thanks to our superior geostrategic positioning, the odds of Beijing ever projecting as much power as Washington is almost nil. At the same time, the non-interventionists are wrong to underestimate the threat that Chinese power poses to the American way of life. One needn’t be a hawk or a card-carrying member of “the blob” to see this threat.

A rose-colored view of Chinese economic power is dismissive of what this power is actually capable of. John Tamny, director of the Center for Economic Freedom at FreedomWorks, argues that the Chinese love America and that our economic relationship is beneficial to both parties. According to Tamny, any American fear of China is merely the result of demonization by politicians. Similarly, economist Barry Brownstein has argued at the Foundation for Economic Education, one of America’s oldest classically liberal think tanks, that concerns about China can be overcome by both “love” and economic interdependence. To his credit, he acknowledges that economic interdependence failed to stop Imperial Germany and the UK from entering the First World War on opposite sides. But he brushes that aside by suggesting that we “make the economic interdependence between the U.S. and China so thick that war between the U.S. and China is no more imaginable than war between Ohio and Iowa.”

But contrary to Tamny’s effusive praise for China and his claims that it’s not a communist state, the regime in Beijing is still highly authoritarian and not in any way friendly to human freedom. The same government that ran thousands of protesters over with tanks, burned their corpses, then hosed them into the sewer system is now interning millions of Uighurs and creating a social credit system that would make Big Brother envious. No, it’s not America’s job to save the world, but as China’s economic power increases, so too will its ability to influence affairs in the United States towards nefarious ends. And it’s that very economic interdependence that non-interventionists such as Brownstein tout as the solution that will make this terrifying future possible.

Full post by Zachary Yost @ The American Conservative https://www.theamericanconservative.com/articles/hawks-and-noninterventionists-are-both-getting-china-wrong/

CTA’s Shapiro: Trump Tariffs Worst Economic Mistake In Almost 100 Years

reposted from Multichannel News

John Eggerton· Sep 2, 2019 The President’s latest volley in the trade war with China–the 15% tariff that kicked in Sept. 1–drew a harsh rebuke from the Consumer Technology Association, which likened it to the disastrous economic policy that led to the Great Depression.

CTA says the new tariff affect major tech consumer categories including TV’s, digital cameras and smart watches.

“The president absolutely should address China’s forced technology transfers and IP theft,” said CTA President Gary Shapiro Monday (Sept. 2). “But this unpredictable tariff policy is forcing us down the wrong economic path. Continuous threats of more tariffs and occasional promises that trade talks are progressing mean whiplash for global stock markets. That uncertainty hurts every American with a pension, retirement fund or college savings plan.” The President says the tariffs are hurting Chinese companies while incentivizing U.S. companies to repatriate. Shapiro calls the tariffs “the worst economic mistake since the Smoot-Hawley Tariff Act of 1930, a policy that launched America into the Great Depression. This is not how you reach a meaningful trade agreement.”

Shapiro called for Congress to pass the Reclaiming Congressional Trade Authority Act of 2019 so it can protect the economy from “unending trade wars and retaliatory tariffs.”

reposted from Multichannel News https://www.multichannel.com/news/ctas-shapiro-trump-tariffs-worst-economic-mistake-in-almost-100-years

Reason:”In a State of Emergency, the President Can Control Your Phone, Your TV, and Even Your Light Switches”

December 11, 1941, is not nearly as memorable a date as the one that lives in infamy. But that Thursday after Pearl Harbor is still an important moment in American history, because it’s the day that Germany declared war on the United States and the U.S. immediately reciprocated. And it was on that date that President Franklin Roosevelt told his press secretary, Stephen T. Early, that the government should take over one of the national broadcast networks.

Early informed James L. Fly, the chairman of the Federal Communications Commission (FCC) and director of the newly created Defense Communications Board (DCB), that Roosevelt had personally directed Fly to acquire a national broadcast network for the government. The DCB had been created for just such a national emergency: Its mandate was to coordinate all communications (both military and civilian) in case of war or another national emergency. Both the FCC and the DCB were empowered by Section 606 of the 1934 Communications Act, which expressly gave the president full control over electronic transmissions in such circumstances.

Section 606(c), in particular, gave the president full control to suspend and commandeer the country’s entire electronic regulatory system. “Upon proclamation by the President that there exists war or a threat of war, or a state of public peril or disaster or other national emergency, or in order to preserve the neutrality of the United States,” the law said, the president “may suspend or amend, for such time as he may see fit, the rules and regulations applicable to any or all stations or devices capable of emitting electromagnetic radiations within the jurisdiction of the United States as prescribed by the Commission.” He had the power to shut down any radio station—”or any device capable of emitting electromagnetic radiations between 10 kilocycles and 100,000 megacycles, which is suitable for use as a navigational aid beyond five miles”—and could commandeer its equipment, “upon just compensation to the owners.”

Full commentary by Michael J Sokolow @ Reason http://reason.com/archives/2019/02/15/in-a-state-of-emergency-the-president-ca

Hot Air Report:”Libertarian Party organizes national park cleanups”

Republicans and Democrats may be sniping at each other over the partial government shutdown, but it’s the Libertarian Party which is putting words to action. Libertarians have organized multiple national park cleanups over the last week to show maybe the government isn’t needed to provide services.

Libertarian Party National Committee Chair Nicholas Sarwark sees it as a real opportunity.

“As Libertarians, we advocate replacing federal taxpayer funding for many services with private charity or privatization. We wanted to show how this could be accomplished by volunteering in our local communities. We know that people are inherently generous with their time and energy. We want to set an example by calling on the public to join us in maintaining our beautiful parks and landmarks this weekend and throughout the government shutdown.”

The first cleanup was organized last Sunday with LP members, libertarians, anarchists, agorists, voluntarists, and more gathering at the National Mall in Washington D.C. do trash pickup and more. The interesting part about the project is it was inspired by a Facebook post on LP Membership Manager Jess Mears’ wall following media reports saying trash was piling up in the parks because of the partial shutdown.

Mears took it from there, creating a Facebook event which ended up drawing in a few dozen volunteers. She told me it was really worth taking time out of a Sunday to clean up the mall.

Full Report by Taylor Millard @ Hot Air https://hotair.com/archives/2019/01/13/libertarian-party-organizes-national-park-cleanups/

Alan Mosley on Eisenhower’s Opposition to Atom Bombing of Japan

In the summer of 1945, President Harry Truman found himself searching for a decisive blow against the Empire of Japan. Despite the many Allied victories during 1944 and 1945, Truman believed Emperor Hirohito would urge his generals to fight on. America suffered 76,000 casualties at the battles of Iwo Jima and Okinawa, and the Truman administration anticipated that a prolonged invasion of mainland Japan would result in even more devastating numbers. Even so, plans were drawn up to invade Japan under the name Operation Downfall.

The estimates for the potential carnage were sobering; the Joint Chiefs of Staff pegged the expected casualties at 1.2 million. Staff for Admiral Chester Nimitz and General Douglas MacArthur both expected over 1,000 casualties per day, while the personnel at the Department of the Navy thought the totals would run as high as four million, with the Japanese incurring up to 10 million of their own. The Los Angeles Times was a bit more optimistic, projecting one million casualties.

With those numbers, it’s no wonder the US opted to (literally) take the nuclear option by dropping Little Boy on Hiroshima on August 6, and then Fat Man on Nagasaki on August 9. Japan formally surrendered 24 days later, sparing potentially millions of US servicemen and vindicating the horrifying-yet-necessary bombings.

At least this is the common narrative we’re all taught in grade school. But like so many historical narratives, it’s an oversimplification and historically obtuse.

Dissenting Opinions

When Truman signed off on the deployment of the newly-developed atomic bombs, he was convinced the Japanese were planning to prosecute the war to the bitter end. Many have argued that the casualty estimates compelled him to err on the side of caution for the lives of his boys in the Pacific. But this ignores the fact that other significant figures surrounding Truman came to the opposite conclusion. General Dwight D. Eisenhower, chief among the naysayers, said, “I was against (use of the atomic bomb) on two counts. First, the Japanese were ready to surrender and it wasn’t necessary to hit them with that awful thing. Second, I hated to see our country be the first to use such a weapon.” Although he made this statement publicly in 1963, he made the same argument to then-Secretary of War Henry Stimson in 1945, as recounted in his memoirs:

I voiced to him my grave misgivings, first on the basis of my belief that Japan was already defeated and that dropping the bomb was completely unnecessary, and secondly because I thought that our country should avoid shocking world opinion by the use of a weapon whose employment was, I thought, no longer mandatory as a measure to save American lives. It was my belief that Japan was, at that very moment, seeking some way to surrender with a minimum loss of “face.”

Another prominent figure who echoed Eisenhower’s sentiments was Fleet Admiral William D. Leahy. He ranked as the senior-most United States military officer on active duty during World War II and was among Truman’s chief military advisors. In his 1950 book I Was There, Leahy wrote, “It is my opinion that the use of this barbarous weapon at Hiroshima and Nagasaki was of no material assistance in our war against Japan. The Japanese were already defeated and ready to surrender because of the effective sea blockade and the successful bombing with conventional weapons.” With mainland Japan under a blockade, Japanese forces in China and Korea were effectively cut off from reinforcements and supplies.

Full Post by Alan Mosley @ F.E.E. https://tinyurl.com/y9skp7go