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/

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

Nick Taber on “The Worst Totalitarian Since Mao”

This summer, a UN panel received reports of a human rights crisis unfolding in China’s far western Xinjiang province. The information showed that as many as two million people had been subjected to an intense political indoctrination and reeducation program. The backlash has largely focused on the ethno-religious nature of this crisis. Pakistan, China’s closest and most economically dependent ally, has asked China to ease restrictions on Muslims, and Uighurs (the ethnic minority group targeted) living in America are beginning to condemn China’s human rights abuses.

But over-interpreting the religious aspect of the crackdown distracts from the true nature of repression in China. The crisis in Xinjiang should be interpreted more as an assault on basic freedoms and the expansion of a totalitarian tyranny than an expression of ethnic superiority. To be sure, this is nothing less than a cultural genocide. But as far as we know, the Chinese government is not Sinicizing this group simply because they are Muslim or ethnically Turkic. It is doing so because they are a perceived threat to the power of the Chinese Communist Party (CCP).

Intense repression has been rapidly growing throughout the country, cementing the power of the CCP in all corners of society. Indeed, the human rights abuses in Xinjiang are strikingly similar to what’s been happening elsewhere in China since Xi assumed office. Human rights reports of Xinjiang describe mass political indoctrination, the creation of a digital police state, arbitrary detention, and pervasive controls over daily life. Let’s look at each of those components individually.

Indoctrination: Mass political indoctrination is the central purpose of the reeducation camps established in Xinjiang. Elsewhere in the country, however, the Chinese government has instituted a wide variety of indoctrination programs, with the explicit goal of expanding the CCP’s control over people’s minds. This includes overhauling all of China’s major educational institutions, increasing the ideological content of all media, and controlling the spread of foreign ideas and influences within the country.

During a speech given at a Beijing kindergarten in 2015, President Xi Jinping outlined his vision of party control over education, saying, “Children should memorize the core socialist values by heart, have them melt in their hearts, and carve them into their brains.” The CCP plans to overhaul the nation’s university system to turn it into an ideological education machine. Students will undergo a hefty political indoctrination program all the way through university. Chinese professors will be forced to teach CCP propaganda. According to recent government plans, university faculty will be judged foremost by their “ideological and political performance.”

And while indoctrination and reeducation programs outside of Xinjiang do not have the same force and severity as those within the province, they are nonetheless very invasive, and are a core component of the country’s move towards totalitarianism.

Full commentary by Nick Taber @ The American Conservative https://www.theamericanconservative.com/articles/the-worst-totalitarian-since-mao/

RPI:”Five Democrat Votes Allow Trump’s Saudi Weapons Deal To Clear Senate”

Tyler Durden @ The Ron Paul Institute reports that 5 Democrat Senators joined with most Republicans to defeat a bill by Sen. Rand Paul and Sen. Chris Murphy to stop US sales of high tech weapons to Saudi Arabia. Mr. Durden notes that 4 Republicans voted with most Democrats to block the sales, but the bill failed with 53 voting against it and 47 Senators supporting the ban on weapons sales.

Despite the failure, Politico notes that Paul and Murphy fared better on Tuesday than they did last year in a similar effort to block a Saudi arms sale under former President Barack Obama, thanks entirely to new Democratic supporters: it’s curious how ideology changes one’s outlook on lethal weaponry.

“Regardless of whether the number is 48 or 51 or 45” in favor of blocking the deals, Murphy told reporters before the vote, “this is an important message to the Saudis that we are all watching. And if they continue to target civilians and they continue to stop humanitarian aid from getting into Yemen, this vote will continue to go in the wrong direction for them.”

Paul said after the vote that he and Murphy would discuss possible future attempts to block Trump’s arms deals to Riyadh, warning that senators are growing more concerned about the civilian toll in a Yemen conflict that is pitting Saudi-backed government forces against rebel factions reportedly supported by Iran.

Full post by Tyler Durden @ Ron Paul Institute http://www.ronpaulinstitute.org/archives/peace-and-prosperity/2017/june/13/five-democrat-votes-allow-trumps-saudi-weapons-deal-to-clear-senate/

Politico:”Rand Paul to tee up vote on blocking Trump’s Saudi arms deal”

Kentucky GOP Sen. Rand Paul is expected to offer legislation as soon as Wednesday that would block President Donald Trump’s $110 billion weapons sales to Saudi Arabia.

Paul’s planned bill disapproving of the arms deal, confirmed by a Senate source familiar with the timeline, comes as Trump completes the first leg of an overseas trip that began with a warm welcome from the Saudi royal family in Riyadh. Paul recently joined three Democrats in proposing to make future arms sales contingent on reining in Saudi military involvement in Yemen’s civil war, and he is likely to take advantage of a 1976 law that allows any senator to force a vote on halting overseas arms sales.

Full report @ Politico http://www.politico.com/story/2017/05/23/rand-paul-saudi-arabia-arms-sales-238730