Connect with us

Americas

Donald Trump the Republican candidate

Published

on

The Republican Party has formally nominated Donald Trump as its candidate for the presidency of the United States, capping a roller-coaster campaign that saw the billionaire tycoon defeat 16 White House rivals. Billionaire businessman Donald Trump has officially sealed the Republican candidate to fight for US presidency after months of acrimonious campaigning.

In fact, the billionaire had been expected to cruise past the 1,237 delegates needed on Tuesday to seal the deal on the first ballot. Trump was put over the top by his home state of New York. “It is something I’ll never ever forget,” Trump said on a video feed from New York. “Together we have achieved historic results with the largest vote total in the history of the Republican Party. This is a movement, but we have to go all the way.” His son Donald Trump, Jr., cast the votes for the New York delegation that put the billionaire businessman over the top of the 1,237 delegates he needed to clinch the nomination, as any talk of disruptive protest votes or walkouts dissipated. Donald Trump Jr told delegates at the Republican National Convention, which erupted in cheers and applause. “Congratulations, Dad. We love you,” he said. Now Trump will face Democratic candidate Hillary Clinton former foreign minister of USA and wife of former president Bill Clinton. Donald Jr. was tearing up when he told Bash that putting his father over the top was “one of the more surreal moments of my life other perhaps than the birth of my children. To be able to do that is historic, it’s awesome.” “It’s pretty real.”

Trump’s Democratic rival, Hillary Clinton, was quick to respond after the vote with a challenge thrown to him: “Donald Trump just became the Republican nominee. Chip in now to make sure he never steps foot in the Oval Office”.

The Republican candidate Donald Trump has appeared on screen at the Republican National Convention, telling delegates he is “so proud” to be their nominee for president and vowing to “go all the way” and win the White House in the November election. “This is a movement. But we have to go all the way. I am so proud to be your nominee for president,” he told the delegates. The focus was the economy, with many calls for lower taxes and less government interference, as per the conservative way. However, there was again a clear anti-Clinton theme today, perhaps stronger than yesterday, with NJ governor Chris Christie going pretty hard on the Democratic nominee. He said she was guilty of messing up in her responses to various international incidents.

Trump promised to win the election in November, create jobs, strengthen the military, safeguard US borders and “restore law and order”. The real estate mogul won a thumping victory in a series of state-wide party elections, garnering more than 13 million votes – the most of any Republican nominee ever. The conventions are designed to champion the party candidate, rally the grassroots, and propel the party towards November’s presidential election. “Such a great honor to be the Republican Nominee for President of the United States. I will work hard and never let you down! America first!”

Donald Trump, the business magnet whose outsider campaign has both galvanized millions of voters and divided the Republican Party, is the 2016 GOP presidential nominee.

The New Yorker’s embrace by the Republican National Convention marks a remarkable moment in US political history and validates a campaign that shattered precedent, defied experts and usurped the GOP establishment.

Anti-Trump forces on the floor held out for a final miracle on Tuesday after seeking to convince delegates that their votes were not bound and that they could vote their conscience, but it never came to fruition.

It has been a stunning rise for a man most thought would never make it this far. “After all the predications that he could never do it – the public wouldn’t want someone with no legislative experience, no government experience – they’ve opted for a man who has made his name first of all in business and latterly as a reality TV show host,” reported Al Jazeera. “He will now be on top of the Republican ticket come November.”

An effort to place the name of Texas Sen. Ted Cruz for nomination fizzled late Tuesday afternoon. The effort had no chance of success since most of the delegates won by Trump in his GOP nominating victory were bound to vote for him in the roll call under the rules of the Republican primary process. Cruz’s inner circle had adamantly opposed any attempt to involve him in last minute convention floor intrigue, a senior adviser to the Texas senator told CNN. A rebellion would have emphasized the divides in the GOP torn open by Trump’s campaign, which was given little chance of success when he descended a golden escalator in Trump Tower with his wife Melania to set his sights on the White House last year.

An instrumental remix of Frank Sinatra’s hit New York, New York boomed into the arena after the announcement, as delighted delegates swayed in time with the music and waved their arms in the air.

Trump praised his pick as an “incredible man” who would make “a great vice president”.

The state-by-state vote to put forward Trump’s nomination took place a day after opponents staged a failed attempt to force a vote opposing his candidacy and after a speech by his wife, Melania, drew accusations of plagiarism. “It’s unbelievable. It’s surreal. I’m so proud of my father. I’m so proud. We all are,” Trump’s eldest daughter and businesswoman Ivanka, often described as his secret weapon, told CNN.

Smooth vote

The conventions are designed to champion the party candidate, rally the grassroots, and propel the party towards November’s presidential election.

Trump’s name was put into the nomination by Alabama Sen. Jeff Sessions, an early supporter of the businessman, and was seconded by fellow early supporters New York Rep. Chris Collins and South Carolina Lt. Gov. Henry McMaster. “We have gotten off course and the American people know it,” Sessions said in his speech, warning that crime is rising, terrorist attacks are proliferating, and Congress is deadlocked, arguing that Trump is the only answer. “The American voters heard his message and they rewarded his courage and his leadership with a huge victory in our primaries,” Sessions said, drawing raucous cheers from Trump fans on the convention floor. “He loves his country and he is determined to see it be a winner again,” Sessions said. “Donald Trump is the singular leader that can get this country back on track. He has the strength, the courage the will to get it done.”

Trump’s roll call will be followed by the nomination and vote for Indiana Gov. Mike Pence as the vice presidential nominee. Tuesday’s vote passed more smoothly than events on the convention floor Monday when holdouts tried to embarrass Trump by initiating a fight over rules of the gathering.

Trump’s team monitored delegates to quell any kind of rebellion, with a team of whips on the floor and eyes in the sky. The Trump delegate brain trust was holed up in a skybox inside the convention center where they tracked the movement of delegates as the roll was called. Trump whips wore neon green hats to make it easier for them to spot.

Trump carried 36 states and won 13.4 million votes on his way to the GOP nomination, but he took a smaller percentage of primary and caucus votes than Romney in 2012 or Sen. John McCain of Arizona in 2008. Yet for all Mr. Romney’s business orientation and Mr. McCain’s maverick streak, neither possessed the potential, ability or inclination to change the Republican Party.

Clinton under attack

A wealthy New York real estate developer and a reality TV celebrity, the 70-year-old was a long shot when he entered the race for the Republican nomination more than a year ago, having never been elected to office. He in fact clinched the nomination nearly two months ago. But relentless controversy over his campaign rhetoric and a simmering movement by anti-Trump delegates to deny him the nomination made it less than a foregone conclusion.

Nonetheless, speaker after speaker at the four-day convention in Cleveland took aim at his rival, Mrs. Clinton, presenting her as out of touch with the concerns of ordinary Americans and the inheritor of President Barack Obama’s “oppressive” government pursuing arrogant foreign policy.

Republican delegates savaged Clinton at the convention, breaking into angry chants of “lock her up” and “guilty” as New Jersey Governor Chris Christie accused her of wrongdoing and numerous foreign policy failures, including on Libya, Syria, the Iran nuclear deal, and Boko Haram in Nigeria. Christie, himself a former federal prosecutor, told the convention as he laid out a case against Clinton and “her selfish, awful judgment…We are going to present the facts to you. You, tonight, sitting as a jury of her peers in this hall and in your living rooms around our nation,” he said.

Outlining what he called “the facts”, Christie slated Clinton’s record as US secretary of state, accusing her of being responsible for chaos and violence engulfing the Middle East and elsewhere, and asking whether she is “guilty or not guilty?” “In Syria, imagine this, she called President Assad ‘a reformer.’ There are now 400,000 dead. Think about that: 400,000 dead. So we must ask this question: As an awful judge of the character of a dictator and butcher in the Middle East, is she guilty or not guilty?” “Guilty,” the crowd chanted in reply. “America and the world are measurably less safe because of the Iran deal Hillary helped cut. An inept negotiator of the worst nuclear arms deal in American history, guilty or not guilty?” he bellowed. “Guilty,” the crowd replied.

In short, Hillary Clinton does not have any positive opinion in the public. Her actions and rhetoric are unimpressive. Trump stands tall. Trump speaks of making America great and is in the process of remaking the GOP, possesses all three, and he takes them into a race essential for the Republican Party, which has been shut out of the White House for eight years.

Observation

After the presidential vote, the convention by voice vote nominated Indiana Governor Mike Pence, 57, Trump’s choice for his vice presidential running mate.

Donald Trump, who has greater chance to be the next president of USA than his opponent Clinton, has secured the nomination of the Republican Party to become the next US president after months of controversial campaigning that has divided the American right of the political spectrum, leading to intense debate on future of US foreign policy. Trump was expected to formally accept the nomination in a speech on Thursday, before facing off against Democrat Hillary Clinton in the November 8 election battle. Mrs Clinton, 68, is due to be formally nominated at the Democratic convention next week in Philadelphia.

Many Americans oppose Trump’s ascension in US politics, lambasting his controversial campaign statements, including calling Mexican immigrants rapists and drug dealers whom he would deport if elected president. He has also called for a ban on Muslims from entering the United States. Later he revised much of his harsh rhetoric meant essentially to garner the votes of those who hate Islam.

General scenario is that Donald J. Trump wins in November. But then the Tea Party hardliners would become stronger. If Trump becomes president, he may play the role of Franklin Roosevelt in 1932 and Ronald Reagan in 1980, both of whom transformed the demographic profile of their respective parties.

Donald J. Trump may be harsh, but he is being hailed as a remarkable, formidable and possibly transformative Republican presidential nominee. He has the potential to change everything — the presidency, the way aspiring nominees campaign for the job and the Republican Party itself, which this year is celebrating its 160th birthday. Many Republicans swear with Trump brand of politics, the party is going through creative change.

Establishment Republicans and Tea Party conservatives have little in common besides their contempt, part substantive and part stylistic, for Mr. Trump’s brand of politics. Neither group has any affinity for former Secretary of State Hillary Rodham Clinton, but neither group has a stake in Trump prevailing.

While Trump is hawkish, Gov. Mike Pence of Indiana, Trump’s running mate, is such a balm to the party. Trump partisans like him because their candidate covered him with stardust, the regulars because he has convent. The Pence selection is far more important for the internal politics of the Republican Party than for its external effect. Only one vice-presidential selection since 1988, Sen. Albert Gore of Tennessee, prompted as much as a third of the public to say it was more likely to support a party ticket.

A split personality, Trump is one of those rare presidential nominees who have the potential of winning the White House but also of being defeated decisively. A defeat would warn the Republicans away from nominating a candidate like Trump again. A victory would remold the party in . Trump’s image — and the long-term effect of that cannot be predicted.

Democratic candidate Hillary is now facing a very serious and direct threat from Trump on whom she and her party and incumbent president Obama had high hopes because of his hawkish nature, arrogant character and faulty rhetoric. However, he, unlike Obama and “hopeful” Hillary, clearly said he would review the US-Israel relations and view issue from a neutral viewpoint. This has made a sea change in US policy.

Hillary Clinton is going pursue the same imperialist war agenda of Bush and Obama along with pro-Israel policy encouraging the Zionist criminal regime to advance its expansionist agenda inside Palestine along with genocides of Palestinians, besieged by Israel-Egyptian terror blockades , .

But Trump is likely to revise most, if not all, policies of both Bush and Obama. Thus in order to advance US interests globally if aggressively the republican president is better suited than Hillary Clinton. Unlike Obama, Trump may not obey the Neocons. He has his own ideas.

The Republican-Democratic battle for presidency is yet to begin, Will Trump let Clinton climb the sympathy ladder as a female presidential candidate as she fought the fellow democrat Sanders?

Continue Reading
Comments

Americas

Donald Trump, Foreign Policy Incoherence and Inadvertent Nuclear War

Prof. Louis René Beres

Published

on

“In a surrealist year….some cool clown pressed an inedible mushroom button, and an inaudible Sunday bomb fell down, catching the president at his prayers on the 19th green.”-Lawrence Ferlinghetti, A Coney Island of the Mind (1958)

From the start of his presidency,  Donald Trump has displayed unmistakable signs of debility, venality and intellectual impoverishment. Most conspicuous, in this regard, is Mr. Trump’s evident unfamiliarity with history, diplomacy, intelligence and law. Slightly less obvious, but only if one were willfully blind to unassailable evidence, is this president’s rancorous and brittle emotional state.

Even when considered separately, these presidential liabilities are worrisome.

Taken together, however, they become palpably fearful and potentially intolerable.

This cumulative liability reaches its nadir when considered with a debilitated  president’s lawful exercise of nuclear command authority.

In principle, at least, these risks and consequences of US presidential shortcoming are generic; that is, they are not necessarily “Trump specific.” At this level, they also represent bewilderingly complex matters about which I have been lecturing and publishing for half a century. Some of my long term personal conclusions can be pried interpretively from historical examination and from certain more-or-less coinciding logical extrapolations.

In all such matters, analytic competence and confidence must stem from calculably valid assurances that both complementary operations are being carried out dispassionately, and in tandem.

The bottom line here is unhidden. Principal national security risks America currently faces as a nation are prospectively immediate and formidably existential. Such risks can be fully understood only in light of the plausible or at least conceivable intersections arising between them. This is because such critical intersections are more-or-less likely (a conclusion based on formal logic, and not on any actual history) and because some of these reinforcing intersections could sometime prove “synergistic.”

Contradicting what was first learned in the eighth grade, this means (by definition)  that the “whole” of  intersectional nuclear risk effects must be greater than the simple arithmetic sum of component “parts.”

Always, in any staggeringly complex strategic risk assessments regarding military nuclear intentions and military nuclear forces, the concept ofsynergy must be included.[1]

Always, any such necessary inclusion must be reasonable, rational and purposeful.

The only conceivable argument for a president ignoring possible effects of synergy  is that US defense policy consideration is “too complex” (i.e., intellectually bewildering) and therefore “too daunting.”

When US national security is at stake – as it is in this case – any such dismissive argument is unacceptable.

Prima facie.

How could it not be?

I have been thinking about precisely such difficult issues for fifty years. For analytic purposes, the development of my own personal conclusions about strategic national security decision-making can be summed up in the following brief paragraph:

 After four years of doctoral study at Princeton in the late 1960s, long an intellectual center of American nuclear thought (recall especially Albert Einstein and J. Robert Oppenheimer) I began to consider adding a modest personal contribution to an already evolving nuclear literatures.  By the late 1970s, I was cautiously preparing a manuscript on US nuclear strategy, and by variously disciplined processes of correct inference, on  certain corresponding risks of a nuclear war.[2]  

Already, at that early time, I was especially interested in US presidential authority to order the use of American nuclear weapons.

From day one of my studies, I learned, inter alia, that allegedly reliable safeguards had very systematically been built into all operational nuclear command/control decisions, but that these same safeguards could not be applied at the highest or presidential level. To a young scholar searching optimistically for nuclear war avoidance opportunities, this ironic disjunction didn’t make any obvious sense.  Nonetheless, within the broader context of credible nuclear deterrence requirements, there did exist a reasonable argument for accepting such a significant gap in relevant decisional protections.

For needed clarifications, I had reached out directly to retired General Maxwell D. Taylor, a former Chairman of the US Joint Chiefs of Staff. In reassuringly rapid response to my query, General Taylor sent me a detailed handwritten reply. Dated 14 March 1976, the distinguished General’s informed letter concluded presciently: “As to those dangers arising from an irrational American president, the only protection is not to elect one.”

Until recently, I had never given any extended thought to this candid and authoritative response. Today, during the increasingly problematic presidency of  Donald J. Trump, General Taylor’s 1976 warning must take on  substantially greater and more demonstrably urgent meanings. Based on ascertainable facts and logical derivations (technically called “entailments” in philosophy of science terminology) rather than on narrowly wishful thinking, we should reasonably assume that if President Trump were ever to exhibit any accessible signs of emotional instability, irrationality or openly delusional behavior, he could still order the use of American nuclear weapons. He could so this officially, legally and without any compelling expectations of  nuclear chain-of-command “disobedience.”

Still more worrisome, President Trump could become emotionally unstable, irrational or delusional, but still not exhibit such intolerable liabilities manifestly or plainly.

What then?

A corollary core question must now also come to mind:

What precise stance should be assumed by the National Command Authority (Secretary of Defense, Chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff, and several others) if it should ever decide to oppose an “inappropriate” presidential order to launch American nuclear weapons?

Could the National Command Authority (NCA) “save the day,” informally, by acting in an impromptu or creatively ad hoc fashion? Or should indispensable preparatory steps already have been taken, preemptively – that is, should there already be in place certain credible and effective statutory measures to (1) assess the ordering president’s reason and judgment; and (2) countermand the presumptively inappropriate or wrongful order?

 Presumptively, in US law, Article 1 (Congressional) war-declaring expectations of the Constitution aside, any presidential order to use nuclear weapons, whether issued by an apparently irrational president or by an otherwise incapacitated one, would have to be obeyed. To do otherwise, in such incomparably dire circumstances, would be illegal. Here, in other words, any chain-of-command disobedience would be impermissible on its face.

There is more. In principle, at least, US President Donald Trump could order the first use of American nuclear weapons even if this country were not under any specifically nuclear attack. In this connection –  again, in principle at least – some further strategic and legal distinctions would need to be made between a nuclear “first use” and a nuclear “first strike.”

While there exists an elementary yet markedly substantive difference between these two options, it is a distinction that candidate Donald Trump had fully failed to understand during the 2016 presidential campaign debates.

What next? Where should the American polity and government go from here on such urgent decision-making issues? To begin, a coherent and comprehensive  answer will need to be prepared for the following basic question:

If faced with any presidential order to use nuclear weapons, and not offered sufficiently appropriate corroborative evidence of any actually impending existential threat, would the  National Command Authority be: (1) be willing to disobey, and (2) be capable of enforcing such expressions of disobedience?

In any such literally unprecedented crisis-decision circumstances, all authoritative decisions could have to be made in a compressively time-urgent matter of minutes, not hours or days. As far as any useful policy guidance from the past might be concerned, there could be no scientifically valid way to assess the true probabilities of possible outcomes. This is because absolutely all scientific judgments of probability – whatever the salient issue or subject – must be based firmly upon the discernible frequency of pertinent past events.

In relevant matters of nuclear war, there are no pertinent past events. This is, of course, a markedly fortunate absence, but one that would inevitably stand in the way of rendering reliable decision-making predictions. The irony here is both conspicuous and problematic.

Still, whatever the scientific obstacles, the optimal time to prepare for any such incomparably vital US national security difficulties is now.

In the immediately specific matter of North Korea (Iran is not yet nuclear), President Trump must take special care to avoid any seat-of-the-pants analogies  (whether openly expressed or “merely” internalized) between commercial and military brinksmanship. Faced with dramatic uncertainties about his counterpart Kim Jung Un’s own expected willingness to push the escalatory envelope, the American president could sometime (suddenly and unexpectedly) find himself faced with a stark choice between outright capitulation and nuclear war.

Even for a genuinely gifted US president, any such grievously stark choice could prove paralyzing.

To avoid being placed in such a limited choice strategic environment, Mr. Trump should understand from the start that having a larger national nuclear force (a “bigger button”) in these sorts of negotiations might not bestow any critical bargaining advantages. To the contrary, it could actually generate unwarranted US presidential overconfidence and various resultant forms of decisional miscalculation. In essence, in any such wholly unfamiliar, many-sided and basically unprecedented matters, size might “count” inversely, or even not at all.

The field of international foreign policy making is not comparable to the commercial bargaining arenas of hotel construction and casino gaming. While the search for “escalation dominance” may be common to both sorts of deal-making, the cumulative costs of any corollary losses would be wholly incomparable. In brief, money or status losses in the commercial sector can never reasonably be compared to mass death or civilian dismemberment.

In  certain matters of world politics, even an  inadvertent decisional outcome could sometime be a nuclear war.

Here, whether occasioned by accident, hacking, or “simple” miscalculation, there could be absolutely no meaningful “winner,” not even for the side with the once cherished “bigger button.”

In the paroxysmal aftermath of any unintended nuclear conflict, those authoritative American decision-makers who had once accepted President Donald J. Trump’s stated preference for “attitude” over  “preparation” in strategic negotiations would question their once-visceral loyalties. But it would assuredly be too late. Most plausibly, as survivors of a previously preventable conflagration, these now-disoriented officials would merely envy the dead.

With their president, they too would have been caught unprepared on the “19th green.”


[1] See earlier, by this author, at Harvard National Security Journal (Harvard Law School): https://harvardnsj.org/2015/06/core-synergies-in-israels-strategic-planning-when-the-adversarial-whole-is-greater-than-the-sum-of-its-parts/

[2] This book was subsequently published in 1980 by the University of Chicago Press: Louis René Beres, Apocalypse: Nuclear Catastrophe in World Politics. http://www.amazon.com/Apocalypse-Nuclear-Catastrophe-World-Politics/dp/0226043606

Continue Reading

Americas

“Strategically brilliant” sellout: Trump’s betrayal of the Kurds

Published

on

“At last the world knows America as the savior of the world!” —U.S. president Woodrow Wilson

Turkey invaded the Syrian Arab Republic on October 9 following a U.S. pullout. The U.S. Congress has started an impeachment inquiry of Donald Trump, who apparently gave the green light for the Turkish invasion. The U.S. president’s lawyer, Rudy Giuliani, was accused of operating a “shadow shakedown” operation against Ukraine’s president and lobbying for a Turkish bank indicted for evading U.S. sanctions against Iran. Meanwhile, his secretary of state was pontificating on being a Christian leader who holds himself to a “high set of standards.”  

Three days after Trump’s announcement of a U.S. troop withdrawal from Syria, Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan ordered Turkish forces to enter the country to neutralize the Kurdish People’s Defense Units (YPK “terrorists”) and stabilize the border zone. Placing his bipolar affliction on full display, Trump has alternated between praise for the Turkish leader’s actions and threats to bring down the Turkish economy. “I view the situation on the Turkish border with Syria to be, for the United States, strategically brilliant,” he exuded, claiming, “Syria is protecting the Kurds.” Earlier, he had stated that he was “fully prepared to swiftly destroy Turkey’s economy if Turkish leaders continue down this dangerous and destructive path.” 

In his executive order issued October 14, Trump specifically wrote that Turkey’s assault “undermines the campaign to defeat the Islamic State of Iraq and Syria or ISIS,” and “constitutes an unusual and extraordinary threat to the national security and foreign policy of the United States.” As a consequence, Trump has declared a national emergency, and authorized sanctions against any “current or former official of the Government of Turkey.” Moreover, the order contains broad language that appears to go well beyond sanctions on Turkey and its officials by sanctioning any “foreign person” who is found by the U.S. secretary of state to have been complicit in obstructing or preventing a “political solution to the conflict in Syria.”  

Minimizing the abrupt abandonment of his Kurdish ally, Trump quipped, “Anyone who wants to assist Syria in protecting the Kurds is good with me, whether it is Russia, China, or Napoleon Bonaparte.” U.S. House of Representatives Speaker Nancy Pelosi criticized Trump’s impetuous act, noting, “His erratic decision-making is threatening lives, risking regional security and undermining America’s credibility in the world.” South Carolina Republican Senator Lindsey Graham, perpetually a Trump lapdog, predictably supported his master after some initial squeamish protests categorizing the troop withdrawal as “shortsighted,” ?irresponsible” and “unnerving to its core.”

Turkey’s actions in Syria present a conundrum for the United States. As a NATO member with an estimated 435,000 troops, the largest contingent of military personnel in the organization outside of the U.S., Turkey is not a country with which Washington can trifle. Erdo?an is a powerful leader and a man of action, as opposed to his American counterpart who is a blowhard full of bluff, bravado, and bluster, but who backpedals and vacillates when confronted by a hardened, politically savvy opponent. By holding U.S, nuclear weapons, about fifty B61 gravity atomic bombs, at Incirlik hostage, Erdo?an effectively has called Trump’s bluff of sanctions “devastating to Turkey’s economy,” leaving the latter little choice but to send his vice president and secretary of state to do damage control on behalf of the NATO alliance.

Off the record, a U.S. defense official has conceded that the U.S. nukes at Incirlik “were now essentially Erdogan’s hostages,” but to remove them from there would not only be a politically ticklish endeavor but also would almost certainly mean the end of the U.S.-Turkey alliance and possibly, even NATO itself.  In addition, with its possession of the precise grid coordinates of former U.S., and now Kurdish, positions in Syria, Turkey has the upper hand in this act of unilateral aggression and demonstrated as much when Turkish artillery shells “bracketed” a U.S. commando outpost near Kobani on October 4, detonating about 300 meters away on either side. There is deep symbolism in this Turkish shelling of the U.S. outpost; Kobani was the first success by the U.S.-backed Kurdish forces in routing ISIS from their territory.

One aspect of the Turkish incursion into Syria, which may appeal to Trump’s demonstrated racist tendencies, is the inherent ethnic cleansing bound to occur.  Erdogan, after failing to topple the government of President Bashar al-Assad, found his country awash in refugees, some 3.6 million ethnic Arabs. His plan for the so-called “safe zone,” which his invasion is designed to create by purging the indigenous Kurdish population, is to settle the largely Sunni Arab Syrian refugees in place of the Kurds to form a de facto demilitarized zone, thereby eliminating the threat of cross-border raids by separatists aligned with the Kurdistan Workers Party (PKK). Scattered across Iran, Iraq, Syria, and Turkey, the Kurds form the largest ethnic group in the world without their own country.  Erdogan has blatantly threatened the Syrian Kurds, declaring, “If you want to live in Kurdistan, there is a Kurdistan in northern Iraq. Take all the terror lovers with you, clear off and live there.”

Along similarly racist lines are Erdogan’s threats to flood Europe with refugees, should European leaders fail to go along with his invasion and occupation plans for northern Syria. “If you try to describe our current operation as an occupation, our task will be simple,” Erdo? a remarked. “We will open the gates and send 3.6 million refugees your way.”  While the Turkish leader struck a deal with the EU for a cool €6 billion in 2016 to retain displaced Syrians, pressure has mounted among his supporters to repatriate the refugees following the recession in 2018 and drop in currency value along with double-digit inflation. Erdogan’s perspective on immigrants would also appear closely to parallel Trump’s.

Another aspect of the Turkish military operation, which also benefits Trump, is that the resulting chaos will divert public attention from the recently initiated congressional investigation into his impeachment. Shortly after Trump’s election in 2016, Harvard University professor of international relations Stephen Walt warned that Trump might make “an Erdogan-like attempt to use a terrorist attack or some other equally dramatic event as an excuse to declare a ‘state of emergency’ and to assume unprecedented executive authority.”  As noted above, by his executive order dated October 14, 2019, Trump has already declared a state of emergency.

In view of the abandonment of the Kurds by the U.S., not the mention the JCPOA, the “Iran nuclear deal,” how could the Islamic Republic of Iran negotiate with such a “partner?” Of the 374 treaties negotiated by the U.S. with indigenous peoples of North America, only one was honored. Although signing on the 1997 Kyoto Protocol, the U.S. has neither ratified nor enforced it. Trump withdrew from the 2015 Paris Climate Accord; Bush II withdrew from the 1998 Rome Statute of the International Criminal Court. The United States is the only nation to have not ratified the 1989 Convention on the Rights of the Child, the 1996 Comprehensive Nuclear-Test-Ban Treaty, the 1997 Mine-Ban Treaty, and over forty other treaties.  

Rather than being “the savior of the world,” as U.S. President Woodrow Wilson haughtily proclaimed at the Treaty of Versailles after the First World War, the U.S. seems hell-bent on being its scourge. Trump’s betrayal of the Kurds not only should give ample evidence of U.S. perfidy, but also should be a lesson for all who fancy themselves as allies of the United States.

From our partner Tehran Times

Continue Reading

Americas

AMLO’s Failed State

Lisdey Espinoza Pedraza

Published

on

Mexico’s challenges since transitioning from the hegemonic rule of the Institutional Revolutionary Party (PRI) 19 years ago have remained numerous and elusive: rampant corruption; constant violation of human rights; spiralling violence; impunity; ineffective rule of law and the inability of the state to protect basic rights of its citizens. Drug violence, in particular, has undergone a rapid and intense process of diversification and popularisation while the ability of the state to deter anti-systemic forces has remained critically low. Over the last decade, the criminal field has become increasingly complex, fractured and multi-polar making it almost impossible for the authorities to respond effectively.

On the 17th of October 2019 after a shambolic operation that led to the arrest of Ovidio Guzmán, son of drug Lord Joaquín Guzmán Loera, El Chapo, criminal organisations loyal to the Cartel of Sinaloa effectively sieged the city of Culiacán, Sinaloa overpowering the capacity of the army and rendering the current president Andrés Manuel López Obrador’s (AMLO) security policy obsolete, just 9 months into his presidential term.  The government was left with no choice but to release the prisoner in an attempt to stop the violence that had terrorised Culiacán for 6 hours. 

The Cartel of Sinaloa´s victory in subduing the government is a remarkable humiliation for the current administration and exposed the utter lack of capacity of the state to quell violence across the country. It could also set a dangerous precedent: the state as captive of anti-systemic forces. This is the second even of such nature during AMLO’s presidency, just last month after protests of striking teachers spread all over the country, the president blindly agreed to all the demands of the teachers’ union. Both of these events send the dangerous message to criminal organisations and anti-state forces that the only thing needed is to commit wholesale violence in any given city and the government will agree to meet their demands.

AMLO instead of pursuing a full-on military strategy like his predecessors to try to limit the growth and scope of violence, has decided to follow a pacification security strategy that focuses on trying to resolve the social roots of insecurity. He has placed poverty as the main reason why Mexican youngsters are joining criminal organisations. He is basing his strategy on a serious misconception: Poverty causes violence. Violence is a symptom of poverty not the cause. It is easy to blur the correlation between the two, and much easier to sustain the myth that continues to plague the poor to justify a simplistic approach to violence: If people are violent, it’s usually because they are poor, because when you are poor, your opportunities to escape poverty are exceptionally limited so you need to resort to violence; therefore people who have money, will not be violent: The massive corruption that undermines political institutions in Mexico is not committed by the poor. Drug Lords are not poor either.

It is true that Mexico’s crisis manifests itself in violence, however its real roots are the widespread corruption, the weakness of the state and its institutions, and the lack of vision of incumbent administrations to place the interest of the country ahead of their own particular electoral interests. This makes any attempt to solve the endemic problems of Mexico subject to the whims of those in power. Culiacán only showed that the government can be easily outgunned, outsmarted and outmanned; it also inflicted a major blow to AMLO’s pacification strategy he defends.

Reality is that the Mexican state is failing in at least 6 of its basic functions: It is unable to guarantee internal security; it has been unable to protect the rights of its citizens; it has been ineffective in ensuring the respect of the rule of law and the administration of justice; it has failed in the promotion of the policies aimed at the betterment of the welfare of its population; it has not maintained a stable economy that would translate into improved living standards for its citizens; and the state has failed to act as the exclusive holder of the monopoly of force.

There are only 2 ways in which the current spiral of violence in Mexico can stop: Go back to the narcopeace that the country enjoyed during much of the rule of the PRI hegemonic party. This will happen when one or two criminal organisations become powerful enough to establish enough deterrence to monopolise the drug market and are able to prevent its further fragmentation. The second option is if the state somehow is able to systematically build up enough deterrence capacity to align anti-systemic forces with the government. This is however hampered by the prevalence of weak institutions and a lack of commitment to a deep state reform. This would also require more than a pseudo-leftist leader waving the flag of modernisation and change, but whose  policies are dangerously steeped in a strong nationalist rhetoric that echoes the hegemonic PRI party of the 1970s.

Therefore, the most likely outcome is that AMLO, like its predecessors, will most likely disappoint. Current enthusiasm for the current administration has led to the denial of the new president’s very obvious shortcomings. Mexico has prioritised cheerleading of a messiah candidate over the slow but vital work of institution-building and state reform that is the only answer to decades of disappointment.

Continue Reading

Latest

Trending

Copyright © 2019 Modern Diplomacy