Donald Trump Needs a Dog

March 13, 2017

Barack Obama era national security acolytes, now serving under Donald Trump, are not doing much to help with or clarify American foreign policy or national security futures.

The Ummah provides the best example.

Just days after the Trump inauguration, the newly minted CIA director, Michael Pompeo, flew off to Saudi Arabia to present Crown Prince Mohammed bin Nayef bin Abdulaziz al-Saud, with a medal for “counterterrorism” efforts (sic). Saudi Arabia is America’s most generous arms customer, indeed the largest buyer worldwide.

The ties that bind America to Arabia are first pecuniary and then political.

Yes, the same Saudi Arabia that produced the 9/11 terrorists, the same House of Saud that finances and arms global Sunni jihad and terror in the Levant and North Africa, and the same Arabia that exports the worst kind of Islamic irredentist theology to the rest of the world gets another azimuth kiss from an American Intelligence nabob.

Irony here is beyond satire. The medal in question is named after George Tenet. Tenet is the CIA director who, with Colin Powell’s help, fabricated the fake intelligence that gave America the ongoing 30 year religious war in Iraq; a war we might add, that reversed the sectarian power poles in Iraq from Sunni to Shia.

A White House that claims that America is not at war with Isalm, now doubles down with Saudi Sunnis against Shia Yeminis in another proxy religious war in Yemen.

Saudi Arabia has long denied complicity with Islamism, Sunni terrorism, or wars motivated by a 1400 year old religious schism. Now Riyadh has a CIA medal provided by team Trump to prove it.

Meanwhile over at the National Security Council, newly christened director, H.R McMaster, is apparently laying down a companion party line about Islam with White House staff. General McMaster cautions that terms like “radical Islamic terror” are not helpful. According to the General, “terror is not Islamic.”

Like many millennial era flags, the new national security advisor seems to have succumbed to the Obama thought police. Surely not all Islamists are terrorists, but virtually all terrorists these days are Muslims, Mohammedans who kill in the name of their god, their prophet, and Islam – the “religion of peace.”

“Allah hu akbar” is what an Islamist chants at a beheading, bombing, and other sanguinary rituals. Links between terror and Islam are more real than any links between US Army generals and analytical theology.

Who is McMaster to pontificate on what is or is not Islamic? The national security advisor is not an imam, ayatollah, prophet, priest, or religious scholar. Based on recent sermons, he’s not much of a historian either.

Over at the Department of Defense, another scholarly warrior seems to be confused about real threats too. The new Secretary of Defense, like Obama era staffers, shoots from the hip at the “Russian” chimera and personalizes the assessment with trash talk about Vladimir Putin.

At confirmation, General James Mattis rose to every leading question from John McCain, the Senate’s most notorious Kremlin baiter. Mattis swallowed McCain’s practiced political demagoguery hook, line, and sinker.

Mattis also failed to distinguish between a threat that actually kills Americans today and a threat that might. Worse still, General Mattis’ sweeping indictments of “Russians” fails to distinguish between a proud nation and a regime that doesn’t fit the globalist EU/imperial NATO business plan.

NATO began as an allied mutual security pact and the EU began as a modest economic condominium. Both institutions have strayed far from original designs and the world is not safer place because of it. Brussels is now populated by political autocrats and imperial janissaries. Hat tip to a Turk or Ottoman model.

If sweeping vile assessments of Muslims are unacceptable, why is sweeping slander about Israelis or Russians allowed?  Is selective bigotry at the Pentagon now a military virtue?

Indeed, after leaving the military, Mattis claimed that Israeli “settlements” and “apartheid” made his job at CENTCOM more difficult. The general’s also says that there was “a price to be paid” for backing Israel, a sneer that is vintage David Petraeus.

General Mattis claims that “Russia needs to prove itself.” In contrast, apparently, no Islamic country, especially Palestinians and allied Arabs, need to prove anything to America, the world, or the new Secretary of Defense.

The sad truth of the European Union and NATO today is a tragic combination official Islamic tolerance and official indifference to parallel anti-Semitism. The western migration of fascist Islam comes again at the expense of European Jews. The worst history is often invisible to historians.

Mattis also gave the Senate a selective recap of Russia/American relations as a closer to his testimony. The self- described student of military history failed to mention the last world war where, without Russian sacrifice, the battle with secular fascism would not have been won. The United States lost less than half a million casualties in WWII. Russia lost more than 20 million souls.

Witty caricature accepting that those who do not learn from history are doomed to repeat it but suggesting that those who do learn must submit to others repeating history

Now that Europe and America are confronted with fascism again, this time religious, General Mattis and other Obama holdovers are still confused or mute about who or what is a genuine threat in the 21st Century.

The best guarantors of civil and human rights are independent, democratic nation states with common cultural and civic values. Monoculture anywhere has always been the enemy of liberty and true diversity everywhere.

All globalist or utopian schemes, now including the EU, have been failures. General Mattis is wrong about NATO too. Sort of nuclear Armageddon, NATO provides little stability for the Mideast, Africa, or anyplace beyond Europe for that matter.

Mattis seems to have misread the Brexit and Frexit graffiti now defacing the walls of the European Union.

Candidate Trump ran on a tougher line with Islamists and a softer line with the Kremlin. Such policies are heresy for the establishment, right and left, in Washington. Any diminution of the Russian threat is a clear and present danger to the DOD budget and legions of Intelligence and defense industry federal contractors.

No big Russian threat, no big funding.

Obama era rear echelon warriors have yet to get the message from Trump or appreciate the angst of “deplorables” in the heartland. Maybe the new commander-in-chief needs to speak louder – or carry a bigger stick

President Trump has few friends in the media, few friends among Obama holdovers, and fewer friends or loyalists midst permanent or deep state government bureaucrats inside the Beltway. Washington D.C. and the surrounding suburbs voted for Hillary Clinton by a margin of nine to one. Those votes, like California, were votes for a deep state where change is either “progressive” – or anathema.

And those who claim that establishment apparatchiks, including the Pentagon, are “non-partisan” are delusional. The only currency in the nation’s capital is politics. The most lucrative politics are found now in the defense and Intelligence bowels of the permanent state.

Obama era military relics are no exceptions to partisanship. Outsiders, critics, and reformers are not welcome in Washington, especially at the Pentagon. National security and Intelligence Community leaks now underwrite the anti-democratic, anti-Trump resistance on a daily basis.

Donald Trump is trying to reform or change a federal autocracy that is populated with Clinton and Obama loyalists. For those weaned on the nanny state, reform is just a turd in the establishment punchbowl.

Willingness to serve in government should never be confused with loyalty, especially inside the Beltway. Harry Truman said it best. If you want a friend in Washington, get a dog.

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Images:

https://pbs.twimg.com/media/C6PK36yXMAA-VYQ.jpg

http://www.zerohedge.com/sites/default/files/images/user5/imageroot/2017/02/08/Pompeo%20Saudi.jpg

http://www.age-of-the-sage.org/philosophy/history/learning_from_history.html

 

 

 

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Fake News & Fake Intelligence

December 24, 2016

Fact and belief are often very different things. With fact, a thing is or it is not, a fairly simple binary calculation. An assertion might be a fact and at the same time not necessarily true. Belief is an amphibian, a sinister specter, often festooned with weeds and barnacles. Indeed, beliefs are scientific, seasonal, ethnic, sexual, political, theological, philosophical, and historical; just to name a few of the veritable infinity of adjectival consorts.

Truth is, as artists well know, part tart and part goddess, ephemera often bought and sold if the price is right. Indeed, she’s more than a bit of an oxymoron too, emphasis on the last two syllables.

The gap between fact and fiction might be narrowed by time, but history and conventional wisdom are selective too, frequently a world apart from reality. The conventional wisdom is often neither true nor wise.

Most arbiters of truth or reality are self-anointed.

Mark Zuckerberg is a modern example, the poster child for millennial vacuity and the nerd generation. The CEO of Facebook, infant terrible of herd exploitation, is about to appoint a posse of thought police to monitor and censor “fake news” on internet.

If you are devotee of Facebook news, you might have the civic awareness and attention span of a gerbil. Still, Zuckerberg is a good modern example of how digital wealth gets confused with maturity or wisdom.

Having Zuckerberg, or any cyber cohort, as a digital news cop is a little like appointing Bill Clinton as scoutmaster for a Girl Scout troop. Clinton and Zuckerberg are indeed soulmates. Just as Clinton uses political position for personal gain and exploitive sex, Zuckerberg exploits and monetizes personal data – and in turn uses gullible adolescents of all ages.

In this respect, Facebook is no different than Nielsen, the   National Security Agency, or the Russian Federal Security Service (FSB). All three are accomplished data miners, albeit for different ends. Truth or verifiable fact in those venues, if anything, is probably an afterthought.

Nielsen Creates Truth

Nielsen Holdings PLC is a global data mining corporation that has been in business since 1923. Its signature survey is in-home monitoring of television viewing habits. TV content, programming, and advertising dollars are a of function of Nielsen ratings and statistics.

Well north of eighty percent all domestic purchasing decisions are made by American women who watch television or use TV as a surrogate for child care.

Nielsen is in the business of both monitoring and creating truth in the American marketplace.  All so-called “Nielsen families” are aggressively recruited “volunteers,” a demographic that has been led to believe that their household habits and tastes might be typical – or trend setters.

The Nielsen monitoring pitch appeals to a passive, vain feminine demographic, all of whom volunteer, with incentives, to provide Luxemburg corporate snoops with a veritable gold mine of personal and family behavioral data. Nielsen data is ubiquitous in entertainment, politics, marketing, advertising, retail, and manufacturing.

How volunteer victims, monitored electronically, became a “typical” demographic is a question seldom asked or answered by statisticians. More to the point, the personal is not just political, as Ms. Hamish likes to say, but monitoring female behavior in American homes and numb nut behavior on the Internet is also very lucrative for admen and madmen alike. The emphasis here again is on the second syllable. Hype is still a boys club.

Think of all the fake news embedded in daily the drumbeat of advertising and the daily orgy of vacuous TV News and amusements. Calling TV content “art” is a little like calling Hip Hop and Rap music.

You can hardly scratch the surface of the daytime digital wasteland. Fake news and vulgar memes are created daily on an industrial scale with the assistance of data conglomerates like Nielsen and now internet social networks like Facebook and Twitter.

Data isn’t truth either.  Most truth is too painful. The data mining and communication industries cook the books and clueless demographics every day of the week. Fake news today is just another part of the mindless media mix.

The Intelligence Community and “Meta Data”

The federal government and the Intelligence Community are Johnny-come-latelies to data mining on an industrial scale. You would have thought that someone in those 16 federal Intelligence agencies would have noticed those Nielsen families, those Orwellian patriots who volunteer year after year to have their homes and habits monitored.

Wiretap warrants are not required for passive volunteers.

Nielsen and NSA are similar to the extent that they both monitor behavior to recognize and exploit patterns. Industry does it for profit while government does it in the name of security. Both offer no assurances for privacy other than “trust us.”

Nielsen is different from NSA to the extent that commercially profiled demographics get feedback in the form of advertisements and content.

If you believe in permanent erections, believe face cream will make you beautiful, believe a diet will make you a size 2, and believe Bart Simpson or the Kardashians are solid role models for your kids; then you should thank every Nielsen family that you know.

Nielsen creates statistical truth and television remixes those numbers into American culture, such that it is.

Ironically, while consumers seem to trust Nielsen implicitly, citizens have a very different take on Big Brother and the federal Intelligence Community. Trust in God is a much better bet these days than trust in Charlie Rose, Martin Baron, Arthur Sulzberger, or James Clapper.

DCI Clapper likes to call terrorists “nefarious characters.” Household snooping is “meta-data,” an attempt to put lipstick on the state surveillance pig.

Peeping Toms and fake news makers are brothers by the same mother.

The 2016 primaries, the election, and the run up to the Electoral College are all examples of fake news gone awry; all characterized by near universal media and Intelligence ridicule and contempt for the Republican candidate. Pundits and polls were unanimous in predicting that Donald Trump should lose by a landslide. The vast majority of the gainsaying and polling “data” turned out to be wrong.

Hard to believe that what passed for reporting and analysis in 2016 wasn’t a political flash mob, engineered “fake news” on an epic scale.

For American journalists, 1984 seems to be the future.

Adding insult to injury, Clinton Inc., the American media, the Intelligence Community, and team Obama now double-down, claiming that Russian meddling was the reason for the Clinton defeat.  Adolescent pique and lame excuses seem to be the exit strategy for James Clapper and a flailing, if not failing, Barack Obama.

Former Director of CIA, Michael Morell, Hillary Clinton’s Benghazi cut-out, appeared on public television no fewer than ten times to vilify the Republican candidate. The former director of NSA and DCI, James Clapper, played similar roles in the campaign season. Clapper resigned after Trump won, but the demonization of Trump and the Russians continues unabated.

The Russians Are Not Coming

Russians are now sucked into the tawdry post-election recriminations inside the Beltway. Washington political, academic, and media elites, right and left, bereft of any adult capability for reflection, are desperately seeking excuses for failure. Russians in general and Vladimir Putin in particular are convenient scapegoats.

Fake news threads associated with the DNC email leak are probably designed to do three things: divert attention from the Hillary nomination fixers, cast doubt on the legitimacy of the Trump win, and queer the prospects of improving relations with Russia.

Putin’s mortal sin seems to be that he thinks that Trump will be a better Commander-in-Chief than Obama or Clinton. Such a claim is not much of a stretch, yet still heresy to the American left and social globalists everywhere.

Putin’s venial sins are legend also. Two stand out.

After the Beslan massacre, the Russian 9/11, the FSB went after Chechen terrorists with a vengeance. In less than two years, Shamil Baseyev was cornered and executed on the crapper, literally in a porta-potty. Only one of Basayev’s colleagues lived long enough to get life in prison. Nobody calls Chechen Islamists “freedom fighters” any more.

Osama bin Laden was at large for ten years before Uncle Sam brought him to justice. Al Qaeda and ISIS are still in business.

Another Putin sin is Syria. NATO has been mucking in the Levant for decades now, five times as long as it took to win WWII on two fronts. In the last couple of years, Russia did more to defeat terror in the Levant than Brussels and Washington have done in 30 years.

Aleppo and Syria are not Benghazi and Libya redux. Thanks to the Kremlin.

The fake news campaign against Russia and Trump persists nevertheless, a tactic pregnant with domestic and foreign policy blowback. Fake news and fake Intelligence are now fast friends. If 16 Intelligence agencies cannot deny hackers or interference, what does that say about the competence, or impartiality, of Clapper’s legions?

Partisans at NSA and CIA might be the best things to happen to Chekist spies since fur hats and vodka.

Withal, Russia is a better ally to Syria than the US ever will be to the Kurds. For good or ill, the Russian president can make a decision, act, and stand by allies long enough to succeed.

Putin seems to be an effective action hero who swings a big stick whilst critics like Barack Obama, John McCain, Lindsey Graham, and the Clintons seem to be a cabal of vindictive losers, fey wannabees who suffer from terminal political penis envy.

The real threat to the integrity of the American political system is a mirror. Sadly, political reflection, right and left, apparently died with Pat Moynihan.

Media hostility to a reform minded presidential candidate is predictable, given the social globalist cast of American journalism. However, the open hostility of Intelligence Community leaders to an incoming president is unprecedented and seditious in ways that should be obvious by now. American Intelligence is too big and, arguably, now out of control.

If America continues to tolerate partisans on the taxpayer dime, especially in the Intelligence Community; “crooked” Washington will surely breed more of them.


Previously published at American Thinker

Tags: James Clapper, Vladimir Putin, John McCain, Lindsey Graham, DNI, CIA, NSA, FSB, and US Intelligence Community

Images:

https://upload.wikimedia.org/wikipedia/commons/thumb/b/bd/Pietro_Liberi_-_Time_Being_Overcome_by_Truth_-_WGA12980.jpg/800px-Pietro_Liberi_-_Time_Being_Overcome_by_Truth_-_WGA12980.jpg

https://upload.wikimedia.org/wikipedia/commons/thumb/b/b7/FSB.svg/150px-FSB.svg.png

 


Checkmate in Baghdad and Geneva

October 4, 2013

“Domestic policy can only defeat us; foreign policy can kill us.” – JFK

War is a messy business. Serial wars get even more untidy over time. Often, it’s hard to know where one begins and another ends. Such is the case today as the Arab spring looks like another Muslim winter. America and Europe stumble from one conflict venue to another wondering what happened to all those rosy assertions about jasmine, justice, moderation, and modernity. The Islamic world is a mess and no one has a clue as to where or how the sequential mayhem ends. In Syria, the nanny states of the West are again perched on the brink of another sectarian and/or tribal abyss.

Nonetheless, the optimism of intervention still prevails. Today you hear argument after argument about the responsibilities of power and success – or preaching about very selective humanitarian concerns.  If you read enough foreign policy analysis you might come to believe that someone has the answer, or that somehow Europe and America have the “responsibility” to make the Third World well. Never mind that the very words “developing” and “emerging” have become geo-political oxymorons, triumphs of hope over experience.

Ironically, the grand strategy, if there is one, when you strip away the boilerplate, can be summarized with a single word – that word is “more.” More is the mantra of imprudent expectations; bailouts at home and flailouts abroad. If one “investment” doesn’t work, surely the original sacrifice wasn’t big enough. No thought seems to be given to developing a new game plan. More aid, more pandering, more troops, more drones, or more missile strikes; but never more common sense. It’s always more, and more is never enough.

And now ‘more’ is accompanied by “red line” moralizing, the color coded version of chicken. Alas, the no-fault/default cultures of Europe and America are unlikely enforcers of any kind of norms and standards in the less civilized world. The West insists, ironically, on measures of accountability and restraint that have been abandoned in Europe and America. Political decay, especially in the First World, has consequences.

All the rhetoric about global responsibility is a rehash of the “white man’s burden” trope. Worse still, the hand-wringing and preaching seems to validate “orientalism,” guilt driven theories that excuse and forgive Muslim pathology because the chaos is thought to be the results of European racism, colonialism, or exploitation.

Ironically, much of the confused strategic rhetoric originates with senior military officers and the Intelligence Community.

Since Vietnam, the Pentagon has sought to redefine most wars as either guerilla, insurgent, or conventional conflicts. Conventional conflict is a distant third in most deliberations. Real wars might have to be declared and put to a vote. Unfortunately, the accepted taxonomy ignores ground truth and the worldview of likely opponents.

Most wars in the troublesome Muslim world are in fact religious wars, conflicts where the nexus is a clash between religious and secular values. The most obvious evidence of religious war, external to the Muslim world, occurs at the tectonic plates of religion, those borders where Muslim and non-Muslim polities meet. South Asia, North Africa, the Balkans, the Caucasus region, Thailand, and the Philippines are obvious examples. Even China has pockets of Muslim irredentism.

When ayatollahs and imams rant about “jihad,” or holy war, they have few illusions about the nature of contemporary conflict. Indeed, most Muslim clerics seem to grasp global strategic reality better than American generals who insist on parsing various Muslim wars into local insurgencies with local motives. Religion has become the invisible camel in the infidel tent.

The most celebrated version of the official US military view in these matters is contained in Army Field Manual 3-24; Counterinsurgency, the doctrinal bible that David Patraeus helped write and subsequently rode to four star notoriety. Unfortunately, like too many of his over-schooled peers, General Patraeus is more likely to be remembered for his social life than his military insights or battlefield achievements. Equally misguided was the US Marine Corps decision to adopt the Army manual in the interests of tactical ecumenism.

Religious war is now a global phenomenon, thanks in part to the failure of flag officers to acknowledge that threat. The Pentagon doesn’t have any official guidance for religious war beyond political correctness.

Within the Ummah, modern wars are of two types; civil and proxy. Contemporary revolutions in Iran, Algeria, Tunisia, Libya, the Sudan, Somalia, Mali, and Egypt are religious civil wars. These in turn are of two classes; sectarian (i.e. Shia vs Sunni) or secular/sectarian. Secular military dictatorships, Egypt today for example, have been in the clerical crosshairs since Mohammed’s time. Libya and Syria are examples of secular oligarchies where tribal rivalries created opportunities for Islamists.

Syria is a prominent example of modern proxy war, where principals (Russia and the US or Iran and Israel), once removed, are attempting to settle old scores or exploit a regional opportunity. Any notion of moral “red lines” or WMD thresholds in Syria is just another flight from reality, a veil for political egos and hidden agendas.

The American Ranch Hand campaign (1962-71), which poisoned Southeast Asia for nearly a decade, was the most egregious, sustained modern use of chemical warfare. Granted, the putative aim of the Agent Orange campaign was defoliation; still, the net effect was to poison civilians and water sources under the canopy. No American administration is well-positioned to point fingers at Syria when the US Air Force, the Pentagon, and the White House have yet to acknowledge or accept responsibility for the mutilation of a generation of American GIs and several generations of Vietnamese children.

We might also recall those gassed Kurds and Persians (1988) of recent memory who perished from indifference if not complicity. Or we could mention the million or so Rwandans (1994) who fell to tribal clubs and cutlery. Such events barely make the evening news in the West. With these and Vietnam, ‘moral’ superiority about chemical warfare or genocide, if it ever existed, is a void not a high ground.

The recent gas attack in Syria is not an exception, nor is it a rule. Identifying culprits is probably irrelevant.  Nations adhere to international conventions or “norms” as it suits their interests. Credible force is the only reliable sheriff or deterrent. And a false flag prologue is often the pretense for the use of force.

Clearly there is more than a little overlap in any conflict taxonomy. Nonetheless, the need for a new vocabulary for the age of intervention is underwritten by two indisputable facts: religion underwrites much of the typology and too many conflicts are misrepresented as insurgencies when they are in fact civil wars. If Libya or Syria were true insurgencies, America should have sent guns to Gaddafi and Assad.

The ‘insurgent’ paradigm suits the politics, not the reality, of modern war. Terms like Islamic, religious, or “civil” war are avoided because the US military has no charter, doctrine, or legal authority for intervention in overseas internal disputes; and surely no moral authority for taking sides in religious rivalries. The Sunni tilt in American foreign policy since 1979 speaks for itself, a grim litany of blowback and failure.

At a minimum, you could argue that American intervention has made Shia fanatics, Hezb’allah, the Taliban, and now a global al Qaeda possible. Recall that America helped create a vacuum in southern Lebanon for Hezb’allah to fill. Recall also that clandestine support to the Mujahedeen in Afghanistan in the Soviet era made the Taliban possible. Imprudent signals to Islamists made the recent Muslim Brotherhood electoral success possible in Egypt too. In the geo-political arena, unqualified support for Saudi and Emirate oil oligarchs makes Salifism and related religious fascism possible worldwide.

The incompetence of intervention has more than a little to do with the caliber of American generals since Korea. Surely, David Patraeus was no guerilla fighter like Joe Stillwell and Martin Dempsey is no cavalry officer the equal of George Patton. At Benghazi, American military honor was compromised by timidity, if not bureaucratic cowardice. General Dempsey claims that he did not act because Mrs. Clinton didn’t give him a green light. Under Dempsey, the military ethos changed from “no man left behind” to “cover your behind.” Victory is no longer a staple of any flag officer’s resume or vocabulary.

The Intelligence Community is also part of the rhetorical decay. While at the White House, John Brennan literally scrubbed any reference to Islam, Islamists, jihad, or holy war from public and administration conversations about national security. He actually convinced most government departments, contractors, and the Press to delete any language that might suggest linkage between terror, religious war, and Islam. The Director of National Intelligence now refers to Islamic terrorists as “nefarious characters.” At CIA, Brennan is now well placed to police the language and analysis of National Intelligence Estimates.

And the chickens of strategic decline are home to roost as America again sides with the Sunni in Syria. Dithering in the West for two years has allowed Bashar al-Assad to regain the tactical advantage on the battlefield. And strategically, the Alawite regime now has a clear victory.  American gun sights have been lowered from regime change to “let’s make a deal.” Never mind that time is as good a gift to Assad as any aid from the Persians and Russians.

And the proxy war is a disaster. Vladimir Putin throws a ‘Hail Mary’ in Syria, and Foggy Bottom and the White House morph into cheer leaders. Worse still, the American administration embarrasses itself by trying to take credit for the Russian initiative. Say what you will about Putin, he is a better friend to Syria than Obama is to Israel. When the next “red line” is in the works, it might have to be drawn around Israel.

The Russian strategy may look a little like a deus ex machina, but compared to the Obama amateurs, Putin plays the great game like Winston Churchill. And putting John Kerry in  a diplomatic cage match with Sergei Lavrov is like watching  a bear  toy with a cocker spaniel. Checkmate in Baghdad and Geneva!

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The author provided intelligence support to Ranch Hand at Tan Son Nhut AB in 1968 and 1971. He writes occasionally about the politics of national security.