Iraq

The Death Of The 41st President, George H. W. Bush, At Age 94

This blogger woke up this morning to the news that the 41st President of the United States, George H. W. Bush, had died last night (November 30) at age 94, and five and a half months.

He had the longest life span of any President, although former President Jimmy Carter will surpass him in age on March 22, 2019.

Bush was one of the most experienced Presidents, with a tremendous resume particularly on national security and foreign policy issues. This included being a Houston, Texas, Congressman; United Nations Ambassador; Republican National Committee Chairman; Second Chief of the Liaison Office to the People’s Republic of China; Central Intelligence Agency Director; Vice President of the United States for two terms under President Ronald Reagan; and President of the United States for one term from 1989-1993.

Bush was an honorable, decent man, who knew his own shortcomings and admitted to it, but although he was the first Vice President to succeed his President by election since Martin Van Buren in 1836 after Andrew Jackson, he was unable to win a second term, losing to future President Bill Clinton, in an election which included businessman Ross Perot, who managed as an independent candidate to win 19 percent of the vote. This led to Bush having the second worst defeat for a sitting President, with 37 percent, only ahead of President William Howard Taft in 1912, gaining only 23 percent of the vote in a three way race with Woodrow Wilson and Theodore Roosevelt.

Bush will be best remembered for his leadership in the Persian Gulf War of 1991 against Iraq’s Saddam Hussein; his helping to end the Cold War with Soviet Union leader Mikhail Gorbachev and usher in the unification of Germany; the promotion of the North American Free Trade Agreement with Mexico and Canada; the concept of a “Thousand Points of Light” to encourage local activism to solve problems; the signing into law of the Americans With Disabilities Act of 1990 to provide equal opportunity for those Americans with disabilities; and the appointment of two Supreme Court Justices, David Souter and Clarence Thomas.

His decision to support tax increases caused a challenge by conservatives, led by Pat Buchanan, in the primaries of 1992, which he overcame, but that plus the recession America was suffering at the time of the election, along with the challenge of not just Bill Clinton, but Ross Perot, making the campaign a three way race, led to his defeat.

Bush lived to see his son George W. Bush become President, only the second such situation, after John Adams and John Quincy Adams, and he had nearly 26 years of retirement, and the longest Presidential marriage, until his beloved wife Barbara died in April, after 73 plus years of a devoted couple, who brought up five children.

Bush is ranked near the middle of all Presidents, generally between 17 and 20, depending on the poll of 44 Presidents, with his failure to win a second term a factor in why he has not risen higher.

His impact on America, however, has been massive, and it is likely his ranking among Presidents will rise in the coming years.

The Destruction Of The “Special” Friendship, Relationship, And Alliance Between The US And Great Britain For A Century

Ever since the beginning of the 20th century, the United States and Great Britain have had a “special” relationship and friendship, and became allies in 1917 when the US went into World War I.

Theodore Roosevelt was very close to Great Britain in the first decade of the 20th century, and Woodrow Wilson was a known “Anglophile” in his writings and scholarship during his years as a professor and university president before he ran for public office.

While the alliance during World War I did not survive in the 1920s and 1930s isolationist period, we were still friendly toward our former mother country.

Then in World War II, Franklin D. Roosevelt and Winston Churchill became great allies and friends, as both nations fought against Nazi Germany, Fascist Italy, and Imperial Japan.

After World War II, the United States became the leader of the free world democracies, and allies in the North Atlantic Treaty Organization, and the British fought in the Korean War, the Gulf War, and in the War on Terror after September 11 in Iraq and Afghanistan.

While the British did not send troops into the Vietnam War, they have always been perceived as our closest friends in the world, alongside Canada.

But now, Donald Trump has openly criticized the British government and its leader Theresa May, and Trump is the most unpopular American President ever in modern times by every measure.

This is a very sad situation, and it is clear that we have just witnessed the destruction of this special friendship, relationship, and alliance between the US and Great Britain.

Growing Danger Of Two Future Wars: North Korea And Iran

After 16 months in office, an unhinged President is bringing America more likely to two future wars–against North Korea and Iran–which will undermine America, with the prospect of the sacrifice of thousands, if not tens of thousands of American military personnel, along with the massive loss of life of civilians in East Asia and the Middle East.

It now seems clear that North Korean leader Kim Jong Un is NOT going to give up nuclear weapons completely, as he well knows what happened to Libya and Iraq, when their leaders gave up their nuclear programs.

Kim Jong Un is manipulating an unstable Donald Trump, and is a lot smarter than our President, and this reality means the likelihood of our President using nuclear weapons against North Korea has grown.

Even if not nuclear weapons, the dangers of a conventional war would be disastrous to South Korea, Americans living in South Korea along with our military forces, and possibly Japan as well.

Meanwhile, breaking the Iran agreement when it is working, and in alienating Great Britain, France and Germany, all signatories to the agreement and not willing to abandon it, only increases the chances of war with Iran, a nation much larger in territory and population than Iraq.

So we are in gloomy times, and must hope that such dangers are somehow overcome.

Firing Of Rex Tillerson Likely The Beginning Of Another Big Purge As Trump Plans To Have Sycophants Surrounding Him, Making Him Ever More Dangerous!

Face the truth: Secretary Of State Rex Tillerson was a horrible cabinet officer, totally unqualified, having no background in diplomacy, and a detriment to the State Department and its long term future.

But having said that, Tillerson opposed Trump on many issues, and we know he said that Trump was a F—-Moron, which Trump. most assuredly, is!

But Tillerson was kept on until now, and now former Tea Party Kansas Republican Congressman Mike Pompeo, head of the Central Intelligence Agency, will replace him, which is not good long term, as Pompeo is a sycophant, and war with North Korea and Iran are much more likely events as a result. This would be a repeat of the wars in Afghanistan and Iraq that George W. Bush, Dick Cheney and Donald Rumsfeld foisted upon us!

The fear is this is just the beginning of another big purge, as Trump clearly wants sycophants surrounding him, making him ever more dangerous in both foreign and domestic policy.

So expect more hard line, right wingers to take control, unless somehow Trump can be removed from office.

Expect John Kelly, White House Chief of Staff; H. R. McMaster, National Security Adviser; Betsy DeVos, Secretary of Education; Ben Carson, Secretary of Housing and Urban Development; First Daughter Ivanka Trump; son in law Jared Kushner; and Attorney General Jeff Sessions to be gone sometime later this year, and others may follow them.

This is not a defense of these people, who are all despicable, but simply a sign that Trump is out to “clean house”, and becomes more dangerous every day.

Marines In 43 Countries, And Military In 100 Or More Other Nations: Absolutely Crazy And Self Defeating!

The tragic events in Niger, where four Special Forces troops were ambushed and killed by terrorist forces, has revealed a secret that even members of Congress on the Foreign Relations Committee of the Senate were not aware of.

We have been engaged in operations in that central African nation and others on that continent, beyond those in the Middle East and North Africa, as well as Central Asia, and also in Latin America and in South and East Asia.

In other words, we now know we have US Marines in 43 nations, at least, and military presence and possibly more, in at least 100 other nations.

This means we are having influence in three of every four nations of the world, all with the goal of protecting American national security and defenses in an age of world wide terrorism by Al Qaeda, ISIS (ISIL), Boko Haram, Al-Shabab, and other similar terrorist groups.

So besides the issues of Russia, China, Iran, North Vietnam, and the Middle East morass, including Syria and Iraq, we have to be concerned about insurgency in the Philippines; about pending warfare in Iraq of not just Shiite and Sunni Muslims but also the Kurdish minority; and danger of a Spanish Civil War of Catalonia (its capital in Barcelona) and the Spanish Central government; and instability in Eastern Europe in nations once thought to be finally democratic, but instead becoming extremist right wing, including Hungary, Austria, Poland and the Czech Republic

At least 43 American military have died under the watch of Donald Trump, and over 10,000 civilians have been killed due to our troops.

This policy of American engagement all over the world is absolutely crazy and self defeating, and only enriches military contractors, while sacrificing lives of our young men and women.

It is a self defeating situation, in which the wealthy benefit, and the rest of us are victims, in one way or another.

Donald Trump And Afghanistan: No More Interest In Reform, Only Killing, A Prescription For Disaster!

Donald Trump’s speech on Afghanistan last night was what this blogger expected: Trump the warmonger, a complete switch from his “isolationist” stand during his Presidential campaign.

It was very predictable, as again, Donald Trump proved to be what he has always been best at being, a massive liar and manipulator of the truth!

The man who was a draft dodger, on the basis of bone spurs in the 1960s, and said his “Vietnam” was avoiding sexually transmitted diseases (STDs) with women at that time of his life, now has become a war President, and is allowing his overly dominant military administration to “charge on” in Afghanistan, after 16 years, the most of any American war, and inability to resolve the matter.

Afghanistan caused the loss of Alexander the Great in ancient times; of the British Empire in the 19th century; and of the Soviet Union from 1979-1989.

It is a “hell hole” with no end, and already 2,400 Americans have died in that war, and the war has also cost an estimate of between $841 billion to $2 trillion dollars, a massive waste of money that has undermined the nation! And over 20,000 men and women have been wounded, many of them seriously, and mental issues have arisen among many of these veterans, and many others who were not physically harmed.

And to top it off, Trump has indicated there is no interest in trying to make life better for Afghan civilians, but rather just to kill terrorists!

That is a prescription for endless, constant war, and bitterness, and continued growth of terrorism for decades on end!

The Taliban control an estimated 35-60 percent of the nation, and opium production in the major province that produces the drug is 80 percent under their control.

The Afghan mentality is that you kill their relatives, for generations after, the goal will be revenge, so a war is unwinnable.

And Trump seems to be stirring up trouble with neighbor Pakistan, a Muslim nation with nuclear weapons, with his hostile rhetoric.

It seems as if Trump has decided to be a warmonger–continuing in Afghanistan, while fighting ISIL (ISIS), and stirring up China with threats of trade wars, while trying to deal with North Korea, without starting a new Korean War or using nuclear weapons on Kim Jong Un; and threatening to break the Iranian nuclear agreement; and also suggesting action in Venezuela; as well as trying to deal with the Israeli-Palestinian dispute, Syria, and Iraq.

All that Trump seems to be able to do is make money all of the time, while promoting American imperialism overseas, insuring engagement in more wars, and spending taxpayer money to glorify himself as a “tough guy” in international affairs, while avoiding diplomacy, and cutting the State Department budget by up to 40 percent, including NOT having many ambassadorial positions filled or even nominated after seven months in office!

Trump is a true proponent of unregulated capitalism and American militarism, precisely what has led to so much turmoil and suffering caused by the top few percent of the population who worship Wall Street and the Pentagon as the answer to all problems in America.

Meanwhile, the white and minority working class become the cannon fodder for Trump’s egotism and narcissism, as he continues to divide America, and has no concern about the tremendous damage he is causing, creating an atmosphere of civil anger and disrespect that has split America like no time since the 1960s, and in many ways, worse than that decade 50 years ago!

The Growing Role Of Jared Kushner: Will It Make A Difference And Transform Donald Trump?

It is now clear that son in law Jared Kushner, and his wife, daughter Ivanka Trump, have a great and growing influence over Donald Trump, as the President is very loyal to family.

The question is whether it will make a difference and transform Donald Trump from a nasty, mean spirited right wing Republican, out to destroy the system, exactly what Stephen Bannon wants, or will move toward the center, and be able to appeal to moderate Republicans and some Democrats, as after all, Kushner was a Democrat in his politics that we know of, earlier in his life.

Kushner has been given great responsibility, to reorganize the federal government, as well as deal with the Middle East, and has also been engaged in traveling to Iraq this week, and the issue is whether he really has the qualifications and knowledge to be able to handle these responsibilities in a way that will lead to good results.

In other words, is Jared Kushner possibly the new Robert F. Kennedy, who had already had government experience before he became Attorney General under his brother, John F. Kennedy, and proved to be indispensable to his brother?

Is Jared Kushner the next Hillary Clinton, who took on health care reform unsuccessfully as First Lady under Bill Clinton, but was also one of the leading attorneys in America?

First impressions of Jared Kushner is that he is nothing special or impressive, more a spoiled rich kid who married into the right family, and had assets to start a New York City newspaper.

The future of America short term, and for the reputation of Donald Trump in history, may be based on the level of Jared Kushner’s success, which at the moment is much in doubt.

Conflict Within The Trump Circle Undermining Stability Within The White House

Secretary of State Rex Tillerson is told he cannot have his choice for Deputy Secretary of State, Elliott Abrams, because of Abrams’ criticism of Donald Trump during the Presidential campaign.

Secretary of Defense James Mattis contradicts Donald Trump’s statement that America should take Iraq’s oil if America were to send troops again to that nation to fight ISIL (ISIS). Also, Mattis does not see Russia as an ally to fight the terrorist group in Syria and does not trust Vladimir Putin, but Trump does, so that presents a problem in strategy.

Secretary of Homeland Security John Kelly contradicts Donald Trump’s statement that the deportation of immigrants to Mexico will require military forces, saying no such scenario will occur.

Secretary of Education Betsy DeVos is ordered by Donald Trump to agree with Attorney General Jeff Sessions on rescinding federal endorsement of transgender students being able to use the bathroom they choose in public schools across the nation, with DeVos issuing statement promoting her view, but giving in to Trump in a White House meeting with Sessions, instead of resigning.

Kelly Anne Conway has been silenced a lot as she was making statements later contradicted by Sean Spicer, the Press Secretary to Donald Trump.

Several potential appointees have refused positions because they do not wish to work for Donald Trump.

The man is a nightmare to be around, and too many appointees and cabinet members have to swallow a great deal in order to work around a true narcissist, with no scruples, ethics or morals, and only interested in promoting his own sick ego!

The best thing that could happen would be for the cabinet members to organize with Vice President Mike Pence, and force Donald Trump out of office based on his total mental instability and danger to the nation, putting their principles ahead of their loyalty.

This could be done by the utilization of the 25th Amendment, Section 4, leading to Mike Pence as President, with all his faults and shortcomings, but not mentally damaged where he is a threat to the nation and the world!

44 Years Ago: Death Of Lyndon B. Johnson; Abortion Becomes Legal; End Of Engagement In Vietnam War–We Must Learn From These Events!

44 years ago, on January 22, former President Lyndon B. Johnson died at the age of 64, and the Supreme Court ruled 6-3 in the case of Roe V. Wade, that women had a right to abortion in the first two trimesters.

44 years ago on January 23, announcement of an agreement to end US involvement in the Vietnam War was announced in Paris, therefore denying LBJ the ability to know of the peace agreement before his death, in a war that had forced him out of the Presidential race in 1968.

Looking back 44 years and to today in 2017, we can reflect that the Great Society of LBJ is under attack in a massive way, as is the New Deal of FDR. We are going backwards in so many ways under President Donald Trump.

Also, abortion rights are being taken away in many areas and by government policy, and the danger is that Roe V Wade could be reversed in a future Supreme Court decision, once a Trump appointed Justice is added to the Court. So women’s rights to control their own bodies will now face new restrictions, and will lead to more deaths, and abuses.

And our engagement in Vietnam, a massive mistake, has not been learned from, as now there are hints that Donald Trump is ready to send troops to fight ISIL (ISIS), committing us to a massive war in the Middle East, and with Trump asserting yesterday that America might just seize the oil of Iraq for ourselves, which would be a war crime, and a continuation of US imperialism overseas.

This is why we have intervened so much since World War II in other nations in the Middle East and in Asia, as well as Latin America.

And do not be surprised by a move to engage in war with Iran, in support of the right wing government of Benjamin Netanyahu in Israel, and more warfare in the West Bank and Gaza Strip areas of the Palestinians.

This is not to endorse Iran, the Palestinians, or anyone else, but to point out, it looks as if we are on the way to another major military conflict, that will cost American lives and make tons of profit for the war industry. And we are likely to see a new generation of American military personnel who end up having Post Traumatic Stress Disorder, and are unlikely to gain proper medical treatment for that condition.

In many ways, America has learned nothing from our historical experiences, and we are reverting to past mistakes in domestic and foreign policy.

Hillary Clinton Seems To Be Planning To Ask Joe Biden To Be Her Secretary Of State! If So, Fantastic Move!

Politico reports that Hillary Clinton is planning to ask Vice President Joe Biden to be her Secretary of State!

If the news is true, that would be a fantastic beginning to a Hillary Clinton Presidency!

This author and blogger has proposed this in the past, and it would be great news if it turned out to be reality.

Joe Biden is the absolutely best person to head our foreign policy in the next four years.

Joe Biden has a record of enough caution in his views on foreign affairs that it would help allay fears on the left of the Democratic Party that Hillary Clinton would be prone to engage us in foreign interventions, due to the image, much of it unwarranted, that she is a “hawk”.

Joe Biden knows all world leaders, and he knows how to get along with everyone, and move them toward his ideas, even including Republicans on Capitol Hill, who genuinely like him and had him as their liaison to President Obama during the last eight years, due to Biden’s well known ability to “schmooze” in a way unique to American politics.

Joe Biden has been right much of the time, including his suggestion years ago that Iraq should probably be three nations, each with its own religious sect and nationality—the Shiites, the Sunnis, and the Kurds. That is still the ultimately best solution for that battle torn nation, once ISIL (ISIS) is destroyed.

Joe Biden has 44 years in government, and was head of the Senate Foreign Relations Committee, and no one past or present, has the depth of experience and knowledge that this man has.

Even though Joe Biden will be 74 next month, he still has loads of energy, enthusiasm, stamina, and motivation to serve his nation, and he is a true jewel who should be utilized in our next President’s administration.

The report on Hillary Clinton planning to ask Joe Biden to join her cabinet is a true sign of her wisdom and genius in running a sane, sensible foreign policy in the future!