Senate Foreign Relations Committee

Richard Lugar, A Rare Decent Republican, And True Statesman, Remembered For His Principles, Courage, Bipartisanship

Former Republican Indiana Senator Richard Lugar, who served 36 years in that chamber from 1977-2013, passed away over the weekend at age 87.

Lugar was that rare Republican, considered a moderate, who became highly renowned as a foreign policy expert, and headed the Senate Foreign Relations Committee from 1985-1987 and 2003-2007.

While usually considered a conservative, he was the kind of Republican who no longer exists now in that party. He “crossed the aisle” and worked with Democrats, including President Barack Obama, who he had come to be close to in the four years Obama was in the Senate before being elected President. He was co-chairman of the Obama Inaugural Committee.

His major commitment was to work with Georgia Democratic Senator Sam Nunn toward the dismantling of nuclear, chemical and biological weapons around the world after the dissolution of the Soviet Union in 1991.

His views on immigration, climate change, and Cuban policy were outside the norm of his party. He supported Obama’s two Supreme Court nominees, Sonia Sotomayor and Elena Kagan, one of a very few Republicans to do so.

He was Mayor of Indianapolis from 1968 to 1976, and gained a reputation as Richard Nixon’s favorite mayor. He was overlooked by George H. W. Bush in 1988, who picked fellow Indiana Senator Dan Quayle, a total lightweight selected for Vice President, and gave America four years of concern were anything to occur to Bush.

The longest serving Senator in Indiana history, and one of the longest serving in American history, his defeat in the primary in 2012 was another sign of the deteriorating nature of the Republican Party. And Lugar in retirement was a critic of Donald Trump, who represented every trait that Lugar was the exact opposite of, as Lugar was a man who fit the image of being decent, reasonable, intelligent, well mannered, principled, and highly respected.

Lugar even challenged President Ronald Reagan on the issues of the Philippines and South Africa policies during the mid 1980s, and never felt he must be slavishly loyal to the party line, and that is what his legacy will be, a remnant of what the Republican Party had once been, but no longer is, a party of principle and mainstream ideas, now lost in the age of Donald Trump.

Can Joe Biden Overcome The Obstacle Course Awaiting Him In 2020?

Former Vice President Joe Biden finally announced his campaign on Thursday, starting off as a front runner in polls.

But can he overcome the obstacle course awaiting him in 2020?

In his long career of 44 years in national office, 36 in the US Senate and eight years as Vice President, the longest public service record of any Presidential candidate in modern history, Biden came across as genuine, sincere, decent, and compassionate, and gained millions of fans, including this blogger and author.

But he also made judgments that are problematical, including being against school busing in Delaware; supporting the credit card industry in his state, and in so doing, undermining the ability of debtors to protect themselves by bankruptcy; his lack of protection of Anita Hill in the Clarence Thomas hearings in 1991, for which he continues to apologize but in an unsatisfactory manner; his support of an interventionist foreign policy in Iraq; his many gaffes, many of them harmless but still giving him a reputation for loose and thoughtless language; and his habit of being too touchy feely with women and girls, although never accused of sexual improprieties.

Biden also promoted tough crime and drug laws in the 1990s, which are now looked at as blunders that put too many African Americans in prison unjustifiably, and his leadership at different times of the Senate Judiciary Committee and Senate Foreign Relations Committee has been criticized. His ability to “cross the aisle” and work with many Republicans is seen by some as a weakness, while others see it as a strength.

Biden is a centrist Democrat in 2019 at a time when many progressives are much further to the left than him, and one wonders if he could gain the support of those to his left if he wins the nomination, as he is perceived as too close to the traditional power centers of the party.

Joe Biden has many positive attributes, but his negative side and shortcomings, as seen by many critics, could doom him in a race against Donald Trump, when the most important thing possible is to insure that Donald Trump does not gain a second term, as that would be destructive of every progressive goal in the short run and long run.

This blogger and author has always looked at Joe Biden as a hero of his, as much as earlier, Hubert Humphrey was his model of what a political leader should be like. But Humphrey had the same problem 50 years ago of being admired and praised, but seen by many as not the best choice to oppose Richard Nixon in 1968, against Robert Kennedy and Eugene McCarthy.

So the same quandary of 1968 awaits us in 2020, to find the best person to be successful against the greatest menace, Donald Trump, that we have had in a half century of American political history, far more damaging than Richard Nixon.

And while Hubert Humphrey was 57 at the time he ran for President in 1968, Joe Biden will be 78 shortly after the election, and as in 1960, 1976, 1992, and 2008, Democrats were able to elect a “new generation” leadership of John F. Kennedy (age 43); Jimmy Carter (age 52); Bill Clinton (age 46); and Barack Obama (age 47).

Should that be the direction for 2020 is the ultimate challenge for the Democrats.

And will Joe Biden be able to win the white working class of the Midwest and Pennsylvania? Will he be able to keep the African American community around him? Will he be able to draw moderate independents and alienated Republicans, who do not wish to vote for Donald Trump? Will he be able to win suburban whites, who veered toward Democrats in 2018? Will many seniors who supported Trump come back to the Democrats they once supported? And will enough young voters who have supported Bernie Sanders, who is 14 months older than Joe Biden, extend their allegiance to Biden if he stops the Sanders juggernaut?

These are the questions that will dominate the upcoming Presidential campaign of 2020.

Bob Corker And Jeff Flake Both Retiring, Should Use Their Influence On The Senate Foreign Relations Committee To Quell Donald Trump

Two Republican Senators have decided not to run for reelection, and both have been critics of Donald Trump.

Bob Corker of Tennessee is the Senate Foreign Relations Committee Chairman, and Jeff Flake of Arizona is on the committee.

Both have no reason to cooperate with Donald Trump, now after this horrific week of foreign policy. We have witnessed the trashing of NATO and the European Union, and criticism of leaders of major allies, including Angela Merkel of Germany, Theresa May of Great Britain, Emmanuel Macron of France, and Justin Trudeau of Canada by Trump. At the same time, we have seen the praise and secret diplomacy of Trump with Vladimir Putin, causing an uproar, and now Trump’s invitation to Putin to come to the White House in the fall, possibly before the midterm elections, or alternately to witness the military parade ordered by Trump for Veterans Day, to be celebrated Saturday November 10 in Washington DC.

Corker and Flake, along with others, should denounce the Putin invitation and the wasted money on an unnecessary military parade, so that Donald Trump’s ego is further glorified.

The two Senators should do everything possible to make life for Trump more difficult, and should refuse to move forward on any policy, foreign or domestic, where their votes are needed to make a majority.

Both should order more subpoenas to require administration cabinet members to testify under oath, and make clear that they have declared war on the corrupt Presidency of Donald Trump!

Their leadership could make a difference in so many ways, and encourage more Senators on the Republican side to join them and the ill Senator John McCain of Arizona, and the principled Nebraska Senator Ben Sasse, who has been a never ending critic of Donald Trump, and could face retribution when he faces his own reelection in 2020.

Of course, it is possible to imagine that Bob Corker, Jeff Flake, and Ben Sasse could end up challenging Trump for the Republican Presidential nomination of 2020 against Trump, or Vice President Mike Pence, were he to become President later in this term.

Cory Booker And Kamala Harris Appointments To Senate Judiciary Committee A Boost To Their Predicted Presidential Candidacies In 2020

The appointment of New Jersey Senator Cory Booker and California Senator Kamala Harris to the Senate Judiciary Committee is a boost to both legislators, both considered likely Presidential candidates a year from now.

Booker is African American, and Harris is mixed race with a parent born in Jamaica and a parent born in India.

Both have exceptional credentials, with Booker having bachelors degree in political science and masters degree in Sociology from Stanford; a Rhodes Scholarship to Oxford, where he earned an honors degree in American history; and a law degree from Yale Law School. He served on the Newark City Council from 1998-2002; as Newark Mayor from 2006-2013, and has been in the US Senate since 2013. He has also served on the Senate Foreign Relations Committee; Commerce, Science and Transportation Committee; and the Environment and Public Works Committee. He is an impressive orator and highly intelligent and qualified.

Kamala Harris graduated Howard University in Washington, DC, and Hasting Law School of the University of California. She worked in the San Francisco District Attorney’s office and the City Attorney’s Office, and then was elected and served as San Francisco District Attorney from 2004-2011, followed by election and service as California Attorney General from 2011-2017, and was elected to the Senate to serve beginning in 2017. She serves on the Senate Committee on Homeland Security and Government Affairs; Budget Committee; and Intelligence Committee; as well as her recant appointment to the Judiciary Committee. She is highly regarded for her oratory and intellectual brilliance.

Having had the excellent experience of Barack Obama in the Presidency, we now have the possibility of another person who is not white being a future President, and very possibly over time, both of them, with Harris being 56 and Booker 51 in 2020, so the long range potential is clearly present, if not in 2020, for a future President Booker or President Harris or both over time!

The Battle To Succeed Rex Tillerson As Secretary Of State: Mike Pompeo, Nikki Haley, Bob Corker, Lindsey Graham

It is clear that Secretary of State Rex Tillerson will not survive beyond the first month or two of 2018.

Tillerson has been the absolute worst Secretary of State in modern times, and maybe all time, totally unqualified, totally inexperienced, totally incompetent in defending the State Department and its diplomatic corps against attempts of Donald Trump to destroy our foreign policy, in the name of supporting Russia’s Vladimir Putin.

The fact that Tillerson was the head of Exxon, and received an award from Putin in 2015, does not help promote confidence in his leadership.

But at the same time, Tillerson has clearly opposed Trump on many issues, and even said he was a “F—– Moron”, although refusing to give credibility to that press report.

Tillerson has tried, in his own inefficient manner, to stop the destructive tendencies and rhetoric of his boss, often contradicting Trump, and working to prevent conflict and turmoil as much as he can, including promoting diplomacy with North Korea’s Kim Jong Un.

The question is who should replace him, and right now, it seems as if CIA head Mike Pompeo, previously a Republican Congressman from Kansas, is the front runner, but Pompeo has a very hard line view on many issues, which makes him far from desirable.

Also, UN Ambassador Nikki Haley may have a chance to get the job, but she has just lost credibility by her threats to UN members over their vote against US recognition of Jerusalem as the capital of Israel. However, by showing loyalty to Donald Trump, she may have advanced her case to become the top diplomat, and one can hope that her action at the UN was more political than anything else, and that she would provide a comparatively more stable course in American diplomacy, and that Donald Trump might listen to her more than he does to Rex Tillerson.

Then, there are the wild cards of Tennessee Republican Senator Bob Corker, chairman of the Senate Foreign Relations Committee, who has recently been highly critical of Trump, and who Trump has regularly denounced; and South Carolina Senator Lindsey Graham, a good friend of Arizona Senator John McCain, who has played golf a lot with Trump lately, and has curbed his criticism of Trump dramatically, as has Bob Corker, who has been backtracking in an amazing reversal this past few days.

Both Corker and Graham now seem totally unprincipled, but it could be a tactic to try and change Donald Trump’s view of the world, much like it might be the strategy of Nikki Haley.

In the new month or two, we shall see what transpires, and as always, coverage of Donald Trump is never boring!

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.

Erratic, Unpredictable, Concerning Behavior Of Donald Trump: Reason To Limit His Ability To Use The Nuclear Codes!

What Tennessee Senator Bob Corker, Chairman of the Foreign Relations Committee, said about Donald Trump, that he could start World War III, is extremely disturbing.

We are closer to Midnight and the Atomic Scientists prediction of possible nuclear warfare now than at any time since 55 years ago, October 1962 and the Cuban Missile Crisis.

Where are the Republican Senators and Congressmen, and the foreign policy and defense establishment, at this moment of crisis?

Something must be done to limit the ability of Donald Trump to use the nuclear codes to start a nuclear war against North Korea, Iran, or any other nation, before we witness a Holocaust that will make World War I and World War II look like minor events!

We have an erratic, unpredictable, and maniacal President who is a danger to the entire planet!

The rules must be changed to require that a committee of cabinet members must agree before use of nuclear weapons, whether Donald Trump agrees or not.

The top military people around Trump–Secretary of Defense James Mattis, National Security Adviser H. R. McMaster, and White House Chief of Staff John Kelly–must collaborate behind the scenes with Vice President Mike Pence, and the four men must insure that Donald Trump cannot, in a fit of rage and fury, which is common these days in the White House, decide to prove his so called manhood by launching nuclear weapons that could cause mass murder of millions of people in North Korea, South Korea, and Japan, as well as endanger the lives of American military in South Korea and Japan, and the America civilian population which lives in both South Korea and Japan.

We are at the most dangerous time of crisis, and Donald Trump is no John F. Kennedy!

Senator Bob Corker’s Warning About Donald Trump And World War III

Tennessee Senator Bob Corker, Chairman of the Senate Foreign Relations Committee, has decided not to seek reelection in 2018, and that allows him to be more open on his views about Donald Trump, than he might have been if he had to deal with a reelection campaign.

But he is still Chairman of the Foreign Relations Committee, and can block any nominee for Secretary of State, if Trump fires Rex Tillerson for his calling Trump a “F****** Moron”, and for disagreeing with Trump on North Korea, Iran, and many other issues.

Corker has earlier expressed his concerns about the unstable and immature behavior of the President, and now, after being attacked by Trump on Twitter, he has made clear his concern that Trump could start World War III, a thought that many other intelligent people have had ever since Trump was declared the winner of the Presidential election of 2016 exactly eleven months ago today.

Corker is a measured individual, a conservative but not extreme right wing, and he would have faced an Alt Right attack led by Stephen Bannon, if he had sought reelection.

Now Corker can work with other discontented Republicans, including John McCain, Jeff Flake, Lisa Murkowski, Susan Collins, Lindsey Graham, Ben Sasse and others, in moving toward possible action against a very dangerous man, who seems unconcerned about the disarray and chaos he has created, both in domestic and foreign policy.

Donald Trump is a loose cannon, who needs to be removed from office pronto, as he is much more dangerous than Richard Nixon ever was, and is totally ignorant of facts and details on every subject imaginable.

As Corker said recently, it is the military people around Trump–John Kelly. James Mattis, H. R. McMaster–who are essential to keep a measure of control and influence over Trump, and hopefully, they will convince Vice President Mike Pence, Speaker of the House Paul Ryan, and Senate President Pro Tempore Orrin Hatch, of the dire need to invoke Amendment 25 Section 4, and take the Presidency and the nuclear codes out of the hands of the maniac who endangers all of us!

Marco Rubio And Rand Paul Leading Struggle Against Trumpian Foreign Policy In Senate Foreign Relations Committee

Marco Rubio of Florida and Rand Paul of Kentucky, both members of the Senate Foreign Relations Committee, are leading the struggle against Trumpian foreign policy, particularly in relation to Russia and Vladimir Putin.

Both were highly critical of Secretary of State nominee Rex TIllerson, who has zero foreign policy experience, and has spent his entire work career with Exxon Mobil, the largest corporation in the world.

Both put Tillerson’s “feet to the fire” today, and if both vote against him, he will be denied the chance to have a floor vote in the Senate, assuming that all Democrats oppose Tillerson as well.

Donald Trump is certainly on a collision course with his own party in Congress, and seems to relish it.

He reminds us most of Richard Nixon, but even Nixon did not set out to alienate his own party as Trump has.

So now we are nine days away from the official beginning of a nightmare, with a man determined to be as dictatorial as his party, the opposition party, the courts, and the news media will allow him.

It is going to be a tumultuous, confrontational four years, and the question is how much it will harm the American people, including those stupid and ignorant enough to have voted for the man often called the “Orange Trumpolini”.

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!