The Taliban in Afghanistan has many things in common with the Kurds in the region. Countries (to include the US) have “used” them to check Iran’s influence over Iran. Like the Kurds, the relationship hasn’t always worked out well. After the Soviets were defeated in Afghanistan the country was left in social and economic distress. 1.5 million dead, millions of refugees and a huge political vacuum. Afghanistan’s warlords attempted to fill the gap. The Taliban, made up of orphans who never knew Afghanistan, but schooled in Pakistan filled the gap. They brought law and order to a country that sorely needed it. Pakistan supported them, as did the US Clinton administration. This was a switch for us, as previously our support for the mujahideen to defeat the Soviet Union created al-Qaeda. Although we Americans aren’t famous for identifying distinctions between different cultures, there are more than one group of the Taliban, with the Afghanistan Taliban and the Pakistan Taliban being two of the more notorious different groups. The important lesson for us is that the Taliban and al-Qaeda are not the same groups. The Afghanistan Taliban are an extreme religious group that is very internally focused on Afghanistan. We share a common enemy with the Taliban in al-Qaeda. Perhaps we can agree to leave them alone. (2 comments)

The US policy towards the NATO countries has always been contentious. During the height of the Cold War our economic policy often seemed to hurt Europe as long as it hurt the Soviet Union. The threat of the Soviet Union allowed us to get away with the policy. With the fall of the Soviet Union, Europe was able to get a stable, cheaper low of oil and natural gas from Russia. It was a win for both Europe and Russia. Germany’s economic growth in the past 25 years can be attributed to this. With the Neos wanting to start a cold war with Russia, we keep on trying to punish Russia economically. Our sanctions against them really haven’t worked, so we are doubling down. Our latest round of sanctions are also against Europe, telling them they can’t trade with Russia. We’ve offered to sell them natural gas from the US to make up for it, but it is much more expensive for them, having to go by ship instead of by pipeline. The NATO countries are kicking back. They don’t see Russia in the same way we do, and don’t want to pay for a potentially less stable source of supply. It’s bad enough that we’ve alienated most of the Middle East countries. How does it serve our interests to alienate Europe?

One of the most famous quote from the Vietnam War was a statement attributed to an unnamed U.S. officer by AP correspondent Peter Arnett in his writing about Bến Tre city on 7 February 1968:
'It became necessary to destroy the town to save it', a United States major said today. He was talking about the decision by allied commanders to bomb and shell the town regardless of civilian casualties, to rout the Vietcong.
It appears that those tactics still exist in the US military. The campaign to free Raqqa from ISIS finally ended with the total destruction of the city! Comparing the battle to the one that the Syrian government backed by the Russians did to free Aleppo from ISIS shows some stark differences. Raqqa was destroyed by the Syrian Kurds, backed by US air strikes. Aleppo exists, is rebuilding and has become an economic center again. The battle there was with the Syrian army, backed by Russian air strikes. As Syria goes back to normal, which foreign country will be seen as an ally and which will be seen as an enemy?  

Iraq has been an on again and off again enemy for many years. Although the government ignored them prior to WWII, by 1928 US oil corporations had gained almost 24% control of their oil. Iraq’s prime minister during WWII endorsed the Nazi’s, so the US endorsed England’s suppression of him. In the 40s and 50s, we sought to stabilize Iraq and in 1955, signed the Baghdad Pact as an anti Soviet defense partnership. By 1958, a bloody military coup overthrew the King and became anti west. From 1958 to 1979, Iraq claimed to be neutral, but “played” the US and the Soviets off of each other. Neither Iraq nor the US pursued democracy in Iraq. In 1967 Iraq severed relations with the US, claiming that we supported Israel in the 6 Day War. This was our first time that we equipped and supported the Kurds. We backed down (Kissinger) and Iraq and Iran agreed to get the Kurds under control. In 1979, Saddam Hussein seized power. Saddam “sold” himself as the anti Ayatollah Khomeini. From 1980 to 1988, Iraq and Iran fought massive land battles which accounted for more than 1 million casualties. President Reagan’s administration provided Iraq with economic aid,shared intelligence information and military aid. In 1989, Iraq invaded Kuwait and threatened Saudi Arabia. We responded with the first gulf way. The first President Bush maintained to deal with Saddam constructively, in spite of the war, thinking that it would be a counter on Iran. When he changed his mind, we “played” the Kurds once again, and it worked out just as well for them as the first time. Then the never ending war started in 2003. All still ostensibly to be a counter to Iran and keep them under control. Our allies disagree.

I have long thought that our Neos want another Cold War. It’s the perfect scenario for our Military Industrial Complex. We get to buy lots of equipment, none of which really has to work. Heck we never have to use it. Who remembers the debacle with the Patriot Missiles in the first Gulf War? They didn’t work, yet no one got fired and we merely gave them more money to fix them. When the Soviet Union fell, we agreed not to expand NATO into the former Soviet states. That agreement ended up being meaningless. Now we’ve got US and other NATO forces closer to the Russian homeland. The Russians lost 27 MILLION people in World War II. All on their homeland. It’s difficult for Americans to imagine fighting for where we live. We’ve only been invaded once and that didn’t turn out so well for the British, but it wasn’t a town to town, house to house battle. It’s not hard to imagine that Russia would want to protect its country. Yet, as the US concentrates on re-fighting WWII in Europe, the rest of the developed world concentrates on economic warfare, forging new alliances based on trade. And we wonder why we’re $20+ Trillion in debt.

The Neos are doing everything they can to damage Russia. At the behest of the Saudi’s we put sanctions on their oil exports to Europe thinking that we’d destroy Russia’s economies. All that happened was a shift in Russia’s exports to Asia. We continue with other sanctions and vilification of Russia and so far the only result has been Russia’s alliances with China, Asia and the Middle East. Even our “friends” the Saudis have made up with Russia and new growth and friendships are emerging. The Neos would have you believe that they are smarter than you are. That we should trust them because they are the “enlightened” ones. They got spoiled though in the post Cold War era. There was a time when taking on 2nd and 3rd world countries was as simple as showing up and bullying them. Developed countries aren’t so easy to bully. They are smart too. The cypto-rouble will get foreign investment into Russia, a country with a stable, virtually debt free economy. We sanction their banks and they figure out a different way to excel. Innovation used to be our greatness.

The US Chamber of Commerce is the biggest enemy of “We the People” of any group in America. The Chamber is the largest lobbying group in the U.S., spending more money than any other lobbying organization on a yearly basis. They will claim that they exist to support American businesses. Let’s see what they’ve supported in the past: They were big supports of Hillary’s healthcare reform in 1993. Opposes the DISCLOSE Act, which aims to limit foreign influence on U.S. elections The Chamber of Commerce has come under attack by conservatives and others for its support of amnesty for illegal immigrants The move by the Chamber comes days after the Senate Leadership Fund, a super PAC backed by Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell, made a similar announcement. The Swamp spent upwards of $32 MILLION to try elect Luther Strange. For all of you gun rights folks, the NRA spent almost one million dollars in the last week of the primary alone! All to protect the swamp When two Republicans were running against each other in a Primary, the money poured out like water. Now that the race is between a Republican and a Democrat, they are not spending a dime. It’s not Trump they hate. It’s us. Be proud.

The irony drips off the page. “Biden and McCain, rivals”. “McCain gets Liberty medal”. “McCain’s lifetime of loyalty”. "He has devoted his life to securing and expanding liberty to people everywhere," And all of this at the Constitution Center. The tips that the Constitution Center’s “Liberty Medal” might not really be Liberty in defense of the Constitution were pretty apparent. Presenter of the medal was Starbucks Executive Chairman Howard Schultz. Previous winners of the medal include Nelson Mandela and Colin Powell. McCain actually summed up the Neo Con goals publicly better than most will. "To refuse the obligations of international leadership and our duty to remain 'the last best hope of earth' for the sake of some half-baked, spurious nationalism cooked up by people who would rather find scapegoats than solve problems is as unpatriotic as an attachment to any other tired dogma of the past that Americans consigned to the ash heap of history," They really believe that the average American should suffer in order to expand the empire. Please realize that these attacks on Trump are really attacks on us. McCain and his ilk find us just as deplorable as Hillary does.

In 1953, at the behest of the British and, more importantly, British Petroleum (BP) the US CIA mounted a coup to topple the democratically elected Prime Minister of Iran. The main reason for the coup was because Iran wanted to exert more control over its oil exports and expel foreign corporate representatives. We put the Shah into power. The Iranians eventually toppled the Shah and things have never been the same. The Shah had relied heavily on US support to maintain his power, so logically the hatred for the Shah that led to his demise also fell on the US also. The US embassy hostage-taking by the Iranians led to a logical hatred of Iran by most Americans. Hatred that still exists. Despite economic sanctions, the US really hasn’t been able to topple Iran’s government. Iran remains a significant player in the Middle East. We’re at a point in the world where even historical enemies recognize that talking beats killing. Iraq and Iran are talking. Yet, we want to double down and maintain animosity. After 25 years of diplomacy at the end of a gun, we’ve forgotten that sometimes people will say no and that actions have consequences.

The US involvement is Syria never made any sense from a pure “what is our National Interest” in spending money and risking American lives perspective. It just looked like meddling. Over time, it became obvious that this was an effort on behalf of our allies Saudi Arabia and Israel. Imagine the alarms that should have gone off when Saudi Arabia and Israel agree on something, but obviously they didn’t. Our military supported some groups and our CIA supported others and there were even times when both of these groups actively fought against each other. We’ve bombed civilians, dropped chemical weapons and other war efforts that most folks would find wrong. And again, for what national interest? Well, in spite of our efforts, Syria with the help of Russia has won. Even Saudi Arabia concedes that this was a failed effort. President Trump publicly directed the CIA to stop their efforts in Syria. Yet, our involvement continues. Our forces even took Russian soldiers hostage. This one makes no sense and in light of the fact that Russia’s foreign aid support has been very popular with the Syrian people, just makes us look stupid.…