ThereAreNoSunglasses

American Resistance To Empire

Reverse the trend toward world domination

Reverse the trend toward world domination

BOULDER, CO.

David Clifton

Join with other Americans in working toward a multi-polar world.

It is time for Americans to reject the federal empire’s quest for world domination, and to support people and nations in working together for the common good.

Doing so will reverse the trend begun when JFK’s assassins took over the country, and began their reign of terror against America and the rest of the world.

David Clifton

Boulder

Brit Press Pins Trump Syria Slow-Down On Fear For Troops’ Safety, Then Troops Are Bombed In Manbij, Syria

U.S. troops killed in Syria suicide attack claimed by ISIS

WASHINGTON (Reuters) – U.S. President Donald Trump was reeling from sharp rebukes at home and abroad over his surprise announcement last month to immediately pull American troops out of Syria when he flew into the al Asad airbase in neighboring Iraq the day after Christmas.

FILE PHOTO: U.S. President Donald Trump delivers remarks to U.S. troops in an unannounced visit to Al Asad Air Base, Iraq December 26, 2018. REUTERS/Jonathan Ernst/File Photo

Inside a canvas Quonset hut, one of the arced prefabricated structures used by the military and surrounded by concertina wire, Trump received operational briefs from U.S. commanders suggesting a territorial victory against Islamic State was within sight, but the military needed just a bit more time, U.S. officials said.

“They were upbeat about their ability to wrap things up,” one of the officials told Reuters. “I definitely think that was a seminal meeting” in terms of influencing Trump’s thinking.

(Graphic: Islamic State in Syria and Iraq control zones – tmsnrt.rs/2S9TGpu)

Lieutenant General Paul LaCamera, the commander of the U.S.-led coalition against Islamic State in Syria and Iraq, explained to a president who had lost patience with the war why too rapid a withdrawal could not be done without putting troops at risk, according to three officials familiar with the briefing, the contents of which have not been reported in such detail.

In the chaotic aftermath of Trump’s Dec. 19 announcement, which was one of the reasons that Defense Secretary Jim Mattis resigned, the 45-minute briefing appears to have helped crystallize an understanding between Trump and his top brass on the ground. Trump, in remarks to reporters, admitted that he felt better about the situation after talking to commanders in the theater instead of officials in Washington.

The briefing also helped win the U.S. military and diplomats some breathing room to plan a more deliberate exit from Syria.

It was a novel experience for the president, who was making his first visit to a war zone in his nearly two years in office, fresh from a political pummeling over his decision on Syria from fellow Republicans in Congress and U.S. allies.

Nearly three weeks after the briefing, no troops have withdrawn from Syria and only some equipment has moved out.

The Great American Foreign Policy Realignment

[The following article is a timely reminder from American Conservative that demonstrates a primary aspect of modern US electoral politics, the slippery policy of the Dem. Party to effectively impersonate the Republicans at election time.  The slippery policy adapted itself to each new election, with Dem. Pres. Clinton set the pattern as he adopted Republican war and monetary policies to establish his “global order”,  successfully maintaining the “continuity” of hard-line military and economic policies set by the Reagan Administration.  Obama prospered as a “pseudo-Republican”, advancing the Republican terror war agenda to the farthest reaches of the planet. 

The following post demonstrates that principle unfolding in the Tulsi Gabbard presidential campaign.]

Tulsi Gabbard and the Great Foreign Policy Realignment

Her anti-war candidacy, and Democrats’ growing hawkishness, show that the winds are blowing in a new direction.

“There’s one main issue that is central to the rest, and that is the issue of war and peace.” Those were the words of Congresswoman Tulsi Gabbard, Democrat of Hawaii, appearing on CNN on January 12, as she threw her hat into the presidential ring.

Gabbard is one of the few Democrats in the 2020 mix who has experience as a combatant in war. Back in 2004, at the peak of fighting in Iraq, she volunteered for duty with the Hawaii National Guard as it was deployed to that country. So for her, as well as for all the other veterans of our recent wars of choice, America’s Middle East policy is more than an object for armchair strategizing.

Thus did Gabbard smile in agreement when CNN host Van Jones summarized her views as “hawk on terror, dove on regime change.” And most Americans would agree: that is, everybody wants an anti-terrorism policy, but few want more foreign wars and regime changes.

Interestingly, Gabbard’s words and related anti-war actions make her a controversial figure on today’s Left. As one Democratic activist tweeted to her nearly 27,000 followers, “She has defended and met with Assad. She sided with Putin over Obama regarding Syria.” It is true that Gabbard, a long-time critic of military intervention in Syria, went to Damascus in January 2017 to meet with Bashar al-Assad. Moreover, immediately after the 2016 election, Gabbard met even with the dreaded Donald Trump.

Some will say, of course, that this is what diplomacy is all about: one engages people in dialogue, including antagonists, foreign and domestic. For instance, during the Vietnam War, plenty of Americans traveled to North Vietnam—including, most notoriously, Jane Fonda—and while such trips caused storms on the Right, few on the Left were bothered.

Yet these days, the Left is bothered. For example, Rolling Stone, once at the vanguard of the anti-war counterculture, is now among those raining down thunder on the anti-war candidate. Its headline: “Tulsi Gabbard’s 2020 Campaign May Be Over Before It Starts.”

Yes, times do change. Back in 1972, Senator George McGovern, himself a decorated combat veteran of World War II, ran on a strongly anti-Vietnam War platform—and Rolling Stone was right there with him. In the words of one writer for the magazine, “McGovern is indisputably a man of conscience.” Another RS writer went further: “George McGovern [is] the only candidate in either party worth voting for.”

As we all know, McGovern won the Democratic nomination that year, but was then crushed by Richard Nixon in the general election. And yet dovishness survived that defeat. In the 1970s and ’80s, grassroots McGovernites took over much of the Democratic Party.Of course, those were also the years when the Democrats had a hard time winning the presidency—even as they kept a firmer grip on Congress—and that fact was not lost on party insiders. So by 1992, when Bill Clinton won the presidential nomination, Democrats had refashioned themselves to be more hawkish (the preferred word was “muscular”).

Clinton himself didn’t have much standing as a hawk. He had, after all, avoided the draft during the Vietnam War, and had been a staffer on McGovern’s 1972 campaign. Nevertheless, from the comfort and safety of the Oval Office, he was happy to posture as aggressive.

Later, in 2002, Clinton’s wife, Senator Hillary Clinton, another ex-McGovernite, was joined by most Senate Democrats in supporting President George W. Bush’s Iraq war resolution.

Yet even as many Democrats were given over to the liberal version of neoconservatism, anti-war Democrats had hardly disappeared. For instance, Barack Obama won the 2008 presidential nomination in large part because had opposed the Iraq war. Of course, once he was in office, to the vexation of doves, he chose Hillary Clinton as his secretary of state, thereby giving over much of his presidency to Clinton-style military intervention.

One unexpected consequence of this Obama-Clinton hawkishness was the 2016 intra-party insurgency of Senator Bernie Sanders, a lifelong dove who had voted “no” on that same Iraq war resolution.

Enter Gabbard. Having been elected to Congress in 2012, she resigned her post as vice chair of the Democratic National Committee in 2016 so that she could explicitly support Sanders. (This at a time when the DNC was implicitly supporting Hillary Clinton.)

In other words, looking to 2020, Gabbard can rightfully claim her share of the anti-war mantle—even if Sanders chooses to run again.

Yet these days, it remains to be seen how many Democrats count themselves as anti-war. Indeed, according to a recent Politico/Morning Consult poll, just 29 percent of Democrats support withdrawing U.S. troops from Syria, while 50 percent oppose. As for Afghanistan, by a one-point plurality, Democrats count themselves as hawks.

So what’s going on with the Democrats? Is dovish McGovernism dead? Part of the phenomenon, of course, is knee-jerk opposition to Trump. That is, if the president says he wants to get out of Syria and to draw down in Afghanistan, well, that’s the cue for Democrats to take the opposite position. Such is the nature of partisanship.

Yet it’s also true that the Democrats are changing. That is, many neoconservatives, having supported Bush 43 and Republicans, then turned against Trump and the GOP in 2016; they have, in effect, joined the Democratic Party. And in so doing, they’ve given the Democrats a distinctly Hillary-like—if not Bush 43-like—aspect. Most notably, MSNBC, which styles itself as the most progressive of the cable news channels, has become a haven for Bush 43 alums.

Writing in The Intercept on January 11, Glenn Greenwald summed up the new tendency in the Democratic Party:

What’s happening here is far more insidious. A core ethos of the anti-Trump #Resistance has become militarism, jingoism, and neoconservatism. Trump is frequently attacked by Democrats using longstanding Cold War scripts wielded for decades against them by the far right: Trump is insufficiently belligerent with U.S. enemies; he’s willing to allow the Bad Countries to take over by bringing home U.S. soldiers.

Will that sort of rhetorical pile-driving open up a path for Gabbard as the dovish candidate—or will it simply harden the opposition to her? We’ll have to see.

In the meantime, as the hawks have migrated to the Left, the doves have migrated to the Right. According to that same Politico/Morning Consult poll, 73 percent of Republicans support getting out of Syria: that’s a whopping 44 points more than the Democrats. And 76 percent of Republicans endorse reducing our footprint in Afghanistan.

In other words, within the GOP, the foreign policy positions of, say, Senator Rand Paul and Congressman Justin Amash—joined by, on some days, Trump himself—are in the ascendancy. Indeed, the same survey shows that the bulk of voters take dovish positions on the two foreign conflicts.

Of course, Gabbard is running for the Democratic nomination—and as we have seen, the Democratic Party now abounds with newly arrived hawks. Yet it’s still hard to believe that rank-and-file Democrats are really getting excited about foreign military adventures.

In the meantime, Gabbard is undeniably progressive on most issues. For instance, in 2017, long before Congresswoman Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez’s Green New Deal was a thing, Gabbard introduced legislation to eliminate fossil fuels by 2035.

In these times, of course, nobody’s crystal ball is working well. And yet it does seem fair to say this much: if Gabbard could somehow win the 2020 Democratic nomination, she’d likely be formidable in the November election. That is, she’s a woman, she’s “diverse”—she was the first Hindu elected to Congress—and she’s a combat veteran with a no-nonsense attitude toward terrorism. And yes, she’s pro-peace. These days, among Americans overall, that’s a winning hand.

Indeed, ever since 2016, when the candidacies of Trump and Sanders seemed to run parallel to each other—and in opposition to their respective party establishments—observers have wondered whether the two political insurgencies, still ongoing, might not ultimately discover that they have much in common. That is, both are more focused on domestic policy than on foreign policy; one might even say that both are more nationalist than globalist.

We might add that such a fusion is already occurring in Europe, where the anti-establishment Right and Left are finding common ground against, most immediately, the European Union—and international institutions in general. Such an alliance has already happened in Italy, where the right-leaning League and the left-leaning Five Stars, joined in an upstart coalition, have taken power in Rome.

Today, in Gabbard’s candidacy, one sees a glimmer of the same sort of possible fusion here in the United States.

Yes, it’s only a glimmer. Yet Gabbard is just 37. She has time.

James P. Pinkerton is an author and contributing editor at The American Conservative. He served as a White House policy aide to both Presidents Ronald Reagan and George H.W. Bush.

US Spends $5.9 Trillion To Quadruple the Number of Sunni Islamist Terrorists Worldwide

Yes, America Is Exporting Terrorism

Most World Terrorism Is By Sunni Terrorists, 4 Years Running

USA, CIA Created Sunni Islamic Terrorism

Mission accomplished? Number of Sunni terrorists worldwide quadrupled from Sept 11, 2001 – study

Mission accomplished? Number of Sunni terrorists worldwide quadrupled from Sept 11, 2001 – study

Despite Washington’s extremely costly worldwide ‘War on Terror’, nearly four times as many Sunni Islamic militants are operating around the world today as on September 11, 2001, a new study has found.

As many as 230,000 jihadists are spread across 70 countries, with the largest concentrations of terrorists located in Syria, Afghanistan, and Pakistan, according to the Center for Strategic and International Studies, a Washington DC think tank.

The shocking reported spike in the number of Sunni jihadists worldwide raises serious questions about the effectiveness of the US-led Global War on Terrorism, which was launched in the wake of the deadly attacks on the Twin Towers and the Pentagon on September 11, 2001.

Reverse effect: Number of global Jihadists quadrupled since ‘War on Terror’ began

US taxpayers have already forked over a mind-melting $5.9 trillion to fund the massive and increasingly secretive war – but the noble pursuit of eradicating terrorism has apparently had the opposite effect. Ironically, the think tank has called for the US to double-down, arguing that withdrawing forces from Africa and the Middle East would only embolden terrorist groups.

If America Stopped Destroying The World, The Bad Guys Might Win

If America Stopped Destroying The World, The Bad Guys Might Win

 MEDIUM

Secretary of State Mike Pompeo told reporters on Saturday that the government under Venezuela’s recently re-inaugurated president Nicolas Maduro is “illegitimate”, and that “the United States will work diligently to restore a real democracy to that country.”

Pompeo’s remarks, which were echoed by Trump’s National Security Advisor John Bolton, are interesting for a couple of reasons. The first is because Venezuela’s presidential election in May of last year (which incidentally was found to have been perfectly legitimate by the international Council of Electoral Experts of Latin America) was actively and aggressively meddled inby the US and its allies. The second is that while the US government is openly broadcasting its intention to keep interfering in Venezuela’s political system, it continues to scream bloody murder about alleged Russian interference in its own democratic process two years ago.

What is the difference between the behavior of the United States, which remains far and away the single worst offender in foreign election meddlingon the planet, and what Russia is accused of having done in 2016? According to a comment made by former CIA Director James Woolsey last year, it’s that the US interferes in foreign democracies “for a very good cause.”

And that’s really the only argument that empire loyalists have going for them on this subject. The US is different because the US has moral authority. It’s okay for the US to continue to interfere in the political affairs of foreign nations while it would be an unforgivable and outrageous “act of war” for a nation like Russia to do the exact same thing, because the US is countering the interests of the Bad Guys while Russia is countering the interests of the Good Guys. Who decided who the Good Guys and Bad Guys are in this argument? The US.

This “What we do is good because we’re the Good Guys” faith-based doctrine was regurgitated with full-throated zealotry in a recent speech given by Pompeo in Cairo, in which he cited “America’s innate goodness” in making the absolutely ridiculous claim that “America is a force for good in the Middle East” which has been “absent too much” from the region previously. America’s nonstop deadly interventionism in the Middle East is “good”, because America is “innately good”.

America’s constant military interventionism, election interference and other nastiness are painted as Good Things done by Good Guys to fight the Bad Guys. The argument, when you boil it right down, is that if America wasn’t constantly starting wars, invading sovereign nations, staging coups, sponsoring proxy conflicts, arming terrorists, bombing civilians, torturing people, implementing starvation sanctions on impoverished populations, pointing nuclear weapons everywhere, spying on us all with a globe-spanning Orwellian surveillance network, interfering in foreign elections, and patrolling the skies with flying death robots, the Bad Guys might win.

Sort of makes you wonder who the Bad Guys really are, huh?

Lee Camp [Redacted]

@LeeCamp

Things our foreign policies are not about:
* values
* freedom
* terrorism
* democracy
* human rights

Things our foreign policies are about:
* profit
* Wall Street
* Imperialism
* natural resources
* global economic dominance

The theme of Good Guys fighting Bad Guys resonates with a population that has been raised for generations on Hollywood films featuring a handsome action hero emerging victorious after a ninety-minute struggle and karate kicking an ugly villain off a cliff before kissing the pretty girl, but it doesn’t accurately reflect the reality we actually live in. Our world is dominated by extremely powerful people who are motivated not out of interest in good or evil but a drive toward power and profit which is completely disinterested in morality of any kind, and the empires they build for themselves have their foundations on the backs of ordinary people who are just trying to get by. The majority of those extremely powerful people either live in the United States or have formed alliances with US power structures, and all their agendas in Asia, South America, the Middle East and elsewhere have nothing to do with “protecting democracy” or being a “force of good”, and everything to do with amassing more power.

Even among those who recognize that the US-centralized empire isn’t a shining beacon of virtue in our world, the notion remains prevalent that if American power ceases to be a unipolar dominator then someone worse will take over the world. This fear-based mindset ultimately underlies all establishment manipulation and all educated support for it: the idea that someone needs to rule and dominate the world to prevent someone else from doing the same. But what are the fruits of this mindset? A corporatist Orwellian dystopia hurtling toward climate collapse if nuclear war doesn’t kill us all first.

We can’t keep doing this. We literally can’t; we’ll evolve beyond this fear-based dominator paradigm or we’ll all perish beneath its feet very soon. We are now in a position where our irrational fear of being invaded by China has pushed us to the brink of extinction, so it isn’t even a gamble to step off that train and try something else instead.

It is entirely possible that the US is capable of functioning like a normal nation and simply defending its own shores and sustaining itself without interfering in world affairs. It is entirely possible that the threat everyone imagines of some foreign power stepping in as the unipolar dominator should America vacate that role is the product of fearful imaginings with no bearing on reality and a fundamental misunderstanding of humanity. It is entirely possible that we are capable of creating a world where nobody dominates anybody, and no iron-fisted world leader of any kind is needed. Either way, the train we’re on is headed for a brick wall, so we’ve now got nothing to lose by stepping off.

All Parts Of The Political Spectrum Are Susceptible To Professional War Propaganda Techniques

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War Propaganda Is Insidious, And It Can Infect People From All Parts Of The Political Spectrum

Manufacturing consent is essential for the projects of imperialism. When the military-industrial complex can’t make the public ignore the wars that go on (as has been accomplished with the largely invisible drone wars and foreign occupations of recent years) there always has to be a propaganda campaign that creates support for the latest invasion.

These campaigns can’t be directed at only one ideological segment of the population, because this would limit the war support that can be created. So war propagandists use cunning tactics to win over not just the stereotypically war-loving crowd of conservatives, but also liberals, progressives, and even self-described anti-capitalist radicals.
During the two times when President Trump struck Syria in response to chemical incidents that Assad was supposedly behind, it was simple to get at least most of Trump’s base to support these actions; the president they were loyal to was behind the strikes, so Trump supporters could easily see the strikes as the right move. But the nature of the war propaganda was different when it was directed at those who didn’t support Trump. According to the neocon “Never Trump” Republicans and the pro-war Democratic Party leaders, the strikes were good decisions that should be supported despite the odiousness of the man who ordered them.
Of course, both of these narratives around the strikes were absurd. Trump had attacked a country without provocation, an act which constitutes a war crime. And there’s still no evidence that Assad had committed the gas attacks he was accused of. But many Democrats were persuaded to meet Trump’s Syria strikes with support instead of condemnation, because the strikes were portrayed up against the backdrop of Russiagate.
The consensus among many pro-war Democrats was that Trump had struck Syria in spite of Trump’s being a puppet of Putin. For example, after the strike during April of last year, the notoriously nortoriouslyhawkish “liberal” pundit Bill Maher suggested that Trump had struck Syria to cover up Russia collusion. This made it easy for liberals to conclude that the strikes were essentially a correct move, since they went against the interests of the designated villains Putin and Assad. As a result, a Politico/Morning Consult poll from last April showed that a plurality of 49% of Democrats supported the Syria strike.
This popular liberal view of Syria intervention is unsurprisingly in line with the statements about the issue from the most notorious pro-war DemocratHillary Clinton, who called for bombing Assad’s air fields hours before the 2017 Syria strike. And it was recently reflected on during the Democratic backlash against Trump’s decision to partially pull out of Syria, a decision which Clinton has denounced.
This strategy for getting Democrats to support intervention in Syria has centered around two very strong propaganda techniques: the manufacturing of an enemy and the pressure to trust the figures behind the propaganda. Putin and his ally Assad are seen as enemies. Hillary Clinton and other Democratic leaders, as well as pro-war “liberal” media outlets like MSNBC and The New York Times, are seen as trustworthy. So perpetuating America’s involvement in Syria, however illegal and deadly this involvement is, can be viewed as good by many liberals.
As the journalist Caitlin Johnstone has observed, the transition towards a pro-war culture within the Democratic Party has been long in the making:
The anti-war Democrat, after Barack Obama was elected on a pro-peace platform in 2008, went into an eight-year hibernation during which they gaslit themselves into ignoring or forgiving their president’s expansion of George W Bush’s wars, aided by a corporate media which marginalized, justified, and often outright ignored Obama’s horrifying military expansionism. Then in 2016 they were forced to gaslight themselves even further to justify their support for a fiendishly hawkish candidate who spearheaded the destruction of Libya, who facilitated the Iraq invasion, who was shockingly hawkish toward Russia, and who cited Henry Kissinger as a personal role model for foreign policy. I recall many online debates with Clinton fans in the lead up to the 2016 election who found themselves arguing that the Iraq invasion wasn’t that bad in order to justify their position.
These dynamics of political loyalty and demonized foreign leaders have been behind the bipartisan rationalizations for all of America’s other recent war efforts, from Obama and Clinton’s “humanitarian” 2011 invasion of Libya to Obama’s “necessary” drone wars to America’s recent campaign of military and economic warfare against Russia. And the lies that our country uses to justify its wars can sway even the most otherwise radical thinkers. As Tom Hall of the World Socialist Website wrote during last April’s debate about Syria, many socialists have recently sided with the U.S. empire’s Syria regime change goal:
In April 2017, when allegations of a chemical weapons attack were used to justify airstrikes against Syria by the Trump administration, the pseudo-left responded first with silence (during the propaganda campaign) and then, following the bombing, with statements promoting the lies of the imperialist powers as good coin and criticizing the Trump administration for not really seeking regime change. Socialist Worker’s Ashley Smith bemoaned that “The U.S. only attacked the one base and didn’t even blow up its runway” and complained that it is “hard to take Trump’s humanitarian pretenses seriously” because until recently “Trump supported some kind of rapprochement with Assad and Russia.”
Hall was drawing attention to a larger trend among ostensibly socialist publications and organizations, from Jacobin to Socialist Alternative to the International Socialist Organization, wherein these self-described socialists insist that the West’s war against Assad is a legitimate “progressive” people’s rebellion and that Assad is guilty of the chemical attacks he’s accused of. Their position comes from sympathy for the “democratic revolution” that Syria’s war supposedly originates from, which they believe is their duty to stand in solidarity with. This has ironically lead to them defending, often very aggressively, the imperialist narratives and operations which ultimately undermine the socialist cause.
The masters of mass manipulation in the CIA, the State Department, and the other factions of the deep state are eager to exploit these kinds of sympathetic feelings towards advancing their toxic narratives. It’s sympathy, in fact, that makes every person vulnerable to war propaganda. As Caitlin Johnstone has assessed about how propaganda works, particularly the pro-war propaganda around Syria:
The social engineers who manufacture the narratives which are dispensed to the mass media and repeated as fact to unsuspecting audiences rely heavily on the tactic of generating sympathy. Sympathy opens people up and allows narratives to be imbued with the power of belief in a way that bypasses skepticism and critical thinking.
This war propaganda tactic of appealing to sympathy was shown during the fraudulent testimony about murdered babies which was used to start the Persian Gulf War, during the false claims in 2011 about Qaddafi having ordered mass rapes, and most recently during the effort to create support for attacking Syria by showing us pictures of children who’ve been supposedly poisoned by Assad. It’s a very powerful manipulation strategy. And combined with the psychological factors of trusted authority figures and demonized enemies, it gets many people to consent to war.
The ideological flexibility of war propaganda was shown this month, when a Politico/Morning Consult poll found that only 29% of Democrats somewhat or strongly support the recent Syria withdrawal, while 73% of Republicans hold the same view. On the question of whether they support the recent troop reduction in Afghanistan, only 40% of Democrats said that they supported the action while 76% of Republicans say the same. This proves that at least in terms of these issues, Democratic and Republican voters have done a reversal on how they view foreign intervention.
As Glenn Greenwald has observed, these survey results follow two years of Democratic elites making open alliances with neocons, “liberal” outlets like MSNBC being filled with intelligence operatives and former Bush/Cheney officials, and narratives being spread which attack Trump as weak or “treasonous” for not being sufficiently belligerent towards Russia. The outcome, assesses Greenwald, is not surprising:
All of this has resulted in a new generation of Democrats, politically engaged for the first time as a result of fears over Trump, being inculcated with values of militarism and imperialism, trained to view once-discredited, war-loving neocons such as Bill Kristol, Max Boot, and David Frum, and former CIA and FBI leaders as noble experts and trusted voices of conscience. It’s inevitable that all of these trends would produce a party that is increasingly pro-war and militaristic, and polling data now leaves little doubt that this transformation — which will endure long after Trump is gone — is well under way.
Thankfully, this poll shows that among the overall American population, a large plurality of 49% support the Syria pullout compared to the 33% who oppose it. Trust in the mainstream media is also at an all time low. And not even the onslaught of war propaganda in these last two years has gotten vast numbers of Americans to cease their anger about our paradigm of endless war.
In fact, the frequent dishonesty and generally phony aura of this campaign has made many people more aware of the workings of the war propaganda machine. To grow this anti-war section of the population in the coming years, we’ll need to work to keep exposing the lies of the U.S./NATO empire.

Trump Threatens To Intensity the Economic War Against Turkey, If Strike On Kurds Occurs

KEY POINTS

  • “Starting the long overdue pullout from Syria while hitting the little remaining ISIS territorial caliphate hard, and from many directions,” he said on Twitter late Sunday.

  • “Will attack again from existing nearby base if it reforms. Will devastate Turkey economically if they hit Kurds,” he added.

  • Turkish Foreign Minister Mevlut Cavusoglu responded, saying that nothing could be achieved with economic threats and that partner nations shouldn’t communicate over social media, Reuters reported Monday.

GP: Donald Trump Rose Garden 190104
President Donald Trump speaks during a press conference in the Rose Garden of the White House in Washington, DC, on January 4, 2019 following a meeting with Congressional leaders on the government shutdown.
Saul Loeb | AFP | Getty Images

President Donald Trump issued a threat to NATO ally Turkey while defending his decision to withdraw all U.S. troops from Syria.

“Starting the long overdue pullout from Syria while hitting the little remaining ISIS territorial caliphate hard, and from many directions,” he said on Twitter late Sunday. “Will attack again from existing nearby base if it reforms. Will devastate Turkey economically if they hit Kurds. Create 20 mile safe zone….”

”…Likewise, do not want the Kurds to provoke Turkey,” the president added in a further tweet.

Donald J. Trump

@realDonaldTrump

Starting the long overdue pullout from Syria while hitting the little remaining ISIS territorial caliphate hard, and from many directions. Will attack again from existing nearby base if it reforms. Will devastate Turkey economically if they hit Kurds. Create 20 mile safe zone….

The White House, State Department and Pentagon did not respond to CNBC requests for comment or elaboration at the time of publication.

Turkish Foreign Minister Mevlut Cavusoglu responded, saying that nothing could be achieved with economic threats and that partner nations shouldn’t communicate over social media, Reuters reported Monday. The minister added that Trump’s Syria tweets stemmed from domestic politics.

American support for Kurdish militias in Syria has been a major thorn in relations between Washington and Ankara, as the latter views the Kurds as terrorists and a threat to their security.

The militias, known as the Kurdish People’s Protection Units (YPG), are the armed wing of the Democratic Union Party (PYD), an offshoot of the designated terrorist group called the Kurdistan Workers’ Party, which has carried out a decades-long insurgency against the Turkish state. They are also America’s primary partners on the ground in Syria: The Pentagon has been supplying the YPG with weaponry, air support and training to battle IS since 2015, and the militias have suffered thousands of casualties fighting for the U.S.-led coalition.

Ankara has for months threatened a military offensive against the Kurds in northeastern Syria, refusing to view their presence as legitimate. Thousands of Turkish troops have taken positions along the Syrian-Turkish border amid warnings from President Recep Tayyip Erdogan of an “imminent” Turkish attack.

Following a torrent of domestic and international criticism for what many called an abandonment of its partners, Trump administration officials last week framed the withdrawal of the roughly 2,000 U.S. troops deployed in Syria as contingent on a guarantee of Turkish non-aggression and protection for the Kurds.

Turkey’s politicians, including Erdogan, have flatly rejected the American efforts.

Thorny relations between NATO partners

The last year was a largely fraught one between the longtime NATO allies thanks to heightened tensions over Syria policy, Turkey’s purchase of Russian weapons systems alongside American ones, and Ankara’s detention of American pastor Andrew Brunson. The latter diplomatic crisis prompted Trump in August to announce sanctions on Turkish officials and threaten new tariffs.

Donald J. Trump

@realDonaldTrump

I have just authorized a doubling of Tariffs on Steel and Aluminum with respect to Turkey as their currency, the Turkish Lira, slides rapidly downward against our very strong Dollar! Aluminum will now be 20% and Steel 50%. Our relations with Turkey are not good at this time!

Last summer, Turkey’s lira — already falling due to a gaping current account deficit, over-leveraged banks and its president’s refusal to raise interest rates despite double-digit inflation — tanked further after Trump threatened to double tariffs on Turkey’s steel and aluminum. By August, the currency had depreciated by some 40 percent against the dollar since the start of 2018.
Economic threats revisited?

On the news of Trump’s tariff threat, it lost 30 percent of its value in a single day. Erdogan accused the U.S. of launching “economic warfare” and hit back with his own tariff threats, while S&P Global Ratings that month issued a recession warning for Turkey for 2019.

The lira has since rebounded, though not to its mid-2017 levels of roughly 3.5 lira to the dollar. The currency saw major relief after Ankara agreed to release Brunson to the U.S. in October and the tariff threats were walked back.

The dollar was up percent against the lira on Monday at 12:40 p.m. London time, with a buck buying 5.5130 lira.

Speaking to CNBC Monday, James Jones, a former U.S. national security advisor and former supreme allied commander of NATO forces in Europe, said the conflicts between Washington and Ankara should not be litigated in public, but rather by careful discussion between the two governments.

“You really have to have serious meetings at both capitals with the intent of fixing what right now is somewhat fractured,” he said.

— CNBC’s Shirley Tay contributed to this report