foreign_policy   1295

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Donald Trump’s Year of Living Dangerously - POLITICO Magazine, Jan 2, 2018
By the time the dinner was over, the leaders were in shock, and not just over the idle talk of armed conflict. No matter how prepared they were, eight months into an American presidency like no other, this was somehow not what they expected. A former senior U.S. official with whom I spoke was briefed by ministers from three of the four countries that attended the dinner. “Without fail, they just had wide eyes about the entire engagement,” the former official told me. Even if few took his martial bluster about Venezuela seriously, Trump struck them as uninformed about their issues and dangerously unpredictable, asking them to expend political capital on behalf of a U.S. that no longer seemed a reliable partner. “The word they all used was: ‘This guy is insane.’”

Seasoned diplomats who have seen Trump up close throw around words like “catastrophic,” “terrifying,” “incompetent” and “dangerous.”
foreign_policy  decision_making  Trump  TrumpAdministration  State_Department 
18 days ago by elizrael
The Growing Risk of an Israel-Iran Confrontation in Syria - WINEP, Dec 17, 2017
In the last year, this redline evolved to include the
establishment of industrial production lines for such
strategic capabilities in Syria and Lebanon. Israel is particularly
focused on Iran’s “precision project,” designed
to produce within a number of years thousands of highaccuracy
missiles and rockets. This arsenal would put in
Hezbollah’s hands thousands of accurate rockets with a
range of 100–500 kilometers, backed by hundreds of
accurate missiles in Iran itself with up to a 2,000-kilometer
range.7 Iran has already mastered the knowledge
to transform inaccurate rockets and missiles into accurate
ones (e.g., turning the Fateh-110 into Raad rockets
or the Shahab-3 into Imad missiles), employing the
Russian GPS system known as GLONASS and other
technical means. The Islamic Republic would now like
to introduce such capabilities to the Syrian and Lebanese
theaters and create indigenous lines of production
where precision kits would be assembled and fitted
to Hezbollah’s rockets, thereby granting them accuracy
and skipping the current more complex, riskier course
of shipping these capabilities from Iran.

n light of the Iranian thrust, Israel has in recent
months expanded its “zone of unacceptability” in Syria
to include Iranian long-term military deployment and
infrastructure as represented by the abovementioned
Iranian plans. Israeli political and military leaders have
been careful, however, not to elaborate specific redlines
in this regard. Prime Minister Netanyahu, Defense
Minister Liberman, and IDF chief of staff Lt. Gen. Gadi
Eisenkot, in his exceptional interview with the Saudicontrolled
media outlet Elaph, all warned in general
terms that Israel will not “accept”/“allow”/“agree” to
Iran entrenching itself militarily in Syria and turning it
into a “forward operating base against Israel.” Netanyahu
vowed on a number of occasions that Israel will
“work to stop it,” “resist it,” and “not let that happen,”
and he informed international colleagues that any Iranian
military stronghold within the confines of this general
definition would become a legitimate target. Still,
he stopped short of explicitly drawing a redline defined
in specific terms.
Iran  IranianProxy  Mar15  Russia  Israel  foreign_policy  attack  Hizbollah  weapons  Daraa  Quneitra 
23 days ago by elizrael
Trump to Let Assad Stay until 2021, as Putin Declares Victory in Syria | The New Yorker, Dec 11, 2017
The Trump Administration says it still wants a political process that holds the prospect of Assad’s departure. But it has concluded that it may take until 2021, when the next election is scheduled, to pull it off. Depending on the outcome of the 2020 U.S. election, Assad could still be in power after Trump leaves office. U.S. officials worry that Assad could win the 2021 Syrian election, one way or the other, and remain in power for years to come.
TrumpAdministration  foreign_policy  Mar15  Assad  regime_change 
27 days ago by elizrael
NYTimes: A War Trump Won
There is nothing more characteristic of the Trump era, with its fire hose of misinformation, scandal and hyperbole, than that America and its allies recently managed to win a war that just two years ago consumed headlines and dominated political debate and helped Donald Trump himself get elected president — and somehow nobody seemed to notice.
politics  foreign_policy 
5 weeks ago by casfindad
A Small-Time U.S. Mission in Syria is a Dangerous Idea - War on the Rocks, Nov 3, 2017
The administration’s repeated belligerent statements on Iran and promises to roll back its influence may be cathartic, but they are also unfortunate. Such rhetoric perpetuates a decade-long trend of the United States discrediting itself by making idle threats and “calling out” enemies who have clearly decided not to take us very seriously. Given the costs and risks, a real anti-Iranian effort in Syria is unlikely to materialize, yet anything less than that will not achieve the worthy goals of containing or weakening Iran there. The only significant U.S. efforts against Iran are likely to focus on lower-risk issues, such as the proxy war in Yemen, or U.S. sanctions on a regime that has remained robust despite decades of them. Of course, these actions are low-risk precisely because Iran can easily absorb them. That is not rollback. A direct or proxy war against Iran in Syria — exactly what is needed to weaken Iran over an issue it cares about — would certainly have impact. Yet this strategy is highly unlikely given current U.S. leadership. In this context, the half-measure alternatives being considered will do more harm than good.
TrumpAdministration  foreign_policy  Mar15  Iran 
9 weeks ago by elizrael
Debate Over Trump’s Military Powers Ignored As McResistance Focuses On Manafort
Isn’t it funny how the purportedly anti-corruption, pro-social justice “Resistance” just so happens to always fall completely in line with the interests of the CIA and the military-industrial complex?
politics  Russiagate  foreign_policy 
11 weeks ago by jstenner

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