Monday, December 30, 2019

UPDATED: Should Pompeo Be Gone ASAP?

As I've indicated before, I have no use for Mike Pompeo--I see him as undermining President Trump's foreign policy goals at every turn. The latest events in Syraq are reinforcing not only my misgivings but those of many others. Here's one long analysis at Zerohedge: Did Pompeo Go Off Reservation In Iraq Attack? Note the silence of Trump. Has he finally decided, as with Bolton and McMaster and the others, that he can't be president with Pompeo around?

Here is Mark Steyn with a Colonel Macgregor. As Steyn notes at the beginning, America has blown trillions on its wars with nothing to show for it. How long can this go on? How can Trump tolerate insubordination? Can he get reelected if his anti-war platform is yanked out from under his feet?

UPDATE 1: Maybe it would be a good idea to have, like, a national conversation on matters of fundamental importance--like war and peace--before the SecState goes off half-cocked trying to start major land wars in Asia? We could discuss concepts like ... why? Or, Are there alternatives?

UPDATE 2: I'm not a reflexive Buchananite by any means, however Pat offers some thoughts here that are worth pondering: How Trump Can Derail His Own Reelection - Stumble Into War. My view is that Making America Great Again begins at home, and having Trump as president for as long as possible is our best hope for making significant progress toward that goal. We have enough problems to solve right here in America. That doesn't mean abandoning our legitimate role in the world--as if that could be done. But it does mean avoiding own goals, such as stupid wars. Buchanan:
Trump is eager to make good on his promises and remove many of the 14,000 U.S. troops in Afghanistan before Election Day. Yet such a move is not without risks. Given the strength of the Taliban, the casualties they are able to inflict, the inability of the Afghan army to hold territory, and the constant atrocities in the capital city of Kabul, a Saigon ’75 end to the Afghan war is not outside the realm of the possible.
Nor is a shooting war with Iran that rivets the nation’s attention.
Yesterday, U.S. F-15s, in five attacks, hit munitions depots and a command center of the Iran-backed Kataib Hezbollah militia in Syria and Iraq, a retaliatory raid for a rocket attack on a U.S. training camp that killed an American contractor and wounded four U.S. soldiers.
“For those who ask about the response,” warns a Kataib Hezbollah spokesman, “it will be the size of our faith.”
One has to expect Iran and its militia in Iraq to respond in kind.
They have a track record. During 2019, with its economy choked by U.S. sanctions, Iran and its allies sabotaged oil tankers in the Gulf, shot down a $130 million U.S. Predator drone, and shut down with missiles and drones half of Saudi Arabia’s oil production.
In former times, a confrontation or shooting war often benefitted the incumbent, as there was almost always a rallying to the flag. Those days are gone. This generation has had its fill of wars.


  1. Probably nothing Trump promised in 2016 was and is more problematic for the Deep State and the Uniparty than his promise to 'avoid foreign wars' and end the 'Endless Wars'.

  2. Besides the obvious Russia hoax, one of the chief disappointments of the last several years has been the divergence between Trump's foreign policy ambitions and the foreign policy realities for the last three years.

    Clearly the Russia hoax has tied Trump's hands to an extent, particularly when it comes to policy in Syria, where any gesture signaling a desire to withdraw is interpreted as a concession to Putin and Russia; the Russophobia plague gripping the beltway has also affected Trump's ukraine policy, since he allowed the provision of military aid to Ukraine--aid that Obama refused to provide.

    It would be remiss to excuse Trump, however. He has done a poor job of selecting advisors. Ideally, an advisor should encourage a president's good impulses and discourages his(her) bad ones. Sadly, it seems that as far as foreign policy is concerned, at least the last 4 presidents have usually chosen advisors who sought to promote their bad impulses and restrain their good ones.

    Mike Pompeo is no exception. He has been, to be perfectly frank, sycophantically hostile toward Iran, whereas an America First policy, in my opinion, would attempt to be maintain a more balanced stance toward Iran its current adversaries--Israel and the Wahhabist Sunni gulf states. If Durham's investigation produces the fruit we expect from it, Pompeo's "adversarial review" of the 2017 ICA assessment will go down as a farce. Moreover, Mike clearly hasn't exercised prudential vetting and oversight when it comes to our Ukraine diplomats and "experts". At this point, even Sundance has become openly critical of Mike, suspecting (correctly I think) that Pompeo has tried to "handle" Trump.

    It's time for Pompeo to go. It's time for Trump to nominate real America-first foreign policy appointees (such as Andrew Bacevich, Stephen Kinzer, Mike Lee, Rand Paul, etc). Otherwise, his present advisors could very well drag him and us into a calamitous war--which would obviously betray his campaign promises and cause further damage to our republic.

    1. The reality is, I believe, that a cautiously cooperative relationship with Russia could do wonders for an America First foreign policy. That is the understanding that Trump came into office with, and that's part of the reason for the Russia Hoax--to prevent an American First policy.

    2. @Luke

      FWIW, Bacevich, who has legitimate and impressive anti-Endless War credentials, is also a victim of TDS...funny how things work, isn't it?

    3. Yes, I was aware of that aspect of Bacevich. Perhaps I'm being unfair, but it appears that his conversion to anti-war happened after his son was killed in Iraq. He also supported Obama in 2008 while claiming to be a "Catholic conservative." I would add, too, that Mike Lee, while a solid conservative in some respects, takes other troubling positions.

      I say these things to point out the problems that Trump faces in staffing his administration. As I've said many times, the difficulty is finding candidates who can be confirmed by the Senate.

    4. Cassander, I hear you on Bacevich's TDS, which, I'm gathering, owes much to his tilt toward SJW-ism.
      But, his grasp of the evil of the D.S. and other Elites gives me some hope, that he may be open-minded enough to face emerging evidence of Obama's monstrous malgovernance.

      If Obama is shown (by e.g. Barr/ Durham) to have been a big part of a ginning up of a slew of ruses which, among other things, boosted the risks of WWIII, Bacevich may be alble to face the extent to which Obama, and his army of SJW backers, ginned up BLM, to distract the Left from their OWS-type suspicions that Obama was (as much as anything) a tool of Wall St., Koch Bros. etc. globalism.

      If Bacevich faces this music about Obama's D.S. and SJW-ism, he (and other pro-peace Lefties, e.g. Chomsky & Greenwald?) may be able to put their TDS in a better perspective.

    5. @Cassander, no surprise that Bacevich has been maligned by deep state, Neocon/Neoliberal parties.

      Also, Mark, fair point re the difficulty with senate confirmations. Perhaps this would be somewhat easier if Trump nominated a popular GOP legislator for a key position, but given the troubles John Ratcliffe faced, this isn't a surefire approach.

    6. Typo: "Bacevich may be ABLE" not alble.

  3. "Maybe it would be a good idea to have, like, a national conversation on matters of fundamental importance--like war and peace--before the SecState goes off half-cocked trying to start major land wars in Asia? We could discuss concepts like ... why? Or, Are there alternatives?"

    A conversation for another day is the reality that Congress has wholly abdicated is responsibility over war and peace (declaration of war power) to the Executive.

    This is an important conversation because much of the mess we are in today flows from the abdication of Congress to responsibly exercise its powers. The monstrous Administrative State (aka Deep State) is, for example, the creation and result of Congress's failure to legislate.

    And on and on.

    1. Absolutely. The Administrative State is at the heart of our problems. Or, at least its the outward manifestation and implementation of those fundamental problems. It is one answer--a negative answer--to Lincoln's question: can government of the people, by the people, for the people long endure?

  4. I'm not worrying. I wouldn't be surprised if Trump approved the retaliatory attack. It was a small response to a small attack. Necessary if we want to maintain troops on the ground.

    The real problem is that we have troops & "contractors" on the ground in Iraq. That's an ongoing provocation to Muslims of all stripes in Iraq.
    If I were Trump I'd use that retaliatory attack as cover to withdraw all troops & "contractors" now. If he doesn't, he's risking a lot more problems.

    1. Declare victory and leave? Good idea.

    2. I wouldn't bother with any fake victory speech. The mission was simply to occupy both Iraq & Afghanistan, showing the world how American wannabe-cowboy politicians are happy to sacrifice American 18-year-olds to other people's tribal wars. It was disgusting. Maybe a speech like that.