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01 December 2016


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The Twisted Genius


Wow! That is a truly offensive thing for Mark Shields to say. I expect him to issue a retraction and apology within the next 24 hours. There is little as sacrosanct as the custom of officers never eating before all the men are fed in the field. It is simply not done.


Respectfully sir, that is not correct. His words were "dominant economic power". Israel may not do a lot of trade with it's neighbours but it most definitely is an economic power in the region thanks to all the US money spent to make it so. Oodles of arms, medical, electronics etc are designed and produced in Israel not to mention a fair bit of agriculture which is what they need the Palestinians for in the same way Americans need Mexicans.

They have preferential trade deals with the EU and LOTS of subsidies for their companies and research come from the EU. Do they have money like the Gulfies? No. But their economy isn't based purely on pumping oil either.

Thee reason that being the economic power is important is that it helps keep their military ahead of every one else's beyond what the US does.

Now having said that, if the US and EU stopped pumping so much money into Israel I think their economy would come very close to collapsing.

You are likely to ask for a link to the story I was originally referencing and I no longer have it or can't find it. I have looked for it a couple of times over the last couple of years. It was an address to a business group in one of the countries up near Russia but I don't remember which.


The headline was the best part of that article. But, that is the ultimate question.

My intention has been to stay neutral and open-minded about Trump, but it's been a challenge. The drama of the paradigm shift versus status quo is very seductive, and it's hard to resist playing the speculation game.

BTW... Chris Cillizza, a key political analyst at WaPo, is turning the corner on his view of Trump. He gives a remarkably positive analysis of Trumps cabinet picks.

Maybe Donald Trump knows what he’s doing with these Cabinet picks https://www.washingtonpost.com/news/the-fix/wp/2016/12/02/donald-trump-deserves-more-credit-than-hes-getting-for-his-cabinet-picks/
Still, viewed as of today with Hweitkamp and Manchin potentially in play and Mattis and Haley already picked, it's hard to say that the doomsday predictions for Trump's Cabinet have come true -- or anything close. What we've seen so far is a smart melange of close allies, well-respected establishment types and a few picks with helpful political repercussions for the party Trump now leads. Give credit where credit is due.

The status quo is starting to accept Trump.

Then Trump goes for the paradigm shift...
Trump speaks with Taiwanese president, a major break with decades of U.S. policy on China https://www.washingtonpost.com/world/national-security/trump-spoke-with-taiwanese-president-a-major-break-with-decades-of-us-policy-on-china/2016/12/02/b98d3a22-b8ca-11e6-959c-172c82123976_story.html

Looks like he did this knowingly. This is one way Trump will be very different than Obama. Trump is going to want to meet and socialize with the other world leaders and get to know them so he can negotiate with them directly if need be. How will the State Dept. deal with it when he ignores their advice? Obama was not much interested in building relationships with the leaders of other countries. Expect this aspect of Trump's personality will have a significant impact on foreign policy.

mike allen

Never heard of him. Who is he?

mike allen

Never mind, I googled him and recognize him now. But the transcript adds the caveat: that I know. So he may have meant no offense and was only speaking from what he knew of his own service. Has he ever been a correspondent attached to Army units?

But I do recall hearing many years ago about the other story Shields told regarding General Mathis standing OD duty on Christmas Eve while a Brigadier at Quantico.



"It was just a rumor, but it does give one an idea of the sort of mentality pro-war groups in the UK feel about the place, and where they place their hopes" Why are you spreading rumors? I "called" you on this before when you made statements of supposed fact that you could not support. If you want to state an opinion, do so but do not claim your opinion is a pseudo fact. pl


mike allen

Mark Shields was once an enlisted Marine. His head is filled with the usual Marine bullshit about the Army. You, of course, are suggesting that what he said about us may be true. pl

Peter Reichard

Trump is admittedly not well read in history and foreign policy and is on a steep learning curve. Lacking a deep understanding of these subjects makes him more vulnerable to having his decisions subtly tilted by his advisers towards their agenda through the selective information they feed him than someone like Henry Kissinger would be.

robt willmann


The Iran nuclear deal will be difficult from a political standpoint to unravel because it is between Iran and six countries. From the preamble: "The Islamic Republic of Iran and the E3/EU+3 (China, France, Germany, the Russian Federation, the United Kingdom and the United States, with the High Representative of the European Union for Foreign Affairs and Security Policy) have decided upon this long-term Joint Comprehensive Plan of Action (JCPOA)."

United Nations security council resolution 2231 of last year addressed the agreement. Resolution 2231 and the JCPOA can be found here (104 pages, the Iran agreement starts on pdf page 8; you have to have 'cookies' on with your browser to view or download it)--


The Iran Sanctions Act of 1996 dates back 20 years. I have not read the JCPOA and do not know if it contains a provision looking at the Iran Sanctions Act. At the very least, the JCPOA, along with UN resolution 2231, will eventually remove all UN-related sanctions that exist because of Iran's nuclear program.

Babak Makkinejad

Due to the avowed and acknowledged leadership of the United States of the "Fortress West", the greater danger, in my opinion, is for the United States to commit herself and "The West", willy-nilly, into a centuries long war with Islam.

West of Diocletian lines, the intellectual ground for such a war could be sought in the Enlightenment Tradition. East of the Diocletian Lines, anti-Islam attitudes (for historical reasons) obtain in Romania, Bulgaria, Greece, and Hungary.

They would march gladly against Islam; expecting a quick victory due to their perceived strategic preponderance; in my opinion.

The only substantial constrain that I can see against a religious war between Fortress West and Islam is the Catholic Church and the Vatican.

mike allen

Colonel -

I may have suggested somesuch back when I was a Pfc. But back then I also suggested the same about Marine units other than my own. There is as you well know a great deal of mockery and insult among most military units. I have heard taunts and somewhat overripe slander from Soldiers in the 82nd, Sailors in the Silent Service and even from an Air Force tin-knocker. It comes with the territory and with the pursuit of team spirit. It would still be there if we all wore the mythical Joint Forces purple.

Regarding your comment about Mark Shields head being "filled with the usual Marine bullshit about the Army": Are you suggesting there is no Army BS about Marines and Sailors and Airmen? Maybe or maybe not in the O Club, but you know darn well there was some among the troops. Perhaps you or your NCOs even fostered it?


mike allen

Point taken. There is something about Shields' smugness that just pisses me off. I got on much better with Jim Lehrer who was another former Marine. pl



I don't think CIA, jihadis or anyone else can get in or out of East Aleppo now. pl



Israel is not economically part of the ME. How can it dominate the region economically? pl

Green Zone Café

Ya, even though Iran is buying Boeings, the Congress voted to continue sanctions.

This will be the first test of Trump. He did say "no more regime change" in Ohio a couple of days ago.

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