BrianBM

Two Other News Items

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Mueller's grand jury (juries?) will fascinate us all for a few days.  Two other news items caught my eye.

1.  Top US commander in Afghanistan is Gen. John Nicholson.  President Trump got into a shouting match with DefSec Mattis and JCS Chairman Gen. Dunford about him; Trump is furious that the Afghan war is a slow-losing stalemate and wanted to fire Nicholson; Mattis and Dunford leapt to his defense, which made Trump all the angrier.  Steve Bannon and Gen. McMaster had their own shouting match, which may or may not have been the same meeting. The President refused to expressly authorize, or to refuse to authorize, a troop rise that Gen. Nicholson has been seeking, which Dunford and Mattis apparently support.  Source is military dot com, if interested, check within the day.  Their stories turn over quickly.

A side note. J has alerted us to attacks on McMaster from the Twitterverse.  A very hard collision with Bannon, and probably not the first, would explain this.  As the former master of Breitbart, Bannon is able to call any number of right-wing Twitter trolls to the attack.

2.  President Trump feels that his national security staff has essentially coerced him into certifying to Congress that Iran is living up to its' end of the nuclear weapons deal.  He badly wants to repudiate the treaty, and claim that Iran has broken it.  He has instructed aides to develop facts to prove that Iran is in violation. To make sure that the right facts are found, the aides were instructed to keep Sec. Tillerson out of the loop, and work around State. Tillerson is not happy with this. 

The source here is the latest issue of The Economist, which goes on to note that the Congressional tying of his hands with regards to Russian sanctions has deeply offended him, and left him feeling in need of self-assertion. 

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A-stan plain-out stinks. There's been 16 yrs of trying to train Afghan forces, what's another 4000 US troops gonna do?

Mattis, McMaster and Tillerson all feel the US should stay in the Iran agreement. This argument has been brewing for a while.

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1) There is no win in Afghanistan and Trump is smarter than all his generals. He told us so.

It's weird that he bitterly complains of no win but refuses to authorize any strategy requested by military leadership.   :headscratch: 

 

2) What is his end game to finding Iran in noncompliance?

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The so called Iran agreement is a legacy document so full of loopholes and outs that it is nothing more than a diplomatic face saving exercise in futility.

 

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1 minute ago, Gotcow? said:

1) There is no win in Afghanistan and Trump is smarter than all his generals. He told us so.

It's weird that he bitterly complains of no win but refuses to authorize any strategy requested by military leadership.   :headscratch: 

 

2) What is his end game to finding Iran in noncompliance?

No more troops in Afghanistan.

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Gotcow, he can simply refuse to affirmatively state that Iran is complying.  

President Trump campaigned against the Iran nuclear deal, which is not a treaty - the Senate never ratified it as such.  It's an executive agreement. He has said that he wants to re-negotiate it.  Unfortunately, the coalition which gave the sanctions teeth and supported us (Russia, China, Germany, France, the UK, Italy) no longer exists.  

If we repudiate the agreement, the money that Iran wants to spend on Boeing airliners will simply go to Airbus, and both the President's base and Iran's most anti-American hardliners will benefit. I doubt the second part means a thing to the President. 

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Just now, BrianBM said:

Gotcow, he can simply refuse to affirmatively state that Iran is complying.  

President Trump campaigned against the Iran nuclear deal, which is not a treaty - the Senate never ratified it as such.  It's an executive agreement. He has said that he wants to re-negotiate it.  Unfortunately, the coalition which gave the sanctions teeth and supported us (Russia, China, Germany, France, the UK, Italy) no longer exists.  

If we repudiate the agreement, the money that Iran wants to spend on Boeing airliners will simply go to Airbus, and both the President's base and Iran's most anti-American hardliners will benefit. I doubt the second part means a thing to the President. 

I find both of these issues very disturbing and irrational.

You will see the base turn if he costs Boeing 100 aircraft and American jobs.

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As far as Afghanistan goes, I doubt that firing Gen. Nicholson will have any good effect.  I don't know what would have a good effect. I'm aware of what the generals want, which may be right or wrong. Bannon is urging a short fast pull out, which would have been treasonous and a betrayal if Obama had done it, but that was then and this is now. 

President Bush had to fire a bunch of generals to find ones who supported his view of the Iraq War as a gimme.  Perhaps President Trump will have to fire a bunch of generals to find some that will agree with him more often, too. 

As far as Iran goes, Iran is compliant by all accounts, except Trump's, with the nuclear agreement. I think what's driving Trump is his sense that undoing whatever Obama did will please his base (it largely will).  One poster here wrote, at that time, that it doesn't matter if the deal is good or bad; if Obama did it then we have to oppose it. I'm sure there are plenty of people who feel that way.  

Iran is a bad actor. I'd rather they be a bad actor without nuclear weapons then a bad actor with nuclear weapons, but there are plenty of people who don't see it that way.

Edited by BrianBM

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2 minutes ago, Gotcow? said:

I find both of these issues very disturbing and irrational.

You will see the base turn if he costs Boeing 100 aircraft and American jobs.

Not necessarily.  Boeing's workers may turn, but as a percentage of the American workforce, they're not that big. Who else will really notice?   

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Just now, BrianBM said:

Not necessarily.  Boeing's workers may turn, but as a percentage of the American workforce, they're not that big. Who else will really notice?   

One of the biggest value exports to our GDP is aerospace.

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Just now, BrianBM said:

 

Iran is a bad actor. I'd rather they be a bad actor without nuclear weapons then a bad actor with nuclear weapons, but there are plenty of people who don't see it that way.

Yes, Iran is a bad actor but I believe you operate under the false illusion that we can prevent them from getting nukes if they are so set on doing so.

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1 minute ago, Gotcow? said:

Yes, Iran is a bad actor but I believe you operate under the false illusion that we can prevent them from getting nukes if they are so set on doing so.

They now have billions released under the "agreement" to buy from Pakistan, North Korea or shudder, China, and they will.

Those who wrote the agreement on the US side are either fundamentally naive, or complicit.

Agreements to the Sand Tribes are like Shifting Sands Estate, gone with the next wind.

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6 minutes ago, Gotcow? said:

Yes, Iran is a bad actor but I believe you operate under the false illusion that we can prevent them from getting nukes if they are so set on doing so.

They're closer to being a democracy then some governments we support.  Iran is bent on establishing a Shia arc across the middle east. The costs of their wars in Yemen and Syria are enough to hurt.  They made a calculated decision to back off on the nuclear program in order to pursue other goals, some of which are appalling, some of which are appalling but irrelevant to you and me. (I don't care which Islam is the true Islam, Saudi Arabian Salafist Sunni Islam or Iranian Shia Islam.  They can kill each other until Hell freezes, I won't worry about the outcome.) 

No one has pretended that the agreement will forever bar Iran from obtaining nuclear  weapons.  A fifteen year delay, especially if it results in Iran's getting more embedded in the global economy, is still worth having.

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