You are browsing the archive for 2018 May 27.

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Should U.S. Trade Troops in South Korea for Norks’ Nukes?

May 27, 2018 in Economics

By Doug Bandow

Doug Bandow

The summit between President Donald Trump and North Korea’s
Supreme Leader Kim Jong-un remains off, for now. But the president
suggested that he might reverse course again. Especially after the
surprise meeting between Kim and South Korean President Moon
Jae-in, anything seems possible. A Trump-Kim tête-à-tête
could fail spectacularly, but it would offer an opportunity to
reduce tensions on the peninsula and perhaps even advance the
objective of eliminating the North’s nuclear arsenal.

Most American policymakers desire the end of the Kim dynasty, if
nothing else because of its crimes against the North Korean people.
However, the most critical issue facing the U.S. and Northeast Asia
is the prospect of the DPRK expanding its nuclear arsenal and
extending the range of its missiles. Resolving that issue would
increase opportunities to engage the North over human rights.
Failing to satisfy the two sides’ respective security concerns
would make progress in other areas unlikely.

Any meaningful agreement, especially one which meets the
administration objective of speedy denuclearization, will require
U.S. concessions. But so far the administration position appears to
be that the Democratic People’s Republic of Korea should disarm,
hoping to receive generous but as yet undetermined benefits. That
includes on the crucial issue of security, even though the last
dictator to trust Washington after disarming, Libya’s Muammar
Gaddafi, ended up dead at the hands of a street mob. Pyongyang’s
outburst, which led President Trump to cancel the summit, appeared
to be the DPRK saying that it would not be played.

The Trump administration and its ally South Korea have offered
verbal assurances, such as Secretary of State Mike Pompeo’s
statement that he does not desire regime change and the president’s
promise that Kim will be “very, very happy.” Little better are the
paper guarantees on offer, such as a peace treaty to formally end
the Korean conflict. The plea appears to be to “trust us.”

However, Kim, despite his relative youth, is no impressionable
naïf, likely to be moved by the president whispering a few
sweet-nothings into his ear. At age 27 Kim took over a venerable
dictatorship, eliminated a gaggle of more experienced rivals, and
even brutally purged family members.

After decades of military
involvement on the Korean peninsula, America’s presence has become
an important card to play in negotiations with North Korea, whether
at a summit or in other negotiations with Pyongyang.

What could the U.S. offer? The most visible American military
threat and important symbol of U.S. intervention is the troop
presence in South Korea, along with the underlying security
alliance. The latter was formed in the aftermath of the
inconclusive end of the Korean War. Despite massive …read more

Source: OP-EDS

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These Investigations All Took Much Longer than Mueller’s Probe Has So Far

May 27, 2018 in Blogs

By History News Network

Traumatic historical events merit thorough investigation. Robert Mueller needs to keep working and the public needs to be patient.

Special Counsel Robert Mueller's investigation of Russian meddling in the 2016 presidential election and possible collusion with Donald Trump's campaign has just entered its second year. It has resulted in criminal indictments of several individuals and Russian companies and a number of other actions. 

The President wants the investigation to end. But history suggests that it needs to continue for as long as it takes to expose what really happened and outline actions to prevent recurrence.

In October 2016, before the presidential election, several U.S. intelligence agencies reported that the Russians had been meddling in the election process. After the election, president Obama expelled a number of Russian diplomats in retaliation. The House Intelligence Committee and the Senate Intelligence Committee have both investigated and issued reports confirming Russian interference, but differing on whether the Russians were trying to help Trump. Additional Senate reports are expected in the future. But judging from what has been released so far, neither the House report nor Senate reports seem likely to be definitive or fully revealing about what happened and why.

Getting to the bottom of things takes time, as the following examples indicate.

Pearl Harbor – 4 1/2 years

The Japanese bombed the American naval and air bases at Pearl Harbor, Hawaii without warning on December 7, 1941, a surprise attack that brought the United States into World War II, against Japan and its ally Germany. The U.S. government conducted eight official inquiries into the attack between 1941 and 1945, including one by the Army, one by the Navy, one by the Secretary of War, and one under the direction of President Franklin D. Roosevelt. 

As a result of the probes, the Army and Navy commanders at Pearl Harbor were removed for dereliction of duty. Other actions were taken to tighten military intelligence and security. The war was fought to a victorious close by September 1945.

But the public was not satisfied with the official explanation. Why exactly had America been caught by surprise? Congress decided more was …read more


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Monument Placed by Nazis Sits Quietly in Tennessee Cemetery

May 27, 2018 in Blogs

By Daniel Jackson, Courthouse News

There’s little indication from looking at it that a pillar in a cemetery in Chattanooga, Tennessee, was erected by representatives of Nazi Germany on the eve of World War II.

There’s little indication from looking at it that a pillar in a cemetery in Chattanooga, Tennessee, was erected by representatives of Nazi Germany on the eve of World War II.

It bears no swastika. Its inscription in German makes no mention of the Third Reich, a master race or even a message glorifying war, as the Nazis were known to do.

Unlike monuments to the Confederacy – many of which were erected decades after the U.S. Civil War – the Nazi German government erected the monument in Chattanooga before the world knew of concentration camps, the Holocaust, blitzkriegs and fire bombings.

Members from Nazi Germany’s diplomatic mission to the United States quietly installed the pillar in 1935 to memorialize German prisoners of war who died in America during World War I.

It stands in the Chattanooga National Cemetery among the graves of the German POWs, on the side of a hill surrounded by rows of white tombstones for American veterans.

The full story of how the monument came to be lies in old newspapers living in microfilm at the Chattanooga Public Library and the original, typewritten monthly reports by the cemetery’s superintendent, which sit in the archives of the nearby Chickamauga and Chattanooga National Military Park.

In February 1933, The Chattanooga Daily Times reported that the German government was planning to place a monument in the Chattanooga National Cemetery.

Days before, on Feb. 4, the remains of 22 German sailors who died in Hot Springs, North Carolina, were reburied there, joining the graves of dozens of German POWs who died in nearby Fort Oglethorpe, Georgia. A local Presbyterian minister delivered a prayer service.

Their remains were buried in secret, with the local papers only learning of the reburial the next day.

This came five days after a certain Adolf Hitler was named chancellor of Germany. A few weeks later, a fire started by arson burned the German Parliament building, which led to the suspension of civil …read more


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Forget the Deep State — This Is the Trump State

May 27, 2018 in Blogs

By Robert Kuttner, The American Prospect

Trump has created a government that reflects himself, in which the most important question is what he and his accomplices can take for themselves.

Periodically over the last year and a half we've had cause to ask ourselves, “Is this it? Is this the moment we've been dreading and warning about? When Donald Trump truly becomes the kind of president he keeps telling us he wants to be?”

Sometimes it's hard to tell. It's as if we're all standing in a river of corruption rushing around us with impossible speed and force, and every once in a while another wave smashes us in the face. Was that wave the real problem, or is it the whole river?

The answer is: It's both. The “Deep State” may be a myth, but we've seen the installation of the Trump State, which is something far worse.

Here's what Trump tweeted on Sunday:

Yes, that's the president of the United States, “hereby demanding” an investigation into the investigation of him, and along with it an investigation into his political enemies.

What led him to this latest bout of rage-tweeting was a series of reports about the investigations into Russian interference in the 2016 campaign and some related matters. First it emerged that after the FBI learned that people with connections to the Russian government had been in contact with Trump campaign officials, offering to help them in the election, the bureau sent a confidential source it had used before to reach out to those Trump officials to try to learn more.

Trump falsely claimed that this meant that “there was indeed at least one FBI representative implanted, for political purposes, into my campaign for president,” but the truth was far different. As former FBI agent Asha Rangappa noted, the bureau was conducting a counterintelligence investigation, not a criminal one. In other words, they were trying to find out what the Russians were up to and whom they had compromised—if anything, to protect Trump and his campaign from Russia. And the FBI was extraordinarily careful not to let …read more


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Noam Chomsky on Donald Trump and the 'Me First' Doctrine

May 27, 2018 in Blogs

By C.J. Polychroniou, Truthout

In Trumpian lingo, “America First” means “me first” and damn the consequences for the country or the world.

President Trump's sudden cancellation of the upcoming denuclearization summit with North Korean leader Kim Jong Un is just the latest example of Trump's wildly erratic approach to foreign policy.

While Trump's domestic policies seem to be guided by clear objectives — increasing corporate profits, undoing every policy made by the Obama administration, and appeasing Trump's anti-immigrant base — the imperatives driving US foreign policy under Trump remain something of a mystery.

In this exclusive interview, renowned linguist and public intellectual Noam Chomsky sheds light on the realities and dangers of foreign relations in the age of “gangster capitalism” and the decline of the US as a superpower.

C. J. Polychroniou: Noam, Donald Trump rose to power with “America First” as the key slogan of his election campaign. However, looking at what his administration has done so far on both the domestic and international front, it is hard to see how his policies are contributing to the well-being and security of the United States. With that in mind, can you decode for us what Trump's “America First” policy may be about with regard to international relations?

Noam Chomsky: It is only natural to expect that policies will be designed for the benefit of the designers and their actual — not pretended — constituency, and that the well-being and security of the society will be incidental. And that is what we commonly discover. We might recall, for example, the frank comments on the Monroe Doctrine by Woodrow Wilson's Secretary of State, Robert Lansing: “In its advocacy of the Monroe Doctrine the United States considers its own interests. The integrity of other American nations is an incident, not an end. While this may seem based on selfishness alone, the author of the Doctrine had no higher or more generous motive in its declaration.” The observation generalizes in international affairs, and much the same logic holds within the society.

There is nothing essentially new about “America First,” and “America” does not mean America, but rather the designers and their actual constituency.

In …read more


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Ireland's Landslide Vote to Repeal the 8th Amendment in Historic Abortion Referendum Marks a Huge Cultural Shift

May 27, 2018 in Blogs

By The Conversation

It had looked like the vote would be close but, in the end, the people opted resoundingly for repeal.

In a historic referendum, the Irish people have voted by a landslide to repeal the 8th amendment to the country’s constitution, allowing the government to legislate for abortion. The vote illustrates the monumental shift in attitudes towards women’s rights in Ireland. It’s also testament to the power of a grassroots mobilised campaign which enabled women to share 35 years worth of experiences of pregnancy under the 8th amendment.

High-profile cases such as that of Savita Halappanavar and Amanda Mellet resonated with the public conscience and the telling of thousands of everyday stories illustrated how many women have been affected by the 8th amendment. Groups such as Termination for Medical Reasons spoke of having to travel abroad to end pregnancies with foetal anomalies. Projects including In her Shoes and Not at Home have published stories of abortion travel and buying abortion pills to end pregnancies alone without support or aftercare. In our research (led by Dr Fiona Bloomer of Ulster University) on abortion as a workplace issue, women spoke of the silence and stigma surrounding abortion. They revealed the costs involved in having to travel, being able to afford or get leave from work, worries about confidentiality and access to follow-up treatment.

Exit polls also asked people about their reason for voting Yes. They revealed “women’s right to choose” as the top influencing factor for voters followed by “risk to health or life”. This is indicative of a wider shift in attitudes towards women, the impact of the 8th amendment on all pregnancies, and the recognition that women can be trusted to make decisions about their pregnancy.

What now for Northern Ireland?

One of the most heartening things to witness in this campaign was the north-south solidarity on the island. Alliance for Choice (Northern Ireland’s key grassroots activist group campaigning for abortion rights in the region) regularly campaigned for a Yes vote in the Irish counties bordering Northern Ireland. But what now for Northern Ireland?

As with the 2015 same-sex marriage referendum, …read more