Feeds:
Posts
Comments

Archive for the ‘Foreign Policy’ Category

Last Thursday, I mentioned the new administration’s tactic of choice, diversion.  This week, thanks to George Lakoff, we have a handy diagram for the analysis of tweets from Trump.

So it comes as no surprise that while Trump lobbed a grenade at Nordstrom’s and while we were all attending to the ninth circuit court of appeals which upheld the stay on the immigration ban and the endless confirmation hearings,  the explosions were happening elsewhere.

Last night and today, massive immigration raids were taking place in at least six states.

U.S. immigration authorities made a series of arrests in at least half a dozen states across the country on Thursday and Friday, sweeping up an unknown number of undocumented immigrants, immigration lawyers and advocates said.

The raids, which appeared to target scores of people, including those without criminal records, mark the first largescale episode of immigration enforcement inside the United States since President Trump’s Jan. 26 order to crack down on the estimated 11 million immigrants living here illegally. Immigration lawyers and advocates said some of the enforcement efforts included traffic stops and checkpoints, though Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) officials disputed those accounts, saying the agency does not use checkpoints while engaging in targeted enforcement operations.

Read more >>>>

These followed the very high profile deportation of an Arizona woman who had reported as required of her to a local ICE office.

Typically, while we attend to all of this, we are supposed to be distracted from the Russia story, but that one grew extra legs just this evening. It appears that U.S. investigators have been able to corroborate portions of the dossier we referred to last week as the Christopher Steele Memos.

US investigators corroborate some aspects of the Russia dossier

Coupled with that one was this.

 National security adviser Flynn discussed sanctions with Russian ambassador, despite denials, officials say

National security adviser Michael Flynn privately discussed U.S. sanctions against Russia with that country’s ambassador to the United States during the month before President Trump took office, contrary to public assertions by Trump officials, current and former U.S. officials said.

Flynn’s communications with Russian Ambassador Sergey Kislyak were interpreted by some senior U.S. officials as an inappropriate and potentially illegal signal to the Kremlin that it could expect a reprieve from sanctions that were being imposed by the Obama administration in late December to punish Russia for its alleged interference in the 2016 election.

Read more >>>>

This story, of course, is the elephant in the room. The Russian connection to the Trump campaign and White House impugns the integrity of the election and the intentions of the administration with regard to Russian sanctions, not only for alleged election hanky-panky but also those imposed over Russian incursions in Ukraine. It lends credence to the idea that Putin’s antipathy to Hillary Clinton’s candidacy was based on a lot more than a personality conflict and his idée-fixe that she somehow orchestrated mass demonstrations following the Russian parliamentary elections in 2011.

Deep Throat told Bob Woodward to follow the money. It is not hard to imagine that transactions involving Donald Trump might revolve around money. Alex Mohajer, late of Bros4Hillary, has constructed bulletin board worthy of Carrie Mathison from a series of interlocking documents. It is not complete, but is the best job of connecting the dots so far.

THE ROSNEFT RECEIPTS

Alex Mohajer @alexmohajer This morning

In light of Wash Post’s explosive article revealing Trump’s NSA Flynn contacted Russian officials BEFORE inauguration to discuss lifting sanctions, it’s getting harder to ignore growing evidence that Trump was involved with Russian oil deal.

See the documents >>>>

From this, we can see what entities acquired those mysterious Rosneft shares even if principals behind it remain shrouded.  it’s great detective work!  We can be relatively sure Alex will not let this opus rest here, so we can be reasonably sure that he will elaborate as he finds additional evidence. We look forward to that.

As for Hillary, she has steered clear of the Russian story which she tried to expose at the October 19 presidential debate. She did, however, register a reaction to the court decision on Thursday. Touted as ultimate shade, her tweet was concise.

Feb 9

 3-0

Ha!

09-26-16-z-24

The thing never to ignore is that Trump and the Republicans are working as a team. Wherever the fireworks go off, look elsewhere.  And watch this space.

Read Full Post »

The United States has four coasts subject to the perils presented by climate change: the Atlantic, the Pacific, the Gulf of Mexico, and the Arctic. As a nation with land above the Arctic Circle, we belong to the Arctic Council.

When she was secretary of state, Hillary Clinton participated regularly in Arctic Council summits hosted by a variety of the eight member nations. This was one. I have bolded the list of member states.

Lisa Murkowski  was nice enough to post this picture on her Facebook page along with this comment about an hour ago.

Lisa Murkowski

Heading home from the Arctic Council in Nuuk, Greenland. But wanted to share a picture: with the Ministers of the eight Arctic nations in attendance, as well as Secretary Clinton and Secretary Salazar.

Here is a fact sheet released by the State Department about the Arctic Council meeting results.

Secretary Clinton Signs the Arctic Search and Rescue Agreement with Other Arctic Nations

Fact Sheet

Office of the Spokesman
Washington, DC
May 12, 2011

On May 12, 2011, Secretary of State Hillary Rodham Clinton joined representatives of the other seven Member States of the Arctic Council (Canada, Denmark, Finland, Iceland, Norway, the Russian Federation, and Sweden) in signing an Agreement on Cooperation on Aeronautical and Maritime Search and Rescue (SAR) in the Arctic (Agreement). The Agreement is the first legally-binding instrument negotiated under the auspices of the Arctic Council. It coordinates life-saving international maritime and aeronautical SAR coverage and response among the Arctic States across an area of about 13 million square miles in the Arctic.

As Arctic sea ice coverage decreases, ship-borne activities are increasing significantly in the Arctic. Flight traffic is also on the rise as new polar aviation routes cross the Arctic air space in several directions. As human presence and activities in the Arctic expand, the potential for accidents increases as well. Limited rescue resources, challenging weather conditions, and the remoteness of the area render SAR operations difficult in the Arctic, making coordination among the Arctic nations imperative. The SAR Agreement will improve search and rescue response in the Arctic by committing all Parties to coordinate appropriate assistance to those in distress and to cooperate with each other in undertaking SAR operations. For each Party, the Agreement defines an area of the Arctic in which it will have lead responsibility in organizing responses to SAR incidents, both large and small. Parties to the Agreement commit to provide SAR assistance regardless of the nationality or status of persons who may need it.

Read more >>>>

(See more like this here>>>>)

It is immediately apparent why there is a need for this council. Russia is a player.

After Hillary left the State Department, she launched a series of  speaking engagements. One of these was in Canada.

Speaking to the Montreal Board of Trade last night, Hillary Clinton warned the audience of increased Russian activity in the Arctic and hung responsibility for another Cold War on Vladimir Putin’s doorknob.

As Secretary of State,  Hillary was an active participant in the Arctic Council and repeatedly echoed the message that we are an Arctic nation.  The concerns she voiced in Canada are as much an issue for the U.S. as they are for Canada.

Along with the disquiet she expressed regarding Russia’s activities in the north came further comments about recent activities in Europe.

Read more >>>>

In light of the above, this is of some concern or should be to all the member nations including ours.

Russian servicemen of the Northern Fleet’s Arctic mechanised infantry brigade participate in a military drill on riding reindeer and dog sleds near the settlement of Lovozero outside Murmansk, Russia January 23, 2017. Picture taken January 23, 2017. Lev Fedoseyev/Ministry of Defence of the Russian Federation/Handout via REUTERS
By Andrew Osborn | MURMANSK, Russia

The nuclear icebreaker Lenin, the pride and joy of the Soviet Union’s Arctic great game, lies at perpetual anchor in the frigid water here. A relic of the Cold War, it is now a museum.

But nearly three decades after the Lenin was taken out of service to be turned into a visitor attraction, Russia is again on the march in the Arctic and building new nuclear icebreakers.

It is part of a push to firm Moscow’s hand in the High North as it vies for dominance with traditional rivals Canada, the United States, and Norway as well as newcomer China.

SNIP

Grigory Stratiy, deputy governor of the Murmansk Region, told Reuters there was strong interest in sea route from Asian nations however and that new icebreakers would allow for year-round navigation in the 2020s.

“Whatever the weather, the Northern Sea Route will be needed. Its use will definitely grow,” said Stratiy, who said Russia was keen to attract foreign investment to the Arctic.

When asked about his country’s military build-up, he smiled.

“There’s no reason to be afraid I can reassure you,” he said, saying it was driven only by a need to modernize.

“Russia has never had any aggressive aims and won’t have them. We are very friendly people.”

Read more >>>>

Anyone thinking that Putin is playing nice friendly reindeer games up there is, of course, deluded despite the “peaceful and cooperative nature of the Arctic Region” as stated on the State Department page.  We should never trust Putin, as Hillary warned, especially when his military is involved. So this military build up is one thing to watch.

It’s nice to have ice breakers available when you need them, and the Russians were very helpful the time the whales were trapped under the ice as portrayed in that Drew Barrymore movie. Those missile installations, though. No wonder we sent troops to Norway.

The North Sea Route concept, characterized in the article as a mini Suez Canal, is an obvious business venture, but of course the real target is oil. Drilling in the Arctic is an enterprise popular with Republicans.

Lastly, how the hell did “newcomer China” get into this competition? It has no land above the Arctic Circle. Or does it?  Is it building synthetic islands up there, too?

The new administration has a dangerously narrow view of China’s adversarial scope. It goes beyond trans-Pacific trade and artificial islands to expand its continental limit in the South China Sea and East China Sea. China has invested in significant “development” enterprises in Africa centered largely on resource extraction with tandem infrastructure upgrades benefiting their ability to move products for shipment and not benefiting local residents or their farms or businesses in any way. I don’t think I have ever heard Donald Trump say the word “Africa.”  At the very least, China’s presence in the Arctic deserves a question.

As for Russia, and its military push, we always do well to heed the warnings of Hillary Clinton.

 

 

Read Full Post »

Just before Christmas six years ago, Secretary of State Hillary Clinton rushed to the Capitol to see the Senate vote and ratify the New START treaty.  The treaty was the result of hard work and long cooperation between her and Russian Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov and their teams. Here is her statement from that day.

Senate Approval of New START

Remarks

Hillary Rodham Clinton
Secretary of State
Washington, DC
December 22, 2010

Today the Senate took a great step forward in enhancing our national security by providing its advice and consent to ratification of the New Strategic Arms Reduction Treaty between the United States and the Russian Federation. I congratulate the Senators of both parties who worked tirelessly to ensure that New START was approved, and I thank all the Senators who voted for this treaty for their commitment to our national security.

Once this Treaty enters into force, on-site inspections of Russia’s strategic nuclear weapons facilities can resume, providing us with an on-the-ground view of Russia’s nuclear forces. The information and insight from these inspections forms the core of our ability to “trust but verify” compliance with New START. A responsible partnership between the world’s two largest nuclear powers that limits our nuclear arsenals while maintaining strategic stability is imperative to promoting global security. With New START, the United States and Russia will have another important element supporting our “reset” relationship and expanding our bilateral cooperation on a wide range of issues.

President Obama and Vice President Biden have been unwavering in their dedication to this treaty to both strengthen our domestic security and reduce the international threat of nuclear weapons. This day would not have been possible without their leadership or the efforts of Secretary Gates and Admiral Mullen. I also thank President George H.W. Bush and all the former Secretaries of State who added their support to this Treaty and worked to see New START approved. I and all my colleagues at the State Department look forward to working with our Russian partners to conclude the approval of New START in Russia, bring the Treaty into force, and deliver the global and national security benefits of New START.

It was a wonderful Christmas present for all of us.  It is a treaty and is in place.

Thank you, Hillary, for this important agreement between the U.S. and Russia. We live in a safer world because of your work. Amicable relations between our countries rely on respect for treaties which both leaders have signed and both governments have ratified more than they do on congratulatory notes and mutual admiration between leaders.

The Senate ratification was the final step in a long process.

(Read more about what it took to arrive at this treaty here >>>>)

Mme. Secretary, we wish you and your family a Merry Christmas.  Thank you for all of your hard work and this legacy of success in protecting us. Thank you for the effort you put into your campaign. We are grateful and are always here for you and with you.

Secretary of State Hillary Rodham Clinton, keeps her fingers crossed as she comes to see the vote on the New START Treaty. on Capitol Hill in Washington, Wednesday, Dec. 22, 2010. (AP Photo/Alex Brandon)

Secretary of State Hillary Rodham Clinton, keeps her fingers crossed as she comes to see the vote on the New START Treaty. on Capitol Hill in Washington, Wednesday, Dec. 22, 2010. (AP Photo/Alex Brandon)

Secretary of State Hillary Rodham Clinton leaves after the vote on the New START Treaty, Wednesday, Dec. 22, 2010, on Capitol Hill in Washington. (AP Photo/Alex Brandon)

Secretary of State Hillary Rodham Clinton leaves after the vote on the New START Treaty, Wednesday, Dec. 22, 2010, on Capitol Hill in Washington. (AP Photo/Alex Brandon)

US Secretary of State Hillary Clinton walks past the exit to the Senate floor after the Senate ratified the START nuclear arms reduction treaty at the US Capitol in Washington, December 22, 2010. REUTERS/Jonathan Ernst (UNITED STATES - Tags: POLITICS MILITARY)

US Secretary of State Hillary Clinton walks past the exit to the Senate floor after the Senate ratified the START nuclear arms reduction treaty at the US Capitol in Washington, December 22, 2010. REUTERS/Jonathan Ernst (UNITED STATES – Tags: POLITICS MILITARY)

U.S. Secretary of State Hillary Clinton greets people just off the Senate floor after the Senate ratified the START nuclear arms reduction treaty at the U.S. Capitol in Washington, December 22, 2010. REUTERS/Jonathan Ernst (UNITED STATES - Tags: POLITICS MILITARY)

U.S. Secretary of State Hillary Clinton greets people just off the Senate floor after the Senate ratified the START nuclear arms reduction treaty at the U.S. Capitol in Washington, December 22, 2010. REUTERS/Jonathan Ernst (UNITED STATES – Tags: POLITICS MILITARY)

Happy Holidays to everyone here at Still 4 Hill!  Thank you for all of your hard work this year, too!

Read Full Post »

Foreign Policy Magazine has never endorsed a presidential candidate.  The dramatic contrast between the 2016 major party candidates has impelled the editors to break tradition.  H/T to our pal “sam” for sharing this one.

Hillary Clinton for President of the United States

A Donald Trump presidency is among the greatest threats facing America, and the Republican standard-bearer is the worst major-party candidate for the job in U.S. history.

By The Editors of Foreign Policy

In the nearly half-century history of Foreign Policy, the editors of this publication have never endorsed a candidate for political office. We cherish and fiercely protect this publication’s independence and its reputation for objectivity, and we deeply value our relationship with all of our readers, regardless of political orientation.

It is for all these reasons that FP’s editors are now breaking with tradition to endorse Hillary Clinton for the next president of the United States.

Our readers depend on FP for insight and analysis into issues of national security and foreign policy. We feel that our obligation to our readers thus extends now to making clear the great magnitude of the threat that a Donald Trump presidency would pose to the United States. The dangers Trump presents as president stretch beyond the United States to the international economy, to global security, to America’s allies, as well as to countless innocents everywhere who would be the victims of his inexperience, his perverse policy views, and the profound unsuitability of his temperament for the office he seeks.

The litany of reasons Trump poses such a threat is so long that it is, in fact, shocking that he is a major party’s candidate for the presidency. The recent furor over his vile behavior with women illustrates the extraordinary nature of his unsuitability, as does his repudiation by so many members of his own party — who have so many reasons to reflexively support their nominee.

Read more >>>>

Foreign Policy is very familiar with Hillary Clinton’s qualifications having published about her regularly during her tenure at the State Department.

stand2

Read Full Post »

In her plane on the tarmac at Chicago Midway Airport this afternoon, Hillary spoke to the press.  She told them Trump appears to have broken the law and flouted U.S. foreign policy when he played a shell game with money to cover a business venture in Cuba in the late 90s.

A few other questions she responded to were definition of the “middle class” and how she would respond if Trump were to bring up issues affecting the second Clinton administration also in the late 90s.

She pegged the middle class thus and gave reasons.

“I will not raise taxes on anyone making less than $250,000.” —Hillary

As to the second question, she responded with this and told the press they would have to wait and see if he does raise this in a debate and hear her response at that time.

Trump “can run his campaign however he chooses…I’m going to keep talking about the stakes in this election.”

Hillary also expressed her appreciation for the support she is receiving from Republicans.

The late 90s are old news as far as the Clintons are concerned.  The issues have been revisited ad nauseam.  The information concerning Trump’s dealings with Cuba, however, are actual news.   This is what vetting a presidential candidate looks like, and it does deserve a spotlight.

Here is a statement from the campaign.

Statements

Statement from Jake Sullivan on Trump’s Reported Violation of the U.S. Embargo Against Cuba

Hillary for America senior policy adviser Jake Sullivan released the following statement in response to news that Donald Trump’s company violated the United States’ trade embargo against Cuba:

“Trump’s business with Cuba appears to have broken the law, flouted U.S. foreign policy, and is in complete contradiction to Trump’s own repeated, public statements that he had been offered opportunities to invest in Cuba but passed them up. This latest report shows once again that Trump will always put his own business interest ahead of the national interest – and has no trouble lying about it.”

The Trump campaign this morning:

Kellyanne Conway Was Asked Whether She Denied That Trump’s Company Spent Money In Cuba And Said “I Think They Paid Money, As I Understand From The Story, They Paid Money In 1998.” HOST: Are you denying that his company spent any money in Cuba? KELLYANNE CONWAY: I think they paid money, as I understand from the story, they paid money in 1998 – I know we’re not supposed to talk about years ago when it comes to the Clintons, but with Trump there is no statute of limitations.

Some of Trump’s comments on Cuba:

Trump Said European Investors “Have Asked Me To Take The ‘Trump Magic’ To Cuba.” “In a June 27 article in El Nuevo Herald (the Spanish-language version of the Miami Herald), New Jersey casino operator Trump revealed European investors ‘have asked me to take the “Trump Magic” to Cuba’ and build casino-hotels in Havana.” [New York Post, 7/11/99]

Trump Said He Would Earn Millions Of Dollars By Doing Business In Cuba But Would Lose His Self-Respect. “If he were to bypass the U.S. embargo this way, Trump said, ‘I could earn millions of dollars in Cuba. But I prefer to lose those millions than to lose my self-respect.’” [New York Post, 7/11/99]

1999: Trump Said He Would “Immediately Reverse The Move To Normalize Relations” With Fidel Castro And That “Normalization Is Pure Lunacy.” “I would also immediately reverse the move to normalize relations with the most abnormal political figure in our hemisphere: Fidel Castro. We have pushed him to the precipice with our embargo, helped of course by the withdrawal of Soviet backing. Now comes a movement, backed by State Department bureaucrats, to rescue Mr. Castro with U.S. dollars. The striped-pants set won’t like hearing this, but normalization is pure lunacy. If a right-wing dictator like Augusto Pinochet can be extradited and tried for his crimes against humanity, the same treatment is due Mr. Castro.” [Donald Trump, Wall Street Journal, 9/30/99]

2000: Trump On The Cuban Embargo: Cuba Will Be Freed By Ideas, Not By “Rapacious Businessmen Lining Castro’s Pockets And Propping Up His Oppressive Regime.” “Cuba will be freed by ideas, not by rapacious businessmen lining Castro’s pockets and propping up his oppressive regime.” [Donald Trump, The America We Deserve, 1/15/00]

Read more >>>> See Kurt Eichenwald’s article that raised the questions >>>>>

Eichenwald and Newsweek are performing a public service by exposing Trump’s questionable foreign relations.

dscn8840 dscn8842 dscn8844 dscn8845 dscn8848 dscn8851 dscn8856 dscn8857 dscn8864 dscn8869 dscn8873dscn8866

STAND

 

Read Full Post »

Hillary, contrary to popular Trumpesque memes, has neither been hiding/sleeping nor spending every waking minute of every day prepping to face her opponent tonight.  Sunday, Hillary dropped in on, “Apple Seeds,”  a kids’ center in the NYC Flatiron district, paid a visit to Chelsea and family, and met with Netanyahu who is in town for UNGA.

Campaign 2016 Clinton

Democratic presidential candidate Hillary Clinton waves as she arrives for a meeting with Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu in New York, Sunday, Sept. 25, 2016. (AP Photo/Matt Rourke)

Campaign 2016 Clinton

Democratic presidential candidate Hillary Clinton waves as she arrives for a meeting with Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu in New York, Sunday, Sept. 25, 2016. (AP Photo/Matt Rourke)

09-25-16-y-0209-25-16-y-01

STAND

Read Full Post »

Today, some pundits on the Sunday morning circuits were saying that, in the debate tomorrow, Hillary should concentrate on her policies and ignore Trump’s temperament and policies – such as they are.  That’s like trying to pry Lincoln off a penny.

One thing Hillary has to do is make clear the contrast between her proposed policies and Trump’s sketchy plans.  Trump tends to introduce his agenda explosively. His unstable temperament is part and parcel of his proposals. It shapes and conveys all at once. The ideas burst forth in spurts and tweets, long on angry force and short on details.

If Hillary’s campaign is any indication of how she intends to go at Trump, she will not be ignoring his shady side, and why should she? There is a lot of blank space in Trump’s plans. Here is the campaign’s latest volley.

New HFA Ad On Trump’s Failure to Release Tax Returns, Hiding His Russian Business Dealings

Hillary for America is airing a new television ad which links Donald Trump’s unprecedented refusal to release his tax returns to the growing concerns about his financial conflicts of interests especially with Russia. Trump has failed to disclose the most basic information expected from presidential candidates and the latest revelations about his connections to Russia make it all the more pressing that he disclose the extent of his financial network and how he will divest from it.

HFA Russian Dealings Ad

The ad highlights new revelations this week that Trump’s financial ties to Russia are far more extensive than previously understood. Trump has apparently profited from “hundreds of millions of dollars” invested by Russian business interests which could impact his national security decisions as president. ABC News reported this week that Trump profited from hundreds of millions of dollars in Russian business deals, potentially giving motive to his Pro-Kremlin policies. In addition, Yahoo News discovered that one of Trump’s foreign policy advisors is being investigated by U.S. intelligence officials for ties to the Kremlin. Sure enough, a recent op-ed by the Chief White House ethics lawyer for President George W. Bush and the chief White House ethics lawyer for President Obama argued that “A Trump presidency would be ethically compromised” because of conflicts of interests like these.

The details of his conflicts remain a mystery. While every major party nominee in the last 40 years has released their tax returns, Trump has refused. Recently, Donald Trump, Jr., admitted the real reason Trump won’t release his tax returns is because it would “distract” from his message. Recently, GOP Speaker of the House Paul Ryan said Trump should release his tax returns as did GOP Chairman of the Government Oversight Committee Jason Chaffetz. In comparison, Hillary Clinton released her 2015 personal tax return – meaning all returns have been public back to 1977 – and Senator Tim Kaine and his wife Anne Holton released 10 years of their returns.

Here is a somewhat longer and more specific version.

The implications for foreign policy under a Trump administration are beyond disturbing.  In polar opposition to his slogans, Trump’s hidden deals threaten to put America last and diminish the United States as a world power.  Trump’s supporters may be in the mood for a strongman, but history teaches us that strongmen rarely give much of a damn for the populace except to the degree the people serve their purposes, and it is difficult to be a strongman when you are beholden to foreign powers and money.

STAND

Read Full Post »

Older Posts »

%d bloggers like this: