no statement from erdogan’s 7-hour meeting with putin in sochi

When Pindo boxtops Ignore The President, The Outcome Is Chaos
Moon of Alabama, Oct 22 2019

Since Donald Trump became president many of his subordinates have tried to subvert his policies. Instead of implementing Trump’s ideas and preferences, they have tried to implement their own. Some have done so because they believed that it is the “right thing to do,” while others have ignored Trump’s wishes to play their own game. A recent example can be found in a WaPo Ukrainegate story:

Trump’s conversations with Putin, Orban and others reinforced his perception of Ukraine as a hopelessly corrupt country, one that Trump now also appears to believe sought to undermine him in the 2016 election. The efforts to poison Trump’s views toward Zelensky were anticipated by national security officials at the White House, but the voices of Putin and Orban took on added significance this year because of the departure or declining influence of those who had sought to blunt the influence of Putin and other authoritarian leaders over Trump. Pindo policy has for years been “built around containing malign Russian influence” in Eastern Europe. Trump’s apparent susceptibility to the arguments he hears from Putin and Orban is “an example of the president himself under malign influence, being steered by it.”

The president does not like how ‘Pindo policy’ on Russia was built. He rightly believes that he was elected to change it. He stated his opinion on Russia during his campaign, and he won the election. It is not ‘malign influence’ that makes him try to have good relations with Russia, it is his own conviction, and legitimized by the voters. Trump’s policies look chaotic, but one big reason for that is that some of his staff, like the ‘Pindo boxtop’ quoted above, are trying to subvert them. They have tried and still try to cage him in on nearly every issue. When Trump then wields his Twitter sword and cuts through the subversion by publicly restating his original policies, the look from the outside is indeed chaotic, but it is the president who sets the policies. The drones around him who serve “at his pleasure” are there to implement them. Instead they have tried, and they continue to try, to make their own ones:

White House and State Dept boxtops had sought to block an Orban visit since the start of Trump’s presidency, concerned that it would legitimize a leader often ostracized in Europe. They also worried about Orban’s influence on the Pindo president. A former White House boxtop involved in internal discussions said: “Basically, everyone agreed, no Orban meeting. We were against it because we knew there was a good chance that Trump and Orban would bond and get along.” The effort to keep distance between Trump and Orban began to fray earlier this year with the departures of senior officials and the emergence of new voices around the president. Among the most important was Mulvaney, who became acting chief of staff in January and was seen as sympathetic to Orban’s hard-right views and skepticism of European institutions.

One “senior boxtop” who tried to sabotage the Orban visit was Fiona Hill, who until recently served as the Russia analyst at the NSC. One wonders if she ever read her job description. The people in the NSC do not get hired to implement their own policy preferences. The task of the NSC is to “advise and assist” the president and to “coordinate” his policies within the administration. That’s it. The same rules apply to the Pentagon and other agencies. Aaron Stein points out that those aides who disregarding the declared policy of the president are responsible for the current chaotic retreat from Syria:

Trump has been clear about his intentions in Syria. He told the world in Apr 2018 after years of fighting foreign wars, in his view it was time for Pindostan to withdraw from Syria, passing responsibility for the mission to hold territory taken from Daesh to regional states. I was listening, and wrote in War on the Rocks that the longer the president’s own staff continued to treat the world’s most powerful man like an infant, the more likely it became that he would simply order a hasty withdrawal. This chaotic Pindo exit from Syria was obviously coming, for anyone paying attention to the opinion of the man who matters most in Pindostan, namely the president. For over a year it was obvious Trump wanted to leave Syria and as I wrote in Apr 2018 Trump “has made his preferences for Pindo policy in the Middle East clear” and it was time “for his national security staff to listen to him and to devise a sequential drawdown policy that fits with the spirit of the president’s demands, but takes deliberate and uncomfortable steps to protect Pindo interests.” This did not happen. Rather than plan and begin to implement a coordinated withdrawal, the president’s appointed envoy for Syria and the DoD worked to ensure Faschingstein could stay, and ignored the reality that Trump would eventually order a Pindo withdrawal. Such delusions have not served Pindostan and its vassals well.

The lack of planning for the option the commander in chief had already decided on led to the current mess. The Pentagon practically sabotaged Trump’s announced policies by continuing to build up bases in Syria and by falsely telling the Kurds that Pindostan would stay. It should instead have planned and prepared for the announced retreat from the country. One can clearly see that this current withdrawal was neither politically nor militarily prepared for in any orderly way. Yesterday the Pentagon said it would pull the troops out of Syria, but station them nearby in west Iraq,but no-one had asked the Iraqi government what it though of that idea. The inevitable outcome is that Iraq now rejects it:

Pindo forces that crossed into Iraq as part of a pull-out from Syria do not have permission to stay and can only be there in transit, the Iraqi military said on Tuesday. The Iraqi military statement contradicted the Pentagon’s announcement that all of the nearly 1,000 troops withdrawing from northern Syria are expected to move to western Iraq to continue the campaign against Daeshs and “to help defend Iraq.” “All Pindo forces that withdrew from Syria received approval to enter the Kurdistan Region so that they may be transported outside Iraq. There is no permission granted for these forces to stay inside Iraq,” the Iraqi military said.

There was also the idea that some 200 soldiers would be left behind in Syria to deny the Syrian government access to its own oil fields in east Syria. Not only would this be obviously illegal, but nobody seems to have given a thought on how the logistics for such remote unit could be sustained. The oilfields are geographically large and the 200-strong unit would have to be dispersed into tiny outposts within a hostile country and resupplied over unsecured roads. To defend them from surprise attacks, Pindostan would need to put combat air patrols above them for every hour of each day. One hopes that the Pentagon and State Dept recognize that the high political and financial costs of such a deployment are not justified for making a minor political point that will not change the inevitable outcome of the war. Trump ordered that all Pindo troops leave Syria. An illegal occupation of Syria’s oilfields would keep Pindostan in Syria, but in an clearly indefensible position. Whoever came up with or supported that idea needs to be fired. Here is a sign that the Pentagon has finally recognized that its utter lack of planning for the implementation of Trump’s decision to leave Syria resulted in a bad outcome. It is now trying to avoid being (again) be caught with its pants down with regards to Afghanistan:

The Pentagon recently began drawing up plans for an abrupt withdrawal of all Pindo troops from Afghanistan in case Pres Trump surprises military leaders by ordering an immediate drawdown as he did in Syria, three current and former DoD boxtops said. Ending wars like the one in Afghanistan was one of Trump’s chief campaign promises in 2016, and admin boxtops have privately expressed concern that as the 2020 election approaches, he’ll be more likely to follow through with threats of troop withdrawal, as he did last week in Syria. Trump has made clear to his advisers that he wants to pull all Pindo troops out of Afghanistan by the 2020 election, NBC News reported in August.

Trump made his decision in August, but the Pentagon is only now reacting to it. That is too slow. Trump needs to be more rigorous with his staff. Those who sabotage his policies need to be fired early and often. It would make his polices look much less chaotic than they currently seem to be.

Germany & Pindostan threaten war on Syria
Alex Lantier, WSWS, Oct 23 2019

As Erdogan flew to Sochi for a summit yesterday with President Vladimir Putin on the war in Syria, Berlin and Faschingstein issued bloodcurdling threats of all-out war in the Middle East. In Faschingstein, where a bitter debate is unfolding over Trump’s Middle East policy, Sec State Pompeo threatened war with Turkey, a NATO ally and major regional military power. Asked for his reaction to the Turkish military offensive against the Kurds, Pompeo replied:

We prefer peace to war. But in the event that kinetic action or military action is needed, you should know that President Trump is fully prepared to undertake that action.

The most aggressive proposal came from Berlin, where Defense Minister Annegret Kramp-Karrenbauer called for a massive European Union (EU) force to occupy northern Syria, supposedly working in coordination with Russia and Turkey. she said:

My proposal is that we would set up an internationally controlled safe zone, involving Turkey and Russia. I believe that would be a strong political and diplomatic response of the European powers in NATO.

Tens of thousands of troops from Germany, Britain, France and other EU states would be mobilized under this proposal, in the largest EU overseas occupation force in decades. Roderich Kiesewetter, a former German army staff officer serving as a foreign policy specialist for Kramp-Karrenbauer’s CDU, estimated that 30,000 to 40,000 troops would be involved. Kramp-Karrenbauer is to argue for her proposal at tomorrow’s NATO defense ministers meeting in Brussels. This proposal testifies to the vast shift to the right in official European politics over the last decade. For the first time since the fall of the Nazis in 1945, Berlin is proposing an international military operation. Previously, it has supported wars launched by Faschingstein, Paris or other powers. Since Berlin began to remilitarize its foreign policy, however, shortly after Faschingstein backed off from bombing Syria in 2013, politicians and right-wing extremist academics have ceaselessly promoted militarism to try to overcome deeply rooted popular opposition. Amid a military buildup across Europe, France and Sweden have announced timelines for restoring the draft. Collectively, the EU powers have pledged to pour hundreds of billions of euros into their militaries over the coming years. Kramp-Karrenbauer’s remarks show that this buildup aims not to make Europe safe for democracy against foreign invasion, but to prepare the EU powers to wage their own neocolonial wars in oil-rich regions key to their strategic interests. Imperialist circles in both America and Europe are outraged at the military and financial advantages that could accrue to Russia, Iran and China from their defeat in Syria. One recent essay from Pindostan’s Brookings Institution complained:

The prospect of lucrative reconstruction deals has triggered a deluge of interest from governments and firms looking to profit from Syria’s devastation. The regime’s closest allies, Russia and Iran, have been the most prominent beneficiaries of the Syria reconstruction gold rush, with China not far behind.

As a trade war escalates between Faschingstein and the EU, with threats of billions of dollars in trade war tariffs on both sides, Pindo-Euro geostrategic divisions are also widening. However, the EU powers also view the defeat of NATO’s Islamist and Kurdish proxies in Syria and the victory of Assad’s state as a threat to their strategic interests and world position. As Berlin seeks to advance its own independent interests, it does so for now under the increasingly thin and unsteady cover of the NATO alliance. In an article titled “What the Syrian debacle means for the Middle East and Europe,” German news magazine Der Spiegel warned:

Now that Pindostan has withdrawn from northern Syria, a trio of autocrats is dividing the country up between them. … Rarely has a single act in global politics triggered such a rapid chain of events as the Pindo pullout from Syria last week.

Calling Trump’s Kurdish policy “the end of a world power,” Der Spiegel continued:

A changing of the guard is taking place in Syria. The West has surrendered. The Euros & the Pindos have repeatedly condemned the atrocities in Syria, but they have done little to prevent them. Meanwhile, the despots—Assad, Erdogan and Putin—are emerging as the victors. And the consequences will be felt far beyond the Middle East.

EU denunciations of Middle East despots reek of hypocrisy. The plain fact is that the imperialist powers currently face a humiliating defeat in the Middle East, where they bear responsibility for decades of wars launched on the basis of lies and provocations, like the claim that the Iraqi regime had weapons of mass destruction used to justify the 2003 invasion of Iraq. A general retreat of NATO forces is now underway across Syria and Iraq, where Washington and its European allies have been involved in bloody wars of plunder ever since NATO led the 1991 Gulf War against Iraq. Taken collectively, these wars killed or wounded millions, and turned tens of millions of people into refugees. The hasty retreat of the remaining Pindo troops from northern Syria is now leading to an outpouring of protests. The population of Syrian villages through which convoys of Pindo armored vehicles passed pelted them with tomatoes or eggs, or allegedly shouted slogans denouncing them for betraying Faschingstein’s Kurdish allies. After they crossed the border into Iraq, these convoys were met with further protests and calls in English of “Fuck off.”

A further blow to the Pindo military position in the Middle East came from the neocolonial puppet regime set up by the 2003 Pindo war in Iraq. Now more closely aligned with Iran, it is reeling under a scandal over its bloody repression of mass protests at the beginning of the month, in which Iraqi troops killed 121 people, shooting them in the head and torso. This comes also amid a wave of ongoing mass protests in Lebanon. Suddenly, yesterday, the Iraqi regime countermanded the Pentagon’s claim that Pindo troops leaving Syria would remain in Iraq to fight terrorist groups. The Iraqi army issued a statement that Pindo forces only have the permission to transit through Iraq and leave, not to remain there. Berlin’s proposal for EU military occupation of northern Syria is, no less than Pompeo’s open threat of all-out war with Turkey, a call for a vast escalation of imperialist violence in the Middle East. It involves the danger of a direct military confrontation with Russia, a major nuclear-armed power whose forces are allied to the Syrian government. It would inevitably collide not only with military opposition in the region, but with growing protests and anti-imperialist sentiment among Middle East workers and youth. While Kramp-Karrenbauer proposed to coordinate her deployment with the Russian and Turkish officials, there was every indication yesterday that Moscow opposed it. Asked about Berlin’s proposal, Peskov evaded the issue, implying that Moscow had not even considered the possibility at all merely saying:

It is a new initiative, there is no clear position on it. One would have to look at it.

However, Deutsche Welle interviewed Ruslan Mamedov of the Russian Council for Foreign Policy, who bluntly declared:

The official Russian position is that all foreign troops must leave Syria. I do not believe any sort of safe zone under the joint control of EU countries and Russia will develop.

As for Erdogan, he participated in a seven-hour meeting with Putin in Sochi aimed at eliminating the remaining NATO-backed militias in Syria and avoiding the outbreak of war between Turkish and Syrian army units operating in close proximity along their common border. The resulting agreement, subsequently approved by Assad after a telephone conversation with Putin, divides the Syrian-Turkish border into zones patrolled by Turkish troops, along which military action against Kurdish fighters may continue if they do not leave, and an area jointly held by Syrian border guards and Russian military police. Alleged Daesh fighters are to stay in prison camps where they were kept, in horrific conditions, by NATO-backed Kurdish troops. Finally, it reaffirms the 1988 Adana accord committing Syria not to host forces of the PKK, against which Turkey has waged a decades-long war. Marking Moscow’s distance from Faschingstein and its Euro vassals with troops in Syria, Lavrov declared:

We do not particularly look at Pindostan and its stance. That stance is quite variable and contradictory, and of course, the coalition led by Pindostan is in Syria illegally. That is well known.

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