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South Korea Presidential Frontrunner Pledges to Review Divisive THAAD Deployment

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Moon Jae-in, the leading candidate in the upcoming presidential election in South Korea, is determined to reassess the controversial deployment of the US-built Terminal High Altitude Area Defense (THAAD) anti-ballistic missile system since it “did not follow a democratic procedure,” his press team said in a statement seen by Sputnik Korea.

“The THAAD deployment is an issue that must be decided by the next administration based on close discussions with the US and a national consensus, and approached with the best national interest in mind. Since this is an issue of great impact to our national security and comes with great economic costs, it must be ratified by the National Assembly as per the Constitution,” Yoon Kwan-suk, a spokesman for Moon Jae-in said.

The press office also commented on United States President Donald Trump’s suggestion that Seoul should pay for the deployment of a system worth $1 billion.

“The Liberty Korea Party, Bareun Party and the Ministry of National Defense have until now argued that the US will bear the cost of the THAAD operation,” the press office said. “If the reports are true, it is now clear that the decision to deploy the THAAD had a major flaw to begin with.”The statement urged senior politicians in the former ruling party, as well as high-ranking defense officials, to disclose the details of the deal between Washington and Seoul on THAAD.

On Wednesday, the South Korean Defense Ministry said that components of the THAAD system have been deployed to their intended destination in the North Gyeongsang province. Washington has said that the move comes in response to North Korea’s muscle-flexing, but Jeong Uk-sik, the president of the Peace Network NGO, told Sputnik that THAAD will also be targeted against China.

“Undoubtedly, [Washington] has indicated that the US missile defense system must be alert not only to North Korea, but also China,” he said, citing the testimony made by Admiral Harry Harris, commander of US Pacific Command, during a hearing at the House Armed Services Committee.

“Harris’s report clearly shows that US Pacific Command has fostered closer ties with Japan, South Korea and Australia to create a comprehensive missile defense system based on THAAD and the radar deployed to South Korea is one of its links,” the analyst added. “As a result, THAAD and the radar are targeted not only against North Korea, but also China since they are links of a single US missile defense system.”China has been opposed to the THAAD deployment, saying that the move “seriously undermines” strategic security of Beijing and other countries in the region.

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What We’ve Learned 100 Days In: The Trust Deficit Is the Core Problem

AS BAD AS WE THOUGHT

What We’ve Learned 100 Days In: The Trust Deficit Is the Core Problem

The narcissism and paranoia are issues, but the biggest concern is that Donald Trump trusts no one. This will be his downfall—or maybe ours.
Gail Sheehy

Gail Sheehy

04.28.17 12:10 PM ET

In a world spinning radically out of control, can we trust President Trump to rely on his famous “instincts” as he plays brinksmanship with North Korea?

How much closer does the day of reckoning have to come on charges of collusion with Russia before he needs a war to provide the ultimate distraction?

The fundamental bedrock of human development is the formation of a capacity to trust, absorbed by children between birth and 18 months. Donald Trump has boasted of his total lack of trust: “People are too trusting. I’m a very untrusting guy.” (1990) “Hire the best people, and don’t trust them.” (2007) “The world is a vicious and brutal place. Even your friends are out to get you: they want your job, your money, your wife.” (2007)

His biographers have recorded his world view as saturated with a sense of danger and his need to project total toughness. As we know, his father trained him to be a “killer,” the only alternative to being a “loser.” He has never forgotten the primary lesson he learned from his father and at the military school to which he was sent to toughen him up still further. In Trump’s own words:  “Man is the most vicious of all animals, and life is a series of battles ending in victory or defeat.”

Trump described to Michael D’Antonio in his biography, Never Enough, his father “dragging him” around tough neighborhoods in Brooklyn when he collected rents. He always told the boy to stand to one side of the door. Donald asked why: “Because sometimes they shoot right through the door.”

Today, this man lives alone in the White House, without a wife or any friends in whom to confide, which he would never do anyway because that would require admitting vulnerability.

Leon Panetta, former CIA director and Defense chief under Clinton, stated on Fox Business Channel in February 2017: “The coin of the realm for any president is trust–trust of the American people in the credibility of that president.” In the nearly two years that Donald Trump has been in our face almost daily, he has sown mistrust in all of his Republican rivals, alienated the conservative Republican bloc he needs in the House for legislative success, ignored congressional Democrats, and viciously insulted Democratic leaders, calling them liars, clowns, stupid, and incompetent, and condemning Barack Obama as “sick” and Hillary Clinton as “the devil.” When he picks up the phone to speak to leaders of our closest allies, like Australia, he rips apart the comity built over decades. But he never hesitates to congratulate despots, like Turkey’s Erdogan, Egypt’s General Sisi, or Russia’s Putin.

As President, he is systematically shredding trust in the institutions he now commands. Having discredited the entire 17-agency intelligence community as acting like Nazis, he also dismissed the judiciary because of one judge’s Hispanic background and another’s opposition to his travel ban. Even his Supreme Court justice, Neil Gorsuch, said it was “disheartening” and “demoralizing” to hear Trump disparage the judiciary. Not content to smear the media on a daily basis, Trump borrowed a phrase used by Lenin and Stalin to brand the media as “enemy of the people.”

By his own words, Trump operates on the assumption that everyone is out to get him. The non-medical definition of paranoia is the tendency toward excessive or irrational suspiciousness and distrustfulness of others. As a man who proclaims his distrust of everyone, it is not surprising that Trump drew closest to him two legendary conspiracy theorists—Stephen Bannon and Gen. Michael Flynn.

And even after he was forced to fire his choice as his top national security advisor after Flynn blatantly lied, Trump’s White House is desperately stonewalling congressional investigators to keep them from getting their hands on documents that may prove Flynn’s paid collusion with Russia on Trump’s behalf. The closer that case comes to a criminal referral to the Justice Department, the closer Trump’s survival instincts will propel him to a wag-the-dog war.

A leader who does not trust his subordinates cannot inspire trust. Though Trump boasts of fierce personal loyalty, he himself is loyal only until he isn’t. Among his anxious aides, only Jared Kushner is safe, deputized as the Trump’s de facto Secretary of State.  Where he succeeds in inspiring trust is by giving his subordinates the courage to lie. The virus of licentiousness has spread from the White House to congressional Republicans, to wit the stunt that exposed Rep. Devin Nunes as unfit to lead the House Intelligence Committee probe into the Trump campaign’s possible collusion with Russia.

We hear repeatedly that Trump as a manager likes chaos. I asked a deputy White House counsel under Obama, Mike Breen, a decorated former officer in Iraq and expert on foreign policy at the Truman National Security Project, how that style impacts trust. “Trump explicitly or implicitly manages the situation so it’s never possible for his advisers to know where they stand,” Breen says. “It’s the opposite of what you want in a high-functioning organization. “ Trump’s anxious aides must know just how easy it is to fail his loyalty test, or to be the fall guy if a scapegoat is needed. While publicly they may defend him, it is clear to reporters that White House staffers are leaking and leaking constantly. The leaks can only exacerbate Trump’s mistrust, perpetuating a vicious circle.

His failure to trust and to inspire trust is even more dangerous on a global scale. He sees alliances like NATO as suspicious (until he changes his mind); he sees trade agreements like NAFTA as ripping off America (until he changes his mind three or four times in the same week). “This is because Trump’s worldview is that we live in a snake pit where everybody is out for themselves,” observes Breen. He and his co-conspiracy advisor, Bannon, take everything that the left-behind white working class hates about globalization and they turn it into personalized enemies–Muslims, Mexicans, refugees they believe are taking away their jobs. “Those people aren’t like us,” is the alt.right message, “they’re polluting our culture.”

Back as far at August 2016, 50 senior national security officials who have advised Republican presidents during wartime issued a letter starkly rejecting candidate Trump: “We are convinced that he would be a dangerous president and would put at risk our country’s national security and well-being. “ They excoriated him as lacking in character and values as well as basic knowledge. What is stunning is the precision of their foresight. They predicted that Trump, “lacking belief in the U.S. Constitution,” would compromise our most precious institutions including “religious tolerance, freedom of the press, and an independent judiciary.”

In the course of his first hundred days, Trump has appeared to be increasingly out of touch with the reality in which the majority of us live. His pathological propensity to lying is not the worst of it. It’s his monomaniacal attachment to lies as transparent as his March 4 twitterstorm accusing President Obama of putting a tap on his phone. It raises the question, is this president floating in his own alternative reality?

We asked Dr. Robert Jay Lifton, the eminent former professor of psychiatry at Yale University and today at Columbia University: Is Trump an abnormal personality? “Trump creates his own extreme manipulation of reality,” he says. “He insists that his spokesmen defend his false reality as normal. He then expects the rest of society to accept it — despite the lack of any evidence.” This leads to what Lifton calls “malignant normalcy”—in other words, the gradual acceptance by a public inundated with toxic untruths until they pass for normal.

Dr. James F. Gilligan is a psychiatrist and author who has studied the motivations behind violent behavior over his 25 years of work in the American prison systems. “If we psychiatrists who have experience in assessing dangerousness, if we give passive permission to our president to proceed in his delusions, we are shirking our responsibility,” Gilligan says. Today a senior clinical professor of psychiatry at NYU Medical School, Gilligan last week told a town hall meeting at Yale, “ I don’t say Trump is Hitler or Musolinni, but he’s no more normal than Hitler.”

 We don’t have to rely on psychiatrists to see that this president is not consistent in his thinking or reliably attached to reality. We have had vastly more exposure to Donald Trump’s observable behavior, his writing and speaking, than any shrink would have after listening to him for years. So it is up to us, the American public, to call him on it. And some of the most experienced hands in and around the White House are doing so.

Presidential historian Douglas Brinkley believes that Donald Trump represents a very different subculture from any commander in chief. “He represents the New York building business — where you don’t let your right hand know what your left hand is doing,” says Brinkley. “In Trump’s world, he must win at all costs. It’s not about character or public service or looking out for your band of brothers.”

The president to whom Trump is most often compared is Richard Nixon. John Dean, the famous White House counsel who testified against his fellow conservative Republican, compared Trump to another notably paranoid president. “Nixon was two personae – in public, he would score passably on the manual’s leadership checklist: he trusted his top aides, Haldeman and Erlichman, and was trusted by his cabinet,” says Dean. “But in private, his deeply paranoid and vengeful dark side came out.”

Asked for the best example, Dean snapped, “He had zero empathy!” Just like Trump. “Nixon let 22,000 more Americans die in Vietnam [after he sabotaged the 1968 Paris Peace Talks], plus who knows how many Cambodians and Laotians and Vietnamese, all to ensure his election.” It took 40 years before Nixon’s worst crime was revealed—treason. That war president was heard on Lyndon Johnson’s tapes scuttling the Vietnam peace talks to derail the reelection campaign of the Democratic candidate. He sent a message to the South Vietnamese negotiators that they should withdraw from the peace talks and wait for Nixon to be elected, who would give them a much better deal.

Sound familiar? Fifty years later, Donald Trump’s go-between with Russian officials, Gen. Flynn, hinted to Putin’s ambassador that Russia could get a much better deal if it didn’t retaliate against Obama’s sanctions and sat tight until Trump was elected. And Trump frequently tweeted about his eagerness to lift those sanctions – until his fantasy bromance with Putin came under federal investigation. Trump’s appetite for vengeance is also matched by Nixon’s with his long “enemies list.” No two modern presidents have had a more serious case of “political hemophilia,” in the phrase of the latest Nixon biographer, John Farrell, by which he means: “Once wounded, these men never stop bleeding.”

To the dismay of even conservative observers, Trump appears totally indifferent to the truth. A Wall Street Journal editorial from March 21 denounced the damage done by “his seemingly endless stream of exaggerations, evidence-free accusations, implausible denials and other falsehoods,” concluding, “if he doesn’t show more respect for the truth, most Americans may conclude he’s a fake President.” But merely repeating a malignant lie often enough—for five years in the case of his birther smear against the first black president—it sticks with his supporters despite proof to the contrary.

Time magazine gave Trump an opportunity to clarify his refusal to correct the long string of his falsehoods. What the March 23 interview produced instead was an astonishing revelation of the president’s thinking: He states what he wants to be true. If his statement is proven false, he is unfazed and confidently predicts that the facts will catch up with his belief: “I’m a very instinctual person, but my instinct turns out to be right.” Even when the top sleuth in the country condemns him as a fabulist, Trump ignores the public rebuke by FBI director James Comey, and brags about his ability to persuade millions that his version of events is the real truth.

“Narcissistic people like Trump want more than anything to love themselves, but desperately want others to love them, too,” wrote professor and chair of the Psychology Department at Northwestern University, Dan P. McAdams, in The Atlantic. “The fundamental goal in life for a narcissist is to promote the greatness of the self, for all to see.”

But what is an extreme narcissistic personality like Trump to do when he fails to win glorification for his first hundred days in office? Trump, from his own writings, has shown massive hypersensitivity to shame or humiliation, “ says Dr. Gilligan, of the NYU Medical School. “Anybody who criticizes him will get a 3 am tweet.” What happens if Trump feels humiliated by being pronounced a “loser” in politics? Does he give in to his “right instincts” and fire off an incendiary tweet to the nuclear-obsessed leader in Pyongyang? Most world leaders have agreed with former South Korean President Park, who last year pronounced Kim Jong-un’s mental state as “uncontrollable.”

As Dr. Gilligan warns, “There is no evidence of sensitivity in Trump’s awareness of other people’s vulnerability.  I think everyone is in danger from this most dangerous of presidents.” When narcissists begin to disappoint those whom they once dazzled, their descent can be especially precipitous. As the biblical book of Proverbs warns: “Pride goes before destruction, and haughtiness before a fall.”

Beneath the grandiose behavior of every narcissist lies the pit of fragile self-esteem. What if, deep down, the person Trump trusts least is himself? The humiliation of being widely exposed as a “loser” –unable to bully through the actions he promised to accomplish in his first 100 days—could drive him to prove he is, after all, a “killer.” He has already teed up three choices for starting a war: Syria, Afghanistan, and North Korea. It is up to Congress, backed up by the public, to restrain him.

Trump Signals His Intention To Start A War With North Korea
| April 28, 2017 | 3:00 pm | Analysis, Donald Trump, DPRK, political struggle | No comments

Trump Signals His Intention To Start A War With North Korea

By saying that the United States could be heading for a major, major conflict with North Korea, Trump sounded like a president who is itching to start a war.


Trump Signals His Intention To Start A War With North Korea

By saying that the United States could be heading for a major, major conflict with North Korea, Trump sounded like a president who is itching to start a war.

During an interview with Reuters, Trump said, “There is a chance that we could end up having a major, major conflict with North Korea. Absolutely.”

Trump may have thought that this was more typically empty tough talk designed to enhance his negotiating position, but he took it a step beyond and added, “We’d love to solve things diplomatically but it’s very difficult.”

For a president who says he’s not going to telegraph what he is going to do, Trump just did some serious telegraphing. Remember, this is an administration that is attempting to cut 2,300 jobs from the State Department. Diplomacy is not Trump’s priority.

With his domestic policy failing, and his foreign policy non-existant, the last refuge for Trump to save his president is to become a war president. During the campaign, Trump committed to not getting the US into any wars in the Middle East, but he never said anything about North Korea.

Trump is lusting for a conflict with North Korea. The Bush administration tried to out strongman the regime in North Korea, and it was a disaster. President Trump seems to be looking for more than tough talk. He wants to start a war.

‘US Strategic Assets’ to Be Deployed In South Korea Against Northern Threat
B-2 Stealth Bomber.

‘US Strategic Assets’ to Be Deployed In South Korea Against Northern Threat

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South Korea’s Defense Ministry said Friday that they’ve reached an agreement with the US to regularly deploy “strategic assets” from Washington as part of efforts to stave off provocation from North Korea.

South Korea’s Ministry of National Defense reported that the two allies agreed to institute “measures available in all aspects, including the regular deployment of US strategic assets.”

These assets include the US B-52, B-2 and B-1B bombers; F-35 fighter jets; and aircraft carriers usually housed at American bases in South Korea, Japan or Guam.

The announcement came during a media briefing on the biannual Integrated Defense Dialogue (KIDD) meeting between the US and South Korea that took place in Washington, DC, on Thursday.

Assistant Secretary of Defense for Asian and Pacific Security Affairs David F. Helvey represented the US delegation at the defense meeting with his Korean counterpart Wee Seung-ho, deputy minister for policy.

Seoul and Washington also reiterated that the US’s recently deployed Terminal High Altitude Area Defense (THAAD) missile defense system was intended purely for defense purposes. China has complained that the THAAD’s strong radar could be used to spy on Beijing.

China demanded South Korea remove THAAD on Wednesday. THAAD’s presence “destroys the regional strategic balance and further prompts tensions on the Korean Peninsula,” Chinese Foreign Ministry spokesman Geng Shuang said, UPI reported.

“Cancel the deployment of THAAD. Otherwise China will decisively take necessary measures,” Geng warned.

When it was announced earlier this week that THAAD was close to being operational, China carried out a military drill using “new weapons” in order to “defend national security and regional stability.”

Washington and Pyongyang have been engaged in a war of words in recent weeks, trading barbs as the North continues its ballistic missile and nuclear weapons tests and the US threatens military action in retaliation.

Tensions have calmed somewhat since the flashpoint of North Korea’s recent Day of the Sun celebration, when another nuclear test was feared. US Secretary of State Rex Tillerson said Friday that Washington was open to talks with North Korea about denuclearization, a tactic China has called for for some time.

When asked about the possibility of talks, Tillerson said, “Obviously, that would be the way we would like to solve this. But North Korea has to decide they’re ready to talk to us about the right agenda,” according to the BBC.

Wang Yi, China’s foreign minister, suggested that, “The use of force does not solve differences and will only lead to bigger disasters … Peaceful settlement of the nuclear issue on the Korean Peninsula through dialogue and negotiations represents the only right choice that is practical and viable.”

There are about 285,000 American troops currently stationed in South Korea.

It is Not Just North Korea But Asia That is in US Crosshairs
| April 26, 2017 | 1:40 pm | Donald Trump, DPRK, political struggle | No comments
A TV screen shows pictures of U.S. President-elect Donald Trump, right, and North Korean leader Kim Jong Un, at the Seoul Railway Station in Seoul, South Korea, Thursday, Nov. 10, 2016

It is Not Just North Korea But Asia That is in US Crosshairs

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Imagine that you lead the US deep state, and you are observing the real-time flow of Western technology, industry and next-generation skills to the East with alarm. How will you reverse this trend with one master stroke and temporarily staunch the decline of Pax Americana?

Mathew Maavak — A rapid socio-economic meltdown across Asia might produce this hypothetical outcome, and this is where the current North Korean “crisis” may provide an opening gambit.Amidst “rising tensions” on the Korean Peninsula – while South Koreans are concerned with noodles, not nukes – the United States has pre-emptively decided what is best for the region.

But the US war machinery is vacillating for good reasons and is unable to get its narrative and geography right. On April 11, President Donald J. Trump supposedly despatched an “armada” to counter North Korean provocations, right after striking Syria. Yet the “armada” led by the USS Vinson was discovered drifting in the opposite direction in the Sunda Strait. This is nothing serious that can’t be solved by hiring an American navigator who actually knows geography and game theorists with winning permutations on PlayStations.

The Not So Great Armada
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The Not So Great Armada

The US armada is back on course for a showdown in the Korean Peninsula.

Gaming out the Attack on North Korea

A pre-emptive naval strike against North Korea is the most likely option pursued if the madmen prevail in Washington. The strategic calculus here is “yuge” in its simplistic crudity: any North Korean retaliation may result in massive civilian casualties and Twitter-generated sympathies for the US-South Korea alliance.

Pyongyang has no other option. It will need to take out the Yongsan Garrison in Seoul which hosts the United States Forces Korea (USFK) headquarters, particularly the Combined Forces Command (CFC).

As Globalsecurity.org succinctly puts it: “The role of Combined Forces Command (CFC) during the armistice is to deter war. CFC’s wartime role is to defeat external aggression. The CFC is commanded by a four-star US general, with a four-star ROK Army general as deputy commander. Throughout the command structure, binational manning is readily apparent: if the chief of a staff section is Korean, the deputy is American and vice versa. This integrated structure exists within the component commands as well as the headquarters. All CFC components are tactically integrated through continuous combined and joint planning, training and exercises.”

Any unilateral US strike on North Korea would automatically drag South Korea as a junior partner in a war it never desired, simply because the Americans wrote all the rules of engagement since the 1953 armistice.

The Yongsan garrison is only a 3-minute drive away from Seoul’s financial center and straddles heavily populated areas. For decades, US-scripted propaganda had invoked the specter of millions of South Korean casualties from Pyongyang’s artillery range. Lost in this giddy script are the war crimes committed by US troops against the Korean people during the 1950-53 war. Was the CFC using 25 million people in the greater Seoul metropolitan area as human shields against North Korea? High civilian casualties are guaranteed in the event of a conflict as Pyongyang’s projectiles lack precision-guidance.Due to this manifest danger, the US was pressured for years to relocate the CFC to Pyeongtaek. But this will not happen before 2019 and by then, the US Army would probably be battling its own impoverished citizens back home.

Time is running out to take down Asia.

Rise of the Taeguk Warrior

Some genius in Washington may have been inspired by a redux of the orchestrated “Mi-Guk, Mi-Guk” (Mi-Guk is Korean for the United States) chants that greeted US soldiers in the 50s.

The modern reality is vastly different. South Korea (and Japan) is awash with anti-American undercurrents. During the 2006 World Cup in Germany, US army personnel in Yongsan were advised by their commanders to avoid passionate South Korean fans who would gather in their tens of thousands to watch giant open air live telecasts of their national team in action. There was a good precedent for this injunction: During the 2002 World Cup, a US military vehicle struck and killed two young schoolgirls in Seoul, sparking an unprecedented outburst of anti-Americanism that combined explosively with soccer-fuelled nationalism.These are South Korea’s Taeguk warriors. Imagine how they will react once even 200 South Koreans are killed in a tit-for-tat military exchange between Uncle Samael and Kim Jong-un? The lives of South Koreans naturally matter less to American uber-patriots like Senators John “I hate those Gooks” McCain and Lindsey Graham who was the “happiest dude in America” after the April 6 attack on Syria.

There is something more that may make Graham, McCain, Trump and the 130 million Americans who elected them even happier: the destruction of a thriving multi-trillion dollar Asian economy that is eclipsing the West in unprecedented ways.

There is no way the West will countenance an ascendant Asia, and it has been probing every possible geo-economic Achilles Heel to bring the East to heel. The War on Terror now appears like a botched US-Saudi plot to control the flow of fossil fuel to an energy-dependent Asia. Yet, instead of allowing its destinies to be controlled, Asian nations launched a series of strategic fuel and grain reserve programs since the 9/11 terror attacks. Asia can no longer be held to joint US-Saudi petrol blackmail as long as Iran, Russia and Venezuela continue to pump and export oil and gas to the rest of the world. The demonization of these nations, therefore, should not come as a surprise.From a geostrategic viewpoint, it is not the Westward contours of Middle Eastern pipelines that may have worried Washington and its hordes but rather the unfettered flow of Iranian and Russian oil to an ascendant Asia. Syria alone would have done well with untold millions levied on pipelines traversing its territory. Alternative motives behind the Arab Spring and Maidan coup should re-considered in the light of an Asian contagion that may be sparked off in the Korean peninsula.

 

Mathew Maavak is a writer and geopolitical observer residing in Malaysia.

The views expressed in this article are solely those of the author and do not necessarily reflect the official position of Sputnik.

After Dropping MOAB on Afghanistan, Trump May Be Considering Escalation
US President Donald Trump walks from Marine One upon his return to the White House in Washington, US, April 9, 2017.

After Dropping MOAB on Afghanistan, Trump May Be Considering Escalation

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On Monday, US Secretary of Defense James Mattis made an unannounced visit to Afghanistan, not long after President Donald Trump dropped the “Mother of all bombs” on Taliban targets in the country.

Radio Sputnik’s Loud & Clear spoke with Kathy Kelly, co-coordinator of Voices for Creative Non-Violence, about Washington’s presence in Afghanistan and whether the Trump administration may be considering a fresh surge of troops in the country.

​Having just returned from Afghanistan, a country she’s visited 22 times since 2010, Kelly said it’s difficult to pin down what the White House may be planning, because “The Trump administration is very erratic and unpredictable, but it does seem that the Trump administration is not terribly interested in matters of foreign policy.”

She added, “Even a militarist who is convinced that war is the only answer to troubles might be given pause by the fact that the US in Afghanistan has not been able to oust or overcome or even significantly limit the Taliban. The Taliban has gained increasing power over the years while the United States has moved towards its 16th year being in war in Afghanistan.”

During his visit, Mattis said the US is “under no illusions about the challenges associated with this mission,” and that “2017 is going to be another tough year for the valiant Afghan security forces and the international troops who have stood and continue to stand shoulder to shoulder with Afghanistan against terrorism.”

Kelly remarked, “I don’t know if it’s true to say the US military stands shoulder to shoulder with the Afghan military, which comparatively are extremely underprotected.”

She explained that one of the reasons why the extremists have been so successful is because they’re motivated by principle and religious zeal, while Afghan soldiers often join their country’s military as a means of survival.

Kelly noted that there have also been issues of corruption in the Afghan military, with one New York Times article positing that 1.45 million firearms have gone missing in the 15 years the US has been in Afghanistan, suggesting that the US is unwittingly arming militants. There have also been incidents of wages to being paid to soldiers that don’t exist, with corrupt officials pocketing the money.

Kelly said conditions are so dire that some Afghans sign up for the military just to receive a weapon so they could sell it.

“It isn’t that Afghan people are untrustworthy, it’s that they’re desperate … There’s so much hunger, near starvation, there’s so many people without any employment whatsoever because the country in these 16 years … has steadily declined in terms of the most basic evaluations of quality of life.”

Loud & Clear Host Brian Becker asked how the Afghan people feel after nearly 16 years of aggression from the US.

Kelly said that, while in Afghanistan, her hosts would ask her questions, like “‘Do parents in your country really think that by sending their sons over to risk their lives in Afghanistan they’re going to affect terrorism?’ because they know that the source of terror that Americans have been taught to fear certainly isn’t coming from Afghanistan. I think they know it’s foolhardy and futile for the US to prolong this war.”

The United States of… False Flags
US President Donald Trump delivers remarks at the National Republican Congressional Committee March Dinner in Washington, US, March 21, 2017.

The United States of… False Flags

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The United States government is the world leader in purveying false flags and propaganda stunts. Or, more generally, downright, systematic lies. To justify the outrageous violation of international law, wars and aggression.

Current president and Commander-in-Chief, Donald Trump, is himself the object of fraudulent US intelligence, accused of “collusion with Russian agents.” In a rare admission, the Washington Times this week described the US intel dossier against Trump as “riddled with fiction.”Yet, ironically, Trump, in turn, serves as a shameless conduit for US propaganda to fuel conflict with Syria and North Korea.

In the latter case, a world war could break out at any moment as a result of insane American goading. The dispatch of a US nuclear-powered submarine to the Korean Peninsula this week is just another reckless provocation by Trump.

On Syria, the Trump administration has slapped on more economic sanctions over an alleged chemical weapons incident earlier this month. Treasury Secretary Steven Mnuchin said the “sweeping sanctions” were because of “Syrian dictator Bashar al Assad’s horrific chemical weapons attack on innocent men, women and children.”Russian Deputy Foreign Minister Gennady Gatilov said the latest US sanctions were “unfounded” since there is no proof that the Syrian government used chemical weapons in Idlib Province on April 4.

Indeed, several respected international authorities, such as American professor Theodore Postol, a weapons expert at MIT, have dismissed official US claims about the chemical incident. The only “proof” provided by the US government and Western media are videos of alleged victims. That is, videos supplied by al Qaeda-linked terrorists and their media agents known as the White Helmets. This terror nexus is a creation of US, British and French military intelligence, financed with Saudi and Qatari money.

Thus, the April 4 chemical incident in Idlib was plausibly a “false flag” staged by Western-sponsored terrorist proxies to elicit American military attack on Syria. In other words, innocent people, including children, were murdered with lethal chemicals, and the whole macabre spectacle videoed for dissemination by the Western news media. It would not be the first time. The August 2013 “chemical weapons” incident near Damascus was probably also another macabre set-up by the terror groups.So, here we have an American president citing a false flag orchestrated by his own intelligence agencies to justify his subsequent order for a missile strike on Syria on April 7. And now we see the US government slapping punitive sanctions on Syria as a further warped response.

Of huge significance is the fact that the US, Britain and France have blocked Russian, Iranian and Syrian demands for an impartial on-site investigation to be carried out in the town of Khan Shaykhun where the chemical incident allegedly happened. As Russia’s Foreign Minister Sergey Lavrov pointed out, the Western powers do not want to find out what really happened because that would interfere with their agenda for regime change in Syria.By way of shoring up the false narrative on Syria, this week US media carried “reports” alleging that North Korea has been supplying the Syrian government with chemical weapons technology. As usual, no verifiable evidence is presented, just more bombastic assertions and concocted claims.

But we can see where this is going. US intelligence, mouthed by its president and controlled media, are laying down dots to entice the Western public to join up with false logic and prejudice, all so that the US authorities can give themselves a legal, moral mandate to justify aggression. Conveniently, the contrived North Korea-Syria connection allows for two birds to be hit with one stone.

US Interventions in World Politics: Infographic
© AFP 2017/ AHMAD AL-RUBAYE

The pattern of deception here by the US government, aided and abetted by propagandizing “news services,” is classic modus operandi. Time and again, down through history, the US ruling class have used false flags, distortion and outright lies to promote their hegemonic desires of inciting war, conflict and aggression.For a country like the United States, which has been waging war on other foreign nations for over 95 per cent of its history since its foundation as a modern state in 1776, it only stands to reason that such an astounding record of belligerence, decade-after-decade, must inevitably require a concomitant warmongering propaganda system in order to make it all possible.

We could mention, for example, the deliberate sinking of one of its own warships, the USS Maine, in Havana Harbor in 1898, which was used to instigate the Spanish-American War. That war was key to the US emerging as an imperial power in the Western Hemisphere.

The later sinking of the civilian passenger ship, the Lusitania, in 1915 off Ireland is another case of deliberate sabotage, to frame-up the Germans, which the US then used to launch itself into the First World War.More recently, the fabricated US claims of Afghanistan sheltering al-Qaeda terrorists and weapons of mass destruction in Iraq were invoked to sell American wars of revenge for 9/11 terror attacks in New York, which were themselves most probably propaganda stunts staged by US intelligence.

Another flagrant case of US authorities mounting a false flag was the Gulf of Tonkin incident, which served as a pretext for American escalation of the Vietnam War. In 1964, communist North Vietnam was framed up for allegedly firing on a US navy vessel. That incident allowed the US government to dispatch conventional armed forces to Vietnam. Some 50,000 US troops were killed in that 10-year war, as well as three million Vietnamese. The only beneficiaries were US corporations and the Pentagon war machine.

Of course, the US is not unique in using false pretexts to cover for acts of war and criminality. But there can be little doubt from any objective study of history that the US stands out – without any compare – as the biggest purveyor of false flags, lies and propaganda to promote its warmongering. Warmongering that has destroyed dozens of countries around the world and inflicted tens of millions of deaths.Today, we are on another cusp of US-led war. Syria has been set up with a brazen false flag over chemical weapons, which in all probability is a sickening charade by Western-sponsored terror groups.

Russia and Iran, by extension, are smeared as part of an “axis of evil” by the US propaganda system owing to their otherwise principled alliance with Syria to defeat Western-backed terrorist proxies.

Most alarming is the US false flag effort against North Korea. This small, independent nation, which is not at war with anybody, is, in fact, a victim of American aggression – an aggression involving the sailing of nuclear-powered submarines and warships to its coastal waters.And yet US President Trump, whose country has thousands of nuclear weapons enough to destroy the entire planet, is labeling North Korea as the “world’s number one threat.”

The United States is the most dangerous terrorist force on Earth, largely because it is run by rulers who forge lies all the time for waging wars and obliterating humans. The supposed Commander-in-Chief President Donald Trump is himself a target of US lies. Can you get any more deranged than that?

The views expressed in this article are solely those of the author and do not necessarily reflect the official position of Sputnik.