Have nothing to do with the [evil] things that people do, things that belong to the darkness. Instead, bring them out to the light... [For] when all things are brought out into the light, then their true nature is clearly revealed...

-Ephesians 5:11-13

Category Archives: Foreign Policy

China’s Economy Continues to Slow

This article appeared online at TheNewAmerican.com on Friday, June 14, 2019: 

When President Donald Trump learned of the dismal performance of the Chinese economy for all of last year, he tweeted in March: “China posts slowest economic numbers since 1990 due to U.S. trade tensions and new policies. Makes so much sense for China to finally do a Real Deal, and stop playing around.”

China’s No. 2 communist, Li Keqiang, admitted as much at the country’s annual news conference on March 15:

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How to Start a War

This article was published by The McAlvany Intelligence Advisor on Friday, June 14, 2019: 

Stephen Walt, a professor of international relations at Harvard, not only thinks he know how wars start, he thinks Trump is well on the way to starting one with Iran. Writing for the establishment Foreign Policy magazine, Walt says that “leaders bent on war must convince the public that … war is necessary and wise. Congress abdicated its constitutional role to declare war a long time ago, which gives presidents a pretty free hand.”

First, says Walt, the president must persuade the public that the danger confronting the republic is both “grave and growing.” Second,

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Are Attacks on Oil Tankers at Hormuz Strait a Prelude to War?

This article appeared online at TheNewAmerican.com on Thursday June 13, 2019: 

Following reports of suspected attacks on two oil tankers moving through the vitally important Strait of Hormuz early Thursday morning, crude oil prices jumped four percent. Following that initial spike, oil prices settled back slightly.

The Strait is the only water passage from the Persian Gulf to the Arabian Sea and ultimately the Indian Ocean, and as a result a third of the world’s LNG (liquefied natural gas) and almost 20 percent of the world’s crude passes through the 21-mile-wide channel.

The early reports from the British Daily Telegraph were ambiguous,

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U.S. Sanctions on Venezuela Are Finally Working

This article was published by The McAlvany Intelligence Advisor on Monday, June 3, 2019:

Just before Juan Guaido, Nicolas Maduro’s opposition in Venezuela, called for his people to gather in front of Maduro’s presidential palace – “the largest march in the history of Venezuela” – this writer reminded readers that a similar gathering abruptly ended another dictatorship in Romania in 1989. This writer then suggested that perhaps lightning might strike twice, ending Maduro’s oppressive regime in a similar manner.

Sad to say, it didn’t happen. In some quarters it was suggested that Guaido’s failure strengthened Maduro’s dictatorship simply by surviving the threat.

Behind-the-scenes talks between Maduro’s people and Guaido’s in Norway failed to come to any sort of agreement as well, further confirming that Maduro was likely to remain in place for the foreseeable future.

Suddenly one of Russia’s military suppliers to Venezuela decided to pull out, giving the Maduro regime a body blow from which it may not recover. According to the Wall Street Journal,

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Bilderberg Meeting 2019: Nothing to See Here; Move Along

This article appeared online at TheNewAmerican.com on Wednesday, May 29, 2019:

From a distance the gathering of some 130 wealthy and influential people in Montreux, Switzerland, starting tomorrow looks benign enough. The website of the Bilderberg Group says it’s just “an annual forum for informal discussions, designed to foster dialogue between Europe and North America.… It’s a forum for informal discussions about major issues.… There is no detailed agenda, no resolutions are proposed, no votes are taken, and no policy statements are issued.”

The group even posts its agenda items, which include “informal discussions” about Brexit, climate “change,” and the future of capitalism. All designed to put any seeker of the truth to sleep.

But a closer look reveals a much darker, more insidious and more dangerous agenda. First,

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U.S. Threats and Sanctions Forcing Venezuela’s Maduro to Negotiate

This article appeared online at TheNewAmerican.com on Wednesday, May 22, 2019: 

It’s clear that the sanctions being imposed by the White House on Nicolás Maduro’s tottering regime in Caracas are forcing him into negotiating with his opposite number. Last week the Associated Press reported that talks between Juan Guaidó’s people and Maduro’s were scheduled to take place in Norway.

Those sanctions, which have been applied to dozens of Maduro’s top officials, have extended to countries doing business with the Marxist regime. Consequently, Maduro’s primary source of revenue from his state-owned oil producer PdVSA has been cut drastically. In the past two years, oil exports have dropped from more than three million barrels of crude a day to 500,000 barrels a day. And most of that production is committed to Cuba in exchange for its military and technical support.

In April, the White House applied sanctions on the Central Bank of Venezuela, sharply limiting its access to American dollars. Those sanctions also

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Rhetoric Escalates in Trade War as Trump Targets Huawei

This article appeared online at TheNewAmerican.com on Thursday, May 16, 2019: 

Following Communist China’s reneging on a pending trade “deal,” President Donald Trump backed away, saying that any deal had to be in America’s best interests or there wouldn’t be any deal: “It must be a great deal for the United States or it just doesn’t make any sense,” he declared. He followed his rhetoric by raising tariffs further on some $200 billion worth of Chinese imports into the United States, and he threatened to place tariffs on the remaining $300 billion worth of imports from China.

Last Friday, Trump upped the ante further by signing an executive order banning the import of telecommunications gear from “foreign adversaries” [read: China]. This was followed by the Commerce Department declaring that it was adding Huawei, the Chinese telecommunications giant, to its list of companies engaged in activities “that are contrary to American interests.” These moves were a belated recognition that, under Beijing’s command, every Chinese entity — individuals and companies — in the United States is tasked to conduct espionage for the homeland. These moves predictably elicited anger from the Chinese communists. One of its mouthpieces, Global Times, roared:

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Corporate Welfare: Ex-Im Bank Being Revived by Trump

This article appeared online at TheNewAmerican.com on Thursday, May 9, 2019: 

After lying fallow for nearly four years, the Export-Import Bank is being revived by one of its most vociferous critics: President Donald Trump. On Thursday the Senate, at the urging of the president and with the assistance of Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell, confirmed three people to fill vacancies at the bank, bringing it back to full strength.

That means that the bank, once limited to guaranteeing loans of $10 million or less, will now be able to go full throttle, helping big U.S. companies (who don’t need the help but are always willing to accept it) such as Boeing, Caterpillar, and General Electric with billions in loan guarantees.

The bank’s charter expires on September 30. If, as appears likely, Congress extends it (as it has ever since the bank’s inception in 1934), then not only will the biggest companies in America be able to obtain financing for their exports by putting the American taxpayer at risk instead of themselves, but their export partners will also benefit.

One of those export “partners” is communist China, Trump’s adversary in the escalating trade wars. Trump’s mouthpieces Larry Kudlow and Peter Navarro, who have been pushing for the bank’s resuscitation, claim that since China has its own Ex-Im bank, the United States needs one too — to “level the playing field,” of course.

As senior research fellow at George Mason University Veronique de Rugy warned last fall in an article republished at The New American,

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After Failed Coup Attempt in Venezuela, What’s Next?

This article appeared online at TheNewAmerican.com on Monday, May 6, 2019:  

Juan Guaidó, Nicolás Maduro’s opposition in Venezuela, said on Saturday that the reason his attempted coup failed last week was that he overestimated the support he would be getting from Maduro’s military: “We need more [of his] soldiers to support [us], to back the constitution.”

The failure has left the foreign policy wonks and neocons embedded in the Trump administration scratching their heads. What else can they do to get rid of Maduro and replace him with Guaidó?

Their options are limited. There are conversations between President Trump and President Putin over Venezuela, with both of them saying they don’t want war. Said Trump following that phone call on Friday:

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The Game of Chicken Between Trump and Maduro Just Became More Dangerous

This article was published by The McAlvany Intelligence Advisor on Monday, April 8, 2019: 

Teenagers with excessive testosterone were reported playing a game of chicken in Connecticut. Instead of facing off against each other with daddy’s Caddy, they were lying down in roadways at night or darting into oncoming traffic, daring drivers to hit them. From the news report:

Imagine you’re driving through the center of town, late at night, when you spot someone lying in the middle of the road … forcing you to slam on your brakes.

 

That terrifying thought is now a scary reality for people who live in East Hampton who claim young teens have been darting in front of cars and terrorizing drivers.

 

It’s not only teens playing this game many call “chicken,” but people who live in East Hampton said the teens are jumping in front of cars, darting through traffic and terrorizing drivers as they pass through the center of town.

When countries play chicken, the risks become exponentially higher. Last Friday the Trump administration raised the ante in its game of chicken with Venezuela’s dictator, Nicolas Maduro. The game now involves Cuba and, by extension, Russia.

During his speech to Rice University’s Baker Institute for Public Policy in Houston, Vice President Mike Pence announced additional sanctions against the rogue Maduro regime running Venezuela:

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Venezuelan Crisis Deepens as U.S. Tries to Isolate Venezuela From Cuba, Russia

This article appeared online at TheNewAmerican.com on Monday, April 8, 2019:  

During his speech to Rice University’s Baker Institute for Public Policy in Houston on Friday, Vice President Mike Pence announced additional sanctions against the rogue Maduro regime running Venezuela: “The United States will continue to exert all diplomatic and economic pressure to bring about a peaceful transition to democracy…. The time has come to liberate Venezuela from Cuba.”

Immediately following his speech, the U.S. Treasury Department levied sanctions on 34 oil tankers owned or operated by PdVSA, Venezuela’s state-owned oil company, along with sanctions on two international shipping companies involved in shipping oil from Venezuela to Cuba. Said Treasury Secretary Steve Mnuchin: “Treasury is taking action against vessels and entities transporting oil … providing a lifeline to keep the illegitimate Maduro regime afloat. Cuba continues to profit from, and prop up, the illegitimate Maduro regime through oil-for-repression schemes as they attempt to keep Maduro in power.… Cuba has been an underlying force fueling Venezuela’s descent into crisis.”

Up until Friday, U.S. sanctions on Maduro and members of his Marxist regime have had little impact. Despite international pressure from more than 50 countries supporting Maduro’s opponent, interim president Juan Guaidó,

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Any cuts in Foreign Aid would be Welcome, especially if they Reduce NGO Support of Caravans

This article was published by The McAlvany Intelligence Advisor on Monday, April 1, 2019: 

Missing from much of the conversation over Trump’s decision to cut foreign aid to Central America’s Northern Triangle (El Salvador, Guatemala, and the Honduras) is the impact it would have on the NGOs funding and supporting the caravans threatening the southern border.

The 2016 film “Poverty, Inc.” exposed the multi-billion-dollar NGO-enriching poverty complex that has been built up over the years to milk the flow of foreign aid dollars from U.S. taxpayers to governments around the world. For its efforts, the film won numerous international awards but precious little attention from the MSM in the U.S.

With Trump’s determination to cut off foreign aid to these three countries in retaliation for their lack of assistance in slowing or thwarting the caravans marching north through their countries, this could be a significant benefit to U.S. national sovereignty.

After earlier threatening to end foreign aid to three Central American countries whose citizens make up a large part of the caravans overwhelming U.S. border security services, last Friday President Trump directed State Department Secretary Mike Pompeo to

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Trump Cuts Foreign Aid to El Salvador, Guatemala, Honduras Over Caravans

This article appeared online at TheNewAmerican.com on Sunday, March 31, 2019: 

After earlier threatening to end foreign aid to three Central American countries whose citizens make up a large percentage of the caravans overwhelming U.S. border security services, on Friday President Trump directed State Department Secretary Mike Pompeo to cut direct aid to the three countries making up the Northern Triangle: El Salvador, Guatemala, and Honduras. At stake is about $500 million in aid.

Said the State Department: “At the Secretary’s instructions we are carrying out the President’s direction and ending FY 2017 and FY 2018 foreign assistance programs for the Northern Triangle.” It noted that it would coordinate these actions with Congress.

The announcement followed a tweet from the president that morning:

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Russia “Clarifies” Its Position on Venezuela by Sending More Troops to Support Maduro

This article appeared online at TheNewAmerican.com on Monday, March 25, 2019: 

Just days after Russia/U.S. talks taking place in Rome collapsed on Wednesday, Russia clarified exactly where it stands in Venezuela by sending a Russian troop commander and 100 troops to Caracas.

U.S. Special Envoy to Venezuela Elliott Abrams said the talks ended on a positive note: “We did not come to a meeting of the minds, but the talks were positive in the sense that I think both sides emerged with a better understanding of the other’s views,” he stated.

On the other hand, Abrams’ Russian counterpart, Deputy Foreign Minister Sergei Ryabkov, ended the meeting with a warning: “We assume that Washington treats our priorities seriously, our approach and warnings.”

It didn’t help any that Venezuela’s interim president, Juan Guaido, who has been recognized by the United States, told Reuters on Friday that Maduro’s regime was failing: “They are isolated, alone, they are falling apart day by day. The citizens do not like them, they reject them, they hate them.” After listing the new sanctions the United States has placed on Maduro’s lifeline — sanctions against foreign banks supporting Maduro and against his gold mining company and its president — Guaido added: “What’s missing? That the leadership, the high command of the armed forces, [must] take the side of the constitution.”

Russia has substantial political and economic investments in Venezuela specifically and in South America in general that it is unwilling to give up without a fight. Some consider the arrival of fresh troops a provocation, while others consider it a bargaining chip for the next round of talks. It’s also a follow-on to the joint military exercises with Russian and Maduro’s military that took place in Venezuela in December.

The Russian troop commander, Chief of Staff of Russia’s Ground Forces Vasily Tonkoshkurov, arrived on Sunday with 100 Russian soldiers and 35 tons of military equipment. They were there, said the Associated Press, to “discuss strategy, equipment maintenance and training,” without further details.

It is one of many potential flashpoints that could ignite the conflict

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Maduro’s Thugs Keep Him in Power While He Loses Support

This article appeared online at TheNewAmerican.com on Wednesday, March 20, 2019:  

Despite the Trump administration ratcheting up sanctions against Venezuelan dictator Nicolás Maduro, he remains firmly in control. Even his most dependable support from the slums — the barrios — is fading, and yet he remains the supreme authority. His exports of crude oil to U.S. Gulf Coast refineries has ended and yet he continues to rule. Recent sanctions applied to a Venezuela-based gold company were followed by the promise by the U.S. president of getting “a lot tougher” if necessary. Inflation has destroyed the bolivar, and still Maduro dominates the government he has illegally seized.

Many have blamed Maduro’ recent loss of popularity among the poor on the colectivos — motorcycle gangs of armed thugs trained and supplied by Cuba — that have invaded the barrios to quell incipient resistance and blatant opposition to Maduro with force and the threat of force.

In 2017, however, Maduro unleashed another arm of his military,

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Closing of U.S. Embassy in Venezuela Paves Way for Harsher Measures Against Maduro

This article appeared online at TheNewAmerican.com on Wednesday, March 13, 2019: 

Secretary of State Mike Pompeo made clear exactly what his intentions are: that the closing of the American embassy in Caracas now removes “constraints” that have until now reined in U.S. policies there. Said Pompeo on Tuesday: “Decisions you make are always encumbered by the fact that you know there’s real risk to your own people, people that you’ve sent into harm’s way. We wanted to get them out of the country so that we could move forward in a way that provided that opportunity.”

He added that

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Does Maduro Have a Death wish?

This article was published by The McAlvany Intelligence Advisor on Friday, March 8, 2019: 

In this space on Monday, this writer noted that Venezuela’s Marxist dictator Nicolas Maduro “had a Terrible, Horrible, No Good, Very Bad Month.”

It just got worse.

For the second time in a week,

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Maduro Playing With Fire: Detains, Releases American Journalist

This article appeared online at TheNewAmerican.com on Thursday, March 7, 2019: 

At 6:40 a.m. Wednesday, four heavily armed agents from Venezuelan President Nicolás Maduro’s military counterintelligence service arrived at U.S. journalist Cody Weddle’s apartment in Caracas with a search order. They arrested him and his assistant, Carlos Camacho, put them in a blacked-out military vehicle, and took them to military headquarters for questioning. The agents ransacked his apartment and removed all of his video-recording and related equipment.

Both were masked and hooded for hours before being questioned about their work. Upon his release afterwards, Weddle said: “They wanted to know about the work I did, who I worked with. They wanted to know what kind of military people I’ve spoken to, what type of opposition politicians I know … who were the opposition politicians I spoke to in the past few days.”

They tried to pressure Weddle into generating some pro-Maduro propaganda as well, guiding his answers while they videotaped his responses. They sought, he said, to get him to say “that Juan Guaido is not the president, and that the [awful] situation [here] is a result of [U.S.] sanctions.”

The New York Times reported that

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Venezuela’s Maduro had a Terrible, Horrible, No Good, Very Bad Month

This article was published by The McAlvany Intelligence Advisor on Monday, March 4, 2019: 

Nicolas Maduro learned that his vice president came away empty when she went, hat in hand, to see Russia’s president Putin about getting another loan. This was on top of learning that China was negotiating with Juan Guaido’s people about how his new regime would repay the estimated $70 billion they have sunk into Maduro’s failing government.

He suffered a black eye a week ago when he ordered his military to stop humanitarian aid from coming into his country, by force. It fired on unarmed citizens, killing as many as eight and wounding hundreds more. As a result some 600 or more of his soldiers went over to the other side.

He learned that U.S. Secretary of State Mike Pompeo, sensing a moment of opportunity, called Putin’s Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov on Saturday for a “consultation” over Maduro’s rolling catastrophe. He no doubt got angry when he learned that Juan Guaido, the head of the country’s legitimate National Assembly, had somehow escaped the country despite being banned from leaving by his packed Supreme Court.

He must have been frustrated upon learning that

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Maduro’s Support from China, Russia Collapsing

This article appeared at TheNewAmerican.com on Monday, March 4, 2019: 

Venezuelan dictator Nicolás Maduro sent his vice president, Delcy Rodriguez, to Moscow last week to see if she could arrange some more financing for Maduro’s failing and cash-starved Marxist regime. She came away with warm words but no cash. Russian president Putin was just too busy to see her and handed her off to Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov, who told her: “We think the best way to help the Venezuelans is to expand practical, pragmatic, and mutual advantageous cooperation.”

Translation:

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Many of the articles on Light from the Right first appeared on either The New American or the McAlvany Intelligence Advisor.
Copyright © 2018 Bob Adelmann