The Foreign Policy of the United States as the Extremist Circle Closes

By Randy Alonso Falcón on March 27, 2018

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Along with the changes in the command of the State Department and the
National Security Council, also the budget that Trump just signed last
Friday, for the remainder of fiscal year 2018, shows the pre-eminence
of policies of force over the diplomacy, in the most classic style of
so-called “hard power”. While the Department of Defense budget grew by
more than 60 billion dollars, the budget of the US Foreign Ministry
and its related bodies for public diplomacy has been cut by 32%. While
total defense spending, including the renewal of the nuclear arsenal,
has reached 700 billion dollars, while the rest of the expenses will
total 591,000 million. The United States spends on defense more than
the spending of the following seven countries together.

Introducing the budget proposal 2018 a year ago, the Director of the
Office of Management and Budget, Mick Mulvaney, was resounding in his
press conference, “The president said that he would spend less money
on people from outside and more at home” […] “It’s a hard power
budget, not soft, and it’s intentional. This is the message we want to
send to our allies and adversaries. This is a strong and powerful
government.”

The Hawks Make their Nest

In an imitation of the most sinister days of the Bush administration,
old and new hawks are assuming the leadership of imperial foreign
policy.

Donald Trump has just named as his National Security Adviser the
sinister John Bolton, one of the main promoters of the Iraq war. In
2001, Bolton became deputy Secretary of State for arms control, a
position that gained weight in the run-up to the invasion of Iraq
because Bush’s rationale for attacking was focused on the alleged
possession of chemical and biological weapons by Saddam Hussein, that
later were not found. “We are sure that Saddam Hussein has hidden
weapons of mass destruction,” Bolton said in a speech in 2002.

He is such a controversial figure in Washington that in 2006 he had to
leave his position as US ambassador to the UN after just 14 months due
to the refusal of the Senate to confirm him definitively for the post,
which Bush appointed him to, taking advantage of a congressional
recess.

Bolton, 69, who will assume his new duties on April 9, was one of the
candidates shuffled by Trump to win the nomination to be at the head
of the State Department. The man is a reluctant advocate of
Washington’s hegemonic unilateralism. Among his famous phrases, is one
that is a true example of his intolerance, “For me, if the UN loses 10
floors, there will be no difference,” he said in 1994 when Kofi Annan
announced his willingness to limit armed conflicts in order to install
UN peacekeeping forces. At a press conference he also said that “the
United Nations does not exist as an institution” and when asked how he
would reform the Security Council Bolton was absolutely clear. “The
reform would be to put in the Security Council a single permanent
member because it is the real reflection of the distribution of power
in the world. That member would be the United States.”

A regular commentator on the FOX television network, Bolton is an
ultraconservative ideologue, a vehement defender of the “national
interest” of the United States and someone who supports without
pretense military attacks as a preventive strategy. “It is perfectly
legitimate for the United States to attack first to respond to the
‘need’ (self-defense) of North Korea’s nuclear weapons,” he wrote in
an article published two weeks ago in The Wall Street Journal.

Bolton will apparently have a good ally in the Secretary of State. The
exit of Rex Tillerson from that position did not surprise anyone. The
oil tycoon did not agree with the real estate mogul and his television
reality shows that today dominates the White House; even though in the
long run they shared strategic purposes. Quite the opposite of what
will happen with Mike Pompeo, the new head of American diplomacy, who
is considered as the most loyal to Trump of the any member of his
cabinet. “With Mike Pompeo, we have a very similar way of thinking,”
the president said when announcing his new appointment.

Pompeo comes from a meteoric political career, conveniently financed
by the reactionary Koch brothers. Graduated from the Military Academy
of West Point, in 2010 he was elected to the House of Representatives,
where he spent six years, until Trump appointed him to be head of the
CIA.

He gained fame in Washington for the harshness with which he punished
Hillary Clinton in the special commission to investigate the Benghazi
(Libya) bombing of 2012, when the former presidential candidate was
Secretary of State. The investigation ended without finding
responsibilities in Clinton, but Pompeo came to describe the case as
something “worse than Watergate in some aspects.” That put him in a
favorable line of sight for Donald Trump when shaping his government.

He is considered a hawk, follower of the ultra-conservative Tea Party
philosophy. His vision as director of the CIA was clearly imperial:
“To be successful the CIA must be aggressive, implacable, tenacious,”
he said. He frequently, mockingly invoked the possibility of
assassinating the North Korean leader Kim Jong-Un, raising fears of a
probable return of Washington to the practice of assassinations of
foreign leaders.

Pompeo, who now has to deal with the twists and turns of foreign
policy, has been in favor of “regime change” in North Korea and
sabotaging nuclear agreements with Iran.

The Bolton-Pompeo duo will be well assisted in the aggressive
projection towards the rest of the world by US Ambassador to the UN
Nikki Haley, a despot with a diplomatic post.

Last December, Haley threatened UN member states with reprisals if
they supported a resolution that criticized Washington’s decision to
recognize Jerusalem as Israel’s capital, and said President Donald
Trump took the vote as a “personal matter” and the United States will
“write down names.”

In a letter she sent to representatives of 180 countries, Haley
warned, “The president will observe this vote carefully and has asked
me to report on the countries that voted against us. We will take note
of each vote on this matter.”

To this she added an energetic message in her twitter account: “At the
UN we are always asked to do more and give more. That is why, when we
make a decision at the will of the American people on where to place
OUR Embassy, we do not expect those we help to attack us. On Thursday
there will be a vote on a critique against our choice. The U.S. will
write down the names. ”

Two simple pearls of thought and acting of the woman of Trump’s team
for foreign policy.

Venezuela and Cuba in the Cross Hairs

If something distinguishes and unites the people named above it is
their obsessed imperialist vision of Venezuela and Cuba, their
closeness to Senator Marco Rubio and his look towards Latin America as
a backyard that must be obedient.

Everyone should remember Mrs. Haley’s overbearing intervention in the
United Nations on the day that the resolution against the US blockade
against Cuba was approved by an overwhelming majority; which,
incidentally, received a strong response from the Cuban Foreign
Minister.

Haley has not stopped using the tribune of the UN to repeatedly attack
Cuba and Venezuela.

She recently went to Miami to meet with the most anti-Cuban elements.
Haley was at the International University of Florida (FIU) with
anti-Cuban congressmen Ileana Ros-Lehtinen, Marco Rubio, Carlos
Curbelo and Mario Diaz-Balart to discuss, according to reports, “how
democracy can be strengthened in Latin America and especially in Cuba
and Venezuela.”

According to Senator Marco Rubio, the meeting was organized at the
request of Haley to know the demands of exiles from Cuba and
Venezuela, although there was also talk of the current state of
American business in Latin America and the relationship of the United
States within the region.

The new Secretary of State Mike Pompeo, on the other hand, is the
support arm of Marco Rubio in the framework of the lies of the
supposed “sonic attacks” in Cuba against US officials, a good part of
who are, according to AP, intelligence officials. This has been
denounced by several sources and recently ratified by the Spanish
newspaper El País, which attributes the supposed acoustic attacks
against US officials in Cuba as a trick by the CIA to cool down and
eventually eliminate the process of rapprochement between both
nations.

Both Pompeo and Rubio share the ultra-conservative ideological line of
the Tea Party. They have a close bond for several years. In 2015, when
Pompeo was a representative for Kansas, he co-sponsored the bill
promoted by Rubio, entitled the Cuban Military Transparency Act, to
prevent any financial transaction with companies managed by the Cuban
military. It was not approved then, but President Trump pleased them
in his policy announcements for Cuba in June 2017.

Just three days after Trump’s speech in Miami, the director of the
Central Intelligence Agency (CIA), Mike Pompeo, met in Langley, on
June 19, with several members of the mercenary Brigade 2506 headed by
Felix Rodriguez Mendigutia (one of those involved in the assassination
of Che in Bolivia) and other characters, including Miami-Dade County
Commissioner Esteban Bovo Jr., Sheriff Jorge Gutiérrez Izaguirre and
Cuban-American Senator Marco Rubio.

Pompeo has also been an active champion of the Trump administration’s
anti-Venezuelan policies. Last January, during an exchange at the
American Enterprise Institute, he alluded to the influence that the
CIA had with Trump to order sanctions against the government of
Nicolás Maduro, based on “the intelligence we had delivered and he had
requested.”

As early as July 2017, the then director of the CIA had made some
controversial statements about Venezuela during a security forum at
the Aspen Institute in Colorado. “We have high hopes that there may be
a transition in Venezuela and the CIA is doing its best to understand
the dynamics there.”

“Venezuela could become a risk for the United States,” he would say a
month later to the Fox television network. “The Cubans are there; the
Russians are there, the Iranians, Hezbollah are there. This has the
risk of becoming a very bad place, so the United States should take it
very seriously. ”

The Lies of Bolton

Few American politicians in recent decades have been as perverse and
manipulative towards Cuba as John Bolton. His accusations are well
remembered in May 2002 (when Bush spoke of attacking 60 or more
countries, Afghanistan had been invaded by imperial forces, Iraq was
threatened for allegedly building chemical weapons and Chavez had
suffered the Coup d’état promoted by Washington ) that Cuba was
manufacturing biological weapons and was passing them to “terrorist”
countries.

“Here’s what we know; the United States believes that Cuba is
conducting at least a limited offensive work of biological warfare
research and development. Cuba has provided dual-use technology to
other renegade states. We are concerned that this technology could
support biological weapons programs in those states. We urge Cuba to
cease all cooperation applicable to biological weapons with the
renegade states and to fully respect all its obligations under the
Biological Weapons Convention. “Bolton told a surprised audience
listening to him at the Heritage Foundation.

A few days later, Fidel Castro would respond bluntly to Bolton: “As
far as weapons of mass destruction are concerned, Cuba’s policy has
been blameless. No one has ever presented a single proof that a
program for the development of nuclear, chemical or biological weapons
has been conceived in our country. For those who do not understand
ethics, and transparency in the conduct of a government like Cuba,
they could at least understand that doing the opposite would have
constituted colossal stupidity on our part. Any such program ruins the
economy of any small country; Cuba would never have been able to
transport such weapons, would not commit the additional error of
introducing them into combat against an adversary that has thousands
of times more weapons of that character, which would then be
receiving, as a gift, the pretext of using them.

From the political point of view, we live in a time when there are and
will be more and more powerful weapons than any of those born out of
technology; the weapons of morality, reason and ideas. Without them
no nation is powerful; with them, no country is weak. Such an apothegm
requires an exceptionally deep motivation, cold blood and
intelligence. It should be known that for the Cuban people, above any
other value on Earth, are the values that inspire freedom, dignity,
love for their country, their identity, their culture and the
strictest sense of justice that human beings can conceive. They are
not weapons of mass destruction, they are weapons of massive moral
defense, and we are willing to fight and die for them. ”

Will Mr. Bolton have Understood the Message?

In 2014, when the Presidents of Cuba and the United States announced
the beginning of a new stage in bilateral relations, John Bolton
declared on a radio program: “I believe it is a tremendous defeat for
the United States. The President, with his action, has given political
legitimacy to this dictatorship and has extended an economic lifeline
to the regime precisely at the moment when we should increase the
pressures “.

The return of Bolton to positions of power in imperial foreign policy
augurs new days of threats and conflicts. On his projections, a senior
official of the Republican administration told El Nuevo Herald, “For
Latin America, it has always been emphasized how Cuba, Venezuela and
Nicaragua have undermined the interests of the United States
throughout the region” […] “Bolton believes that Venezuela, with its
economic crisis, is vulnerable and that other countries, including
Iran, continue to have a great influence in their government.”

While Senator Marco Rubio showed his rejoicing at the appointment of
the new White House Adviser: “I know John Bolton well, he’s an
excellent choice and he’s going to do a great job as national security
adviser,” Rubio wrote in his Twitter account.

Last August, Bolton told the far-right Breitbart that Venezuela was a
threat to the United States and urged Washington not to be “timid”
about Nicolás Maduro’s “dictatorship,” calling for more support to the
opposition that seeks to “restore” a representative government.

“Let’s not forget that Iran has a lot of weight in Maduro’s Venezuela
and it also had it during the government of Chávez,” he said. “Why is
the largest Iranian embassy in the world in Caracas? Because through
it they are laundering money and because Venezuela, together with
Canada, has the largest proven reserves of uranium. ”

Another God Son of Rubio in the OAS

Cashing in on the many favors that Trump apparently owes him, Senator
Rubio reinforces his influence in the current US foreign policy when
he succeeded in appointing Florida’s former state representative
Carlos Trujillo as US Ambassador to the OAS.

“Carlos has served his constituents diligently in the Florida House of
Representative for the past eight years and I know he will do the same
as a representative of the American people in the OAS,” Marco Rubio
said in a statement, as he was in charge of reporting the appointment.

Trujillo thus becomes a pre-eminent voice of the Trump
administration’s policy towards Latin America, since Congress has not
yet confirmed Kimberly Breier as undersecretary of State for the
Western Hemisphere.

Along with the hypocrite Almagro he will make a good duo in the OAS to
conduct the imperial interests in our region. Trujillo has expressed
that Venezuela is the priority of his administration.

Latin America will live a moment of redefinition of its relationship
with the United States at the very next Summit of the Americas. There
Trump will come surrounded by his entire band of hawks, heirs of the
Monroe Doctrine. Withering times are approaching.

Source: Cubadebate, translation: Resumen Latinoamericano, North American Bureau

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